I love tomatoes. Big beefsteak tomatoes, tiny cherry tomatoes and regular slicing tomatoes, I absolutely could not be without them in my kitchen. As well as popping sweet, vine ripened cherry tomatoes in my mouth while pottering around my kitchen, tomatoes are one of the most versatile ingredients. Here, in these Fresh Basil Topped Slow Roasted Tomatoes their flavour is intensified by roasting slowly and enhanced with the addition of basil. Simple yet mouth wateringly good!
Since British tomatoes are just coming into season, I want to use them as much as possible in my recipes. While I have successfully grown tomatoes of our own, blight has been a problem over the last few years, so I have stopped. Instead relying on our local farm shop and Waitrose, who stock British tomatoes for a good part of the year. Also I should add a quick thank you to all of the farmers who grow tomatoes and mange to extend the season using poly tunnels.
While tomatoes roast in the oven their flavour intensifies. As the heat starts to dehydrate them, so the flavours become less diluted. Given nothing more than a sprinkle of salt and pepper and a drizzle of oil, the resulting flavour is both sweet and savoury. As well as being a fantastic side dish to fish and chicken, I also enjoy spreading warm tomatoes on to fresh bread and eating just as it is.
One thing I should mention is that I have used cold pressed Rapeseed oil. Made locally by Kentish Oils, it is golden yellow in colour and has a soft, slightly nutty flavour. It really compliments the tomato and basil flavours, rather than competing with them. Perfect for roasting and dressing the tomatoes.
Recipe: Fresh Basil Topped Slow Roasted Tomatoes
Amounts given per 450g/1lb Fresh Tomatoes
1 tbsp Cold Pressed Rapeseed/Canola Oil plus extra for drizzling after roasting – I use Kentish Oils
1/2tsp Sea Salt Flakes – I prefer Maldon
1/4tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Small Handful Fresh Basil Leaves – approximately 10 leaves
Method: Preheat oven to 180C/160C fan, 350F, gas mark 4
You will need a large baking tray for this recipe.
First of all wash and dry the tomatoes.
Cut large tomatoes in half and leaver smaller ones on the vine.
Place the tomatoes on to a baking tray and drizzle over the oil.
Sprinkle over with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Place in the centre of the oven and roast for 45 minutes.
As soon as the tomatoes are cooked remove from the oven.
Using a fish slice or slotted spoon carefully transfer the roasted tomatoes to a serving plate.
Roughly chop the basil leaves and scatter over the tomatoes.
Finally drizzle a little oil over the tomatoes and leave until warm, not hot, before serving.
Because hot tomatoes will burn your mouth, it is best to leave these to cool until just warm before eating. Doing so ensures that you get the maximum flavour that these beauties have to offer. Also these tomatoes taste delicious when cold.
Any leftover tomatoes can be kept in an airtight container and refrigerated for up to 2 days.
If you have enjoyed this recipe for Fresh Basil Topped Slow Roasted Tomatoes you may also like these:
While I happily use tinned tomatoes in my pasta dishes, such as this Cheesy Vegetable Pasta Bake, I plan to actively create more recipes with fresh tomatoes this Summer. Since we tend to eat lighter meals during the warmer months I am looking forward to the challenge. Especially as I am aware that this blog most definitely needs more savoury recipes!
Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun preparing and sharing your feast.
Kentish Oils sent me a small bottle of cold pressed Rapeseed oil to try. All opinions and content are my own, for which I have not received any payment.
No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.
As soon as Winter hits, there is one thing I crave. Soup. It’s warming, almost insulating properties feel like a hug on the inside. Whether it be a smooth, blitzed soup or a chunky textured version, it is my food of choice, seeing me through the short, wind blown days of our coldest season. Today I share with you my Warming Winter Vegetable Soup. Developed specifically to battle cold viruses and yet be thoroughly enjoyable to eat.
While, to ease sore throats, this soup can be blitzed, the soft, gently cooked vegetables are easily swallowed. Making the most of what was left in the fridge at the end of the week, turned this soup into a five star recipe. Also using frozen vegetables is a good way to bulk out this dish. Adding in anything that will work with the slightly sweet, spicy flavour.
Winter root vegetables have a natural sweetness, more so after the first frosts. While deep green, leafy brassica’s, rich in iron, provide a more meaty, sometimes slightly bitter taste. Together, in this Warming Winter Vegetable soup, the flavours come together and perfectly compliment each other. Spiked with warmth from the chili adding a more lasting warmth.
Since this soup is a comforting and warming, adding freshly sliced mild red chili and spring onions to the top provides a burst of freshness. Almost a zesty burst hits the tongue when warming and cold hits. Not only does the addition of fresh parsley look good, it also provides extra Vitamin C!
Fresh Mild Red Chili and Spring Onions finely sliced to top
A large, heavy bottomed pan is needed for this recipe.
First of all, place the pan on the hob and add the oil.
All of the vegetables in this recipe should be cut into small dice, starting with the onions and leeks.
Turn the heat to medium, allow the oil to warm, add the chopped leeks and onion. Also add 1/4tsp salt, sauté until softened but not browned.
Next add the carrots and celery, again cook until softened.
Now add the garlic and fresh thyme. Pour over enough water to cover the vegetables.
Cut the cabbage into thin strips and chop the beans into thirds, then add these to the pan. Also prepare both the potato and swede and add to the soup.
Finally add the lentils and pearl barley, top the pan up with water so the vegetables are just covered. Crumble in a stock cube and add a good grinding of black pepper. And also the chili flakes to your preference.
Bring the soup up to a simmer, place a lid on the pan.
Simmer until the root vegetables are tender – approximately 30 minutes.
Serve in warmed bowls with freshly sliced mild chili’s, spring onion and sprigs of parsley. Add warm, crusty bread such as Seeded Cob Loaf to create a hearty meal.
To store, cool the soup completely. Spoon into sealable containers and refrigerate for up to 4 days. Alternatively, place in the freezer and eat within one month.
If you have enjoyed this recipe for Warming Winter Vegetable Soup you may also like these:
Because most soups, including this Warming Winter Vegetable Soup, are easily made and easily stored, making a big batch seems to make good sense. More so in the Winter, when after a long, cold day, comfort is merely moments away. Since frozen soup can be popped from its container into a saucepan over a gentle heat, with the addition of a little extra water and reheated. Most importantly, dinner or lunch is only a little stirring by the stove away.
Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun preparing your feast.
No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.
As we continue to enjoy our British Summer, I would like to celebrate the abundance of seasonal vegetables available at this time of the year. Along with birds chirping early in the mornings and long, sunny, warm summer days, the variety of vegetables, bought or home grown, really allows me as a home cook to get creative in the kitchen. Roasted Summer Vegetable Orzo Salad is a delicious celebration of easy summer cooking, using a variety of seasonal vegetables.
Packed full of roasted veggies in a lemon vinaigrette, this dish can be either served on its own, or as a colourful side dish. Since it can be served warm, it is a perfect barbecue or buffet dish. Indeed, when made in the morning, then left to sit for a few hours, the flavours develop, enhancing the overall deliciousness. Easy to prepare and make ahead!
As much as I enjoy a crunchy pasta salad, there is something very comforting in the softened, roasted vegetables here. Slightly sweet, with a mere hint of caramelisation, their flavour is enhanced by the fresh lemon juice in the vinaigrette. Also orzo provides the perfect bite, complimenting the vegetables. Resulting in a dish that lets the vegetable flavours shine, without being overly bulked out with pasta.
1/2tsp Sea Salt plus 1tbsp for cooking the pasta – I use Maldon
1/2tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Handful of Fresh Parsley – flat or curly
Note: individual vegetables may be substituted according to preference.
Method: Preheat oven to 200C/180C fan, gas mark 6
First of all, wash and thoroughly dry the vegetables. Follow by chopping into equal 1″/2.5cm pieces.
Transfer to a large baking tray.
Drizzle over a generous tablespoon of olive oil and one quarter of a teaspoon of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
With clean hands toss the vegetables in the seasoned oil, taking care to cover each piece.
Spread the vegetables out on the tray. During the cooking process they will reduce slightly in size.
Place the baking tray into the centre of a preheated oven and roast for 30-40 minutes, turning the vegetables halfway through the roasting time.
While the vegetables are roasting cook the orzo and make the lemon vinaigrette.
Place a large pan of cold water on the hob and bring to a boil. When boiling add 1 tablespoon of sea salt and then add the orzo.
Squeeze the fresh lemon juice into a small, clean jar that has a fitted lid. Add the extra virgin olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Place the lid securely on to the jar and shake vigorously to combine.
Cook the orzo according to packet instructions, removing from the heat and draining 2 minutes before the finished cooking time.
Place the drained orzo into a bowl and pour over the lemon vinaigrette. Fork through the orzo to ensure the vinaigrette covers each small piece, stopping the pasta from forming clumps.
When cooked the vegetables will be softened, allowing a fork to easily pierce. Some pieces may be slightly charred at the edges.
Spoon or tip the roasted vegetables on top of the orzo.
Gently, use two forks to mix the roasted vegetables into the Orzo.
Finally, roughly chop a handful of fresh parsley, discarding the stalks and scatter over the salad.
If making the same day as eating, cover with cling film and leave on the work top. Yet, when making the day before, leave out the parsley, cool, cover and store in the fridge. Remove and allow to sit at room temperature for one hour, garnish with freshly chopped parsley and then serve.
Since this salad is so versatile, it can be served alongside grilled chicken, salmon, or burgers and ribs at a barbecue. Likewise, it can also be served on its own.
If you have enjoyed this recipe for Roasted Summer Vegetable Orzo Salad you may also like these:
While shopping in large supermarkets i find it can be easy to become disconnected with seasonal vegetables. Transportation means that most ‘summer’ vegetables can be easily obtained throughout the year. Since large, super greenhouses have cropped up across the country, most notably in Thanet, Kent, the effect on home grown produce has been to lengthen its season. Also ensuring the public buys British rather than imported produce. I fully support this endeavour.
Yet, even with this consideration, there is little to rival blackberry picking in August and September. Connecting us all to nature and the natural season of harvest.
Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun preparing our feast.
No part of this post may be reproduced without the written consent of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.
Baked Cheese Olive Ciabatta Bread, quick and easy to make, perfect for sharing.
This post hardly needs any words. Simply look at the photos? Fresh ciabatta bread baked with the ultimate topping. Three different cheeses melted together, with kalamata olives and fresh basil. Resulting in crisp, crusty bread with the most flavourful, salty, fresh herb spiked, cheesy covering, Baked Cheese Olive Ciabatta Bread.
Since combining Philadelphia cream cheese, mozzarella and sharp cheddar gives this topping a great combination of melting gooeyness and great cheese flavour. Also adding the meaty kalamata olives and fresh basil provides an overall herby saltiness that goes well with cocktails, especially a Martini. While the topping is overly generous, it could be split to cover two open Ciabattas. Sliced thinly, or cut into squares, these would make elegant, pre dinner canapés.
Recipe: Baked Cheese Olive Ciabatta Bread
1 x Regular size Ciabatta Bread – split open
75g/3oz Philadelphia Cream Cheese – I find own brands too watery for this recipe
Quick, easy recipes, or in some cases assemblies are an absolute wonder to have in our repertoire. Whether we are rushed off our feet with the busyness of life, or the opposite, too hot or tired to contemplate ‘cooking’, we all need a stash of no fail, easy recipes. As soon as they are assembled and baked, we can breath a collective sigh of relief, take a deep breath and enjoy our time together.
Whatever you are making, baking or even assembling in your kitchens, remember to have fun. Food tastes better when shared and the hostess is relaxed!
No part of this post may be copied or reproduced without the owner’s express, written permission. Please see myDisclosure Policy.
Almond Topped Cherry Scones plus a review of Andrew James Stainless Steel Set of 5 Bowls with Airtight Lids.
Summer is truly here. Sunshine, Wimbledon, Strawberries and Scones. Well except for today, as it is raining, a welcome relief for the garden. Today I bring you not strawberries, but another seasonal summer treat, cherries. Stunning, deep ruby red jewels, that hang like earrings from the tree. Preserved as glacé cherries meaning these Almond Topped Cherry Scones can be made any time of the year.
Combining the flavours of cherry and almond in these scones is, I think, game changing. Add clotted cream and dark cherry preserve and you have yourself a delicious scone that is bursting with flavour. Honestly, I wish that I had made these scones a very long time ago, such is the pleasure obtained from the experience of eating one.
Having been sent a nest of Stainless Steel Bowls with Airtight Lids byAndrew James, I decided to see how much damage I could do to them. Seriously, when reviewing new products they need to be put through a tough regime. As mentioned before, new or replacement equipment has to earn a place in my kitchen. Since honest reviews are the only ones you will ever read on this blog, your trust is never taken for granted.
Since first making shortcrust pastry in the 3500ml, the second largest bowl, then proceeding to make the scone dough in the same bowl. Again using a pastry cutter to cut the fats into the flour. I knew if anything could mess up these bowls, the pastry cutter would give them a hard time. Yet, following a full cycle in the dishwasher, the bowl came out virtually untouched.
The result of really attacking this bowl with a pastry cutter, a few scratches. In all fairness I was very heavy handed when making the pastry and scones. What I absolutely love about these bowls is the non slip base. Whether whisking up Yorkshire Puddings, Ice Cream, or pouring homemade Tomato Sauce into them, these bowls do not shift on the worktop. Each bowl comes with airtight fitted lids, with the largest bowl having a lid with a removable centre. Perfect for splash control when whisking liquids see Lime Ripple Luxury Ice Cream. Finally, the only minor downside to these bowls is that they cannot be used in the microwave. A small price to pay for the robust Stainless Steel bowl with non slip base and airtight lid.
These bowls come as a nest of 5 in the following sizes:
4500ml capacity – 26cm diameter
3000ml capacity – 24cm diameter
2500ml capacity – 22cm diameter
2000ml capacity – 20cm diameter
1000ml capacity – 18cm diameter
Even though these bowls cannot be used in the microwave, they are so versatile and robust, not forgetting to mention space saving. Since all of the bowls stack conveniently inside each other. They receive a firm 5 out of 5 from me. These bowls are a welcome addition to my busy kitchen. If you are quick and order before the end of July, use SAMMIE10 code for a super 10% discount.
Method: Preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan, gas mark 7
Line a large baking tray with baking parchment.
Sieve in the flour and baking powder, then add both of the fats.
Using the tips of your fingers, or a pastry cutter, work the fats into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs with some larger, pea sized pieces of fat visible.
Next add the salt and sugar. Mix together using a balloon whisk.
Now add half of the glacé cherries. Toss them about in the mixture, this prevents them sticking together. Add the other half and do the same.
Make a well in the centre of the mix, pour in the milk and almond extract.
Use a butter knife to gently stir the milk into the flour mix. As the dough starts to come together switch to using your hand. Gently bringing the mix to a coherent dough.
Tip the dough on to a floured surface and gently knead to form a 5cm/2″ thick disc.
Using a well floured 5cm/2″ round cutter, cut out the scones, remembering to press straight down without twisting the cutter. Twisting can cause odd shaped or lopsided scones as they bake. Place each scone on to the lined baking tray.
Bring all the bits of scone dough together once the scones are cut, knead lightly and continue to cut out the remaining scones. Repeat the last step until all of the dough is used.
Once all of the scones have been cut out brush the tops with milk and sprinkle over flaked almonds.
Place the baking tray into the centre of the preheated oven and bake for 25 – 30 minutes.
The Almond Topped Cherry Scones are baked when they are risen, golden brown and sound hollow when rapped on the base with a knuckle.
Once baked remove the scones from the oven and place immediately on to a cooling rack to cool.
When the scones are cooled, or slightly warm then they are ready to be served.
I like to serve the scones on a large platter with ramekins of clotted cream and cherry preserve. Adding fresh cherries when they are in season, finishes the platter beautifully.
Serve with a large pot of tea and the best china you own!
All scones are at their best on the day they are made. If you wish to make ahead, you can do so by one day. Make the scones, cool completely and store in an airtight container, such as the large stainless steel bowls. The next day 20 minutes prior to serving, warm in a preheated oven, at baking temperature for 5-10 minutes. Cool slightly and serve. Rather like bread, the reheating simply refreshes the scones and they taste freshly baked.
If you have enjoyed this recipe for Almond Topped Cherry Scones you may also like these:
Homemade scones are a world away from their shop bought counterparts. In fact I never even liked scones before I made them myself. Essential to any Afternoon Tea they are simply the easiest treat to quickly make should visitors unexpectedly arrive. Making the scone dough in the Stainless Steel bowl made the process even easier. Especially with the non slip base and dishwasher safe factors.
If you make these Almond Topped Cherry Scones please let me know? I love and really appreciate reading the comments that you take time to leave. Pop a picture on Twitter or Instagram and tag me in. I’ll be sure to give you a shoutout from @sammiefeasting.
Do take a look at this nest of bowls and don’t forget your 10% discount code SAMMIE10, only available against these bowls from Andrew James. I highly recommend them for camping, caravaning or even taking on holiday as they are super lightweight.
Whatever you are making, baking and creating in you kitchens or indeed caravans, have fun creating your feast.
I regularly bake on holiday. Do you?
Andrew James provided me with the nest of 5 stainless steel bowls with matching airtight lids for the purpose of review. All comments and opinions are my own and are a complete reflection of my experience in using them. I was not paid to write this post and the discount is curtesy of Andrew James. No part of this post may be reproduced in any way without my prior permission. Please see myDisclosure Policy for further details.
Cheddar Sun Dried Tomato Scones are the best savoury scones made at Feasting headquarters so far. Sharp, mature cheddar pairs beautifully with the sun dried tomatoes and the addition of fresh basil completes the final flavour. These scones need no addition as they are moist and light.
Two things are really important when making these scones. First of all, use great ingredients. That doesn’t mean everything has to be top of the range, but buy the best mature cheddar you can afford. While the final flavour is not overpowering, if a milder cheddar is used it’s flavour will be lost. Secondly, lightness of hand while making the scone dough. If it is worked, or handled too much the scones will be heavy.
Since the sun dried tomatoes add a depth of savoury flavour to the finished scone, they are crucial to the recipe. Dry packaged are best, however if they are only available in oil that’s ok. Simply remove slightly more than the recipe calls for and drain them thoroughly using kitchen towels. Their deep, unique flavour and texture will still work in this recipe.
Time to get baking!
Recipe: Cheddar Sun Dried Tomato Scones makes 10-12
450g/1lb Plain White Flour
3tsp Baking Powder
25g/1oz Trex – solid vegetable fat kept very cold
50g/2oz Unsalted Butter kept very cold
250mls Whole Milk straight from the fridge – plus a little extra for brushing the tops of the scones
150g/5oz Freshly Grated Mature/Sharp Cheddar – I used Wyke Farm mature cheddar
50g/2oz Sun Dried Tomatoes preferably not in oil
Handful of Fresh Basil Leaves – approx. 10 large leaves.
You will need two large baking trays lined with baking parchment and a 5cm/2″ plain round cutter.
First of all prepare the ingredients. Grate the cheese and chop, or snip the sun dried tomatoes and basil into similar sized pieces – see photo.
Add your flour, baking powder, salt and a good grinding of black pepper to a large bowl. Use a balloon whisk to blend the ingredients together.
Next add both the fats and blend them into the flour using a pastry cutter. Alternatively rub the fat into the flour using your fingers. Finally the flour should have a breadcrumb appearance with some larger, pea sized, pieces of fat visible.
Add one third of the grated cheese to the bowl. Use your fingers to toss the cheese in the flour. This coats the cheese and stops it from clumping. Repeat with half of the remaining cheese. Set the unused cheese to one side.
Now do the same with the sun dried tomatoes and fresh basil, tossing them in the flour to coat them.
Make a well in the centre of the bowl and pour in the cold milk.
Stir the ingredients together with a dinner knife, until they form a rough dough.
Use your hand, shaped like a claw to pull all the ingredients together.
Tip the scone dough on to a lightly floured work top.
Bring the dough together with your hands and pat into a rough circle approximately 1 inch/2.5cm deep.
Thoroughly flour the round cutter and cut out the scones. NOTE: Do not twist the cutter as you push through the dough as this will result in uneven/lopsided final bakes. Place the scones on to the lined baking trays.
Brush the top of each scone with milk and add a little of the remaining cheese.
Place the baking trays into the preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes.
The scones are baked when they are a golden colour and similar to bread sound hollow when rapped on the base with a knuckle.
As soon as they are baked remove the scones from the oven.
Immediately place the scones on to a cooling rack, using a clean tea towel to transfer them as they will be very hot.
Since these scones are at their absolute best when still slightly warm, there is no need to wait for them to completely cool before tasting!
While delicious eaten warm, cool completely before packing into an airtight container to store.
These scones can be made ahead, cooled and packed into freezer bags. They will keep for up to one month in the deep freeze. Ideal for making ahead.
If you have enjoyed this recipe for Cheddar Sun Dried Tomato Scones you may also like these:
Cheddar Sun Dried Tomato Scones, such a delicious combination of flavours and texture. Also perfect for making ahead and freezing, ready to pop in the oven on a low heat when unexpected guests arrive. Make ahead recipes are my all time favourites. Especially as I never know from one day to the next how my body will be. Fortunately it’s always nice to know that there is good, homemade food in the house.
Whatever you are making, baking and creating, have fun. Please tweet me @sammiefeasting with your cooking and baking pics? I love seeing what you have created.
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.
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.
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.
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
4 Large Free Range Eggs – plus 1 extra for the egg wash
3tbsp Double Cream
1/4tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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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, seePerfect 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.
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.
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!
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.
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 andPotato 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!
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
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.
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.
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:
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.
Homemade Cauliflower Cheese has to be right up there, on the list of all time comfort foods – right?
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 HomemadeCauliflower 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.
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.
My favourite way to eat and enjoy HomemadeCauliflower 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 buyBarts 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
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.
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.
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!
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.
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:
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 SteakLeek 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.
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.
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!
The marriage between the flavours will make your tastebuds sing in harmony.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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:
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 😉