Some of my favourite food bloggers on one post…A quick intro for you…Dolly who cooks some wonderful recipes and always gives us the history…Dorothy is today highlighting her delicious homemade pancakes…Lily’s favourite dessert at the moment and last but not least…I don’t need any encouragement to head over to “eat dessert first” and if you love feta cheese as much as I do..prepare yourselves for a delicious Batzina, a local, traditional pie with feta cheese. #recommended read
Welcome to the weekly round-up with some posts you might have missed over at Smorgasbord Magazine…as always there is lots for everyone…wine forgeries who would have drunk?… Book reviews, recipes, funnies …grab a cuppa or your favourite tipple and enjoy the read…
Yes, that time of the year is nearly upon us when we celebrate Easter with Hot Cross Buns on Good Friday followed by Easter Eggs on Easter Sunday and Simmel Cake on Easter Monday.
I have been seeing lots of alternative recipes for Hot Cross Buns...some sound delicious some sound as if they are made just because the baker can…
Most of the recipes from my childhood I don’t want to change… it’s tradition lest we forget…x…
So without further ado here is your recipe for…Traditional Hot Cross Buns...Warm from the oven there is nought better than a Hot Cross Bun buttered with lovely grass-fed butter…
For the dough
- 450g strong white flour, plus extra for dusting
- 2 x 7g sachets easy-blend yeast
- 50g caster sugar …I use natural golden sugar.
- 150ml warm milk
- 1 egg, beaten
- 50g butter, melted, plus extra for greasing
- oil, for greasing
- 1 tsp Himalayan Salt…ordinary salt is ok.
The spices and dried fruit
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp mixed spice
- ¼ tsp grated nutmeg
- 100g currants
- Optional: Orange or lemon zest.
For the pastry crosses:
- 4 tbsp plain flour
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar.
Put the flour, yeast, castor sugar and 1 tsp salt into a large mixing bowl with the spices and dried fruit and mix well. If you want to add a little lemon or orange zest it can be added now. Make a well in the centre and pour in the warm milk, 50ml warm water, the beaten egg and the melted butter. Mix everything together to form a dough – start with a wooden spoon and finish with your hands. If the dough is too dry, add a little more warm water; if it’s too wet, add more flour.
Knead in the bowl or on a floured surface until the dough becomes smooth and springy. Transfer to a clean, lightly greased bowl and cover loosely with a clean, damp tea towel. Leave in a warm place to rise until roughly doubled in size – this will take about 1 hr depending on how warm the room is.
Tip the risen dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for a few secs, then divide into 12 even portions – I roll my dough into a long sausage shape, then quarter and divide each quarter into 3 pieces. Shape each portion into a smooth round and place on a baking sheet greased with butter, leaving some room between each bun for it to rise.
Use a small, sharp knife to score a cross on the top of each bun, then cover with the damp tea towel again and leave in a warm place to prove for 20 mins until almost doubled in size again. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas
When the buns are ready to bake, mix the plain flour with just enough water to give you a thick paste. Spoon into a piping bag (or into a plastic food bag and snip the corner off) and pipe a white cross into the crosses you cut earlier. Bake for 12-15 mins until the buns are golden and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. While still warm, melt the granulated sugar with 1 tbsp water in a small pan, then brush over the buns.
Tip: I put my mix for the cross in one of those plastic refill sauce bottles as I find I get all sorts of shape and size of the cross if I use a piping bag/greaseproof. clumsy klutz that I am..ha ha.
Hot from the Oven! Yum!
Legend tells us that if sharing a hot cross bun with another is supposed to ensure friendship throughout the coming year, particularly if “Half for you and a half for me, Between us two, shall goodwill be” is said at the time or if hung in the kitchen they are said to protect against fire and all bread will turn out ok this is replaced every year.
And I’m sure there are lots more traditions but I just want the butter to put on my bun.
Enjoy your buns xx
Thank you once again for reading this post I hope you all have a great week and don’t forget I do love to chat if you want to leave a comment xx
Pies have been recorded as early as the Neolithic Period, around 9500 BC. The ancient Egyptians’ diet featured basic pies made from oat, wheat, rye, and barley, and filled with honey and baked over hot coals…
I would never get into a discussion as to who makes the best pies as all around the world if you start a discussion on the merits of pie…Someone’s mum always makes the best pies for me my mum does…Be it Steak and Kidney, Fish Pie, Mince pies or an Apple pie her pastry is the best and her pies lauded …
A pie can have a top and a bottom or just a top and it could be a pastry or potato topping…Plain or latticed…There is no end to the variations of the fillings or the case or indeed the type of pastry…
My Hubbies all-time favourite is the Steak and Kidney Pie…
Speaking of which however hot it gets and it is currently only 10am and 30C and rising…Hubby will still eat meat pie…I make individual ones and then he can have pie and I have my Thai food…
For fillings, I either make mince and onions, Steak and Mushroom, Steak and Ale or hubby’s favourite steak and kidney…Chicken and Mushroom or Chicken and Leek Pie…BUT of course not forgetting the British favourite Apple Pie…
For the pastry
- 250g plain flour, plus extra for rolling
- 140g cold unsalted butter, roughly cubed
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 small egg whisked with 1 tbsp milk, for the egg wash
For the filling…Steak & Kidney
- 1 ox kidney, about 400g/14oz, get it fresh from your butcher. Pig’s and lamb’s kidneys only need short cooking time so if used add 15 mins before the end of cooking.
- 1 kg trimmed braising or stewing beef
- 250g flat mushrooms, unpeeled but wiped with a damp cloth
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 100g unsalted butter
- 1 large onion, peeled and thickly chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic crushed
- 50-85g plain flour, depending on how thick you like your gravy
- 600ml fresh stock or water and 1 tbsp vegetable bouillon powder
- 1 large bay leaf
- salt and freshly ground pepper
It’s important to cook the meat a day ahead so that you can discard any fat that has risen to the top, and so that the pastry doesn’t slump in the face of a too-warm filling, so up to 48 hours ahead -make the pastry. Whizz the flour and a pinch of fine sea salt together for a few seconds in a food processor, then add the butter and whizz until the mixture looks like coarse breadcrumbs. Whisk together the egg yolk and 3 tbsp water and whizz with the pastry until it collects in a ball. Wrap in cling film and leave it to rest in the fridge for at least one hour…
TO COOK THE MEAT.
Cut out the white central core of the kidney and (discard). Cut the kidney into bite-sized pieces. Cut the beef into bite-sized cubes and cut the mushrooms into chunks.
Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a large, heavy frying pan over medium-high heat. Throw in the kidney and fry until lightly coloured. Tip into a colander to drain.
Wipe out the frying pan and return it to low-medium heat, adding 25g/1oz of the butter and 1 tbsp oil. Tip in the onion and fry for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft and slightly golden add the garlic for the final 2/3 minutes.
Transfer to a large casserole, using a slotted spoon.
Preheat the oven to 160C/gas 3/fan 140C. Tip the 85g/3oz flour into a large plastic bag, and season it generously. Throw in the beef and shake until lightly floured. Return the frying pan to medium-high heat, adding a little more oil and butter if needed. Shake off any excess flour (reserving it) then fry the beef in batches until golden-brown. As each batch is done, transfer it to the casserole.
Adding more oil and butter to the frying pan if necessary, fry the mushrooms for about 2 minutes until starting to wilt, then add them to the casserole with the drained kidneys, stock or hot water, bouillon powder and bay leaf, plus the excess flour in the bag if you like a thick gravy.
Stir well, cover and cook in the oven for 75-90 minutes until the meat is tender and the sauce is thick. Cool thoroughly, then put in the fridge (preferably overnight) so any fat will solidify – it can then be skimmed off and discarded the next morning.
In the morning – return the pastry to cool room temperature, then roll it out thinly on a well-floured surface. Invert a 28-30x23cm, 6.5cm deep pie dish on to the pastry. Mentally add an extra 1cm all round, then use the dish as a guide to cut out the pastry lid. From the remnants, cut out enough 6cm-wide strips of pastry to go round the dish – they should cover the flat rim and about halfway down the insides.
Lightly butter the rim of the dish and line it with the strip(s) of pastry, sealing any joins with a little dab of water. Butter the shoulders of a pie raiser or an upturned egg cup and stand it in the middle. Spoon in the meat mixture to come level with the top of the dish.
Don’t overfill: reserve any excess gravy to serve hot with the pie.
Brush the pastry rim with a little water, then drape the pastry lid over it, pinching the edges to seal. Cover with cling film and keep in the fridge if not baking immediately.
Finally, an hour before serving – preheat the oven to 200C/gas 6/fan 180C. Make four slashes in the lid of the pie, then brush with the egg wash. Bake for 35-45 minutes until the pastry is golden brown, turning the heat down 10-20º after about 20 minutes. Remove the pie from the oven and leave it to rest for around 10 minutes before cutting into it.
These instructions are if you are making one large pie…If I am making individual pies I just cut a strip of pastry to go around the top of the dish fill the dish with the meat mixture and add a pastry top…This cuts the calories…But if you like a large pie and want to cut nice slices then a pie bottom can be added.
Of course, the cooking time will also need to be adjusted…For an individual pie depending on your oven, it takes approx 25 mins.
To celebrate British Pie Week... Tweet #britishpieweek
We can’t forget to mention the Apple Pie…Can We?
Thank you once again for reading this post I hope you all have a lovely weekend I look forward to your comments and what your favourite pie is… Enjoy your pie xx
Who doesn’t like a nice thin, lacy pancake with sugar and lemon? Pancakes are eaten almost all over the world in one form or another so although plain and simple is my favourite I don’t mind some of the other versions on occasions.
I am also quite good at tossing them much to the surprise of the kids although not sure how I would fare in some of the pancake races which are held throughout the Uk and tossing them while running…lol….that would be a sight to behold…
The first recorded pancake race was way back in 1445 in Olney, Buckinghamshire, England. Since 1950 Olney has competed against women of Liberal, Kansas, the USA in an international race.
Tradition declares that the race was first run in the year 1445, pancakes at the time being a popular dish, receiving royal favour. It was run on Shrove Tuesday, the day before Lent, and the whole day was given over to a festival of celebration, pranks and pastimes. It is not known where the original start line was but the finish line was at the Church door. The winner has to bang on the door with her frying pan…
The year I was born…
Did you know????
The largest pancake was created in Rochdale, Manchester, the UK in 1994, by the Co-Operative Union, Ltd. Measuring 15.01 m (49 ft 3 in) in diameter and 2.5 cm (1 in) thick, the pancake weighed 3 tonnes (6,614 lb) and took more than just a frying pan to flip over!
In total, Brits use an unbelievable 52 million eggs on Pancake Day. That’s 22 million more than any other day.
The most flips anyone has ever done with a pancake is 349 flips in two minutes. That’s ‘flipping’ good’!
We all have our preferences for pancake toppings but the weirdest pancake toppings have to be ketchup and mustard, please…Nooooo! peanut butter and ice cream, coco pops and cream…I just love maple syrup on mine or lemon..simples is best!
The Guinness World Record for the most pancakes served in eight hours is 34,818.
William Shakespeare was also a pancake lover! It is reflected in many of his plays. When Shakespeare was alive Shrove Tuesday is much as it is today – that is people ate plenty of pancakes!. Dinner was a midday meal instead of evening, and the pancakes would follow their main meal. The Tudors enjoyed heavily spiced foods and regularly included ale or beer as ingredients instead of water. They ate very rich foods, and their pancakes could have been enriched with rose-water, sherry, eggs, ale or butter – or a mixture of them all
In France and the United States, Pancake day is called Mardi Gras which means ‘Fat’ or ‘Grease Tuesday’.
My Simple Pancake batter recipe.
- 100 gm flour
- 2 eggs
- 300 ml of milk
- Oil/ butter for frying
- Lemon wedges to serve
- Sugar to serve
Put your flour, eggs, milk, pinch salt in a bowl and whisk until smooth. Chill in the fridge for at least 20 minutes.
Using an omelette or crepe pan add a knob of butter and when melted add some of your mix to pan and roll about to cover the bottom…I like my pancake thin so don’t use too much mix others like theirs thicker but personal choice.
Cook until nicely golden and flip over and cook the other side …keep warm in the oven while you are cooking all your pancakes.
Serve with a good squeeze of lemon and a sprinkling of sugar.
That is my way, plain and simple but it is your opportunity to use your favourite toppings…
What do you top your pancakes with??? Please tell me in comments…
Pancakes are made all over the world and vary somewhat… if you missed my post on how they are made here in Thailand then I have added the link for you to enjoy these were made down in one of the local homes here and they kindly let us take the photos…It is a family affair both young and old play their part…I found it fascinating…
Or these lovely oat pancakes
Maple Walnut Banana Pancakes…
- 1 ripe banana
- 3/4 of a cup of rolled oats
- 2 large organic eggs
- 1 tsp of baking soda
- 1 tsp of maple syrup
- Chopped banana, blueberries, walnuts and maple syrup to serve.
Put the banana, oats, eggs, baking soda and maple syrup in the blender and blitz until smooth and well combined.
Heat your pan and add some mix cook for about 2 mins each side I did find they cooked quite quickly so watch you don’t burn them…
Serve with sliced banana, blueberries or fruit of your choice, walnuts and maple syrup…They were actually very yummy…
I didn’t have gluten-free oats so mine were not gluten-free but still healthy and I had no maple syrup extract so substituted maple syrup, the walnuts I caramelised and I didn’t have blueberries…and I cooked mine in grass-fed butter… I will make them again and next time will add blueberries as they will add that touch of tartness…
However, if you eat Gluten-free use Gluten-free rolled oats and cook in a non-stick pan
If you love pancakes I hope you have found some here to tickle your tastebuds …Enjoy!
Thank you once again for reading this post I hope you all have a great week and please tell me in comments what your favourite pancakes are…I just love to chat and swap recipes xx
Why Meatless Mondays?…
Lots of reasons but health-wise I know we should eat more plant-based meals not only for our health but for the environment…I have decided to do it in stages as to me it should be a permanent commitment and I wish to find some tasty dishes which are equal in taste to what I normally cook for my family.
Introducing more plant-based meals into your diet can help you maintain a healthy weight if you have some weight to lose then adding more plant-based meals has the benefit of removing foods from your diet which cause weight gain.
Plants are high in fibre…this means by introducing more plant-based recipes to your diet that the health of your gut improves so you are better able to absorb the nutrients from your food… you will be eating foods that support your immune system and reduce inflammation.
Fibre can lower cholesterol and stabilize blood sugar and it’s great for good bowel management…
This week I am going to showcase plant-based/meat-free recipes we love at home…I have tried tofu, cooking lentils not yet tried Quorn or Nutritional Yeast but lentils I have had a few tips thank you… I know I need to use lentils (as) I like them just its different lentils for different things and it’s blowing my mind a little…the same with all the different tofu’s and I do really want to try Paneer…but baby steps I can’t do it all at once it needs to be gradual and I don’t want my family to get weary of too many experimental dishes…
This frittata has green beans, broccoli and asparagus and of course cheese…
Frittata...isn’t that an omelette I was asked…my answer was no it’s like a quiche with no pastry…A frittata is cooked slowly over low heat while an omelette is cooked quickly over higher heat. Whereas omelettes are served hot straight from the stove, frittatas are often served at room temperature, making them perfect to make ahead for brunches or buffets…
I always think a frittata is a great way to use up the odds and ends in your fridge…a couple of mushrooms, half a pepper, a handful of spinach…it cuts the waste and the calories as no pastry like quiche and they are tasty…
They can be served with salad, with some lovely steamed veggies, a jacket/baked potato, rosemary and garlic potatoes, slaws, in so many different ways…
Some flavour combinations:
- Spinach, artichoke and feta cheese.
- Broccoli, cheddar and green onion.
- Cremini mushrooms, arugula and goat cheese.
- Cherry tomatoes, zucchini, mozzarella and basil.
- Yellow onion, carrot, bell pepper, goat cheese and chives.
- Asparagus and new potatoes.
- Masala paste, cherry tomatoes and coriander
- Green vegetable frittata pictured above.
As there is NO pastry...I go for heavy cream, half-and-half and whole milk. Sour cream, crème fraîche and yoghurt will work as well…semi-skimmed or skimmed milk is too watery for a good frittata.
Pre-cooked your veggies or use leftover veggies from the day before as adding them fresh releases too much water and generally won’t be fully cooked by the time the eggs are…
Potatoes can be cooked ones from the day before and ideal way to use them up or cut and slice a potato and pre-cook until just done I also crisp my potatoes in the oven a little before adding the eggs…
Cheese is also a great idea...cheddar and parmesan or a soft goats cheese or salty feta all good choices…You can stir up to one cup of grated or crumbled cheese directly into the egg mixture, or reserve some for topping the frittata.
Don’t overcook the frittata just remember eggs carry on cooking once removed from the heat or the oven…
Bake until the edges puff up a little and the middle is just a little jiggly…
What to cook your frittata in…use a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet or an oven-safe, non-stick skillet if you are cooking on the stovetop…I sometimes start mine on the stove and then pop in the oven.
Oven baking then use a well-oiled baking dish or muffin tin think breakfast frittatas…but always well oil to be sure…
I will give you a basic frittata recipe which can be halved depending on how many you are serving…or you may be freezing some for another day…
If freezing, place frittata pieces on a cookie sheet in the freezer until frozen. Transfer to an airtight container and store in the freezer until ready to eat. To reheat, place frozen frittata pieces on a cookie sheet and bake in a 275 degrees F preheated oven (135 degrees C) for 20 minutes.
Basic Frittata Recipe…
- 12 eggs, whisked just until the egg yolks and whites are blended nicely.
- 3 tbsp full-fat dairy of your choice I generally just use whole milk.
- 3 cups cooked and seasoned vegetables.
- 1 cup grated or crumbled cheese.
- 1/2 tsp salt.
- Freshly grated black pepper to taste.
Preheat the oven to 425F/218C for the traditional stovetop method, or 350F/177C for the baked methods (casserole or mini/muffins).
Crack the eggs into a medium mixing bowl. Add your dairy of choice and the salt and pepper. Whisk just until the egg yolks and whites are combined then whisk in all or half of the cheese (you can reserve the other half for topping the frittata before baking if desired). Set the mixture aside.
In a 12-inch cast-iron skillet (or any other large skillet that’s oven-safe), warm the olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the vegetables, starting with chopped onions or other dense vegetables. Cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, then add any softer vegetables such as zucchini. Cook until those vegetables are tender, then add any garlic or greens, and cook until fragrant or wilted. Season with salt and pepper, to taste…if you are halving the recipe then use a 9″ skillet or pan.
Traditional stovetop option: Whisk the eggs once more and pour the mixture over the vegetables. Stir with a spatula briefly to combine and distribute the mixture evenly across the pan. If you reserved any cheese, sprinkle it on top of the frittata.
Once the outside edge of the frittata turns lighter in colour (about 30 seconds to 1 minute), carefully transfer the frittata to the oven. Bake for 7 to 14 minutes (keep an eye on it), until the eggs are puffed and appear cooked, and the centre of the frittata jiggles just a bit when you give it a gentle shake.
Remove the frittata from the oven and place it on a cooling rack to cool. Garnish with herbs, slice with a sharp knife, and serve.
I prefer the stovetop and then into the oven…but if you want a meal which requires less watching then the oven version is just as good ideal for a larger frittata or the smaller breakfast muffins.
Let the cooked vegetables cool for a few minutes. In the meantime, grease a 9 by 13-inch pan with butter. Stir the lightly cooled veggies into the egg mixture, then pour it all into the pan. If you reserved any cheese, sprinkle it on top of the frittata.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes (keep an eye on it), until the eggs are puffed and appear cooked, and the centre of the frittata jiggles just a bit when you give it a gentle shake. Remove the frittata from the oven and place it on a cooling rack to cool. Garnish with herbs, slice with a sharp knife, and serve.
Baked mini frittata option: Let the cooked vegetables cool for a few minutes, then stir them into the egg mixture. Grease 18 muffin cups (I used two muffin pans for this), then fill the cups evenly with a scant ⅓ cup of the mixture. If you reserved any cheese, sprinkle it on top of the frittatas now.
Bake for 13 to 17 minutes, until the eggs, are puffed and appear cooked, and the centre of the frittatas jiggle just a bit when you give the pan a gentle shake keep an eye on them as being smaller they cook much quicker… 6 hole muffin pans finish even sooner. Remove the pans from the oven and place them on a cooling rack to cool. Garnish with herbs, and serve.
Healthy eating and introducing more meat-free plant-based meals are a commitment…a commitment we make to ourselves to enjoy our food and eat as healthy as we can ….MOST of the time…
I have decided I will have a lentil corner and a tofu corner and maybe even a Quorn or nutritional yeast corner…Why?
Well, my lovely readers are giving me tips and as some of these ingredients are newish and I am not fully up to speed with them it helps me and hopefully, it will help some of you as we are all in this together…I am so grateful for any tips which will make cooking and eating of new ingredients more enjoyable…xx Cooking and eating should be fun …Right?
Dolly’s Tip!... When I cooked lentils before Instant Pot revolution, I soaked them overnight, rinsed them, and then used 1/3 ratio. Yes, they do cook slowly and need occasional stirring. Lentil soup also has a tendency to thicken while cooling, so you might want to add more water the next day and taste for seasoning. I hope this helps.
First off, tofu is NOT the byproduct of making soy-milk but is actually made by curdling the soy-milk, similar to making cheese. The pulp left over from making the milk is called okara and can be eaten (my family made “burgers” with it growing up), but I suspect if you don’t like tofu okara will be even harder of a sell.
Freezing firm tofu helps extract even more water than pressing, turning it into a regular flavour sponge. Until you have developed a taste for it, the secret is getting as much flavour in there as possible so you don’t pay as much attention to the texture, so think about sauces that really pack in the flavour and try marinating for several hours before you cook it. The best tofu I’ve eaten was baked in a thick peanut sauce. A smokey BBQ sauce also does wonderful things.
Coating cubes of tofu in cornstarch and frying it makes for delightfully crispy little nuggets, although maybe isn’t as healthy. You can probably also achieve this in the oven, with a similar level of satisfaction to doing say “fried” chicken in the oven- acceptable, but not quite the same.
Thank you, ladies, for your advice it is most helpful…x
That’s all for today on my journey into eating more plant-based meals on a Meatless Monday……Thank you again to everyone who is suggesting recipes I will try them all…xx
Thank you for reading this post If you have enjoyed this post please leave a comment as any tips or comments I love as you all know I just love to chat…Love Carol xx