Spicy Rosemary Thins

Spicy Rosemary ThinsOk, I’ve been hammering the sweet tooth a little hard recently. Figured I’d change it up a little bit this week with these scrummy, savoury sensations! For me, rosemary always tastes so homely. Ok, that may sound a little strange but I feel it’s almost like the herb equivalent of that winter ‘sitting in front of the fire with a mug of soup’ feeling. I don’t know what it is but I just love it. Like a herby hug!

Anyway, they’re blooming amazing and obviously you’re gonna have a go at making them because they’re super duper easy & quick!

Here is what you will need to make approx 25 – 30.

(Recipe from the lovely I Bake He Shoots.)

  • 1 tbsp Fresh Rosemary
  • 1/4 tsp Chilli Flakes
  • 100g Plain Flour
  • 100g Unsalted Butter, Room Temp
  • 100g Extra Mature Cheddar Cheese, Finely Grated
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Salt

Finely chop together the rosemary and chilli flakes.

Spicy Rosemary ThinsIn a food processor, add in the flour, butter, cheese, baking powder, salt & herbs.

Spicy Rosemary ThinsPulse until it just comes together to form a dough.

Spicy Rosemary ThinsTip the dough out onto a sheet of grease proof or baking paper and knead gently into a log shape.

Spicy Rosemary ThinsUsing the paper as an aid – roll it up into a round log then press the ends in to fill any gaps.

Place this in the freezer for 25 minutes to chill.

Spicy Rosemary ThinsMeanwhile, preheat your oven to 180°C/Fan 160°C & line a baking tray with baking paper or a silicone baking sheet.

When the 25 mins are up – remove the dough from the freezer and slice discs approx 3-4mm thick.

Spicy Rosemary ThinsPlace the chilled discs onto the baking tray, slightly spaced apart to allow for spreading.

Put into the centre of the preheated oven and bake for 10 – 12 mins or until just turning golden on the edges.

Spicy Rosemary Thins

Spicy Rosemary ThinsLeave on the tray for a minute or two to harden then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. (That should only take about 15 mins.)

Spicy Rosemary Thins

Spicy Rosemary ThinsThese would make great nibbles if you’re having friends over for a few drinks, or the perfect accompaniment to any cheese board! Far better than most crackers you can buy in the shops that’s for sure.

And if you’re worried about the heat of the chilli flakes, it’s not hot I promise. It’s more like a pleasant, gentle warmth in the back of the throat as an after taste. They’re just… well, blinkin’ gorgeous!

I hope you all enjoyed this weeks post my lovelies, until next week.

Miss KitchenMason

Tomato & Mozzarella Galette

Tomato & Mozzarella GaletteAfter reorganizing all my recipes on the site, it occurred to me that I don’t have many pastry main course recipes. So this week, I made it my mission to find a new one to try. After trawling the internet for a while I turned up a little beauty called the ‘Galette.’

Not something I’d ever heard of before, but the more I read into it, the more I just needed to make one! It’s effectively a pizza with a rustic pastry crust. Sounds delicious right? You’d be correct in that assumption. And I know what you’re thinking, tomato and mozzarella? That galette is just gonna’ be swimming in juices!? Wrong. If you open the door half way, you will probably panic when you see how much liquid is there. But stick it out until the end of the cooking time and you will see that all the liquid evaporates to leave an incredible, melted golden mound of tomato and cheese. Take my word for it, it’s just beautiful.

Here is what you will need to serve 1 as a main course or 2 as a part of a main course with a side. (Recipe adapted from Hip Foodie Mom.)

For the Pastry Crust

  • 160g Plain Flour
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 60ml Olive Oil
  • 50-100ml Cold Water
  • 1 Egg, Beaten for egg wash

For the Topping

  • 2 Balls of Fresh Mozzarella, Drained & Sliced
  • 2 Fresh Tomatoes, Sliced
  • Bunch of Fresh Basil, Roughly Chopped
  • Salt & Pepper

To make the crust, put the flour, salt & olive oil in a food processor & blitz briefly until it’s all blended together.

Tomato & Mozzarella GaletteAdd a little cold water at a time and pulse until it comes together to form a dough.

Tomato & Mozzarella GaletteTip out onto a work surface and knead briefly & gently into a ball.

Tomato & Mozzarella GalettePlace in some cling film, flatten into a disc and pop into the fridge to rest for a minimum of 30 minutes. Meanwhile, you can be slicing your toppings.

Preheat your oven to 200°C/Fan 180°C.

When the dough has rested, on a lightly floured work surface, roll out to a rough circle as thin as you can without tearing.

Tomato & Mozzarella GaletteLift the pastry onto a baking tray/sheet. Then leaving a 4cm/1 1/2″ gap around the edge, lay the mozzarella onto the pastry & sprinkle over a generous amount of chopped basil. Season with salt & pepper.

Tomato & Mozzarella GaletteThen lay over the slices of tomato. If you like, finish with more basil and a little more salt & pepper.

Tomato & Mozzarella GaletteThen roughly fold the edges up and over the toppings, lightly pinching the seams together as you go. Lastly, brush the crust all over with beaten egg.

Tomato & Mozzarella GaletteBake in the preheated oven for approx 45 minutes until the pastry is golden & crispy and the cheese is bubbling. Allow to sit for a few minutes before slicing and devouring like you haven’t eaten in weeks!

Tomato & Mozzarella GaletteI am always happy to try any variation on the humble pizza. It doesn’t matter what that variation is. Anything with melted cheese is bound to be amazing, and this is no exception! A beautiful flaky pastry topped with delightfully seductive melted mozzarella,  temptingly sweet tomatoes & the powerful flavour of basil. Just amazing. You should totally try one of these!

I hope you enjoyed this week’s post lovelies, until next time.

Miss KitchenMason

Tapas Night!

Tapas Night!This week, with the inspiration of a new cookbook – me and my good friends Emma & Sarah decided to team up and put together a Spanish Tapas evening. After much deliberation, we each chose a few dishes to tackle and spent a day cooking together in the KitchenMason kitchen. With beautiful dishes such as Patatas Bravas and stuffed pickled peppers on the table, the evening was a huge & delicious success! I would highly recommend getting together with friends and giving a Tapas evening a go. Not only is it great fun, it’s unbelievably tasty too!

Here are a few of my favourites from the day…

Tapas Night!

“Eggs & Cheese”

Serves 6

(Vegetarian & Gluten Free)

  • 6 x Eggs
  • 3 tbsp Parmesan Cheese, grated
  • 2 tbsp Mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp Fresh Chives, finely chopped
  • 1 fresh Red Chilli, deseeded & finely chopped
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste

Put the eggs in a pan and cover with cold water. Place over a high heat and bring to the boil then turn down to a simmer and cook for a further 7 minutes. Plunge into a bowl of ice cold water (to prevent the yolks from going green) and allow to cool.

Once they’re cold, peel the shells and cut into halves.

Remove the yolks and rub them through a sieve and into a large bowl. Add the remaining ingredients, mix well then spoon into the halved egg whites.

Present on lettuce leaves topped with a single chive (if you’re trying to be a fancy pants like me!)

Cover and chill until ready to serve.

Tapas Night!

Pickled Stuffed Peppers

Serves 6

(Vegetarian & Gluten Free)

  • 200g Cuajada Cheese (or any fresh goat’s cheese)
  • 400g Pickled Peppers (we used pimientos del piquillo)
  • 1 tbsp fresh Dill, finely chopped
  • Salt & Pepper

Cut the cheese into pieces approx 1cm (or 1/2″) long.

Drain the peppers from the jar and slit the sides of each one. (Deseed if they aren’t already.)

Stuff the peppers with the cheese then lay on a serving plate. Sprinkle with the chopped dill and some salt and pepper to taste.

Cover and chill until ready to serve.

Tapas Night!

Sun-dried Tomato & Goats Cheese Tarts

Serves 6

(Vegetarian)

  •  70g Sun-dried Tomatoes in oil (drained & 2 tbsp oil reserved)
  • 1 Courgette, finely sliced
  • 1 Garlic Clove, crushed
  • 250g Puff Pastry
  • Plain Flour, for dusting
  • 150g Goat’s Cheese
  • Salt & Pepper

Preheat your oven to 220°C/Fan 200°C and line a large baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or dampen slightly with water.

Finely chop the sun-dried tomatoes, set to one side, then heat 1 tbsp of the reserved oil in a large frying pan. Add the courgette slices and cook over a medium heat for about 10 minutes until golden brown on both sides.

Add the garlic into the pan, stir for about 30 secs then take the pan off the heat and allow to cool.

Roll out the puff pastry on a lightly floured work surface. Then using a 9cm (3 1/2″) round cutter, cut out 12 rounds.

TOP TIP!! Never roll puff pastry into a ball and re-roll. Always stack the trimmings on top of each other and re-roll or you will loose all those lovely layers within & it won’t rise.

Transfer the rounds to the prepared baking sheet and prick each one lightly with a fork. Leaving 1cm all the way round – split the courgette mixture between each disc then add the tomatoes. Top with some goat’s cheese, a drizzling of the remaining tomato oil and a sprinkling of salt & pepper. Bake in the preheated oven for approx 10-15 minutes until golden, risen & delicious!

Tapas Night!

Cheese Puffs with Fiery Tomato Salsa

Serves 6-8

(Vegetarian)

For the Cheese Puffs

  •  70g Plain Flour, sifted
  • 50ml Olive Oil
  • 150ml Water
  • 2 Eggs, beaten
  • 55g Parmesan Cheese, grated
  • 1/2 tsp Smoked Paprika, good quality!
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Oil for Deep Frying

For The Fiery Salsa

  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Small Onion, finely chopped
  • 1 Garlic Clove, crushed
  • Splash of White Wine
  • 400g Tin of Chopped Tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp Tomato Purée
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp Chilli Flakes
  • Dash of Tabasco Sauce
  • Pinch of Sugar
  • Salt & Pepper

To make the salsa, heat the olive oil in a large, heavy based frying pan then add the onion. Fry until softened but not browned. Then add the garlic, cook for a further 30 seconds and throw in the wine. Allow to bubble down for 10-20 seconds or so then add the remaining ingredients to the pan. Simmer for 10-15 minutes until nice and thick. Season with salt & pepper to taste and pour into a serving bowl.

To make the cheese puffs, Place the olive oil and water in a large saucepan. Bring to a rolling boil then throw in the flour and vigorously beat with a wooden spoon until a lump of dough forms. Tip the dough into a glass bowl and set aside to cool for a few minutes.

Tapas Night!Now, with a truck load of elbow grease, gradually beat the eggs into the dough. It will feel like the mixture is splitting each time but stick with it & it should come together. You are aiming for a ‘dropping’ consistency.

Tapas Night!

Tapas Night!Once all the eggs are used up, add in the parmesan cheese & the paprika. Season well with salt & pepper and give it a good mix. Cover & refrigerate until needed.

Tapas Night!

Fill a deep fat fryer with oil and heat to approx 180/190°C. Alternatively, fill a large saucepan with oil and heat until a cube of bread browns in approx 30 seconds.

When the oil is hot enough, carefully drop in teaspoons of the prepared mixture. Fry for 2-3 minutes – they should puff up and float to the surface.

Tapas Night!Allow to drain on kitchen paper for a minute or two and repeat until all the mixture is used up.

Serve the cheese puffs warm alongside the bowl of fiery salsa.

This one was a bit of a labour of love but totally worth it! I was intrigued by the idea of a savoury choux pastry, and now I’ve tried it?  I absolutely love it! Very tasty stuff.

There was one last little gem though, chorizo in red wine. This was, by a country mile, the star of the show! It was that good… I didn’t even get a chance to take a pic for you all! As a consolation, I’ve borrowed one from the internet and provided you lovely lot with the recipe so you can have a go yourself.

Tapas Night!

Chorizo in Red Wine

Serves 6

NEEDS 8 HOURS TO MARINATE

  • 200g Chorizo Sausage
  • 200ml Spanish Red Wine

Prick the sausage 3-4 times with a fork then place in a saucepan with the wine.

Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat & simmer for 15-20 minutes. Transfer to a plastic tub, cover & leave to marinate for at least 8 hours or overnight.

Reserving the wine, take the chorizo out the tub & remove the skin. (We found it easiest to use a vegetable peeler.)

Slice the sausage then place in a frying pan over a high heat. Add in the reserved wine and simmer until almost all the wine has evaporated.

Serve with cocktail sticks to spear.

 

Well, that just about covers our Spanish Tapas Evening. I hope you all enjoyed the post lovelies, until next week!

Miss KitchenMason

Honeyed Carrot Soup

Honeyed Carrot SoupAlthough spring is just around the corner, there’s still a definite chill in the air and I’m in need of some good old fashioned comfort food! This delicious home made soup has been a favourite of mine for a very long time. Yet for some completely bizarre reason, I’ve neglected to share it with you lovely lot! What a travesty! Today, I plan to rectify this mistake.

This recipe makes about 6 servings. (Approx 400ml each.) It also freezes very well so is worth while making a batch and saving some for those lazy days. Brucey bonus? It’s naturally gluten free!

(Recipe adapted from the BBC Good Food website.)

  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 2 Small Leeks, roughly sliced
  • 800g Carrots, peeled & roughly sliced
  • 2 tsp Honey
  • Pinch Chilli Flakes
  • 2 Bay Leafs
  • 1.8 – 2 litres Good Quality Vegetable Stock
  • Soured Cream to serve

Firstly, melt the butter in a very large saucepan over a medium heat and add in the leeks.

Honeyed Carrot SoupSweat for approx 4-5 minutes until softened.

Honeyed Carrot SoupNow add in the carrots, honey, chilli flakes and bay leaves.

Honeyed Carrot SoupCook over a medium heat for a couple of minutes…

Honeyed Carrot SoupThen add in the vegetable stock. (I used 4 x Knorr stock pots dissolved in boiling water.)

NOTE: If you like your soup thicker, use 1.8 litres. If you like it a little runnier, use 2 litres.

Honeyed Carrot SoupBring to the boil and simmer gently for 30 minutes.

Honeyed Carrot SoupVery important… Remove the bay leaves! Then all that is left to do is blitz it all up (in batches) in a food processor.

Once you’ve done that, return it all to the pan and give it a good stir. Have a taste and season with salt & pepper as needed.

Honeyed Carrot SoupAt this point you can heat it up again and serve with a big swirl of fresh sour cream. Or, like me, pour individual portions into Pour & Store Bags & freeze for a later date. Then when you do want it, simply take out the freezer the night before and allow to defrost in the fridge. If you are really pushed for time, tip the block of frozen soup into a saucepan and heat gently over a low heat. It will slowly melt and then heat up. But do keep an eye on it as the melted soup may start boiling before the block has completely melted, resulting in some spitting!

Honeyed Carrot SoupAnd there you go, a wonderful and healthy home made soup to warm your cockles! The blend of flavours is just lovely. First you get the sweetness from the carrots and honey, then a little kick from the chilli flakes… and the sour cream just brings it all together. Absolutely delightful! This has been and will remain one of my all time favourite soup flavours. Nothing in the world can replace that warm, comforting feeling you get from a good bowl of home made soup. Perfection!

I hope you enjoyed the post lovelies, until next time.

Miss KitchenMason

No Knead Mug Bread

No Knead Mug BreadMy biggest baking nemesis to date has got to be bread. Yes I’ve made ‘nice’ breads before but I’ve honestly never felt like I ‘got it’… until now. I was lucky enough to receive James Morton’s book Brilliant Bread (Great British Bake Off Runner Up 2012) for Christmas and I happened to stumble across the easiest recipe for bread I have EVER seen. There’s no measuring, no kneading & pretty much no faff whatsoever! Yet it’s hands down, the most beautiful bread I have ever created in my kitchen. So, without further ado, here is what you will need to make 1 large loaf.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 Mugs of Strong White Bread Flour
  • Enough Salt just to coat the bottom of the mug
  • 1 x 7g Sachet of Fast-Action Yeast
  • 1 full mug of tepid water

And that’s it! All you need to do is pick a mug. Any mug.

Fill it two and a quarter times with flour and tip it all into a bowl.

No Knead Mug BreadTip salt into the same mug until the bottom is just covered. Add this into the flour and rub in with your thumb & forefingers briefly.

Add in the yeast and rub briefly again.

Fill the very same mug with tepid water. (By ‘tepid’ James means when you put a finger in, if you can’t tell whether it’s hot or cold – it’s just right.)

Pour this into the centre of the bowl and bring the mixture together using a wooden spoon.

No Knead Mug BreadWhen it’s nearly come together, get your hands in and mix until you can’t see any more flour.

It’s also worth noting, this is quite a wet dough. I have been assured by this book that ‘wetter is better’ and judging from the results I’ve had… I totally agree!

No Knead Mug BreadCover with a damp tea towel or cling film and leave to rest for about 40mins. (Or until noticeably more plump.) Yep, NO KNEADING!

No Knead Mug BreadWhen it’s rested, using wet hands (keep wetting if they start to stick) slide your fingers underneath the dough then fold it in half firmly. Turn the bowl slightly and repeat the fold again. Continue to do this until there is no more air left in the dough and it’s a smooth ball.

No Knead Mug Bread

No Knead Mug BreadCover again and allow to prove for about 1 hour or until just doubled in size.

James’ Tip: If you need to go out, simply put your dough in the fridge. It will slow down that 1 hour process to about 8-12 hours.)

No Knead Mug BreadWhen your dough is proved, we need to shape it. Tip out onto a lightly floured surface.

At this point, you could shape it into a ball or divide & shape into some rolls. I opted for a simple batard loaf.

For great shaping advice you really should invest in James’ book. It’s got fantastic step by step picture guides for it – a man after my own heart! Failing that, get yourself on YouTube if you are stuck for ideas/techniques – there are hundreds of guides to shaping all the bread types you can think of!

This time, I decided to use my new proving basket (or banneton.) If you also have one, flour very generously and lay your shaped loaf in the base – bottom/seam side up. If you don’t have one, simply line a baking sheet with baking paper and sprinkle generously with a coarse flour, like corn meal or semolina. Lay your shaped bread on top. (If you don’t have a coarse flour, just generously use normal flour.)

Either way, cover with a damp tea towel and leave to prove until doubled in size again. (Approx 1 hour.)

At least half an hour before baking – Preheat your oven to about 230/240°C (regardless of electric or fan ovens.)

It’s also worth mentioning your baking surface at this point. Ever noticed when you bake bread at home that you end up with a line of dense stodge at the bottom? It’s because the surface that you baked it on wasn’t as hot as the air in your oven, resulting in an uneven bake. To stop this from happening, get a baking stone and place it in the oven before you preheat it. If you don’t have a stone, turn a large baking sheet upside down – you will achieve a similar result.

No Knead Mug BreadIf you used a proving basket, cut a large sheet of baking paper and place over the basket. Flip it over and place on a baking sheet then gently remove the basket to reveal a beautiful ‘artisan’ looking pattern!

No Knead Mug BreadAll that remains for you to do is to ‘slash’ the top. I made 3 diagonal incisions along the top of mine.

Now to bake:

1. With the loaf still on the baking parchment, slide it off the baking tray and onto the preheated baking stone/upside down baking sheet.

2. Throw half a mug of cold water on the bottom of the oven and quickly shut the door. (Creating steam which will help it rise.)

3. Turn your oven down to about 210°C.

4. Cook for at least 40 minutes until you get a good, dark golden crust.

5. When cooked, allow to cool before you cut into it… I know it’s difficult but just trust me.

No Knead Mug BreadI only have one thing to say, James Morton… you are a bread genius! Thanks to you I finally feel like I’m starting to understand bread. Since trying this recipe for the first time about 2 weeks ago, I’ve made it another 5 or 6 times at least! I’m literally hooked and can’t wait to try the next variation!

If you have never really made bread before but are wanting to get into it, this is a fantastic way of learning what bread should really be/feel like. Definitely an excellent learning curve for me and one that I’m truly excited to see how it develops!

I sincerely hope you all enjoyed the post my lovelies, until next week.

Miss KitchenMason

Gran’s Incredible Quiche!

Gran's QuicheFor as long as I can remember, my Gran has spoilt us with delicious, home made treats. It’s amazing what this lady can do with a few, simple ingredients! By a country mile, one of her greatest & most renowned bakes has to be this quiche. Any time there is a family get together, and therefore – buffet, there are actually queues outside the door and sometimes, even fights over it. It’s that good. It doesn’t matter what anyone else makes, the quiche will be gone first. It’s a guarantee and for good reason!

As my Gran is so completely wonderful, she allowed me to invade her kitchen and commandeer the recipe for you lovely lot. Without further ado, here is what you will need to make the best quiche in the entire world!

For the Pastry

  • 110g Self Raising Flour
  • 55g Trex
  • Generous pinch of Salt
  • Cold Water

For the Filling

  • 1/2 tsp Mustard Powder (approx)
  • 200g Ham (approx)
  • 140g Strong Cheddar Cheese (approx)
  • 3 Free Range Eggs
  • 50ml Milk (approx)
  • Salt & Pepper

Equipment

Words From The Wise One…

Gran says you can use any ham you like. Whether it’s cheap, end cuts from the ‘bargain basement’ in the supermarket, wafer thin from a pack or tinned. Use whatever you have in your fridge/pantry. You could even fry & drain some thick cut bacon instead. You can also use any cheese you like. Maybe a strong cheddar or a blend of mozzarella and Red Leicester. According to Gran however, the all time greatest cheese to use for this is Grandma Singletons. Quite fitting for this recipe!

Right, let’s crack on. First things first, put the kettle on and grab a biscuit.

Gran's Incredible Quiche!It’s mandatory! You can’t go to Gran’s house and not have a cuppa and a biscuit. And only the best biscuits at Gran’s house of course. She doesn’t mess about!

So, now the prep is done, lets get started on the quiche.

Preheat your oven to 220°C/Fan 200°C. Grease and flour the base & sides of your dish.

In a large bowl, measure out the flour and the Trex and add the salt.

Using a knife, roughly cut until the Trex is smaller in size. If you have a pastry whisk – in a light, sweeping motion, whisk until ‘breadcrumbs’ are formed. Alternatively, use your forefingers and thumbs to lightly rub together until the same result is achieved.

Gran's Incredible Quiche!Using a splash of cold water at a time, add into the centre of the bowl and mix with a flat knife. Continue to add a little at a time until it just comes together. Press into a ball ready to roll out.

Gran's Incredible Quiche!Lightly dust your work surface with flour and roll out the pastry to about 3mm thick or until larger than the base and sides of your dish.

Gran's Incredible Quiche!Carefully lift the pastry over the dish and lightly press into the edges.

Gran's Incredible Quiche!Cut the excess pastry off on the outside edge of the ‘lip’. This will help prevent the pastry shrinking as much when you bake it later.

Gran's Incredible Quiche!At this point, if you’re not as quick as my Gran, pop the dish into the fridge whilst you prepare the filling ingredients. (Keeping the pastry cold will also help reduce shrinking.)

Chop up your ham into chunks and grate the cheese.

Here comes Gran’s twist on the classic. Take approx 1/2 tsp of mustard powder and spread it evenly all over the base. Trust me, I’m a granddaughter. Do it.

Gran's Incredible Quiche!Now top it with all that ham…

Gran's Incredible Quiche!And the cheese…

Gran's Incredible Quiche!In a jug, beat together the 3 eggs, some salt & pepper and make up to 250ml with milk. (It should be approx 50ml but don’t worry if it’s a little more or less.)

Gran's Incredible Quiche!Pour the egg mixture evenly over the quiche and pop  into the preheated oven for approximately 30-40 minutes until a deep golden colour on top.

Gran's Incredible QuicheSo the secrets out. You now know the worlds greatest ever quiche recipe – what are you waiting for? Off your bums and into your kitchens! It’s the best thing you will ever make, I promise.

Now, my Gran’s from a ‘waste not want not’ generation. And whilst I was busy snapping pics of this beautiful quiche, she was in the kitchen using up those leftover bits of pastry. I know, those little scraps that we all just throw away right? She only went and made some custard tarts for pudding!

Gran's Incredible QuicheI love this lady. Seriously Gran, you are an absolute legend, and now everyone can experience a little taste of your awesomeness with this beautiful quiche recipe. Thank you!

So did you all enjoy the guest post/recipe? The Mr thinks it should be a regular thing and a new page should be added that’s completely dedicated to Gran’s recipes.

Gran, on the other hand, has little confidence and bucket loads of modesty! But what do you think?

Leave a comment below to convince my Gran that she is totally amazing & should have her very own page!

Until next week lovelies.

Miss KitchenMason

Croissants

CroissantsThis week I tackled one of my favourite breads of all time… the croissant! It’s actually not that difficult to make, just a little time consuming. You need to set aside 2 days for these bad boys but oh my God, they’re so worth it! The recipe comes courtesy of the Silver Fox himself, Mr Paul Hollywood. If you haven’t been and bought his How to Bake cook book yet, you should definitely add it to your Christmas list! I have tried several recipes and not once have I been disappointed. From flour tortillas to cheese & bacon loaves, there’s a bread recipe to suit everyone’s tastes.

Without further ado, here is what you will need to make 12 Croissants

  • 500g Strong White Bread Flour
  • 10g Salt
  • 80g Caster Sugar
  • 10g Fast Action Yeast
  • 300ml Cool Water
  • 300g Chilled Unsalted Butter
  • 1 Egg, beaten (to glaze)

Tip the flour into either a stand mixer or a large bowl. Add the salt & caster sugar to one side of the bowl and the yeast to the opposite. Make a well in the centre and add the cool water.

If using a stand mixer, mix on low for 2 minutes until all the ingredients have come together to form a dough then mix on a medium speed for 6 minutes.

If doing by hand, mix the ingredients together to form a dough then knead on a lightly floured work surface for about 10-15 minutes.

The dough should still be quite firm. Roll into a ball, dust with a little flour then pop into a bag or cover loosely in cling film and place in the fridge for an hour to chill.

CroissantsOn a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a rectangle measuring 60 x 20cm. It should end up about 1cm thick.

CroissantsUsing a rolling pin, bash out the chilled butter to a rectangle measuring 40 x 19cm. If it starts to get a little messy, place in-between two pieces of cling film. If it starts to get REALLY messy, pop into the freezer for a minute to firm up slightly.

Try and be fairly accurate with the size as you want the butter to be distributed evenly throughout the dough after folding.

Place the flattened butter on the bottom two-thirds of the dough…

CroissantsFold the top third down over the butter…

CroissantsNow carefully cut the exposed butter (without cutting the dough underneath it) and place on top of the dough you have just folded over…

CroissantsFold the remaining exposed dough up over the top of the butter and pinch the sides together.

Place in a large plastic bag or loosely in cling film and pop in the fridge for an hour.

CroissantsNow you are ready for the next stage. With the short sides towards you, flatten the dough and roll out to a 60 x 20cm rectangle again. Fold the top third over…

CroissantsFold the bottom third on top to make a ‘book fold’…

CroissantsPut back into the bag/loose cling film and pop into the fridge for another hour.

Repeat this ‘Book Turn’ process 2 more times (chilling in-between) then leave in the fridge overnight. (Or for at least 8 hours.)

When you want to shape your croissants, remove the dough from the fridge. It should have puffed up a little.

CroissantsOn a lightly floured surface, roll out into a rectangle 42 x 30cm. Trim the edges to neaten.

CroissantsCut the dough lengthways into two strips…

CroissantsThen cut 6 triangles along each strip, measuring approx 12cm wide at the base and 15cm in height. (From the centre of the base to the point.)

CroissantsYou will be left with 4 ‘offcuts’ but don’t throw these away… I managed to get 4 mini croissants out of these!

When you’re ready to roll, press your hand down at the base a pull the point taut slightly.

CroissantsThen roll up into the traditional ‘croissant’ shape…

CroissantsPlace them on silicone or parchment lined baking sheets (you may need 2 or 3) and cover with bags. Leave to prove for at least 2 hours or until doubled in size.

CroissantsPreheat your oven to 200°C/Fan 180°C.

Lightly beat the egg and add a pinch of salt. Carefully brush the tops and sides of the croissants then bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 mins.

Try and cook them as long as you can, the darker the colour the better… but obviously not burnt!

Cool on a wire rack before filling your face. I like to eat them as they are, gently warmed or with big slices of ham & emmental cheese.

CroissantsI must say, these are probably the best tasting baked goods I have ever made! That beautiful buttery goodness… oh the buttery goodness… Mmmm… They are simply to die for and well worth all the effort! Far better than any shop bought croissants you can buy I assure you. Another amazing thing about making these yourself is the smell that flows through your house when you bake them. Oh my life! Incredible. Ok, so they’re not the healthiest snack in the world with all that butter in them BUT they are absolutely delicious. And as I always say, If you’re going to do something wrong… do it right!

And on that note my lovelies, I hope you enjoyed the post.

Until next time.

Miss KitchenMason

A Day With The Ladies!

A Day With The Ladies! DessertLast weekend the Mr went on a trip to Germany to visit Gamescom. Meanwhile, I enlisted my girls to come keep me company with a day of cooking, drinking and general merriment.

The idea was that we would each pick a course and run with it. Emma chose the starter, Ceri took the main course, I had the dessert and Charlie designated herself as pot washer!

Here was the finished menu we chose.

Starter

Mushroom & Halloumi Stuffed Roast Peppers

Main

Feta, Mozzarella & Sun Dried Tomato stuffed Chicken with a Parmesan Crust – Served with Spicy Potato Dauphinoise

Dessert

6 Layer Peanut Butter S’mores Cookie Bars

First up was Emma’s starter. The recipe she used is based on THIS ONE from the trusty BBC Good Food website.

She roasted the peppers in the oven first for about 15 minutes, until they were soft & slightly charred but still held their shape.

A Day With The Ladies! StarterThen she stuffed them using most of the ingredients on the list but instead of using the antipasti mushrooms, cooked her own and added in some toasted almonds to the mix.

A Day With The Ladies! StarterAfter baking for about 15 minutes more in a 180°C oven, they came out all golden and delicious…

A Day With The Ladies! StarterNow having never eaten stuffed peppers before, but I must say, I bloomin loved them! They seem to have an added sweetness to them when they’ve been roasted which is absolutely delicious. The textures from the filling that Emma chose were great too! Soft and fluffy couscous teamed up with the meaty mushrooms, ‘squeaky’ halloumi & the crunchy almonds, really made for a fantastic, light starter. I also added a cheeky drizzle of truffle oil to mine, made them even more delicious… cracking job Em!

For the main course, Ceri started on the potato dauphinoise which is based on THIS RECIPE from the Love Potatoes site. She peeled and thinly sliced the potatoes & set to one side in a bowl of cold water to stop them from browning. Then moved onto the sauce by putting some cream, milk chopped garlic & some added chilli flakes into a saucepan and brought to the boil. When that was ready, she added in the potatoes, covered with a lid and simmered for about 10 minutes or so until just starting to soften.

Tipping the potatoes into a glass dish, she then topped it all off with mountains of gruyère cheese and placed in a 180°C oven for about half an hour until cooked through, golden & bubbling…

A Day With The Ladies! MainJust look at it… isn’t is beautiful??

Anyway! Now we’ve all stopped drooling at the potatoes, onto the chicken!

Loosely based on THIS RECIPE from the Eating Well website, Ceri butterflied each chicken breast, smeared in some sun dried tomatoes, feta & mozzarella cheese then folded back over. She then blitzed up some breadcrumbs with parmesan, Italian herbs, salt & pepper and spread them all over the tops of the chicken breasts.

A Day With The Ladies! MainThey went in the oven alongside the potatoes for about 30 minutes until golden & crispy on top…

A Day With The Ladies! MainYep… I can assure you, it was as tasty as it looks. That chicken was seriously tasty stuff! Super crispy on the outside with a sweet tomato and cheesy centre, team that up with the creamy potatoes (that packed a punch with that extra chilli kick!) and you have yourself a winner ladies and gentleman. Compliments to Chef Ceri!

Right! Now it was my turn to try and impress.

I came across THIS RECIPE from the excellent Cookies & Cups blog and knew it was the one.

The only thing that I really need to say, which isn’t spelled out from the pictures, is that I used 1 batch of my own Ultimate Choc Chip Cookie recipe for the dough.

Well that, and I may have gotten slightly carried away with the quantities I used but in my opinion, this only made it bigger, better & messier! Just the way I like it…

So! Line a large square tin with baking paper, preheat your oven to 200°C/Fan 180°C and press half of the cookie dough into the bottom of the tin.

A Day With The Ladies! DessertNext, lay blocks of milk chocolate on top of the cookie dough… yep, you heard me. WHOLE block chocolate!

A Day With The Ladies! DessertThen smear on lots of smooth peanut butter…

A Day With The Ladies! Dessert

A Day With The Ladies! DessertBlitz up some milk chocolate digestive biscuits (not too fine… I got a little carried away haha) then spread them out onto the peanut butter…

A Day With The Ladies! DessertNow for the fun bit… spread (I use that term loosely) some marshmallow Fluff over the top of the crushed biscuits. Yeah… you’ll have fun with that!

A Day With The Ladies! DessertNow roll out the leftover cookie dough into a square and press onto the top to finish…

A Day With The Ladies! Dessert

A Day With The Ladies! DessertIf you can actually lift it up (it weighs a bloomin ton!) put into the centre of the oven and bake for about 20-25 minutes until golden and crisp on top.

A Day With The Ladies! DessertNow for the painful bit… wait. It has to be completely cool before you even attempt to get it out the tin, let alone try and cut it. So preferably, make this the day before, allow to come to room temperature then chill in the fridge overnight. Otherwise (like me!) you will get yourself in a right ruddy mess! Well, they do say patience is a virtue… something I’ll have to master one of these days!

A Day With The Ladies! Dessert

A Day With The Ladies! DessertBut to be fair… let’s face it, it’s totally worth it!

I mean, what’s not to like? The crunchy yet gooey cookie? The milk chocolatey goodness? The creamy peanut butter? The unbearable deliciousness of marshmallow Fluff? Nope, didn’t think so. There is actually nothing not to like about this ridiculously indulgent bar of amazingness!

It’s honestly that good, our Emma was handing it out to strangers in the pub who were randomly congratulating me even though I had never met them before.

When all is said and done though, I think we put together an awesome meal! Massive thanks to my girls for all going out of their way to keep me company whilst the Mr was away at Gamescom.

Until next time my lovelies!

Miss KitchenMason

Soda Bread

Soda Bread

This year I have developed a love for baking bread but it can take quite a long time, which I don’t always have! I had seen soda bread recipes before but never tried them as I didn’t think I would enjoy the stodginess of it. Then I realised how quick it actually was to make and thought, wow – I’m gona’ give it a go! (Recipe from Paul Hollywood’s How to Bake book.)

Here is what you will need to make one loaf:

  • 500g Strong White Bread Flour
  • 1 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 400ml Buttermilk

Yep, that’s it!

First things first, preheat your oven to 200°C/Fan 180°C.

Then all you need to do is put the flour in a large bowl and stir in the bicarbonate of soda & the salt. Make a well in the centre and pour in the buttermilk.

Making the DoughSlowly mix and bring together to form a sticky dough – don’t overwork it. Then tip out onto a floured work surface and quickly form a round. (Bicarbonate of soda activates quickly as opposed to yeast which works slowly, so you need to get it into the oven as fast as possible.)

Shaping the BReadMark the dough into quarters – cut deeply but not all the way through the base. Then dust with flour and pop onto a baking tray.

Ready for the OvenBake in the centre of a preheated oven for about 30-40 minutes until it is a dark golden colour on top & hollow when tapped on the base.

Doorstop Soda Sarnie!I must admit, I was pleasantly surprised with this bread. It literally took less than an hour from start to finish to make and it tasted so good that I happily forgave the stodginess. In fact, I actually quite like the stodginess! It’s so wholesome and filling!

I was going to cut it into normal slices but I had to challenge myself and see if I really could get my big chops around a whole quarter. Depressingly, I did manage it haha!

If you’ve been thinking about getting into bread making, I would recommend this as the perfect recipe to start you on your way. It’s super fast, simple & surprisingly tasty. I’m quite sure this will now be my go to “I need bread quick!” recipe from now on.

Hope you all enjoyed the post my lovelies.

Miss KitchenMason

Bacon & Cheese Loaves!

Bacon & Cheese LoavesYep, you heard me. BACON & CHEESE BREAD! How freaking amazing does that sound eh? Well I can assure you, it tastes as amazing as it sounds. Once again, the legendary Paul Hollywood doesn’t disappoint with another epic recipe from his How to Bake book. Here is what you will need to make 4 small loaves. (I say small loaves, one loaf will easily make 2 awesome doorstop sized sandwiches!)

  • 400g Strong White Bread Flour
  • 100g Strong Wholemeal Bread Flour
  • 10g Salt
  • 10g Fast Action Yeast
  • 30g Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 330ml Cool Water
  • 8 rashers Smoked Back Bacon, fat removed*
  • 150g Strong Cheddar Cheese
  • Olive Oil

* (Yes I know, it’s practically a crime to take out the best bit of the bacon but just do it! It won’t work as well if you leave the fat on as it gets a second cooking when you bake the bread. So if you do, you’ll pretty much cremate the bacon, NOT COOL!)

Right, down to business!

Tip both flours into a big mixing bowl and add the salt to one side & the yeast to the other. Make a well in the centre and add in the butter & 3 quarters of the water.

Mixing the IngredientsGet your hands in and mix it all up, keep adding more water until you have picked up all the loose ingredients from the bowl & formed a rough dough. You might not need all the water or you might need more – aim for a soft dough but not soggy.

Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface and knead well for a good 10-15 minutes or until you can stretch the dough quite far without it breaking.

Ready for KneadingWhen the dough is ready, place in a large, lightly oiled bowl – cover with cling film and allow to double in size for at least an hour. If it goes past this point by an hour or two though, it doesn’t matter.

1st Prove - the beginning

1st Prove - the end resultWhilst the dough is proving, get the filling ready. Cook the bacon, either in the oven or a frying pan, and chop into pieces. Next, grate the cheese.

The FillingWhen the dough has risen to at least double it’s size, throw the bacon and cheese on top of it and incorporate by kneading lightly in the bowl.

Adding the FillingThen tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until all the bacon & cheese is fully incorporated – any pieces of bacon that come out, simply push back in.

Divide the dough into 4 equal portions & shape into ovals by doing the following.

Shaping the Dough1. Flatten each piece into a rectangle using your knuckles (image 1)

2. Fold the sides over each other (image 2)

3. Repeat steps 1 & 2

4. Roll them up, a bit like a baguette. Turn seam side down & point the ends.

5. Dust the tops with flour & slash the tops deeply (image 3)

Having two loaves to a tray, put each tray either into a clean plastic bag or loosely cover with cling film. Leave to prove again for 1 hour or until when poked lightly, the dough springs back quickly.

Preheat your oven to 220°C/Fan 210°C.

2nd Prove - the beginning

2nd Proving - the resultWhen the loaves are ready, drizzle with some olive oil and pop in the oven for about 20 minutes until they are all a lovely golden brown colour.

Bacon & Cheese Loaves!Just look at it, isn’t it beautiful? I can’t imagine that I could ever make bread in my kitchen that is better than this. I may as well give up now! Well, I won’t obviously – but you know what I mean!

I have had this for my packed lunch at work. Naturally, slicing the bread like the picture above makes really small slices, so I overcame this problem by using half a loaf and slicing horizontally to make a sort of doorstop sandwich. It was amazing! And very filling too, so a great lunch to see me through the rest of the day until tea time.

If you were toying with the idea of getting into bread making, you should give this one a go. It will totally convert you I promise!

Well, until next time my lovelies.

Miss KitchenMason