Friday, 17 July 2015

July's Take Five

Tea Party Treats

We pick some of our favourite recipes from over the years that we think will make the perfect selection of tea party nibbles!

Butternut squash and chilli chestnut rolls

What you'll need...

● 1 small butternut squash ● 500g Saxby's puff pastry ● 1/2 red chilli ● 1/2 tsp five spice ● 1 tsp ground ginger ● 50g soft brown sugar ● 150g roasted chestnuts ● 1 egg whisked for egg wash ●

What to do...

1. Peel and cut butternut squash into cubes, then roast in a little oil together with the sugar and five spice mix, allow to cool.

2. Finely chop the chilli and chestnuts, and mash together with the butternut squash and ginger.

3. Roll out the puff pastry into long thin strips and place a little of the mixture in the centre of the puff pastry, brush the edges of the pastry with egg wash and fold over to form a roll.

4. Brush lightly with egg wash before placing tin the oven to cook, until golden brown.

Recipe: Tony Boyle
Photos: David Merewether


What you'll need...

● 1tbsp icing sugar ● 125ml hot water  1 tbsp cornflour ● 25g sachet gelatine ● red food colouring ● 2 free range egg whites ● 500g granulated sugar 

What to do...

1. Sift together the icing sugar and cornflour in a bowl. Grease a 20cm (8in) square shallow cake tin with a little vegetable oil, then shake some of the icing sugar and cornflour mixture to coat the tin. Set aside.

2. Pour the hot water into a bowl, sprinkle the gelatine on top and stir gently until the crystals dissolve. Add 2-3 drops of food colouring to the gelatine and mix thoroughly. (Pink is traditionally used but you can use whichever colour you like)

3. Put the egg whites into a food processor and set aside. Put the granulated sugar into a medium saucepan and add 250 ml of water. Stir over a low heat until the sugar has completely dissolved. Increase the heat and bring the mixture to a boil. In the meantime, turn on the food processor and mix the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Boil the sugar mixture until it reaches 121C, the hard ball stage- when a small amount of mixture is dropped into water it will form a ball that holds its shape. Take the pan off the heat.

4. Pour the gelatine into the pan of syrup, stirring continuously until the gelatine is thoroughly mixed with the syrup. Turn the food processor back on and carefully pour the syrup onto the beaten egg whites. Continue mixing until the mixture turns thick and bulky but is still pourable. If you lift up the beater, a ribbon of marshmallow should remain on the surface for a few seconds before sinking back down into the mix.

5. Pour the marshmallow into the prepared tin and leave to set in a cool place for approximately 1 or 2 hours (do not refrigerate)

6. Dust a chopping board or work surface with the remaining cornflour and icing sugar mixture. Butter a sharp knife and carefully ease the marshmallow mixture out of the tin and onto the board. Sift any extra icing sugar and cornflour over the marshmallow if necessary. Cute the marshmallow into cubes. 

7. Store in an airtight tin lined with baking parchment or grease proof paper for up to one week. You can freeze marshmallows- they will only take a minute or two to defrost.

Recipe: Nicki Trench
Photos: David Merewether

Lunch Frittata

What you'll need...

● 8 large eggs ● small bunch of spring onions or 2 medium onions ● some cooked, cubed potatoes (quantities depend on the other vegetables used) ● a red pepper ● a courgette or two ● mushrooms ● green beans (precooked) ● peas ● a handful of chopped parsley ● oregano ● olive oil ● salt ● optional cubed pancetta 

What to do...

1. Use a heavy based, or non-stick, medium sized frying pan for this recipe. If you're splashing out and using pancetta, fry it gently until it starts to crisp and then soften the onions and uncooked vegetables in the bacon fat for 5 minutes or so. Or use a little olive oil and add the cooked potato.

2. Meanwhile crack the eggs into a bowl and beat together, then pour over the vegetable mixture and cook gently until the egg starts to set- no mixing, or you'll scramble the eggs- and keep the heat low or the bottom will burn.

3. When the mixture's been cooking for around 15 minutes, place the pan under the grill and cook to the top, to make sure the frittata cooks all the way through.

4. Serve warm or cold!

Recipe: Jo Arnell

Goat Cheese Tartlet with Thyme and Roasted Red Onion

What you'll need...

● packet of filo pastry ● 60g butter, melted ● 6 sprigs of thyme, stripped ● 1 red onion, chopped ● 200g goat cheese ● 250ml double cream ● 2 eggs ● 2 egg yolks ● salt and pepper ● 2 mini muffin tins ● 

What to do...

1. Preheat the oven to 170C

2. First roast the chopped red onion in a little olive oil and black pepper till soft.

3. Make the filo tartlets by painting one sheet of filo pastry at a time with melted butter, then cut the sheets into 5cm squares. Next sprinkle half of them with thyme, salt and pepper and place the unseasoned squares on top at an angle, and mould them into the muffin tins. Cover the tins with clingfilm to stop the pastry drying out while you make the remaining tartlets. 

4. For the filling, blend the goat cheese, double cream, eggs and seasoning. Put some roasted red onion in the base of each tartlet and spoon the goat cheese mixture on top with a sprig of thyme.

5. Bake for 10 minutes, check and return if they need to cook for longer, then serve warm. 

Recipe: Juliet Bidwell
Photos: David Merewether

Eton Mess Cake

What you'll need...

● 150g self raising flour ● 150g softened butter ● 150g caster sugar ● 1/2 tsp vanilla essence ● 2 eggs ● 1 tbsp milk ● 75ml double cream ● small punnet of strawberries ● 

For the meringue...

● 2 large egg whites ● 100g caster sugar 1/2 tsp vinegar ● 

What to do...

1. Pre-heat oven to gas 4/180C. Fill a cupcake tin with 12 cases.

2. Cream the butter and sugar together, gradually add the eggs and flour, then milk (a little at a time) until it reaches dropping consistency.

3. Divide the mixture into the 12 paper cases and bake for approximately 15 minutes. Check towards the end of this time- they should be a light golden brown.

4. While the cakes are cooling, wash, hull and roughly slice the strawberries, whip the cream and break up the meringue into pieces about the same size as the strawberries.

5. Once the cakes are cooled, scoop out the centre of each (you can use the cake 'scoops' and add them to the topping or save them to make a trifle base). Pile cream into the middle and top with meringue pieces and strawberries.

For the meringue...

1. Line a flat baking tray with baking parchment and preheat oven to gas 1/ 140C

2. Whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks, then gradually add the sugar, a little at a time. beating in between until it's incorporated and the mixture looks glossy and holds stiffly on a spoon (don't over beat)

3. Add the vinegar if using (it's supposed to help the meringue's texture). Spread the mixture thickly over the baking sheet and bake for approximately 40 minutes, then turn off the oven and leave them to dry out in the oven over night. 

Photos: David Merewether

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