I love basil ice cream and it’s something that I’ve made a few times before. I like it most when it’s paired with something fruity and a little bit sharp and acidic, I really think it brings out the fragrant flavours of the basil. Using […]
These are a lovely savoury twist on a sweet tea-time classic. You don’t have to limit them to afternoon indulgence though – these have proved very popular for breakfast and brunch topped with fried or poached eggs.
You can use any hard, medium-fat cheese you like in these so long as it’s got plenty of flavour. Welsh cheddar and Caerphilly are obviously great choices but I’ve used a mix of extra mature cheddar and Wensleydale in this batch. A cheese that’s a bit crumbly means that it will be distributed more evenly through the dough.
makes about 12 (depending on size)
2 tbsp finely chopped chives
150g plain flour
75g wholemeal flour
100g cheese (see note above)
splash of milk
pinch of black pepper
Sift together the flours. Cut the butter into small pieces and rub this into the dry ingredients to leave you with a mixture that resembles fine breadcrumbs. Crumble the cheese, fairly finely and then mix this through the flour and butter, together with the chives and black pepper.
Lightly beat the egg and use this to bring the dry mixture together to form a soft dough. If you need a little more moisture then incorporate a splash of milk into the mix.
Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to about 1cm thick. Take a round cutter, any size you like, to cut out the cakes. Cook these in a little butter on a heavy-based frying pan over a medium heat. They should take about 3 minutes on each side and be just cooked in the middle
As a non-meat eater I would be chuffed to bits to be presented with these for my Christmas dinner, or for any dinner for that matter! The pastry is gorgeously crisp and flaky against the creamy filling and tender sweet squash. The flavours are spot on too, squash, sage and nutmeg is such a classic combination.
Obviously if you’re pushed for time (there’s never enough of it at Christmas) you can use ready-made pastry. These will keep for a day or two in the fridge and re-heat beautifully too so feel free to make them ahead of time if you need to.
40g toasted hazelnuts (ground finely)
200g plain flour
pinch of seasalt
splash of very cold water
450g (ish) butternut squash
1 1/2 tsp dried sage
pinch of grated nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
Rub together the ground hazelnuts, butter, salt and flour, using your fingertips or a food processor, until it looks like fine breadcrumbs. Use a little of the cold water to brind everything together but don’t let the dough get sticky. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and put it in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.
Pre-heat the oven to 230°c and line a large baking sheet with baking parchment.
Combine the ricotta, sage, parmesan, nutmeg and salt and pepper, mixing well and set it aside. Slice the ‘neck’ of the squash (don’t bother to peel it) so that the slices are only a couple of millimeters thick. Use a cookie cutter to cut the squash into pretty shapes, this should be pretty easy if your squash is thin enough.
Once the dough has chilled and relaxed roll it out on a very lightly floured surface so that it is just a few millimeters thick. Cut four circles out of the dough (a breakfast bowl makes a good template) re-rolling the dough as necessary.
Put the discs of pastry on the prepared baking sheet. Add a dollop of the ricotta mixture to the centre of each and spread it a little. Arrange the squash slices on top, so that they overlap. Fold over the edges of the pastry, crimping and gathering as necessary. I like to brush the edges with a little beaten egg so that the pastry is lovely and golden once the galettes are baked. Dot the top of each one with a tiny bit of butter and sprinkle on a bit of black pepper.
Bake them for 15 minutes, then lower the oven temperature to 190°c and bake for a further 20 minutes.
When you get really good ingredients it’s worth using them in a recipe that really shows off their full potential. That’s how I feel about these beautiful heirloom tomatoes anyway. So often the fruits you find in supermarkets are insipid and disappointing but if you […]
I’ve got a bone to pick with you guys. Why did none of you tell me how delicious baked feta is? I mean regular feta is pretty good but baked feta is a whole other thing! It’s so soft, but not actually melted, with a deliciously caramelised top, which is helped in this recipe by a little dab of sweet honey.
This is such a great addition to any mezze table. The slightly smokey grilled nectarines go wonderfully with the soft creaminess of the cheese and the little hint of heat from the chili.
serves 2 (slightly piggy people)
2 nectarines (a little underripe is fine)
200g drained feta
2 tsp oil
sprig of thyme
pinch of fresh ground black pepper
1 small red chili
2 tbsp runny honey
handful of walnuts
Pre-heat your oven to 190°c.
Slice the fruit, into about eight pieces each and toss them in the oil. I do this in the dish that I’m going bake the feta in so that that gets greased at the same time too. Heat a griddle pan and place the fruit in it. Cook the fruit until it is nicely charred on both sides. Put the fruit into the baking dish and add the sliced chili, black pepper and sprig of thyme. Top with the slab of feta and then bake the whole lot for 20 minutes.
Once the 20 minutes have passed drizzle the cheese with a tablespoon of the honey and then cook for a further five minutes so that it becomes lovely and golden on top. Just before serving toss in the walnuts and drizzle with the remaining honey.