Dwarf Damson Tarts.

Called “dwarf” because this is the shortest pastry you can make without it being a crumble!

Ingredients:

For the pastry:

  • 200g sugar
  • 200g butter
  • 300g flour
  • 1 egg
  • cinnamon to taste

For the filling:

  • 300g damsons
  • 200g sugar

Utensils:

  • mixing bowl and fork
  • small pot and wooden spoon
  • tart tray, greased or nonstick

Recipe:

  1. Thoroughly blend the sugar and butter. Leave to rest.
  2. Stone and dice the damsons and put them in a pot on a low heat. Wait until they release some juice before turning the heat up. Stew them down as much as possible, and remember to keep stirring.
  3. When the damsons are fully softened, add the sugar and bring the mix to a boil. Set aside to cool.
  4. Mix the flour and egg into the sugar and butter. Divide evenly between 12 tart spaces and make sure the walls are reasonably high.
  5. Spoon some warm damson mix into each casing. Don’t overfill as any bubbling will make the tarts impossible to remove from the tray. They are far too short to withstand rought handling!
  6. Bake at 160C for 25 minutes. The casings should still be soft, but should not dent too easily.
  7. Fully cool before removing and serving.

These were awesome to eat and have motivated me to try and use up all my jam and pie-filling jars this year. Wish me luck! ^^

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

 

For help starting out homemaking, check out The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide. For help budgeting all your everday and not-so-everyday essentials, from food to transport to clothes, check out On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.
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Belated WWW.

Sorry it’s so late. Just getting back into the swing of things and working around a new puppy, improved nutrition for when we’re TTC (around February or March, wish us luck!), new students and loads of writing, I’ve not had much time for recipes or fitness posts.

However I have completed my Beginner Homemaker book and got the timetable mostly in order, so regular recipe and fitness updates can return.

Recipe 1: My best pie crust.

Between a music festival and lots of jam to get through before berry season, I’ve been making many pies and I think I have worked out my best crust recipe yet.

Ingredients:

Makes enough for over one pie, so freeze or make snacks with the rest.

-2 cups plain flour

-3 eggs

-150g butter

-5tbsp sugar

-1tsp salt

Utensils:

-mixing bowl

-fork

Recipe:

1: Mash the eggs, salt and flour together.

2: Fold in the butter and sugar.

3: Knead until uniformly yellow. Fold in half, stretch and fold again at least 10 times.

4: Place in the fridge.

5: Bring to room temperature before halving the dough. When you roll it, roll it out nice and flat.

Recipe 2: Chicken pan stew.

Another new staple, can be mixed up with different seasonings but really makes for a wholesome and tasty dish on its own.

Ingredients:

Serves 4-6.

-6 deboned chicken thighs

-200g bacon

-2 onions

-2 carrots

-400g pureed tomato

-400g presoaked lentils

-400-800g presoaked butter or cannellini beans

Utensils:

-chopping board and knife

-frying pan

Recipe:

1: Chop the carrots and onions finely.

2: Place in a pan with tomato and lentils and bring to a boil.

3: Once boiling, turn down to a simmer and add the chicken and beans. Let both rest on top.

4: Turn the chicken once cooked on one side.

5: Once both sides of chicken are cooked, lightly salt and pepper.

Wonderful Wednesday Wok. Beef Wellington and Ice-Cream Cake.

Today’s Wok was for dinner instead of for lunch. So I decided to go a bit crazy and make some more complicated things. Considering the number of elements, this had the potential to go very wrong. But it didn’t, and was actually one of the best Wok’s I’ve made yet. 😀

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Recipe 1: Beef Wellington.

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A British classic that the rest of the world doesn’t regard as awful or pure pub food. Roast beef in pastry with a nice, usually mushroomed, gravy around them.

The ones I made were individual portions, and the pastry was a bit soft, so it spread.

Jon’s rating: 8.25/10.

Ingredients (serves 2):

For the filling:

-2 thick steaks

-5 closed-cap mushrooms

-1/2 a cooking onion or 1 shallot

-2tbsp olive oil

-1tbsp chilli oil

-1tbsp pepper

For the pastry:

-400g flour

-200g salted butter

-150ml cold water

-1 beaten egg

Utensils:

-frying pan

-mixing bowl and spoon

-rolling pin

-greased or nonstick baking tray

Recipe:

1: Mix the butter and flour together until the mix looks marbled.

2: Gently stir in the cold water until the dough is thick and stretchy.

3: Leave in the fridge to cool.

4: Seal the steak in the pan with some olive oil. Put to one side to cool.

5: Very finely dice the mushrooms and onion/shallot. Fry in the same oil used for the beef.

6: Take the pastry from the fridge. Divide into two halves.

7: Roll out one half into a rectangle. Place the steak in the rectangle and pile the mushroom onto it. Drizzle some chilli oil and the pepper. Fold the short ends over and press down. Fold the long ends over to seal the “parcel”.

8: Turn over the parcel and place on the baking tray. Brush all over with the beaten egg.

9: Bake at 160-180C for 45-55min.

Recipe 2: Stuffed Squash.

Jon wasn’t so keen on this, but filled himself on the Beef Wellington and the filling, so all was good.

I personally loved it with a sprinkle of salt, so I’ll make some for myself again sometime soon.

Jon’s rating: 7.5/10.

Ingredients (serves 2):

-the “bowl” of a butternut squash

-100g cooked rice

-2 duck eggs

-1tbsp chili oil

-1tbsp mixed herbs

Utensils:

-chopping board and knife

-fork

-baking tray

-mixing bowl and spoon

Recipe:

1: Cut the squash in half. Use the fork to scrape out the lining and seeds.

2: Bake at 200C for 35min.

3: Mix the rice, oil and herbs.

4: Spoon the rice into the bowl of the squash and make a large indent.

5: Break the eggs into the indent.

6: Bake at 160C for 35min.

Recipe 3: Berry Ice-Cream Cake.

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A sorbet, an ice-cream and beautiful layers. Jon liked it but found the last layer of berries a little too much. I’m just pleased that it looked and tasted just as I’d planned. But next time I’ll add more banana to the sorbet for Jon. 🙂 There were two tureens, but one was more than enough for both of us.

Jon’s rating: 9/10.

Ingredients (serves 4):

-150g mixed berries

-2 small bananas

-300ml double cream

-2tbsp blueberry or blackberry jam

-50g 90% chocolate

Utensils:

-freezable pot

-2 freezable tureens

-2 mixing bowls and forks

How Jon thinks it was made:

 

Apparently this is exactly what I look like when I'm cooking.

Apparently this is exactly what I look like when I’m cooking.

How it was actually made:

1: Take the double cream and freeze it.

2: Defrost it quickly using the stove or a microwave setting.

3: Pour away the watery residue and keep the creamy parts in one bowl.

4: Mash the jam into the cream.

5: Crush the chocolate and spread it evenly between the bases of both tureens.

6: Spread 1/4 of the cream mix evenly into the base of each tureen and place them in the freezer until solid.

7: Mash the berries with the bananas in the other mixing bowl.

8: Take the tureens from the freezer and layer 1/4 of the berry mix in each tureen on top of the frozen cream. Place in the freezer again.

9: Repeat processes 6 and 8.

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10: To remove from the tureen, fill a bowl with hot water so that it covers the sides of the tureen but doesn’t flow into it. Once the cake is loose, turn it upside down on a plate.

 

Layers!

Layers!

And that was what we had this week. 🙂

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Wonderful Wednesday Wok. Fruits of the Forest Pie!

Because he’s off for Friday and is only working the morning tomorrow, Jon decided to come home for lunch today. So we had the Wok and an at-home lunch on the same day. Always makes me happy when that happens. 🙂

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Recipe 1: Cottage pie.

Made entirely with cheap ingredients, as a bit of a challenge. Around £2 for the lot and it made 4 servings, so that’s pretty good. Jon gave it a 4/5 in terms of quality, but that’s not bad considering how little it cost and how filling it was!

Ingredients:

-800g/28.2oz potatoes

-300g/10.6oz mince

-100g/3.5oz bacon

-1 tin peeled plum tomatoes (400g/14.1oz)

-1 carton chopped tomato (400g/14.1oz)

-50g/1.7oz butter

-2tbsp herbs

-1tsp chilli

-1tsp pepper

-1tsp salt

-1/2tsp cinnamon

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Utensils:

-chopping board and knife

-small pot

-potato masher or fork

-deep baking tray

Recipe:

1: Wash,  maybe peel, and slice the potatoes into small cubes.

2: Boil them.

3: Take the tomato, the bacon, 25g/0.9oz of butter, the chilli and the herbs. Mix together in the tray.

4: Put the bacon mix in the oven at 180-200C/355-390F for around 20min.

5: When the potatoes are soft, almost entirely drain them.

6: Mash the potatoes with the last of the butter, the salt, the pepper and the cinnamon.

7: Add the mince to the baking tray.

8: Spoon or pipe the potato evenly on top of the mince mix.

9: Bake at 160C/320F for around 1h.

There is no way to make this look more attractive. In many ways it's kind of worse than curry...

There is no way to make this look more attractive. In many ways it’s kind of worse than curry…

Recipe 2: Fruits of the Forest Pie.

Very, very easy and very cheap if you don’t use expensive jam or swap it for honey and a dash of fruit juice. As it stood, we had a jar of 100% fruit jam that I wanted to use. Also amazingly good. Jon gave it a 4.5/5.

Ingredients:

Makes 6 large slices or 8-12 smaller ones.

-200g/7oz plain flour

-150g/5.3oz butter

-100ml water

-3tbsp sugar/honey/concentrated grape/other sweetener

-200g/7oz mixed berries

-100g/3.5oz raisins/sultanas/currants

-2tbsp berry jam

-1 egg

Utensils:

-2 mixing bowls

-1 fork or cutter

-1 spoon

-1 rolling pin

-1 small, sharp knife

-1 brush

-1 baking tray

Recipe:

1: Mix the flour, sweetener and butter together until crumbs are formed.

2: Add the water little by little until the consistency of the dough is firm to the touch, elastic and not sticky. You won’t need all the water.

3: Place the dough in the fridge to cool.

4: Mix the berries, jam and raisins together in a bowl. Don’t worry about rehydrating the raisins, they will rehydrate themselves when cooking!

5: When the dough is cooled, take it out and break off 2/3 of it. Work the dough until it’s pliable again.

6: Roll it into a ball and roll it out until its as big as the pan, plus the height of the sides, plus about 1cm.

7: Grease the pan.

8: Carefully lower the dough into your pan. Press it into the corners.

9: Place in an oven at 160C/320F for 10-15min.

10: Whisk the egg.

11: Take the pie base and brush it all over with the beaten egg. Place back in the oven for 5min.

12: Fill the pie with the berry mix.

13: Take the other 1/3 of the dough and work it.

14: Roll it into a ball and roll it out so that the sections will go across the pie.

15: Using your sharp knife, slice the dough into a quadrilateral. Slice it into 6 or 12 strips.

16: Lay the strips over the top of the pie, weaving them.

17: Squish the strips onto the side of the pie and add egg to ensure they stick.

18: Glaze with more egg.

19: Bake at 160C/320F for 50min.

You can save the remaining egg for scrambled eggs or an omelet.

A more photogenic dish.

A more photogenic dish.

Mmm, pie!

Mmm, pie!

 

And that’s what Jon had for lunch today. He was very pleased. 😀