Monday, 30 November 2009

Chicken Pie Terrine

Most people who know me, and anyone who reads this blog, will have realised by now that I’m not much of a savoury cook. My Mum can make gorgeous dinners: roasts, homemade curries, pastas, risotto, soup, pies – everything. Me, I tend to stick to “dessert duty”. In fact of all 62 posts so far on this blog (this being the 63rd), only two could be properly classified savoury. And both still involved baking. Well, things look set to change around here.
DSCF5570 My heart is always going to lie with all things sweet. Lemon DSCF5589 tart is always going to grab me more than smoked salmon. Yet, as I have been told many a time, a career in food is going to be much harder if all I can make are cupcakes and brownies. Plus, as delicious as sweet treats are, and as enjoyable as the family finds them, its not fabulous for the waistline. So, a new Father-implemented rule has entered the kitchen: for every sweet thing I bake, a savoury thing must follow. A hard task for me personally, but one that must be followed if my new To Bake list is ever to be accomplished. Starting, with this scrumptious chicken pie/terrine. 
DSCF5578 This pie comes from the little cookery book compiled by my old Primary School a couple of years ago. The original recipe was from a Delia Smith book, but this version is altered a little. Essentially, you have a short crust pastry bowl, with a layer of sausage-meat (with spring onions, parsley and lemon), layer of chicken&nutmeg, more sausage-meat, the rest of the chicken, topped with sausage-meat and a pastry lid. The layers are what make me call it a pie/terrine as it is not quite the traditional white-sauce chicken pie. The pie took me quite a while to get together, partly I think as it was my first time properly using savoury ingredients alone. For a more seasoned cook, I’m sure this would be a breeze. There were plenty of moments throughout the preparation where I yearned for a sprinkling of sugar, spoonful of jam or handful of chocolate but I did it. And to be quite honest, I was mighty proud when my pie came out the oven, ready to be served for dinner. With no back up!
DSCF5574This pie was delicious! The sausage-meat was juicy and fragrant, the chicken was moist and fresh-tasting, and the pastry kept everything sturdily happy. The layers turned out prettily, and my favourite flavour was the juice and zest of a whole lemon in there – keeping the pie bright and light! If I were to make this again, I think I would make it less complicated by doing it how Delia does: just having three layers: two sausage-meat and one chicken in the middle. Also, the adapted recipe I was using didnt have enough pastry for a lid, so I used some puff pastry. Here is the link to the Delia recipe, with my shortcrust pastry amounts below.  Try it, its a lovely savoury thing to serve up. Now… where’s that cookie recipe…
Chicken Pie/Terrine Pastry:
100g butter
225g plain flour, sifted
Cold water to mix (about 4tbsp)
Beaten egg to glaze
  1. Make the pastry by rubbing the butter into the sifted flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add just enough water to make a dough, place in cling film and chill for 30minutes in the fridge. Use this pastry to line a 20cm deep pie dish.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Blueberry Apricot Crumble Tray Bake

Quite a name, for quite a cake.
fireworks and rain 192 I’ve made things before with lots of flavours – but this is the best. Simple cake base. Lemon yogurt topping. Blueberries sprinkled on top. Sliced apricots join them. And the crowning glory layer of crumble. But not just plain crumble, utterly delicious cinnamon crumble. All in one little square of cake. That’s my kind of cake :)
fireworks and rain 158 This scrumptious cake is from the lovely The English Kitchen blog, by Marie. Every day Marie posts something delicious – and this was from back in mid-October but I’ve only just got round to making it. My finished cake is slightly different to Marie’s, because I used frozen instead of fresh blueberries. Whilst the fresh ones sit there looking gorgeously neat and round, the frozen ones explode in juicy purple goodness…creating a rather different look!
fireworks and rain 188 The frozen blueberries also make the topping more squidgy with juice, which in turn affects the crumble topping. Because of this, I had to cook the cake for about 20minutes longer – but the cake was alright as the blueberries kept them moist. I’d like to try this cake with apples and blackberries, or pears, or a nice summer version – I’m sure it would be so versatile. The lemon yoghurt was also an interesting addition – it’s just a subtle little flavour but it really adds a little extra zing! This makes a lovely big tray of cake, perfect for big casual gatherings: it won’t last long! Thank you Marie for the charming recipe, find it here :)
fireworks and rain 172

Friday, 6 November 2009

Millionaire’s Shortbread

I mentioned last time how I had my eye on this dessert. Not strictly true – the ingredients were already in the cupboard. It was only a matter of time…
Some things, I’ll only bake once in a very long while. Sometimes, something is so sinfully delicious it is simply too bad for the hips and too good for the lips to be made repeatedly. Such as in the case of this Millionaire Shortbread.
DSCF5305 The name for this shortbread is totally right: forget fit for a king, fit for a millionaire is the best. Millionaires shortbread is basically a layer of shortbread (shocker!) topped with a thick caramel layer, all finished with a chocolate topping. Mmm!
The recipe is not too hard to make, but there are a few point it could go wrong. You need to be careful that you don’t overcook the caramel or it will get either too hard to cut (and you’ll lose the wonderful squidgyness) or it will come out with a slightly burnt flavour, no good to anyone. You can make this with a cheesecake-style base of crushed biscuits, but then I feel its not millionaire’s shortbread is it? Overall, this shortbread was oh-so good. And it disappears far too quickly for our liking – the reason its only made rarely. My minor grumbles would be in trying to stretch out the layers to fill the tin, they layers turned out pretty thin (particularly the chocolate) and you lose something about the decadence of the thing! I’d prefer to have thicker layers and smaller richer pieces at a go!
Millionaires Shortbread
Shortbread: 9oz plain flour
6oz butter
3oz sugar
Cut the butter into the flour and sugar, either quickly in a food processor or by hand. Rub the butter in until it resembles breadcrumbs, and then begin to pull and “squish” the dough together. Press into a tin, and bake for around 15minutes at 150’C. Leave to cool.
Caramel Layer: 150g butter
150g sugar
4tbsp golden syrup
307g tin of condensed milk
Melt all the ingredients together in a large saucepan. Stir absolutely constantly – making sure the mixture doesn’t catch on the sides or base of the pan. Its all about the colour change – from pale and white to a deep golden (takes about fifteen minutes). However stop as soon as it over thickens or lots of black bits appear. Pour onto the cooled shortbread and let set softly.
Chocolate Layer: 200g chocolate
Gently melt chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, or in the microwave. When completely melted – spread onto caramel. Leave to cool and set before slicing into tall soft slices!