Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Little Chicken Tarts

I love little savoury tarts, so handy for snacks, party food and suchlike, especially now that Christmas is almost here. I also love chicken, maybe thinking of that old 60s favourite Vol au Vents and just re inventing them with a modern taste and twist. Anyway, I hope you like these and will try them over the festivities! This is my last post until mid January, I have too much baking to do for other things! Plus it will be good to have a break, while my husband munches away at the Christmas Cake. But have no fear. I will be back before you can snap your fingers. A very Happy Christmas to everyone and a healthy, prosperous New Year. Laurie xx

Shortcrust pastry. Of course you can buy some, [all butter, of course], but if you have a food processor, it takes a minute and is so easy. I use this base recipe for everything. You can add some caster sugar for mincemeat tarts, or a little fresh grated parmesan, mustard, herbs, whatever.

The quantities below makes 12, with some pastry left over.

8 oz plain flour
pinch salt
5 oz cold cubed butter
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon cold water

In your food processor, blitz the butter in the flour for a few seconds, add the yolk and water, until it starts too bind together. [I added half a teaspoon dry mustard].  Tip onto your lightly floured surface and bring together, lightly kneading until the dough is smooth. Place in a poly bag to chill for at least 20 mins. If you leave it longer, take it out of the fridge for 5 mins before using.

Using a suitable cutter, line your shallow bun tins. Pre heat your fan oven to 190C

Make the filling: Best to do this beforehand, allowing time for it to cool.

1 oz butter
1 oz plain flour
1 teaspoon mild [or hotter if you like] curry powder
6 fl oz food chicken stock
1 fl oz milk
½ tablespoon lemon juice
½ tablespoon redcurrant jelly
8-9 oz cooked chicken, shredded or chopped
Seasoning - sea salt, fresh ground pepper, a little chopped parsley
A little grated parmesan to sprinkle over and some smoked sweet paprika too if you wish.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan, stir in the flour and curry powder to make a paste, gradually adding the stock, lemon juice and redcurrant jelly. Stirring all the while, bring the sauce slowly to the boil and cook for a couple of mins. Season to taste. Add your prepared chopped chicken. Cool for ten mins then tip into your pastry cases until they are full. I sprinkled over some grated parmesan and paprika, but breadcrumbs are good too. Bake for 20 mins.

Just delicious and so easy and quick. Use left over chicken,  or grill some breast meat or even buy a cooked chicken.

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Chocolate Spice Cake

This recipe comes from an old, post war recipe booklet, given away with the new and modern “SR Flour” ! So I am guessing about 65 - 70 years old. I will give it to you, exactly as printed in the booklet, although I do not know exactly what “pudding spice” is, but I presume mixed spice.
I made it in a tray bake tin, but the original recipe used an ordinary tin [don’t think tray bake tins were out then!]. After baking, I took it along to a Bridge afternoon and without exception everyone said how unusual and utterly delicious it was. The wonderful spicy chocolate flavour lingered on your taste buds. Wow. Just a wonderful cake. Trust me, make it over Xmas!

Butter an 8” square, or similar, shallow tin. Mine was 10” x 7”. Preheat your oven to 350F - I have worked this out to be 160C for fan ovens.

6 oz SR Flour
4 oz butter [recipe states margarine - NO WAY!]
7 oz sugar [caster?]
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon pudding spice
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
2 large eggs [yolks and whites separated]
2 oz plain chocolate
2 teaspoonfuls very finely chopped candied peel
8 tablespoons milk [I used buttermilk]

Cream the sugar and butter until fluffy. Blend in the melted chocolate and the two yolks. Mix the salt and slices with the flour and stir in alternately with the milk. Fold in the stiffly beaten egg whites and the candied peel.

Bake in a moderate oven for about 35 mins. Cool and spread with icing [of your choice?]

I decide to use a simple water icing infused with a little cinnamon and some finely chopped stem ginger that needed using up, grating over a little more more plain chocolate too. Cut into squares and enjoy.

Really good, with a very different combination of flavours that work beautifully