Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Breakfast Club - The Pastry Round Up

Erm where exactly did October go? I was all geared up excited to be hosting my first blogger event and boom we are nearly November! The nights are that bit cooler, the mornings that bit darker despite the clocks going back, and any hope of a late summer have well and truly vanished somewhat like the heavy mist that surrounded my home last week! Out has come the beloved snuggie and evenings spent on the sofa with the scent of smelly candles floating in the air... Must remember to buy hot chocolate to make the evenings complete!

I've had some delicious recipes sent in for the Breakfast club, firstly is these rather dinky looking Mini Quiche Lorraines, made by Karen from Karen’s Kitchen Stories. Somehow everything is that just that little bit better in bitesize form, and these mini delights make no exception! I've never considered quiche for breakfast before but being a huge egg eater I can see these coming up on my breakfast table soon!


Next up are these sublime looking Apricot & chocolate pastries, filled with jam and chocolate, made by Sarah from The Garden Deli. I was so happy to choose pastry as my theme this month and Sarah has done a great job with her pastries!

Last but not least is the rather heavenly looking Fig tarte tatin from Helen at Fuss Free Flavours. I’m yet to make a tarte tatin but I am sure this is delicious! Figs are bang in season right now and I just love their squishiness.

Many thanks to Helen for letting me host, and also a huge thanks also to Helen, Sarah and Karen for baking their goods and sending them over to my round up!

Here was my entry that started it all - Bacon and Egg pastries

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Beetroot Love – not just for salad!

What is it about this ruby jewelled, slightly earthy but in a good kind of way delight of beetroot that makes me love it so very much? Frankly it makes the chopping board and surrounding area look like we need to call in CSI and no matter how careful I am I always seemingly manage to get some on me too! Disposable gloves are an essential kitchen tool for dissecting these beautiful beets!

I wonder if it my very watered down Polish roots? Hmm something to explore anyway… am completely hooked on beetroot and horseradish relish which I buy in bulk quantities, it goes with everything from salads to fish fingers..

Some time back I was extremely fortunate  to be gifted a bag of homegrown beetroot from my lovely uncle T's mum, it so fresh you could smell the damp earth on it! Quite surprisingly whilst I am a beetroot addict, for some reason I had never actually got my hands on the raw beauties! And now following a crash, self taught course it will never, ever be far away from my culinary reportiore. Except of course when dad comes round, who will eat anything…except beetroot!

I am now on a mission to convert those who think beetroot simply comes in vinegar at dodgy family parties - trust me there is more to it!

Honey and mustard roasted baby beetroot 
2 beetroots
Heaped tsp Wholegrain mustard
Good drizzle of Honey
Tbsp or so of raspberry vinegar

These were test batch one – simply sprayed with a little oil, loosly tucked up into a foil bed and roasted until tender - try to roast similar sized beets. Then the foil was loosened, beets got glazed with the honey, mustard and vinegar, and baked for a further ten minutes. Serve warm as a side vegetable - ideal with beef

Also served up with a bacon, courgette and potato salad was simple and tasty lunch

So the roasting bit worked so very well, then came the almighty inexperienced question what to do with the other 9 beets I had... Previously I made a pretty awesome Christmas chutney without a proper recipe and since had requests for it so can’t be bad at these special experiments and turned my hand to pickle. It needs some refining but it fires up a salad nicely!

Sweet Beetroot and Mustard Pickle:

2 beets, microwaved 15 minutes trimmed and scrubbed
Red wine vinegar to fill a medium jam sized jar
heaped tsp Wholegrain mustard
2 tbsp Dark muscovado sugar
S&p pinch of both

Start by microwaving the scrubbed beets in a suitable container, covered with cling film for 15 minutes or until tender and dice into small half centimetre chunks. Meanwhile boil the remaining ingredients fiercely for five minutes to reduce slightly - open the windows! Sterilise a suitable jar and fill with the diced beets (still hot) and pour over the liqor. Screw on the lid tightly and invert the jar to seal . 

Ideal served with salad:

Or a real favourite was to fry cooked sausage, with cooked diced beetroot, mushrooms, and finished with sweet chilli sauce – heavenly things, made more heavenly. Sweet, hot, spicy and meaty, its all good baby. Serve with rice.

So if you are not yet converted, why not? Try might like it!

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Another week..another omelette! Black forest Ham and Courgette & Omelette

Thank heavens for flatmates, especially one that leaves gifts! Mine went on holiday recently, and when I returned home at night I found ‘my’ shelf in the fridge now also contained a tomato, 2 loose eggs and a yoghurt!

Having found myself rather hungry, after working a very long shift I was deciding what to eat VS state of mind I proceeded with my fall back meal – omelette! I had some smoky black forest ham left in the fridge, along with half a courgette left from another of my other fallback recipe of marmite soup (will blog soon!), and quickly knocked up a ham and courgette omelette, served with balsamic tomatoes on the side.

Less than 10 minutes to table and a content stomach! Start by grating and gently frying the courgette for about 3 minutes just to soften, remove from the pan. Then the way I always do mine - as per the weight watchers recipe that simply uses a tablespoon of water, whisked in with s&p, into a hot pan with a little spray oil, add the eggy mixture, let it sit for fifteen seconds or so, then gently loosen the sides and use a wooden spatula to fluff up the middle until just set, add the courgette and roughly torn ham, warm through for about a minute or so, flip over one side to seal and serve! For the tomatoes, simply cut into quarters and drizzle with balsamic crème.

The omelette was delicious, with the smoky ham and tender sweet courgette flavours working in harmony together.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

21st Century Easy Cheesy bread

I truthfully was a little dismissive about the recipes prior to reading Lorraine’s Pascale’s cook book, post seeing the rather glam, and also skinny chef proclaiming ‘oh I eat all the pies honest’. Well I do and I certainly am not tall, nor skinny, maybe she just nibbles on the crusts or has good genes?..

Anyway I digress, following a little sleepover at a dear friends I took along my copy of Great British Bake Off Showstoppers, which I won in a competition recently yippee (why hello Mr Hollywood!), so we swapped books and I read through her copy of Cooking Made Easy. Whilst most of the recipes were pretty simple, as if the title didn't already give you an idea, I stumbled upon her 21st century Cheese, Ham and Chive bread and the mind started scheming as to how much time I had before I had to start work..

I love the taste of home-made bread, but combining shift work, cooking mostly for one and a weakness for anything freshly baked means that home-made bread is rarely on the menu chez Anne’s Kitchen. However what instantly grabbed me was the use of self-raising flour – no yeast to rise the bread, therefore no rising time either! Within an hour of leaving my friends house I had two of the loaves nearly cooked in the oven, and believe me I am not exactly speedy freak in the kitchen! It pretty is much mix and stir and bake, you really can’t mess it up!

Due to what I had to hand at the time, the cheese got substituted for some vegan soya based cheese I was trialling, I omitted the ham and also the spring onions, one thing I did add thought was a good sprinkle of some chilli sea salt I bought recently on impulse – this was so made for topping bread! Little spicy, salty crystals that burst in your mouth, yum!

The bread itself was pretty impressive for something so quick. Naturally due to the missing yeast element, its more spongy like in texture and a little heavier than compared to a white loaf but is definitely going to become a regular feature, purely for the ease if anything and also that undeniable self smugness of having home-made bread!

I think the original quantities would make a fairly large beast but I split my finished dough in two, and baked two smaller loaves, stashing the spare into the icy depths of the freezer until girlfriend came over and we, er, devoured the whole thing in one sitting, but we did eat it with smoked mackerel salad and enough pickles to almost deter her soon to be husband, so was fairly balanced on the grand scheme of things!


Ingredients for my version:

425g Self raising flour
100g grated strong Cheese – soya works fine
Just under 250ml water
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp English mustard powder
½ tsp salt
Approx 10 leaves fresh basil, shredded
Few twists black pepper
Chilli sea salt to finish

Pre-heat oven to 200o/ gas 6

Mix the dry ingredients and the basil in a bowl, saving a small handful of the cheese. Stir in 200ml of the water, adding extra if needed to form a dough, use your hands to knead together until smooth.

Shape into one large, or two small rounds, place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and flatten slightly. Score the tops if you remember. Sprinkle over the remaining cheese and a pinch of your spicy sea salt. Quickly squirt (or throw a cupful) of water into the bottom of the oven to create steam and bake for approx. 35 minutes, or until sounds hollow when tapped on its bottom and your bread is lovely and golden in colour.

Allow to cool a little before grabbing the butter and your bread knife.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Macmillan Baking Thank you!

Last week was Macmillan's annual coffee morning, which is basically a fantastic excuse to eat lots of cake and its all for a great cause!

I decided to nominate myself as baker and held one at work, every poor visitor to the ward I work at that morning was prompted for money, and I am super proud to say we made a whopping £64.81 just from donations in return for my cookies and cakes! A huge thank you to everyone who gave so generously!

Thanks also to Kenco who supplied biscuits and delicious Millicano coffee to help wash it all down with!

Unfortunately I had forgotten to charge my camera, so the photos are from my phone and old little compact camera, but they were all delicious and I've already had not so subtle hints about baking again!

Coconut and jam buns - with cappuchino buns hiding in the background

Chocolate and Almond fudge cake:

Chocolate orange and oat cookies:

 I was so proud to pin this to the notice board:

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Bacon, Cheese and Egg Pastries for Breakfast Club

Welcome to October's Breakfast Club!

Over the past few years, whilst I’ve occasionally remembered on time and participated in several blogging challenges, this is my very first actual hosting of one, and also finally submitting a recipe for the Breakfast Club! Exciting! Please don’t let me down! Flood my inbox with your wonderful breakfast recipes pretty please!

I have spent all month since meeting the lovely Breakfast Club founder Helen for lunch, by the river on a decidedly lovely British September day (and I do believe our three days of summer judging by the weather now), deciding what to make for it after also volunteering to host it, and have since swayed from my beloved and ‘safe’ porridge oats right up to thinking of variations on savoury rice (surprisingly good breakfast..), and everything in between…

But what came with overwhelming urges..…was pastry…yeah yeah all that butter ‘oh not for me darling haha’ yeah you know you love its dirty air filled buttery layers really’ and yes I can *just* do up my bridesmaid dress so don't panic my lovely bride to be L, and just about breathe, decided to make bacon and egg pastries for my weekend breakfast. Yep, judging my sums of two good breakfast things + one naughty thing is equal to mmmmm why hello gym! You know you want it so why deny yourself such pleasures?

On the day I made these, despite working very hard er yeah aka out late for dinner the night before, I woke up at stupid o clock and after fighting the pillows long enough. crept silently like a slightly drunken mouse into the kitchen, for fear of waking my flatmate and proceeded to make not only these delicious pastries, but with the leftover pastry a batch of olive and pesto swirls to use up fridge scraps…not sure why upon reflection but seemed like a great idea except olives are really only palatable gone noon…we live and learn! Either way they were excellent for rousing a friend from his slightly worse for wear state in payment for looking over my car (oops just remembered must buy oil!) and its continuing ailments. Anyone want an 7 year old elderly but loved fiat?

Anyway back to the good stuff, these Bacon, Cheese and Egg Pastries are to open the Breakfast club show and I am very much looking forward to seeing what you guys n gals come up with! Grab your pastry and join the Breakfast Club!

Makes two
2 free range large eggs
1 inch block mature cheddar, grated (I happened to use up some soya cheese..worked fine!)
Egg spray* (I buy it from Lakelands but if not just use a little beaten egg)
2 rashers smoked Bacon sliced into cm chunks
half block frozen Puff pastry thawed - about 200g
Black pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 220, and line a baking tray with parchment paper or equivalent

Roll out half the pastry to make two approx 15cm x 15cm squares

Dry fry your bacon, and allow to cool slightly

Spray or glaze the pastry edges. Dot the bacon to form a ring about 1 inch in, very very gently crack the egg into the middle. Sprinkle over most of the cheese and season with black pepper. Now carefully pull together opposite corners and pinch together. Glaze the tops with egg and repeat with other two sides, glaze all over with the eggwash and sprinkle over remaining cheese.

Bake for 25 - 30 minutes or until golden, puffed up and cooked through.

Oh my these were rather delicious, warm from the oven, filled with airy love, just cooked egg and smokey bacon mmm mmm mmm. Sorry an extra mmm here.

Best served warm from the oven but the remaining one had a quick zap the next morning in the microwave to no ill effects.

Breakfast Club: Because breakfast should be more interesting

than tea & toast or coffee & cereal!
To take part, simply make a breakfast along the line of that months theme *PASTRY* and post it.
  • Mention Breakfast Club in your post and use the logo
  • Link to the host’s blog and to this page
  • You are welcome to send in old recipes, but please add the information above and republish
  • Entries can be sent to other events, but please respect their rules
  • If you tweet please tweet using #blogbreakfastclub
  • If you do not have a blog send a photo and details to the month’s host
  • Please email me your entry url, picture and blog details by the 25th October to anneskitchen1 AT and I will do the round-up on the 31st.

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