The inspiration

Friday, 23 November 2018

Spiced Vegetable Strudel

Some veggies and a good hit of spice all wrapped up in filo pastry- this is a real treat.
Serves 4
278 calories per serving        
1 tsp vegetable or coconut oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp nigella seeds
2 turnip, finely diced  (swede to geordies)
2 carrots, finely diced
200 g cauliflower, broken into small florets
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
10 g fresh root ginger, finely chopped
1 tbsp curry powder
100 g chickpeas, from a can, lightly crushed
Small bunch of coriander, finely choppedost
25 g reduced-calorie hard cheese, grated
5 large sheets of filo pastry
Low-cal oil spray

Heat the oil in a large frying pan.  Add the onion, mustard seeds and nigella seeds and fry for several minutes until the onion has softened.  Bring a saucepan of water to the boil and add the turnips and carrots.  Simmer them for 3 minutes, then add the cauliflower florets.  Cook for a further minute, then drain all the veg thoroughly and set them aside.

Add the garlic, ginger and curry powder to the onions in the frying pan and cook for a couple of minutes.  Add the blanched vegetables, along with the chickpeas and coriander.  Pour over 250 ml and simmer until most of the water has evaporated.  Add the grated cheese and stir until it has melted.  Remove the pan from the heat and leave the mixture to cool.

Preheat the oven to 200c/180c fan/gas 6.

Lay a sheet of filo on a large baking tray.  Spray it with low-cal oil, then place another sheet of filo on top.  Continue until you have a pile of 5 sheets, spraying with oil in between each one.  Spoon the cooled mixture down the length of the filo, just to one side of the middle.  Wet the borders and turn in the short sides.  Turn in the smallest of the long borders, then roll the filo up, leaving it seam-side down.

Spray with the low-cal oil again to help the filo brown in the oven.  Bake the strudel in the oven for about 30 minutes until it’s crisp and a light golden brown.

Hairy Biker Dieters Go Veggie

Chocolate mini rolls

Makes: 12
60g cocoa powder
30g butter, melted, plus extra for greasing
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 tbsp boiling water
6 large eggs, separated
150g caster sugar

For the filling:
150g butter, softened
300g icing sugar
1 tsp peppermint essence

To finish:
200g plain chocolate, 70% cocoa solids
200g milk chocolate
100g white chocolate 

Heat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Grease two, 30cm x 20cm Swiss roll tins with butter. Line the base of each tin with a piece of greased greaseproof paper.
Sieve the cocoa powder into a small bowl, add the butter, vanilla extract and boiling water and mix together. Set aside.
Whisk 100g of the caster sugar and egg yolks together until light, thick and fluffy. Add the chocolate mixture and whisk until combined.
In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks. Add the remaining 50g of caster sugar and whisk until the sugar has dissolved.
Beat one third of the meringue mixture into the chocolate mixture to loosen the mix. Using a large metal spoon, fold the remaining egg whites through the mixture.
Divide the mixture between the two lined tins and level out. Bake for 12 – 18 minutes.
Remove from the oven and place on cooling racks. Cover the tins with a damp tea towel and leave to cool completely.
For the filling, beat the butter until soft and gradually beat in the icing sugar. Add the peppermint essence and continue beating until white, soft and fluffy.
Turn the cakes upside down onto 2 sheets of greaseproof paper and peel off the baking paper. Turn the cakes so that the short end is facing you. Score a line 4cm in on both short ends of both cakes. Spread the peppermint cream over the top and towards the edges.
Starting from the front short edge, roll up the cake, stopping in the middle. Repeat the same from the back until both rolls meet in the middle. Cut down the centre between the rolls.
Repeat with the remaining sponge, so you have four rolls. Trim the ends and cut each roll into three so you end up with twelve mini rolls.
Place the rolls, seam side down on a cooling rack and chill in the fridge for 15 minutes to firm up.
To finish, melt the plain and milk chocolate together in a bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water. Place the cooling rack over a baking tin (to catch the chocolate) and dip, spread or pour the chocolate over each mini roll to coat. Leave to set.
Melt the white chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water. Spoon into a small disposable piping bag and snip off the end. Pipe fine stripes across the width of the mini rolls, then leave to set.

Roasted Cod with Parma Ham and pepper

Serves 4

1 red pepper cut into 3cm/1in chunks
1 yellow pepper cut into 3cm/1in chunks
2 courgettes cut into 2cm/1in slices
1 medium red onion cut into thin wedges
1 tsp olive oil
4 x 150g/5½oz thick, skinless cod fillets
4 slices of Parma ham or any other sliced prosciutto
10g dry white breadcrumbs
10g finely grated Parmesan
2 tbsp finely chopped parsley
2-3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6.

Put the peppers, courgettes and onion on a large baking tray and drizzle with oil. Season with salt and pepper and toss everything together until the vegetables are lightly coated. Roast for 20 minutes until softened and lightly charred.

Pat dry the fish on kitchen paper and check for any bones. Remove any that you see with tweezers. Season the fish with black pepper and wrap each fillet loosely with a slice of ham.

Remove the tray and make gaps for the fish. Place the fish on the tray. Mix the breadcrumbs with the Parmesan and parsley and scatter over the fish and vegetables.

Bake for another 12–15 minutes or until the fish is cooked, the ham has crisped and the breadcrumbs are lightly browned.

Serve the cod hot, drizzled with a little balsamic vinegar.

Hairy dieters

Coconut and cherry macaroon bars

Makes 16

100 g desiccated coconut
3 medium egg whites
110 g caster sugar
35 g plain flour
150 g glace cherries, cut into quarters
100 g dark chocolate (70 % cocoa), coarsely grated
50 g dark chocolate (70 % cocoa), melted

20 cm x 30 cm x 5 cm tin, with a loose bottom, grease and line.

Preheat the oven to 180c/160c fan/gas 4.

Place the desiccated coconut in a large frying pan oven a low heat and toast until just golden.  Set aside to cool.

Place the egg whites in a large bowl and whisk until soft peaks form.  Gradually add the sugar, whisking all the time, until the egg whites are thick and glossy.  Using a large metal spoon, fold in the flour, cherries, grated chocolate and coconut, until well incorporated.  Spread the evenly and  in the prepared tin and bake for 45 minutes.

Place the tin on a wire rack to cool. Drizzle over the melted chocolate.

Place the whole tin in fridge to set before cutting into slices. The slices will keep for 5 days in airtight container.

Luis Troyano - Bake it great

Thursday, 22 November 2018

Cheshire cheese and onion rolls

30 g butter
1 tsp. olive oil
1 large red onion, diced
600 g strong white bread flour
12 g instant yeast
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 tsp fine salt
½ tsp freshly ground pepper
90 ml boiling water
220 ml whole milk
150 g crumbled Cheshire cheese
2 tbsp sesame seeds

Heat the butter and oil in a frying pan over a low heat, add the onions and cook until just translucent. Tip into a bowl to cool.
Place the flour, yeast, sugar, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. (Place the yeast and salt on opposite sides.) Combine the boiling water and milk and add 2/3 to the bowl, mixing with your fingers or a dough hook. Gradually add more liquid until all the dry ingredients are picked up and you have a soft dough. Tip onto a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes, or use the dough hook of a stand mixer for 6 minutes, to obtain a soft, silky dough. Oil a large bowl, tip the dough in, cover with plastic wrap and leave to double in size, between 1-2 hours.
Place the dough on a floured work surface and gently knead in the cheese. Weigh the dough and divide into 13 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and place on 2 parchment-lined baking sheets. Cover and leave to rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
Heat the oven to 180c/160c fan/gas 6. Mist the rolls with water and sprinkle on the sesame seeds. Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden and the bottoms sound hollow when tapped. Leave to cool completely on a wire rack.
Luis Troyano Bake it Great

Chicken, Spinach and Mustard Cobbler

It’s pure comfort food and works well instead of a traditional Sunday roast or with leftover turkey on Boxing Day.

Serves 4

3 skinless chicken breasts
25g butter
250g baby spinach
1 egg, beaten
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

175g self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting
1 tsp baking powder
30g grated Cheddar cheese
1 tbsp finely chopped tarragon
1 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
½ tsp fine salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
100g cold butter, grated

60g butter
60g plain flour
300ml milk
300ml chicken stock
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/ gas 6. 

Lay a sheet of foil on your work surface. Place the chicken breasts, butter and a generous pinch of sea salt and pepper on top then gather the foil around it. Place the foil package on a baking tray and bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove and allow to cool in the foil for 20 minutes, then unwrap and roughly chop the chicken.

Meanwhile, make the scones. Mix together the 175g flour, baking powder, grated Cheddar, herbs, fine salt and pepper in a bowl. When combined, rub in the grated butter with your fingers, until it is well dispersed (the mixture will have a fine crumb texture). Add just enough cold water (3–4 tablespoons) to bring the crumbs together to form a dough, taking care not to overmix, as this will make the scones tough. Form the dough into a ball, wrap it in clingfilm and place it in the fridge for at least 20 minutes.

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and blanch the spinach leaves for 1 minute. Refresh in iced water, until cool, then drain well. Squeeze out the excess water with your hands, a handful at a time. Roughly chop the spinach and set it aside.

While the scone dough is resting in the fridge, make the white sauce. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan and when it starts bubbling whisk in the flour. Cook for 30 seconds, stirring, then gradually whisk in the milk and stock, a little at a time. When all the milk and stock have been added, bring the sauce to a gentle simmer and cook for 10 minutes, whisking regularly to prevent it catching on the bottom of the pan. Remove from the heat, add both mustards, the Worcestershire sauce and season with sea salt. Add the chicken and spinach and mix well.

Remove the scone dough from the fridge and unwrap it. Dust the work surface with flour and roll out the scone dough to a thickness of 2cm, then cover it loosely with clingfilm and leave it to rest for 20 minutes.

Put the chicken and spinach mix in an ovenproof dish (approximately 30 x 30cm) or four individual dishes (approximately 15cm in diameter). Cut out 25–30 rounds of scone dough, about 4–5cm in diameter, and place them on top of the chicken mix, without overlapping them. Brush the scones with the beaten egg. Bake for 20–25 minutes until the scones are golden and the chicken mix is bubbling.

Marcus Wareing - New Classics

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Aubergine, Freekeh and Cashew Tagine

Freekeh is a roasted green wheat that brings out nuttiness and earthiness in this tagine. It is similar in bulgur wheat but is a little softer.  It is readily available in most supermarkets.


100g of cashew nuts
200g of freekeh
6 tbsp of vegetable oil
2 large onions, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves crushed
1 knob of fresh ginger, 2cm long, grated
2 tbsp of tomato puree
400ml of passata or a 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
250ml of vegetable stock
1 tbsp of sherry vinegar
1 tsp black treacle
50g of currants
2 tsp saffron strands, soaked in 1 tbsp of warm water for 10 minutes
2 aubergines, cut into 2cm dice
1 bunch of coriander chopped
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

2 tbsp of cumin seeds
1 tbsp of fennel seeds
1 tbsp of yellow mustard seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp sweet smoked paprika
2 tbsp of plain flour
1/2 tsp table salt

Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6.

Place the cashew nuts on a roasting tray and bake for 6–10 minutes until golden.

Remove, leave to cool, then chop roughly. Reduce the oven temperature to 160°C/gas mark 3.

Cook the freekeh for half of the time stated on the packet instructions, then drain.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil in a large casserole dish over medium heat. Add the onions, season with sea salt and pepper and sauté for about 10 minutes until they are soft but not coloured. Add the garlic and ginger for the last 3–4 minutes, then add the tomato purée, the passata or chopped tomatoes, stock, vinegar, treacle, currants and saffron to the casserole and remove from the heat.

Heat a dry large frying pan over high heat and, when hot, add the spices for the spice mix and stir them for 3–4 minutes until fragrant. Transfer the spices to a mortar and crush with the pestle. Mix with the flour and table salt in a bowl.

Add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil to the frying pan and place back on the heat. Season the diced aubergine generously with the spiced flour and fry it in the oil, in batches, until golden, adding more oil with each batch as necessary.

Add half of the chopped coriander to the casserole and mix well. Add the part-cooked freekeh and the spiced aubergine. Sprinkle with three-quarters of the cashew nuts.

Add half of the chopped coriander to the casserole and mix well. Add the part-cooked freekeh and the spiced aubergine. Sprinkle with three-quarters of the cashew nuts.

New classic - Marcus Wareing