Thursday, 8 October 2015

bramley apple and sausage pie

... so i've started working with a personal trainer.  It's been nearly 3 months now and I see him twice a week.  It's one of those things that i've felt i'd always wanted to try because i'm pretty terrible at self-motivation and my tired old bones need a lot of work.  I feel pretty good about the whole thing and incredibly for me I'm actually keeping up the work and looking forward to each session... we meet stupidly early, outdoors in the local park, whatever the weather and train really really hard... it feels a little bit like i'm having a secret affair as each session ends with me out of breath and very sweaty but of course it's nothing of the sort.  What's interesting about it is that i'm learning all kinds of things about what my old body is capable of... and what it's not quite ready to do yet.  There are some sessions where I absolutely hate him and then other sessions where I hate myself and i've been through the calf strains and the fudgy knee but i've come out the other side feeling renovated and ready for anything. There's still a long way to go but I have to say that I'm well and truly pleased with myself... the only thing I really need to do now is sort out the eating habits... oh well, these things need to be approached one pie at a time I feel...

bramley apple and sausage pie with cheddar pastry
the good people at Bramley Apples have been in touch and asked a bunch of us fortunate food-bloggers to develop some recipes over this next year, to promote the deliciousness and versatility of the humble and iconic Bramley...   We've been growing and eating the Bramley exclusively in the UK for over 200 years and because it contains a higher acid content and lower sugar levels than most other apples it produces a stronger, tangier taste that retains its flavour when cooked.  It also has that wonderful 'melt in the mouth' texture which is truly unique to the Bramley.  This also makes it the perfect bed-fellow for the good old sausage as the tanginess counteracts the juicy fattiness of the sausages whilst the sweet caramelised onions balance the whole pie into pure perfection!

The other bloggers taking part in the campaign are Maison Cupcake, Lavender and Lovage, A Mummy Too, Little Miss Katy and Chelsea Mama and we've been given 3 months each during the forthcoming year, with Sarah from Maison Cupcake and I posting recipes in the same months so hopefully we'll be showing you how to use the wonderful Bramley in a glut of creative ways, so please do look out for our posts.

I am kicking off this campaign with this stunning pie because it just so happens to be Bramley Apple Pie Week on the 12th - 18th October.  Not that one needs a special occasion to bake a pie but it's a nice excuse to celebrate...

for the shortcrust cheddar pastry
200g plain flour
75g slightly salted butter
25g strong cheddar cheese - finely grated
a little cold water to mix

for the filling
6 sausages - i'm using some traditional Lincolnshire sausages
3 large bramley apples - peeled and cut into large wedges
1 large onion - peeled and thinly sliced
plenty of fresh thyme (lemon thyme will work wonders here)
a glass of white wine
butter and olive oil

i've used a 20cm fluted flan dish but any pie dish would work

pre-heat the oven to 170C

start with the pastry - sieve the flour into a large bowl and then rub the butter into it using your fingertips.  Once you have something resembling the texture of breadcrumbs mix in the grated cheese - again with your fingers

add a little cold water - i'd say roughly 4 tablespoons - and start to bring the dough together.  I use a round knife to start and then get in with the hand in a claw-shape - bring the dough together until the bowl is dry - add more water if you need to but only a drop at a time

flatten the dough out into a large circle, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 30 mins whilst you make the filling

pop your sausages into a roasting tin and roast gently for 10 mins until they have started to cook through and colour a little - then set aside

heat a little butter and olive oil in a pan and throw in the sliced onions, stir around, tuen the heat down and let the onions gently simmer away for about 15 mins, stirring regularly, then turn the heat up, throw in a teaspoon if sugar and the thyme and let the onions simmer again for another 15 minutes, again stirring frequently.  The onions should start to colour nicely.  Pour in the white wine and let it evaporate and cook again for another 15 minutes and you should now have nicely golden onions - set aside

halve your pastry and then roll out the first half into a large circle and line your pie tin, prick with a fork and line with parchment and baking beans, then cook for 10 mins just to start the pastry off

remove from the oven and remove the baking beans and now it's time to build your pie... lay in your sausages, apple wedges and onions - i've gone for a fanned out circular method but you can be as random as you like

roll out the raining pastry for a lid, seal the edges with a little beaten egg and milk and create some pastry leaves then brush the top with the egg wash mixture

bake for 20 mins or until the pastry is golden

i'm linking this pie to the lovely Pastry Challenge, hosted by United Cakedom and Jen's Food

eat and of course, enjoy!

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

roast pumpkin and corn chowder

...well the weather is finally on the turn here in the UK.  The rain has swept over the land and whilst we've still got these unusually warm days the nights are without doubt colder.  The wood-burning stove has been lit and we have a wonderfully toasty and cosy cottage.  We've taken a little time off this week to recuperate prior to the busy winter period and some may say that it's a shame it's raining out there but actually this just gives us an excuse to properly relax and unwind... the scrabble is out, the slow-cooker is on... i'm even contemplating a new pair of flannel pyjamas... yes folk, we're talking serious autumn here...

roast pumpkin and corn chowder in wholemeal bread bowls
the thing about pumpkin is that even though it produces a gloriously velvety soup it can be a little bland in flavour but roasting it first with a little cumin or fennel can really help bring out its nuttiness... you should also try and find the little pumpkin such as the harlequin or munchkin pumpkins which have much more flavour than the extremely bland large carving ones.  This soup has the most wonderful aroma when roasting and the whole house will come alive with the scent of autumn... the perfect antidote for this increasingly chilly days.

for the soup
1 medium harlequin pumpkin - peeled, de-seeded and cut into large chunks
3 small potatoes - peeled and chopped
1 medium onion - finely chopped
2 sticks of celery - finely chopped
2 small carrots - peeled and finely chopped
100g frozen sweetcorn
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
a selection of fresh herbs
olive oil and seasoning
1 litre good veg stock

for the wholemeal bread bowls
200g strong white flour
200g wholemeal flour
1 teaspoon dried active yeast
1 teaspoon salt
300ml luke warm water
2 tablespoons of olive oil

start with the bread by combining all the ingredients in a large bowl and then kneading for about 10 mins until soft, place the dough back into the bowl, cover with cling film and leave it to rise for at least an hour or until doubled in size

one the dough is risen, knock it back on an oiled surface and divide the dough into 4 and shape into rounds, lay out on a baking sheet and cover again with cling film and set aside for 30 mins whilst you pre-heat the oven to 200C

when you're ready to back, spritz each loaf with water, then place a roasting tin in the oven and when the oven comes up to temperature pour some water into the tray to create some steam, the place the loaves into the oven on 200C for 10 mins then turn down the oven to 180C for 25-30 mins, they will be ready when they sound hollow when tapped on the bottom - set aside on a wire rack to cool completely

to make the soup lay the pumpkin in a roasting tin with a little olive oil and the fennel seeds and roast on 170C for about 30 mins until the pumpkin is are tender beginning to turn golden

meanwhile, in a large pan, melt some butter and olive oil and saute the onions, carrots, potato and celery until they are soft, adding some fresh herbs and seasoning about half way through - this should take about 10 minutes on a gentle heat, then tip in the roasted pumpkin and frozen sweetcorn, cover with stock and let it simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes then turn off the heat and let the soup cool for about 10 minutes before you blitz with a hand blender... we like our soup with chunks of vegetables in but you can go as smooth as you like...

when you're ready to serve place the rolls back into a hot oven for about 5 mins to totally firm up the crusts then cut a lid off the top of the bowls, scoop out the bread and fill the bowls with soup

I am of course linking this soup to the No Croutons Required link-up hosted by Jac from Tinned Tomatoes and Lisa from Lisa's Kitchen... if you're a fan of soups like me then do check out the links and the round-up at the end of each month as there's always a huge variety of inspirational recipes...

this recipe is also linking up to Bready Steady Go! hosted by Jen from Jen's Food and Michelle from Utterly Scrummy

eat and of course, enjoy!

Sunday, 4 October 2015

lime and fresh ginger loaf cake

... as you can imagine, when you run your own business as The Viking and I do it can be both challenging and rewarding in too many ways for me to go into in one blog post... I always say to people who ask, that we earn ourselves a lifestyle rather than a big fat cheque at the end of every month - don't get me wrong, we're far from living in rags but when you invest your hard earned sweat and tears and most of the pennies back into the business your rewards are the fact that you're never doing a traditional 9 to 5... your time is your own.  This can be both good and bad.  We can never book ourselves off on 'annual leave' months in advance because we never know whats around the corner and we may miss out on that one fantastic job.  So when the rare opportunity comes up, like this week, when the planets seem to have aligned and we have an actual whole week where we feel we can possibly take some time off we grab it as fast as we can.  This has sometimes meant purchasing a ticket at the airport (a word of advice - this sounds much more glamorous than it is... never again...) and then getting a brief in from a client as we're about to take-off and sometimes it means, like this week, we can come home and just relax... unwind... re-charge... and sleep.  I'm planning to sleep for the whole of Monday.  So don't call.  I'll be asleep...

lime and fresh ginger loaf cake
I love those moments in the kitchen when you're not one hundred percent sure what you're going to bake but the stuff that you pull out of the fridge and larder just happen to work out to be delicious.  This is one of the easiest little cakes on the block and well worth making if you're in the easy baking mood.  I'm not really doing anything off the chart or different here but it was so tasty I thought it well worth sharing with you.  I've had half a jar of this Rose's Lime marmalade in the fridge for such a long time now and whilst i'm a fan of lime i'm not a huge marmalade eater so it was never really going to get used any time soon... I also had a large nugget of fresh ginger that was a few days away from being on the turn so I wanted to use that and the paring of the two seemed quite suitable.  I've only used a small loaf tin here as I didn't want a big cake but the recipe would easy make a bigger cake if you use the 'weigh-the-egg' method and add another egg.

for the cake
2 large free-range eggs
150g sugar
150g butter at room temperature
150g self-raising flour
a large nugget of fresh ginger - peeled and finely grated
2 tablespoons lime marmalade
the zest and juice of a fresh lime

for the cream cheese frosting
100g butter
150g cream cheese
300g icing sugar
1 tablespoon lime marmalade

grease and line the loaf tin with parchment and pre-heat the oven to 160C fan

in a large bowl cream the butter and sugar for about 5 minutes until it's pale and fluffy - I use a hand held whisk todo this, then beat in one eggs followed by half the flour... scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and beat in the second egg followed by the remaining flour

add the lime marmalade, lime juice, ginger and lime zest and beat in then pour the batter into your loaf tin and bake for 30 - 40 minutes until the cake is golden and risen and a skewer inserted comes out clean

set aside to cool on a wire rack in the tin for 10 mins then remove and allow to cool completely

make the frosting by beating the butter for 5 mins, then add the sugar and beat in followed by the cream cheese and marmalade which you should gently beat in until just combined - spread on top of the cake

because this cake is so quick and easy to make i'm linking it to the Love Cake link-up hosted by JibberJabberUK which has the theme of In A Hurry

eat and of course, enjoy!

Friday, 2 October 2015

lincolnshire sausage and pumpkin hot pot

... as i've mentioned on many occasions, I am lucky enough to be surrounded by some wonderful  local food producers.  From the Belleau Smokery to the Lincolnshire Poacher Cheese we have a veritable supermarket of choice on our doorstep.  Yes, you have to make the extra effort but in actual fact all of them have an on-line resource of some kind so you don't actually have to leave your home and travel in said surrounding countryside.  Whilst all sounds thoroughly bucolic it's not quite as though i'm walking around with a woven flax basket over my arm, plucking fruit from the hedgerows and scrabbling around in the hay for warm duck-eggs... well it is a little like that because on my birthday last week I got a knock on the cottage door and standing there were Jo and Fred from Claythorpe Livestock with an armful of pork belly.  Claythorpe Livestock is a family-run business based at the foot of the Lincolnshire Wolds breeding, rearing and selling quality lamb, pork and sausages.  The sheep are out in the field opposite me now and as you can imagine it feels something of a privilege to know exactly where my meat is coming from.  They deliver locally - albeit not usually on your birthday - and will butcher to order which, to any vegetarians out there may sound like a heinous crime but is actually a brilliantly esoteric system. Anyway, I guess the point of all this is that the meat tastes glorious, is exceptional value for money and I encourage all of you, even the city dwellers, to find your local producers and researching their ordering and delivery methods,you never know who may knock on the door with pork in their hands...

lincolnshire sausage and pumpkin hot pot
the lovely people from Waitrose are launching a campaign celebrating Autumn and everything we love about this season, particularly those warming hearty dishes such as soups and stews.  The campaign is titled #AutumnWarmers and throughout October they are going to be hosting a number of competitions around some of the season’s favourites, the Sunday Roast, Comfort Food, Autumn Baking and Halloween and will be rewarding their social communities with prizes for sharing pictures and recipes of #AutumnWarmers... it's a fun little campaign and seeing that I adore this season, i'm all aboard...

this recipe was enough to fill my mini casserole dish and also give me enough veg to make another vegetarian version for The Viking... if you're making one dish, simply up the sausage quota to roughly 2 per person.  As well as my locally reared and butchered sausages all my veg are from Lincolnshire which I purchased in Waitrose

1 onion - roughly chopped
3 sticks of celery - roughly chopped
1 leek - roughly sliced
a large handful of button mushrooms - halved
1/2 harlequin pumpkin - peeled and roughly chopped
1 carrots - roughly chopped
1 whole garlic bulb - cut in half through the middle
2 medium tomatoes - cut into chunks
6 lincolnshire sausages - cut into large bite-size pieces (or veggie sausages)
1/2 pint of good quality vegetable stock
a good glug of white wine
3 teaspoons gravy powder
2 or 3 potatoes - thinly sliced
fresh herbs and seasoning
olive oil and butter

many people ask me if I make separate vegetarian meals and sometimes I do and sometimes I don't... when I do I try and make it as easy on myself as possible and this 'split pan' method is really easy so i'll take you through it here...

you will need 2 medium sized crock pots or casserole dishes with lids (or failing that some tin foil will work fine) which I place on my work surface ready to receive the cooked veg... I then use a generous sized deep pan to cook the veg in

pre-heat the oven to 160C fan

heat some olive oil and a little butter in the pan and throw in the onion and celery and let them sweat and caramelise for about 5 minutes, then throw in the leeks, a little more butter and some freshly torn rosemary and thyme... place the lid on and let the veg sweat for another 5 mins until nice and soft

divide these cooked veg into your two casserole dishes, then return the pan to the heat, throw in a little more butter and olive oil and do the same to the mushrooms, letting them turn golden brown and adding plenty of freshly ground pepper, divide these into you two casserole dishes

then return the pan to the heat, add some more oil and the pumpkin and carrots, letting them caramelise and soften in the same way, then divide these evenly into the two casserole dishes

next brown the sausages - start with the veggie ones first of course, which can then be stirred into the veggie casserole dish and then brown off the pork sausages in the same pan and add these to the other casserole and stir in

make up your vegetable stock, add the gravy powder and the wine and stir together then pour this evenly into both casserole dishes

lay the sliced potatoes on top of each dish then cover them both and cook in the oven for 40 mins, then remove the lids, drizzle over a little olive oil, turn the heat up to 180C  and roast for a further 20 mins until the potatoes are golden brown

if you want to join in with me the campaign starts next Friday on the 2nd October... use the #AutumnWarmers and tweet / instagram to @waitrose

eat and of course, enjoy!

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Simply Eggcellent #8 - anything goes

...ahhh October.  Possibly my favourite month of the year.  Partly due to my love for Halloween but mostly just all those lovely long proper autumnal days followed by those cold and chilly nights sitting by the fire eating cake or tucking into a warming stew or bowl of steaming soup... and because I love October so much I want to allow you al to express yourselves in any way you see fit... as long as you're using free-range eggs in the recipe, I don't care what you make... cakes, cookies, quiches... breakfast, lunch or dinner... help yourselves and have fun and of course don't forget the spooky end to the month too!

how to take part in the simply eggcellent bloggers link-up

it's really easy to take part; all you have to do is create any beautiful recipe using free-range eggs, post it up on your blog and then link back to this post... if you include my simply eggcellent badge in the post and use the link tool below I will collate all the posts at the end of every month and produce a special round-up of entries...

feel free to tweet and instagram me your pictures using the #simplyeggcellent hashtag and I will retweet and like all those I see... you can find me on social media @belleaukitchen

eat and of course, enjoy!

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Simply Eggcellent #7 - the cake round-up

... this month I ate a lot of cake.  Well, I had the excuse of my birthday but I do think that perhaps I went a little into cake overload and then, with all your lovely links to Simply Eggcellent I think I may slip into a cake coma... but what a way to go eh?

1. almond, raspberry and rose polenta cake by Suelle from Mainly Baking
2. blackberry fairycake buns by Karen from Lavender and Lovage
3. nectarine melba upside down cake by Kate the Gluten Free Alchemist
4. chocolate blackberry cupcakes by Ros from The More Than Occasional Baker

5. banana and honey loaf cake from Linzi at Lancashire Food
6. apricot vanilla buns by Choclette at Tin and Thyme
7. maple spice brownie cupcakes from Stuart the Cakeyboi
8. jamaican ginger cupcakes from Lili at Lili's Cakes

9.   blackberry and apple crumble cake by Helen at Family, Friends, Food
10. honey and orange cupcakes by Kat the Baking Explorer
11. vanilla swiss roll by Kate the Gluten Free Alchemist
12. chocolate, beetroot and apple cake by Jean from Baking in Franglais

13. lemon drizzle loaf cake by Jibber Jabber UK
14. shortbread chocolate cookies by Alida from My Little Italian Kitchen
15. white chocolate and blackberry pavlova by me, here at Belleau Kitchen
16. red velvet cake from me at Belleau Kitchen

... and that's your lot!  An amazing and very special round-up to help me celebrate my birthday, so thank you all so very much... I just need to loosen this belt...

see you in October for a new Simply Eggcellent link-up.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

red velvet cake

... did I ever tell you that The Viking and I share our birthday, the 24th September.  It's quite amazing really and I always remember when I first told him my birthday and then he told me his I didn't actually believe him for the longest time.  As it happens The Viking is not a big fan of birthdays but I am, although if they keep coming at the same rate as they have been recently I'll very quickly fall our of love with them...

... they say that one should never mix work with pleasure but when you run as intensive a business as we do you actually spend much of your time with your clients... so it really helps if you like them. Many of our clients become our friends and not just in a superficial, Facebook way... our Samsonite client Richard became such good friends that The Viking and I were best men at his wedding for him and his partner.  We feel that we grow with the client and they grow with us... and we're not afraid of this because this is also a very transient industry where everything changes... people move on within the industry and if you've helped them succeed in one job they will take you with them to the next.  I tend to make friends very quickly with people and I have a good judge of character which I think comes from years of working on the door of nightclubs, having to decide instantly if someone was the right fit for our crowd - usually based on their shoes, I may add.  This also helps me cut the wheat from the chaff when it comes to friends.  Again, that may sound a little harsh but if you're going to commit to spending your weekends drunk with your client in the back room of some dodgy club then you need to know that you're not wasting your emotions...

red velvet triple layer birthday cake
this birthday cake is for Hannah who happens to have her birthday the day before mine... we had an all day meeting with her yesterday and the pressure was on for me to perform in the cake category.  We have weekly meetings with her and her team and, without fail I get the 'where's our cake' comments... it does get a little tedious because the meetings are usually on a Thursday and of course I bake at weekends so I don't get the opportunity to bake for these meetings... As it happens my timings this week meant I could bake a cake... so I went all out and baked her favourite... red velvet cake.

... this cake is lifted directly from the pages of the brilliant first book by Edd Kimber, the lovely Great British Bake-Off winner.  His book, The Boy Who Bakes is an absolute favourite at Belleau Kitchen and is packed full of glorious cakes.... I followed the recipe exactly, without changing a single thing (I know!) and it came out beautifully... it is a very sweet cake so you may want to reduce the amount of sugar in the frosting...

for the cake
225g unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing
350g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
3 tablespoons boiling water
1 teaspoon red gel food colouring
40g cocoa powder
250ml buttermilk
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
¼ teaspoon salt
350g sugar
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon white vinegar

for the cream cheese frosting
250g unsalted butter, at room temperature
500g icing sugar
400g full-fat cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

you will need three 20cm round cake tins

preheat the oven to 150C fan and lightly grease the tins and line the bases with baking parchment, then grease these too. Dust with flour and tap out any excess.

in a small bowl mix together the boiling water, food colouring, cocoa powder and buttermilk until fully combined, set aside.

sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a medium bowl.

in another bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the sugar and butter until light and fluffy, about five minutes... beat in the eggs, a little at a time, until fully combined, then mix in the vanilla extract. 

turn the mixer to low and add a third of the flour mixture, followed by half the buttermilk mixture. Repeat and then add the final third of flour mixture. Stir in the vinegar.

divide among the cake tins and bake for 25-30 minutes until a cocktail stick comes out clean. Allow to cool in the tins for 10 minutes before inverting onto racks to cool completely.

for the frosting, use an electric mixer to beat the butter until light and smooth, about five minutes. Add the vanilla extract. Slowly beat in the icing sugar until combined, then increase the speed and beat until light and fluffy. Beat in the cream cheese until just combined. Do not over-beat at this stage or the frosting will be too thin.

To assemble the cake, put a layer of cake on a serving plate. Spread a layer of frosting onto the top of the cake and put the second cake layer on top. Add frosting, then the final cake layer and spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cake.

right... i'm off to have a few days break and celebrate... eat and of course, enjoy!



Related Posts with Thumbnails