Rummaging around in the fridge I discovered I still have cheeses that were bought for Christmas lying around, big unopened pieces! Now I can’t throw anything out without checking first so I opened them up and having trimmed off the edges they were all perfectly fine but of course I needed to use them quick – Ta dah!
A Cheeseboard Quiche that I could eat for lunch during the week.
I love quiche. I eat it cold in the summer, warm in the winter and if there’s one on a buffet I have to have a bit on my plate so again using ready made shortcrust pastry I give you my latest ‘use up the leftovers’ recipe and please keep in mind this is an incredibly adaptable dish, just use the same mixture to cover your fillings – a selection of my favourite alternative fillings are given below
Ready to roll shortcrust pastry
3 large eggs
200 ml milk
salt and pepper
ham – mine was a cheap sandwich ham
leftover cheese – I had Stilton and Red Leicester
Heat the oven to 200C Gas 6
Roll out the pastry larger than the base of your dish (and the sides!). Roll over your rolling pin on itself to pick it up and move it over your pie dish, ease the pastry into the dish making sure it’s not tight as it will shrink so allow lots of pastry in. Allow the edges to hang over untidily (you can cut later) Prick the bottom with a fork 2/3 times. Overdo it and all your filling will seep out and burn. I know because I’ve done it!
Place a sheet of baking paper in the pie loosely, tip in your baking beans and push towards the edges where it will shrink more. I have used the Tala ceramic baking beans here.
Bake ‘blind’ for 20 mins till the pastry looks golden around the edge.
Whilst the case is baking finely chop an onion and fry it slowly until it is soft and golden.
Whilst the onion is frying, beat the eggs and milk in a bowl with seasoning. You can add double cream instead of milk to make a richer mixture but as you know I’m trying to lose weight
Remove the baking beans form the pastry case and bake for another 10 mins until golden all over
Brush beaten egg over any cracks or fork holes and bake for another couple of mins
Cut the overhanging pastry off with a serrated knife and turn the oven down to 150C Gas 2
Scatter the onion evenly over the pastry case, Add the ham and cheese evenly over the base then pour on your egg mixture
Make sure it’s all even, I always have my quiche dish on a baking tray and then slot it in the middle of the oven for about 40 minutes until the filling has set.
sausage and broccoli (or another veg)
asparagus and ham
cherry tomatoes and chorizo
cooked vegetables (carrots, broccoli, green beans, mushrooms)
anything you’ve got lying around in the fridge – go for it!
And to finish off this was the spectacular sunset I had outside my garden window last night – look at the colour!
This year I have filled our Advent Calendar Train with tasks to do each day together to make our run up to the Big Day even more enjoyable and to make sure we spend our time making memories and having fun, the idea came from Rebecca McLuckie of www.twobecamefour.com who has printable downloads.
The 1st December saw us kicking off our Advent Tasks with ‘Making Christmas Cookies’ and so after a quick run to the supermarket for icing sugar and Christmas cake decorations we set to in the afternoon making our biscuits for Christmas. This is a very simple recipe to follow and can be changed to suit any event.
Turn oven on 180C / mark 4 and line some baking trays with baking paper (we used 4 trays)
Beat the butter and sugar with a whisk until pale, add the egg and vanilla and whisk again
Sift on top the flour, cinnamon and baking powder and mix with a wooden spoon to form a soft dough
4. Chill for 30 mins. This was the worst bit for my girls the waiting so I suggest getting to this point before getting them involved
5. Roll out the dough on a floured surface to about the same thickness as a £1 coin
6. Cut out your shapes and place on the lined trays
7. Bake for 10 mins until pale golden
8. Cool for 2 mins and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely
9. Mix the icing sugar with a little water to form a paste and brush over the biscuits
10. Decorate as you wish and leave for at least 2 hours before storing in an airtight container – if they make it!
As a bit of a diary entry for Day 2 of the advent calendar we had ‘watch a Christmas film’ so we took the girls to see Arthur Christmas at the cinema, another first for them. Paul and I loved it but the girls got bored after a while, I think it was a little too advanced for them but something they’d enjoy watching in a year or two
Day 2 drop off at preschool went even better than the first, both girls just ran to grab the best game first and I didn’t have to dry one tear, well apart from my own that is, even Daddy admitted last night to being a bit, well, watery eyed yesterday whilst listening to me tell him how it all went but you didn’t hear that here ok!
I started talking to a mum I recognised as we waited to drop the children off and she told me she worked on the maternity ward at our local hospital, she did a night shift last night (I can’t praise the night shift workers enough, thank you all!) and another set of twins, two girls were born Hooray! She asked me how I used my time yesterday. I didn’t tell the truth, I replied ‘Didn’t do much waited for a phone call from preschool which never came.’ but my reply should have been…
‘I made a beef casserole in my slow cooker, I took a video of myself making it and today I shall be editing it and sticking up on my blog.’
I’m not sure but I’m guessing that wouldn’t have been a reply she was expecting and she would have immediately placed me in her ‘weirdo’ bracket. So I avoided being pigeon-holed for at least another day or two :)
Back to Beef Casserole in the slow cooker – here’s the step by step video and underneath you’ll find the ingredients and written method below it. I love it because it took half an hour maximum to throw together, an odd stir or two throughout the day to avoid any sticking to the bottom. It is adaptable and cheap, not only that it’s incredibly nutritious AND the meat becomes so tender it falls apart making it perfect for children who don’t want to chew.
1 tray of diced beef from any supermarket, approx 500g for 3/4 people
1/2 bowl of flour seasoned with salt, pepper, (mixed dry herbs, Colman’s mustard powder, paprika, cayenne pepper – be creative!)
1 onion, 1 clove of garlic if you have some
a few carrots, mushrooms, tomatoes. Leeks are good too
1 stock cube
glass of red wine or white. (Ale is good too)
couple of bay leaves
Turn on slow cooker to high
Coat the beef in the seasoned flour and fry off in olive oil until brown, place in the slow cooker
Chop onion and sweat in same pan as used for frying meat until golden and soft, add to slow cooker
Chop carrots, mushrooms, tomatoes and add to slow cooker
Make up some beef stock (about 1/2 litre) add to slow cooker, stir all ingredients to mix well.
Add some wine if wished, not essential and bay leaves – also not essential
Cook on high for one hour then on low for about 5 hours stirring occasionally to make sure it isn’t sticking to the bottom of the pan.
30 mins before serving I added some dumplings from a supermarket packet mix to the slow cooker.
This recipe is adaptable and can be used with diced pork too
Who just went mmmmm on seeing the word Tiramisu? :)
I do every time, be it on a menu, on a shop shelf or in my own fridge. The trouble is I’ve hunted around my archives for a mouth watering photo to add of a homemade tiramisu and I haven’t got one. It occurred to me that this pudding has never been around along enough to be photographed! (Editor’s note: photo taken 21/11/13)
Did you know the word tiramisu literally translated means pick me up? I would imagine it’s because of the strong Italian coffee used to soak the biscuits in and not for the drop of brandy used to add a bit of flavour :)
Contrary to popular belief this is an incredibly simple recipe to make, it is also very fortunately a cheap one AND above all guaranteed to have everyone, umming and arring over the super deliciousness of such a dessert.
At a family barbecue a couple of weeks ago, I took along all of the necessary ingredients for a Tiramisu recipe, set up my video camera and along with the help of my niece Rosie we made a delicious pudding, have a look just how easy it is.
Just in case you missed it here’s a fool proof recipe and ‘how to’ video for risotto , dead simple to follow and guaranteed to be a table pleaser. So now you have no excuse all we need is for the Great British weather to play ball too.
Last week we were stuck indoors every day as they were alternately ill – again! So Cbeebies was on most of the time to occupy them and I got to watch Katie on I can cook who has some brilliant ideas. One day she made chocolate mandarin puddings using sponge fingers. Easy, healthy and delicious.
Light bulb moment – ‘I’ve got some sponge fingers in the cupboard that need using up! I’ll make the puddings for the girls’ :-)
I don’t buy sponge fingers that often and going through my brain’s archives searching for the last time I used them I remembered I made a delicious Tiramisu for a summer BBQ.