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.

Mussels with garlic and parsley

A very healthy and satisfying supper with fresh crusty bread to mop up the tasty juices. You will need a large pan with a tightly fitting lid to contain the mussels.

INGREDIENTS

  • I bag fresh mussels
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 150ml/5¼fl oz white wine
  • 150ml/5¼fl oz double cream
  • small bunch flatleaf parsley, chopped

METHOD

1. First give your mussels a good clean. Wash in lots of cold water before tackling the ‘beards’. To remove the stringy bears, give them a good tug and wiggle from side to side until they come away from the mussel.

2. Discard any broken mussels or those which are open and won’t shut tight when you tap them.

3. When this has been done leave to one side while you heat the olive oil and gently sweat the onion in a large pan. When it is softened, add the garlic and cook for a further few minutes.

4. Add the white wine and allow it to come to the boil. As soon as this happens, throw in the mussels and turn down the heat.

5. Put a lid on the pan and let the mussels steam for 4-5 minutes until all the mussels are wide open. Stir from time to time to distribute the heat.

6. Add the cream and cook for another minute or so, then season with salt and pepper and scatter over the chopped parsley.

7. Serve immediately, discarding any mussels which haven’t opened.

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.

Engery Boost Biscuits

Healthy Biscuits

healthy biscuits on slate plate with fruit

Perfect for breakfast on the go, mid-afternoon energy boost with a nice cup of tea or at any time of day. These are no-cook easily put together biscuits to keep in the biscuit tin for a healthy refuel. I keep all the ingredients for this in a separate airtight storage tub make up a batch quickly. These are also ideal for those of us students in need of a sweet distraction from staring at books.

 

 

 

 

Healthy Energy Boost Biscuits

Recipe

50g each of dried dates & dried apricots & 20g dried cranberries

100g porridge oats

30g wheat germ or oat bran

20g desiccated coconut

20g linseeds juice zest of one unwaxed lemon

1 Tablespoon of maple syrup or honey

2 Tablespoons cold-pressed flax oil

 

Lightly oil a small baking tin ( I use a square 8 ½ inch/22cm size)

Finely chop the dried fruits and add to the rest of the ingredients

Mix all the ingredients in a food processor until firm dough is formed. Press the mixture evenly into your tin to a thickness of about 2cm.

Chill in the fridge for about an hour, then cut into squares ready to eat. Can be stored in the fridge or in an airtight container in the cupboard.

IMG_3188

 

 

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

IMG_0065

Rosemary Focaccia

Rosemary Focaccia 

This is a very easy bread to make and is ideal party food. Serve with some good quality Italian meats and cheeses as party grazing food. You can get lovely Bresaola beautifully sliced from http://www.vallebona.co.uk . It is also very good with a substantial home made soup for weekend lunch or supper. The dough is wetter than your usual loaf, so add the water gradually if making by hand. You can also use the food processor for mixing and for the first rise. See Tips, below. Happy Baking!

IMG_0412

Ingredients

500g/1lb 2oz strong white bread flour

2 tsp salt

2 sachets dried easy blend yeast

2 tbsp olive oil

400ml/14fl oz cold water

olive oil, for drizzling

sea salt crystals

fresh rosemary

Equipment – I use a  23 x 33cm (9″ x 13″) Swiss roll tin for my loaves. It needs to be at least 2cm deep.

Method

  1. Place the flour, salt, yeast, olive oil and 300ml/10½fl oz of the water into a large bowl. Gently stir with your hand or a wooden spoon to form a dough then knead the dough in the bowl for five minutes, gradually adding the remaining water.
  2. Stretch the dough by hand in the bowl, tuck the sides into the centre for about five minutes.
  3. Tip the dough onto an oiled work surface and continue kneading for five more minutes. Return the dough to the bowl, cover and leave to rise until doubled in size. This would normally take an hour in a warm place, or longer if you put it a cold area.
  4. Tip the dough out of the bowl and spread onto the baking sheet, pushing to the corners, then leave to prove for one hour.
  5. Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7. Press your fingers into the dough to create little hollows. Drizzle the loaves with oil, sprinkle with the sea salt crystals, and put small sprigs of rosemary into the holes you have created. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes.

TIPS:

  • I find half a loaf does a dinner party for six, so I cut it in half and freeze half of the loaf for another time.
  • It is quite a wet dough, so if you have a Magimix or food processor, you can make the dough in the bowl with the dough blade. Whizz for about a minute. Switch off and leave the dough to rise for an hour in the bowl. Then once it has rise to twice it’s size, whizz again with the dough blade for another minute or so to “knock down”. Once the dough has been knocked back, you can tip it into the baking tin to rise again. Continue as per the recipe above.