Cheese Biscuits

I like a simple recipe. In fact, the simpler the better.

So I like this recipe. It’s three basic ingredients, with optional herbs and pepper: flour, grated cheese, butter. Rub the butter into the cheese and flour until it’s a good pastry-texture dough. Chill for about an hour before rolling out and baking at 180C for 10-15 minutes.

Ratios: 150g flour, to 120g butter, and 130g cheese – some variety of Italian hard cheese is best, but I’ve used cheddar with success before.

Cheese Biscuits

Try not to eat them all at once…

 

(Almost) According to Waitrose: Pumpkin Soup

This year, after discovering a pumpkin soup recipe in amongst my recipe-cards, I thought I would join the merry throngs sharing pumpkin recipes.

I was going to scoop out the innards for my soup and carve a face for Hallowe’en in the rind. Waste not, want not, after all.

So I carefully cut off the top, scooped out the seeds, and then gave up on the whole lantern idea because it was far easier to get the flesh out by chopping and peeling.Waste not, want not’s all very well, but sometimes life is too short. I even saved a section to be turned into roasted pumpkin.

This didn’t have a whole lot else beyond pumpkin, stock and coconut milk – just a bit of onion (although the recipe called for shallots), and some spices: ginger, cumin and nutmeg. I just rummaged through the cupboard to find replacements for the curry powder I didn’t have.

I will admit, although it was tasty, it wasn’t as tasty as I thought it might be. On the other hand, reheated the next day – it was much better. Not sure if I’m going to keep the recipe for something that’s better made the day before and reheated, however useful such a recipe might be for a dinner-party (not that I give many dinner-parties, but you never know for the future…).

(Almost) According to Someone: Apple Crumble

This time of year is apple-picking, cider-making season, for fruit just off the trees, and apples don’t get tastier than that.

At no other time of the year, do apples taste as good as they do from the end of August to the middle of October.

It’s also the time of year when that wonderful pudding we call a crumble really comes into its own. It seems in recent years to have been supplanted by the pie, which is a shame, if you ask me, because for a proper pudding, with a dollop of cream, a spoon or two of ice cream, or a splurge of custard, you can’t beat the humble crumble. And a pie isn’t really a pudding, which, for me, invokes thoughts of farmhouse baking, and pies should be savoury. Don’t get me wrong, I’m partial to sweet pies too, but crumble beats pastry any day.

And apple crumble is probably the best sort of crumble.

photograph to follow. Technology not working.

This recipe was collected at some point while I was still at school – I have vague recollections of making it in cooking-class. I also have recollections of arguing with my teacher about how to make it. She wanted me to stew the apples first, I wanted to just use slices. I still prefer my crumble to have sliced apple rather than stewed. Partly laziness, partly because that’s how my mother used to make it. Life’s too short for stewing…

Anyway.

You’ll need:

2 Bramley (or other cooking) apples, peeled and sliced (I didn’t peel them)

75g butter

125g sugar

150g self-raising flour

Soak the sliced apples in salty water for a few minutes, then drain and spread in your baking dish and bake them for about 10 minutes. 180C should be about right.

To make the crumble, mix the butter, sugar and flour until it looks like breadcrumbs. Pour over the top of the apples. Maybe sprinkle some extra sugar on top. I was taught to trace a snail-swirl in the top, but that’s optional.

Bake until it smells ready, or about 20 minutes.

Serve with cream, ice cream or custard.

And never mind about granola for breakfast – this cold! So much tastier than granola or cereal.

(Almost) According to Sainsbury’s: Bread and Ham Pudding

As with odd lengths of threads left over from cross-stitch kits, it’s impressive how collections of recipes and recipe books gather. And then usually gather dust.

It must be admitted that most of my collection has something to do with chocolate, but I have also managed to collect a large number of those give-away recipes that supermarkets use to inspire or to get you to buy some new and expensive ingredient.

Some of you may remember back before I was Gainfully Employed full-time, with my series of Delia recipes. Sadly, I have not the time to bake every week, and it is difficult to balance the desire for cake with the desire not to get too fat (because I’m too lazy for exercise), so I haven’t made any Delia cakes recently (but watch out for the Christmas cake in a month or so). But I thought that the (Almost) According to…series might be revived, for these other recipes, since most of them are main meals, and Mark and I have finally decided to try them all and (oh shock! Oh horror!) get rid of the ones we don’t like. And those we do, can be written into a recipe-journal, and the original also got rid of.

This week, a savoury take on the good old Bread and Butter Pudding.

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Served with salad, as per the suggestion, but without artful placing. Because Life’s too short.

It’s quite simple: layers of bread and ham, with a handful of spinach, slices of mozzarella, and maybe slices of tomato, drenched in a milk and egg mix (4 eggs to half a pint of milk and seasoning to taste).

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Okay, I’ll be honest, we used chicken, not ham, and skipped the tomato. Neither of us are particularly keen on slices of tomato.

And then bake for about half an hour.

As meals go, we gave it a 5/10. It was all right, a bit bland, a bit too much like omelette and bread mush, but omelettes taste better, and not nearly filling enough for an evening meal. It might have been better if the bread had been buttered, and it’s an excellent way to use up bread, milk and eggs, but our final verdict was that it isn’t good enough to make its way into the recipe book.

Simple Raspberry Fairy-Cakes

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It was one of those moments when I really wanted cakes, but hadn’t the energy to do anything very complicated. An unfortunate side-effect of two six-day weeks. I’ll be so glad when the Boss-Man returns and I no longer have to be in charge.

But I really needed cakes. Or cookies.

So I had a rummage in my cupboards, and these were the result. The icing’s a sort of glace icing, but with some white chocolate powder as well.

For the Cakes:

100g softened butter

100g self-raising flour

100g caster sugar

2 tbsps raspberry jam

1 tsp vanilla essence

1 tbsp milk

Preheat the oven to about 180C.

Cream together the butter and sugar, then stir in the raspberry jam. Fold in the flour and vanilla essence, then stir in the milk.

Spoon into fairy-cake cases and bake for about twenty minutes.

Allow to cool (if you can wait that long) and ice as desired.

Honestly, it only takes about half an hour from start to finish.

The Simple Things

Sometimes, the simple things are best.

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Leaving my beloved kittens behind, I have returned to life in the Real World. It is a life in which I shall have little time to myself, to dedicate to my dreams, since I’m about to take up full-time employment. I’m working out how best to proceed with all of that, and organising my time efficiently. I’m hoping that the need to be efficient in my professional life will rub off into my personal life and I’ll suddenly become hyper-organised all round.

Really, I need to work out how not to be tired when I come home from work.

Thus it is that I’ve had little time or energy to do any actual baking. I’ve gone with a recipe which I know like the back of my hand, and which takes barely ten minutes, rolling the truffles not included.

Simply melt together 200g chocolate, 50g unsalted butter and 50ml double cream. When it’s melted and smooth, pour into a bowl and leave in the fridge to set. Roll into balls on a cocoa-powder-covered surface and return to the fridge to set some more. Eat, enjoy.

Cinnapie

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This is a recipe-approximation for a really delicious dessert made by Papa John’s.

It’s basically a cinnamon pizza, and it’s really simple to make.

You will need:

1 pizza base, buttered

Plain flour

butter

lots of cinnamon

brown sugar

glace icing (with or without extra cinnamon thrown in)

  • Preheat your oven to about 200C
  • Mix together the flour, butter, sugar and cinnamon into a sandy consistency. Don’t worry if you have a couple of lumps left.
  • Cover the buttered pizza base with the crumble mix and bake for maybe 20 minutes
  • Probably best to leave to cool for a couple of minutes before drizzling with the glace icing. I didn’t, and look how it pooled! Mind you, I probably also had too much, but never mind.

Can be eaten hot or cold.

Also, just by way of warning about up-coming recipes, I’m toying with the idea of doing a strict plant-based diet for Lent (just to see if I can, given my love of good butter and steak; I hesitate to call it “vegan” given my leather coat and the fact that I’ll probably still eat honey), so there’ll probably be a series of weird and wonderful experiments as I get to grips with expanding my vegetable horizon…