Sausage rolls and sweet potato wedges

Peel the sausages/crush up the veggie hotdogs. Season.
Roll out the puff pastry into a large rectangle, then divide this in half, longways.
Place sausage meat along the middle of the pastry, then roll up, sticking with beaten egg.
Brush with beaten egg.
Cut into sections and bake for around 20 minutes until golden brown. The penguin likes larger sausage rolls (pictured), I went for mini ones.

Slice the potatoes, drizzle with olive oil and bake for 30-40 minutes.

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Spinach and squash lasagna

I noticed a recipe for pasta with squash and spinach in one of the Good Food 101 books, but thought those ingredients would work well in lasagna, so came up with the following.
Made for dear friends we haven’t seen for nearly a year when they came to dinner, along with the usual chocolate lava puddings. I grabbed a photo after serving.

1 very large butternut squash
2 packets fresh spinach
1.5 pints cheese sauce
1 packet fresh lasagna (contained 6 sheets, I believe)

Peel the squash, chop into smallish pieces and microwave-steam for 8 minutes. I did this in two batches as I couldn’t fit all the squash into my steamer.

Mash the steamed squash with 100 ml milk, a pinch of cinnamon, some nutmeg and a little pepper.

Cook the spinach.

Make 1.5 pints sauce (3oz flour, 3oz butter, 1.5 pints milk, cheeeeeese).

Construct the lasagne, layering sauce, pasta, squash, spinach in a baking dish. Repeat, cover the top layer of pasta with sauce, sprinkle with grated cheese and bake for around 30 minutes in a 200C oven.

I had 3 sheets of pasta, some squash and a tiny bit of spinach left over, so made a repeat lasagne in a smaller oval dish with 1/2 pint of sauce.

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Apple crumble with no oats

At home we always ate apple crumble with a topping that included oats, which I love, and was made with oil, removing the necessity of rubbing in the butter. But the Penguin likes non-oat topping too, so I thought I’d give that a go.

150g flour
90g brown sugar
100g butter (room temperature. I left my cubes of butter to warm up whilst eating first course)
~6 dessert apples
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 handful raisins

Cut the butter into small cubes.
Chop the apples and place in a pan over a low heat with 1 tbsp water and 1 tbsp sugar for 5-10 minutes until soft.
Mix together the sugar and flour.
Rub the butter into the sugar/flour mixture.
Place the apples in a baking dish (my smallish oval one was perfect), add raisins and cinnamon and stir.
Add the topping (I had a fair amount left over).
Bake at 190C for 20 minutes.

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Boo’s Brownies

I’m very behind on posting recipes, but this is a quick post so I can share the recipe.
I wanted to make something to send out to my little sister in Italy to remind her of home, so thought I’d try brownies as they’d travel well and I’ve never made them before.

Adapted from the BBC Good Food Best Ever Brownie Recipe.

185g butter/margarine
100g dark chocolate
185g milk chocolate
85g plain flour
3 large eggs
275g granulated sugar

Place the butter in a medium bowl with 100g dark chocolate and 85g milk chocolate broken into small pieces. Microwave for 2 minutes on High. Leave to cool to room temperature (or as near as you have time for).

Preheat the oven to Fan 160C / 180C / Gas 4. Line a roasting tin with tin foil or non-stick baking parchment.

Place the flour in a medium-sized bowl. Sieve if you’re feeling virtuous and unhurried.

Chop the remaining 100g milk chocolate into small pieces, around 1 cm square.

Whisk the eggs and sugar until thick and creamy “like a milkshake”, which will take 3-8 minutes.

Pour the cooled chocolate mixture over the eggs and fold together gently with a rubber spatula in a figure of eight motion. Don’t knock out the air you’ve just whisked in.

Sift the flour over the mixture and fold this in too.

Stir in the chunks of chocolate, then pour into the tin.

Bake for 25 minutes. If the brownie wobbles in the middle, give it a further 5 minutes until the crust is shiny and papery, and the sides are beginning to come away from the tin.

Leave in the tin until completely cool, then cut into squares.

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Banana and raspberry muffins

These turned out somehow unexpectedly delicious…

2 very ripe bananas, sliced
1 small can raspberries (reserve 100ml of the juice)
1 egg
140 ml milk
280g self raising flour
85 brown sugar
90ml oil
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 smidge vanilla essence

Mix dry ingredients (including fruit).
Mix wet ingredients.
Pour wet into dry and mix well.
Pour into muffin cases and bake at 200C for 20 minutes.

Also made recently: banana, pineapple and marzipan muffins…. also tasty.

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Spinach and feta cheese pie

This was going to be a winter vegetable pie, but the parsnips were a bit past it. We’d been discussing that we had lots of spinach so I made up a recipe.

1 pkt puff pastry
1/2 bag frozen spinach
2 potatoes
1 pkt feta
About 1/8 pot of Philadelphia
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

Microwave the slit potatoes for 3 1/2 mins, turn, and microwave for a further 3 1/2 minutes. Chop into small pieces.
Defrost the spinach in a pan. Add the Philadelphia and chopped feta.
Stir in the nutmeg and season to taste.
Grease the baking dish with olive oil.
Roll out 2/3 of the pastry and add the filling. Cover with the remaining 1/3 of the pastry, lightly stroke with olive oil and bake at 200C for about 30 minutes.

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Banoffee Pie

Made to take over for dinner at M’s, along with some mini-pies for lunch at work. Based roughly upon The Original Hungry Monk Banoffi Pie Recipe.

Make the caramel
Caramel seems to be unbuyable at present, but the method of boiling for 3 1/2 hours was a little too much effort. So we tries using the oven instead, which worked very well.
Preheat the oven to 220C.
Pour the condensed milk into a glass pie plate or shallow baking dish (I used a tall souffle one).
Set the dish in a roasting pan and add hot water until it comes halfway up the side of the dish.
Cover the dish tightly with foil and bake for 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Check during baking and add more water if needed.
Remove and leave to cool.
Whisk until smooth.

Make the biscuit base
1 packet hobnobs (350g)
150g butter

Melt the butter and add the crushed biscuits.
Press into a flan dish and refrigerate.

Spread caramel over the biscuit base.
Slice the bananas and spread over the caramel.
Whip the cream, adding 1 tsp crushed instant coffee. Spread over the bananas.
Sprinkled with a little more powdered coffee.

Make the mini-pies in the same way in silicone muffin cases or ramekins.

Variations from 2 years ago, to avoid their being lost.
Banoffee Cake
I made 2 sandwich sponge cakes and sliced each in half horizontally. I then prepared some whipped cream with coffee and layered toffee, bananas, and cream on each slice. Mmm.

Banoffee-fudge cupcakes
I also made sponge cupcakes, with the addition of small chopped up chunks of fudge. I think another time I’ll try flouring them before mixing them into the batter, or use a butter-based cake recipe, as they sank to the bottom of my cupcake liners (and melted and tasted delicious). I then topped each cupcake with toffee, a slice of banana and piped on a swirl of coffee-whipped cream.
Decadence in a bite!

And my comment from back then bears repeating:
Of course the nicest part is that you can just put your spoon into the tin of toffee and eat up a spoonful – all by itself!

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Balti tofu with paneer and peas

A variation on a chicken curry from 500 Indian Recipes. As it turns out, far too hot for me, but the Penguin liked it.

1 packet tofu
2 tbsp tomato puree
3 tbsp natural yoghurt (we used creme fraiche)
50 g fromage frais (we used more creme fraiche)
1 1/2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp crushed garlic (1 clove)
1 tsp grated fresh root ginger (we used powdered)
1 tbsp chilli powder
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp salt
1 tsp granulated sugar (we used brown)
2 tsp oil
1 in cinnamon stick
2 black peppercorns
1 1/4 cups water
115g paneer
75g frozen peas, thawed

Mix the tomato puree, yoghurt, garam masala, garlic, ginger, chilli powder, turmeric, salt and sugar in a bowl.

Heat the oil and whole spices in a wok. Then pour the yoghurt mixture into the oil.

Lower the heat and cook gently for about 3 minutes, then add the water and bring to a simmer.

Add the tofu. Stir fry for 2 minutes, then cover and cook for about 10 minutes over a medium heat.

Add the cubed paneer, mix well and cook for a further 5-7 minutes.

Stir in the creme fraiche and peas and heat through. Serve with plain brown rice.

Add the remaining creme fraiche to Lina’s plate. She will still fail to eat it all.

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Foreign food

A few interesting foods seen while I was away….

Disney pasta in Italy, with princesses, castles and flowers.

And pumpkin coaches…

Pink salt…

A carrot and honey cake made with no baking powder or scales…

And an Ashmolean cream tea, complete with uber-scone.

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Tagliatelli with cherry tomatoes and halloumi

A variation on this version with fried peppers, because we’d had that a couple of days earlier.


Halve the cherry tomatoes.

Chop the halloumi.

Dip the halloumi in the marinade (this time made with olive oil as well).

Fry the tomatoes, fry the halloumi.

Pour the remaining marinade over the frying tomatoes. Done!

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