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.

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.

The Best Salmon Nicoise Recipe

Perfect Summer Party Food

This is the easiest summer lunch/dinner food for a crowd of people, and a delight to serve as it is all prepared in advance and delivers a wow factor when brought to the table.  This isn’t a recipe as such, more an indication of the quantities needed for 10 people. Serve with a bowl of Jersey Royal potatoes, tossed in unsalted butter with a touch of salt, pepper and fresh, chopped parsely and you have the perfect party food. I make a lemon mayonnaise with three egg yolks, and use the whites to make baby meringues .

For 10 people

2 handfuls of salad leaves

1 packet French beans

2-3 bundles English asparagus

6 x hard boiled eggs

4-6 vine tomaotes, cut into quarters

large handful of black oilves

140g per person of salmon fillets without skin  (either in one piece, or in individual fillets)

 

1. Cook the salmon. I place the salmon fillets on a large piece of foil, placed in a roasting tin or baking sheet. Add a small glass of white wine, a tablespoon of olive oil, some lemon slices and season with salt and pepper. Wrap the salmon loosely in the foil, and cook in the oven at 180C for about 20 minutes. This is where you need to use your own judgement, and keep checking in the oven to see if it is cooked. Remember it will continue to cook as it cools, so remove from the oven when it is just turning opaque. If your oven is uneven in it’s heat, you may need to remove some cooked pieces of fillet before removing the others. Leave to cool.

2. Blanch the French beans – that is to say, cook the trimmed French beans in boiling water for 5 mintes, remove and plunge immediately into cold water. Drain and leave in fridge until ready to use.

3. Wash the asparagus thoroughly then snap along the stem until it breaks easily. Discard these snapped off pieces. Cook the spears on the hob in gently bubbling water until cooked. This will take 5-10 minutes, depending on how fat your spears of asparagus are. I use a large frying pan for this and hover over the stove, piercing the spears from time to time with my pointed knife. When they are just cooked, remove from the pan (some may be cooked before others) and refresh in cold water. Drain and leave in fridge until ready to use.

4. Hard boil eggs – Place medium size eggs in a pan of cold water. Bring to the boil and boil for 5 minutes. Plunge into cold water and leave to cool. Then peel the shells off and leave in the fridge until ready.

5. Wash and quarter the tomatoes.

6. Make a simple dressing of 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard, juice of half lemon, 3 Tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper

7. To assemble, toss the salad leaves in the dressing and place on the bottom of a large serving platter – a long salmon plate is ideal for this. Then scatter the asparagus and French beans on top of the leaves . Add the salmon, breaking into large chunks and arrange on top of the leaves, beans and asparagus. Scatter the tomatoes  and olives over and around the salmon, then place the eggs on top. Drizzle the finished dish with a dash of olive oil and serve.

 

 

 

Tasty Mini Gougeres

MINI GOUGERES

Gougeres are large cheese puffs made of a ring of choux pastry, which is then cut into wedges to serve and hail from the Burgundy region in France. This version is the ideal little snack to serve with drinks, hot from the oven. I recently did a party for 250 in Little Venice and these proved to be the most popular of all the canapes on offer. No sooner had we sent a batch out, then the plate came back empty and another lot popped in the oven. Perfect with a well chilled dry martini or glass of Champagne, they are light as a feather and packed with flavour. A classy, fuss free classic.

To make about 30 mini puffs

  • 110g plain flour
  • 175ml water
  • pinch salt
  • 75g butter
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 50g grated Gruyere cheese
  • 50g grated Parmesan, plus extra for sprinkling on top

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4
  2. Sieve the flour and have ready to add to water
  3. Place the water, salt and butter in a pan over a medium heat
  4. Bring to boil, remove from the heat and immediately add the flour, stirring continually with a wooden spoon until combined
  5. Return to the pan and put back on the heat and beat until the mixture is smooth and comes away from the sides of the pan
  6. Remove from the heat and turn the mixture onto a flat plate to allow to cool
  7. Next add the eggs a little at a time. Make sure that each egg is completely mixed in before adding more.
  8. Beat until the mixture is smooth and glossy and slightly sticky.
  9. Add the grated cheeses and transfer to a piping bag and pipe small walnut sized blobs onto a baking sheet lined with baking parchment.
  10. Sprinkle some extra grated Parmesan on top
  11. Bake until golden, about 30-35 minutes

These are tasty as they are, but you can add some chorizo bits to the mix after adding the eggs. Cut up the chorizo sausage into tiny cubes, then cook until crisp. Drain on kitchen paper and allow to cool.