Cheesy Potato and Aspragus Puffs

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These are great for a party snack or for a side dish to accompany your lunch or breakfast. You can experiment with adding different things in place of the asparagus.

Cheesy Potato and Asparagus Puffs (makes 12)

500g potatoes, peeled and chopped into chunks
8 asparagus spears
2 medium free range eggs
50g grated cheddar cheese
25g butter
3 tbsp milk

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C.

2. Grease a 12 hole muffin tin. Make sure you do it really well, these ones take a bit of manuoevering to get them out of the tin!

3. Bring the potatoes to the boil and simmer for around 15 minutes until soft.

4. Meanwhile cook the asparagus anyway you choose, I usually steam or cook it in a skillet on the hob. Cut the asparagus into 1 cm long pieces.

5. Seperate two eggs. Whip the whites until fluffy and set to one side.

6. When they are cooked, drain the potatoes well and mash thoroughly.

7. Mix the cheese, asparagus, milk, butter and egg yolks into the potato until thoroughly combined. Gently fold in the whisked egg whites.

8. Spoon the mixture into the muffin tins. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.

9. On removing the tray from the oven, run a knife around the edge of each puff to ease it away from the tin, but wait until they have cooled before extracting them.

Baileys Popcorn

This is a grown up popcorn, ideal for a party or a film night with the girls.

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Baileys Caramel Popcorn

125g popcorn, unpopped
Frylight cooking spray
100g caster sugar
50g liquid glucose
100g butter
120ml Baileys
2 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda

1. Start by popping the popcorn. I store my unpopped corn in the freezer as I read somewhere that this makes the fluffiest popcorn. It also seems to help with making sure as many kernels pop as possible. I pop my popcorn in a lidded glass bowl in the microwave. I spray Frylight over the kernels, cover with the lid and set the microwave for 2 minutes. If the popping hasn’t slowed down by the time the microwave pings, I add another 30 seconds, and keep doing this until most of the kernels look to have popped.

2. Spread out the popcorn in a single on a large baking tray or trays. I use a silicone sheet instead of baking paper or foil here to line the baking tray, like the sort you can use to line the bottom of your oven. You can then start preparing the caramel coating. In a pan, gently heat the sugar, butter and liquid glucose, stirring until it combines and the butter is melted. Once the sugar has dissolved, turn the temperature up and heat for 2 minutes. The mixture will become a caramel colour. Keep an eye on it but don’t stir it.

3. Add the Baileys, watch out in case it spits when you tip it in. Mix thoroughly to combine, it may take awhile for the caramel and Baileys to combine to a smooth consisteny, and keep on the heat for 2 more minutes.

4. Remove from the heat. Add the Bicarbonate of Soda. The mixture will fizz up, give it a good stir to mix it thoroughly. Tip it over the popcorn and mix the popcorn around with a spoon to make sure it is all coated. This will take a few minutes to get an even coverage.

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5. Preheat the oven to 100°C. Bake the popcorn for 20 minutes until the caramel has just started to crisp up. It will take on a deeper brown colour on baking. Allow to cool before serving.

Christmas wrap

I’m trying to get into the Christmas spirit this weekend and I’ve therefore had a festive lunch. I saw a version of this wrap in the Co-op Food magazine, but it involved chicken and bacon. I was inspired to make a vegetarian version. It’s always nice to have something a bit different for a sandwich filling as there can be a lack of exciting choices for us vegetarians.

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Christmas Wrap (makes 1)

3 vegetarian stuffing balls (made following the packet instructions and baked into bite size balls) cut into halves
1 tortilla wrap
A handful of shredded iceberg lettuce
50g Wensleydale with cranberries
Mayonnaise

1. Warm your wrap slightly if you prefer them warm and soft. (I usually do this by warming a dry pan over a high heat on the hob and heating the tortilla for 15 seconds or so on each side.

2. Add the filling to your tortilla wrap, lettuce, stuffing balls (cold is fine, but you could warm them while heating the tortilla if you prefer), cheese and a few small dollops of mayonnaise.

3. Roll up the wrap and eat. (Rolling wraps is not one of my skills in life hence the ‘unrolled’ picture. I think I have a tendency to overfill my wraps!)

If you can’t get Wensleydale with cranberries, substitute for a different cheese, but add some cranberry sauce.

Childhood recipe – Cheese and celery scones

Today’s blog challenge was to write about a childhood toy. I decided to interpret that to write about a recipe I remember cooking as a child. This recipe for Cheese and Celery Scones is something that I cooked in a lesson at Infant school. The ingredients are in ounces so you get a sense for how old it is! The only thing I do differently now is using butter instead of margarine.

Cheese and Celery Scones (makes 16 small scones)

8oz granary flour
4tsp baking powder
2oz butter
4oz grated cheese
1 stick of celery finely chopped
1tsp wholegrain mustard

1. Preheat oven to 180°c.

2. Mix the flour and baking powder together.

3. Rub in the butter until you get a sandy consistency.

4. Stir in the cheese and celery.

5. Mix the mustard and the milk together. Add this to the dry mixture and stir in.

6. Knead the mixture until it is well combined.

7. Roll out and cut into small circles using a pastry cutter. Alternatively, roll into an 8 inch circle and dissect into 8 wedges.

8. Place on a baking tray and bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes.

 

What’s in my kitchen?

Today’s blog challenge was to reveal the contents of your makeup bag. That didn’t feel very relevant to a cooking blog, so I thought I would adapt the theme and tell you about a few things that can be found in my kitchen instead. I tried to pick some unusual items.

I am currently obsessed with popcorn and love trying different flavours. I am a big fan of the Joe & Seph’s range for a special treat, and Propercorn for an everyday snack. I’ve just discovered Metcalfe’s Honey Bee popcorn, which is delicious.

I’ve been experimenting with flavoured icing sugars and have been using Sugar and Crumbs Black Cherry flavour. I incorporated the icing sugar into meringues. I like the range because there is a wide variety of flavours.

I received a tub of Pop a Ball bursting bubbles in Passion Fruit flavour. I tried mine in a glass of Prosecco but they can be used in soft drinks or in Bubble Tea. They are vegetarian. www.popaball.co.uk

 

 

 

Sweetcorn fritters

This is one of those recipes we make quite a lot.  For us, it’s a recipe we can throw together from ingredients we have in the cupboards.

Sweetcorn fritters

Sweetcorn pancakes (Serves 4)

125g self-raising flour
1 egg
125ml milk
400g can of sweetcorn, drained
Salt and pepper
Oil for frying

1. Mix the flour, egg and milk in a food processor until smooth.  Add half the sweetcorn and pulse again.

2. Fold in the remaining sweetcorn and season as required.

3. Brush the frying pan lightly with oil and heat up the pan.  Cook tablespoonfuls of the batter at a time.  When the mixture has set, flip over and cook the second side until golden.  Repeat until all the mixture has been used.

Serve with a tomato chutney.

Goat’s cheese and vegetarian caviar bites

Today’s challenge is to blog about something you are an expert in. Well I don’t really feel I’m an expert in anything, I’m more the sort of person who likes to try out loads of different things.

So I’m going to blog about something I would like to be an expert in – veggie food (I bet you didn’t see that one coming did you!?)

Goat’s cheese and vegetarian caviar bites
Caviar and goat's cheese bites

This recipe was inspired by something I saw in Olive magazine.

One small Goat’s cheese log
Tangkorn vegetarian caviar (from Ikea)
Nori sheets, cut into small squares

1. Roll the goat’s cheese into small bitesize balls.
2. Roll each ball in vegetarian caviar balls.
3. Place each shiny black ball of pearls onto a nori square.

The original recipe suggested using crushed pink peppercorns or chives to coat the goat’s cheese balls.