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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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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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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Refreshing Tropical Fruit Sorbet

The smell of Summer. Sun tan lotion, seaside air and luscious seasonal fruits. Ok, I accept that the fruits in this Refreshing Tropical Fruit Sorbet are not necessarily grown in this country, although they are cheaper and more readily available during the summer.

FF Refreshing Tropical Fruit Sorbet
Refreshing Tropical Fruit Sorbet so good.

Making your own Refreshing Tropical Fruit Sorbet is so worth it. Forget about the adverts telling you that ‘you’re worth it’ this is a delicious, good for you treat, that tastes of fruit heaven!

FF Refreshing Tropical Fruit Sorbet
Refreshing Tropical Fruit Sorbet will make your tastebuds come alive!

The marriage between the flavours will make your tastebuds sing in harmony.

FF Refreshing Tropical Fruit Sorbet
Refreshing Tropical Fruit Sorbet a delicious alternative to ice cream.

There are a couple of steps needed to prepare the fruit for this sorbet, but they are absolutely worth it to extract every drop of flavour from the fruit.

Once the fruit is prepped it is then cooked for a short time. This breaks down the pineapple and separates the passionfruit seeds from their surrounding juice. The cooked fruit mixture is then sieved, to remove the very crunchy seeds. A quick whizz with an immersion blender, or liquidiser, cool and your sorbet is ready to be churned.

FF Refreshing Tropical Fruit Sorbet
Refreshing Tropical Fruit Sorbet so worth making.

This sorbet tastes of Summer. Light, intensely fruity, sweet – but not overly so and with a colour to brighten the dullest of days.

A light dessert or a delightful palette cleanser between courses for a more formal meal.

The mangos I bought for this recipe spent a few days on our sunny lounge window ledge ripening up, in fact they were warm when I prepared them. The passionfruit were smooth skinned when bought and ripened to a prune-like wrinkling of the skin. To test if a pineapple is ripe I suggest smelling it. If it smells of pineapple then it’s ripe.

Recipe: Makes 1L Refreshing Tropical Fruit Sorbet

6 Passion Fruit

2 Large Mango

1 Medium Pineapple

400mls Water

100g/4oz Sugar

Optional – see note at the end – Orange Blossom Water 1/4tsp – I suggest Nielsen-Massey

Method: Ensure the frozen compartment of your ice cream maker has been in the deep freeze overnight or according to manufacturers instructions.

  • Scoop the contents of the 6 passion fruit into a large heavy based saucepan. Squeezing the empty skins to ensure every drop of precious juice is used.
  • Next prepare the mangos. Cut down either side of the central stone, you will have three pieces. Take a fleshy side of the mango and score into three pieces using a sharp knife. With the blade flat to the skin, run the knife along each third, releasing a long slither of juicy, ripe mango. Repeat for the other side. Place the mango slices into the saucepan. Hold the central flesh and skin covered stone over the saucepan and squeeze as hard as you can. Scrape all of the pulp and juice from your hand into the pan.
  • Prepare the pineapple by cutting off the green spiky top and the flat base. Cut the pineapple into half and then divide each half into 3 sections. Cut down the outside of the central hard core – it will be the point of the pineapple. As with the mango, lay the blade flat between the fruit and the skin and slice to separate the two. Chop the pineapple into large chunks and add to the saucepan. Squeeze the skin and the hard core pieces over the saucepan to extracte as much juice as possible.
  • Pour the water over the fruit.
  • Add the sugar and turn the heat on to high under the pan.
FF Refreshing Tropical Fruit Sorbet
Refreshing Tropical Fruit Sorbet
  • Once the contents of the pan have started to bubble reduce the heat to medium, keep an eye on the fruit to ensure it doesn’t boil over.
  • Continue cooking for 20 minutes.
  • Carefully remove a spoonful of liquid from the saucepan, allow to cool and taste. The flavour should be pure fruit, not watered down and not super sweet – just as if you had eaten a slice of ripe mango. If the flavour is a little weak, continue cooking for a further 10 minutes and taste again.
  • When you are happy with the tropical fruit flavour, remove the saucepan from the heat.
  • Place a sieve over a large bowl.
  • Carefully pour the hot fruit mixture into the bowl through the sieve.
FF Refreshing Tropical Fruit Sorbet
This is going to become the most Refreshing Tropical Fruit Sorbet.
  • Using a strong dessert spoon press all of the fruit through the sieve. Occasionally clearing the underside of the sieve with a clean spoon, so that all the fruit pulp and juice goes into the bowl below.
  • This takes about 10 minutes to get it to this stage.
FF Refreshing Tropical Fruit Sorbet
Pips and pulp left in the sieve, all the flavour is in the bowl.
  • I did taste the remaining pulp and although crunchy it was pretty flavourless, that said you could still have it swirled through yoghurt for breakfast.
  • If you have an immersion blender or liquidiser, blend the resulting lumpy liquid until velvety smooth.
  • Place the bowl on a trivet, to aid cooling air circulation and cover with a net food tent, or cling film to stop flies having a taste!
FF Refreshing Tropical Fruit Sorbet.
Refreshing Tropical Fruit Sorbet cooling.
  • Allow the sorbet liquid to cool and then place in the fridge to chill.
  • Once chilled set up your ice cream maker according to manufacturers instructions.
  • Transfer the sorbet liquid to a jug, this makes pouring the liquid into the frozen chamber much easier.
  • With the machine churning pour the sorbet liquid into the ice cream maker and churn until slushy like.
  • Stop the machine, remove the paddle and scoop/pour the slushy mixture into a freezer proof, resealable tub.
FF Refreshing Tropical Fruit Sorbet
Refreshing Tropical Fruit Sorbet so full of fruity flavour.
  • Pop the lid on and place in the deep freeze, generally I leave ice creams and sorbets overnight, until frozen through.

To serve, remove the sorbet from the freezer 15-20 minutes to allow to soften slightly.

FF Refreshing Tropical Fruit Sorbet
Refreshing Tropical Fruit Sorbet the perfect way to end a meal.

For me, this is the perfect dessert after a hot spicy meal such as a curry or my Chunky Chilli. The cool, fruity sorbet, soothing on your tastebuds.

This is the perfect sorbet to make if you happen upon marked down fruit in the market or shops. It will keep for 3 months in the deep freeze and brighten a dull Winter’s day.

If you have enjoyed the recipe for my Refreshing Tropical Fruit Sorbet here are some others you may also like:

Strawberry Ripple Ice Cream

FF Refreshing Tropical Fruit Sorbet
Strawberry Ripple Ice Cream

Dark Chocolate Chip Vanilla Ice Cream

FF Refreshing Tropical Fruit Sorbet
Dark Chocolate Chip Vanilla Ice Cream

Lemon Ripple Ice Cream

FF Refreshing Tropical Fruit Sorbet
Lemon Ripple Ice Cream

 

I love creating, experimenting, tasting and testing different recipes. If you love mangos but aren’t a fan of pineapple, add more mango and leave the pineapple out.

Being allergic to oranges, means I always have to double check when I buy anything labelled ‘tropical’. Making my own Refreshing Tropical Fruit Sorbet means I know exactly what has gone into it. By all means adjust the sugar quantity if your fruit is sweeter, or riper. That’s why it is important to taste the liquid from the pan, remembering all the flavours will be dulled slightly by the freezing process.

I hope I have inspired you to get creative in your kitchens. Cooking should be fun. Combining flavours, adding a little something here or there, I hope that you take my recipes, try them and then change them to suit your tastes. I very much suspect a drop or two of orange blossom water would work very well in this recipe. But then I’ll never know 😉

Sammie xx

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Cheddar Tomato Basil Quiche

It would seem that Monday’s have become quiche days. This was not intentional, although I haven’t been cooking Sunday roasts for the last few weeks, so that may explain it. Plus we all love quiche in our house. It’s easy to make and bake in the morning, ready for a quick reheat in the evening for dinner. So today I give you my Cheddar Tomato Basil Quiche.

FF Cheddar Tomato Basil Quiche
Cheddar Tomato Basil Quiche perfect with homegrown salad and new potatoes.

Now if you’re a little quirky like I am, you’ll understand why quiche is one of my most favourite pastry dishes. It’s the ratio of pastry to filling that I love. Technically a tart, a quiche has no pastry top. So this Cheddar Tomato Basil Quiche has sides and a base of delicious, homemade, all butter shortcrust pastry and lots of eggy filling.

FF Cheddar Tomato Basil Quiche
Cheddar Basil Tomato Quiche utterly delicious and packed with great flavour.

One quick word on eggs – I adore them and only ever buy free range or organic. They are my go to comfort food and also the one thing I can make myself eat when I’m tired or in pain. I still eat my boiled egg out of the chick covered eggcup holder I had when I was little. I love eggs in all guises but a really good dippy boiled egg, or soft fried egg are my favourites!

Back to quiches and this Cheddar Tomato Basil Quiche in particular. I’ve made a few over recent weeks and I’ll link them at the bottom, but now I’m actively trying to make vegetarian ones. Twitter has a #MeatFreeMonday hashtag and so it fits in nicely with that for the time being. Most of my quiche recipes can be switched to veggie versions if you want to.

FF Cheddar Tomato Basil Quiche
Cheddar Tomato Basil Quiche so easy to make ahead.

Pastry! I have written a recipe that is absolutely foolproof for making Perfect All Butter Shortcrust Pastry. Yes I totally get that we’ve all got busy lives and as yet, no I haven’t made my own puff pastry, but, my recipe is quick and simple. It’s also a lot cheaper than buying your own pastry, plus you know exactly what goes in it. So please be encouraged to try making it for this Cheddar Tomato Basil Quiche. You’ll have twice as much as you need and you can easily freeze the other half!

Recipe: Cheddar Tomato Basil Quiche

500g/1lb 2oz – 1/2 quantity of Perfect All Butter Shortcrust Pastry

Spare Plain Flour for dusting the work top and rolling pin

6 Large Free Range Eggs

2 Tablespoons Whole or Semi Skimmed Milk

2 Whole tomatoes – each cut into 6 wedges

150g/5oz Strong Cheddar Cheese – grated

Handful of Fresh Basil Leaves

Pinch of Salt – I use Maldon Sea Salt

Freshly Ground Pepper

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

  • Dust the work top with flour and rolling pin. Form the pastry into a ball.
  • Roll out from the centre of the pastry, in one direction until you have a circle slightly larger than your quiche tin.
  • Ensure the quiche tin is placed onto a baking tray.
  • Transfer the pastry to the tin by wrapping the rolled out pastry around the rolling pin.
  • Ensure the pastry is pushed, not stretched into position, pressing firmly against the sides of the tin.
  • Roll the rolling pin over the top of the tin. This creates a nice clean edge to the quiche.
  • Cut a piece of baking parchment slightly larger than the filled tin. Scrunch it up and then place on top of the pastry.
  • Fill with ceramic balls or baking beans and place in the top of a preheated oven for 15 minutes.
  • After 15 minutes baking time has elapsed remove the baking tray from the oven.
  • Using the parchment paper lift out the baking balls.
  • Return the pastry case to the oven and bake for a further 5-10 minutes until the pastry has just turned golden.
FF Cheddar Tomato Basil Quiche
Place the tomatoes and half of the basil on the pastry base.
  • Next add the grated cheese in between the tomatoes.
  • Crack all the eggs into a large jug (I always crack mine into a separate bowl first).
  • Add the milk, salt and pepper and whisk lightly with a fork until combined.
  • Pour the egg mixture carefully over the filled quiche.
FF Cheddar Tomato Basil Quiche
Decorate the top of the quiche with the remaining basil leaves.
  • Place the quiche, still on the baking tray, into the centre of the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes.
  • The Cheddar Tomato Basil Quiche is baked when it is golden and there is no wobble to the centre of the quiche.
  • Once baked remove the quiche from the oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes.
FF Cheddar Tomato Basil Quiche
Cheddar Tomato Basil Quiche so easy to make and easy to eat.

To serve slice into 6 portions. Serve warm with salad and new potatoes for a wonderful mid week meal. Likewise this delightful quiche is delicious at room temperature and is perfect for buffets, packed lunches, picnics and food on the go.

Ensure the Cheddar Tomato Basil Quiche is cold before wrapping in cling film or foil and store in the fridge for up to 4 days.

If you have enjoyed the recipe for this Cheddar Tomato Basil Quiche here are some other recipes you may also like:

Feta Red Onion Marmalade Quiche

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

Smoked Bacon Asparagus Quiche

FF Smoked Bacon Asparagus Quiche
Smoked Bacon Asparagus Quiche a delightful combination of flavours.

Asparagus Proscuitto Ham Tart

FF Cheddar Tomato Basil Quiche
Asparagus Prosciutto Ham Tart made during a silicone baking mat review.

 

Quiches are so versatile. Layers of flavour can be built inside the egg tart. I’m particularly fond of quiches that use relish or condiments to build flavour. Likewise fresh herbs can really lift the flavour of a quiche. The basil in this Cheddar Tomato Basil Quiche turns a good quiche into a great one.

Play around with fresh herbs and good quality chutneys or relishes in your baking, especially in quiches. Their flavour can really add depth or freshness to the resulting flavour.

Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun creating your feast to share with others. Thank you for sharing photos of your amazing creations on Twitter and Instagram and for taking time to leave comments. It really makes my day to see what you come up with and how you interpret my recipes.

Sammie xx

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Goddess Cheese Pine Nut Muffins

Goddess Cheese Pine Nut Muffins vibrant strips of aromatic basil run through these delicious buttery cheese, pine nut studded muffins.

FF Goddess Cheese Pine Nut Muffins
Goddess Cheese Pine Nut Muffins a delightful flavour combination.

These delightful muffins are so easy to make, quick to bake and perfect for breakfast, packed lunches, picnics……

FF Goddess Cheese Pine Nut Muffins
Goddess Cheese Pine Nut Muffins perfect for picnics.

Whenever we have friends and family round, I always provide a cheese board. Having more of a savoury palette, I generally choose cheese and crackers over dessert on most occasions. I adore all cheeses and this Goddess Cheese, sent to me to try by Pong Cheese is no exception.

A cider washed edible rind conceals the most gorgeous, gooey, buttery cheese, perfect for spreading on crackers, with a glass of something chilled to go alongside. The initial buttery flavour is layered with a nutty taste that is perfectly  paired with the pine nuts in these Goddess Cheese Pine Nut Muffins.

FF Goddess Cheese Pine Nut Muffins
Goddess Cheese Pine Nut Muffins a great way to use up left over cheese.

Whilst spreading this cheese on crackers is a perfectly acceptable way to indulge your senses, my creative side knew that it would taste so good baked in a muffin. After a party or family gathering I am quite often left with cheese and other delectables. I avoid waste as much as I can, so incorporating this beautiful cheese into a bake gives it a second life in these delicious muffins.

Goddess Cheese Pine Nut Muffins are incredibly easy to whip up and bake. In fact these took less than 30 minutes from start to eating!

Oh boy, these muffins are fabulous warm out of the oven.

Recipe: Makes 12 Goddess Cheese Pine Nut Muffins

50g/2oz Pine Nuts

300g/11oz Plain White Flour (self raising can be substituted – leave out the baking powder)

2tsp Baking Powder

2 Whole Free Range Eggs

200ml Semi-Skimmed or Whole Milk

4tbsp Vegetable/Sunflower Oil

Goddess Cheese 150g/5oz – mine was from Pong Cheese

6 basil leaves

1/4tsp Sea Salt – I use Maldon

1/4tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper

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

  • Place the pine nuts into a dry skillet or frying pan and toast over a medium heat until golden. Remove from the pan and place on to a plate to cool. Reseve some pine nuts for topping the muffins.
  • Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl.
  • Pile the basil leaves on top of each other and cut into fine strips.
  • Add the cooled pine nuts, basil, and seasonings to the bowl.
  • Stir with a fork to incorporate.
  • Break the Goddess Cheese into lumps and add half to the flour mixture – I found it easier to have the bowl on the scales.
FF Goddess Cheese Pine Nut Muffins
Gorgeously gooey Goddess Cheese.
  • Cover the cheese in the bowl with the flour mixture. This will stop it clumping together.
  • Add the other half of the cheese, again pinching off gooey lumps and dropping them into the bowl. Cover in the flour mixture as before – dry mixture.
  • Into a jug add the milk, oil and eggs. Lightly mix with a fork – wet mixture.
  • Make a well in the centre of the dry mixture and pour in the wet mixture.
  • Stir with a fork approximately 10-12 times until the ingredients are just mixed.
FF Goddess Cheese Pine Nut Muffins
A few flour streaks are fine.
  • Note: Over mixed muffins will be tough!
  • Place muffin liners in a muffin tin – I didn’t but would advise you to as it does make the muffins easier to remove.
  • Divide the muffin mix between the 12 cases.
  • Top with the reserved pine nuts – if you have forgotten to reserve any don’t worry they will still look and taste delicious.
FF Goddess Cheese Pine Nut Muffins
Goddess Cheese Pine Nut Muffins ready for the oven.
  • Place the tin in the top of the oven and bake for approximately 15 minutes.
  • The muffins are cooked when they are just firm to touch and golden brown.
  • Once baked remove the muffins from the oven.
  • FF Goddess Cheese Pine Nut Muffins

      Beautifully golden Goddess Cheese Pine Nut Muffins.

    Transfer the Goddess Cheese Pine Nut Muffins to a cooling rack until warm and then devour!

    These muffins are at their absolute best, warm straight from the oven, where the cheese is still slightly melted and the flavours of the toasted pine nuts and basil come through.

FF Goddess Cheese Pine Nut Muffins
Look how moist and delicious these muffins are.

Having had to split a muffin for the photographs, I also really enjoyed them cold. All the buttery, nutty cheese, pine nut and basil flavours are still present which I am really pleased with. This makes the Goddess Cheese Pine Nut Muffins perfect as portable food.

I will definitely be making more of these for picnics, packed lunches and just for eating warm from the oven!!!

Muffins are always best on the day made, however, stored in an airtight container they are good for 3 days, or frozen for up to a month. To refresh just pop in a moderate oven for 10 minutes and they’ll taste like they’ve just been baked.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Goddess Cheese Pine Nut Muffins you may also like these:

Feta Cheese Herb Muffins

FF Goddess Cheese Pine Nut Muffins
Feta Cheese Herb Muffins delicious and light.

Cheese Bacon Breakfast Muffins

FF Goddess Cheese Pine Nut Muffins
Cheese Bacon Breakfast Muffins a great way to start the day.

Chorizo Goats Cheese Muffins

FF Goddess Cheese Pine Nut Muffins
Chorizo Goats Cheese Muffins a fantastic blend of flavours.

I would like to thank the wonderful Mrs Jackie Heaton for introducing me to baking my own muffins.

No longer do you need to look at an oozing, gooey Goddess Cheese and wonder what to do with it. These Goddess Cheese Pine Nut Muffins are sublime and as they don’t use a whole packet of cheese, leave you enough for your cheese and crackers.

This recipe started in my mind with the intent of using up leftover cheese. Oh no! These are so good I would happily buy the cheese to make them.

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

Sammie xx

Pong Cheese provided me with the cheese to make this recipe. All content, views, opinions, recipes and photographs are my own. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

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Garlic Rosemary Roast Potatoes

Let’s talk potatoes, the staple of many a British meal, yet often assigned the side role when it comes to dinner time. I will never be a fan of plain, peeled, boiled potatoes, yet give me a healthy serving of Perfectly Mashed Potatoes and I’m likely to forget the sausages on the plate! These crunchy Garlic Rosemary Roast Potatoes are so full of flavour and enhance any meal that accompanies them.

FF Garlic Rosemary Roast Potatoes
Garlic Rosemary Roast Potatoes a delicious accompaniment to any meal.

Having won some Albert Bartlett Rooster Potatoes a while ago, I wanted to create a delicious roast potato recipe that included the gorgeous red Rooster skin. Not only does the skin have a fantastic flavour, it is also good good source of fibre. Potatoes also contain Potassium, Vitamin C and Iron and are low in fat – unless you fry them or smother them in butter 😉.

All things in moderation eh?

FF Garlic Rosemary Roast Potatoes
Garlic Rosemary Roast Potatoes golden and crunchy.

I apologise for not posting this recipe earlier, however, as today is #National Garlic Day, I thought it would be rather appropriate. Personally I love garlic and have used quite a bit in this recipe, you can add as much or as little as you like. Same with the Rosemary. I couldn’t resist a final sprinkling of freshly chopped Parsley, which gives the finished dish a burst of colour and flavour. Again this is optional!

FF Garlic Rosemary Roast Potatoes
Garlic Bulbs and Fresh Rosemary complete with flower!

When I picked the Rosemary for these Garlic Rosemary Roast Potatoes, it still had some beautiful blue flowers on it. These can be eaten along with the finely chopped thick leaves.

Recipe: Garlic Rosemary Roast Potatoes serves 6

2kg/4.5lb Red Potatoes – such as the Albert Bartlett Rooster Potatoes I’ve used

2 tablespoons Olive Oil

4-5 Bulbs of Garlic

Small Handful Fresh Rosemary Stems

Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Optional – handful of chopped fresh parsley to finish.

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

  • Wash and thoroughly dry the potatoes. I place them onto a clean tea towel and place another tea towel on top to absorb all the moisture – dry potatoes = crunchy potatoes!
  • Chop the potatoes into 2″-3″ sized chunks and place onto a baking sheet.
  • Strip the Rosemary leaves from the stem and finely chop.
  • Finely chop/mince the garlic, removing the papery skin.
  • Drizzle the Olive Oil over the potatoes, then sprinkle over the garlic and chopped Rosemary.
  • Add 1/2tsp of sea salt and some freshly ground pepper.
  • Using clean hands toss all the ingredients together on the baking tray, ensuring each potato chunk is slicked in oil.
FF Garlic Rosemary Roast Potatoes
Garlic Rosemary Roast Potatoes ready for the oven.
  • Place the baking tray into the preheated oven and bake for 1 hour – 1 hour 15 minutes.
  • The potatoes are cooked when they are golden brown and tender all the way through – test with a knife if unsure.
  • Once cooked remove the potatoes from the oven,
FF Garlic Rosemary Roast Potatoes
Garlic Rosemary Roast Potatoes they sell amazing!!
  • Place the Garlic Rosemary Roast Potatoes on a serving platter and sprinkle over a handful of chopped Parsely.
FF Garlic Rosemary Roast Potatoes
Garlic Rosemary Roast Potatoes – dinner time!!

Almost certainly you will not have to call everyone to tell them dinner is ready! These potatoes smell as good as they taste. I like to serve them with everything from grilled salmon, chicken, to a fully roasted beef joint for Sunday dinner. It’s nice to ring the changes on week nights and weekend dinners.

This is a much requested dish in our house and we quite often have them with cold meat and salad, during the warmer summer months.

If you have enjoyed these Garlic Rosemary Roast Potatoes you may also like these other recipes:

Baked Garlic Herb Potato Wedges 

FF Baked Garlic Herb Potato Wedges
Baked Garlic Herb Potato Wedges

Tangy Lemon Potato Salad

FF Tangy Lemon Potato Salad
Tangy Lemon Potato Salad

Perfectly Mashed Potatoes 

FF Perfectly Mashed Potatoes
Perfectly Mashed Potatoes creamy and delicious.

 

Sometimes the simplest recipes are the tastiest.

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

This the most amazingly easy soup to make and the flavour is outta this world good. 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. Whilst 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. 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. 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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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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Carrot Soup

Hello and thanks for popping by. Autumn is most definitely here and with it the very changeable weather. One minute blue skies and warming sunshine only to vanish, in a flash of lightening, to deep grey clouds, swirling winds and cold, drenching rain. Autumnal weather has all the consistency of a teenager’s mood swings!!! One thing that is guareented to brighten the dreariest day is this vibrant orange, Carrot Soup by my very talented and beautiful friend Liz over at Teta Lizza’s Kitchen.

Carrot Soup warming and comforting www.feastingisfun.com
Carrot Soup warming and comforting www.feastingisfun.com

 

Liz and I ‘met’ over on Twitter. We were both newbies to both the blogging and Tweeting world and I guess we found a kindred spirit in each other. If you haven’t visited Liz’s Kitchen at Teta Lizza, pop over, her site is warm, welcoming and bursting with delicious recipes.

So we live on seperate continents. That hasn’t stopped us from having a giggle, realising that we are very alike in some ways and supporting each other as we both continue our journey in the ‘blogosphere’!

Carrot Soup beautiful, good for you and delicious www.feastingisfun.com
Carrot Soup beautiful, good for you and delicious www.feastingisfun.com

 

Forever I will be thankful to Liz for making and posting this Carrot Soup. The subtle hint of ginger gently warms you through as you consume this delicious soup. The beautiful sweetness of the carrots contrasts with the sharp, salty, Stilton, crumbled into the middle. Liz uses Parsley to garnish her soup and that too would be delicious, as would a swirl of cream, dollop of creme fraiche…. the garnishing possibilities are endless. It must be said, though, that without garnish, this soup is entirely delicious on it’s own. Accompanied by nothing more than a good, thick, slice of bread, for dunking and mopping!

Carrot Soup garnish with Stilton cheese www.feastingisfun.com
Carrot Soup garnish with Stilton cheese www.feastingisfun.com

 

Recipe : Serves four portions of Carrot Soup

1tbsp Olive Oil

1 Medium Onion diced

450g/1lb Carrots – peeled and medium diced

1 Large Potato – baking sized, peeled and medium diced

1tsp Fresh Grated Ginger

1 litre/Approx 2pints Water

1 Vegetable Stock Cube – if not making vegetarian version, a chicken stock cube is fine

Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper to season

Stilton Cheese to garnish – optional

Method :

Pour the Olive Oil into a heavy based pan, over a medium heat.

Add the diced onions and a small sprinkle (1/4tsp) of salt. Sautée the onions until soft and translucent – adding the salt will help stop them browning.

Add the carrots and potatoes to the softened onions.
Add the carrots and potatoes to the softened onions.

 

Stir the vegetables over a medium/low heat for a minute.

Grate 1tsp of fresh ginger and add to the pan.
Grate 1tsp of fresh ginger and add to the pan.
Add the water and stock cube to the vegetables.
Add the water and stock cube to the vegetables.

 

Add a good grinding of black pepper. I wouldn’t add any additional salt at this stage as the stock cube contains salt.

Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat and allow the soup, covered with a lid, to simmer for half an hour.

Once the soup has finished cooking move the pan off of the heat.

Purée using a hand held blender.
Purée using a hand held blender.
Carrot Soup have a final taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
Carrot Soup have a final taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

 

Serve the Carrot Soup ladled into warmed bowls and garnished with some crumbled Stilton Cheese and thick slices of homemade bread.

Carrot Soup with delicious homemade bread for dunking!
Carrot Soup with delicious homemade bread for dunking!

 

This Carrot Soup warms you right through. Perfect for lunch after a long walk, admiring the changing colours of the season and kicking through the fallen leaves.

What are your favourite Autumn activities?

You may also like this Crunchy Seeded Bread to make and enjoy with this delicious soup.

Sammie x

 

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