Yorkshire puddings

Yorkshire puddings are one of my favourite things in the world and because I don’t often eat roast dinners every Sunday (or any Sunday apart from at Christmas really) like many of my country people I don’t eat them nearly often enough. There’s a bit of controversy over when you can eat them with some pedantic people (like my in laws) not serving them unless it’s alongside a joint of roast beef (or in toad in the hole). I say just ignore this nonsense and serve them as often as possible. This is Jamie Oliver’s recipe – I didn’t want to go wrong on Christmas Day!

Makes 12

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp coconut fat
  • 2 large eggs
  • 100g plain flour
  • 100ml milk

Method

1.) Preheat the oven to 225 degrees C

2.) Add a 1/2 tsp coconut fat to each muffin hole in a muffin tin

3.) Put the muffin tin in the oven for 10 minutes

4.) In the meantime, in a measuring jug, whisk up the eggs, flour and milk until there’s no lumps.

5.) Carefully pour the mixture in the hot oil. Bake for 12 – 15 minutes until golden brown.

Frangipane Mince Pies

Mince pies are a traditional Christmas treat in the UK. Generally it’s a mince pie and some sherry that gets left out for Santa on Christmas Eve. Mince isn’t a meat but a mixture of dried fruits, nuts, rum or brandy and spices. It’s really easy to find jars of the stuff around wintertime in the UK but if you can’t it’s not a particularly difficult thing to make. There are a lot of odd people that don’t like mince pies. Admittedly, mince pies are pretty commercially produced when shop bought and the pastry has to be a bit robust to survive. I think these mince pies taken from the Baking Bible that is Nigella Lawon’s ‘How To Be A Domestic Goddess’ would convert the hardiest of doubters, the pastry is so light with the icing sugar and the frangipane goes beautifully with the spiced fruit. I think the almond flavour of frangipane just makes it extra Christmassy, reminiscent of marzipan and stollen. Serve one of these with a cup of mulled wine for the ultimate winter treat.

Makes 12

Ingredients

  • 175g plain flour
  • 30g ground almonds and another 90g for the frangipane
  • 65g icing sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 125g unsalted block of butter and another 90g for the frangipane
  • 4 eggs
  • 200g mincemeat
  • 90g caster sugar

Method

1.) For the pastry, add the icing sugar, flour and 30g almonds and a pinch of salt to a food processor.

2.) Chop the 125g butter into small cubes and throw them into the food processor.

3.) Pulse the mixture until it looks like breadcrumbs.

4.) In a bowl, separate 2 egg yolks and add a tbsp iced water. Pour into the food processor and continue to pulse until the pastry is starting to clump together around the food processor.

5.) Bring it together with your hands and form two discs. Wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

6.) Roll out one of the discs and stamp out 6 circles. Use these to fill the inside of a cupcake tin. Repeat with the other disc. I only had a muffin tin so I had to do a bit of a cut and paste job with the rest of the pastry which was fine but it was a bit difficult to get the pies out of the tin in the end.

7.) Refrigerate the mince pies for another 15 minutes and preheat the oven to 200 degrees C.

8.) Divide the mincemeat among the twelve tarts.

9.) To make the frangipane, melt the other 90g butter in the microwave for 20 seconds, beat with the other two eggs, the 90g caster sugar and the 90g ground almonds.

10.) Add dollops of the frangipane onto the top of the mincemeat. Cook for about 15 minutes. (Mine may look a bit brown but weren’t burnt at all!)

11.) Let them cool to room temperature before removing from the tin.

Sausage, cider and apple pie

Now we’re in winter I just couldn’t resist making a pie. With the veggie sausage options out there so great at the moment, I felt a traditionally meat pie like this pork sausage and cider pie could work well with a substitute. I’m a particular fan of the Richmond brand veggie sausages. The pastry in this pie is made using a mixture of cider and oil which lightens it up a fair bit. In his book, ‘Pies & Puds’, Paul Hollywood, co-judge of The Great British Bake off, just uses the pastry as a lid. I’m not so keen on pies which only have a pastry lid, so I’ve stretched the pastry out to surround the whole thing, missing the ability to make it look pretty as a result. However, I wouldn’t do it any differently, this pie was exactly how I wanted it taste-wise.

Serves 4 as main

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 300ml dry cider
  • 125ml olive oil
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 350g plain flour and extra for dusting + 2tbsp
  • oil
  • 2 medium onions
  • 2 sticks of celery
  • 8 veggie sausages
  • 175ml stock
  • 1 cooking apple
  • 2 eating apples
  • 6 sage leaves
  • salt and pepper

Method

1.) Make the pie filling. Peel and finely chop the two onions. Finely chop the celery sticks. Heat some oil in a casserole dish and cook the onion and celery until softened.

2.) Chop up the sausages into pieces, add to the pan, cook until starting to brown. Add 2tbsp flour to the pan and cook for one minute to cook off the flour flavour.

3.) Make up the stock and measure out 175ml of the cider. Give it a good stir and leave to cook.

4.) Chop up the apples and the sage.

5.) Add them to the pan and cook down for about 45 minutes until the sauce thickens. Season with salt and pepper.

6.) Leave the filling to cool to room temperature and start to make the pastry.

7.) Beat one of the eggs in a mixing bowl with 125ml olive oil and 125ml cider. Start whisking in the flour until it’s too thick to whisk. Then mix with a wooden spoon to combine the rest of the flour. Wrap the pastry in cling film and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.

8.) Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. Dust your countertop with flour and dust a rolling pin. Cut off 2/3 of the pastry and roll out thinly enough to line a 30cm tart dish.

9.) Bake in the oven for 10 minutes.

10.) At this point, if the filling is around room temperature then fill the pastry crust.

11.) Roll out the other pastry 1/3 and cover the top of the pie. Press the edges together so there’s no gaps then stick a finger in the middle to make a small hole to let out steam. Beat the other egg, brush the pastry with the egg and bake for 30 minutes.

Mustard Sausage and Potato Bake

I was fortunate enough to have some days of holiday to use up in finishing my current job but I had to take them toute seule so I decided to go to France to simultaneously see friends and also check if my language classes were serving their purpose. As I would leave my husband on his own and he is too lazy to cook I tried to make something with a few portions before I left to ensure that he wasn’t just eating fish fingers everyday. There was a recipe in my slow cooker recipe book which I fiddled about with and I came up with this lovely mustardy sausage bake which I can see myself making many times in the future. It’s also nice to have a good British recipe which isn’t just pie (as much as I love pie). There’s not much green in this recipe so it might be nice with a side of broccoli or the traditional British accompaniment – peas.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 750g potatoes
  • 25g butter
  • 2 onions
  • 1 pack fake bacon
  • 1 cooking apple
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 200ml stock (I used Massel chicken flavour)
  • 2 tsp English mustard (i.e. the bright yellow stuff)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 50g cheddar cheese
  • 8 veggie sausages
  • salt and pepper

Method

1.) Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C

2.) Peel the potatoes and finely slice them

3.) Oil a baking tray and spread out the potatoes on it so they slightly overlap. Season with salt and spray with some oil.

4.) Bake for 30 minutes.

5.) Peel the onion and finely chop. Heat some oil in a frying pan and fry the onion until starting to soften.

6.) Chop up the ‘bacon’ and add to the pan to crisp up.

7.) Peel and chop up the apple and add it to the pan. Fry for a couple more minutes.

8.) Make up the stock, mix with the mustard and pour over the onion. Add the flour and stir through. Add the sausages and the bay leaf.

9.) Cook for 5 minutes or so until the mixture has thickened. Remove the bay leaf and take off the heat.

10.) Pour the mixture over the potatoes and put back in the oven for 10 minutes.

11.) Grate the cheese.

12.) Sprinkle the cheese over the baking tray and cook for a couple of minutes until the cheese is melted.

Kedgeree

Kedgeree is a dish that I’ve seen a lot of on cooking programs and admired from afar but never made. It’s a dish that was adapted by the British from an Indian recipe back in the 1800s. It uses a delicious combination of smoked fish and curry powder cooked like a risotto. Sometimes you’ll see this as a breakfast option in English hotels, smoked kippers are a traditional English breakfast so I guess it stems from that. I made this as a weeknight dinner so I just used some leftover frozen fish mix that I had in the freezer but you can be as frugal (or not) as you like. I used the recipe in ‘Gordan Ramsey’s Ultimate Cookery Course’. If you haven’t already seen it, I really recommend the tv show Gordon, Gino and Fred’s Road Trip to learn a bit about the food in other countries and also have a good laugh.

Serves 4 – 6

Ingredients

  • 2 bay leaves ( I can never find fresh ones so I just used the dried kind and remove them at the end)
  • 700g smoked haddock (or a mixture of whatever kind of fish you like)
  • 1 tbsp ghee (or butter)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • thumb sized piece of ginger
  • 2 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 170g basmati rice
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 100g plain yoghurt
  • coriander leaves as a garnish
  • 4 eggs

Method

  1. ) Heat 750ml water into a deep pan with the bay leaves until simmering. Add the fish and cook for 5 minutes until flaky. Depending on what fish you use, you may need to adjust your cooking times. Set aside the fish and pour the cooking liquid into a measuring jug.
  2. ) Peel and chop up finely the onion.
  3. ) Heat up the ghee in a frying pan, peel and chop the onion, add to the pan and fry for a couple of minutes.
  4. ) Peel and grate the ginger and garlic. Chop up the two tomatoes.
  5. ) Add the ginger, tomatoes and garlic to the pan with the mustard seeds and curry powder and cook for another couple of minutes until the onion is soft.
  6. ) Weigh out the rice and add it to the pan, stir around the pan for a minute then add a couple of ladles of the cooking liquid.
  7. ) While this is cooking, juice the lemons and add to the measuring jug.
  8. ) Keep on adding ladles of the liquid and simmering until they evaporate until the rice is soft.
  9. ) In the meantime, boil the eggs in some water in the deep pan for about 6.5 minutes, chop up the coriander leaves, measure out the yoghurt and slice up the egg.
  10. ) When the rice has absorbed all of the cooking liquid, flake in the fish, season and stir through the yoghurt. Serve and garnish with the coriander and the eggs.

Broccoli and blue cheese soup

Being on holiday this week, I bought tickets for a National Trust site, Lyme Park – the stately home used as Pemberley in the adaptation of Pride and Prejudice (the BBC one, not the rubbish film with Keira Knightley). However, being in England, shortly after we arrived it started to hail and it was too cold to stay more than an hour despite it being April and I didn’t even manage to stay long enough to find the Mr Darcy statue in the lake. When I got home, I just wanted to warm up with this winter soup that I adapted almost to non-recognition from ‘Jamie’s Great Britain’. This recipe works best with the strongest blue cheese you can get i.e. the British Stilton.

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 4 small heads of broccoli
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 onion
  • small bunch of thyme
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • seasoning
  • 1.5 litres flavour chicken stock (or vegetable)
  • 100g Stilton cheese

Method

1.) Chop up the stalks of the broccoli into pieces and heat the oil in a large pan/crockpot

2.) Add the stalks on a low heat and peel and chop up the onion

3.) Add the onion to the pan with 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

4.) Strip the rosemary leaves from the sprigs and finely chop. Strip the thyme leaves and chuck all the herbs into the pan

5.) Add 200ml water to the pan and put on the lid. Cook on a low heat for 40 minutes

6.) When the 40 minutes is nearly up, make up the stock and chop up the florets of the broccoli

7.) Add both to the pan and put the lid back on, cook for another 15 minutes

8.) When done, take off the heat and blitz with an immersion blender until smooth.

9.) Add the cheese and stir until melted, season and serve.