I’ve just heard that it’s British Yorkshire pudding day. I’ve never had much luck cooking a humble Yorkshire pud, the problem being my ancient old Rayburn. You need a hot oven and mine likes to hover around 180 degrees C. Anything above that only happens occasionally.
Last week we had one of those occasions. The oven was red hot but that wasn’t the reason I chose to make my pudding. The chickens and ducks are laying like mad and an egg mountain is starting to form. Since we’ve had such appalling weather, no customers have been brave enough to trudge through the snow to buy any.
I was making a vegetable curry but instead of rice to accompany it, I decided to make a curried batter pudding to use up some eggs.
It turned out beautifully, not only was it a gorgeous yellow colour, it rose way above the edges of the tin and best of all – no soggy bottom.
I was a vegatarian for over 25 years, therefore cooking with vegetables comes easily to me, so much so that it often doesn’t occur to me to add meat to a meal. I first starting eating meat again when we raised our own pigs and now I rarely buy it as our freezer is usually stuffed full of our own produce.
For Christmas dinner I planned to roast a joint of our Dexter beef but my mother surprised us with a hamper containing a turkey, so I thought why not?
I didn’t want to spend the big day cooking so I roasted the bird on Christmas eve and we had “leftovers” in the form of a turkey sandwich for our tea before we even got to the festive dinner.
On Boxing day, we had the usual cold meat and pickles but of course there was still plenty of turkey left and lots of recipes to choose from.
I settled on a turkey curry. Under normal circumstances, I would make this dish with just vegetables. It’s quick, simple and since you can use up any veg that you have laying around, usually very cheap.
Indian food was not something I ate a lot of, but in the last few years I have been experimenting with spices and this is my very favourite combination – the turmeric gives it a beautiful golden colour and if I have any goat’s cream languishing in the fridge, I add a touch at the end of cooking. The dish goes down well with or without meat.
Unlike most people, we rarely have leftovers which is sad as I think they make the best meals. However, for once I had half a pack of our Dexter sausages open in the fridge and I wanted to use them up, so I settled on this simple pie. I am very impressed with goat butter pastry, it seems to turn out well every time and this was no exception, it was crisp and flaky. The eggs mixed with cream, rather than milk gave the dish a luxury feel and the whole thing was not only very tasty, but it looked pretty impressive too. Certainly one to make again.
To make the pastry, put flour and salt into a bowl, add the butter and rub into the flour. Add enough cold water to form a soft dough, then refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 200ºC.
Cut the sausages into pieces approx 1 inch long and brown in a frying pan; remove and put to one side.
Add the onion to the pan and fry to soften.
Beat eggs and cream together and add mustard powder and seasoning.
Grease a pie dish and then roll out 1/3 of the pastry to line the base and the sides.
Arrange the sausage pieces on the bottom of the pastry case and then add a layer of onions.
Pour over the egg and cream mix.
Roll out the rest of the pastry to make a lid. Lay on top and crimp the edge.
Brush with milk and make a couple of small holes to let out steam.
Put on the bottom of the oven and bake for 10 mins then move further up and cook for approx 30 mins or until golden brown. The eggs will cause the filling to rise and may push up the lid, but it should sink back down when you remove it from the oven and it starts to cool.
Serve hot with baked beans or cut thick wedges and eat cold
I was thrilled recently to receive a £10 voucher for Lakeland which is choc-a-bloc full of exciting things for dabbling bakers. After a good look around the site, I settled on a baguette tray for £9.99.
I make bread two or three times a week, usually in my rectangular loaf tin but sometimes I shape the dough into rolls. I like a nice baguette but have found that when I make them, they tend to spread out sideways, so I end up with a flattened loaf which isn’t great for our sandwiches. This product looked like it may well put a stop to that problem.
When it arrived I discovered that it was floppy rather than the rigid pan I was expecting – should read the blurb properly before ordering. I wasn’t sure how it would cope when the dough was in the grooves as when I use my silicone loaf tin, the dough tends to push the sides outwards when it expands rather than rising upwards.
It also meant I had to use a baking sheet under the tray and when I balanced it on my solid oven shelf, I came across another small problem in that the shelf is quite a bit shorter than the tray. I realised that it may well be too long for the oven.
I decided to hope for the best, laid out my 3 lumps of dough in the channels of the tray and left it sitting on the shelf above the Rayburn to rise.
When it was ready, I carefully slid it into the oven and although it was a tight fit, I managed to get the door closed. I glanced in a couple of times during the baking and I could see that because the dips in the tray aren’t very deep, as they were rising, the loaves were joining together at the sides. I had visions of getting one big flat loaf. However, when they came out of the oven and I put them on the cooling rack, they pulled apart easily into three lovely looking loaves.
The first time I used it, I shaped the bread so that the ends were tapered, which caused them to bulge outwards in the middle. With subsequent loaves I have made the dough even all the way along the length and I’ve found that the bread rises upwards and doesn’t join forces with the one next door. This way I end up with perfectly straight baguettes.
Overall I am delighted with this product, it has been a huge success with both white and wholemeal loaves and I have made some delicious garlic baguettes. This loaf tin gets my vote and 5 stars.