My contribution to the 4th July celebrations comes in the form of treat-size plum and apple pies. Fusing American and British flavours that are common to both our heritages, these bite-size pies are perfect for sharing with friends and family.
For the pastry:
6oz plain flour
drop of water to bind pastry dough
egg yolk to glaze pastry
For the filling:
1 large cooking apple
2 tbsps caster sugar
1 tsp mixed spice
Grease a shallow cupcake tin and preheat the oven to 180C.
Put the flour and butter into a large mixing bowl and rub lightly between your fingertips until it is all mixed together and looks like breadcrumbs. Then add a little water, a few drops at a time, and bring the mixture together to make a dough. Handle the dough as little as possible - wrap in clingfilm and put in the fridge to chill for at least half an hour.
In the meantime, put a pan on the stove and fill with water. Peel and chop the apple and put into the pan along with the caster sugar and bring to the boil, stirring well to help the sugar dissolve. Simmer gently until the apple is beginning to soften, then add the plum pieces and cook for 5 more minutes Drain and set to one side.
Flour a work surface and rolling-pin and remove the pastry dough from the fridge. Roll out until it is less than 1cm thick and use a small, round cookie cutter to cut circles of pastry. Keep the remnants of the pastry. Press into the cupcake tin and stab each one with a fork to prevent the base rising. Blind bake for 10 mins.
With the remaining pastry, roll out and cut into thin strips, long enough to stretch over each pie.
Remove the pastry cases from the oven and spoon some of the apple and plum mixture into each case. Twist the strips of pastry and secure to the cases with egg yolk. Glaze the twists with egg yolk then sprinkle with mixed spice. Bake for 15-20 mins.
Serve hot with cream, or take along to a picnic to eat cold. Enjoy!
Although I am British and should not technically celebrate the American Day of Independence, I will take any excuse for a party. Furthermore, as a secret would-be freedom fighter, I see a lot to celebrate in any independence day.
Phew, now that I have managed to philosophize my way into celebrating, let the fun begin! There are some wonderfully patriotic dishes from across the food blogging network this weekend so there is plenty of imagination and inspiration to go around and to help you celebrate in style!
Bread and Butter Pudding for #Father's Day #SundaySupper
Bread and Butter Pudding is a British classic - and it is one of my favourite puddings in the whole wide world. (I’ve travelled far and wide enough to feel I can justify saying that!) There is nothing fancy about it, no specialist ingredients, just bread that’s a day or two past its best and a few other things you’re bound to have in your stock cupboard.
When I was a child staying with my grandparents, my grandad and I would race to see who would finish pudding first, and this is the only pudding I could ever beat him on. it’s full of good memories, of warm kitchens and cozy nights in with my grandparents, of simple food and of love.
There are many, many variations on bread and butter pudding; some adding chocolate, swapping bread for brioche, or using cream rather than milk. However, this is a back-to-basics version and I would choose it every time.
About half a loaf of bread, sliced, buttered and cut into squares (stale is fine - the custard soaks in so well)
2 medium eggs
1/2 a pint of milk
2 tbsps caster sugar
rasins and sultanas
Grease a square baking dish and preheat the oven to 180C.
Put the caster sugar and milk into a pan and heat gently, stirring all the time until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is heated through - but do not boil.
Whisk the eggs together in a bowl then add the milk mixture a bit at a time, whisking well.
Place squares of bread into the dish so that they cover the bottom. Sprinkle with a handful of the raisins, sultanas and some mixed spice. Pour over enough of the custard to soak all the squares. Then repeat for another layer. For the final layer, repeat, but omitting the raisins and sultanas. You should use up all the custard.
Place into the oven and cook for 40-45 mins until the top is browned and crunchy and the custard has set. Serve immediately, with cold milk for pouring.
Family Foodie is hosting a very special Father’s Day #SundaySupper today and all week, I have been chattering away with other food bloggers about the things they are bringing to the table. Each item on the menu is full of memories and love for dads, so it should all taste extra good!
I remember being about 5 years old, standing on a chair in my Grandma’s kitchen, watching as she whisked up recipes, me helping clumsily and delighting in the mess, the smells of baking and, of course, the tastings. It was Scottish home-baking at its best.
One of the simplest, yet most delightful, things you can make are Drop Scones - drops of sheer happiness. They are wonderful warm straight from the pan, drizzled with golden syrup, or equally good cold, spread with butter and jam.
Here’s how to make them (makes about 10):
4 1/2 oz plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 oz caster sugar
1 egg, beaten
milk to mix to a batter(about 4 tbsps)
few drops lemon juice
butter for the pan
Mix the flour and sugar and make a well in the centre.
Crack in the egg and begin whisking, incorporating some of the flour and sugar, a bit at a time. Add milk slowly to form a thick, smooth batter. Then add a few drops of lemon juice.
Melt a little bit of butter in a heavy-based frying pan and carefully spoon some of the mixture into the centre of the pan, making a round scone (when you have tried a couple, you will be able to do more than 1 in a pan). Cook for about 2 mins on each side, then transfer to a warm dish.
Serve with whatever toppings you wish and eat hot or cold. Simple as that!
#SundaySupper - Celebrating Heritage through Food!
I was so excited when I read the theme for this week’s #SundaySupper (an initiative run by Family Foodie): Heritage. This week, it’s being hosted by Renee Dobbs of Magnolia Days and it’s all about celebrating the food that is part of our personal histories. With food bloggers from all over the world contributing, I knew straight away that the menu was going to be something special.
For me, the theme couldn’t have come at a better time. This weekend in Britain is the mother of all parties, with the Queen’s Diamond Jubliee - and also my birthday! So I’m celebrating with family and friends and a whole lot of traditional British cuisine. And, in an attempt to dispel the myth that British food is rubbish, I decided to share with you my Grandma’s recipe for Scottish Drop Scones, which are in fact a bit like pancakes only sweeter and more rotund.
All around the food blogosphere, cooks and bakers have been working their magic to bring some fabulous recipes to the table - take a look at these!
It is fair to say that my attempt at chocolate lava cakes was not entirely successful. For the first time, I was super-organised for #SundaySupper - ingredients bought ahead of time, recipes perused, considered and adapted. I decided to make chocolate lava cupcakes, rather than the traditional pudding dessert, to be enjoyed at any time, rather than having to be served immediately.
However, my attention was distracted from the oven for just a couple of minutes and they baked for slightly too long, meaning that the supposedly gooey centre didn’t exist. I pulled apart a couple of cakes, disappointment growing.
All was not lost, however, they were the most deliciously bouncy, moist and light chocolate cupcakes - perfect at the end of our BBQ served with strawberries and cream.
Here’s how to make them - remember to keep your eye on the time!
110g caster sugar
110g self-raising flour
Preheat the oven to 160C and line a muffin tray with cases.
Melt the chocolate and butter together in a large bowl over a pan of simmering water, stirring well. Set aside to cool slightly.
Beat the eggs and sugar together, until pale and thick.
Fold in the flour, then add the melted chocolate and butter mixture and stir together.
Spoon the mixture into the cases, ensuring a generous amount of mixture in each.
Bake for 20 mins, then remove from oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for 5 mins. If left for longer, you will have chocolate ‘sponges’ rather than ‘lava cakes’.
See below for the full #SundaySupper menu from other bloggers, who presumably were more successful than me!
I am so excited to be ‘officially’ participating in #SundaySupper for the first time!
Family Foodie Isabel is on a mission to bring back Sunday dinner around the family table and this week, it’s a celebration of Memorial Day weekend, with classic, homely summer dishes. Just have a peruse of all the delights on offer from food bloggers across the globe who have come together to create the ultimate menu - how can you resist these?!
Now, everything else I have whipped up casually on a Sunday, whether for the first time or not, has worked out pretty well. But perhaps I should have known that something, at some point was bound to go wrong. Typical that it would be when I am in such esteemed company! Still, it worked out ok, in the end.
Having spent all week gazing at cakes I can’t eat in the staffroom at school, I decided to make myself a decadent treat I can eat: a gluten-free lemon meringue pie.
Gluten-free pastry is notoriously tricky stuff - gluten is the stretchy bit that binds stuff together (that’s the highly technical term, in case you didn’t know!) so without it, pastry has a tendency to fall apart. However, after a lot of experimentation, I’ve found that the addition of a little bit of egg yolk works wonders.
Of course, if you’re not coeliac, you can just make normal pastry, without any problems! This pie does take a bit of time and effort, but it is well worth it.
Preheat oven to 190C and line a round shallow pie tin.
For the pastry:
4oz plain gluten-free flour
1tsp beaten egg yolk
For the lemon filling:
3 large egg yolks (minus the small bit used in the pastry!)
2oz caster sugar
3 tablespoons cornflour
Grated zest and juice of 2 lemons
For the meringue:
3 egg whites
6oz caster sugar
Seive the flour into a large bowl and add the butter. Lightly rub the flour and butter between your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add a few drops of water and begin to combine with a flat knife. Add the little bit of egg yolk and finish combining with your hands. Then wrap the pastry and put in fridge for 30 mins.
When chilled, roll out the pastry until it is just larger than the tin and press into tin. Trim, pierce base with a fork and blind bake for 20 mins. Then remove from the oven and reduce oven temp. to 150C.
Meanwhile, make the lemon filling. Put the cornflour and sugar into a bowl and add just enough water to mix to a paste. Put 10fl oz of water into a pan with the lemon zest and bring to the boil. Then add to the cornflour and sugar, mixing continuously until smooth. Beat in the egg yolks, lemon juice and butter and return the whole mixture to the pan, heating until thickened. Pour into the pastry case.
Whisk the egg whites in a large bowl until they form stiff peaks, then whisk in the caster sugar a little at a time. Spoon the meringue onto the filling and spread to seal the edges of the pastry case. Swirl the top as you like!
Bake in the centre of the oven for about 45 mins until the meringue is hard on the outside and soft and gooey inside. Leave for a few mins and then enjoy :)
Job-hunting is a tricky business. The applications, the interviews, the rejections, it’s a huge investment of time and emotion that has left me drained. Plus it hasn’t stopped raining for days. There’s a bit of poetic pathetic fallacy in there somewhere.
But I have to look on the bright side and I know that I am incredibly lucky:
The last few days have shown me I have the most amazing friends and family who love and care for me
#SundaySupper is a twitter community run by the wonderful @familyfoodie. Every week, she encourages people to get together around the family table to share Sunday dinner and to tweet their delicious recipes and pictures.
This week, I’ve actually just left the family after spending a few days with them, so it was a solo supper for me, but nonetheless, I decided to try cooking with quinoa, a versatile and good-for-you grain, which originates from the Peruvian highlands.
If you’d like to share my supper, here’s how to make it:
1tsp powdered stock
100g cherry tomatoes (I used salad tomatoes as that’s all I had in the fridge, but these will have a sweeter, deeper flavour)
1 large courgette
1 red onion
2 cloves of glarlic
salt & pepper
Preheat the oven to 200 C
Roughly dice the courgette and red onion; halve the cherry tomatoes. Finely chop the garlic cloves and put into a roasting tin. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, sprinkle with herbs and a little salt and pepper.
Put into oven to roast for 25-30 mins.
Fill a pan with 450ml water and bring to boil. Stir in stock powder.
Rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh sieve and put into pan. Stir and lower temperature to a simmer. Cover for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until all the water has been absorbed by the quinoa.
Remove vegetables from the oven and mix with the quinoa.
Friday, Jan 13th is ‘Send a Letter Day’ which, due to being stupidly busy, I completely failed to do. However, I will write one this weekend and pop it in the post. I just have to decide who to write to!
Monday, Jan 9th is officially Pootle About Day, which I sort of achieved with a fun (yes, really) Maths trail around the new university campus, but it was a busy day, so I’ll have to fit in some proper pootling another time.
It’s Sunday, 8th January, which, according to my diary, is Powerballad Day! Woop! I finally have an excuse to put on my brilliant 80s tunes - it’s definitely going to get me through my piles of work today :)