Archive for ‘Baking’

March 7, 2011

Beef Cannelloni on a little Roman Holiday with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck


Those that know me, have known me as a vegetarian for most of my life.  Until a year ago, the last time I’d eaten meat was when I was just eleven years old.  Back then I was seemingly more strong willed than I am today.  I was determined to stick with my new found vegetarianism.  But I knew that there was one dish that might tempt me, beef cannelloni. Ooh my.

As the smell wafted up from the family dinner table, the cannelloni made it’s best efforts to lure me. Somehow I held strong and stuck with my vegetables.

Clearly my determination has wavered in my adulthood and now I’m back on the meat eating side of the fence. So  a couple of weekends ago when M and I decided to have a classic movie night in, it seemed like a great reason to go to a little extra effort in the kitchen and reacquaint myself with the old favourite.

What a brilliant night in. The wine was plentiful and the cannelloni was scrumptious, not too rich as I didn’t make it with a white sauce. Perhaps slightly cheesily we continued the Italian theme in our classic movie selection … the fabulous William Wyler romantic comedy, Roman Holiday, starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregroy Peck.

It had us both in fits of tears and chuckles …  if you haven’t seen it, see it!

Sx.


Beef Cannelloni

Ingredients:

1 box dried cannelloni shells
A couple of handfuls of mushrooms, finely chopped (I used the chesnut variety)
1 small onion, finely chopped
400g lean minced beef
1 egg yolk
Pinch nutmeg (freshly grated if possible)
1/3 cup fresh parsley
2 tablespoons butter / olive oil
Tomato Sauce (see below)
1/2 cup Parmesan
salt and pepper
For the Tomato Sauce
1 small onion, finely chopped
400g tin, chopped tomato
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic
salt and pepper

Method:

To make the filling:
Melt butter (or heat olive oil) in pan. Add onion and fry slowly until soft and just translucent. Don’t let it brown.
Add mushrooms and beef and continue cooking until beef is browned, stir occasionally so it won’t stick.
Add a little water to allow a little sauce to form. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste.
Remove from heat and leave to cool a little.
Stir through egg yolk and parsley, leaving a little parsley to garnish later.
To make the Tomato Sauce:
Melt butter (or heat olive oil) in pan. Add garlic and onion and fry slowly until soft and just translucent. Don’t let it brown.
Add tomatoes and a little water. Let to simmer about 10 minutes. It’s good for the sauce to be on the runny side as it’s from here than the dried cannelloni will take the moisture to cook.
Season to taste. Add a little red wine vinegar to counter the sweetness of the tomatoes. Do this to taste.
To make the Cannelloni:
Preheat oven to 200ºC.
Place a thin layer of the tomato sauce on the base of your tray to stop the cannelloni from sticking.
Fill the dry cannelloni shells with the filling mixture, you can pack them quite tightly. Pack them close together in the tray.
Cover shells with the tomato sauce.
Place in the oven for about 25 minutes or until the pasta is cooked.
Garnish with lots of Parmesan cheese and the reserved chopped parsley.
Note: If you want to make it a little richer, add a layer of Mozzarella above the tomato sauce.

A Classic Style Beef Cannelloni
By Good Bite In
Published: March 7, 2011
Prep time: 25 min
Cook time: 25 min
Total time: 50 min

Advertisements
February 16, 2011

Picnicing in Oxford: Sausage Rolls by the River Thames


On Saturday night we had a party to go to in Oxford and seeing the weather was unusually sunny we decided to make a bit more of an adventure out of it. So early Saturday morning we headed out of London for Oxford and for a 10 mile walk along the Thames Path. The Thames Path actually runs the whole length of the River Thames, 184 miles in total. If you fancy walking a bit of it yourself, details can be found here. We started in Oxford City Centre and headed north.

The Thames Path ... headed North from Oxford

The walk was beautiful. Though being that it was the first day of sunshine after a lot of rain we got very muddy! Luckily we had a picnic to make us forget our muddiness…

Time for a break

Delicious Sausage Rolls, but the quick and easy kind made with sausages rolled up in home-made salt and pepper shortcrust pastry. They were certainly very hearty and good fuel for the return mileage back to Oxford.

Past Sail Boats, Ruins and a rather old houseboat

The party that night was great fun and was actually the real reason I’d made the sausage rolls. We’d all been asked to bring some nibbles along so I’d cut a whole bunch of the sausage rolls up into much smaller bite size sausage rolls (before baking) … I forgot to take a photo of those though, oops!

On the Sunday, after a hearty breakfast in Oxford we headed back to London. Lucky me, I got a pre-Valentines surprise from M on the way home!

sarahx.

A surprise on the way home!


Recipe: Quick Sausage Rolls with Salt and Pepper Pastry Recipe

Ingredients

Salt and Pepper Shortcrust Pastry (see below for recipe or else you could always buy plain shortcrust ready made)

Sausages

Egg, beaten

Sesame Seeds

Method

– Roll out shortcrust pastry and trim to long rectangle shape.

– Lay sausages end to end along the middle of your pastry rectangle (lengthwise). Gently bring one side of pastry around and over the sausages so they are completely covered, and tuck under.

– Brush remaining pastry ‘flap’ with the egg. and then roll the sausage roll towards it.

– With the join sitting on the bottom, squeeze together to allow it to be closed.

– Using a sharp knife, slice into desired size.

– Place on greased tray and brush tops with egg. Sprinkly with sesame seeds.

– Bake 180 degrees Celsius, about 40minutes, though the time will depend on the size you’ve cut your sausage rolls to.

– Can be eaten cold or hot.

Note: You can use Puff Pastry for these if you like but I like using Shortcrust as it makes them a bit more sturdy and they also stay nice a bit longer without going soggy like puff.

Very simple to make

Perfect Salt and Pepper Shortcrust Pastry Recipe (1 kg)

Ingredients

500g Plain Flour (and some extra for rolling out)

200g butter cut into cubes

Sea Salt

Pepper

2 Eggs

Dash of Milk

A couple of tablespoons of cheese, I used cream cheese but only because I didn’t have any cheddar.

Method

– Before you start, remember that pastry works best when kept cold so all stages should be done with minimum amount of handling.

– In a food processor place flour, butter, salt and pepper. If you are using a hard cheese, grate it and add it now. Blitz on the pulse setting until mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

– Add eggs and the soft cheese if that’s what you’re using. Add a small dash of milk and pulse for a few secconds until the mixture starts to form a dough.

– Check the consistency. If it’s too dry and crumbly add a little more milk, but you want to do this gradually as the worst thing is a claggy pastry. If you add too much, just add a little flour.

– When you’re happy with the texture bring it into two separate balls. Flatten them a little and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Let them rest in fridge for at least an hour.When it comes to rolling it out just dust your surface lightly with flour, but if you’ve got the right texture it shouldn’t really stick. Remember it’s best to work with pastry while it’s cold, so if youre going to be a while you can always just take small amounts of pastry out of the fridge at a time. It’ll stick less when it’s cold too.

Note: You can make the pastry the day before if you like. It also freezes well. I often separate it into several smaller balls and wrap them all separately and freeze them. That way they are easily to hand when I need some pastry and you’re not making them from scratch each time.

February 14, 2011

The Sweets: Pavlova Muffins with Raspberries and Passion Fruit


Time for sweets and Pavlova is an absolute favourite of mine but this version is a tad deconstructed.

Pavlova Elements ... Side by Side

These mini pavlovas came about while I was preparing for a recent party. I baked pavlova into lined muffin tins and planned to slice the peaks off and use them as little lids once I’d added the filling. The problem came when I tried to cut the lids off … too much to handle for my clumsy hands. So in a last minute move  the decision was made to turn them into DIY pavlovas.

They looked so pretty with their perfect peaks so were nice to display just as they were. I served them alongside bowls of cream, raspberries and passion fruit syrup so people could take a pavlova and top it themselves.

DIY Pavlova

The best way to do it, I think, is to give the top a little smash and then go right ahead and load the cream, raspberries and a good drizzle of passion fruit on top.

Give the top a smash and then load your pavlova up with toppings

It worked out well and I think it’s a lot more fun doing it this way. You also don’t need to worry about your pavlova going soggy if you put your toppings on too far in advance. Super easy and the meringues themselves were the perfect combination of mallow-ey, chewy and sweet.

Digging in

So if you’re looking for a sweet and rather sexy looking treat, why not give these a go.

Sweet Valentine Pavlova

Enjoy!

Sx.


Pavlova Muffins with Raspberries and Passion Fruit Recipe

(Makes 10 muffin sized pavlovas)

Ingredients

150ml egg whites (roughly 4 eggs)

220g Caster Sugar

2 tblspns Cornflour

2 tspns White Vinegar

1 tspn Vanilla Extract

1 punnet Raspberries

1 tin passion fruit syrup

1 carton cream, whipped

 

Method

– Preheat oven to 150 degrees Celsius. Line muffin tray with paper cases.

– In a deep bowl whisk egg whites until peaks are just on the verge of  forming. You can use an electric mixer to do this although I tend to do it by hand as it doesn’t take too long.

– Gradually add sugar, whisking between each addition. You are aiming for a thick and glossy mixture. Be careful not to over whisk, you want it just to the point where you can tip the bowl upside down and the meringue won’t fall out.

– Add sifted cornflour, vanilla extract and vinegar. Gently fold until combined.

– Spoon mixture into cases, dividing evenly. Using a teaspoon give pavlova a gentle swirl on top to give a nice peak. Don’t make the peaks too tiny or they will burn more easily.

– Reduce the temperature of the oven to 120 degrees Celsius. Bake pavlovas for 1 hour and ten minutes or until they are just crisp. If you notice they are starting to brown, reduce the oven temperature.

– Cool in muffin tray and then remove with care. They are very delicate.

– Serve along side bowls of whipped cream, raspberries and passion fruit syrup … or really whatever you fancy.

January 24, 2011

Australia Day: The Sweet Crunch of an ANZAC Biscuit


The smell of Australia Day is in the air. I may be in London but that isn’t going to stop me baking an Aussie treat or two. It’s an excuse for ocker baking if ever there was one.

I make ANZAC Biscuits every year around Australia Day so was actually considering giving them a miss this year and trying something different.

I couldn’t have imagined the uproar!

Needless to say, the first Aussie treat I’m baking this year, is ANZAC Biscuits. The great thing about these biscuits is  you only need few pantry staples, including that essential Aussie baking element, dessicated coconut. What would an Australian biscuit be without it? And, with only about 20 minutes from getting the flour out of the cupboard to having a hot biscuit in your hand what could be better? I shouldn’t ever have thought I’d get away with not making them!

ANZAC Biscuits ... all ready for Australia Day

So, with Australia Day day only a couple of days away, we’ve got our jar of ANZAC Biscuits at the ready. M will be taking some into work come the 26th January. And come the weekend, we’ll have some to munch on for the Australia Day BBQ.

‘BBQ?’ you say? Yes it is the middle of winter  in London but but our winter Australia Day BBQ has become something of a tradition.  It happens every year, no matter rain, snow or freezing temperatures! At least we’ll have something yummy to munch on while we gather round the barbie with our scarves and gloves on!

Hope you enjoy making these for yourself!

Sx.

ANZAC Biscuits ... the sweet crunch

ANZAC BISCUITS RECIPE

So what do you need?

1 cup plain flour

1 cup rolled oats

1 cup dessicated coconut

3/4 cup dark brown sugar

125g butter

2 tablespoons golden syrup

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

2 teaspoons water

How do you put it together?

– Preheat oven to 160 degrees celsius.

– In a big bowl, place your flour, oats, cocunut and sugar. Give a good stir to combine.

– In a small saucepan melt butter with golden syrup and water over a gentle heat.

– When it’s all melted together remove from heat and immediately add bicarbonate of soda. Stir quickly to incorporate and you’ll get a nice foamy top to the butter mixture.

– Pour butter mixture over dry mix and stir until it’s all combined.

– Place level tablespoon scoops of the mix onto a lined baking tray. You want them to be about 4 or 5 cm apart as the ANZACs will spread during cooking.

– Press each of the little scoops down gently using a fork. You want them to be a little flattened and with a nice ridge from the fork prongs.

– Bake 10-15 minutes until golden brown. Leave on tray to firm up for 5 minutes and then transfer to a rack to cool.

The trick to making ANZAC Biscuits just the way you like them is how long you cook them for. Cook them more on the 10 minutes side and they’ll be chewy. If you do it this way, they’ll seem slightly soft when you remove them from the oven. Don’t worry about this softness, as long as they are the right colour they’ll firm up when cool. If you like crunchy ANZAC Biscuits then you want to cook them longer; 15minutes as long as your oven doesn’t start to give them too much colour.

December 23, 2010

Amazon Delivery Disappointment No More: Cooking the Presents


One of the things I love about Christmas is that it’s a good excuse for gratuitous baking.

M and I are going North to his sisters for Christmas this year and so I wanted to put together some little baked hampers for his folks up there and our friends down here. It’s a plan I’m now feeling thankful  for  as  in this snowy weather few internet orders are making their destinations in time for Christmas and I would rather avoid the Oxford Street Christmas Crush.

And so the bake-off began …

Granola with Nuts and Honey

I love making granola but it was Clotilde  at Chocolate & Zucchini that gave me the idea of making it into a present. Simple to put together you really can make granola however you fancy. I do it by eye according to what I have in the cupboard and how I fancy it at the time. Lots of oats, a little wheatgerm, a mixture of chopped nuts, some desicated coconut and a sprinkling of cinnamon and ginger. Mix all this together and stir through a splash of vegetable oil and several tablespoons of honey. Do this according to how healthy or sweet / crispy you like it. I don’t like it too sweet so I just add it very gradually, stirring really well until all ingredients are well coated. Spread it out on a baking tray with edges, and cook in a slow oven, checking and tossing ingredients every 10-15 minutes so they don’t burn. When the mixture is a nice golden brown remove from the oven and let to cool in the tray. Once cool you can add dried fruit or sultanas.

If you’re a bit unsure how to progress doing it by eye, try out Clotilde’s granola formula.

Next, Chocolate Orange Biscotti with chunks of Almonds … I’ll post my recipe for this after Christmas when I have a bit more time. If you already have a basic chocolate biscotti recipe though all you do is add orange rind to the sugar during initial stage.

Choc-Orange Biscotti with Almonds

A few smaller packets with little origami squares behind to make them look pretty. Have you noticed my obsession with origami paper at the moment?

More Biscotti!

Some of Dorie Greenspan’s Speculoos

Spicy Speculoos

And finally a few treats from our recent trip to Australia … Okay I know these aren’t homemade but they are a bit of fun. There are some Cherry Ripes, Mondo’s Crunchy Vanilla Nougat, and of course, Minties!

Aussie Treats

Now, for a bit of a rest!

S.

December 23, 2010

French Fridays with Dorie: Speculoos Biscotti


This morning I’ve been putting together my Christmas gift boxes and have been cutting up paper and ribbons galore. So I reckon I deserve a bit of a break, a cup of coffee and a piece of Speculoos Biscotti … oooh yum!

Coffee Break

Yesterday I posted my last pre Christmas French Fridays entry but I’m posting on this Speculoos biscotti because it was just so good!

@doriegreenspan asked how I’d done it and whether I’d crushed up the Speculoos and added it to biscotti dough … that’s not how I did it but doesn’t that sounds brilliant? Biscotti with chunks of Speculoos, I might have to try that!

All I did was use the last bits of cookie dough from the speculoos. You know what I’m talking about, those last little scraps that are hardly worth rolling out? I used the method you use for the baking bit of making biscotti. I took the speculoos dough and rolled it into a sausage shape about 1/2 an inch high and an 1.5inch wide and then flattened it a bit with my fingers. Then into the oven until it was just firm to touch. Then I took it out, let it cool a bit, cut it into biscotti shapes and then put all the pieces back in the oven (standing upright), to crisp up. Done! I guess I only really did this because I was making some chocolate orange biscotti at the same time but I’ll be doing it this way again. Certainly makes your speculoos more dunkable!

Dunking Time

So, I guess I’d better get back to making my Christmas Gift Boxes.

S.

Coming Up next time on French Friday are ‘Spicy Cocktail Nuts’, ready to go with New Years Cocktails!  French Fridays with Dorie is a collection of people cooking along to Dorie Greenspan’s latest book. Feel like joining in, or making Speculoos for yourself, then check out Around My French Table: More Than 300 Recipes from My Home to Yours. As requested by Dorie recipes for this group are not republished online.

December 23, 2010

Fudging It: Attack of the Exploding Sugar (aka Making Sea Salt Fudge)


I’ve never been one for precision cooking; a bit of this, a slap of that, fantastic. Anything which requires a thermometer is risky business.

I tried once before, in an ambitious baking session with a friend, to make Turkish Delight. It failed miserably. Turkish Sludge would have been a more appropriate name.

Given this who did I think I was attempting to make fudge?

I think it might have been a case of Christmas baking adrenaline for when I saw this post on Sea Salt Fudge by Cooking the Books I was inspired.  The combo of salt and sugar is so contradictory and complementary  at the same time, it’s brilliant.

In hindsight though, with the whole idea of making fudge, I’m not sure what I was thinking. I’ve never been much of a fudge fan, too creamy, rich and sweet, so I’m not really sure what makes a good fudge. So like I said, what was I thinking? To be fair it would make a good present wouldn’t it?

Despite all this I dedicated myself to the task completely. Followed the recipe exactly. Even got attacked by exploding sugar in the process.

A nicely set fudge dusted with Fleur de Sel or rather Sea Salt is what I got but the colour seems all wrong …

Coloured like Butter ... Did I get it wrong?

Looks a bit buttery coloured to me … Isn’t it meant to look like caramel?

I’m wondering whether maybe I didn’t cook it enough at the start when you take it to the boil. Does anyone know the answer? Or is this actually an alright colour?

Not sure that this is gift worthy … though M seems to have a bit of a taste for it … or is that just his post Christmas Party hangover craving for sugar talking?

S.

%d bloggers like this: