Queen of Tarts

There is something simple, comforting and nostalgic about the humble Jam Tart. For many people it was probably the first thing they cooked with their Mum or Grandma. Making Jam Tarts always reminds me of Home Ec in Secondary School and many of those said tarts didn’t make it home as I would have scoffed them before home time. Back then though I was frankly rubbish at pastry, it would just crumble and fall apart. It put me off pastry for long time and it’s only recently have I got over my Fear of Pastry. I’ve just put Fear of Pastry into good old google and it sent me to a World of Warcraft page?!?…ok I digressed.

The reason behind these tarts is that I’m planning to cook them with my pupils during British Food Fortnight as you can’t get more British Afternoon Teaish than a dainty Jam Tart, plus I have have a set of fantastic 10 year old budding pastry making boys in my class. The kids are aware that they are making Jam Tarts in a few weeks and bless them, they are already excited and talking about it. After baking a Bakewell Tart last year I’ll be baking another traditional Derbyshire dish with pastry for British Food Fortnight this year. If I pull it off I’ll blog about it during the fortnight.

I did experiment with using marmalade in a few of the tarts, but they just don’t work as well and have an amazing ability, akin to superglue, to weld themselves to the bun tin. Given the fact I’ve now mastered pastry I can’t for the life of me make a Jam Tart look refined, I think the best way to describe them would be “rustic”. Anyway since when has a humble Jam Tart been anything but charmingly simple?

Jam Tarts
Makes 12 small tarts

225g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
110g butter
cold water
around 12 tsp jam

1) First get started on the pastry. Sieve the flour and baking powder into a bowl then rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

2) Add the chilled water a small amount at a time and mix with a knife until you have a good dough. Roll into a ball, cover in cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 min.

3) Roll out the pastry until around 5mm thick. Using a 3 inch cutter, cut rounds and press gently into a bun tin. Place a generous teaspoonful of jam in the center of each round.

4) Bake at 200oc for 10 min, or until well risen and golden. Allow to cool for 5 min before transferring to a wire rack.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.butcherbakerblog.com/2009/09/21/queen-of-tarts/

Black Sheep Bread

This bread is in honour of the Yorkshire 3-Peaks Challenge Hubby & I completed last weekend. Thanks to everyone who sponsored us. We stayed at Pinecroft and it was somewhere I would highly recommend. We’re thinking of returning with friends later on in the year.

It was a great experience and provided great memories from the bog jumping, being knee deep in mud, weird tasting watermelon jelly sweets, a sneaky pub stop and sunset at the top of Ingleborough. During the walk I gained the nicknames of Speedy Gonzales. Once I got going, there was no stopping me. This may have been due to a heady mix of ibuprofen, Lucozade, Jelly Babies & adrenaline. I’m really proud of myself & Hubby for completing it minus any injury, blister ache or pain (ooh get me!) and the training I did over the summer really paid off. Although it took us far longer than expected to complete due to an incident involving the Mountain Rescue Team 1 mile from the end (let’s just say thank goodness for the training I did as part of my DofE Gold Expedition), some of us are planning to return next year to do it in around 10 hours. Others however have been put up hill walking for life! In a slightly crazy way I got a serious kick from the challenge and found it easier than I was expecting. Even after 25miles I could have continued, as someone has pointed out there is room for a female Eddie Izzard!

The reason for this bread being a tribute to our walk is that one member of the team (not me I hasten to add)sneaked in a cheeky half-pint at the Old Hill Inn – a fab pub between Whernside & Ingleborough belonging to the famous Black Sheep Brewery. Apparently this cheeky half-pint was one of the best drinks he has ever had and it provided some comedy moments for the rest of the team as it went straight to his head, he started to talk about how pretty all the trees were and I swear at one point he began to skip up Ingleborough. I’ve never baked bread with beer in it before, but have declared this bread to be a resounding success. It produces a beautiful fluffy bread with a slightly golden crumb. You can certainly taste a hint of ale in the bread. It’s given me some ideas for some other bread that I’ve going to keep under wraps for now. This is also the first time I’ve used my new brotform and grignette and am really pleased how well they have worked.

Now, the after effect of endurance exercise is that it does 2 things to your appetite. Either you can’t eat enough or your appetite is zapped. Now you would think when burning 9000 calories in 16 hours we would both have raging hunger…nope. Our appetite was completely killed and a week on it’s only just getting back on track, hence why it has been so long since I’ve blogged. Normal service will now resume on my blog with both Hubby & I having lots of great foodie projects up our sleeves. So here’s to carbs, the great outdoors and friends. Cheers!

Black Sheep Bread
Makes 1 large loaf

500g strong white bread flour
10g salt
5g fast action yeast.
300ml Black Sheep Riggwelter Ale (yes I know it’s sacrilegious, but it needs to be warm)

1) Mix together all the ingredients until you have a rough dough. Knead either by hand or with a mixer for 10 min until you have a beautiful, silky dough. Shape into a round and leave to rise in a covered bowl for 1-2 hours, or until it has doubled in size.

2) Knock back the dough, shape into chosen shape and place in/on tin or brotform and leave again covered in a plastic bag until it has doubled in size. If cooking on a baking sheet cover in polenta/course semolina before placing the bread on as this stops the bread sticking to the sheet.

3) Preheat the oven as hot as it will go. At the bottom of the oven place a baking tin of boiling water (this helps to develop the crust). If using a brotform turn bread out onto tray. If not using a brotform place the dough in/on chosen tin. Slash the top of the loaf (optional) then bake for 10 min.

4) Turn down the oven to 200oc and bake for a further 20-30 minutes. When the bread is ready the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Allow to cool on a wire rack.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.butcherbakerblog.com/2009/09/19/black-sheep-bread/

Climb every mountain…

This post is a slight departure from my usual food blogging. Things have been a bit mad here with me returning to work to begin a new term plus Hubby & I have been been in training for the Yorkshire 3 Peak Challenge which we will attempt in a week time. We’re walking it with a bunch of friends to raise money for a school close to my heart along with the NSPCC. It’s essentially a marathon distance walk with three big, steep hills (Pen-y-ghent, Whernside & Ingleborough) in the way, plus some scrambling thrown in for good measure.

We’ve spent most of the summer preparing for the walk and last weekend completed an 18 mile (29km) walk in just under 7 hours. I did mildly Hit the Wall around the 16 mile walk but with a 5 min break and a cereal bar I was ready to get going again. I know on the day I’ve got to keep my energy levels high as I don’t want to have a crash between Whernside & Ingleborough. The night before we will be carb-loading (something I excel in!) then starting the day with the biggest bowl of porridge we can muster then feasting on lots of malt loaf, Jelly Babies & other energy laden foods en route.

I’ve always wanted to do a marathon, and although I’m walking this and not running it’s still a marathon in my mind! If you would like to help my friends & I to raise money for the NSPCC & the school I work for please drop me an email at julesatdit AT googlemail DOT com

Permanent link to this article: http://www.butcherbakerblog.com/2009/09/05/climb-every-mountain/

Lemon Drizzle Fairy Cakes

To counteract the unsummery weather we’ve had recently I wanted to inject some sun into the kitchen. Lemon is one of my favourite ingredients in both sweet and savory cooking and decided to play around with my fête fairy cakes recipe. This time I swapped the custard powder for cornflour as I didn’t want the vanilla to dominate, but still wanted to have the light fluffyness that both custard powder and cornflour give to a cake.

For baking these I used individual silicone cake cups and they are slightly bigger than traditional fairy cake cases, but not as big as cupcakes. To be honest these cases and a spatula are the only piece of silicone bakeware I would recommend. In my experience the other type of silicone bakeware just don’t work, are a pain to transfer to the oven, nearly always still stick, don’t keep their heat well, which inturn doesn’t bake the food as well. For every other type of baking I stick to traditional metal pans.

I wanted to use the mini jelly lemon/orange slices I had seen for sale somewhere recently, but could I find them when I wanted them? nope. I remember when we used to get these fruit slices in our stocking at Christmas I deemed them as the height of sophisticaion. My perception of sophistication has changed somewhat since then. Instead of decorating them with the elusive lemon slices decided to decorate them with some of the lemon zest.

One of the first things given to me from my Mum for my kitchen was a citrus zester. At first I thought “what on earth would I do with a zester”, but I can honestly say it is one of the best gadgets I own. Rather than the fine zest a grater produces it produces long ribbons of zest which is ideal for decorating. Plus I have less chance of adding part of my finger to the dish than I would with a Microplane. For a loaf version of this cake try Tara’s Lemon Drizzle.

Lemon Drizzle Fairy Cakes
Makes 12

140g unsalted butter, softened
140g vanilla sugar (you can use normal caster)
3 eggs
100g self-raising flour
25g cornflour
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
100g icing sugar, sifted

1) Preheat oven to 190oc. Arrange cake cases in fairy cake tin. Beat together butter and vanilla sugar then one by one beat in the eggs.

2) Into the bowl sift flour and cornflour then fold into the batter until ingredients are well combined. Stir in lemon zest. Half fill each cake case with the batter.

3) Bake for 15 min until risen and golden. Allow to cool on a wire rack.

4) Beat together icing sugar, lemon juice and boiling water until you have a smooth icing. Using a teaspoon drizzle the icing over the cakes then leave to set.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.butcherbakerblog.com/2009/08/27/lemon-drizzle-fairy-cakes/

Hogget & Mint Pasties

I first tasted hogget back in February at River Cottage when it was served as part of the Valentines Feast. It’s such a delicious meat, stronger tasting than lamb, but not as gristly as mutton. To explain: lamb is a sheep from birth to 1 year, hogget is from 1-2 years and Mutton is from 2 years or older.

I’ve been trying to get hold of hogget ever since and a smallholding friend came to the rescue. So with half a hogget in the freezer we’ve begun to work our way slowly through it.

One of the best way we’ve found for cooking lamb/hogget is to slow roast it so the meat is full of taste and falls apart. By doing this you don’t have to worry about the fattiness you sometimes get with lamb as it just renders off. Dinner Diary’s Slow Roast Shoulder of Lamb recipe is divine, so easy and also works perfectly with hogget.

With leftovers from Sunday’s slow roasted shoulder of hogget I decided to have a go at making Hogget & Mint Pasties. Now this is why I love roast dinners as it makes the next few days of meals easy. I made 4 pasties with this recipe. I could have frozen 2 of the pasties in their uncooked state, but Hubby requested if we could have them for Lunch today. They worked far better than I expected and will certainly be making them again even if they are a tad rustic looking. I think they would also work really well as mini pasties. Hubby helped quite a bit with the prep for these (spot the perfectly diced veg that could not have been done by me!) as I managed to slice my finger quite spectacularly a few days ago while making my lunch. Who knew a bread knife could hurt so much and cause the amount of blood it did. I’ve been banned from going near the Microplane, I’m too much of a risk.

This recipe is partially inspired by a recipe I had cut out of the newspaper and I imagine would work with a multitude of different meats and Sunday leftovers. The surprising ingredient in the pasties is a small amount of ketchup. This helps to thicken and sweeten the gravy. There is also a bit of a debate as to what type of pastry a pastie should be made with. I prefer puff pastry so have made it with that.

Hogget & Mint Pasties
Makes 4 large pasties

250g potato, 1cm cubes
1 carrot, 1cm cubes
6 shallots, finely sliced
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp chopped fresh mint
leftover roasted hogget, shredded (I used about 200g)
2 tbsp tomato ketchup
250ml lamb stock
500g block of ready made puff pasty
1 egg, beaten

1) In a saute pan gently fry the potato, carrot and shallots in the olive oil until softened.

2) Stir in the mint, hogget, ketchup and stock then simmer until the sauce has thickened and you are left with only a small amount of liquid. If the sauce is too thin it’ll make the pasties soggy. Put the filling to one side while you sort out the pastry.

3) Preheat the oven to 200oc. Roll out the pastry until it is 3mm – 5mm thick square. You can either cut around something like a plate or do what I did: Cut the pastry into quarters and freehand a kind of circle (or a rounded squircle if you want to be technical) in each quarter, by doing this I waste less pastry.

4) Brush the edges of the pastry circle with beaten egg then place 1/4 of the filling in the middle of the pastry. Bring up the edges and pinch them to make a pastie shape. Place on a lined baking tray and brush with beaten egg. Put 2 small cuts on each side of the pastry to help stop it going soggy. Bake for 20 min until the pastry is crisp and golden. Best served hot.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.butcherbakerblog.com/2009/08/18/hogget-mint-pasties/

Baileys Cheesecake Brownies

Ok, I’ve fallen off my “get healthy for the 3-peak-challenge” diet in quite spectacular style. Up until yesterday I had been quite restrained but seeing a picture of cheesecake brownies on Tastespotting tipped me over the edge. Plus Summer Holiday Boredom is hitting big style and I sometimes I just NEED to bake to kill time. Anything to avoid watching the horrors of Jeremy Kyle & Loose Women.

Given that one of my most requested cakes from co-workers is my Baileys Cheesecake (I have refined my presentation of this dessert since that photo was taken!) I felt obliged to have a go at making Baileys Cheesecake Brownies. Well, I do have a penchant for sneaking in the odd glug or two of Baileys into various baked items. Right up there on the unhealthiness stakes, but goodness do they taste good.

The brownie part isn’t exactly what I would call a brownie, but it is still a luscious, moist, rich and dense chocolate cake. The one minor criticism Hubby had to make about these was that I had used Baileys with a hint of coffee rather than plain Baileys as it’s all I had in the house. Um…he hates coffee. I’m not complaining though as it means more for me! Saying that he isn’t saying no when I offer him one with a cup of tea. Tonight we’re having them for pudding with a generous spoonful of Cherry Beer Ice Cream.

Baileys Cheesecake Brownies
Makes 16 small but undeniably rich brownies

Brownie mixture
110 g dark chocolate (min 70% cocoa)
110 g butter
120 g vanilla sugar (or caster sugar)
60 g plain flour
2 eggs
glug of Baileys

Cheesecake mixture
225 g cream cheese
40 g caster sugar
1 egg
another generous glug of Baileys

1) Preheat the oven to 150oc then Line a 23 cm/8 inch square cake tin with baking parchment. Melt the chocolate with the butter in a bain marie. Remove from the heat, add the sugar and stir then leave to cool slightly (if you don’t do this you may end up with scrambled egg brownies).

2) Beat the eggs one at a time into the brownie mixture, beating until it is glossy. Stir in the Baileys until well combined then gradually fold in the flour then pour into the cake tin .

3) For the cheesecake mixture beat the cream cheese and sugar together. Add the egg and mix then stir in the Baileys until all is well combined. Top the levelled brownie mixture with the cheesecake mixture and using a knife, gently swirl it into the chocolate mixture.

4) Bake for 25-35 minutes, or until just set in the middle. Leave to cool in the tin for 15-20 minutes before cutting into squares and serving.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.butcherbakerblog.com/2009/08/16/baileys-cheesecake-brownies/

Chicken, Pea & Barley Risotto

Now for something different, I blog about something that isn’t sweet! I haven’t blogged about main meals for a while as 1) I haven’t cooked anything particularly exciting 2) by the time we eat in the evening we just want to eat, presentation and faffing with cameras is low down on our priorities.

I’ve been wanting to make a risotto sans rice since I ate a delicious spelt risotto at River Cottage. I managed to pick up some spelt grain risotto when I visited River Cottage Canteen, but since returning I’ve found it nigh on impossible to find spelt grain for sale. I’ve scoured health food stores and even a vegan wholefood shop (which is usually great for this type of thing). When I enquired about it I was told “they don’t sell it as their customers have no call for it” making me think I had committed a huge vegan faux pas. Given that spelt grain seems to be as rare as hen’s teeth I had to settle for a similar grain – barley.

Barley is being peddled as the new “Superfood” due to it’s low GI, high fibre qualities and because of this has the ability to lower cholesterol along with being a good source of niacin. The main reason for us eating it is that it is filling and I like the taste of it. It does make a great replacement for the traditional rice in risotto. I also like barley in soups.

To make this I also used something called Souper Mix. It’s a veg stock recipe from River Cottage Preserves Handbook in which you preserve finely diced stock vegetables & herbs in salt then rehydrate them in boiling water to make a stock. It’s a fantastic way of using up lots of vegetables and makes a really flavoursome stock. I can’t find the recipe anywhere online so plan to blog about it in the near future. The photo another prime example of my inability to finely dice vegetables, check out the onions – absolutely shocking. I really should just whack them in the food processor.

This risotto is based my traditional risotto recipe, the only difference really being is that it takes longer for the barley to soak up the stock. By using the some of the leftovers from Sunday’s Roast Chicken you can truly call this Economy Gastronomy.

Chicken, Pea & Barley Risotto

Serves 2-3

1 large onion, finely sliced
1 clove of garlic, finely sliced
150g barley
150ml white wine
500ml vegetable stock (chicken stock will also do)
leftover Roast Chicken
Handful of peas
knob of butter

1) Gently fry the onion and garlic in the olive oil in a deep saucepan for 3 min. Add the barley and stir for a further 2-3 until the barley begins to brown.

2) Pour in the wine and turn up the heat until the wine is absorbed. Gradually add stock 1 ladle at a time, each time waiting for the stock to be absorbed before adding more. After the 2nd ladle add the chicken. When you have one ladle of stock left, add the peas, thyme and seasoning.

3) The risotto is ready once all the stock has been absorbed and the barley has a very slight bite. If you need it add more stock. Stir in the butter. Leave for 2-3 min before serving.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.butcherbakerblog.com/2009/08/11/chicken-pea-barley-risotto/

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