Monday, 6 January 2014

Exciting times!

I have an announcement to make!  I have decided, after some prompting, to have a go at writing my own cookbook.  It really does make sense.  I love to cook and share my recipes with others, so why not?!  I will be putting some of my recipes I've shared on here in it, as well as some new ones that I have been working on.  So you will have to bear with me not posting quite as often for the next month or so.

That aside, I do have some yummy recipes for you today. First up, something I just made - and silly old me didn't take a photo, but it was honestly so good, I had to jump straight on here to share with you!  I saw Jamie do this the other night, so thought I'd give it a go with what I had here.
Now, it does use one of the dearer cheeses, but believe me, it is Oh So Worth It!!!

Strawberry and Haloumi Salad

1 punnet of strawberries
fresh basil leaves
haloumi cheese
balsamic vinegar
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Lemon Juice

Slice haloumi reasonably thick - about 5mm
Put into a preheated frying pan and cook until golden on each side
Meanwhile, slice strawberries into bite size chunks and put in a bowl.  Break the lettuce up - I used one of those frilly lettuces and some iceberg lettuce too.  Add this to the bowl, along with basil leaves.
Season with salt and pepper, then drizzle with balsamic vinegar.  Toss gently.
To dish up, layer some lettuce and strawberries on the plate, place a couple of haloumi slices on top then add more lettuce and strawberries.
Drizzle with a touch more balsamic, Olive oil, and lemon juice.

*The haloumi has enough flavour that you only need a few slices per person.

Absolutely stunning flavours - I highly recommend this one.

After Christmas, we had lots of leftover turkey, so I used that to make a turkey pie (and some yummy stock too).  This recipe can also be used for leftover chicken.

Turkey Pie

Flaky Puff Pastry
turkey, shredded
leftover roast veges (if any)
leftover gravy (if any)
onion or if in season, leek
chicken stock
cranberry sauce

Heat a pan with a knob of butter and a splash of olive oil.  Add bacon and thyme, let it cook until it has a nice colour.
Add onions with a pinch of salt and pepper.  Cook until softened.
Add turkey and any leftover stuffing and veges you have.
Pour in about 1-2C chicken stock depending on how much meat you have.  Bring to the boil.
Turn the heat down and add a splash of cream (optional, though it does add a lovely silkiness to the dish)
Taste, and season if needed.
Strain and keep the liquid for later.
Lay one sheet of pastry on your baking tray and put the filling in the centre.  Lay the other sheet over top. Fold the edges up over itself and crimp with a fork to help keep it sealed.  Poke some holes in it.

Brush a little cream or egg wash over.
Put in oven at 180C for around 30-40 minutes, or until golden and puffy.
Reheat the liquid and use as gravy to serve with the dish.

We are lucky to have bought a house with fruit trees already established.  One of those trees is an apricot tree.  Something I absolutely love is apricot pie.  Here is how you make it.

Apricot pie

Sweet short pastry

Firstly, cut apricots and remove seeds.  Cut into small chunks and place in a saucepan.  Add a splash of water with about 1Tbsp sugar.  Bring to the boil, and stew until softened.
Add about 1/2 tsp cinnamon and heat through.
Roll out pastry and line your baking dish with it, leaving some for the lid.
Place a few blobs of butter around the dish. 
Sprinkle 1Tbsp of flour into fruit and mix.  Add to the dish.
For the lid, I like to make stripes or shapes.  This time I did stripes.  Roll pastry into a rectangle and cut into strips.  Place them in a criss cross across the top.
Sprinkle with a bit of demerera sugar.
Bake at 180C until pastry is golden and crisp.  Leave to cool a few minutes before slicing.  Serve with some whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

So there you go, a bit of a mixed bag this time, but that's how I roll.  I may try to have a theme next time!  It's my daughters birthday on Thursday so I have birthday food to make!  If you're lucky I'll share the cake with you :)

Have a great week!  Happy cooking!