Wigmore Cheese Red Pepper Tart

Wow the summer of 2018 has proved to be a scorcher so far. And I have to say I’m loving it! Flinging open the windows and doors and basking in the fresh, warm air. I was born in the Winter, yet I love the Summer sunshine. Because of the heat I have adjusted the way I go about my day. I’ve always been more of a morning person, however the hike in temperatures has got me organised. So I make dinner as early in the day as I can. And this Wigmore Cheese Red Pepper Tart is super easy to make, ready to be eaten at room temperature later in the day.

FF Wigmore Cheese Red Pepper Tart
Wigmore Cheese Red Pepper Tart

Artisan Wigmore Cheese, an award winner:

Wigmore Cheese, the dominant flavour at the heart of this tart is a semi soft, unpasteurised, ewes milk cheese. A handmade, washed curd cheese, with a flavour and texture similar to Camembert and Brie. Yet it has a flavour all of its own, slightly saltier with less of a nasal hit than a fully ripe Brie. Baked in this quiche style tart it’s flavour permeates throughout, balanced beautifully with sweet, softened red bell peppers.

FF Wigmore Cheese Red Pepper Tart
Wigmore Cheese Red Pepper Tart

Perhaps unusually, I’ve added a subtle hint of anise flavour to the tart with the addition of fennel seeds. Resulting in a Mediterranean taste to this all butter pastry tart. While you may be tempted to buy the pastry, I strongly suggest you try my recipe. It is absolutely foolproof and is consistently good. Since the recipe makes double the amount needed it’s a bonus to freeze half, knowing next time you make this tart all that’s needed is for it to be defrosted overnight in the fridge!

Recipe: Wigmore Cheese Red Pepper Tart serves 6

450g/1lb Butter Shortcrust Pastry – half the quantity of my Perfect Butter Shortcrust Pastry

200g/7oz Wigmore Semi Soft Cheese available from Village Maid Cheese if you are not in the U.K. a great substitute would be Camembert or Brie style cheeses with a soft, edible rind.

3 Red Bell Peppers (400g/14oz sliced de-seeded red pepper)

1tbsp Rapeseed/Canola Oil – I use Kentish Oils

8 Large Free Range Eggs

1/4tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper

1/2tsp Lightly Ground Fennel Seeds

Method: Making the tart crust:

Note – You will need a 25cm x 5cm (10in x 2in) preferably loose bottom round tart tin for this recipe.

  • First of all if making the pastry from scratch chill it in the fridge for 2 hours before using. Especially during this super warm weather. Otherwise defrost ready made pastry in the fridge overnight.
  • Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan, 400F, gas mark 6.
  • Lightly flour the worktop and roll out the pastry so that it is slightly bigger than the width and sides of the tart tin.
  • Roll the pastry around the rolling pin and transfer to the tin.
  • Most importantly do not stretch the pastry. Ease it gently into the tin taking care to press it into the crease between the base and sides.
  • Trim any excess pastry and then dock the base with a fork.
  • Place baking parchment directly on to the pastry and fill with baking beans.
FF Wigmore Cheese Red Pepper Tart
Creating the all butter tart crust.
  • Place the tart tin on to a baking sheet and put into the centre of the preheated oven.
  • Bake for 15 minutes, remove the baking beans and parchment paper, return the tart back to the oven for a further 10 minutes. Once baked, remove and set to one side.
  • Reduce the oven heat to 190C/170C fan, 325F, gas mark 3.

Filling the tart:

  • While the tart case is baking prepare the filling.
  • Remove the seeds and green part from the peppers. Slice lengthways to produce long strips.
  • Pour the oil into a pan over a medium heat. Add the peppers and sauté for 10-15 minutes until slightly softened and reduced in size.
FF Wigmore Cheese Red Pepper Tart
Sautéing the red peppers.
  • Cut up the cheese into bite size chunks. It helps if the cheese is fridge cold before cutting.
  • Into a jug add all 8 eggs, black pepper and fennel seeds. Whisk with a fork to combine.
  • Cover the base of the tart with sautéed peppers.
  • Next add the chunks of cheese, spread evenly around.
  • Finally pour over the seasoned, whisked eggs.
FF Wigmore Cheese Red Pepper Tart
Filling the Wigmore Cheese Red Pepper Tart ready for baking.

Baking the tart:

  • Place the tart into the centre of the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes.
  • The tart is baked when the top is set and there is no jiggle in the centre.
  • As soon as the Wigmore Cheese Red Pepper Tart is baked remove from the oven and set to one side.
FF Wigmore Cheese Red Pepper Tart
Wigmore Cheese Red Pepper Tart
  • If serving as soon as baked allow the tart to settle for 10 minutes before slicing.
FF Wigmore Cheese Red Pepper Tart
Wigmore Cheese Red Pepper Tart

I love serving this tart when it is warm. At the moment this means room temperature! However if making during a cooler time of the year simply reheat in a medium oven for 10 minutes to lightly warm through.

Store any leftover tart in an airtight container or wrapped in cling film and refrigerate. Eat within 3 days.

Due to the moisture content of the peppers I would advise against freezing.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Wigmore Cheese Red Pepper Tart you may also like these:

Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart 

FF Wigmore Cheese Red Pepper Tart
Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart

Cheddar Cheese Thyme Soft Breadsticks 

FF Wigmore Cheese Red Pepper Tart
Cheddar Cheese Thyme Soft Breadsticks

Bath Soft Cheese Chilli Tarts

FF Wigmore Cheese Red Pepper Tart
Bath Soft Cheese Chilli Tarts

Making pastry and baking during this unusually hot summer may seem like the last thing anyone would want to do. Yet, by mid morning dinner is made. I quite often make my Tangy Lemon Potato Salad at the same time, as it’s absolutely delicious, fridge cold, served alongside with a salad. Also when using the tasty Wigmore Cheese, this recipe only uses half a wheel, leaving plenty for you to enjoy with apples, crackers and a cold glass of wine on a Summer’s evening.

Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun preparing and sharing your feast.

Sammie xx

Village Maid Cheese sent me the Wigmore Cheese to try. All opinions and content are my own and I was not paid to write this post. No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

 

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Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Quiche

In case you missed my previous post Fresh Basil Topped Slow Roasted Tomatoes I’ll mention again that I love tomatoes. Especially locally grown, British tomatoes that are ripened on the vine and left on the worktop, not in the fridge. Sweet and savoury bursts of Summer on my tongue. Here I have baked them into a layered quiche with fresh basil and two types of cheese. I am thrilled to bring you my Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Quiche.

FF Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Quiche
Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Quiche

I was inspired by the classic caprese salad of fresh tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and fragrant basil to make this savoury tart. Since each element compliments the others so well as a salad the same can be said of this quiche. Layering the separate ingredients within an all butter pastry tart creates a delicious dish. Perfect for lunch, dinner, picnics, packed lunches and buffets. That’s how delicious this quiche is!

FF Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Quiche
Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Quiche

Because using local, seasonal produce is important to me, as a home cook and Food Blogger, I was delighted when I was offered a box of Sophie Jane cherry tomatoes. Locally grown by Eric Wall a local, specialist grower. The tomatoes I received are ripened on the vine and are grown without the use of pesticides. Most importantly they taste incredible. In fact just like a tomato should taste. Eaten warmed by the sun, after being left on the windowsill, they are sweet with a deeper savoury flavour. Also they weren’t very acidic as some tomatoes can be, especially tinned ones.

FF Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Quiche
Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Quiche

While British Tomato Fortnight has finished I firmly believe that we should all be eating flavoursome British tomatoes for as long as they are available. Because they taste so good. It really is as simple as that. I have been popping these ruby beauties into my mouth like sweeties. Eating them alongside crackers and cheese and I plan to make more recipes to share with you. All in aid of celebrating the humble tomato.

Recipe: Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Quiche:

You will need a 20cm x 5cm (8” x 2”) tart tin, ideally with a loose bottom, to make this recipe.

A quick note – I successfully doubled all of the quantities and made this quiche in a deeper, wider dish. Baking times need to be adjusted, aside from the initial blind baking. The larger quiche turned out perfectly and would be ideal for feeding a crowd, or a buffet.

500g/1lb 2oz Shortcrust Pastry – I use my recipe for Perfect Butter Shortcrust Pastry freezing the leftovers

225g/8oz Mozzarella Cheese – drained and with excess water squeezed out

50g/2oz Vintage or Very Mature/Sharp Cheddar – I use Wyke Farms

6 Large Free Range Eggs

225g/8oz Fresh Cherry Tomatoes

12-14 Fresh Basil Leaves – alternatively out of season use 1/2 tsp dried Thyme

1/2 tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Pinch of Sea Salt Flakes

Method: Preheat oven to 220C/200C fan, 425F, gas mark 7

  • First of all make the pastry, wrap in cling film and chill for one hour.
  • Remove the chilled pastry from the fridge, unwrap and roll out on a lightly floured surface, so that it will fit the tart tin. See photo top left below.
  • Fold the pastry over the rolling pin, making it easier to transfer.
  • Lower the pastry into the tin, making sure that you don’t stretch it as you do.
  • Press the pastry into the tin so that it fits securely.
  • Run your rolling pin over the tart tin, this will give a clean edge to the pastry.
  • Place the tart tin on to a baking sheet and dock the base with a fork.
  • Now scrunch up some baking parchment and line the pastry tart with it.
  • Next fill with baking beans.
FF Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Quiche
Making the pastry shell for the quiche.
  • Place in the centre of a preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes.
  • Carefully lift out the baking parchment and baking beans.
  • Return the tart to the oven for 5 minutes further baking.
  • Remove the tart and reduce the oven temperature to 190C/170C fan, 375F, gas mark 5.
  • Line the tart base with basil leaves.
  • Place torn chunks of mozzarella directly on to the basil.
  • Sprinkle over finely grated cheddar and then top with cherry tomatoes.
  • Reserve one egg, whisk the other five adding the black pepper. Pour the eggs into the tart.
FF Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Quiche
Creating layers within the Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Quiche
  • Roll out the remaining pastry and cut out small shapes to edge the tart. I used a oak leaf cutter which gives the edge of the quiche a frilly finish.
  • Whisk the remaining egg and brush the underside of each cutout. Stick the pastry cutouts to the edge of the pastry case. You can create a single layer or add extra cutouts to create a layered effect.
  • Brush the pastry edge with egg so that it turns golden when baked.
  • Finally sprinkle a pinch of sea salt over the top.
FF Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Quiche
Before and after baking the Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Quiche
  • Carefully place the filled quiche into the centre of the oven – remember to check that the heat has been reduced.
  • Bake for 40-45 minutes. The quiche is baked when it is a golden colour and there is no wobble in the centre.
  • As soon as the quiche is baked remove from the oven. Place on a cooling rack for at least 30 minutes before removing from the tin. Take care as the tomatoes will be very hot and juicy.
FF Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Quiche
Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Quiche

The beauty of this quiche is that it can be served warm, at room temperature or cold, straight from the fridge!

FF Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Quiche
Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Quiche

Because this quiche does not contain meat it is also suitable for vegetarians. Since I have made this twice, I have to say it really holds it’s shape well when cold and would be perfect for taking on picnics. Most of all, when you bake this quiche make sure you share it. Especially as it is so pretty and absolutely yummy!

Make up to 2 days ahead, cool completely, double wrap in cling film and refrigerate. Due to the moisture content of the tomatoes I would not recommend freezing, unlike my Smoked Bacon Asparagus Quiche which freezes well. Although the pastry case can be made in advance and frozen.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Quiche you may also like these:

Quiche Lorraine 

FF Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Quiche
Quiche Lorraine, smoked bacon and cheddar cheese savoury tart.

Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart

FF Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Quiche
Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart

Iced Bakewell Tart

FF Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Quiche
Iced Bakewell Tart

During this Summer, which I am hoping will be long and warm, I’m looking forward to creating recipes to share with you. Especially focusing on seasonal, local produce and products. Whether you live here, in Australia, Europe or the United States, I do feel that it’s important to support our local farmers. While some of you may get to visit farmers markets, if like me, it’s difficult for you to get out, take a look online. Since spending a little time researching I’ve found the equivalent of farmers markets online and they deliver! Most of all, if you remember one thing from this post – please keep your tomatoes out of the fridge, it kills their flavour!

Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun preparing you feast.

Thank you to everyone who follows me on social media and shares their creations with me. I get such a thrill when you make one of my recipes, so keep those pictures and tweets coming. Don’t forget I’m also on Pinterest too.

@sammiefeasting on Pinterest/Twitter/Instagram

Sammie xx

No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

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Warming Winter Vegetable Soup

As soon as Winter hits, there is one thing I crave. Soup. It’s warming, almost insulating properties feel like a hug on the inside. Whether it be a smooth, blitzed soup or a chunky textured version, it is my food of choice, seeing me through the short, wind blown days of our coldest season. Today I share with you my Warming Winter Vegetable Soup. Developed specifically to battle cold viruses and yet be thoroughly enjoyable to eat.

FF Warming Winter Vegetable Soup
Warming Winter Vegetable Soup

While, to ease sore throats, this soup can be blitzed, the soft, gently cooked vegetables are easily swallowed. Making the most of what was left in the fridge at the end of the week, turned this soup into a five star recipe. Also using frozen vegetables is a good way to bulk out this dish. Adding in anything that will work with the slightly sweet, spicy flavour.

FF Warming Winter Vegetable Soup
Warming Winter Vegetable Soup

Winter root vegetables have a natural sweetness, more so after the first frosts. While deep green, leafy brassica’s, rich in iron, provide a more meaty, sometimes slightly bitter taste. Together, in this Warming Winter Vegetable soup, the flavours come together and perfectly compliment each other. Spiked with warmth from the chili adding a more lasting warmth.

FF Warming Winter Vegetable Soup
Warming Winter Vegetable Soup

Since this soup is a comforting and warming, adding freshly sliced mild red chili and spring onions to the top provides a burst of freshness. Almost a zesty burst hits the tongue when warming and cold hits. Not only does the addition of fresh parsley look good, it also provides extra Vitamin C!

Recipe: Winter Warming Vegetable Soup serves 6-8

1tbsp Olive Oil

1 Large Onion

3 Celery Sticks washed and trimmed

1/2tsp Sea Salt – I use Maldon

2 Leeks trimmed and washed

1 Large Potato

2-3 Large Carrots

100g/4oz Green Beans trimmed (frozen is fine)

1/2 Savoy Cabbage – Kale, sprout tops, other cabbage (except red or white) can be used

Small Swede/Turnip

2tbsp Pearl Barley

4tbsp Lentils – I used orange

2 Garlic Cloves

1tbsp Tomato Puree

Fresh Thyme – approx 1tsp chopped

Vegetable Stock Cube – I use Knorr

Pinch Chili Flakes – depending on preference

1tsp Black Pepper – to taste

Cold Water

Fresh Mild Red Chili and Spring Onions finely sliced to top

Fresh Parsley

Method:

A large, heavy bottomed pan is needed for this recipe.

  • First of all, place the pan on the hob and add the oil.
  • All of the vegetables in this recipe should be cut into small dice, starting with the onions and leeks.
  • Turn the heat to medium, allow the oil to warm, add the chopped leeks and onion. Also add 1/4tsp salt, sauté until softened but not browned.
  • Next add the carrots and celery, again cook until softened.
  • Now add the garlic and fresh thyme. Pour over enough water to cover the vegetables.
  • Cut the cabbage into thin strips and chop the beans into thirds, then add these to the pan. Also prepare both the potato and swede and add to the soup.
  • Finally add the lentils and pearl barley, top the pan up with water so the vegetables are just covered. Crumble in a stock cube and add a good grinding of black pepper. And also the chili flakes to your preference.
  • Bring the soup up to a simmer, place a lid on the pan.
  • Simmer until the root vegetables are tender – approximately 30 minutes.
FF Warming Winter Vegetable Soup
Warming Winter Vegetable Soup topped with fresh chilli, parsley and spring onion.

Serve in warmed bowls with freshly sliced mild chili’s, spring onion and sprigs of parsley. Add warm, crusty bread such as Seeded Cob Loaf to create a hearty meal.

To store, cool the soup completely. Spoon into sealable containers and refrigerate for up to 4 days. Alternatively, place in the freezer and eat within one month.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Warming Winter Vegetable Soup you may also like these:

Roasted Garlic Butternut Squash Soup

FF Warming Winter Vegetable Soup
Roasted Garlic Butternut Squash Soup

Creamy Low Fat Mushroom Soup

FF Warming Winter Vegetable Soup
Creamy Low Fat Mushroom Soup

Carrot Soup

FF Warming Winter Vegetable Soup
Carrot Soup

Because most soups, including this Warming Winter Vegetable Soup, are easily made and easily stored, making a big batch seems to make good sense. More so in the Winter, when after a long, cold day, comfort is merely moments away. Since frozen soup can be popped from its container into a saucepan over a gentle heat, with the addition of a little extra water and reheated. Most importantly, dinner or lunch is only a little stirring by the stove away.

Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun preparing your feast.

Sammie xx

No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

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Seeded Multigrain Baguettes

I love baking and nothing is as rewarding as homemade bread. The yeasty aroma of dough proving, followed by the smell of fresh bread baking, never grows old. These Seeded Multigrain Baguettes are crunchy and full of nutty flavour. Perfect for dunking into a big bowl of soup, or filling with mature cheddar for a satisfying lunch.

FF Seeded Multigrain Baguettes
Seeded Multigrain Baguettes

Since some people are scared about baking bread, here are a few tips to ensure great results. I always use great quality, fresh, bread flour. Also I throw away any opened flour that has been sitting in the cupboard for over 6 months. Likewise, the same for yeast. Fresh yeast only lasts a few days in the fridge. Whereas dried yeast lasts longer, yet, still should be replaced after 6 months. Finally, by baking bread regularly, ingredients are used up and naturally replaced before losing their freshness.

FF Seeded Multigrain Baguettes
Seeded Multigrain Baguettes delicious with soup.

With bread, in its many forms; loaf, baguette, rolls etc. being so readily available in every supermarket, questions may be asked about baking baguettes at home. My personal reason is the same for everything that is cooked and baked in our kitchen. Every single ingredient is known. No additives, flavour enhancers, mould inhibitors or such are added. Each baguette, or loaf is made when required, negating the need to ensure that it stays fresh for an entire week.

FF Seeded Multigrain Baguettes
Seeded Multigrain Baguettes no artificial additives.

Satisfaction gained from making, shaping and baking bread dough is reward enough for me. Because superior flavour and freshness cannot be beaten. Eaten within 30 minutes of cooling, from the oven, sets homemade baguettes apart from their mass produced counterparts. Also no ‘invisible’ nasties enter the digestive system  from supposedly ‘healthy’ food.

Recipe: Seeded Multigrain Baguettes makes 4

340ml Water at room temperature

7g/Sachet Dried Yeast – I use Allinson

250g/9oz Strong White Bread Flour

250g/9oz Strong Multigrain/Malted with Seeds Bread Flour – I use Shipton Mill 

7g Sea Salt – I use Maldon

25g/1oz Unsalted Butter

4tbsp Mixed Seeds

Method:

This method uses a stand mixer to mix and knead the dough. You may easily mix and knead by hand, following the shaping technique given.

  • Place the stand mixer bowl on top of digital scales. Weighing ingredients, including water is, by far, the most accurate way to bake.
  • Weigh 340g water into the bowl. One gram equals one millilitre of water.
  • Next add the yeast.
  • Add the bread flours on top of the yeasted water. Keeping the yeast and salt separate allows the yeast to work without the salt killing it.
  • Weigh the salt and butter directly on to the flour.
  • With a dough hook attached mix on a low speed for 5 minutes.
  • Increase the speed to medium and continue to mix for a further 5 minutes.
  • As soon as the mixing time has finished switch off the stand mixer. Remove a small piece of dough and stretch it. When fully kneaded the dough should stretch without tearing, so that light can been seen through it – windowpane test. Continue to mix on medium speed for a further 2 minutes, until this test is passed.
  • As soon as the dough is fully kneaded, switch off the mixer and scrape any dough from the dough hook into the bowl, using your fingers.
  • Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel and leave to prove until doubled in size, 1-2 hours.
  • When the dough has doubled in size, turn out on to a lightly floured worktop. Make sure the top of the dough in the bowl is in contact with the worktop, becoming the underneath.
FF Seeded Multigrain Baguettes
Dividing the dough into four equal portions.
  • Pull out the dough 5-6 times, from the side and press into the centre of the dough ball.
  • Turn the dough over, shape into a rough log and cut into 4 even portions.
  • Take the first piece of dough, turn on its side and pull 4-5 times from around the edge. Sticking each piece of dough back into the centre as before.
FF Seeded Multigrain Baguettes
Shaping each piece of dough into a baguette.
  • Start to roll the dough into a log shape. Beginning at the front edge, use your thumb to roll the dough, as in top left picture above.
  • With the seam underneath place your hands in the centre of the log and start to roll the dough, gently easing it from the centre.
  • Continue rolling the dough until it is 10″/25cm. Finally roll either end to a point.
  • Place on to a baking tray or a perforated baguette baking tray.
  • Shape the remaining pieces of dough in the same way.
FF Seeded Multigrain Baguettes
Seeded Multigrain Baguettes proving.
  • Cover with a damp tea towel. Leave to prove until doubled in size.
  • While the baguettes are proving preheat the oven to its hottest setting. Place a pan of water in the base of the oven.
  • Once doubled in size spray, or lightly brush each baguettes with water. Sprinkle over the mixed seeds.
FF Seeded Multigrain Baguettes
Seeded Multigrain Baguettes ready to be baked.
  • Reduce the oven temperature to 230C/210C fan, gas mark 8.
  • Place the baguettes on their trays into the oven. The baguette baking trays fit in at an angle.
  • Bake for 20 minutes. The baguettes will be golden and sound hollow when rapped with a knuckle when fully baked.
  • As soon as they are baked remove from the oven and carefully transfer to a cooling rack.
FF Seeded Multigrain Baguettes
Seeded Multigrain Baguettes Hot from the oven.
  • Leave to cool until just warm.
FF Seeded Multigrain Baguettes
Seeded Multigrain Baguettes made at home.

Serve filled with your favourite sandwich fillings, or break apart and dunk in soup. Enjoy these baguettes on the day they are made, or alternatively, freeze wrapped in aluminium foil, for up to one month.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Seeded Multigrain Baguettes you may also like these:

Garlic Cheese Bombs

FF Seeded Multigrain Baguettes
Garlic Cheese Bombs

Lighter Wholemeal Bread

FF Seeded Multigrain Baguettes
Lighter Wholemeal Loaf

Easy Crusty Baguettes

FF Seeded Multigrain Baguettes
Easy Crusty Baguettes

Making bread at home is so much fun. Including children in the process is almost foolproof. Dough is a great medium to play with. Especially with children, who, in my experience, are much more likely to eat what they have made. Pizzas are another big hit. It is amazing how a piece of green bell pepper can become a light sabre. This Better Than Takeout Pizza is a great recipe to try.

Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun enjoying your feast.

Sammie xx

Please do not copy any part of this post. All content is covered by copyright laws. For further details see my Disclosure Policy.

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Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart

Some ingredients, when cooked together, simply bring out the best in each other. As is the case with this Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart. Also, the leek’s subtle onion flavour is enhanced by the crumbled Stilton cheese, in an egg and cream custard base. The nutty pastry crust provides the perfect crunchy texture and flavour. A delightful balance, that is a treat to our tastebuds.

FF Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart
Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart a delicious combination of flavours.

A marriage of flavours

While the chopped walnuts give the pastry a rustic, wholemeal look, it is, in fact light and crumbly. Adding additional flavour to the finished bake. Likewise, the crumbled Stilton cheese mellows on baking. Providing a salty contrast to the mild egg custard. Surprisingly, the mild onion flavour of the leeks doesn’t get lost in this tart. Rather, it brings everything together and sings on the tastebuds, above the other flavours.

FF Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart
Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart a feast for the eyes.

Slices of leek are sautéed gently, before placing in the tart. This not only ensures they are soft in the baked tart, but also concentrates the flavour. While baking, the rings separate and rise up through the tart. Also ensuring that each bite has tasty fresh, green leek in it.

FF Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart
Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart crunchy and creamy.

 

This tart is perfect for a light lunch, with salad, or as a main meal with a hot, buttered jacket potato. Also, it makes perfect picnic or buffet food, as it can be served at room temperature. The added nutmeg is barely noticeable, yet enhances all of the tart’s flavours. Leave it out and the finished bake tastes as though it is missing something. I encourage you to include it, freshly grated, if possible!

Recipe: Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart serves 4-6

For the pastry

200g/7oz Plain White Flour

50g/2oz Walnuts – finely chopped

1/8tsp Salt – I use Maldon

1/8tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper

125g/4.5oz Cold Unsalted Butter

60mls Cold Tap Water

For the filling

100g/4oz Stilton Cheese

1 Large Leek

4 Large Free Range Eggs – plus 1 extra for the egg wash

3tbsp Double Cream

1/4tsp Nutmeg

1/4tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Method:

A loose bottom tart tin that is approximately 25cm wide x 5cm deep or 10″ x 2″ is needed for this recipe.

Making TheWalnut Pastry Crust

  • First of all, in a large bowl add the flour, chopped walnuts, salt, pepper and diced, cold butter. Then using your hands, or a pastry cutter, rub/cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles bread crumbs with pea sized chunks of butter present.
  • Now make a well in the centre of the mixture and add the cold tap water 10mls at a time. Using your hand, fingers bent and shaped like a claw, mix the dough after each addition. Work quickly to avoid the dough warming up and becoming oily. You may not need the full amount of water specified. Stop adding water once the dough comes together to form a rough ball. Set the bowl to one side.
  • Wipe the worktop with a clean, damp cloth. Then place the cling film (approximately the size of a large baking sheet) directly on to the damp surface. It will ‘stick’ and not move around.
  • Finally, tip the walnut pastry dough on to the cling film. Knead the dough lightly into a disc shape. Avoid working the pastry for too long as this will result in a hard, tough, crust.

Chilling the pastry

  • Wrap the pastry disc in the cling film and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, or until it is chilled. Making pastry the night before use allows it to chill thoroughly before rolling out.

FF Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart

    Making the Walnut Pastry Crust.
  • 10 minutes before rolling out the pastry, preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan, gas mark 7.
  • If you wish, lightly butter your tart tin, I never do. Place the tart tin on to a baking tray and put to one side.

Rolling out the pastry

  • Place the chilled pastry on to a clean worktop and roll out evenly, until it is a slightly larger circle than the combined width and depth of the tin. Approximately 30cm/11″ in width.
  • Roll the pastry around the rolling pin and transfer to the tart tin. Allow the pastry to settle into the tin. DO NOT stretch it as it will only shrink while baking.
  • Ensure the tin is fully lined and then trim away any excess pastry.
  • Dock the base of the pastry tart with a fork and then line with baking parchment. Fill the lined tart with baking beans, or ceramic balls and place into the top of the oven.
  • Bake the pastry for 15 minutes, then remove from the oven and lift out the baking parchment and beans.
  • Return the tart to the oven and bake for a further 5 minutes.

Layering the leeks and Stilton

FF Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart
Preparing the Leek and Stilton filling.
  • While the pastry is baking, prepare the leek. Strip the outer 2 layers, cut off the root end and top, then rinse thoroughly with cold water.
  • Cut the leek into whole rings, approximately 1cm deep and the gently sauté in a dry pan over a medium/low heat for 10 minutes, or until slightly softened.
  • Remove the pastry shell from the oven when baked.
  • Carefully transfer the whole leek rings to the tart shell. Add any odd pieces of leek around the whole rings in the tart.
  • Cut the rind away from the Stilton. Now, using a fork, break up the Stilton, on a board, into crumbs. Sprinkle the crumbs over the leek  in the tart shell.
  • Reduce the oven temperature to 200C/180C fan, gas mark 6.
FF Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart
Preparing the egg custard and decorating the tart.

Making and adding the egg custard

  • Crack 4 eggs into a large jug. Add the double cream, nutmeg and pepper. Whisk together using a fork, until the mixture is uniform.
  • Pour the egg custard carefully into the pastry tart.
  • Carefully, as the tart is still warm, run a piece of butter around the top perimeter of the tin. This will stop any pastry decorations sticking.
  • Gather together the pastry offcuts. Roll to the thickness of a one pound coin.
  • Use a 1 inch/2.5cm approx. cutter to cut out about 25-30 circles. These will be placed around the edge of the tart.
  • Break an egg into a small bowl, add 1tsp of cream or milk and whisk together. This is the egg wash.
  • Take the first cutout and with a pastry brush, dipped in egg wash, brush both sides of the circle. Place the circle on to the edge of the tart. The centre of the circle should be in contact with the edge of the tart. Continue, using the same egg wash method and placing the 2nd circle so that just overlaps the first disc.
  • Keep going until the whole perimeter of the tart case is covered. I used 22 pastry discs. The number you need will depend on the size of your tart, how much the discs overlap and other variables.
  • Finally, when the decorations are in place, pour any leftover egg wash into the tart. As long as there is room.

Baking the tart

  • Place the tart carefully into the centre of the oven and bake for 40-50 minutes. The tart is baked when there is no wobble in the centre, the filling has set and the egg custard is golden.
  • When fully baked remove the tart from the oven and allow to cool before removing from the loose bottom tart tin.
FF Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart
Golden Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart

This tart is delicious served warm for lunch or dinner, Also is is very tasty eaten cold or at room temperature, making it ideal for summer picnics and buffets.

It will keep for up to 3 days, stored in a container or, wrapped in cling film and kept in the fridge.

If you have enjoyed this recipe For Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart you may also like these:

Smoked Bacon Asparagus Quiche

FF Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart
Smoked Bacon Asparagus Quiche

Bath Soft Cheese Chilli Tarts

FF Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart
Bath Soft Cheese Chilli Tarts.

Quiche Lorraine

FF Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart
Quiche Lorraine

Homemade quiche and tarts taste a million times better than most shop bought varieties available. Seasoning, ingredients and indeed the pastry can all be tailored to our own personal tastes. While I haven’t taken on the challenge of Filo Pastry yet, shortcrust is incredibly easy, see Perfect Butter Shortcrust Pastry.

Whether served with a jacket potato and salad for a substantial meal, or grabbing a slice to eat whilst on the go, tarts and quiches are easy to make. They are also very satisfying to eat.

Do you have a favourite flavour combination for quiches and tarts?

Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun.

Sammie xx

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Creamy Low Fat Mushroom Soup

Creamy Low Fat Mushroom Soup easy to make and delicious to eat.

Autumn is well and truly here. Golden and red leaves, flutter like confetti to the ground. The perfect time of year for walks in the park or woods. Also, it is the season for fungi and mushrooms. If you go foraging, whilst out on a walk, make sure you have a guide, or book, to ensure you only pick what is edible. The mushrooms for this Creamy Low Fat Mushroom Soup came from the supermarket where they are available all year round.

FF Creamy Low Fat Mushroom Soup
Creamy Low Fat Mushroom Soup full of goodness and flavour.

Being able to buy mushrooms all year round means that this soup can also be made whenever you want. Since this soup is incredibly easy to make and completely delicious, you may find yourself making it year round!

FF Creamy Low Fat Mushroom Soup
Creamy Low Fat Mushroom Soup perfect with rustic wholemeal bread.

While I used white, button mushrooms for this recipe, chestnut, or portobello would also taste delicious. Sautéing the mushrooms slowly, ensures that they release their deep, earthy flavour. As a result, the finished soup has a rich mushroom flavour, that is not heavy. Sneaking in a potato not only thickens the soup, it also gives it beautiful creamy texture too.

FF Creamy Low Fat Mushroom Soup
Creamy Low Fat Mushroom Soup add a splash of cream if you dare 😉

Ok so I added a swirl of cream, just to see what it would add to this soup. While it does add an extra luxurious note, perfect for special occasions, or dinner parties, the soup doesn’t need it. For example in my Leek and Potato Soup the cream really rounds out the flavour and texture. Whereas here, with the mushroom soup, the creaminess is already present.

If you want to add a swirl of cream, I won’t judge!

FF Creamy Low Fat Mushroom Soup
Creamy Low Fat Mushroom Soup so full of healthy flavour.

Full of flavour and texture, an immersion blender is used to ‘cream’ this soup. Rather than whizzing the soup to a completely smooth consistency, very small chunks are left in to give a better, more interesting texture. However, you may purée the soup to whatever consistency you desire. That’s the beauty of making good, homemade food.

Recipe: Creamy Low Fat Mushroom Soup serves 4 people

1 Leek washed and trimmed

1tbs Butter – alternatively you may use olive oil

300g Mushrooms

1 Medium Sized Floury Potato

1 Vegetable/Chicken Stock Cube – I use Knorr

1L Very Hot Water – from a kettle

1/4tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper

1/4tsp Sea Salt – I use Maldon

Method:

  • First, place a heavy bottomed soup pan on to the hob, over a medium heat. Now add the butter.
  • While the butter is melting chop the leek into a medium dice – approximately 1cm pieces.
  • Once the butter has melted add the chopped leek to the pan and sauté for 3-4 minutes until they become soft.
  • Meanwhile slice the mushrooms and then cut the slices in half.
  • Next add the sliced mushrooms to the softened leeks.
  • Lower the heat slightly and continue to cook the mushrooms and leeks for a further 10 minutes, until the mushrooms are soft.
  • Peel and medium dice the potato, then add it to the saucepan.
  • Now add 1 litre of very hot water, from the kettle and a stock cube. Stir, put on the lid and allow to simmer for 30 minutes.
FF Creamy Low Fat Mushroom Soup
Preparing the soup.
  • After simmering for 30 minutes, remove the saucepan from the heat.
  • Make sure you are wearing an apron for the next step. I speak from soup splattered experience!
  • Use an immersion blender to blend the soup until it is almost smooth. One of the benefits of using this method to blend soup is, it allows you to feel, as well as see, how smooth the soup is. Also, if you do not have an immersion blender, a standard blender will still blend the soup well. Take care not to overfill the blender and allow the soup to cool slightly before using this method.
  • Check the soup for seasoning and adjust as necessary.

To serve, warm the soup and serve with thick chunks of rustic bread.

FF Creamy Low Fat Mushroom Soup
Creamy Low Fat Mushroom Soup a delicious way to warm up!

Each mouthful of this soup is a treat to your tastebuds. Perfectly balanced flavour that is nutritious and delicious.

This soup will keep, cool and place into an airtight container, keep in the fridge for up to 4 days.

If you have enjoyed the recipe for my Creamy Low Fat Mushroom Soup you may also like these other healthy and low fat soup recipes:

Carrot Soup

FF Creamy Low Fat Mushroom Soup
Carrot Soup garnished with crumbled Stilton cheese.

Roast Chicken Noodle Soup

FF Creamy Low Fat Mushroom Soup
Roast Chicken Noodle Soup an economic meal.

Roasted Garlic Butternut Squash Soup

FF Creamy Low Fat Mushroom Soup
Roasted Garlic Butternut Squash Soup warm and comforting.

Homemade soup is so easy to make. Also, the reward, far outweighs the minimum effort needed to prepare and cook the soup. Delicious, good for you and incredibly soothing on cough ravaged, sore throats, which seem in abundance at this time of year. While eating this soup, you can almost feel it doing you good.

Do you have a favourite soup recipe?  Please let me know as I love new ideas, old ideas, any ideas that taste great!

Have fun, making, baking and creating, in your kitchens.

Sammie xx

 

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Smoked Bacon Asparagus Quiche

June is Asparagus season, here in the U.K. Such a vibrant, distinct colour and flavour when cooked. So I decided to incorporate it into this utterly delicious Smoked Bacon Asparagus Quiche.

FF Smoked Bacon Asparagus Quiche
Smoked Bacon Asparagus Quiche such a delicious flavour combination.

Making the best use of seasonal vegetables is so important to me. It makes me appreciate them more. Strawberries always taste better in the summer, because that’s when they grow in this country. Asparagus is the same. Beautiful green shoots that can be enjoyed in any number of recipes.

One of my favourite ways to enjoy them is in this Smoked Bacon Asparagus Quiche!

FF Smoked Bacon Asparagus Quiche
Smoked Bacon Asparagus Quiche perfect with salad.

I have made this quiche twice now, in as many weeks and believe me when I say, I’ll probably make it next week too. In fact I should probably make two, so that I can stash one away in the freezer for when asparagus is no longer available.

Good quality, outside reared bacon makes all the difference to this dish. It is not pumped full of water and who knows what. When placed in a hot, dry skillet this bacon sizzled. There wasn’t any liquid leaching from it and oh, it tastes so good!

FF Smoked Bacon Asparagus Quiche
Smoked Bacon Asparagus Quiche a tantalising bite 😉

Making this Smoked Bacon Asparagus Quiche is easy. So is making your own pastry, there’s a link in the recipe. It doesn’t take long and is a tried and tested recipe that creates the most delicious buttery crust for it’s eggy filling.

I like to get the pastry made first thing in the morning. I always make double as it takes hardly any extra time and stores really well in the freezer. If using frozen pastry defrost it overnight in the fridge.

Recipe: Smoked Bacon Asparagus Quiche

500g/1lb 2oz All Butter Shortcrust Pastry see Perfect All Butter Shortcrust Pastry the recipe will also give you tips on how to line a tart tin, blind bake and there’s another quiche recipe as well

12 Rashers Smoked Streaky Bacon – take off any rind and cut into 2.5cm/1″ chunks

6-8 Asparagus Spears – washed trimmed and cut into 5cm/2″ pieces

50g/2oz Strong Cheddar – finely grated

6 Large Free Range Eggs – note if making to freeze add an extra egg and leave out the cream – my eggs were from Waitrose

50ml/2fl oz Double Cream

Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Method: Preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan, gas mark 7

Note – the filling can be prepared whilst the pastry case is baking.

  • Make the pastry, wrap and leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  • Place your quiche tin on a baking tray.
  • Lighty dust the work top with flour and roll out the pastry, from the centre outwards. Move the pastry around to ensure that it isn’t sticking to the work top.
  • Use the rolling pin to transfer the pastry, lay it gently into the quiche tin.
  • Gently push the pastry into place, if you stretch it, it’ll shrink during baking – I know trust me!!
FF Smoked Bacon Asparagus Quiche
Nicely finished pastry case.
  • Roll the rolling pin over the top of the quiche tin and it will trim the pastry, leaving a lovely clean edge.
  • Use a fork to dock the bottom of the pastry, it allows steam to escape during baking.
  • Cut a piece of baking parchment slightly bigger than the tin, scrunch up, line the pastry case and fill with baking beans.
  • Place in the top of a preheated oven for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, lift out the baking beans and return for a further 5 minutes until golden in colour. Remove from the oven and set to one side.
  • Reduce the oven temperature to 200C/180C fan, gas mark 6.
  • In a dry skillet/frying pan, over a medium heat dry fry the bacon until cooked, but not crispy. Off the heat add the asparagus and allow to sit for 5 minutes or a bit longer.
  • When the bacon is cool enough to handle arrange in the base of the pastry case.
  • Then arrange the asparagus spears however you like.
  • Top with the finely grated cheese.
FF Smoked Bacon Asparagus Quiche
Smoked Bacon Asparagus Quiche ready for the egg custard.
  • Crack the eggs into a jug – I always crack mine separately into a small bowl first.
  • Add the cream, if using and a good season of black pepper.
  • Whisk with a fork to combine and then pour carefully over the pastry tart.
  • Leave a gap between the pastry rim and the custard. The quiche will rise whilst baking and it’s not the end of the world if it leaks, but prevention is better than cure. Gosh I sound like my Grandma, what a wise woman she was.
FF Smoked Bacon Asparagus Quiche
Smoked Bacon Asparagus Quiche ready for the oven.
  • Place the quiche into the centre of the oven and bake for 30 minutes, or until it is puffed and golden without a wobble in the centre.
  • Once baked remove from the oven and allow to sit for at least 15 minutes.
FF Smoked Bacon Asparagus Quiche
Smoked Bacon Asparagus Quiche it’s freshly baked smell is tantalising.

This delicious tasting Smoked Bacon Asparagus Quiche can be served hot, warm or cold, making it perfect for buffets, picnics, easy dinners, packed lunches.

I had the last piece of quiche, cold from the fridge today, for lunch. It was absolutely yummy and as it is quite muggy, it was refreshing as well as filling.

FF Smoked Bacon Asparagus Quiche
Smoked Bacon Asparagus Quiche a delicious summer meal.

Smoked Bacon Asparagus Quiche will keep well wrapped in cling film, in the fridge for up to 3 days and successfully freeze for one month. In fact I have a lovely friend on Twitter – Lou – who baked this yesterday, without the cream and popped it in the freezer for a party in a few weeks time.

Make the most of the asparagus season, it is all too short!

If you have enjoyed the recipe for this Smoked Bacon Asparagus Quiche you may also want to try these:

Quiche Lorraine

FF Smoked Bacon Asparagus Quiche
Quiche Lorraine delicious bacon chunks and cheese.

Feta Red Onion Marmalade Quiche

FF Feta Red Onion Marmalade Quiche
Feta Red Onion Marmalade Quiche layers of fantastic flavour.

Spicey Sausage Rolls

FF Smoked Bacon Asparagus Quiche
Spicey Sausage Rolls tradition with a twist!

Pastry is such a versatile medium to bake with, see my Twisted Fruity Jam Tarts . It lends itself very well to portable food, which means it’s great for family and friend get together’s.

I am going to be working on a gluten free pastry recipe, so that those with dietary restrictions can enjoy more of the recipes that I create.

After all the core of Feasting is Fun is sharing. I share my recipes, as do some of you. We share our makes and bakes with neighbours, unsuspecting delivery men – oh that’s just me on that one then 😉. Most of all we have fun enjoying the smile a homemade dish can bring to another’s face.

Sammie xx

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Hearty Minestrone Soup.

Who loves a one pot dish? I know I do. When I am busy baking, gardening, or let’s be honest, having some chill time in the garden and catching some rays – knowing that dinner is already made can really take the pressure off. So in the spirit of sharing, that is Feasting is Fun, may I present to you my Hearty Minestrone Soup.

Hearty Minestrone Soup a great one pot, make ahead meal.
Hearty Minestrone Soup a great one pot, make ahead meal.

For the record, may I just say that I LOVE SOUP!!

Because honestly, the number of recipes on this site simply doesn’t reflect how many times I make soup, both for lunch and dinner.

I am definitely working on rectifying that.

Hearty Minestrone Soup served with a thick slice of buttered, homemade bread.
Hearty Minestrone Soup served with a thick slice of buttered, homemade bread.

Soup for any season

I have never held with the notion that soup is simply for eating during Winter and the colder months. Even though today it has been quite a warm, humid day and yet this Hearty Minestrone Soup really has hit the spot for dinner.

Also being able to make this soup earlier in the day, has left me free to carry out some much needed recipe write ups, secure in the knowledge that dinner has already been made.

Hearty Minestrone Soup an easy, yet tasty recipe
Hearty Minestrone Soup an easy, yet tasty recipe

The smoked bacon provides a delicious, yet subtle background flavour to this vegetable packed meal. If you are a vegetarian simply leave out the meat and opt for vegetable stock instead.

Seasonal comfort in a bowl

Following some initial research I have found that there isn’t actually a set recipe for minestrone soup. Italian in it’s origins, it varies from region to region and no doubt household to household. The key to making this soup the very best meal, is to use the best quality, seasonal ingredients that you can afford.

Let’s be honest, this is an incredibly budget friendly meal.

Hearty Minestrone Soup a one pot wonder dish.
Hearty Minestrone Soup a one pot wonder dish.

Even a full English Breakfast wouldn’t feed six people using a few rashers of bacon!

While I have listed specific vegetables and quantities in the recipe below, please feel free to switch things up and use whatever seasonal, abundant vegetables are available. I am very much hoping to recreate a version of this Hearty Minestrone Soup at the end of the Summer, with produce grown in our garden.

Exciting times ahead!

The new garden diary section on Feasting is Fun will be up and running soon. The aim being to help and encourage you to grow a few salad items and vegetables in containers. The reward is immense when you can actually pick your own produce from the garden and then use your ingredients in a recipe.

Recipe: Hearty Minestrone Soup serves 6

1 Large Spanish Onion

125g/6 Rashers Smoked Streaky/Back Bacon – I love the bacon from Graig Farm

3 Large Carrots

2 Sticks of Celery

6 Cavelo Nero Leaves – alternatively use cabbage or kale

3 Cauliflower Florets

2 Garlic Cloves

1/2tsp Chilli Flakes – adjust according to taste

4tbsp Tomato Purée

1 Chicken Stock Cube – vegetable stock can be substituted

100g/4oz Spaghetti – small pasta can be substituted

Sea Salt and Freshly Ground pepper to season.

Large handful of fresh Basil Leaves – cut into thin strips

Method: Making the soup

  • First of all the olive oil to a large, heavy based pan and place over a medium heat.
  • Finely dice the onion, add to the pan and cook until the onion turns translucent.
  • Next add the roughly chopped bacon and continue to cook until the bacon is starting to crisp.
  • Finely chop both the carrots and celery and then add to the pan.
  • Cook for a further 5 minutes and then add the minced garlic.
  • After 1 minute add hot water from a recently boiled kettle and the tomato purée.
  • Scrape any caramelised brown bits from the bottom of the pan, these are packed with flavour.
  • Thinly slice the cavalo nero and cauliflower. Add both of these to the soup.
  • Crumble in the stock cube and add the chilli flakes.
  • Ensure that the saucepan you are using is two thirds full by adding extra hot water from the kettle.
  • Break up the spaghetti into roughly 2.5cm/1″ pieces and add to the soup.
  • Add a good amount of freshly ground, black pepper and 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt flakes (1/4tsp if using free flowing table salt).
  • Bring the soup to the boil and then reduce to a simmer and cook for an additional 30 minutes.
Hearty Minestrone Soup reducing over a low heat.
Hearty Minestrone Soup reducing over a low heat.
  • After the cooking time has elapsed check the soup for seasoning and adjust as necessary.
Hearty Minestrone Soup served with crunch bread.
Hearty Minestrone Soup served with crunchy bread.

To serve, ladle the soup into deep bowls, sprinkle over ribbons of fresh basil and add thick slices of homemade bread, such as this Farmhouse White Loaf.

Make ahead and freeze

This Hearty Minestrone Soup can be kept in the fridge for 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months. Cool the soup completely and then ladle into individual freezer safe, plastic containers. Label and pop in the freezer. I prefer to freeze soup in individual portions as it is easier to remove just one portion, during the week for lunch.

To reheat, run hot tap water over the bottom of the sealed, frozen container. Remove the lid, the frozen, solid block of soup should release easily into a saucepan. Add a splash of hot water from the kettle and gently cook over a low heat until the soup has defrosted. Increase the heat to ensure that the soup is piping hot. Serve as for fresh soup.

FF Hearty Minestrone Soup
Hearty Minestrone Soup a meal in a bowl.

I have been making versions of this soup for years, however, I think the addition of the cavelo nero added such a depth of flavour, this may be my favourite version so far!

If you like soup and have enjoyed this Hearty Minestrone Soup, here are some other soup recipes you might like to try:

Roasted Garlic Butternut Squash Soup

FF Hearty Minestrone Soup
Roasted Garlic Butternut Squash Soup a great vegetarian dish.

Roast Chicken Noodle Soup

FF Hearty Minestrone Soup
Roast Chicken Noodle Soup another inexpensive meal.

Carrot Soup

FF Hearty Minestrone Soup
Carrot Soup simply a hug in a bowl.

While writing the post for the unbelievably delicious Chicken Herb Burgers, I talked about the relative cost of buying good quality meat and how I’d rather pay more, for non intensively reared animals, off setting this by eating great meat less often. As a result this recipe contains a mere 6 rashers of bacon and feeds six people. That for me is balance.

Do you have a favourite soup recipe – homemade or canned?

Do you view soup as a meal in itself, or simply an appetiser or light lunch?

Have fun making and baking in the heart of your home and thank you for the wonderful comments and fantastic photos that you are putting on Twitter and Instagram. I never take for granted the trust you place in me when following any of my recipes, which is why I try my hardest to get them right before I share them here, on Feasting is Fun.

Sammie xx

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Roasted Garlic Butternut Squash Soup

Spring may be upon us and with it some gloriously sunny days. However, being British and therefore brought up to talk about the weather, there have also been a few blustery downpours. The sun, in April, not yet having had its chance to warm up our part of the planet, means there’s quite a chill in the air, when it’s hidden by clouds. Enter my Roasted Garlic Butternut Squash Soup, perfect for warming you through, whether you’re chilly, or soaked through from a sudden downpour – April showers and all that!

FF Roasted Garlic Butternut Squash Soup
Roasted Garlic Butternut Squash Soup deliciously satisfying.

Quite honestly, this soup is so utterly delicious, it’s flavours intensified by roasting the butternut squash first, I am happy to make it all year round. Or at least when butternut squash is in season.

I am really working on trying to eat seasonally. We did belong to a veg box scheme, but what with my health and body dictating what I am able to do during the day, too much was being wasted. On that subject I am, at present, propped up in bed, with my neck in spasm, due to a few violent seizures (see Living With Seizures).

Please don’t think I am writing this for you to feel sorry for me, nothing could be further from the truth. I just believe in honesty. In our Instagram shiny perfect world, it can lead to people feeling inadequate or broken. Real life can be messy. Health problems, relationship difficulties, family problems, financial issues. There’s a whole host of stuff that goes on ‘behind the scenes’ – I am generalising. Hubby and I are happy, but we have to deal with a lot, together.

FF Roasted Garlic Butternut Squash Soup
Roasted Garlic Butternut Squash Soup incredibly tasty and filling.

A good meal like this Roasted Garlic Butternut Squash Soup can feel like a warm hug, against the harsh realities, life sometimes throws at us. I can’t even remember exactly when I made this soup – about 2 weeks ago I think! Yet I haven’t had the opportunity to write it up until today.

Sorry.

Also this the most amazingly easy soup to make and the flavour is outta this world good. Besides, who knew butternut squash could have so much more flavour, just by roasting it? Oh and the garlic, which is left unpeeled whilst it roasts, turns into sweet little cloves of utter heaven. Roasted garlic is about as far away from the heat and pungency of raw garlic, as it is possible to be. Together these two ingredients make this utterly scrumptious Roasted Garlic Butternut Squash Soup.

Recipe: Roasted Garlic Butternut Squash Soup serves 4-6 people

1 Butternut Squash

2 Garlic Cloves

1 Onion

2tbsp Olive Oil

1 Vegetable or Chicken Stock Cube

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Optional – Parsely and Double Cream to serve

Method: Preheat the oven to 209C/185C fan, gas mark 6

  • Using a vegetable peeler, remove the skin from the butternut squash.
  • Cut the squash in half and then cut the bottom half in half again so that the seeds can be scooped out.
FF Roasted Garlic Butternut Squash Soup
Butternut squash is such a beautiful colour.
  • Cut the butternut squash into 2.5cm/1″ chunks
  • Place the chunks of butternut squash onto a baking tray along with the 2 garlic cloves.
  • Pour over 1tbsp of olive oil and using clean hands toss the chunks so that they have a covering of oil.
  • Add a small sprinkle of sea salt (1/2tsp) and a good grinding of black pepper.
FF Roasted Garlic Butternut Squash Soup
The butternut squash chunks almost fill they baking tray.
  • Place the baking tray into the oven and allow to roast for 25 minutes.
  • Whilst the squash and garlic are roasting, peel and finely chop the onion.
  • In a large saucepan add the other tablespoon of olive oil and the chopped onion. Sauté over a medium heat until the onion is softened and translucent. Leave to one side.
  • The butternut squash is roasted once it has become tender.
  • Once cooked remove the baking tray from the oven.
FF Roasted Garlic Butternut Squash Soup
After roasting you can see how much the butternut squash has shrunk.
  • The butternut squash has reduced inside and that means – concentrated flavour!
  • Place the saucepan containing the sautéed onion back over a medium heat.
  • Squeeze the garlic cloves out of their skin and add to the saucepan.
  • Add the roasted butternut squash to the pan,
  • Cover with 1.5 litres of hot water from the kettle.
  • Crumble in the stock cube.
  • Bring to a simmer and cook for a further 10 minutes, uncovered.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and blend using an immersion blender. Alternatively allow the soup to cool a little and blend, in batches, using a blender. Once blended add the soup back to the saucepan.
  • Check for seasoning and adjust as necessary.
  • If the soup is too thick add a little extra hot water until the desired consistency is reached.
FF Roasted Garlic Butternut Squash Soup
Roasted Garlic Butternut Squash Soup just add crusty bread!

I like to serve this soup with a little swirl of cream and some Parsely to garnish. A nice thick slice of my Crunchy Seeded Bread would turn this Roasted Garlic Butternut Squash Soup into a substantial meal. I love dunking bread into soup, do you?

To store, cool the soup completely and portion into airtight containers or zip lock freezer bags. It will keep in the fridge for 4 days or the freezer for up to one month. In fact next time I make this Roasted Garlic Butternut Squash Soup I am going to double up on the quantities. It only takes a little longer to peel and chop an extra squash and onion. Whilet the oven is on, it makes sense to pop in two baking trays. That way I will have lunch or a quick dinner, bolstered with some bread and cheese, for the days when I simply am not up to cooking.

Sounds like a plan 😉

If you have enjoyed this Roasted Garlic Butternut Squash Soup here are some other delicious soup recipes:

Roast Chicken Noodle Soup

FF Roast Chicken Noodle Soup
Roast Chicken Noodle Soup great for using up leftovers.

Leek and Potato Soup

FF Leek and Potato Soup
Leek and Potato Soup velvety comfort.

Carrot Soup

FF Carrot Soup
Carrot Soup served with crumbled Stliton cheese.

Do you sometimes need a warm hug?

What is your go to comforting food?

Thank you for taking time to leave a comment. Especially as I really enjoy reading them and hearing about your baking/cooking adventures. Likewise it’s been fantastic to see so many of you posting your makes and bakes on Twitter and Instagram. Finally, if you tag me in I’ll be sure to retweet or give you a shoutout.

Wherever you are and whatever you are making I wish you all the very best and hope that you know you are loved and treasured – see Important Stuff.

Sammie xx

@sammiefeasting Twitter/Instagram/Pinterest

This Roasted Garlic Butternut Squash Soup has been entered into the No Croutons Required Link Up hosted by Jac at Tinned Tomatoes.

 

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Farmhouse White Loaf

Is there anything better than the smell and taste of freshly baked bread? This Farmhouse White Loaf is utterly delicious. If you’ve never baked bread before, read on and let me encourage you to give it a go.

Farmhouse White Loaf
Farmhouse White Loaf, perfect for sandwiches or toast.

Baking your own bread is such a rewarding experience. From a few simple ingredients, mixed together, the bread literally grows before your eyes.

This Farmhouse White Loaf is the perfect recipe to start with, if you have never made your own bread before.

You will need a loaf tin to bake your bread in. I recently reviewed a British company, that sells British manufactured bakeware you can read it here.

British Bakeware sell a range of loaf tins, my favourite and the one used for baking this loaf is the 3lb deep farmhouse loaf tin.

Farmhouse White Loaf
This Farmhouse White Loaf was 16cm high!!

The advantage of having a deep loaf tin is, no muffin topped loaves. In the past I have baked bread in tins that weren’t as deep as this one and the bread rose and billowed out, like a mushroom. I’d have to cut away the sides of the bread, where it had stuck to the outside of the tin. Not they way to bake a great looking loaf!!

The instructions given below for making this bread are, by hand (which everyone should do at least once in their lifetime), or using a stand mixer/bread maker to carry out the mixing, kneading and knocking back.

Personally I prefer bread baked in the oven. I have baked many a loaf in a bread maker, however, I never seem to get the gorgeous, crunchy crust, that I achieve with an oven baked loaf. Plus the bread maker loaf is always a little soft for my liking and you get the inevitable hole, in the bottom of the loaf, where the mixing paddle is!

If you like baking bread in a bread maker I am most certainly not going to judge you. Any bread baked at home is infinitely better than plastic wrapped, pre-sliced, mass produced bread! Aside from speciality breads like my Tomato Thyme Garlic Focaccia, bread should contain nothing more than flour, water, yeast, salt, water and a little oil or butter.

Read the ingredients on the back of a shop bought loaf and you will be amazed at all the additives.

Baking your own bread is easy, once you get into a routine. Even when baking by hand, it still only takes 20 minutes, hands on time, to get a loaf ready to be baked. Once you taste real, homemade bread, it’s hard to go back to the bought stuff – that said, I’m a realist and I usually have a bought loaf stashed in the deep freeze for days when my body is playing up (see here). So I won’t judge!!

Farmhouse White Loaf
Farmhouse White Loaf – will you give baking bread a try?

Just a quick tip: if you do start to bake bread regularly, it can pay to bulk buy your bread flour. I use organic flour that is stone ground, from Shipton Mill currently I buy it through Amazon UK using their subscribe and save, although Shipton Mill now have their own online shop. Buying in bulk, through Amazon UK, 5 x 2.5kg bags, means that we eat good quality, organic, stone ground British flour, for about 60 pence a loaf!!!

Whilst I love baking with fresh yeast, the shelf life is very short, so I have used 7g sachets of fast action dried yeast. If you do use fresh, just double the quantity stated for dried.

Recipe: Makes 1 Large Farmhouse White Loaf

500g/1lb 2oz Strong White Bread Flour – I use Shipton Mill organic white flour

1 x  7g Sachet Fast Action Dried Yeast – I use Allinson in the green packet or pot

1tbsp Honey

320ml/11oz Tepid Tap Water (approx body temp)

7g Salt – I use Maldo Sea Salt

1 tbsp Rapeseed Oil (Canola Oil) – I use Kentish Oils

Method:

The ‘bowl’ is either a large bowl, with which to mix the bread by hand, or the stand mixer/bread maker bowl.

For all methods:

Pour the water into the bowl. Add the honey and yeast. Swish about with clean fingers to activate the yeast.

Add the flour on top of the liquid.

Add the salt and the butter.

If using a bread maker, set to dough cycle and start the program. Once the cycle is completed re-start for 2 minutes. This ‘knocks back’ the dough. Then remove the dough, shape into an oval/ball and place into a buttered loaf tin. Cover with a damp cloth, leave in a draught free place until doubled in size.

If using a stand mixer, attach the dough hook and mix on medium speed until all the ingredients are combined. Continue to mix for a further 5 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Stop mixing. Scrape the dough from the dough hook and combine with the dough in the bowl. Form into a ball, place back into the bowl. Cover with a damp cloth and leave in a draught free place until doubled in size (approx. 1hour). Once doubled remove the cloth, mix for 2 minutes on medium speed using the dough hook. This ‘knocks back’ the dough. Remove the dough and form into an oval/ball shape, place into a buttered loaf tin. Cover with a damp cloth, leave in a draught free place until doubled in size.

If hand mixing, bring all the ingredients together with your hand until they form a doughy mess! Place this dough onto a very lightly floured worktop. Knead for a good 10 minutes. If the dough gets sticky, keep kneading and working it – if you add extra flour the finished bread will be dry. After a good 10 minutes kneading, the dough should have a smooth elasticity. Place the kneaded dough into a buttered bowl, cover with a damp cloth and leave in a draught free place until doubled in size, 1-2 hours.

Knock back the dough by gently punching the risen dough. Form the dough into an oval/ball shape, place into a buttered loaf tin. Cover with a damp cloth and leave in a draught free place until doubled in size.

Farmhouse White Loaf
Farmhouse White Loaf ready for the oven.

10 minutes before the dough is ready to bake, preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan.

Place the loaf tin into the middle of the oven. Bake for 30 – 40 minutes.

Enjoy the wonderful aroma of baking bread as it fills your kitchen. That alone is worth baking this bread for!

The bread is cooked when it has a deep golden crust and sounds hollow when rapped on the base with your knuckle.

Farmhouse White Loaf
Remove the Farmhouse White Loaf from the oven. Tip out the loaf from the tin and leave to cool on a rack.

Allow the Farmhouse White Loaf to cool completely before slicing. I know it is sooo tempting to tear into the hot, freshly baked loaf, but if you do the bread will all squidge (is that a word??) together and be very hard to slice.

Give yourself a big pat on the back for making a cracking loaf!

You deserve it.

This was not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own and recommendations for products are purely from my own personal experience.

Bread is a staple in so many homes, treat yourself to a home baked loaf and I promise you won’t regret it.

FF Farmhouse White Loaf
A Farmhouse White Loaf slashed after the second prove.

I do not presume to be an expert, however, I have baked a fair few loaves over the years. Please ask if you are having any problems, need guidance or reassuring?

Either leave a comment or tweet me a question. I will do my very best to help.

My Twitter name is @sammiefeasting.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Farmhouse White Loaf you may like to try these:

Oat Bran White Bread

FF Farmhouse White Loaf
Oat Bran White Bread

Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf

FF Farmhouse White Loaf
Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf

Garlic Rosemary Focaccia Bread 

FF Farmhouse White Loaf
Garlic Rosemary Focaccia Bread

Have fun making and baking your own bread and don’t forget to share it!

Sammie xx

 

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