Tag Archives: cheese

Honey Orange Roasted Figs

With the last of the fresh figs hitting the shops soon, it was a good time to snap some up and roast a few.  Figs are high in natural sugars which can add a healthier dose of sweetness to a dish. They are high in soluble fibre plus a good source of several essential minerals, including potassium, magnesium, manganese, calcium, iron and copper.  Figs also contain a good dose of vitamin C and vitamins B3, B5  and B6 and K.

Fresh figs are extremely delicate and perishable, I kept these in the fridge for a couple of days before I roasted them but once roasted they can be stored in the fridge for a few days.

Roasted honey orange figs

Honey Orange Roasted Figs

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • Fresh Figs, ripe (as many as you need), halved
  • approx 1 teaspon unsalted butter
  • 1 generous tablespoon honey
  • 1 orange, juiced

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 180C
  2. Arrange the halved Figs on a lined baking tray and place a small dot of butter onto each Fig.
  3. Combine the honey (if your honey is not runny, place in the microwave for 10-20 seconds to loosen up) and Orange juice in a bowl then spoon over the Figs.
  4. Place the Figs into the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes until they are soft and the honey/orange liquid is sticky.
  5. After 10 minutes baste the Figs with the honey/orange liquid, this will make the figs deliciously soft.
  6. Let cool.
  7. Serve 2-4 halves depending on size with thick Greek Yogurt and drizzle with a little of the honey/orange liquid to finish.
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honey orange roasted figs with natural Greek yogurt

Another perfect pairing with roasted figs is cheese especially Danish blue, Gorgonzola, Camembert or Blue Brie and walnuts.  I have a few favourites, but a quick one is to cut the fresh fig into quarters, not going all the way through, drizzle with the honey/orange liquid then place a square of Gorgonzola (my favourite) into the middle and roast in the oven along with some chopped walnuts.   

Roasted figs with Gorgonzola Cheese

Roasted honey orange figs with Gorgonzola cheese

 The result is sweet, soft figs with salty blue cheese and the sticky liquid that caramellises the walnuts – utterly delicious!

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Allinsons Dough Tree Campaign

It was lovely to receive this hamper packed with Allinson Baking Products from Baking Mad to promote Allinson’s Dough Tree Campaign.

bread hamper

The challenge was to bake one of their Dough Tree bread recipes from the ingredients.  There was so much to choose from, the Cranberry and Pumpkin Cob  is appealing because of the fruit content and Pumpkin seeds (Pumpkin seeds are rich in Manganese Phosphorus, Magnesium and Copper plus a source of Zinc and iron).  Slathered in butter, Miss ND wolfed a couple of slices down after school, I was very impressed.

Dough Collage cranberry pumpkin Collage

bread and butter

I’m not a huge bread eater myself, I have a mild allergy to yeast, but I couldn’t resist baking the Bacon and Cheddar Scrolls as well, I love cheeses in bread and the combination of bacon, cheese. wholegrain mustard and onion is delicious encased in the bread.

bacon scrolls Collage

Flour

Bread freshly baked from the oven is a delight and what better aroma wafting around the kitchen too.  I have 2 tips for baking bread, use a dough hook on your mixer, it saves time and aching wrists plus it kneads dough beautifully.   Make sure your yeast is within date, you may not get the best results with yeast you bought months ago that’s been lurking in the cupboard, ask me how I know!

 

Disclosure:  We were sent a hamper of products from Baking Mad to make some delicious breads.

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Savoury Cheesy Lentil Muffins

With the Bake-Off back this week, I thought I’d get in the baking mood again, haven’t done any for a while, it just doesn’t appeal to have the oven for too long on in the very hot weather.  And with my quest to bake with less or no sugar, these Savoury Cheesy Lentil Muffins fit the bill exactly with no added sugar.

lentil muffins 3

These muffins contain 3 different cheeses and Lentils which belong to the same legume family as beans which means they share similar nutritional benefits being rich source of lean protein and fibre.

Lentils also have  a good mineral profile with generous amounts of iron, phosphorus, magnesium and calcium.

Savoury Cheesy Lentil Muffins

Prep Time: 15-20 minutes
Baking Time:  25 minutes
Makes:  12 large or 24 mini muffins

Ingredients

50g red lentils, cooked
300ml skimmed or semi-skimmed milk
150g Ricotta
2 medium sized eggs
50g tomato purée/paste
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
30g Parmesan, grated
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
225g wholemeal self-raising flour
70g white self-raising flour
50g Cheddar cheese, grated

Method

Pre-heat your oven to 180C, 160C fan, Gas 4.

In a large bowl whisk together the milk, Ricotta, eggs and tomato paste, once completely blended add the cooked red lentils, chopped red onion, Parmesan and parsley and stir in well.

Sift both white and wholemeal (include the husks after sifting) flours into the bowl and stir until combined.  Don’t over stir or the muffins will be heavy.

Spoon the batter into a greased muffin tin, I split the batter into a few full size muffins and some mini, bite-sized muffins for little fingers.  Sprinkle grated Cheddar cheese onto the muffins in the tin.

Bake for around 25 minutes until golden brown, do the cocktail stick test to make sure they are cooked through.

Serve warm or cold.  These muffins are moist and soft and are great halved and slathered with butter or tomato chilli chutney.

lentil muffins 2

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Weekend Breakfast Egg Muffins

Weekends are the time we get to sit together and enjoy breakfast, I probably should call it brunch as it’s all a bit later and more relaxed.  Eggs always feature in one form or another, these Breakfast Egg Muffins are light and full of vegetables and cheeses.  This recipe is enough to fill 6 muffin tin holes, I added a very generous pinch of Cayenne Pepper  to the last two (whilst still in the bowl) for a delicious kick!  

egg muffins2

Weekend Breakfast Egg Muffins 

Ingredients

50g chestnut mushrooms, finely diced
1 small red onion, finely diced
2″ leek (white part), finely diced
50g courgette, finely diced
2-3 cherry tomatoes, diced
3 large organic eggs
70g Ricotta cheese
20g Cheddar (or similar) cheese, finely grated
1 generous tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
Black Pepper
Parsley
*Cayenne Pepper (optional!)

egg muffin ingredients

Method

Fry the mushrooms, onion and leek in a little olive oil on a medium heat for around 3-4 minutes to soften, add the courgettes and cherry tomatoes and cook for a further 5 minutes.

Lightly whisk the eggs, then add the Ricotta, Cheddar and Parmesan cheeses, combine well.

Season with black pepper and parsley to taste, add Cayenne if using.

Combine the egg, cheese mixture with the vegetables and stir well.

Grease a 6 hole muffin tin with butter or you can line with muffin cases if you wish.  Spoon the mixture into the cases up to the rim and bake at 160C, gas 4 for around 20 minutes or until set.  Delicious hot or cold.

egg muffins

*For the numerous health benefits of Cayenne Pepper see my post here.

 

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New Year Nibbles

I do love making my own nibbles/canapes for parties and family gatherings wherever I can but this year for our New Year Nibbles I am taking a few shortcuts (if it’s good enough for Delia) along with some homemade goodies.  I shall be buying all the pastry ready made and ready to roll out and I will be keeping a few M&S nibbles as backup in the fridge as we are having a small party to say ta-ta to 2013 and I know how fast the buffet table disappears!

A few of our favourites are:

Parmesan Crisps – simply grated Parmesan in little piles on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for a few minutes.

Mini Quiche, these are great and so easy to make, this recipe comes out several times a year for picnics and the like,  Gruyère makes these so tasty:

mini quiche

Ingredients

375g ready rolled shortcrust pastry
90g back bacon, chopped into small squares
5 tablespoons crème fraîche
1 whole organic egg
1 organic egg yolk
3 tablespoons semi-skimmed milk
50g Gruyère cheese, grated
Salt and pepper

Method

Pre-heat your oven to 190°C/170°C/Gas 5.

1.  Cut 12 rounds of pastry to line a 12 hole tin, I use a glass that makes the
perfect size round for my tin, around 7.5cm.  Refrigerate while you make
the filling.
2.  Dry fry the bacon until lightly golden.  Drain on a paper towel and let cool.
3.  Combine the crème fraîche, semi-skimmed milk, whole egg and egg yolk in
a bowl, season to taste.
4.  Divide the bacon and grated Gruyère between the pastry cases, then
spoon the crème fraîche, egg mixture carefully and evenly over.
5.  Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden and the filling has risen.  Leave to
cool for a few minutes before removing from the tin.

Stilton Puffs a la Nigel Slater – I saw these recently on one of his programmes and wanted to bust out the ready rolled puff pastry immediately!

Spicy Chickpeas – drain and rinse 2 400g tins of chickpeas, place on baking trays and roll in olive oil, sprinkle with spices of your choice, we like chilli powder, black pepper, garlic salt and a touch of cumin.  Bake in your oven with other canapes for around 15 minutes.

Smoked Salmon & Cream Cheese Blini’s – these I do enjoy making but you can also buy ready-made.  Light, sugar-free little pancakes (also brilliant for the toddler girl who wolfs them down topping free), can be made ahead, the recipe I usually use  from the Good Food Channel makes around 3o, using half a tablespoon of batter for each blini.  Top with cream cheese or  crème fraîche with a little finely chopped smoked salmon  mixed in plus a touch on top and a twist of black pepper to finish.  Delicious!

canapes

 However you are seeing the New Year in,

 I’d like to wish you all a very

Happy New Year

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Seeded Wreath Bread with Camembert

This Seeded Wreath Bread with Camembert is great for sharing at lunch, the bread was made yesterday evening and the Camembert added today into the middle of the bread and warmed for around 10 minutes. Home-made warm bread and oozing melted soft cheese, perfect for a light pre-Christmas lunch!

camembert

Seeded Wreath Bread with Camembert

Prep Time:  25 minutes plus 1 hour 15 minutes for proving
Baking Time:  25 minutes
Serves 4-6 generously (but you may need more cheese!)

50ml warm water
10g dried yeast
500g strong white bread flour
10g salt
35g unsalted butter, melted
1 Camembert round – 250g size
1 medium organic egg, lightly beaten for egg wash
1 tablespoon golden flaxseeds
1 tablespoon sesame seeds

This recipe is inspired by and adapted from Woman and Home you can find the full recipe and method here. I used the seeds I had in the pantry and doubled the volume as we love seeds on our breads and left out the wine and honey at the end (see recipe for details).  It.was.delicious!

seeded bread Collage

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Wonderful Walnuts

We have Walnuts in our kitchen all year round, lovely to munch on as a quick snack but at this time of year they really are brought to the forefront in the supermarket aisles in readiness for Christmas, along with all manner of nuts, some of which I will be highlighting over the next few weeks.

Walnuts are considered to be superfoods these days,  as a child my mum would buy them loose in brown paper bags from the greengrocer and we would sit together cracking them open with a nutcracker and picking out the nutty, crunchy, nobbled seeds from the shells.

Walnuts are a high density source of nutrients, including calcium, high in magnesium, B6 and a rich source of  Omega 3 essential fatty acids and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, anti-oxidants plus a valuable source of iron. 

walnuts

Miss ND has teaspoon of ground almonds in her breakfast each morning and lately I have been crushing half a walnut (introducing slowly) too.  It is amazing to see the oil seep out of the walnut seed with even a light crush, so richly abundant it is!   Recommended intake each day is around 8-12 halves, I know I don’t manage that many some days but some is better than none.

Including walnuts in our diets couldn’t be easier, they make a lovely addition to salads, but I also bake a few different cakes with walnuts, this Apple, Cheddar and Walnut Loaf is one of Mary Berry’s recipes from the Great British Bake Off Every Day.  I love it because it is really easy to put together, the little ones can help mix as it is not a finicky batter needing gentle folding and it is completely sugar-free!   The apples do  give some sweetness but it is a lovely savoury, cheesy, nutty loaf that is equally good warm or cool.

 

DSCF6567

 

 

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Walnut and Gruyère Loaf

I’m a great fan of the Great British Bake Off and this week was Bread week.  I love cheese in breads so thought I’d give a Walnut and Gruyère Loaf a go, I’ve made a few loaves in my time but my favourite so far is Soda Bread, because it is so easy to knock up a loaf if we run out of bread!  I am going on a bread making workshop next month at The Artisan Bakehouse which I am greatly looking forward to, hope my hands can take a day of kneading.

I used my KitchenAid to mix the dough up, very quick and a very good job it did too!

walnutgruyerebreadND

 Prep Time:  about 3 hours with all the proving!
Cook Time:  30 minutes

Makes:  1 standard loaf size

Lightly brush Olive oil on the inside of your preferred tin.

 

Fill a roasting tin with water and pop in the bottom of your oven (to create steam in the oven when baking the bread).

Ingredients

350g strong white bread flour
1 tsp salt
7g fast action dried yeast
25g unsalted butter, softened
225 ml tepid water
Olive oil for greasing tin and kneading
80g Walnuts, roughly chopped
100g Gruyère cheese, grated

– Put the flour, salt and yeast in a bowl, add the butter and tepid water and start to mix until the ingredients are all combined and the dough is soft.  You may need a little more water, 225 ml seemed fine to me for this amount of flour.

 – Add the chopped walnuts and the grated Gruyère cheese and mix for another minute or two until combined.

– Tip the dough onto an oiled surface and give it a knead for 5-10 minutes until the dough has a nice soft, smooth skin.

 

walnutgruyereND Collage

I left the dough to prove for an hour in an oiled bowl covered with cling film  to allow it to double in size, then I gave it a good knead knocking the air out, then popped the dough into a lightly oiled tin (I wanted a round loaf) and covered with a plastic bag then proved for another hour.  The dough doubled in size again, then I dusted the top of the loaf with flour and put two cuts in the dough.

It was then baked in a very hot oven, 200ºC in my fan oven for 30 minutes.

I’m not sure what Paul Hollywood would make of this bread but it was enjoyed by the whole family and was especially delicious with the Apple and Blackberry Jam I made earlier this week.  I’ll definitely make this one again, maybe with more cheese and wholemeal and white flour combined next time.

walnutgruyerejamND

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Courgette, Cheesy, Vegetarian Bites

These little Courgette, cheesy, vegetarian bites were inspired by a recipe in my River Cottage Baby and Toddler Cookbook who in turn were inspired by someone else but using Aubergines instead of Courgettes.  I’ve slightly adapted it by adding some ground almonds to replace some of the breadcrumbs and sometimes I add a finely chopped onion.  They make very delicious, nutritious little snacks or finger food but they aren’t just for toddlers!!  I love them, but I warn you, they are very moreish.  I make a pile, usually doubling up the recipe below, then freeze some of the uncooked mixture so there are usually some to hand, just defrost before baking.  

Courgette2ND

Pre-heat your oven to 180°C/gas 4.  Oil a baking tray or use baking parchment paper to line.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 20-25 minutes
Makes: 15-18

Ingredients

500g courgettes, grated (I prefer grated to diced in this recipe)
1 small red or white onion, finely chopped (if using)
Zest of half a lemon
1 egg, lightly beaten
2-3 tablespoons of grated Parmesan
70g mozzarella diced
30g breadcrumbs (around 1 slice of bread with crust)
20g ground almonds
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
Sea Salt and Black Pepper to season

Method

Heat some olive oil in a large frying pan and gently fry the courgettes (if using the onion fry this first in a separate small pan) for around 15 minutes until soft – grated courgettes will give off some liquid, drain this off halfway through frying.  Let the Courgettes cool, then combine with the rest of the prepared ingredients until you have a nice sticky mixture.  Season with sea salt and  black pepper to your own taste.

CourgettbitesND

Roll mixture into small balls, place these on your oiled baking tray (I use a spray oil) and bake for around 15 minutes until lightly golden brown.

courgettebiteND Collage

Courgette, Cheesy, vegetarian bites can be served hot or cold, they are great for the little ones lunchboxes too.   I love them either way, I am not fussy!  They are very quick to put together especially if you use a food processor to grate the Courgettes and  buy the ready grated Parmesan, other cheeses can be added and Gruyere is another favourite here.    

CourgettefinalND

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Butternut Squash Goat’s Cheese Lasagne

Butternut Squash Goat’s Cheese Lasagne – Butternut Squash is a favourite of ours, we use it in a lot of dishes and it has been a great weaning vegetable for Toddler ND, it has a sweet, soft taste and is easily steamed or roasted.   Lasagne is one of our weekly meals and with Mr ND being a veggie, the Butternut Squash makes a pleasant change from using a meat alternative and using Goat’s cheese and Parmesan in place of our usual Cheddar gives the Lasagne totally different twist.

I am using ready made pasta but I do have a pasta maker, which I have never used, it’s on my to-do list, right at the top.  I would love to make my own next time.

This meal is very filling, serves 6 generously but will stretch to 8 served with a fresh salad or a side of vegetables.  Keeps well in the fridge overnight to heat up the next day.

 

Picture 445

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bnsqlasagne Collage

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