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.

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 Walnut 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Filling and Baking the Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart

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.
  • 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.
  • 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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Homemade Yorkshire Puddings

Homemade Yorkshire Puddings are golden, crisp, well risen, individual bakes of pure, indulgent, comfort food.

FF Homemade Yorkshire Puddings
Homemade Yorkshire Puddings the effect addition to any roast dinner.

No meal HAS to have Homemade Yorkshire Puddings, yet what they add, to a roast, bangers and mash, or cooked with the sausages as ‘Toad in the Hole’, is immeasurable.

Proper Homemade Yorkshire Puddings for me shouldn’t be uniformly perfect. Part of their charm is the craggy appearance, some with a hole, others billowing  like cumulus clouds. Ready to soak up rich, meaty gravy.

FF Homemade Yorkshire Puddings
Homemade Yorkshire Puddings little effort for big reward.

In the U.S.A. our beloved Yorkie Puds, are called ‘Popovers’. A fantastic name that I think describes them perfectly. Since they literally popover the top of the muffin tin whilst they bake.

Many hours have been happily spent watching these incredible bakes, laying prostrate, in front of the oven, in awe at the ‘magic’ as they rise.

FF Homemade Yorkshire Puddings
Homemade Yorkshire Puddings just add meat and gravy.

Made from a simple batter, these gravity defying delights enhance any dinner plate they grace.

Various methods as well as recipes exist claiming to be the ‘best way’ of making a Yorkie Puds. My method is tried and tested over the years. I have found no difference in the final result, whether I rest or use the batter immediately. Finally, what I am sure of, is that this recipe consistently works for me.

Furthermore, a real bonus to making these is that they can be made ahead and even frozen. What’s not to love about these savoury wonders?

Recipe: Makes 12 Large Homemade Yorkshire Puddings 

Vegetable oil or Lard for greasing the muffin tin

3 Large Free Range Eggs

250ml Milk -Whole or Semi Skimmed

200g Plain White Flour

1/8th tsp Salt – I use Maldon

1/8th tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper

1/8th tsp Sugar

Method: Preheat the oven to 230/210C fan, gas mark 8

  • In a large jug add the eggs.
  • Next add the milk, salt, black pepper and sugar. Whisk using a balloon whisk until the egg and milk are thoroughly combined and there are lots of bubbles.
  • Now add the plain white flour, continue to whisk, by hand, for a couple of minutes. The batter should be completely lump free. Cover and set to one side.
FF Homemade Yorkshire Puddings
Steps showing the batter making process.
  • Place a teaspoon of vegetable oil, or lard into a 12 hole muffin tin.
  • Put the muffin tin in the oven for 10 minutes until it is smoking hot.
  • Just prior to removing the tin from the oven, give the batter a quick whisk, in case it has settled.
  • Working quickly, yet safely, remove the hot muffin tin from the oven and pour the batter mix into each hole. The batter should fill each muffin hole by half.
  • Return the muffin tin back into the top of the hot oven and bake for 20-25 minutes.
FF Homemade Yorkshire Puddings
Filling the muffin tin with batter.
  • When the Yorkshire Puddings are well risen, golden and crispy remove from the oven.
FF Homemade Yorkshire Puddings
Homemade Yorkshire Puddings they simply cannot be beaten.

To remove the Yorkshire Puddings simply lift them out from the muffin tin. If any have slightly stuck run a better knife between the tin and the pudding and it should release easily.

Serve straight away, or as I frequently do, place on a baking tray to cool. Whilst dishing up the roast potatoes, pop the Homemade Yorkshire Puddings back into a hot oven to reheat.

FF Homemade Yorkshire Puddings
Homemade Yorkshire Puddings gloriously golden.

Although our kitchen isn’t small, it does lack workspace. Yet being able to make these in advance, really is a huge help, especially if we have guests joining us for dinner.

To freeze, cool thoroughly, place in a freezer proof bag and keep in the freezer for up to one month. To reheat from frozen, place on a baking tray in a hot oven for 5 minutes. Once reheated they will taste as if you have just made them.

I’m not telling! In fact I always make our Christmas Yorkshire Puddings ahead of the big day and freeze them. As fond as I am of cooking, I also want to have fun and enjoy myself too.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Homemade Yorkshire Puddings you may also like these.

Slow Roasted Cider Pork

FF Homemade Yorkshire Puddings
Slow Roasted Cider Pork. Look at that crackling?

Garlic Rosemary Roast Potatoes

FF Homemade Yorkshire Puddings
Garlic Rosemary Roast Potatoes.

Homemade Cauliflower Cheese

FF Homemade Yorkshire Puddings
Homemade Cauliflower Cheese

Finally this is such a simple recipe, yet time and again ready made, frozen Yorkshire Puddings are relied on. I like the slightly softer centre that comes with Homemade Yorkshire Puddings. For such a simple recipe I am amazed at the extra ingredients needed for their pre made, shop bought counterparts.

Baking and cooking from scratch will always be my priority. I hope that you too choose to try these?

Please let me know how you get on? I can be contacted most days via Twitter (@sammiefeasting) or leave a comment below.

Thank you for your continued support of Feasting is Fun. You, my readers are very much appreciated, as are your comments.

Sammie xx

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Homemade Cauliflower Cheese

Homemade Cauliflower Cheese has to be right up there, on the list of all time comfort foods – right?

FF Homemade Cauliflower Cheese
Homemade Cauliflower Cheese golden and gooey.

Fresh, creamy white florets of seasonal cauliflower, lightly steamed and smothered in a thick, nutmeg scented, cheese sauce. Like a fluffy duvet, or wood burning fire, it wraps you in its warm embrace and brings you home.

Many friends and family have said that Homemade Cauliflower Cheese reminds them of their childhood. I can understand why. It isn’t something I make, or eat that often, yet when the gooey cheese sauce intermingles with meaty gravy on my plate (yes I have both 😉) I am in food heaven.

FF Homemade Cauliflower Cheese
Homemade Cauliflower Cheese golden and bubbling comfort food.

With the current ongoing use of cauliflower as a carbohydrate replacement. Transforming those creamy florets into rice, pizza base, potato salad??? I kid you not, take a look on Pinterest. My Homemade Cauliflower Cheese could not be further from these carbohydrate substitute recipes.

Tender, baked cauliflower, covered in a homemade cheese sauce, is, for me one of the best ways to eat this delicious vegetable. Part of the brassica family, where cabbages, broccoli and brussel sprouts are its cousins, cauliflower has a slightly sweet flavour, not dissimilar to the thick leaves of white cabbage. Cooked properly its texture is dense and meaty, making it a filling vegetarian dish when served on its own.

FF Homemade Cauliflower Cheese
Homemade Cauliflower Cheese so temptingly delicious.

My favourite way to eat and enjoy Homemade Cauliflower Cheese is with a roast dinner, or sausages and mash. I like the way the cheese sauce goes so well with proper gravy dinners, oh and it is unbelievably good with Yorkshire puddings.

Recipe: Homemade Cauliflower Cheese serves 4-6 as a side dish

1 large head of Cauliflower or 2 smaller ones

75g/3oz Unsalted Butter

75g/3oz Plain White Flour

150g/5.5oz Mature Cheddar Cheese – grated – hold back 2 tablespoons from adding to the sauce, for sprinkling over the assembled dish.

500ml Milk Whole or Semi Skimmed

1/4tsp Freshly Grated Nutmeg – I buy Barts whole nutmegs and grate them myself on the coarse side of a box grater. The fresh flavour is incomparable with it’s pre-grated counterpart.

1/2tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Method:

  • Place the butter into a heavy bottomed saucepan and melt over a medium heat.
  • Add in all the flour, stir for a couple of minutes so that the flour and butter become a bubbling paste (roux).
  • Pour in roughly 100ml of the milk and stir vigorously. The flour, butter and milk will come together to form a thick clump.
  • Add another 100mls of milk and keep stirring until all the milk is incorporated.
  • Continue as before, adding the milk in 100ml quantities, stirring thoroughly. If you are worried that some lumps will not disappear simple switch to a balloon whisk.
  • After adding all the milk, you will have a smooth, thick-ish white sauce.
FF Homemade Cauliflower Cheese
Showing the stages of making the white sauce.
  • Add the pepper and nutmeg to the bechemel (white sauce) and stir thoroughly. I generally don’t add salt as the cheese tends to lend its saltiness to the final flavour, however, a quick taste check once the cheese has melted will allow you to adjust the seasonings.
  • Take the saucepan off the heat and tip in the grated cheese. Stir until it is melted and you have a smooth cheese sauce.
FF Homemade Cauliflower Cheese
Delicious Cheese Sauce ready for pouring over Cauliflower and baking.
  • Prepare the cauliflower by cutting off most of the green leaves, breaking into florets, rinsing under a tap a and then steaming for no longer than 5 minutes.
  • Place the steamed cauliflower florets into an oven proof dish and pour over the cheese sauce.
  • Sprinkle over the reserved cheese, this gives the topping extra colour and gooey cheese!
FF Homemade Cauliflower Cheese
Homemade Cauliflower Cheese ready for the oven.
  • If this is made ahead, allow to cool, cover in tented foil, so that the topping doesn’t stick to it. The dish can be left on the side for a couple of hours, any longer simply pop it in the fridge, it will keep for up to 2 days.
  • Bake the Homemade Cauliflower Cheese in an oven, preheated to 200C/180C fan, gas mark 6 for 30-40 minutes. It is baked when the top is golden and bubbling and a fork can pierce the base of a cauliflower floret.
  • Once baked remove from the oven and serve.
FF Homemade Cauliflower Cheese
Homemade Cauliflower Cheese an ultimate comfort food.

Utterly delicious, tender cauliflower florets in a thick, cheesy sauce, ooh I love the colder months 😉.

Homemade Cauliflower Cheese also goes well with fish dishes, such as smoked haddock, or any firm, white fish, especially when served with mashed potatoes!

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Homemade Cauliflower Cheese you may also like these:

Leek Colcannon

FF Homemade Cauliflower Cheese
Leek Colcannon.

Perfectly Mashed Potatoes

FF Homemade Cauliflower Cheese
Perfectly Mashed Potatoes

Garlic Rosemary Roast Potatoes

FF Homemade Cauliflower Cheese
Garlic Rosemary Roast Potatoes

As the nights draw in, I find comfort in warming, hearty food. That isn’t to say I don’t believe in balance, I absolutely do. On a day when we indulge in Homemade Cauliflower Cheese, we wouldn’t have dessert. That said we rarely do eat pudding, except perhaps on a Sunday, something I am working on!

When it’s hot in the summer, salad and cool food it what my body craves. As soon as the annual September chill hits the air I long for warming meals like Steak Leek and Ale Pie or Chunky Chilli.

Do you find that your appetite and desire for different foods changes with the seasons?

Whatever you are making, baking and creating in the kitchen, I love seeing photos on Twitter and Instagram, so please keep them coming. I also really enjoy reading your comments, thank you for taking the time to leave them, they are very much appreciated.

Sammie xx

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Red Onion Sausage Plait

This week just happens to be National Picnic Week and as you’ve probably realised by now, I’m a big fan of outdoor eating. My Red Onion Sausage Plait is perfect for picnics and many other meals too. Great quality sausage meat mixed with red onion marmalade, encased in golden, all butter puff pastry. Utterly delicious.

FF Red Onion Sausage Plait
Red Onion Sausage Plait full of flavour and texture.

The very nice people at Hawkshead Relish sent me some savoury relishes and marmalade to try out. I am a huge chutney fan – everything from jellies, to chutneys, relishes and marmalades. For this review, however, I wanted to use them as ingredients and see just how well they worked being in a dish as opposed to being spooned onto the side of a plate.

I have actually made this Red Onion Sausage Plait twice. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get good pictures the first time round. Nobody in our house was upset that I had to make this again. We all loved the flavour and added texture from the red onion marmalade that contains raisins and crunchy pine kernels.

FF Red Onion Sausage Plait
Red Onion Sausage Plait, juicy, crispy with incredible flavour.

So I set about making another Red Onion Sausage Plait, a little heavy hearted. I love, I mean absolutely, completely, adore this Red Onion Marmalade and I knew this would use the last of it. Still I cheered myself with the fact that it makes such a knockout recipe and that I’d be eating it for dinner!

FF Red Onion Sausage Plait
Red Onion Sausage Plait also great as a mid week meal with salad and potato wedges.

Warmed and served with a huge pile of salad and some potato wedges that I had in the freezer, this Red Onion Sausage Plait really does make a tasty, weekday meal. It’s easily made ahead uncooked, wrapped in cling film and kept in the fridge until dinner time. It only takes 40 minutes to cook, which I why, seeing as the oven was already on I whacked in some potato wedges from the freezer.

FF Red Onion Sausage Plait
The huge bowl of salad I made to accompany the meal also had thinly sliced red onions in it which echoed the flavours in the sausage plait.

The caramelised onion flavour works so well with the meaty pork sausage. This is definitely a firm, family favourite now. I look forward to eating this Red Onion Sausage Plait on picnics and for dinner many times in future.

Recipe: Makes one Red Onion Sausage Plait serves 4 – 6 people

450g/1lb Good Quality Pork Sausagemeat – free range or organic for preference

3 heaped tablespoons of Red Onion Marmalade from Hawkshead Relish

320g Ready Rolled All Butter Pastry Sheet – I used JusRoll

1 Medium Free Range Egg

Pinch of Sea Salt – I use Maldon

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

  • Line a large baking tray with baking parchment.
  • Place the sausage meat in a bowl with the red onion marmalade.
FF Red Onion Sausage Plait.
I enjoyed smooshing the mixture together with my hands!
  • Using a clean hand smoosh the mixture together, through your fingers, until it is fully combined. Set to one side and wash your hands.
  • On a clean work top unwrap the pastry sheet.
  • Place the sausage meat mixture down one side of the pastry, rather like a huge sausage roll, leaving a gap at each end and the side of at least 2.5cm.
F Red Onion Sausage Plait.
The right side of the pastry will fold over the sausage meat.
  • Crack the egg into a small bowl and whisk with a fork until well mixed – egg wash.
  • Dip a pastry brushing into the egg wash and brush all of the visible pastry (not the sausage meat) with egg wash.
  • Bring the right side of the pastry over the sausage meat so that both side edges are together.
  • Crimp with a fork or twist all the way around where the pastry layers overlap to seal them.
  • Transfer the Red Onion Sausage Plait to the baking tray – mine would only fit on at an angle!
  • Brush over the entire outside of the sausage plait with egg wash. Finally sprinkle with a little sea salt.
FF Red Onion Sausage Plait
Red onion Sausage Plait with diagonal slits.
  • Using a sharp knife cut light diagonal slits through the pastry. This allows steam to escape and enhances the look of the finished bake.
  • If not baking straight away, wrap the entire tray and sausage plait in cling film and store in the fridge – ideally it should be baked within 24 hours.
  • If baking straight away, place the baking tray in the middle of the hot oven and bake for 40-45 minutes. The sausage plait should be a deep golden colour and any juices should run clear – if in any doubt slice a portion off of the end and check. There should be no pinkness to the sausage meat – if there is pop back into the oven for 15 minutes and reduce the heat by 20C.
  • Once baked remove the Red Onion Sausage Plait from the oven and leave to cool slightly on the tray.

To serve, allow the Red Onion Sausage Plait to cool for at least 15 minutes, longer if possible. Slice into portions and serve with salad, new potatoes, or for ease potato wedges.

FF Red Onion Sausage Plait
Golden pastry and sausage meat with caremelised red onion.

To store and for packing up for a picnic, allow the sausage plait to cool. Cut into slices – I find a serrated knife is best when it’s cold. Pack the slices into an airtight container, or wrap in cling film. Store in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Delighfully savoury and full of texture, slices of this Red Onion Sausage Plait also make a welcome change to packed lunches!

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Red Onion Sausage Plait then here are some others you may also want to try:

Feta Red Onion Marmalade Quiche

FF Red Onion Sausage Plait
Feta Red Onion Marmalade Quiche.

Spicey Sausage Rolls

FF Red Onion Sausage Plait
Spicey Sausage Rolls

Sausage Plait With A Twist

FF Red Onion Sausage Plait
Sausage Plait With A Twist

Using the Red Onion Marmalade as an ingredient, rather than just as a condiment, has opened up a whole world full of flavours. I have so many more ides, from pasta dishes to soups, stews and a million more.

Do you ever use condiments in your cooking? Let me know in the comments section. I’m always interested to here and learn about new recipes and cooking methods.

Whatever you are cooking up in your kitchen, have fun preparing your feast!

Sammie xx

Hawkshead Relish provided me with a sample jar of their red onion marmalade. All views and opinions are my own. All content, recipes and photographs are my own and covered by copyright law of the land. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

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Chilli Lime Chicken Kebabs

During warm Summer evenings, sitting in our garden, listening to the birds chatter and chirp, the delicious smell of barbecue often fills the air. I’m never going to be a cheap sausages and cheap burgers girl. Good sausages yes. Burgers that are traceable back to their origin, definitely. For me though, kebabs are the way to go. I made these Chilli Lime Chicken Kebabs last year for our daughters birthday. With a slight change to the recipe, all for the better, I now can show them to you.

FF Chilli Lime Chicken Kebabs
Chilli Lime Chicken Kebabs perfect cooked on the grill or in the oven.

Having been sent some KanKun Mexican Chilli Sauce to try, I was eager to see how the jalapeño chilli sauce would work with the kebabs I had made for last year’s birthday barbecue.

Oh wow. They are so good!

The jalapeño chilli sauce infuses a warmth into the chicken pieces without over powering them with heat. Working with the lime and garlic in the marinade, the chicken pieces take on all the flavours as well as being tenderised by the lime juice. These Chilli Lime Chicken Kebabs are utterly delicious when cooked in the oven. For preference though, cook these on the barbecue if you can.

FF Chilli Lime Chicken Kebabs
Chilli Lime Chicken Kebabs tasty, tender chicken.

I wasn’t able to grill the on the barbecue, but the smokey, charred, flavour added by grilling them means that I will as soon as possible. Another alternative, maybe when the weather isn’t up to grilling would be to stir fry the chicken. Add in the ingredients from the vegetable kebabs and you have a quick, easy meal.

As our children ate these Chilli Lime Chicken Kebabs with us I didn’t add too much sauce. You can certainly use it as a condiment if you want to kick the heat up a notch!

FF Chilli Lime Chicken Kebabs
KanKun Mexican Chilli Sauce range – the jalapeño sauce used for this recipe is in the middle.

I love chilli’s and am, at present growing some from seed. They will then be transferred to the front garden, as that is the driest and gets the most sun. Chilli’s like to be treated a bit mean whilst they are growing, although the odd splash of tomato food, once the chilli’s are forming does them the world of good.

For those of you who cannot or do not want to grow your own chilli’s, KanKun have a range of 3 bottles of chilli sauce – Chipotle, Habanero and Jalapeño. Each can be used in cooking (keep an eye out for my upcoming Chipotle Pulled Pork Fajita’s), or as a condiment. Just make sure that any sauce that has been in contact with raw meat is disposed of and not reused.

FF Chilli Lime Chicken Kebabs
Chilli Lime Chicken Kebabs delicious served alongside vegetable kebabs.

Recipe: Makes 5 Chilli Lime Chicken Kebabs

650g/1.5lb Skinned Boneless Chicken Breast – preferably Free Range or Organic – I buy ours from Graig Farm

2tbsp Olive Oil

Juice of 1 Lime

1tbsp Mexican Jalapeño Sauce from KanKun Sauce

2 Cloves of Garlic – crushed or minced

1 Small Chilli or 1/2 Jalapeño Chilli –  sliced (seeds removed if preferred)

1/4tsp Sea Salt – I use Maldon

1/4tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper

1 large resealable plastic food bag.

Method: Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan, gas mark 6 or cook over a medium hot barbecue grill.

Note – when handling raw meat, especially chicken, ensure all utensils, work tops and your hands are thoroughly washed before and after use.

  • Open the resealable bag and turn down the sides. This makes it easier to add things to the bag.
  • Pour in the olive oil, jalapeño sauce, juice of 1 lime and then add the crushed garlic, sliced chilli, salt and pepper.
  • Cut the chicken breast into 3cm chunks and add to the bag. I actually use sharp kitchen scissors to snip the chicken straight into the bag.
  • Seal the bag and with clean hands smoosh the chicken about in the bag, ensuring every piece is covered in the marinade.
  • Label the bag and place in the bottom of the fridge for 30 minutes to 2 hours.
FF Chilli Lime Chicken Kebabs
Label the bag so that others are aware that it contains raw meat.
  • Whilst the chicken is marinating, soak the wooden skewers in cold water – so they don’t catch fire on the barbecue!
  • Cover a large baking tray with aluminium foil – this really helps with the clean up process.
  • Carefully thread 5-7 pieces of chicken on each skewer. The chicken takes the same amount of time to cook as the vegetable kebabs, so intersperse with sliced courgette, red/yellow peppers if liked.
  • Place the Chilli Lime Chicken Kebabs on to the foil covered tray and pour over any excess marinade.
  • Cook in the top of the oven for 30 minutes, turning halfway through the cooking time.
  • If grilling on the barbecue these Chilli Lime Chicken Kebabs should take no longer than 20 minutes on a medium/hot barbeque grill, turing halfway through cooking.
  • To check if the chicken is cooked all the way through, slide off a thicker chunk and cut in half – there should not be any pink colour, the chicken should be opaque all the way through.
  • Once cooked remove the kebabs from the oven/barbecue.
FF FF Chilli Lime Chicken Kebabs
Chilli Lime Chicken Kebabs beautifully cooked in the oven.

Serve the Chilli Lime Chicken Kebabs in warmed pitta bread with fresh salad and extra Jalapeño Sauce, or as I have done, with herb basmati rice and vegetable kebabs.

However you serve these delicious kebabs they are sure to be thoroughly enjoyed. The lime, garlic and jalapeño chilli give them a warming, fresh, vibrant flavour. For real chilli fans, serve with extra slices of jalapeño chilli’s to up the heat factor.

Whilst I love the heat that chilli imparts to a dish, I never want to compromise on flavour. This Mexican Jalapeño Chilli Sauce is so delicious and perfectly blends with the other flavours in these Chilli Lime Chicken Kebabs.

FF Chilli Lime Chicken Kebabs
Chilli Lime Chicken Kebabs the perfect feel good meal.

If you like to add a little heat to your meals, try adding a dash or two of KanKun Mexican Jalapeño Sauce!

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Chilli Lime Chicken Kebabs here are some others you may like:

Easy Tex Mex Chicken

FF Chilli Lime Chicken Kebabs
Easy Tex Mex Chicken perfect to make ahead.

Chunky Chilli

FF Chilli Lime Chicken Kebabs
Chunky Chilli perfect for colder days.

Lemon Thyme Roast Chicken

FF Chilli Lime Chicken Kebabs
Lemon Thyme Roast Chicken spice up your leftovers with some KanKun Sauce!

I love the Summer months. Having the back door open, sunlight streaming in through open windows, longer daylight hours. Let’s make the most of this Summer. Eat outdoors, dust of the BBQ, invite friends and family round, for feasting, fun and the obligatory (in our house) water fight in the garden.

Let us all enjoy the warmth of the sun, good company, great food and having fun.

Sammie xx

KanKun Sauce sent me a pack of three of their sauces to try. All content, recipes, photographs, views and opinions are my own. I was not paid for this post. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

 

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Strawberry Eton Mess

Oh how I love summer fruit. Ruby red strawberries, crimson through to black cherries, tart yet sweet raspberries and the array of different currents. I am definitely a soft fruit fan and love to eat them freshly picked, or use them in delightful, dessert recipes. This Strawberry Eton Mess is a classic English dessert, that is best made with fresh, local strawberries.

FF Strawberry Eton Mess
Strawberry Eton Mess a delicious trio of ingredients.

Homemade pavlova provides a crisp and marshmallow like texture that I’ve enveloped in lightly whipped cream, with sweet luscious strawberries.

FF Strawberry Eton Mess
Strawberry Eton Mess the perfect make ahead dessert.

This Strawberry Eton Mess is so easy to assemble and is brilliant as a make ahead dessert. The pavlova can be made the same day, or even the day before, strawberries can be hulled, quartered and left covered in a bowl and the cream takes only a couple of minutes to whisk by hand.

All the ingredients can be assembled prior to serving, for a stress free delectable dessert!

FF Strawberry Eton MessStrawberry Eton Mess a classic English summer dessert.

True to my word, I am adding more desserts to Feasting is Fun. My family are loving the new-ish aspect to my blog!!

This Strawberry Eton Mess is probably one of my favourite desserts. The differing textures within the pavlova and the fresh local strawberries really make this a stunning dish. As with all recipes, especially those that have few ingredients, it really is worth buying the best that you can afford. Or in the case of this dessert, taking the time to make your own pavlova.

I know ready made meringues are easily available in supermarkets, they won’t give the marshmallow inner softness that a homemade pavlova yields. If you make your own ice cream like my  Strawberry Ripple Ice Cream then you will be left with 4 eggs whites. The exact amount needed for this recipe.

FF Strawberry Eton Mess
Strawberry Eton Mess topped with a drizzle of strawberry jam.

I was fortunate to win some Hartleys strawberry jam on Twitter. Warmed slightly, so that it becomes a sauce, it adds the perfect finishing touch to this dessert. The bright red colour contrasts beautifully with the pale cream meringue and it lends an extra strawberry hit as you take your first mouthful.

Recipe: Strawberry Eton Mess serves 6

For the pavlova:

4 Large Egg Whites – preferably free range or organic

150g/5oz – 1 US Cup Icing Sugar

2tsp Corn Flour – also known as corn starch

1tsp White Wine or Cider Vinegar

1/2tsp Vanilla Extract – I use –Nielsen-Massey

For the Strawberry Eton Mess:

400g/ Fresh British Strawberries

300ml Double Cream

1tsp Vanilla Bean Paste – again I use Nielsen-Massey

1tbsp Caster Sugar

1tbsp Strawberry Jam – I used Hartley’s Best Strawberry Jam – warm slightly before drizzling onto the Strawberry Eton Mess

Method: Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan, gas mark 6

  • Line a large baking tray with baking parchment that has a 20cm circle, drawn in pencil, on the underside.
  • Into a spotlessly clean, large bowl place the egg whites.
  • Whisk until the egg white hold a stiff peak.
FF Strawberry Eton Mess
The meringue peaks stand proud.
  • Whilst whisking on a medium speed gradually add the sugar. Continue whisking until the meringue is glossy and shiny.
  • Sift in the cornflour and add the vanilla and vinegar.
FF Strawberry Eton Mess
Shiny, glossy meringue, ready to have the extra ingredients folded in.
  • Using a large metal spoon gently fold in the added ingredients into the meringue, turning the bowl until they are fully incorporated.
  • Spoon the meringue on to the baking parchment, keeping within the circle marked on the reverse.
  • Spread the meringue out so that it forms a circle and slightly build up the sides so that they are a little higher than the centre.
FF Strawberry Eton Mess
This pavlova is ready for the oven.
  • Place the pavlova into the centre of the oven and immediately turn the temperature down to 140C/120C fan, gas mark 1.
  • Bake for 1 and 1/4 hours. Then turn off the oven and leave the pavlova to cool inside the oven with the door very slightly ajar.
  • Once cooled removed the pavlova from the oven.
FF Strawberry Eton Mess
The cooked pavlova.
  • Cover the pavlova and baking tray in cling film until ready to use.

Assembling the Strawberry Eton Mess:

  • Hull and cut the strawberries into halves or quarters, depending on their size.
  • Into a large bowl add the cream, vanilla bean paste and caster sugar.
  • Whip the cream until it thickens, but is still floppy – not stiff.
  • Add the strawberries, break the pavlova up into bite size chunks and add those too.
FF Strawberry Eton Mess
Strawberry Eton Mess you can see the marshmallow insides of the pavlova.
  • Fold all the ingredients together with a large metal spoon.
  • Serve in pretty glass bowls with a drizzle of slightly warmed strawberry jam.
FF Strawberry Eton Mess
Strawberry Eton Mess serve with a spoon and a smile.

Such an easy to assemble dessert, with a little preparation beforehand, you too can sit down and enjoy eating this with family, friends, or whoever you have invited round.

If you wanted to up this Strawberry Eton Mess to the next level, a drizzle of my Boozy Berry Sauce, served cold, on top would be a fantastic idea! That’s one for the adults though.

Strawberries and cream are such a classic combination and here, in this dessert, they are lifted by the presence of amazing, homemade pavlova.

Tip: The pavlova itself can be covered in whipped cream and tart berries (passionfruit is also exceptionally good). One recipe two desserts!

If you have enjoyed the recipe for this Strawberry Eton Mess here are a few others you might like:

Lemony Strawberry Pavlova

FF Straw Eton Mess
Delicious Lemon Pavlova slathered in cream, decorated with strawberries and finished with a limoncello drizzle.

Raspberry Chocolate Ice Cream Sundae

FF Strawberry Eton Mess
Vanilla ice cream layered with chocolate meringue and unbelievably good raspberry sauce.

Chocolate Brownie Raspberry Cheesecake

FF Strawberry Eton Mess
Light Raspberry Cheesecake on a Chocolate Brownie base – so good.

Do you enjoy desserts?

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and have been encouraged to make and bake a pavlova. It doesn’t matter if they sink, or crack as it can all be covered with cream and fruit, or crumbled into the best Strawberry Eton Mess you have ever eaten!

Have fun making and baking in your kitchens. Keep the photos and comments coming, I’d especially like to see ones of you sharing your delicious feasts?

Sammie xx

This is not a sponsored post, the jam was won in a competition on Twitter.

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Garlic Cheese Bombs

Who doesn’t love garlic bread, served alongside a great pasta dish, with a glass of something chilled? I certainly do and after seeing a fantastic foodie craze on Pinterest I knew I had to try it. Everyone is mad about these Garlic Cheese Bombs!

FF Garlic Cheese Bombs

    Garlic Cheese Bombs gooey melted cheese in a garlic roll, that’s utterly delicious.

In our house these are the BOMB 😉.

Everyone loves it when I make them and having successfully frozen them, uncooked, they are great to have on hand. Fresh or frozen.

FF Garlic Cheese Bombs
Garlic Cheese Bombs great for feeding a crowd.

Honestly these Garlic Cheese Bombs have become such a massive hit in our house. I’m really glad that they freeze well as my family would scoff the whole lot if I baked them all at once. I have learned from the first time I made them!

 

FF Garlic Cheese BombsGarlic Cheese Bombs

 

If you have little ones, they will thoroughly enjoy making these.

The only extra ingredient required to make the Garlic Cheese Bombs is a little patience. Making 30 – 40 individual, little cheese wrapped buns, could be seen as tedious – not here at Feasting is Fun though. We don’t do tedious!! So put on some great music or a play, clear the table and enjoy some therapeutic relaxation, whilst you play with dough!

Before you know it you’ll have two trays full of delicious, homemade, bread buns proving and you can give yourself a smug pat on the back, knowing that one tray is going to be stashed in the deep freeze.

Baking bread is a real passion of mine, second only to my faith see Important Stuff. As this week has been Real Bread Week it seemed fitting to end on a recipe that is fun to make and tastes best when feasting with family and friends.

FF Garlic Cheese Bombs
Garlic Cheese Bombs absolute fun to make and feast on!

I have made these Garlic Cheese Bombs using both my own dough recipe and a Wright’s bread mix. Truthfully and this almost hurts to write this, the children preferred the ones made with the bread mix.

Our children are very honest!!

Personally I think they are both great. The Wright’s bread mix is handy if you’re an infrequent bread baker, or haven’t made bread dough before and want to ensure they turn out great. My dough recipe is for those of us who are happy to make their dough from scratch. That said, there’s room in my kitchen for both.

Recipe: Makes 30 – 40 Garlic Cheese Bombs

1 quantity of dough that’s been proved and knocked back, from either my Farmhouse White Loaf or using Wright’s Baking Premium White Bread Mix

2 Tubs Mini Mozerrella Balls – there are approx 15 – 20 balls per tub

4 Fat Garlic Bulbs – or more if you want an extra garlic kick

100g/4oz Butter

4tbsp Olive Oil

1tsp Sea Salt – I use Maldon

1/2tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Bunch of Fresh Parsley to garnish and add flavour

Method: You will need a foil freezer/baking tray or 2 if you intend to freeze these.

  • Drain the mozerella balls well and count how many you have.
  • Make up the dough according to your chosen option.
  • Allow the dough to prove until doubled in size and then tip out on to a lightly floured surface.
  • For the very precise among you, weigh the bread dough and then divide that number by the number of mozerella balls. That will tell you exactly how much each piece of dough should weigh.
  • If you are more ‘laissez faire’ about things, like me, simply divide the dough evenly into 3 or 4 equal pieces (depending on whether you have 30 or 40 mozerella balls) and then divide each potion into 10.
  • Flatten a small portion of dough into a rough circular shape.
  • Place the mozerella ball in the centre of the dough circle.
  • Bring the edges of the dough up so that they cover the cheese and seal by pressing together.
  • Place the Garlic Cheese Bomb seam side down on a lightly oiled baking tray.
FF Garlic Cheese Bombs
After a while you get into a rhythm and the process becomes very relaxing.
  • Continue until all of the Garlic Cheese Bombs have been made, allowing space in between each one the tray so that it has room to rise.
FF Garlic Cheese Bombs
Cover with damp kitchen towel or oiled cling film.
  • The Garlic Cheese Bombs in the photo above are from the first batch that I made.
  • Leave until doubled in size.
  • Whilst the rolls are proving, make the garlic butter.
  • Place the butter, oil, crushed/finely minced garlic, salt and pepper into a small saucepan over a low heat.
  • Cook until all the butter has melted. Set to one side.
  • Preheat the oven to 209C/180C fan, gas mark 6.
  • When the Garlic Cheese Bombs have doubled in size, remove the damp cloth/cling film and brush liberally, using a pastry brush, with the melted garlic butter.
FF Garlic Cheese Bombs
You’ll be surprised at how much these delicious rolls puff up.
  • Now is the stage at which the Garlic Cheese Bombs can be frozen. Double wrap the foil tray with freezer safe cling film, label and pop in the freezer. They should be fine for at least one month in the freezer.
  • To bake the freshly garlic glazed buns, place into the middle of the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the rolls are golden brown.
  • When baked remove the tray from the oven and immediately transfer the individual Garlic Cheese Bombs to a serving platter. Be careful as they will be very hot.
  • Pour over any garlic butter left in the tray and garnish with roughly chopped parsley,
  • Leave for 5 minutes before serving to allow thm to cool slightly.
  • Serve with a smile and watch as people break open these golden, light, cheesy rolls, flavoured with garlic butter.
FF Garlic Cheese Bombs
Garlic Cheese Bombs the perfect food for sharing, feasting and having fun.

Note: To cook from frozen, preheat the oven to 190C/170C fan, gas mark 5. Remove all cling film/foil. Place the frozen rolls into the middle of the oven and bake for 40-45 minutes, until golden and baked through. To test remove a roll and cut in half, if the mozerella is gooey and melted then the Garlic Cheese Bombs are baked. Serve as for freshly baked.

So you’ve got a party in the evening and you want to make these earlier in the day? I’d suggest making them the day, or even a few days ahead and stashing them in the freezer. Alternatively make them in the morning, glazed with garlic butter before their final prove (it’ll save you stinking of garlic as you great your guests 😉), wrap in cling film and keep in the fridge. Take them out 10 minutes before baking, whilst you preheat the oven and bake as for fresh.

Make ahead recipes are fantastic as they allow you to enjoy spending time with your guests, rather than being stuck, on your own in the kitchen!

If you have loved these Garlic Cheese Bombs, then here are some other recipes you might like to try:

Breadsticks with Garlic and Herb Dipping Oil

FF Garlic Cheese Bombs
Breadsticks with Garlic and Herb Dipping Oil

Garlic Rosemary Focaccia Bread

FF Garlic Cheese Bombs
Garlic and Rosemary Focaccia

 

I really hope you do try making your own bread. Most bread doughs can withstand a reasonable amount of mistreatment and still turn into fabulous loves, breadsticks, baguettes. The possibilities are endless and nothing, not even chocolate cake such as this White Chocolate Swirl Fudge Cake beats the smell of home baked bread.

Thank you for all you lovely comments, especially on Twitter regarding the great yeast debate – more on that in a future post! It really makes my day to see pictures of you baking my recipes and in most cases they look even better. Which I think is completely brilliant. You all inspire me to try harder and write easy to follow, delicious recipes.

Together we really do make Feasting Fun!

Sammie xx

Wright’s Baking provided me with the Premium White Bread Mix used in this recipe alongside my own bread dough recipe. All opinions, views, content and photographs are my own. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

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Steak Leek and Ale Pie

Hi, I have the perfect dish for colder, wetter evenings, my Steak Leek and Ale Pie.

Homemade pie has to be at the top of my comfort food list. Long gone are the light, fresh salads of summer, now that Autumn is here, with it’s blustery gales I want proper, nourishing, hearty food.

I want, I need, this Steak Leek and Ale Pie!

Steak Leek and Ale Pie delicious chunks of steak and leek cooked in a rich ale gravy, topped with homemade pastry - delicious. www.feastingisfun.com
Steak Leek and Ale Pie delicious chunks of steak and leek cooked in a rich ale gravy, topped with homemade pastry – delicious. www.feastingisfun.com

Look at that golden crust. It is so inviting, willing you to cut in and discover the melting chunks of steak and leek beneath, sitting in a pool of thick, Ale gravy.

I know making pastry completely freaks some people out. The recipe for this pastry can be found here.

If you have a little time, maybe at the weekend, I really would encourage you to make your own pastry. It really isn’t as difficult as some believe and the rewards are very gratifying.

However, if you cannot bring yourself to make your own pastry, then good quality, shop bought shortcrust or puff pastry will also work very well.

Steak Leek and Ale Pie prefect comfort for cold dark evenings. www.feastingisfun.com
Steak Leek and Ale Pie prefect comfort for cold dark evenings. www.feastingisfun.com

Although I made this Steak Leek and Ale Pie for a mid-week meal, it will be replacing the occaisional roast on a Sunday too. It really is that good.

I have to mention the Leek Colcannon a fantastic dish of creamy mashed potatoes, steamed cabbage and sauteed leeks that I made to serve alongside this pie. Amazing!

If you are wondering why leeks feature in both dishes, November heralds the start of the British leek growing season. So keen to use seasonal produce, I came up with these two recipes for the British Leek Growers Association.

Recipe : Makes one Steak Leek and Ale Pie, serves 6

450g/1lb Shortcrust Pastry – to make your own you will need 350g/12oz Plain White Flour, 75g/3oz Butter and 75g/3oz Vegetable shortening – I use Trex

1kg/2lb Good Quality Beef Steak – I used rump, chuck or braising steak would work well

2 Tbsp Butter

3 Leeks

500ml/1 pint Light Ale

2 Bay Leaves

1 tsp Fresh Thyme – halve if using dried

1 Clove of Garlic

2 Tbsp Tomato Puree

1/4 tsp Nutmeg – I always use freshly grated

1 Beef Stock Cube – or I used 1 Knorr beef stockpot

2 Tbsp Flour plus extra for rolling out pastry

Salt and Pepper to season

1 Medium Egg whisked with a little water for the egg wash

Method : Please read through before starting

If making your own pastry, make, cover in cling film and place in the fridge to chill.

Cut the steak into good sized chunks - 1.5"
Cut the steak into good sized chunks – 1.5″

Mix the 2 Tbsp of flour with 1 tsp of sea salt and 1 tsp freshly ground pepper.

Toss the steak in the seasoned flour.
Toss the steak in the seasoned flour.

Place 2 Tbsp of butter into a large pan and melt over a high heat.

Brown the steak in batches in a hot pan.
Brown the steak in batches in a hot pan.
Place the browned steak in a bowl and set to one side.
Place the browned steak in a bowl and set to one side.

Prepare all 3 leeks by cutting off the tough, dark green tops and root. Starting at the top of the leek cut almost through and down two thirds. Wash the leeks under cold, running water to remove any dirt trapped between the leaves. Shake off any excess water.

Tip : I wash the leeks and leave them to drain upside down, before prepping other meat or vegetables.

Take one large leek.
Take one large leek.
Finely dice the leek.
Finely dice the leek.
Add the diced leek to the pan used for browning the steak. Sauté for 2-3 minutes over a medium heat.
Add the diced leek to the pan used for browning the steak. Sauté for 2-3 minutes over a medium heat.
Pour in the Ale and then, using a wooden spoon scrape all the crusty, tasty brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
Pour in the Ale and then, using a wooden spoon scrape all the crusty, tasty brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
Strip the time from its stalk and mince the garlic.
Strip the Thyme from its stalk and mince the garlic.
Add the steak, herbs and garlic back to the pan. Add an additional 500ml of water.
Add the steak, herbs and garlic back to the pan. Add an additional 500ml of water.
Slice the other 2 leeks into 1" chunks and add to the pan.
Slice the other 2 leeks into 1″ chunks and add to the pan.
Now add the tomato purée, stock cube and nutmeg.
Now add the tomato purée, stock cube and nutmeg.

Bring everything up to a simmer and leave to cook on a medium/low heat, uncovered for 2-3 hours, stirring occaisionally.

At the end of the cooking time the beef should be meltingly tender and the ale gravy reduced by half. Check the sauce for seasoning. I found the salt and pepper added to the flour was sufficient, however, adjust if needed.

Remove the steak and leeks, using a slotted spoon and place into a pie dish.
Remove the steak and leeks, using a slotted spoon and place into a pie dish.
Reduce the ale gravy in the pan by half.
Reduce the ale gravy in the pan by half.
Pour the thickened gravy over the pie filling.
Pour the thickened gravy over the pie filling.

Brush the egg wash around the rim of the pie dish. This will enable the pastry to stick to the dish.

Roll out the pastry so that it is 1" wider that the top of the pie dish. Trim the pastry so it has a neat edge.
Roll out the pastry so that it is 1″ wider that the top of the pie dish. Trim the pastry so it has a neat edge.
Steak Leek and Ale Pie place the pastry on top of the pie dish and crimp.
Steak Leek and Ale Pie place the pastry on top of the pie dish and crimp.

To crimp I simply pinch between my forefinger and thumb all around the pastry edge. Make 3 slits in the pastry to allow steam to escape.

Steak Leek and Ale Pie brush the pastry with egg wash and cut out decorations from the leftover pastry. Place on the pie and brush with egg wash.
Steak Leek and Ale Pie brush the pastry with egg wash and cut out decorations from the leftover pastry. Place on the pie and brush with egg wash.

Place the Steak Leek and Ale Pie on a baking sheet and place in a preheated (200C/180C fan) oven. Bake for approximately 1 hour. The pie is cooked when the pastry is golden brown and little bubbles of hot gravy or steam are bursting through the slits in the pie.

Steak Leek and Ale Pie beautifully golden, light pastry. www.feastingisfun.com
Steak Leek and Ale Pie beautifully golden, light pastry. www.feastingisfun.com

Once baked remove the pie from the oven and serve immediately.

Steak Leek and Ale Pie delicious served with Leek Colcannon www.feastingisfun.com
Steak Leek and Ale Pie delicious served with Leek Colcannon www.feastingisfun.com

The leek in this pie lends a delicate onion flavour, which with the ale and steak, perfectly compliment each other. This Steak Leek and Ale Pie was thoroughly enjoyed by all in our house and my very good friend and chief taste tester – who lives 2 doors away!

It would make perfect sense to double the quantities and make 2 pies. An uncooked pie will freeze beautifully, just ensure it is absolutely cool before double wrapping in cling film and freezing for up to 2 months. Or maybe pass the second pie onto a busy family, new mum, or friends. The gift of a meal, even if there is no ‘special’ reason shows that you care.

I do hope you take the challenge to make your own pastry.

Have you ever received a surprise meal, or gift of food?

If you tried this pie pastry then you may also like these recipes –

Cream Cheese Pastry Mince Pies

Quiche Lorraine

Please tell me about your pastry successes, or disasters, I love reading your comments.

Sammie x

Whilst I was provided with most of the ingredients for this recipe all content and opinions are my own. I did not receive payment for this post.

 

 

 

 

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Cheesy Vegetable Pasta Bake

Hi, is everyone fed up with the clouds? Yep, me too. I love Autumn, but endless days of rain, with no blue sky occasionally peeking through, well to be honest, it just makes me want to snuggle up with a good film and a big bowl of this Cheesy Vegetable Pasta Bake.

 

Cheesy Vegetable Pasta Bake the perfect make ahead meal. www.feastingisfun.com
Cheesy Vegetable Pasta Bake the perfect make ahead meal. www.feastingisfun.com

 

This dish came about because I was too lazy to get any meat out of the freezer!! True our freezer is in our garage, with no internal interconnecting door and it was raining. Convinced?? Anyway enough of my laziness, what resulted was an incredibly fabulous dish.

We are a meat eating family, although I do make a little meat go a long way. It is very rare however, that I deliberately leave meat or fish out of a dish. Big mistake!!! No one in our family, or my chief taste tester, missed the meat in this Cheesy Vegetable Pasta Bake. In fact they enjoyed a meat free meal.

I was so pleased. Firstly, I had created a great meal that everyone enjoyed – always my main aim. Secondly, I now have a great vegetarian dish in my repertoire.

Cheesy Vegetable Pasta Bake all your veggies in a tasty tomato sauce then smothered in a delicious cheese sauce. www.frastingisfun.com
Cheesy Vegetable Pasta Bake all your veggies in a tasty tomato sauce then smothered in a delicious cheese sauce. www.feastingisfun.com

 

Meat is usually the most expensive component in a meal, so, without compromising flavour, this is a fantastic, budget friendly dish. Perfect for a mid week meal. In fact why not double up on the ingredients and make this for a new mum, family or friends returning from holiday, or simply to freeze for up to 3 months. Being meat free more people can enjoy this dish.

Recipe : Cheesy Vegetable Pasta Bake Serves 6 people generously

1tbsp Olive Oil

1 x Leek

1 x Celery Stick finely diced

2 x Large Carrots finely diced

6-8 Mushrooms White Button or Chestnut sliced thinly

3 Cloves of Garlic – crushed

4 x 400g Cans Chopped Tomatoes

1/4tsp Freshly Grated Nutmeg

1tsp Dried Mixed Herbs

Salt and Pepper to taste

500g/1lb Dried Pasta – I used Penne

Cheese Sauce see Bacon Cheese Pasta Bake – Cheese Sauce

50g/2oz Finely Grated Cheese for topping

Note : If making this dish for vegetarians, ensure you use vegetarian cheese.

Method :

Cut the very dark green top and root from the leek. Slice the leek in half, lengthways and rinse thoroughly under a cold running tap. This ensures any sand or dirt trapped between the layers in the leek is washed away. Pat the leek dry with a clean cloth. Slice the leeks into 1/2 inch dice.

Pour the oil into a pan and heat up over a medium heat. Add the leeks to the pan.

 

Sauté the chopped leek until tender.
Sauté the chopped leek until tender.
Add the rest of the chopped vegetables and sauté for 5 minutes.
Add the rest of the chopped vegetables and sauté for 5 minutes.

 

Add the garlic and stir for 30 seconds. Then pour in the tinned tomatoes.

Add all of the tinned chopped tomatoes.
Add all of the tinned chopped tomatoes.

 

Add the nutmeg and dried herbs. Bring to a simmer and cook with a lid almost covering for 1 1/2 hours.

Whilst the vegetable sauce is cooking make the Cheese Sauce.

Once the vegetable sauce has cooked remove from the heat.

Cook your chosen pasta according to the package instructions, less 3 minutes. The pasta will continue to cook in the oven.

Drain the pasta and tip into the vegetable sauce. Mix the pasta and vegetable sauce together.

Cheesy Vegetable Pasta Bake, pour the pasta/vegetable mix into a baking dish.
Cheesy Vegetable Pasta Bake, pour the pasta/vegetable mix into a baking dish.
Cheesy Vegetable Pasta Bake, smother in cheese sauce and finish with a sprinkling of finely grated cheese.
Cheesy Vegetable Pasta Bake, smother in cheese sauce and finish with a sprinkling of finely grated cheese.

 

You can bake the pasta dish in a medium oven (180C/165C fan) straight away, for approx. 1hour, until golden and bubbling.

Or you can cover the Cheesy Vegetable Pasta Bake once cooled, in cling film and refridgerate for up to 3 days. If freezing, cool, wrap the entire dish in cling film and then aluminium foil.

Cheesy Vegetable Pasta Bake a perfectly, portable meal. www.feastingisfun.com
Cheesy Vegetable Pasta Bake a perfectly, portable meal. www.feastingisfun.com

 

You can certainly switch up the veggies to whatever you have on hand. In fact this dish is a great way to use up small amounts of vegetables sitting in the fridge, before your next grocery shop!

Perfect served just as it is, or you can stretch it further by serving with some crusty bread and salad. Either way this Cheesy Vegetable Pasta Bake is sure to become a favourite in your home.

Would you miss the meat in a pasta dish such as this?

You may also like these Tomato Thyme Garlic Focaccia Bread

Garlic and Rosemary Focaccia Bread

delicious, easy, bread recipes to make alongside the Cheesy Vegetable Pasta Bake.

Sammie x

 

 

 

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Bacon Cheese Pasta Bake

Hello there, thank you for stopping by to read my blog.  I hope it inspires you to make this delicious, very economical, Bacon Cheese Pasta Bake – covered in a scrummy Cheese Sauce!

I’m sorry that I haven’t posted anything for a few days, unfortunately my body has been very uncooperative and I’ve been struggling with a lot of pain.  Not looking for sympathy, just explaining.

Anyhow this morning, once I was up and dressed I was determined to make the Christmas cakes ( I know this blog is about the Bacon Cheese Pasta Bake – but I have to tell you the whole story, so bare with please??!!).  One cake for us and a smaller cake for my lovely hubby’s Ma and Pa.  They love Christmas cake like no other people I have ever met and since I love them and making cakes I thought I’d bake them a cake as well!

Once the cakes were happily baking away in the oven I turned my attention to dinner.  I happened to have 8 rashers of streaky bacon in the fridge and thought ‘You know what, I’ll make Bacon Cheese Pasta Bake’.  Not only that, but as I have tended to be a bit lazy with my savoury recipes, I also made a note of exactly what I used and took some photos to show you how to make it yourself!!

This recipe is for 6 people!

Recipe:  Bacon Cheese Pasta Bake

For the bacon and tomato sauce you will need –

1tbsp  Olive oil

1tbsp  Butter

8 x rashers streaky bacon (smoked or not the choice is yours) – any rind removed

1  Large White Onion

2  Sticks of Celery

1  Green Pepper

6 – 8  Chestnut or Button Mushrooms

3  Bulbs of Garlic

2  Tins Chopped Tomatoes and their juice

1tbsp  Tomato puree

1tsp  Mixed Dry Herbs

1/2tsp  Sea Salt (1/4tsp free flowing salt)

1/4  tsp Nutmeg – freshly grated

1/2tsp  Black Pepper – freshly ground

1/2tsp  Sugar

For the Cheese Sauce :

2tbsp Unsalted Butter

2tbsp Plain White Flour

500ml/1.25 pints Whole Milk

175g/6oz Strong Cheddar

1/4tsp Freshly Grated Nutmeg

Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Method

In a large saute pan (or shallow casserole dish) melt the Olive oil and Butter together over a medium heat.  Add the finely chopped Onion and Saute until translucent (approx 5-8 mins).  Add in the Bacon – I usually snip this into approx 1/2″ pieces, directly into the pan, however you can chip up the Bacon with a knife and then add it.

Let the bacon sizzle until it had rendered out some of it’s fat, but not so much that it goes crispy.  Add in the Celery and Carrot ( which have both been finely chopped and cook for another 5 mins.

Sautéing the bacon, onions, carrots and celery.
Sautéing the bacon, onions, carrots and celery.

After 5 mins add in the finely chopped Green Pepper and the Mushroom ( I slice the mushrooms fairly thinly, then cut the slices in half – it just looks nice in the dish!).  Add the crushed (or finely chopped) garlic and continue cooking for another 5-10 mins, until all the vegetables are slightly softened.

Green Pepper and Sliced Mushrooms added. How chunky or fine you chop your veg is entirely up to you!!!).
Green Pepper and Sliced Mushrooms added. How chunky or fine you chop your veg is entirely up to you!!

 

Once the vegetables have started to soften add the tinned, chopped tomatoes.  Rinse each tin out with cold water (fill the tin to just over half with water and swish the tin to dilute any tomato juice left, into the water) and add the tomato purée.  Add the seasonings next: salt, pepper, sugar, nutmeg and mixed herbs.  The sugar balances out the tartness of tinned tomatoes and makes a very real difference to the finished dish.

Allow the bacon, vegetables and tomatoes to bubble away, uncovered, on a low-medium heat for at least an hour.
Allow the bacon, vegetables and tomatoes to bubble away, uncovered, on a low-medium heat for at least an hour.

The Cheese Sauce:

Melt 2tbsp butter on a medium heat in a saucepan.  Once melted add 2tbsp of plain white flour and mix thoroughly, lowering the heat very slightly.

Cook the flour and butter together for a couple of minutes to get rid of the 'raw flour' taste.
Cook the flour and butter together for a couple of minutes to get rid of the ‘raw flour’ taste.

This flour/butter mixture is now called a roux.  Now gradually add (50ml at a time at the beginning) whole milk to the flour/butter mixture, stirring constantly.  As the milk warms it will gradually become incorporated into the flour/butter. In the beginning, for the first few milk additions, the mixture will be very thick and stiff to stir.  If you find the milk is not incorporating into the mixture, or it is very lumpy, it’s fine to switch to a whisk, this will ensure a beautiful, lump free, smooth sauce. Add 450-500ml of milk until your sauce has the consistency similar to custard.

Lump free, smooth white sauce!! Easy!!
Lump free, smooth white sauce!! Easy!!

Add a pinch of salt, a good grinding of black pepper, 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg and mix thoroughly.  Off of the heat add a good 2 handfuls (4-6oz) of grated mature cheddar cheese.  Mix thoroughly until the cheese has melted into the sauce.

The Pasta

I have used penne rigate pasta for this dish.  Basically pasta tubes, cut on a slant with ridges in the outside!  I like penne rigate as it holds firm, the sauce not only goes into the pasta tubes, but also the sauce clings to the outside ridges of the pasta.  I cooked about 3/4 of a 500g packet (350g if my maths is correct??).

I said earlier, this is such an economical dish – 8 bacon rashers, bits of veg you have in the fridge, a couple of handfuls of mature cheddar and not even a whole packet of pasta!!  Not only that but it tastes fab and is easily transportable, so ideal to give individual  portions to friends/family or pop in the freezer!!

Once the pasta is almost cooked (not quite al dente) drain and add to the bacon sauce.

The pasta dumped on top of the bacon sauce.
The pasta dumped on top of the bacon sauce.

Mix the sauce and pasta together.  If serving a separate portion to give away, remove a generous portion of the pasta/bacon mix, ensuring you get a good mix of the sauce, bacon, veg and of course pasta.

Not the most elegant container, but foil containers make transporting, or freezing the individual portions sooooo easy!!
Not the most elegant container, but foil containers make transporting, or freezing the individual portions sooooo easy!!

Spread the rest of the bacon pasta evenly into an ovenproof container.  Tap the individual portions to settle the pasta and remove any air bubbles.

Cover your pasta dishes with a good dollop of the cheese sauce.  For added prettiness (and because the cheese sauce didn’t reach the edges!!) I sliced ripe, ruby red tomatoes and placed them around the outside edge of the pasta.

Beautifully decorated - and no one knew my secret!!!!
Beautifully decorated Bacon Cheese Pasta Bake
Slightly overstuffed, once the cheese sauce was added, so just wrapped in foil. One individual portion ready to go!!!
Slightly overstuffed, once the cheese sauce was added, so just wrapped in foil. One individual portion ready to go!!!
So a super tasty, super economical meal to eat and share!

For a bubbly,scrumptious meal, ready for the table:  Cook the large Bacon Cheese Pasta Bake at 180C for an hour until thoroughly heated through, 1/2 hour at the same temp for the individual portion.

An amazingly tasty, versatile dish that’s easy on your wallet and tasty on your tongue.

Have fun, feasting and enjoy sharing your meal!!

Sammie x

 

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