Monday, 16 March 2015

Light Bites


It has to be said, over the last few days it really feels like Spring is nearly here! I can't wait for the days to be longer and the weather to warm up - we love getting out as a family, exploring and having picnics. This super quick and easy recipe is great to have as a light lunch on a weekend or during half term and you can get really adventurous with your fillings; it would also make a great addition to a picnic when the weather well and truly warms up.

My little one loved helping me cut out the pastry, spreading the filling, adding the cheese and squishing the parcels together. They tasted absolutely delicious and we shall definitely be experimenting with different flavours.

We ended up having ours with carrot and cucumber sticks with some houmous. 

Enjoy!
Cx

Makes approximately 12 small puffs    Prep time: 10-15 minutes   Cook time: 10-15 minutes

Ingredients:

1/2 jar of Sacla Sun dried tomato paste
100g of grated medium cheddar cheese
x 1 packet of ready rolled puff pastry
Small fluted scone cutter
30 mls of semi-skimmed milk

Method:

o  Preheat your oven to 200C/180C fan/gas mark 6
o  Line a large baking tray with parchment paper
o  Unroll your pastry onto the baking sheet and using your cutters to cut out 24 round circles and place on your baking try lined with parchment paper
o Use a teaspoon to add a small amount of the sun dried tomato paste to all of the cut out pastry shapes
o  Add a small amount of the grated cheese to half of the cut out pastry shapes (you may need to break the cheese up into smaller pieces) and place another pastry tomato side down and pinch all around with your fingers until they are sealed
o Repeat this with the rest of your pastry until you've made 12 puffs
o Using a basting brush, baste milk the puffs on the to tops and the sides of each puff
o  Place in the oven for 10-15 minutes, until the pastry turns golden brown
o  Whilst your pastry is cooking, cut up some veg, e.g. carrot and cucumber, into sticks and serve with a dollop or two of houmous

Make it go further: If you like your pastry a little thinner or you just want to make more puffs (like we did!) use a rolling pin to roll out your ready made pastry even thinner, then cut out your shapes. 

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Greek New Year's Cake Recipe - Vasilopita


So, the New Year, 2015 is here. I hope you all enjoyed the festivities over Christmas and are back into the swing of things. It's been a while since I've posted as life has been incredibly busy for us (as I'msure it has been for everyone) and I have really missed posting. The reason I started this blog was to give something back to others, whether that be by sharing a recipe or suggested days out or activities to enjoy with your families. 

It may seem counter intuitive to post a cake recipe in January when this is the month that most start a health kick, however, this cake is not only delicious, it's not extremely indulgent either and is also a tradition for us Greeks. Vasilopita (St. Basil's bread) is a bread/cake hybrid infused with orange which is baked with a foil wrapped coin inside it; it is traditionally served on New Year’s Day. There are a few different versions of the biblical tale and the story of St. Basil and the tradition of baking a cake with a foil wrapped coin in it. When I was little, my folks always told me that the person who finds the coin will have success in the New Year ahead. 

I am sure you and your families will enjoy this recipe. It is my own and I hope you love it. 

Enjoy Cx

Serves:  10-12   Prep time:  15 mins   Cook time: 30 minutes + 30 minutes cooling time

Ingredients: 

110 ml vegetable oil 
150g caster sugar 
240g self-raising flour (sieved) 
2 tsp baking powder (sieved) 
3 large eggs 
150g flaked almonds (optional) 
Juice of 1 orange 
Rind of 1 orange 
2 tbsp brandy (optional) 
Grease proof paper 
X 1 pound coin (washed in hot, soapy water then wrapped up super tight in kitchen foil)

Method:

o Preheat your oven to 195c/170c fan/gas mark 5 and line a cake tin with the grease proof paper - I use a silicone Bundt mould to make this cake as it is designed to make turning out cakes really easy without the need to use grease proof paper - you can buy one here http://www.johnlewis.com/mastrad-silicone-savarin-baking-mould-dia-26cm/p813287
o Mix and beat the oil and the sugar
o If using flaked almonds, place them in a freezer bag and bash them with a rolling pin until most are broken up
o Place the almonds on a baking tray and place in the oven for around 5-8 minutes, checking regularly until they are golden brown colour (make sure they don't burn!)
o Whilst waiting for the almonds to brown, beat the eggs and then add this, along with the orange rind orange juice, and brandy to the oil and sugar mixture - mix well.
o Add your flour and baking powder to the wet ingredients and fold in gently.
o Take your almonds out of the oven, allow to cool for 5 minutes then stir into your cake mixture
o Add your cake mixture to your tin lined with greaseproof baking paper.
o Lightly dust your foil wrapped coin in flour and put into the cake batter until it sinks in completely
o Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes. Check the cake is cooked  through by inserting a sharp knife or skewer into it. If it comes out clean, it's ready!
o Allow to cool for 30 minutes and then finish off with a dusting of sieved icing sugar to decorate