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Mini Courgette Muffins

22 Oct

Courgette / zucchini is one of my favourite vegetables and I discovered this recipe online, while searching for courgette recipes (sad, I know).

They took about 10 minutes to prepare and tasted so good, I ate all 12 once they come out of the oven.  Thank god there were only mini, otherwise I would have really over done it (?!).  So my advice, is to ensure that there are at least 3 of you at home, so that you can only devour 4 each – much more civilised.

1 cup grated zucchini / courgette
1 egg
1/4 brown onion, diced
1/4 cup grated cheddar
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
salt and pepper
paprika
cooking spray
 

Pre heat the oven to 200 C / 400 F.

Spray the mini muffin tray with the cooking oil.

Press the grated zucchini / courgette with paper towel to remove the excess water.

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl.  Fill each muffin hole with the mixture.  Sprinkle on some paprika.

Bake for 15 min or until cooked.  Enjoy!

 

 

German meat and cabbage buns

8 Oct

I have a very soft spot for German baking, growing up on it, but I had never heard of “Beirocks” until I saw them being made on TV.  They do have very typical ingredients (meat, cabbage, carbs, fennel and caraway seeds), which is right up my alley, so I decided to give them a try.

They are a little time-consuming, as they have to rise twice, but aside from that they’re very easy to make (the filling can be made the day before) and they are an absolute crowd pleaser.  I made these for a group of friends and we consumed way too many each, sitting outside in the sun (so I obviously made these the first time a few weeks ago, now that the weather has turned!) drinking beer.  They aren’t called Beirocks for nothing.

The men of the group were particularly taken by them and my fiance has requested them again, on more than one occasion.   I even overheard him telling his mates how great they were – which is a true sign of a great recipe discovery!

Makes 20

Filling:
2 tablespoons oil
500 gr minced beef
2 onions, finely chopped
1 small white cabbage, shredded finely (discard the hard core)
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 tablespoon white pepper
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon ground cumin
100 ml water
50 gr melted butter
 
Buns:
1 tablespoon caster sugar
300 ml warm water
1 x 7 gr sachet of dried yeast
500 gr strong white flour, extra for dusting
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
 

I made the filling first.  This can be done the day before – which is more convenient, as the filling is then cold when you want to assemble the buns.

Heat the oil in a frying pan (that has a lid) and brown the beef and onions over a medium heat, uncovered.  Make sure that the beef doesn’t stick together in large clumps.  Add the cabbage and all the spices.  Fry for another 5 minutes.  Add the water and cover with the lid.  Simmer for 5 minutes or more – until the cabbage is cooked through and very soft.  Remove from the heat and leave to cool.

To make the buns, stir the sugar and warm water into a small bowl.  Sprinkle over the yeast and stir lightly with a wooden spoon (not a metal spoon).  Leave for 10 minutes – this will foam on the surface.  In a large bowl, mix the flour and salt together.  Make a well in the middle.  Pour in the oil and yeast mixture.  Mix together with a wooden spoon and then your hands.  Knead this dough for 10 minutes until smooth.  Oil the mixing bowl, add the dough, cover with cling film and leave to rise in a warm place for 30-45 minutes.

Pour the dough back onto the work bench and divide it into 20 even balls.

Line 2 large baking trays with good quality non-stick baking paper, or with a lot of oil.  I found that the paper stuck to the bottom of the buns and if I greased the trays very well, I could remove the buns from the tray with an egg flip.  Turn the oven on to 180 C / 350 F.

Roll out the dough balls into large rounds – roughly the size of a saucer.  Place 2 tablespoons of the cold filling in the centre.  Brush the edges with water and then bring the edges of the dough to the centre and pinch together.  Place on the baking tray with the sealed edges at the bottom.  Leave to rise for another 20 minutes.

Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown.  Brush with melted butter and serve with German mustard, pickles and beer.  Enjoy!

served outside with beer

 

Quiche Lorraine

8 Jul


Finally, finally, I have conquered the shortcrust pastry!  This is one of my most exciting posts as it took me more than one attempt to get this right.  It’s always so easy to buy pre-prepared pastry at the supermarket, but I really wanted to create it from scratch.

I’ve never had homemade Quiche Lorraine, it’s always been bought from a patisserie and I’m sad to say, I’ve even bought one from a supermarket as well.  I will never, ever do that again.  The supermarket version, like many things, is so bland in comparison.   The homemade version was so silky and the filling was almost like custard, it was so tasty.

I was so chuffed with how this turned out that I did go on about it a bit only to be crushed by my fiancé letting me know that he isn’t the biggest quiche fan, but then after trying he did have seconds….

SHORTCRUST PASTRY / PÂTE BRISÉE
250 gr plain flour
125 gr cold unsalted butter, cubed
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon cold milk
 
FILLING
150 gr cubed bacon
3 eggs
300 ml double cream
pinch nutmeg
pinch salt & pepper
50 gr grated Gruyère cheese (optional, this is not traditional)
 

To make the pastry, pulse the flour and butter in a processor until it looks like breadcrumbs.

Pour onto a very large board (marble if possible).  Sprinkle over the salt.  Make a well and add the eggs and milk in the middle.  Very gently mix together to form a dough.  Knead 5 times only.

Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes (can be overnight).

Take the dough out of the fridge and leave it to warm to room temperature (approx 30 min).  Otherwise when rolling the dough will crack.

Turn the oven to 190 C / 375 F.

Roll out to the dough and roll up on the rolling pin and roll out on the quiche tin (23cm tin, or you can make individual quiche).  Prick the bottom with a fork.  Chill in the fridge for 20 minutes so it doesn’t shrink while cooking.

Blind bake the pastry in the oven for 15 minutes, take the beads out and bake at 170 C / 335 F for a further 5 min or until the base is dry.

Fry the bacon for 5 minutes.

In a large bowl mix the eggs, cream, nutmeg, salt and pepper.

In the cooked pastry case, spread the bacon over the base.  Sprinkle over the grated cheese if using.  Then fill to the brim the egg mixture.

Bake for 15 minutes.  Can be served warm or cold.  Enjoy!

Easy Salmon bake

1 Jul

I’m sticking with the savoury dishes for a while and this one is very easy – if you stick with shop bought puff pastry that is.  Making pastry from scratch is high on my list of things to do, but I’m just procrastinating.  I think because my first attempt failed – which shouldn’t be a surprise, and I just need to shake that one-off and try, try again.

This salmon dish would be great for a small dinner party (the recipe below serves 4), as you can prepare the whole dish well beforehand and then just bake when needed.

85 gr watercress, chopped very finely
115 gr cream cheese
600 gr skinless salmon (very easy to slice the skin off), cut into two even pieces
250 gr puff pastry
salt and pepper
plain flour to dust work surface
milk for glazing 

Preheat the oven to 200 C / 400 F.

In a small bowl, mix the watercress, cream cheese, salt and pepper.

Roll the pastry out to approx 3mm / 1/8 inch thick.  It should be very roughly 8cm / 3 inches longer than one of the salmon pieces and more than twice as wide.  Trim any excess and keep aside for decoration (optional).

Place one piece of salmon in the middle of the pastry.  Cover with the watercress mix.  Top the other salmon piece on top.  Brush the pastry with water and fold the end pieces up and then the side pieces over the entire contents, making sure they overlap.  Press together to make sure it is well sealed.

Brush the pastry with milk.  Top with decoration from the excess pastry if you want and then brush this again with milk.

Make 2 holes with a skewer to allow the steam out.

Bake for 30 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.

Test by pushing a skewer all the way in, hold for 5 seconds and then test if the skewer feels hot.

Remove from the oven, leave for a few minutes and slice to serve with salad.  Enjoy!