Saturday, 5 July 2014

What To Do With Left Over Shortcrust Pastry?

What do you do with your leftover shortcrust pastry?

If you ask most home cooks they will probably say make jam tarts, lemon curd tarts or something similar.
 I was quite interested to see a good idea appear on my facebook news feed a couple of weeks ago for pastry biscuits with leftovers. Such a simple idea but a great new one for us at The Old Red Lion to serve complimentary to our customers, with a dip, whilst they peruse the menu.
So what do you do? Well as i said, simple! Roll out your pastry. Cut out some circles, or other shapes if you prefer, with cutters. Place on a baking sheet and top with salt and pepper. You can add other toppings if you fancy. I sprinkled poppy seeds on some and sesame seeds on others. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes.

Shortcrust Pastry Biscuits Ready To Bake In The Oven
When cooled serve with your favourite dips!
I put my first batch with red onion marmalade.

Shortcrust Pastry Biscuits With Red Onion Marmalade Dip
And for the second batch I made a garlic, red onion, red pepper and ricotta dip. Easily made in the food processor!
Seemed to go down very well with tonights customers.
Shortcrust Pastry Biscuits With Red Onion, Red Pepper, Garlic & Ricotta Dip
So what do you do with your leftover pastry??

Monday, 9 June 2014

Summer Wedding

This Saturday saw The Old Red Lion play host to a high tea wedding reception.
Fortunately the heavy lunchtime downpour of rain turned into an afternoon of hot sunny weather, perfect for afternoon tea!
Food was fiddly, and time consuming to make, but well worth the effort when it was all put together and a perfect end result achieved.
Unfortunately we were too busy to be able to take as many photos as we would have liked but below is a small selection.

Restaurant at The Old Red Lion laid up for high tea.

Pretty bunting

Table arrangemennts

Mis match of crockery gives a great effect

table decorations

Bride and groom initials

Champagne reception

Smoked salmon& cream cheese blinis

Mushroom and tarragon crostini.
 Mini yorkshires with beef and horseradish
Smoked salmon & cream cheese blinis

Mini fruit and custard tarts

Close up of fruit tarts

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Cookies n Cream Pie

Do American recipes make you feel frustrated?
Always insearch of new ideas I came across a gorgeous photo the other day of a cookies n creme pie made with oreo biscuits. Looked fab so I started googling recipes.
Every recipe seemed to be American and included "chocolate pudding mix" and "cool whip", both of which are not on the UK supermarket shelves.
So I did a bit more googling and came up with my own plan for a recipe.
I bought large oreo bisuits as well as snack size, cookies,butter, cream, chocolate philadelphia and then chocolate flavoured angel delight and dream topping.

I crushed the large oreos and added 30g melted butter and divided them into individual cake tins and pressed down and chilled.
Following packet instructions I made up the angel delight and dream topping and mixed it altogether with the cream cheese and added broken up cookies and small oreos. Dollops were placed on the chilled biscuits base and then I piped cream on top and finished with a mini oreo.
Cookies n Cream Oreo dessert

My son tested them this evening and gave them a thumbs up tho did say the cream probably wasn't needed on top as the 2 textures were the same and also that they didn't need to be any bigger as might be too much. For me I don't think I like the angel delight in the mixture, I was never a big fan!

Cookies n Cream Dessert

And if you fancy making the dessert a bit more portable then it looks great in this small glass jar!
Cookies n Cream Pie in a Jar

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

More Christmas Cake Designs

Last batch of christmas cakes for Radmore Farm Shop!
Now to start on the mince pies!!
Snowflake and Star design christmas cake

Snowman design christmas cake

Holly wreath design christmas cake

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Homemade Christmas Cakes

It's that time of year again for mince pies, christmas pud and traditional christmas cake.
Vicky made the cakes and gave me the task of icing and decorating. This task was right up my street!!
Lots of research on the net first at christmas cake images for ideas. Then I went to a local cook shop looking for cutters. Then, armed with creative ideas, I set to work!
Below are my first 8 designs on the smaller cakes.

Simply white with snowflakes and bow

Christmas tree and snowflakes

Holly, berries and merry christmas

Christmas wreath and white bow

Christmas wreath and white bow

Christmas tree and presents

Christmas tree, presents and stars

Simply snowflakes

Christmas tree and snowflakes

Christmas tree and snowflakes
What's your favourite?

Christmas Party

Last Thursday saw the first of our christmas parties.
The local bell ringers joined us at The Old Red Lion for an evening of fun and gorgeous christmas fayre.
Very successful evening and I managed to capture a few shots of the food.

Smoked salmon, red onion marmalade and cream cheese tart

Parsnip,apple and chestnut soup

Basil roulade

Stilton mushrooms and ciabatta


Baked ham and roast vegetables
Chocolate and chestnut torte

Pear and ameretto cheesecake

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Homemade Christmas Pudding

I can remember as a child going to my aunts every christmas with the whole of my family, (she had a BIG house!), and 20 of us would sit around the dining table after a large turkey roast awaiting the arrival of THE Christmas Pudding! The lights were extinguished as my aunt carried in the flaming pudding and everyone applauded the event. Then we each would have a slice with brandy sauce or butter and hope that we would be one of the few rewarded with a silver 2 1/2p that had been cooked within the pudding. If you found a coin it was considered to bring you luck, unless, of course, you found it whilst choking on it!!!!
Happy days for me but I have to admit as I grow older I am a bit Bah Humbug with the whole christmas event. It's a lot of planning and expense for just one day and, personally, I think it's been spoilt by the commercial side of it and people starting everything too early. My friend reported yesterday that a house in her street is already displaying their christmas decorations!
Having said that I love a new cooking challenge and this year, at The Old Red Lion, it has been decided to make our own christmas puddings for our festive menu.
It's a long winded process but the results are well worth your patience so why not give it a try and impress the family on christmas day.
First job was to find a recipe. We chose this "Cook Britain" book by Sainsburys for ours.
Lots and lots of ingredients to purchase first! (See below for list of what you need)
Cookbook Containing the recipe
First part of planning was to soak currants,raisins,sultanas,mixed peel and figs in a solution of fresh orange juice and zest, stout and ameretto together with nutmeg,cinnamon and mixed spice. This was left overnight for a good soak.
Soak the fruit overnight
Next day I weighed out all the remaining ingredients needed. Easier way of doing things so everything can be quickly put together.
Weighing out the ingredients
For the first stage I melted some butter and brown sugar in a pan and added pecan nuts,mixed peel,glace cherries and flaked almonds and mixed to coat.
Preparing the topping
I then placed in the base of my greased pudding case.
Filling the bowl with the topping
All the other ingredients were then mixed  thoroughly into the bowl of soaked fruit and added to the pudding bowl, packing it in tightly. The next stage is to cover the top ready for steaming with greaseproof and foil in a tight manner, so as to avoid any water getting in.
I went to youtube at this point as I wanted to make sure I did the job properly. Check out this link on the BBC food website
I found it great information.
Wrap very tightly so no water gets in
Puddings prepared, I placed them in a pan with an inverted plate in the bottom and filled with boiling water to half way up the pudding bowl. I then covered with a tight fitting lid and left to steam for 6 hours, checking every hour to see if the water needed topping up.
Cooking the pudings
The long wait over I removed from the pan, took the foil lid off and put on a rack to cool.
Cooling down the puddings
The moment of truth came when I tipped them out of the pot and wow was so pleased at the final result. They looked just like the picture in the cookbook!!
Wrapped in greaseproof and foil, these puddings will last up to 2 months. How's that for forward planning for christmas!
The finished article!
If you would like to try these for yourself I have listed the ingredients below.
Go on, give them a go!
Beautiful glazed topping

Soak in a bowl overnight:
100g raisins
100g sultanas
100g currants
75g chopped dried figs
25g mixed peel
1tsp cinnamon
1tsp mixed spice
1/2tsp nutmeg
200ml stout
2 tbsp ameretto
1 orange, zest and juice

For the topping:
25g melted butter
25g dark brown sugar (melted with the butter)
25g flaked almonds
50 pecan nuts
25g chopped glace cherries

Other ingredients to add to the fruit mixture AFTER it's overnight soak. Mix together well.
100g vegetable suet
2 medium eggs, beaten
50g plain flour
100g natural breadcrumbs
225g dark brown sugar

This mixture will fill a 1.2litre greased pudding bowl. I used 3 smaller ones.