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Saturday, 24 November 2007

Sun-Dried Tomato, Parmesan & Basil Whirls

Sun-dried tomato, parmesan &  basil whirls 1932

The party season is upon us and these little beauties are not only easy to throw together, they taste pretty good too. I usually have the ingredients for these on hand and if you keep puff pastry in the freezer you are all set.

I'm going to be making a big tray of these to go to Peabody's housewarming party - and hope all the guests will enjoy them as much as I do. I have moved houses a fair bit in my time and I know how stressful it can be, so I'm also sending Peabody my best wishes and hope everything goes smoothly with the move.

These little savoury whirls are great served straight from the oven and are just as good at room temperature. Don't be stingy with the filling, and do use all-butter puff pastry if you can get it. Be creative, try using different cheeses and herbs, or some finely chopped fresh pepper/chilli. Meat eaters can add a layer of parma ham, smoked ham or salami - and strips of anchovy give a salty bite.

Sun-dried tomato, parmesan &  basil whirls - uncooked 1997 Sun-dried tomato, parmesan &  basil whirls - uncooked 1993
Before baking

Sun-Dried Tomato, Parmesan & Basil Whirls
Amounts are a bit vague - use your judgment - the above right photo of the rolled out pastry used roughly two thirds of a pack of pastry, about 350g.

1 packet puff pastry, 500g, all butter
2-3 cups of grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, drained from olive oil and chopped
Fresh basil leaves, torn up
Chilli flakes to taste
1 egg, beaten, for glazing

Roll out the pastry quite thinly into a large rectangle.

Spread the chopped sun-dried tomatoes evenly over the pastry, leaving a little gap at the edges. Then scatter the Parmesan over, followed by the fresh basil leaves and the chilli flakes. Season with salt and pepper if wanted.

Brush one of the long ends with a little beaten egg, and (from the opposite side) roll the pastry up like a long sausage, and place on a baking tray. Put it in the fridge for about half an hour - it makes it easier to cut. You can cut it in half if it's too long to fit on the tray.

Brush the roll with beaten egg and with a sharp knife, cut it into slices that are no more than 1cm wide. Put them on baking trays, spaced apart and brush the pastry with a little more beaten egg.

Bake in a hot oven, about 200ºC for 20 minutes or so, until they are beginning to brown and the pastry is cooked.

Serve hot or cold.

(Printable Recipe)

Sun-dried tomato, parmesan &  basil whirls 1936

Friday, 23 November 2007

Weekend Baking Supplement

If, like me, you are a fan of Dan Lepard, artisan baker, you will be running to the newsagents this Saturday (24th November). The Guardian newspaper is giving away a special baking supplement, with over 100 pages of baked goods - enough to satisfy any breadhead!

It includes many brand new recipes which have been especially written, with some can't-live-without master recipes thrown in, plus many variations.

What else will be included in the supplement?
Dan writes:
"that Jill Mead, who photographed two of Gordon Ramsay's bestselling books, spent a week with me photographing the steps and finished things I baked here in my kitchen at home. And there are essays from Ronnie Corbett on his father's life as a baker, Neneh Cherry on home baking, Tom Jaine on oven building, a recipe from River cafe founders Ruth Rogers and Rose Gray, Joanna Blythman on additive-free cakes, a very affectionate essay from Granta editor Ian Jack on pies and pie-loving, in fact, all the good writing you would expect from the Guardian. Actually, the paper is packed with this kind of writing every day, but never just on baking".

If you don't live in the UK, you can still access the recipes on-line, and a taster of one of the bread recipes can be found at Word of Mouth, where Dan will be doing a Q&A session - you can ask him any baking questions you may have.

Friday, 16 November 2007

Festive Filo Tarts

This month's challenge for Waiter there's something in my... topless tart, being hosted by Jeanne at Cook Sister! made me very happy.
I love tarts of all shapes and sizes, sweet, savoury, hot or cold. I was even happier when I picked up a copy of the Christmas issue of BBC's Good Food Vegetarian magazine, because on the cover was a veggie tart that would even make a meat lover drool.

A crisp filo tart case filled with soft, golden butternut squash. Add crunchy nuts and some sweet dried cranberries - topped off with melty, tangy blue cheese. Mmmmmm!

In the magazine they used a 20cm fluted tart tin, but I used a large, 4 hole Yorkshire pudding tin to make individual ones. You can use any size tart tins - just cut the filo into squares that are a little bigger than the tins. I substituted pecans instead of walnuts and added a sprinkle of chilli flakes on the top. They were fabulous as a starter, with a scattering of salad leaves.

Festive Filo Tart  2064

Festive Filo Tarts
Adapted from a Rachel Allen recipe
in the
BBC Vegetarian Christmas Magazine 07

200 g filo pastry
melted butter, for brushing

1 small butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into 2cm cubes
3 tablespoons olive oil

50 g pecans, toasted
50 g dried cranberries
chilli flakes to your taste
100 g vegetarian blue cheese

To make the filo tarts, heat the oven to 160ºC and cut the pastry into squares that are slightly bigger than the tart tins. Brush each sheet with melted butter and layer in the tin, about 5/6 squares per tart, each sheet at an angle to the previous one, so you have a starry shape with pointy edges. Bake for 10-20 minutes, depending on the size you are making, or until golden. Set aside.

Heat the oven to 200ºC. Spread the cubes of butternut squash on a baking tray, toss with the olive oil and a little salt and pepper. Roast for 25-30 minutes or until soft. Remove from tray and cool.

The two steps above can be done a couple of hours ahead.

To finish the tarts, heat the oven to 160ºC. Place the roasted squash in the filo cases and sprinkle with the pecans, dried cranberries and a few chilli flakes. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until warm and then crumble the cheese over the top. Return to the oven for about 5 minutes, until the cheese has melted. Serve warm.

(Printable Recipe)

Festive Filo Tart 2071

Vegetarian Thanksgiving logo

Edited November 2008: This dish is on it's way to Mansi, over at the Fun and Food Cafe - she's hosting a Vegetarian Thanksgiving Recipe Carnival. I am really looking forward to the entries, as every night I cook for the vegetarians in my house and am in need of a few new ideas!


This content belongs to Nicisme at Cherrapeno. All writing and photography copyright N Fowers © 2007-2008 unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.

Monday, 12 November 2007

DMBLGIT - Many Thanks!

Thank you so much to the judges of this month's DMBLGIT event, which was hosted by Jennifer of Bake or Break. My photo of Puttanesca Tomatoes was awarded second place in the overall scoring, and I am thrilled to bits!

There were over a hundred entries, all taken by people who love and have an interest in food. Make sure you check out the winning entries here and if you want to see all the entries, check out the gallery.

All the information needed to participate in November's DMBLGIT, being hosted by Zorra at Kochtopf, is HERE!

Puttanesca Tomatoes 1270 B

Thursday, 8 November 2007

So Soft, Scottish Baps

scottish bap 1941

Amazing! That's what I thought when I saw there were 184 entries for the World Bread Day event. Any bread lover would be spoilt for choice, choosing something to make for the After Hours Party.

I decided to make Scottish baps, which had been submitted by Pam from The Backyard Pizzeria. I really loved the way they had a little dimple in the top, which was to stop them from rising to a dome. They were perfect, very soft and delicious.

Don't forget to check out Zorra's fabulous roundup for yourself - you may see something you would like to make.

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