Baklava

This is not a dish for the faint hearted, cos when you see how much butter it uses you would be forgiven for having a heart attack there and then… But, you’re supposed to eat in teeny tiny slices so it’s all OK really. Promise. This has been made for the forthcoming Shipley Slump taking place on the 23rd Sept. Good job I’m on a diet or I’d be scoffing it all now and having to make another it smells SOOOOOOOOOOOO divine!!!!!

For about 40 pieces you need
Baklava:
1 packet of filo or feuille de brick pastry
250g butter, melted
2.5 cups mixed nuts (I used walnuts, pistachios and hazlenuts)
1/3 cup caster sugar
3 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves

Syrup:
1.5 cups caster sugar
1.5 cups water
3 tbsp rose water
3 tbsp orange flower water
3 whole cloves
1 small cinnamon stick
2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 cup runny honey

Begin by brushing the sides and base of a swiss roll tin with butter. Lay 9 sheets of pastry into the tin, taking care to brush thoroughly and evenly with melted butter.

Take the nuts, sugar and spices (I can’t resist adding a picture here they looked so pretty!) and sprinkle half the mixture over the butter pastry.

Place another two sheets of pastry on top, again brushing each carefully with butter, and top with the remaining nut mixture. Place the remaining sheets of pastry on the top, buttering each layer. Trim the edges and brush the top with the last bit of butter. Cut into small pieces using a sharp knife.

Bake in a moderate (140 degree) oven for 30 mins. Check, rotate the tin to ensure even cooking, and turn up to 150 degrees. Cook for a further 30 mins until the pastry is light golden brown, crisp and fully cooked.

Whilst the baklava is cooking, make the syrup. Place the water, sugar, honey, cloves and cinnamon in a pan and slowly melt. Once all the sugar is dissolved, bring to the boil and boil fast for 15 mins until the syrup is reduced, thickened and gorgeous. Carefully add the lemon juice, rose and orange flower waters (it will hiss and spit when you do this) and leave to cool for a bit.

When the baklava is cooked, remove from the oven and pour over the strained, fragrant syrup. Leave well alone for at least 48 hours, preferably longer, to let the syrup steep into the nuts and pastry. Serve with very strong coffee and forget about the calories…

Puff Pastry Pizza

I have blogged something similar to this before, but this combination of ingredients was too good not to remember for another day.

For 4-6 portions you need:
1 sheet ready rolled puff pastry
1 jat red pesto
1 red onion, finely sliced
2/3 pack chilli olives
1/4 jar salted capers, well rinsed
1/2 log goats cheese, cut in to slices
Handful fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
1-2 tbsp coarsely grated veggie parmesan
drizzle chilli oil
4-6 sun dried tomatoes in oil

Lay the pastry on some baking paper on a baking sheet.
Score an edge 1cm thick.
Spread the pesto on the pastry inside the boarder.
Scatter over the onions, olives, capers and cheese. Top with the basil and parmesan and tomatoes.
Bake in a hot oven for 15-20 mins till the pastry is risen and everything is cooked.
Serve with a rocket salad and drizzled with chilli oil.

Spanakopita

This is very easy to make but looks impressive and is another yummy dish for warmer weather. It travels well so is ideal for picnics or packed lunches.

For 4-6 portions you need:
290g bag of fresh spinach, washed and drained
1 large onion, finely diced
1 tbsp olive oil for frying plus extra for brushing the filo pastry
2/3 of a 250g pack of filo pastry
1 block of feta
2 tbsp salted capers, rinsed well
freshly ground pepper
freshly grated nutmeg

Begin by frying the onion in the oil over a gentle heat for about 10 mins till softened. Add the spinach and cover with a lid. Allow the spinach to wilt then chop roughly with scissors in the pan. Season with pepper and nutmeg and add the capers and crumble in the feta. Mix well.

Meanwhile brush a baking tray with oil and layer in the filo, brushing each sheet with a little more oil. Use half the filo to line the base of the pan. Spoon over the spinach and feta mixture then top with the remaining filo, again brushing each sheet with a little oil. Tuck in the overhanging pieces of pastry and brush the top with oil. Score into diamonds then bake in a hot (200 degree) oven for 30-40 mins. Best served at room temperature.

Tomato, Pesto and Goats Cheese Tart

This is a very quick and simple recipe which takes no time to prepare but tastes like you have spent hours on it. It’s nice hot or cold.

For 4-6 portions you need:
1 sheet ready rolled puff pastry
2/3 jar sun dried tomato pesto
4-5 vine tomatoes, cut into thin-ish slices
1 red onion, cut into thin slices
1 log goats cheese, cut into discs the thickness of a £1 coin
pinch dried oregano
glug olive oil
freshly ground black pepper.

Unroll the pastry and place on a baking sheet. Score a border about 1cm thick round the edges. Spread the pesto into the middle. Lay the onions on top and then the tomatoes. Top with the cheese and then finish with the oregano, pepper and oil. Bake in a hot oven for 25-35 mins till risen and cooked. Serve as you wish.

Tomato and Pesto Tart (v)

This was a creation from stuff that needed to be used up: namely a basil plant and some tomatoes. Result!

For 2 portions you need:
1/2 pack ready rolled puff pastry (check it’s vegan!)
1 cup tomatoes, sliced
salt and pepper

Pesto:
1 tbsp pine nuts, lightly toasted
1 clove garlic
2 large handfuls basil leaves
good quality olive oil

Make the pesto by blitzing everything together till smooth-ish.
Lay the pastry out on a baking sheet and score round the edges to leave a 1cm border.
Spread the pesto inside the border.
Lay on the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle over a little extra olive oil.
Bake in a hot oven for 10-15 mins till the pastry is risen and golden brown.
Scoff with a rocket and watercress and red onion salad.

Cheddar and Leek Tarts

These were inspired by an @deliciousmag recipe which was very timely as I had some leeks and leftover filo pastry to use up in the fridge. Mine used cheddar and gruyere as we had no blue cheese. And very tasty indeed they were too 🙂

For 3 medium and 3 small tarts you need:
1/2 pack filo sheets
2 eggs
about 1/2 cup double cream
good handful grated cheddar
2 tbsp gruyere cut into small chunks
2 leeks, sliced
knob butter
salt and pepper

Begin by suateeing the leek in the butter till soft. Line some individual tart tins/muffin tins with the filo pastry. Lay the sheets in the tins – you’ll need about 4-5 sheets per tin to ensure no gaps/holes. Mix together the eggs, cream and seasoning and then add the cheddar. Place the cooked leeks in the base of the lined tins. Pour over the eggy, cheesy, cream mixture and then stud the top with the gruyere. Bake in a hot oven for about 15 mins till puffy, golden and crispy. Serve with salad and potatoes.

Vegetable Spring Rolls (v)

This is a dead simple recipe, and the filling can be varied depending on what you fancy.

For about 8-10 rolls you need:
4-5 sheets filo pastry
1 pack stir fry veggies
sweet chilli sauce to serve
a little vegetable oil

Quickly stir fry the bag of veggies and leave to drain in a colander. Cut the sheets of filo in half and place a spoonful of the veggies on each one. Brush the sides and edges with a little oil and roll up. Place on a baking sheet and brush the tops and sides with a little more oil. Bake in a hot oven for 15-20 mins till golden brown. Serve with sweet chilli sauce to dip.

Cheesy Leek and Potato Pasties

Apparently Lex likes these. Who knew… Which means I will be making them a bit more often as a result. He seems to prefer the pastry element more than the filling so all the more for me mwahahahah…

For 12 or so individual pasties you need:
500g pastry made from 250g plain flour and 250g butter
2 leeks, sliced
1 onion, diced
450g potatoes, peeled, diced and par boiled for 4-5 mins till tender
1 tsp each fresh thyme, oregano, rosemary and sage; chopped
25g butter
salt and pepper
150g cheddar, half grated and half chopped into cubes
1 egg and a little milk for egg wash

Begin by making the pastry and leaving to rest. Meanhile saute the leeks, onion, herbs and butter for 20 mins or so in a lidded pan. Cut out large circles of the pastry and fill with a tbsp of the filling in the middle of each. Either fold over or cut out more circles for the tops. Crimp, brush with egg glaze and stab in a few steam holes. Bake in a hot oven for 20-30 mins till golden brown. Serve hot or cold.

Sweet Onion Tart with Goats Cheese and Courgette

This is such a quick and simple dish to make, but tastes like you spent hours making it. Use ready rolled puff pastry to save time and mix and match what you have in rather than religiously following this recipe…

For 2-3 portions you need:
1 sheet ready rolled puff pastry
1 jar red onion marmalade
1 goats cheese log, sliced
2 medium courgettes, sliced
about 8 cherry tomatoes, halved
a sprinkle of fresh thyme and oregano
salt and pepper
olive oil

Begin by unrolling the pastry and placing it on a lined baking sheet. Score around the edge to leave a 1cm border. Spread the onion marmalade in the middle, ensuring it covers the base evenly. Lay on the courgette slices, then add the goats cheese. Add the tomatoes and finally sprinkle over the herbs, seasoning and finish with a drizzle of olive oil.

Bake in a hot oven for 15-20 mins till cooked and golden brown. Serve with a green salad. Eat any leftovers cold for lunch the next day.

Courgette, Onion and Cheddar Tart

I love quiche and its many varied fillings. This recipe comes from the August edition of @deliciousmag

For 4-6 portions you need:
400g shortcrust pastry made from 300g flour and 150g butter (use any leftovers for jam tarts!)
2 medium courgettes
1 tbsp olive oil
knob butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 large cloves garlic, crushed
small bunch fresh thyme, leaves picked off
150ml double cream
1 large egg plus 2 egg yolks
150g mature cheddar, coarsely grated

Begin by lining a quiche tin with the pastry. Prick all over and leave to rest for 30 mins. Then bake blind for 15 mins or so. Brush some of the beaten leftover egg white on to the base and continue to bake till it is set and sealed. Leave to cool.

Meanwhile grate the courgettes in to a sieve, sprinkle with a little salt and leave to drain for 5-10 mins. Sautee the onion and garlic in the butter and oil. Squeeze out the courgettes and add to the pan, increasing the heat.

Mix the cream, egg, yolks and cheese in a jug. Season and add the thyme. Spoon the vegetables over the base of the tin and then pour over the egg and cream mix. Bake in a moderate oven for about 25 mins. Serve with a green salad. Yum!