50th Edition Parmesan Biscuits

Parmesan Cheese Sablés

To make about 25, using a 10cm shaped cutters

This is a foolproof cheese biscuit recipe. I made these with 5 and 0 cutters to celebrate the 50th edition of http://www.housing-technology.com at our 7th Annual Conference. I made loads but should have made more as they were quite popular. I also made ’21’ shapes for our son Tom’s recent birthday celebration and also ’18’ shapes for my niece Ellen’s birthday too. Lots of celebrations chez Grant at the moment.

These little biscuits are great with Champagne and I also love them with a good dry Martini http://cookupaparty.co.uk/how-to-make-the-perfect-martini.

 RECIPE

100g plain flour

Pinch each of salt, black pepper and cayenne

1/2 tsp dry mustard powder

90g unsalted butter

90g grated Parmesan or Grana Padano

1 egg beaten to glaze Small handful of poppy seeds or sesame seeds

 Method

1. Sift flour into a bowl or food processor and add the salt, pepper, cayenne and mustard powder.

2. Add the butter and rub in or blend until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.

3. Add the cheese and mix the dough together until smooth. If should be soft and pliable.

4. Chill for 30 minutes, and then turn out onto a floured surface.

5. Pre-heat the oven to 190C/385F/Gas 5. Gently roll out to a thickness of 1cm. Using a round or heart-shaped cutter, press out the shapes and brush with the egg glaze.

6. Sprinkle with poppy seeds or sesame seeds and place on a flat baking sheet. Bake for approx 12-15 minutes until the biscuits are golden brown, and cool on a wire rack

PASSION FRUIT ROULADE

This makes a perfect, light dinner party pudding and is ideal for special occasions. It is just the thing for New Year’s Eve after  the hefty fruit laden puddings and cakes of Christmas. It is made in no time at all and is universally popular.

Serves 10

6 large eggs
100g caster sugar
2 lemons
2 heaped tbsp plain flour

 

Filling: 
12 passion fruits, ripe and wrinkled
350g lemon or orange curd
280-300ml double or whipping cream

You will need a baking tray measuring roughly 36x30cm with shallow sides. Line the tray with a piece of baking parchment, making sure it comes up the sides.

First Set the oven at 200’C/Fan 180’C/Gas 6

  1. Separate the eggs, putting the yolks into the bowl of a food mixer and the whites into a bowl large enough in which to beat them. Add the sugar to the yolks and whisk until thick, pale and creamy.
  2. Grate the zest from both of the lemons, taking care not to include any of the white bitter pith underneath, and squeeze the juice of one of them.
  3. Beat the egg whites until they are thick and capable of standing in a soft peak, then fold the juice and zest into the egg and sugar mixture, followed by the sieved flour and then the egg whites.
  4. Add the egg whites slowly, firmly but gently so the air is not knocked out of them. It is crucial not to over-mix. Scoop the mixture into the lined baking tin, smoothing it gently out to the edges.
  5. Bake for about 10 minutes until the top is very lightly coloured and it feels softly set. It should barely colour. Let it cool for a few minutes.
  6. Put a piece of greaseproof paper on a work surface, then turn the roulade out on to it. The cake should be crust side down. Carefully peel away the paper and cover the roulade with a clean, damp tea towel. Leave for a couple of hours, or even overnight.
  7. When you are ready to roll the cake, remove the towel and spread the lemon or orange curd over the surface, then whip the cream until it will stand in soft peaks and spread it over the curd.
  8. Cut eight of the passion fruits in half and spread the juice and seeds over the cream. Now take one short end of the greaseproof paper or parchment and use it to help you roll the roulade. If the surface cracks then all to the good.
  9. Dust with icing sugar and cut into thick slices, with the remaining passion fruit juice and seeds squeezed over each slice.

Carrot and dill fritters with pomegranate salad

gorgeous as starter or snack
gorgeous as starter or snack

 

 

To serve 4-6

 

500g carrots, washed and peeled

2 Tbs olive oil

salt and freshly ground black pepper

6 spring onions, washed and finely chopped

1 teaspoon

1 tbsp paprika

2 tbsp chopped dill

2 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley

100g grated Parmesan

50g brown rice flour (or used fresh white breadcrumbs)

2 medium free-range eggs

vegetable oil for frying

 

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 200/C180 F/Gas
  2. Cut the carrots into even chunks and place in a roasting. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and mix well.
  3. Cook for about 20 minutes until al dente – neither too soft, nor too hard – and leave to cool.
  4. Grate the carrots into a mixing bowl and mix with the spring onions, paprika,dill and parsley.
  5. Add the Parmesan, brown rice flour and egg and mix well. Leave to chill for an hour to firm up the mixture.
  6. Remove from the fridge and shape into 16-18 walnut size balls and dust with brown rice flour to shape into flat patties.
  7. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and shallow fry over a medium heat, turning over half way through. Cook in batches and drain on kitchen paper.
  8. Serve straight away with some plain yoghurt with dill chopped into it and the simple grated carrot salad, as below.

 

Carrot and Pomegranate salad

 

3-4 large carrots, peeled and coarsly grated

4 spring onions, cleaned and finely chopped

seeds of one pomegranate

1 Tbs pomegranate molasses.

Juice of half a lemon

Salt and pepper

 

Mix all the ingredients together, just before serving.

Valentine’s Day Cheese Hearts

Parmesan cheese hearts for Valentine's Day
Parmesan cheese hearts for Valentine’s Day

Parmesan Cheese Sablés

To make about 30, using a 5cm round cutter, slightly less using a heart shaped cutter

These are extremely easy to make, and well worth the effort. It takes no time to make a large batch and keep in the deep freeze until needed. They are perfect with pre-dinner drinks.For a Valentine’s Day celebration, cut the cheese pastry into heart shapes. These are the ideal nibble to go with Champagne, so they make the perfect wedding canapé. I also love them with a good dry Martini http://cookupaparty.co.uk/how-to-make-the-perfect-martini. Bliss. Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

100g plain flour

Pinch each of salt, black pepper and cayenne

1/2 tsp dry mustard powder

90g unsalted butter

90g grated Parmesan or Grana Padano

1 egg beaten to glaze Small handful of poppy seeds or sesame seeds

 Method

1. Sift flour into a bowl or food processor and add the salt, pepper, cayenne and mustard powder.

2. Add the butter and rub in or blend until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.

3. Add the cheese and mix the dough together until smooth. If should be soft and pliable.

4. Chill for 30 minutes, and then turn out onto a floured surface.

5. Pre-heat the oven to 190C/385F/Gas 5. Gently roll out to a thickness of 1cm. Using a round or heart-shaped cutter, press out the shapes and brush with the egg glaze.

6. Sprinkle with poppy seeds or sesame seeds and place on a flat baking sheet. Bake for approx 12-15 minutes until the biscuits are golden brown, and cool on a wire rack

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Hollywood Glamour cocktails

I devised a couple of new cocktails for the recent Hollywood Christmas Party. The White Liz was named for the hostess who loved it as it is stylish, tasty and packs a punch! The quantities are per cocktail and both designed to be served in a martini glass. Quantities for larger numbers are given on my White Christmas Cocktail post  http://cookupaparty.co.uk/white-christmas-cocktails/

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THE WHITE LIZ

2oz Gin

1oz Cointreau

1/4 oz Velvet Falernum

1/4 oz lime juice

1 x fresh lime leaf finely chopped

Mix in chilled cocktail shaker with finely chopped lime leaves and crushed ice. Shake and serve in a Martini glass.

Garnish – glace cherry on cocktail stick

 

THE RED CARPET

This is a beautiful raspberry red colour and dangerously delicious!

2oz White rum

1oz raspberry puree

1/4 oz lemon juice

1/4 oz raspberry liqueur

Fresh lime for garnish

Mix in a cocktail shaker with crushed ice. Shake and pour into a Martini glass

Garnish – thin slice of lime on side of the glass

Bars Open!

 

Tangy Marinaded Pork Salad for a Hot Summer’s Day

The perfect cook ahead recipe for a hot day. This recipe was gleaned from a book called Deep France by Celica Brayfield, an account of her living in France in monthly diary form, along with seasonal recipes. This recipe is deeply savoury and very handy when you don’t want to spend too much time cooking in the heat of the day.

For 6-8

500g/1lb 2oz pork fillet

3 tsp five-spice powder

salt and pepper

2 Tbsp soft brown sugar

1 Tbsp lemon thynme leaves

3 shallots, peeled and finely chopped

3 large mild red chillies, deseeded and chopped

3 Tbsp soy sauce (I like the Kikkoman low salt)

3 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed

3 Tbsp oil

METHOD

1. Marinate the pork fillet whole in all the other ingredients for at least an hour, but preferably overnight.

2. Rub the marinade in well and turn the fillet in the marinade several times. Cover and leave in the fridge.

3. When ready to cook, allow the pork to come to room temperature for half an hour

4. Preheat the oven to a high temperature. Put the pork on a piece of foil in a roasting tin, pour over the marinade and cook on the maximum heat for 5 minutes.

5. Turn the oven down to 190C/375F/Gas 5. Baste the pork again, with the marinade  and then roast the pork for a further 15-20 minutes, basting and turning twice more.

6. Remove from the oven, baste again and allow to cool.The outisde of the meat will be a deep glossy brown. When the meat is thoroughly cold, slice into thin medallions and serve with the salad below.

SALAD

2 limes

1 tsp sesame oil and 2 Tbsp light olive oil

2 tsp caster sugar

pinch of salt

1 Little Gem lettuce or half a cos or romaine lettuce

1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and sliced into fine batonms

a handful each of mint, basil and coriander leaves

4 spring onions, halved and shredded into strips

2 Tbsp toasted peanuts

METHOD

1. Juice one of the limes and mix the juice with the oils, sugar and salt

2. Peel the other lime and cut the flesh into segments.

3. Tear up the lettuce and put in a flat salad bowl. Mix in the cucumber, lime segments, herb leaves and spring onion strips. Chill until ready to serve.

4. Toss the chilled leaves with the lime dressing, Pile the slices of pork in the middle of the salad and glaze with a little of the leftover mariande.

4. Sprinkle over the peanuts and serve.

SERVE with a tray of olive oil roast potatoes.

Seeded Soda Bread

 

Seeded Soda Bread

This is my eldest niece’s favourite bread, especially when topped with smoked salmon, or when in Cardigan, smoked sewin for an extra special treat. It is a very easy recipe using cup measurements. The size of cup I use is a standard teacup, which equates to 200ml. It is perfect party food, if you cut the soda bread into small squares and top with smoked salmon; ideal with your favourite glass of fizz.

 

Ingredients

 

3 cups of wholemeal flour or seed and herb blend flour from Y Felin, St Dogmaels

1 cup of rolled oats

2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda

1 tsp salt

450ml natural yoghurt

 

Method

 

  1. Turn the oven to 200’C
  2. Combine the flour, oats, bicarb and salt
  3. Add the yoghurt and mix together to form a sticky mixture
  4. Place in a lined 2lb baking tin, or shape into a free form round shape
  5. Bake for 30-40 minutes until cooked.

 

Note:

To check if the loaf is thoroughly cooked you can insert a skewer, as for cake testing. However, most bread bakers use the time honoured method of the thump test. To do this, remove the loaf from the tin or baking sheet, turn upside down and tap on the base. It will sound like tapping on a hollow tree if the loaf is cooked through. It’s hard to explain but after a number of times, you get to know.

Best eaten the day it is made, it is quick and delicious. It is important to use good quality flour as this makes all the difference. We like to buy ours when on holiday from the mill in St Dogmael’s, but Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Seeded Flour is also good.