25 May 2009


Delicious Magazine is a great source of reliable recipes, they devote a section to 'veggie matters', which is where this quiche recipe came from.

If you are off on a picnic anytime soon, this is the perfect quiche to take with you!

The recipe title should be 'with parsley pastry', but I feared I would possibly end up with green pastry! Maybe, I just wasn't feeling very lucky the day I made the quiche and so decided to play it safe using the usual shortcrust pastry.

I always use Delia's foolproof method for baking the pastry 'blind' and to date it has never let me down, also it gives a wonderful crisp pastry without all the messing about with parchment paper and baking beans.

Quiche can take forever to make, but I now make mine in stages, it seems to be less painful this way.

. Make the pastry and rest in the fridge.
. Later remove pastry from the fridge, roll out, line the tin and prick the pastry with a fork.
. Pop lined tin in the freezer overnight.
. Remove pastry case and prepare to Delia's instructions.
. Whilst the pastry case is cooking, deal with the filling ingredients.

Well, it works for me anyway!!

Equipment: 35cm x 10cm x 3cm deep fluted tart tin with loose base.

You will need: 30g unsalted butter, 1 finely chopped red onion, 200g sliced button mushrooms, 1 tsp lemon juice, 4 tbs chopped fresh flatleaf parsley, 3tbs snipped fresh chives, 2 large free-range eggs lightly beaten, 170ml whipping cream.

For the pastry: 155g plain flour, 3tbs very finely chopped fresh flatleaf parsley (if you are making the parsley pastry), 90g cold unsalted butter chopped, 1 large free-range egg yolk and you may need a couple of teaspoons of iced water.

1. To make the pastry, sift the flour and a pinch of salt into a large bowl. Mix the parsley through. Lightly rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Make a well in the centre. Add the egg yolk to the well and mix, using a knife, until a rough dough forms, adding a little iced water if needed. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and gather into a ball. Cover with cling film and chill for at least 30 minutes.
2.Roll out the pastry on a sheet of baking paper until large enough to fit the base and sides of the tin. Line the tin and trim the edges. Chill for 20 minutes.
3.Preheat the oven to 190°C/170°C fan/Gas5. Bake the pastry shell using Delia's method. Remove from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 180°C/fan160°C/Gas4.
4. Make the mushroom filling. Melt the butter in a frying pan, add the onion and saute over a medium heat for 5 minutes or until softened. Add the mushrooms and saute for 3 minutes until soft. Stir in the lemon juice and herbs. In a separate bowl, mix the eggs and cream together and season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
5. Spread the mushroom mixture into the pastry shell and pour the egg mixture over the top. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until the filling has set.
6. Serve warm or at room temperature.

17 May 2009


Children will love this flowerpot bread I've made to celebrate this week. Making bread with little ones, is a great rainy day activity, (obviously, you will need to use the traditional method). It has to be said, using a bread machine couldn't be classed as 'fun'.

The bread is a mixture of white and malted brown bread flower, sweetened with honey and decorated with sunflower seeds (I wouldn't use the sunflower seeds as decoration for very small children but use something like oat flakes).

I made Feta, Tomato and Rosemary Flowerpot bread last time and you can see the recipe here.

There is a problem using flowerpots for bread making, and that is, the cooked bread can stick to them, making removal of the bread difficult. Last time I lined the pots with parchment which made the bread easy to remove. Unfortunately, the parchment paper stops the bread from crisping.

This time round, I decided to put discs of parchment paper in the base of the pots and greased the inside really well with butter. When cooked, if you tip the pots upside down, the bread is well and truly stuck - so, a palette knife carefully put between the bread and pot, just about manages to remove the bread in one piece!

I've now decided to do some research on the net about using flower pots, and it seems that you need to season them first to stop the bread sticking. If you click here you can see how it's done.

I halved the quantities stated in the recipe, which came from Delicious Magazine, and made enough dough to fill six flowerpots. The dough was made in the bread maker, less liquid is needed if you use this method.

There is nothing quite like the smell of freshly baked bread and these little flowerpots had a wonderful crisp top, soft within and scented with honey.

10 May 2009

A Piece of Cake by Leila Lindholm

I have been sent a wonderful baking book to review by New Holland Publishers(UK)Ltd.

Leila Lindholm is a popular TV Chef in Sweden and she also has her own food magazine, 'Leila's Country Living' (which is only in Sweden). In the UK she has been featured in Delicious and Easy Living magazines.

There are over 200 easy-to-follow baking recipes in this beautifully illustrated book. Chapters in the book are: In the Cookie Jar - On the Cake Plate - Tarts, flans and pies - Cupcakes and muffins - Party cakes - Berry squash and buns - Savoury bread - Hearty wholemeal and crisp bread - Baking without an oven - Sauces, creams and marmalade - also an SOS chapter.

To whet the appetite there are recipes for - lovely toffee slices, pecan banana bread, high-hat cupcakes, the apple lady's crumble, Spanish meringue, strawberry squash, blueberry and lemon scones, sweet rye and raisin rolls, fruit and hazelnut sourdough, lion bars and elderflower custard.

Leila gives a basic recipe for muffins, and then to this, other ingredients can be added. From the basic muffin mixture, we are given nine different muffin recipes. Maltezer muffins, Snickers muffins, and blueberry muffins with crumble, just to name a few. The principle of taking a basic recipe, to which other ingredients are added, is a theme used throughout the book.

Everyone who loves baking, as much as I do, will find this is a wonderful addition to the bookshelf. I haven't put the book down since receiving it, this really is the sign of a good book!

Here is an example of one of the beautiful cupcake recipes in the book.


ISBN 9781847734457 - Page 86

Makes: 12-16 cupcakes

For the Classic cupcake recipe you will need: 3 organic eggs, 225g caster sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla sugar, 100g unsalted butter, 100ml milk, 210g plain flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 pinch of salt, zest and juice of 1 lemon.
For the Raspberry Cupcakes you will need 150g raspberries.

1. Preheat the oven to 175°C/350°F/Gas 4.
2. Place muffin paper cases in a 12 hole muffin tin.
3. Beat together the eggs, sugar and vanilla sugar until pale and fluffy.
4. Melt the butter, pour in the milk and blend with the egg mixture.
5. Add the lemon zest and juice to the mixture.
6. Carefully blend in the raspberries.
7. Pour the mixture into the cases until they are two-thirds full.
8. Bake in the centre of the oven for about 15 minutes. Leave to cool.

Raspberry Frosting

180g icing sugar, 150g cream cheese, 75g raspberries plus extra for decoration.

1. Make the frosting by mixing together the icing sugar and cream cheese until creamy.
2. Carefully blend in the raspberries and spread the frosting over the cupcakes.
3. Decorate with fresh raspberries.

3 May 2009

Mornflake Cereals - A Lovely Surprise!

A wonderful array of very tempting breakfast cereals from Mornflakes arrived in the post this week - eight different ones, ranging from muesli to porridge oats. Also in the parcel there was a hessian shopping bag, a brochure containing recipes, product information, photographs and a press release.

To celebrate Mornflakes 333rd anniversary, this Cheshire based family business are relaunching their range of oat cereals. Not everyone has heard of them, including myself, but they are trying to spread the word. Their products should be on the shelves nationwide, anytime now. The company pride themselves on being the UK's oldest milling experts.

I taste tested a sample of the products Kate from Mornflakes sent to me, and not one of them disappointed. Thank you for this introduction to your products, I know when I have eaten my way through them, I will certainly be looking out for Mornflakes in the supermarket.

All of the cereals were crispy, crunchy and full of excellent quality ingredients. I poured milk over mine, and just for good measure put a dollop of home made yogurt on top! Well, how else would I eat them?

Here are samples of some of the products I taste tested:

Mornflake Very Berry Oatbran Flakes: Crunchy oatbran flakes with freeze-dried cherries, raspberries and strawberries.

Mornflake Extra Crispy Muesli with Date, fig and apple: Toasted wheatflakes, wholegrain, oatflakes, toasted rye flakes, mixed seeds, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, also roasted hazelnuts and almonds.

Extra Crispy Muesli Swiss-style with apple: Toasted wheatflakes, wholegrain oatflakes, raisins, roasted hazelnuts and almonds and dried apple

Mornflakes Superfast Oats: I made rhubarb crumble with this product from a recipe sent to me by Mornflakes and picked the rhubarb fresh from my garden. This healthy recipe was a winner and will definitely be one I make again in the future.