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.

Winter Warmers

Spring is definitely on the way here in Yorkshire, but there is still a chill in the air and it’s nice to spend cosy evenings with the heating on enjoying being indoors. Here are a couple of suggestions for hearty treats.

Leek and Potato crumble (serves 2)

1 large onion
3 leeks
2 medium potatoes
150ml milk
75g butter
125g plain flour
30g cheddar cheese
1 tsp paprika

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.

2. Slice the onions and leeks. Peel the potatoes and dice into small cubes.

3. Put in a pan with the milk and 25g butter. Cook over a medium heat, stirring until the butter melts. Cover and allow to cook until the veg is softened.

4. Blend 25g flour with 4tbsp cold water and stir into the veg. Cook for 3 minutes until the sauce thickens. Season as needed.

5. Meanwhile dice 50g butter and rub into 100g flour to make crumbs. Mix in the cheddar and paprika.

6. Tip the vegetable base into an ovenproof dish and top with the crumble. Cook in the preheated oven for 15 minutes until the crumble is golden brown.

Hot buttered Rum (serves 2)

My Dad and his partner bought me some little bottles of Rum back from their recent Caribbean cruise and I wanted to try doing something different with them.

25g butter
3tsp soft brown sugar
Orange peel (use a potato peeler to cut a few long strips of peel)
100ml Rum, spiced rum works particularly well.
2 cinnamon sticks
300ml boiling water

1. Melt the butter and sugar together in a pan with a strip of orange peel.

2. Stir in the Rum and boiling water.

3. Serve with the cinnamon stick to garnish.

Butternut Squash and Spinach Lasagne

When you have a food blog, you want to add recipes that are delicious, but they also need to look good in a photograph too. I’m not the best photographer (and when I’ve made something I generally just want to get on with eating it, not spending ages photographing it!). I’ve also found that some dishes just don’t look great. This recipe is one that is tasty, but just not pretty to look at.

Butternut Squash and Spinach Lasagne (serves 2-3)

1/2 large butternut squash, chopped into 1cm cubes
2 small onions, chopped into 2cm chunks
Olive oil
400g tin of chopped tomatoes
3 tsp Italian dried mixed Herbs
150g Spinach (I often use frozen)
100g butter
3 sage leaves, finely chopped
100g plain flour
Ground black pepper
650ml of milk
10 lasagne sheets (fresh is good if you want it to cook quickly, but dried sheets are fine if you don’t mind waiting longer for your lasagne to cook)
50g vegetarian Parmesan style cheese

1. Preheat oven to 200°C.

2. Roast the Butternut Squash and onion, drizzled with oil, in the oven for 25 minutes until cooked through.

3. Heat the tomatoes, herbs and spinach together in a pan to make a rustic sort of tomato sauce. Stir in the butternut squash and onion.

4. Make the white sauce by melting the butter with the sage leaves. Add the flour and the ground pepper, to taste, and whisk to form a smooth paste. Allow to cook for a further minute. Slowly add the milk a splash at a time, whisking into combine before adding more milk. Put the sauce to one side.

5. Assemble the lasagne by layering the sheets of pasta, tomato sauce and the white sauce. Top the lasagne with the vegetarian parmesan.

6. Bake for 25 minutes if using fresh lasagne sheets, or around 45 minutes if you are using dried pasta.

I’ve also found that I can make an allergy friendly version of the white sauce using dairy free spread (Vitalite), gluten free plain flour and a milk substitute (Koko). In this instance I would also use dairy free cheese instead of the vegetarian parmesan.

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.