Pork, Apple & Cider Pie

It’s been apple picking season for us this past week or so. We’ve got delicious Reverend W Wilks and Worcester Pearmains. They smell so lovely and sweet, fresh off the trees. There’s nothing quite like waking up early, the air is starting to get a little crisp, the field is misty and the apples are ready to cook with.

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Watch out for more apple related posts!

A few dinners ago I decided on a pork, apple and cider pie; autumn is upon us! Shoulder is particularly tasty, and with the apple and cider, this pie is so so so simple yet so flavoursome. It’s sweet homely aromas filled the kitchen, the mash and greens complementing the pie perfectly.

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 The cider pastry recipe is particularly scrummy, and might just have made it into my favourite pastry bakes.

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And what’s better than using your own apples in a yummy pie for dinner hey?!

ENJOY! 🙂

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Pork, Apple & Cider Pie (serves 4)

For the cider pastry:

1 egg, beaten

125ml dry cider

125ml olive oil

1 tsp baking powder

Pinch of salt

375g plain flour

1 egg, to glaze

For the filling: 

1 tbsp

1 sweet onion

2 celery sticks, de-stringed and chopped

500g pork shoulder

2 tbsp plain flour

175ml dry cider

1 cooking apple (about 150g) peeled, cored and sliced

2 eating apples (about 250g) peeled, cored and sliced

4 sage leaves

Salt and pepper to season

  1. To make the pastry: beat the egg in a large bowl with the cider, olive oil, baking powder and salt. Slowly mix in the flour until you have a soft dough (you may not need all the flour) Wrap the dough in cling film and leave to cool in the fridge for around 45 minutes
  2. To make the filling: Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large pan over a medium-low heat. Add the onion and celery and cook for around 5 minutes, until soft. Remove the vegetables from the pan
  3. Add a little more oil and increase the heat to medium-high. Brown the pork well on all sides. Turn the heat down a little and return the vegetables to the pan. Sprinkle the flour over the ingredients and cook for 1 minute. Gradually add the cider and stock, stirring so the flour is absorbed. Add the apples and sage. Bring to the boil and reduce the heat, simmering for around 45 minutes, until the pork is tender. Taste the sauce and season to taste
  4. Heat your oven to 200 degrees and position a pie funnel in the middle of your pie dish
  5. Spoon the filling into the dish. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry and lift the pasty sheet over the pie, pressing down the edges to seal (I usually find sticking strips of pastry around the rim helps keep the sheet in place). Crimp the edges and decorate with pastry leaves and berries
  6. Brush the lid with a beaten egg and bake for around 35 minutes, until golden and crisp
  7. Serve with mash and greens 🙂

When Life Gives You Lemons – Grab Tequila & Salt – Or Loads Of Eggs & Make a Tart

I’ve never made a tart before…. *shock*gasp*horror*

I know…. I think I’ve kinda been putting it off, cause I don’t really like them, and I know they can be tricky little creatures, or big creatures for that matter. I’ve always made jam tarts, very tiny, very easy, jam tarts, literally just with a blob of jam in the middle, no work involved really.

However a rare moment happened a few weeks ago. My Grandad and Dad came into the kitchen, placed a magazine in front of me, with a recipe for a lemon tart spread across two pages. My eyes immediately went to the corner where there was an alternative salted caramel chocolate tart…. Now that was my cup of tea!

But, alas, after much dispute, it was decided I was to make this tart, not for me, not with chocolate, and not with great happiness, but for Grandad and Dad.

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It was actually really simple to make, I just needed SO MANY EGGS! Apart from the slight horror of using up almost all of the eggs in my cupboard, I warmed to the idea of a challenge and something new. That’s what bakers do right?!

After lots of prep and waiting for things to cool and carefully swaying a tray full of tart into the oven (boy was that a challenge) I actually kinda maybe potentially made a pretty sweet pie tart thingy.

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I don’t really like lemon (much prefer orange), but it wasn’t too bad at all. The pastry could have been better, but I suppose that comes with experience, as well as the right amount of mixing and whisking with the filling. In fact I’m sure there are nicer and more fancy recipes out there for lemon tarts, but I liked the simplicity of this one (if I remember correctly, I believe it was a French recipe) and thought it was pretty good for innocent tart beginners like myself. Obviously I will be making a chocolate-y one soon enough….

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But I wanted to share, as my Grandad and Dad thoroughly enjoyed it, as did I with the rustic appearance (I like imperfect things!).

Hope you enjoy and have a fabulous weekend ❤

Rustic Lemon Tart (serves around 6-8)

For the sweet pastry:

120g unsalted butter, softened at room temperature

75g icing sugar, sifted, plus extra for dusting

2 egg yolks

250g plain flour

2 tbsp water

For the lemon filling:

5 eggs

150g caster sugar

85ml lemon juice, around 3 lemons

2 tbsp finely grated lemon zest

150ml double cream

  1. To make the pastry: In a large bowl, cream the butter and icing sugar together, then beat in 2 of the egg yolks. Add the flour and rub the mixture with your fingers, creating a breadcrumb texture. Add the water (if you need it) and form a ball with the mixture. Knead the pastry on a lightly floured surface (try not to overwork the pastry otherwise it will be too hard – I knead for around 1 minute). Wrap in cling film and chill for around 30-60 minutes
  2. Making the lemon cream: In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon juice and cream. Sieve and then add the zest. Place in the fridge to cool
  3. Take out the pastry and roll out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll into a circle, around 3mm thick. Here comes the tricky part! Roll the pastry over the rolling pin and unroll it over a (I used 24cm) loose-bottom tart tin. Gently tuck into the bottom edges of the tin so it fits nice and tightly. Cut off any excess (I wasn’t too bothered about a neat tart – hence the adjective rustic!). If you have any particularly loose or thin parts, use the excess pastry and press gently into rough areas to create a nice snug fit. Prick the base of the pastry with a fork and refrigerate for 30-40 minutes
  4. Cooking the pastry: Preheat the oven to 160 degrees. Now line the pastry case with greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans, pushing them against the side. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven and lift out both greaseproof paper and beans. Return the pastry to the oven and bake for a further 15-20 minutes
  5. Cooking the lemon cream: Turn the oven down to 150°C/ 275°F/Gas Mark 1. Pour the lemon mixture into your pastry base and carefully place it into the oven (CAREFULLY!). Bake for around 35-40 minutes, until just set. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for at least 30 minutes, then dredge icing sugar around the edge of the tart. Remove the tart from the tin and place on a serving plate. Enjoy!

Fun Cheesy Broccoli Bites 

Just a quick post today (nonetheless interesting though!)

With my Auntie Jenny staying (post-gallbladder surgery) we’ve been super busy around the house and have been on a constant search and mission to find food that my Auntie fancies (her taste buds are favouring sweet things over savoury at the moment – like auntie like niece).

This evening we decided on a ‘nibbles dinner’ (my favourite!) laying out boards of cheese, meats, boiled potatoes, crisps, salad, humous and so on… But we needed some veg in there somewhere, so I decided to conduct an experiment.

I whipped the old blender out, threw in some bread crumbs, eggs, salt, cheese and broccoli and using an ice cream scoop (creative or what?!) created some balls and fried what can be described as an unusual yet scrummy way of eating some veg!

If you have children this is a brilliant way to get in your vitamin C and K – rather than being a boring old citizen and eating your greens steamed or boiled, why don’t you fry them with cheese?!

Enjoy! 🙂

Cheesy Broccoli Bites (makes around 10) 

3/4 floret of broccoli

2 eggs

Pinch of sea salt

1 slice of bread, made into breadcrumbs

30g cheese, Parmesan would work well

  1. Steam your broccoli and make your bread crumbs
  2. Add all the ingredients to the food processor and blend
  3. Form into balls and fry in a saucepan – flatten with a spatula until cooked on both sides

        

REPOST: Shepherd or Cottage?

Another week, another cottage pie – here’s the old post with refreshed photos 🙂 

This was the first ever ‘proper’ dish I made. I was 15 and it blew my mind. It opened up the world of cooking ‘proper’ food, as oppose to baking all those ‘fluffy’ cake recipes.It was pretty easy and I liked the taste of my own cooking. I was proud of myself!

Problem is I never quite knew whether I was making a shepherds or cottage pie… I like to use mince beef, and add peas… what does this mean?! Here’s what the internet tells me:

“the difference between the two is cottage pie is mince because the cottage is on the farm with the cows and shepherd’s pie is made with lamb because shepherds look after the sheep and lambs” 

I LOVE this description! I’ve clearly been making cottage pie this whole time and not even realised… in my little book with all my top secret recipes in, I’d written shepherds pie… big mistake!

So after years of confusion, here’s my new cottage pie recipe:

Shepherds (oops I mean Cottage) Pie (serves 5)

1 tbsp sunflower oil

500g beef mince

1 onion, chooped ( I usually use 1 leek when I’m cooking for my boyfriend – it gives a much milder taste)

5 carrots, chopped

2 tbsp tomato puree

Splash of Worcestershire sauce

500ml beef stock

2 tsp mixed herbs

100g frozen peas

2 tbsp plain flour

Salt and pepper

900g potatoes, chopped

40g butter

3 tbsp milk

Black pepper

  1. Heat the oil in a saucepan then soften the onion/leek and carrots for 5 minutes.
  2. Crumble in the mince and cook until browned. Then drain any excess fat away
  3. Add the stock, stirring gently for 2 minutes
  4. Add the tomato puree and Worcestershire sauce, cooking for a further 5 minutes
  5. Meanwhile take the flour and carefully add water, making a thick paste
  6. Take a spoonful of the mixture and add to the flour paste, stirring quickly
  7. Then add this back into the saucepan and thoroughly stir, making sure the sauce is starting to thicken.
  8. Add the frozen peas, mixed herbs and season to taste
  9. Cover and simmer for 15-20 mins minutes
  10. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 180 degrees
  11. To make the mash, boil the potatoes in salted water for 15 minutes until soft. Drain then mash with the butter and milk. Add a pinch of black pepper
  12. Place the mince mixture into an ovenproof dish and top with the mash, ruffling the top with a fork (add grated cheese if desired)
  13. Bake for a further 20 minutes, until the top has browned

  

  
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Easy Peasy One-Pot Chicken Cassoulet

This has to be the EASIEST dinner I have EVER made.

Seriously, when I say one-pot, I mean it.

All you need is a pot (that one’s pretty obvious), a chopping board, and a knife.

I can’t stress enough how YUMMY this is….. all the delicious flavours soak into the meat and veg and you end up with so much goodness on your plate after a good hour in the oven. It really doesn’t take too much prep, and its a lovely warming dish.

Served with a glass of red, with Granny’s Pear & Plum Cider Crumble for pudding, and you are sorted for the evening.

You can obviously tweak this to your taste, adding bacon if you fancy, celery rather than onions and so on.

Enjoy ❤

One-Pot Chicken Cassoulet (Serves 4)

4 chicken breasts (I cut these into small chunks)

150g chestnut mushrooms

1 onion, chopped

1 red pepper, chopped

Tin of cannellini beans

1 clove of garlic

1/2 tsp paprika

1 tsp tomato puree

500ml chicken stock

Dash of red wine

Handful of chopped parsley

Sea salt and black pepper

  1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees and get your casserole dish ready
  2. Chop all the veg and throw into the dish, along with your beans and chicken pieces
  3. Add the stock, along with the paprika, garlic, tomato puree and wine
  4. Stir and sprinkle over chopped parsley, season to taste
  5. Put in the oven and cook for around 1 hour (1 hour and half if you don’t chop the chicken breasts)
  6. Serve with baked potatoes or mash, with green veg

     

Hearty British Chicken, Mushroom & Leek Pie

Chicken pie has been on my must-cook list for quite a long time now, but by the time I’ve suddenly thought “oh I should make that” I’m missing a vital ingredient… you can’t very well make a chicken pie without the chicken… or veg… or pastry… or most importantly, a little time on your hands!

So I planned ahead, bought in some English chicken and chestnut mushrooms, and hey presto – we’ve got a pie on the go.

 Of course since this was my first shot, I wanted a trusted recipe to base this on, so I picked good ol’ Mary Berry. I looked it over and thought, yep this one’s easy enough. And it definitely was.

In a nut shell, you fry the leek, add the sauce ingredients, add the mushrooms, add the seasoning, add the chicken, add this to the dish, make the pastry, place that on the top and you have it! (it kinda sounds long now, but seriously it takes around 35 mins prep wise – maybe 40 if you’re doing it for the first time and going a little slow!)

Since this recipe uses cooked chicken, it’s so quick in the oven, and if you’ve got any leftover chicken from a roast this is the perfect way to put it to use.

I tweeked some of the ingredients, amounts and order of things as I went along just to suit my tastes (as you may do to), but other than that this is a brilliantly classic British dish, great for a Sunday afternoon. I looooove the combination of cheesy creamy sauce against puff pastry

Next on my list is to add bacon, make more of a wine based sauce, and use turkey to give it a twist – watch out!

Enjoy 🙂

Chicken, Mushroom and Leek Pie (serves 4) 

50g butter

1 large leek, trimmed and sliced

50g plain flour

300ml milk

300ml chicken stock

1 tsp English mustard

1 tbsp chopped fresh basil (Mary uses tarragon)

200g chestnut mushrooms, sliced

sea salt and black pepper

400g cooked chicken, sliced

50g mature cheddar cheese, grated

500g puff pastry *recipe at the bottom*

1 egg, beaten

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees
  2. Melt the butter in a pan and add the leek, frying over a low heat for around 10 minutes
  3. Mix the flour with a little of the milk in a small bowl to create a smooth paste
  4. When the leeks are soft, turn up the heat and add the stock. Now add the paste along with the remaining milk (be careful not to burn the thickening paste)
  5. Bring to the boil, stirring all the time, until the sauce is thickened and smooth
  6. Add the mustard and basil. Stir in the mushrooms and simmer for around 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and then add the cooked chicken with a splash of white wine
  7. Remove from the heat and add the cheese. Pour the mixture into your cooking dish (make sure this is not too deep as you don’t want the pastry to sink) and set aside to cool
  8. Meanwhile make the pastry top (or to save time either buy a pre-made roll or make this earlier on in the day). On a lightly floured surface, roll the pastry out until it is slightly larger than the dish
  9. Cut 4 strips for the lip of the dish. Brush the lip with water and lay these strips across; brush the top of the strips with water and finally place the main pastry cover over, pressing down to seal the edges
  10. Brush the pastry with egg and cut any remaining pastry into leaf shapes. Create a small steam hole in the centre of the pie and bake in the oven for around 30 minutes

      

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How to make puff pastry: 

250g strong white flour

1 tsp sea salt

250g butter

150ml water

  1. Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl. Roughly break the butter in small chunks, add them to the bowl and rub them in very loosely
  2. Make a well in the bowl and pour in about two-thirds of the cold water, mixing until you have a firm rough dough adding extra water if needed. Cover with cling film and leave to rest for 20 mins in the fridge
  3. Turn out onto a lightly floured board, knead gently and form into a smooth rectangle. Roll the dough in one direction only, until 3 times the width. Keep edges straight and even. Don’t overwork the butter streaks; you should have a marbled effect
  4. Fold the top third down to the centre, then the bottom third up and over that. Give the dough a quarter turn (to the left or right) and roll out again to three times the length
  5. Fold as before, cover with cling film and chill for at least 20 mins before rolling to use

Pesto Pasta with Peas, Spinach & Broccoli

*recipe inspired by DeliciouslyElla*

I was doing my general round on Instagram, looking at pretty pictures of food, and I came across DeliciouslyElla. I loved her pictures and recipes and followed her immediately.

Anyway it came to making dinner and all I saw in the fridge was green green green. My mind went back to a dish I saw on Instagram and boy was I thankful. For once I had all the ingredients I needed – and a quick and simple dish I’d never made before!

I felt SO healthy eating it – I mean you can’t get any better that pesto, peas, spinach and broccoli. The lemon really added to the citrus flavour, and it’s so easy to whip up for a veggie friend.

Leftovers taste just as yummy cold the next day.

ENJOY!

Pesto Pasta with Peas, Spinach & Broccoli (serves 4)

For the pesto

100g pine nuts

200ml olive oil

Handful of fresh basil

1 clove garlic

2 lemons

Sea salt and black pepper

For the pasta

80g pasta per person

200g frozen garden peas

100g spinach

1 floret broccoli

1 lemon

  1. Tear all the basil leaves off their stems, juice the lemons and peel the garlic
  2. Place all these with the other pesto ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth and creamy
  3. Place the pasta and the peas into a saucepan with boiling water and cook for around 15 minutes. Then cook the broccoli for around 5 minutes
  4. Drain the pasta and the peas, then place them back into the saucepan along with the pesto, spinach and brocolli
  5. Cook everything together on a low heat until the pesto is warm and the spinach has wilted
  6. Finally squeeze the juice of the last lemon over the pasta and season to your taste
  7. Sprinkle with some parmesan cheese and enjoy with a fresh salad and warm ciabatta bread!