Food: Cawl empanadas

Recently, to honour Y Wladfa – the Welsh colony in the Chubut province of Argentina – I made cawl empanadas out of leftover jackfruit cawl mixture. The results were absolutely delicious and the spices go really well with the stocky richness of the cawl to create a moreish empanada filling.

You’ll need:

  • A cup or so of leftover cawl (you can find a recipe for vegan Jackfruit Cawl here).
  • 1 roll of ready made shortcrust pastry,
  • 1 tsp cumin,
  • 1 tsp ground coriander,
  • ½tsp of Chipotle chilli powder (or similar, feel free to use more!),
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree,
  • 100ml sunflower oil,

Method:

Combine the cawl with the spices and the puree in a pan and allow the spices to infuse. Allow the water to boil away until you’ve got a dryer mixture.

Roll out the pastry and use a small bowl to shape the empanadas. Spoon out the mixture onto the disks of pastry and fold over. Crimp the edges together with a fork and place on a baking tray. One roll of pastry makes roughly eight empanadas but it will depend how much leftovers you have.

Bake in the oven for twenty minutes at 180°c or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and place on a rack. Bring the oil to frying heat in a frying pan and quickly dunk the empanadas in the oil for twenty seconds each side. The pastry should change colour quickly so be ready to get them out quick!

For an indulgent touch, serve with some vegan mayo pepped up with smoked paprika and garlic oil.

I paired mine with a bottle of Gaucho from Tomos a Lilford. A light yet full bodied South American IPA brewed with Yerba Mate in 2015 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Welsh landing in Patagonia.

¡Salud boyo!

m

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Food: Carrot salmon & spinach lattice

Following from the success that was my fishless fishcakes recipe, I wanted to see if I could make “carrot salmon” the star of the dish, which is where the lattice pastry came in. This recipe is a perfect alternative for a salmon en croute and with Mother’s day on the horizon would be a perfect treat for any mam/mum!

You’ll need:

  • 4 medium/large carrots, peeled cut into coins,
  • 2 tbsp of Nori Flakes/ ½ sheet of Sushi Nori (cut into pieces),
  • 1 tbsp of dried dill,
  • Handful of dill stalks,
  • 1tsp dill oil (optional),
  • Salt & pepper,
  • Handful of fresh dill, chopped
  • 200g frozen spinach,
  • Zest of 12 lemon,
  • Juice of 1lemon,
  • 1 Onion, finely chopped,
  • Glug of garlic oil,
  • 1 pack of ready rolled puff-pastry
  • 1tbs aquafaba
  • 1tsp non-dairy milk (I used Oatly)

To garnish:

  • Sprinkle of salt (I used Saltverk black lava salt)

 

To begin,  boil the carrots until soft in salted water mixed with the dried dill, the stalks and seaweed.

Meanwhile, fry the onions in a pan until translucent. Set aside for later.

Once they’re done, drain and remove the stalks. Mash the mixture until you achieve a flaky consistency. Set aside in a bowl and leave to cool.

Then add the lemon juice & zest, the onions, the garlic oil, the fresh dill, and the frozen spinach. Leave it in the fridge for a few hours to firm up, during which point the spinach would have thawed.

Once firm & slightly dry, mix the now thawed spinach through the mix. Season to taste. Roll out the pastry and cut a box net, this is so you can wrap the filling up, leaving a window at the front. Leave a square of pastry aside, though, for making the lattice. Cut this into thin strips.

Place the filling at the centre and begin to place on the lattice strips, I did it in a diagonal formation, to give the impression of fish scales. Feel free to change it up, though! Once happy with the design, start to fold up the edges. At this stage if theres excess, you can fold it back down and simply trim it. Once folded, crimp each corner and place on a baking tray lined with greaseproof.

Place into a pre-heated oven (180°C fan) for 25 minutes. Check and turn and place back in for another 20 until golden brown. Take out the oven and let to cool slightly.

Serve with some green veg, parsley potatoes and a crisp glass of wine.

 

Enjoy!

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Food: Mulled cherry tarts

These cherry tarts are a quick and easy way of pleasing guests and delivering the kind of low effort, maximum impact impression we all look for around Christmas time. Whether you’re making them for family, friends or when a guest pops by.

You’ll need:

  • 1 jar of sour cherries in syrup
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 70g of sugar (or more, depending on your sweet tooth!)
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 star anise
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 1tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1 small glass of red wine
  • 1 packet of pre-made shortcrust pastry

Pour all of the ingredients (bar the pastry and vanilla) into a saucepan and simmer on a low heat, allowing the spices to mull for a good 10-15 minutes.

When this is done, fish out the spices and crank up the heat until it’s boiling. Reduce until the mixture is thick and sticky. This is the time to add the vanilla. Stir and pour into a bowl to cool, then begin rolling out the pastry on a flour dusted surface to about 5mm thick.

Use a mug to cut out circles of pastry. Gently shape the circles into a greased tart tin. They should fill the tin but not overreach that much. Experiment with the mug width that works for your tin. When the pastry is loaded, spoon in the jammy mixture until it’s just about level with the pastry. Bake in the oven according to the instructions on the packet. Normally 180°c for about 20 minutes.

Perfect on their own or top couple of warm tarts with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream for a festive treat!

Food: Chocolate & liquorice pinwheels

With the huge influx of Nordic stuff on TV recently, heres a handy recipe for a pastry perfect for watching the latest Scandi drama (with a kaffe of course- a la Fika) 😉

To make, you’ll need:

  • 1 pack of ready rolled puff pastry
  • 4tbs of homemade chocolate & liquorice ganache (made here)
  • 1tsp soy milk
  • 50g soft eating liquorice, chopped finely

To glaze:

  • 2 tsp soy milk

 

Making could not be easier! Simply, unroll a pack of pre made puff pastry and keep it on the paper lining – this will make cleaning up much easier. Spread the ganache, mixed with a little soya milk, evenly over the pastry and sprinkle as liberally as you like with small, chopped nuggets of liquorice. Using a pizza cutter (knives have a tendency to bunch the pastry and make life difficult) cut the pastry into 6 or 8 strips, depending on how tall you want them, and roll into individual spirals. Dab a little soya milk on each one for a glaze.

Place them evenly and spread out on a baking tray lined with baking paper and cook at 180c for 12 to 15 minutes – or until golden brown. The coils should unravel and begin to burst at the seams. Serve warm with coffee.

Enjoy Fika!

Food: Butternut, spinach & amaretti pie

Heres a recipe for an easy, tasty and filling pie with flavours of rosemary, lemon and amaretti.

You’ll need:

  • 1 small/medium butternut squash, roasted
  • 200g frozen spinach
  • 50g amaretti biscuits, crushed
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 50g breadcrumbs (I used brioche breadcrumbs)
  • Handful of fresh rosemary, chopped
  • Splash of white wine
  • A squirt of lemon juice
  • A drizle of garlic oil
  • splash of amaretto
  • 20g Parmesan, grated
  • 3 shallots, chopped
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 egg
  •  A pack of puff pastry
  • Some pumpkin seeds (optional)

Start by roasting the butternut squash, you can either do this on the day or in advance (I like to always have some roasted squash in my freezer.) It usually takes around 40 minutes at 180°C, after being chopped into quarter and its seeds have been scooped out. A little drizzle of oil,salt and  maybe a sprinkle of dried rosemary. Once out of the oven leave to cool, then once cool, scoop the orange flesh into a bowl.

The bowl is basically where everything comes together, which is great for minimising washing up. Next, add the chopped rosemary and breadcrumbs (again, its another ingredient I just have in my freezer all year round, but you could use shop bought ones.) and mix. Once this is done you can concentrate on the shallots. Chop them finely and fry off in a little oil (I used garlic infused oil) until translucent and soft. Leave to cool. Once cool, combine into the orange mixture and add the amaretti biscuits and lemon zest. The spinach can either be left out for a few hours to defrost, or as I did, you can defrost it in a microwave. Either way, once the spinach is defrosted wrap it in some paper towel and squeeze the liquid out, this will make sure your filling isn’t too wet. Now,  little by little add the  wet ingredients, constantly checking that it isn’t getting too wet. Season with parmesan, salt and pepper and leave for a few hours (or overnight) in the fridge to firm up and for the flavours to meld.

Once ready to cook, on a floured surface, simply roll out some puff pastry to a nice big rectangle. Spoon some of the filling to one side and fold the other side over, so that it covers the filling. Press around the filling and trim. Now either crimp the edge by hand or press with a fork to make a decorative edge (essentially this is like a pasty, but posher ;).)  Prick the surface a few times with a knife and brush over an egg wash. For decoration I stuck some spare rosemary into the holes and applied a row of pumpkins seeds to the top.

Place into a preheated oven at 220°C for 30-40 minutes, then leave for 15 minutes to cool. It’s now ready to serve. We served ours with some balsamic dressed leaves and a gin & apple cocktail, recipe found here.

I had some mixture leftover, so I made these little pies for Tom’s colleagues.

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Enjoy!

Food: Brød, Cardiff

The other weekend, with Broen/Bron/The Bridge back on our screens, my partner  & I were feeling peckish for something Scandi for breakfast, so jumped in the car and made for Pontcanna, Cardiff, to visit the new Danish bakery, Brød, that had opened two weeks previous.

Brød, situated in the old  Philip Morgan and Son premises and was set up by Betina Skovbro. Originally from Copenhagen and inspired by her grandfather, a baker, the vision was to bring a slice of Denmark to Cardiff, with Ben Davies (an ex-Starbucks supervisor) in charge of the coffee and Danish baker Simon Stokholm in charge of making their delectable pastries & breads.

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With an interior to make a mid-century fanatic drool and peppered with Danish flags, the place definitely is a little Scandinavian grotto, in the heart of Cardiff, Skovbro even imported her grandmother’s furniture, for that sense of Scandi-authenticity.

Arriving 20 minutes after it opened, the place was already buzzing with a variety of people, from families grabbing a Saturday morning treat to friends gossiping and laughing about the night before. Being greedy I fancied trying everything on the menu, but it being early, they hadn’t quite finished making everything. So we had one of each (of what was available) and two lattes. It all came to £15! Bargain :O !

On a big wooden platter we had a chocolate cinnamon swirl (snegl); a Danish crown (spandauer); two kinds of pastry slice – one being  a Copenhagen slice (Købehavner); a chocolate topped pastry (chokolade bolle) and a danish raisin bun (not pictured).

So buttery, so decadent and the best pastry I’ve had in a while. It simply transported me back to our little holiday to København, that we had in October! (More of which to come!)

After a long chat with the owner – she’s so  lovely, very friendly – it was time for us to be on our way. With my usual ‘eyes bigger than belly’ syndrome (we ordered way too many!)  a doggy bag was definitely needed. Plus, I couldn’t help but buy a fresh rye sourdough loaf on my way out (which was lovely, topped gravadlax and pickles, I have to add!) it was time to book.

I would recommend this little slice of Denmark to anyone; anyone looking for a great coffee, great pastries and a great atmosphere.

Mange Tak Brød!

https://www.facebook.com/thedanishbakery

@TheDanishBakery

126 Wyndham Crescent

CF11 9EG

Food: Chicken & bacon pot pie for Tom’s arrival

As I mentioned yesterday, I would write a whole piece for this warming piece of comfort food.

To make the bechamel i used this recipe from the good ‘ol Beeb, and then I was off.

Whilst eating food with my parents on the Monday night I placed two chicken breasts, foiled in a dish and put it in the oven whilst my mam made food.

So, as soon as I was in from work – uniform still on (washed hands, obviously 😉 ) – I started on the Bechamel, once that had been made I fried off a packet of smoked lardons until they rendered down, oozing out their gorgeous fat. Into the smokey oil I placed a whole onion, chopped and fried until translucent. Once this had been done, I poured the white sauce into the big pan and added a generous spoonful or two of Dijon mustard and a handful of chopped fresh thyme leaves.

The chicken by this point had been cooked and was cool enough to handle, so I flaked it up into chunks and put it into the smokey white sauce, not forgetting to put with it, two bay leaves and a heavy dose of cracked black pepper- you can never have enough in my book 😉

After cooking it out, until the flavours had melded I spooned the filling into two vessels – some cute cocottes for the meal with Tom, and a bigger Le Creuset Dutch oven, for a family pie – fishing out the bay leaves, of course.

Leave it to cool overnight, preferably

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The next day when the Mr was back I rolled out some ready-made puff pastry (seriously, no one has time to make it these days, not even chefs) and made the lids for the now chilled pie fillings – I put a T and an N on the cocottes to make it seem even cuter- he loved it!

Here they are:

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All it needed was an egg & milk wash and to be put in a preheated oven at 190c (fan) until golden brown.

I was pondering whether to serve them with mash and veg, or pub style with chips.

Tom decided on pub style, so we had them with chip shop chips, peas and a Hornsea pot full of steaming hot gravy, mmm!

As we had a surplus of pastry left I decided to make something off the cuff – but it really worked.

Rolling them out to circles about 3mm thick, I got out the jar of Nutella and organic peanut butter and got busy.

Putting half a spoonful of each in the middle of each circle, then fold it over and seal with an egg wash and make little parcels, like sweet pasties or empanadas.

I wanted to serve these with a dip of some kind so I mixed a bit of Malina – a Polish raspberry syrup – a spoonful of Nutella and some milk and mixed. I didn’t think it would work, but it all came together to a nice dipping sauce. I served them with some fresh strawberries along side the parcels. The night was so good!

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