These little nibbles are great if you’re having friends around for drinks. They’re also lovely for a picnic. Don’t forget to make sure you’re using vegetarian parmesan.
Parmesan and Mixed Seed Bites
250g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
A generous pinch of salt
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
2 teaspoon caraway seed
20g finely grated vegetarian parmesan cheese
100ml cold water
1. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt together. Mix in the seeds and the parmesan cheese.
2. Cut the butter into small cubes and rub the butter into the flour mixture until it looks like breadcrumbs.
3. Add 100ml of cold water and mix well until the mixture forms a firm dough. If you need to, add a splash more water. Lightly knead the dough into a ball, but don’t overwork the mix.
4. Lay out two long sheets of clingfilm. Place the ball of dough onto one sheet and cover with the second sheet. Roll the dough out between the two sheets. The dough needs to be quite thin, around 2mm. Pull back the top sheet of cling film and prick the dough all over. Recover with the clingfilm. Chill in the fridge for 1 hour.
5. Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas Mark 4.
6. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper. Use a small star-shaped cutter to cut out shapes from the dough. Spread the shapes across the baking tray. Bake in the oven for 15 – 20 minutes, until golden. Allow to cool on a wire rack.
These nibbles will keep in an airtight tin for a few days.
One of the easiest desserts to make has to be a posset. It’s so simple and you can make it in lots of lovely flavour variations. The recipe below is for a blood orange posset, but I’d also recommend trying the recipe with three lemons instead of the blood oranges and rosemary. We’ve had various versions in our house including lime / tangerine / pink grapefruit.
Blood Orange and Rosemary Posset (Serves 6)
600ml double cream
150g caster sugar
Juice and zest of 2 blood oranges
3-4 sprigs of rosemary
1. Warm the cream and sugar gently in a large pan with the rosemary. Make sure it’s a large pan as you’re going to boil the ingredients and they’ll bubble up.
2. Keep stirring until the sugar has dissolved.
3. Once the sugar is dissolved, bring the mixture to the boil and let it bubble for 3 minutes. Don’t stir it!
4. After the 3 minutes, whisk in the juice and zest. Remove the rosemary stalk. Pour into 6 ramekins and allow to cool in the fridge for at least 3 hours before you serve them.
I often make mushroom stroganoff using a selection of different varieties of mushroom, but I thought I’d add some frozen Quorn Steak pieces to make it a bit different. This was my first time using Quorn steak pieces. I have to admit they’d been languishing in the freezer for a while as I wasn’t sure that I would like them but I thought they made a good addition to this dish and I will be looking for other recipes to use them in. I would say they didn’t have a strong flavour, which for me was a plus point.
Quorn Steak and Mushroom Stroganoff (Serves 4)
One white onion
A small amount of butter for frying the onion
350g packet frozen Quorn Steak Style Pieces
250g closed cup mushrooms, cleaned and thickly sliced
250g chestnut mushroom, cleaned and thickly sliced
2 heaped tablespoon wholegrain mustard
250g tub Creme Fraiche or 300ml double cream
Splash of white wine (optional)
Chopped Parsley to sprinkle on before serving
1. Finely chop the onion and cook slowly in the butter until soft and translucent. Add the mushrooms and cook for 2 minutes.
2. Add the Quorn steak style pieces and keep stirring while the mixture cooks for a further 5 minutes or until the steak pieces are fully cooked through.
3. To make the sauce, add the the cream, mustard and the white wine (if you’re using it) to the pan and stir well to combine.
4. Heat the sauce and simmer gently for 3 minutes.
Serve with rice.
Stroganoff can be made with paprika instead of the whole grain mustard, but this is the go-to recipe in our house, inspired by a Steak Stroganoff I saw Phillippa James cook at a demonstration.
I found this fab recipe in the Tesco magazine and had to make it. I highly recommend it. I can’t find the recipe on their website to link you to. Their recipe suggests using brown hot cross buns, but I just used normal ones.
Hot cross bun ice cream (Serves 4)
2 hot cross buns
1 tbsp light brown sugar
397g tin condensed milk
600ml double cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
1. Lightly toast the two hot cross buns. Allow to cool slightly then whizz in a food processor to make breadcrumbs. Add the sugar and whizz again.
2. Meanwhile, whisk together the condensed milk, double cream and vanilla extract until the mixture has thickened.
3. Mix in the hot cross bun crumbs and pour into a plastic container. Freeze overnight.
You need to let the ice cream soften out of the freezer before serving. I served my ice cream with an orange sauce – mix 4 tbsp fine cut marmalade which has been warned in the microwave with 1 tbsp Cointreau.