Category Archives: Baking

Toad In The Hole

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Festive Sugar Cookies

 

Christmas Cookies!

 

 

This year I have struggled to find a Christmas Tree, I’m used to seeing them everywhere in London, even Cost Cutter Supermarket! But clearly in Northern Cyprus they aren’t so popular and as I really don’t like faux Christmas Trees I ended up buying an actual tree– it is in a big pot & it isn’t very symmetrical (especially after I snapped two branches squishing it into the car!) but after Christmas I can plant the tree in the garden, smug in the knowledge I am not chopping down trees for my own frivolity (ha!) and in future it can be used with outdoor lights to make the garden look pretty!

Anyway the tree is a bit spindly and it is sitting on a Granite table over a Marble floor so I am a little concerned about putting glass decorations on it (they make up the bulk of my decorations) so I thought I would make a batch of cookies to fill in the gaps and hopefully look a bit prettier than the Lebkuchen I made last year (although my friend still has one saved for her tree this year- what a loyal friend, it really is quite bad but at least I can make up for it with one of these ones!)

I was actually a bit stupid & baked a couple of trays full before I realised I hadn’t pierced a hole in any of them! So now I have some for hanging and some for eating (although they are a bit sweet for me!)

Ingredients

  • 190g Butter, room temperature, cubed
  • 270g Caster Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla Essence or Almond Essence (use 1/4 tsp if you have Extract)
  • 1 Medium Egg
  • 390g Plain White Flour, sifted
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder

 

Method

  1. Preheat oven to gas mark 3, 170 oc
  2. Beat Butter, Sugar & Vanilla until light & fluffy
  3. Add Egg & mix well till everything is incorporated
  4. Add Flour, Salt & Baking powder, mix till well combined
  5. Dust work surface with flour & roll out dough using a rolling pin
  6. Use cutters to make your desired shapes
  7. If they are for hanging use a skewer to make a hole near the top of each cookie
  8. Arrange on foil or grease proof paper lined trays
  9. Bake for 10- 12 mins or until golden around the edges
  10. When slightly cool transfer to a wire rack

If you want to ice them Royal Icing looks good, especially if you dye it pink!

Ingredients

Royal Icing

  • 1 Medium Egg White
  • 1/2 tsp Lemon Juice
  • 250 g Icing Sugar, Sifted
  • *1/4 tsp Glycerine Syrup *
  • Food colouring, I used Red for some pink cookies

Method

  • Whisk Lemon Juice & Egg White in a large bowl
  • Gradually begin adding Icing Sugar, whisking well to combine each time you add more
  • Whisk until you can form soft peaks
  • Add food colour if desired
  • If it is too runny add some more sugar!
  • * Add Glycerine*- this stops the icing drying if you are working slowly (like me)

NB

I used a knife to smear on some icing- think I need a bit of practice but once I tie on some nice ribbon they will make a nice edition to the tree 🙂


Chicken & Mushroom Pie

Chicken Pie with Suet & Flaky Pastry

 

Sometimes I just feel like eating a simple pie- in fact most of the time I’d rather it without loads of Herbs, Spices & Wine.. I want a pie like they sell in the supermarket! So I make this..

Normally I use Frozen Short Crust Pastry for the base & Frozen Puff Pastry for the lid but as I had a bit of time on my hands I decided to try out Delia Smith‘s ‘Quick & Easy Flaky Pastry’ which I mentioned before in my Pie, Mash & Liquor post. It really is a good recipe & very simple- I will use it again. And I made a simple Suet Pastry for the base.. I love Suet Pastry as I love Dumplings!

Ingredients

For the Flaky Pastry

http://www.deliaonline.com/recipes/type-of-dish/pastry/quick-and-easy-flaky-pastry.html

 

Frozen Butter

Sifted Flour

 

 

Grated Butter

 

 

Flaky Pastry- Ready

 

 

For the Suet Pastry (Pie Bottom)

  • 350g Self Raising Flour
  • 190g Shredded Suet (Atora is the brand available here in Tempo! Beef or Vegetable)
  • Cold Water (use your judgement!)
  • 1/2 tsp Salt

Method

  1. Sift the Self Raising Flour & Salt into a large mixing bowl
  2. Mix in the Suet
  3. Add a few drops of cold Water mixing with a knife
  4. Keep adding water until you have a sticky dough
  5. Now use your hands to finish the dough- it should be smooth, neither sticky nor dry & leave the bowl clean (add a drop more water or a sprinkle of flour to correct if necessary)
  6. Allow the pastry to rest, covered in the fridge for 30 mins
~When you need the pastry it should be rolled to approx 2 or 3mm thickness~

Suet

Line with Suet Pastry

For the Pie Filling

  • 300g Chicken, Skinless Boneless Thighs (I only had Breast & it tends to dry out)- cubed
  • 1/4 White Onion, Chopped finely
  • 4 Standard White Mushrooms, Chopped
  • 25g Butter
  • 25g Corn Flour
  • 1.5 Cups Milk
  • 1 Tbs Heavy Cream
  • 1 Tsp Yeast Extract (Marmite)
  • 1 Tsp Onion Powder
  • 1 Tsp Chicken Bouillon Powder
  • 1/2 Tsp Glucose Syrup
  • Salt & White Pepper to taste

Method

  1. Heat Butter, Fry Chicken until it loses most of its pink colour
  2. Add Onions & Mushrooms, Fry for a few minutes until softening but do not allow to colour
  3. Sprinkle over Corn Flour, mix well
  4. Add Chicken Bouillon & Onion Powder, mix well
  5. Add Milk, bring to the boil till sauce thickens, reduce heat to low
  6. Add Cream
  7. Add Yeast Extract & Glucose Syrup, mix well
  8. Season to taste
  9. Leave to cool slightly before filling Pie

 

Fry Chicken

Add Cornflour

Add Heavy Cream

Add Yeast Extract

Finished

 

Assemble Pie

  1. Pre heat oven to 200 oc/ Gas Mark 6
  2. Grease Pie Dish with Butter- I used 2 Terracotta Dishes which each hold a Man Sized Portion of pie!
  3. Roll out Suet Pastry & Line Pie Dish- Making sure the dough hangs over the lip, trim off excess
  4. Spoon in pie filling, don’t fill right to the top!
  5. Roll out Flaky Pastry, cut out a circle (or square!) a bit bigger than your pie dish
  6. Wet the Suet Pastry covering the lip of the pie dish with some Cold Water
  7. Cover with Flaky Pastry lid, seal well around the edges & prick a few holes with a sharp knife
  8. Brush with Milk or Egg
  9. Cook in Oven for 30- 40 mins, until brown & piping hot
  10. Either lever whole pie out of dish to serve on a plate/spoon some pie out onto a plate or eat directly out of individual dish

 

Fill Pie

Out of the Oven

 

 

NB

Leek instead of Onion is a nice alternative


Mini Pie and Mash

Tea Spoon

I had some of the Flaky Pastry left in the freezer along with Suet Pastry I made the other week so I thought I’d get these out & try making some Mini Pies in my Cupcake 12 hole tin. I used my same Pie and Mash Recipe that I have already written about but this time I used Lamb Mince as I also had some of that leftover. I couldn’t taste any difference so I think the moral of the story is use Beef as its cheaper and under all the Vinegar who is going to know what animal is in the pie!

Oh and I thought ‘I’ll just leave those for a few more minutes’ and wandered off, forgot about them & came back to find them a bit burnt, still I suppose they are more authentic that way!

And the Bain Marie is a must in future, I didn’t use a tray filled with water like last time and the suet pastry doesn’t stay as soft as last time..


Banana & Chocolate Cupcakes

HUGE Cupcake

It was a friend of ours Birthday yesterday and as Northern Cyprus tends to be short of gift shops (or any nice ladies shops) I opted to make some cakes for her present using my The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook.

I had 4 very brown Bananas on the kitchen side (why do we buy them when no one eats them, I do wonder!) so I chose Banana & Chocolate Cupcakes as these would look prettier than a slice of Banana Loaf!

The Recipe!

Silver Dragees

NB

  • The recipe says it makes 12 Large Cupcakes (American Size, Muffin Case) or 18 Small Cupcakes- I made 16 Small & 1 Large out of my mix
  • The Frosting recipe is very generous I had quite a bit left over
  • Once I realised my Frosting was too warm (it IS Cyprus) I put it in the fridge & then it was so much easier to use with a palette knife!
  • I will be posting some of my own Cupcake recipes shortly
  • Its a really good book!

Sausage,Bean & Cheese Melt

More Sausage bits than You Know Who

No I’m not a Pie Monster despite how it seems, some weeks you just don’t fancy another Meze & all you can think about is eating things you can’t get here. I think its called mental torture.. But seeing that I don’t have a Self Sadistic attitude I decided to start making the things I miss from England. (Ha ha No I didn’t buy the weather machine from The Russians to make it Rain- that’s not one of the things I miss!)

 

 

 

Only the Best for my Pastie..

 

 

Greggs The Bakers sell a delicious Sausage, Bean & Cheese Melt which is matched perfectly with a carton of Ribena & a dreadful hangover. Since I can’t get Greggs here but unfortunately I can still get the dreadful hangovers I developed the following recipe in case of Emergencies..

4 Ingredients (again!)

Ingredients (Makes 2)

Ready Rolled Puff Pastry (remember I have a hangover)– I like to use these Mille Feuille Squares, but use any Puff and cut out whatever shape you like, 1 square folded over is like a Turnover Pie.

1 Small Can Heinz Baked Beans with Pork Sausages (alternatively use standard Heinz Beans with some Pre Cooked & Chopped Breakfast Sausages)

1 Small Handful Mild Cheddar, Grated

Milk (to glaze)

The White Stuff

3 Tablespoons

Method

  1. Pre heat oven to Gas Mark 5, 190 oc (or whatever your Puff Pastry packet says)
  2. Place one Pastry Square onto a baking tray
  3. Open the can & remove the Sausages to a plate, slice them up & place half onto one Pastry Square
  4. Pour the Beans onto the plate & lightly mash with the back of a spoon, spoon half of this (approx 2.5 Tbs) on top of the Sausage Pieces on the Pastry Square
  5. Grate Cheese & Sprinkle over the Sausage & Beans on the Pastry Square- Be sensible, if you put too much filling in it will not be possible to seal it!
  6. Place Second Pastry Square on top of the filling & lightly press round the edge with a fork to seal
  7. Brush with milk  & put into the oven for approx 20 mins (or follow the instructions on your packet)
  8. When it is nicely brown remove & leave to cool slightly- yes it will burn your mouth!

Cheese & Beans Mountain

Press Press Press

Greggs Minus the Slash Marks

NB

If you wish to, before the Pastie goes into the oven you can Score a few lines across it to give that authentic Greggs look!

Greggs Sausage & Bean Melt actually has tiny Sausage Meatballs inside- this wouldn’t be hard, remove some sausage meat from the skin, roll into tiny balls & lightly fry (do not allow to colour)

The best thing about making your own one is that its Hot & Crispy- unfortunately unless you get to Greggs first thing in the morning when its just been baked you are more likely to get one that has been sitting, going limp under a heating lamp for hours.. Also getting ANY Sausage at all in your ‘Sausage’ & Bean melt seems to be a bit hit and miss!

I recommend cutting a corner off & letting the steam escape for 5 minutes- don’t try to bite straight into it 😮