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Posts Tagged ‘Goats cheese’

When it rains it pours! I’ve just got so busy at work that I didnt get around to writing at all last week. I barely had time to cook and eat anything, never mind contemplate pausing long enough to take a picture and say something intelligent about my food. So as penance for my radio silence I leave you with two recipes this week.

Both have a common theme of cheese, which goes against my current pre-wedding theme of healthy eating (which come to think of it isn’t much of a theme since I spend as much time breaking it as sticking to it), but when the going gets tough…the tough sometimes have to indulge in a little cheese…

Cheese Muffins 3 ways

I have made cheese muffins on this blog before but I just got a new book called Ratio by Michael Ruhlman, which I was prompted to buy after reading this post by Chocswirl and I was dying to put some of the lessons on basic baking ratios  into practice (looking back at the recipe I used before I now know why these turned out better – butter!)… plus we needed something for lunch on Saturday.

This, combined with an inability to choose between making several different flavour combinations that Dawn and I had found in other recipes, resulted in this recipe for 6 of each. If you want to try the Ruhlman ratio out yourself then use this recipe for flavour inspiration only and go with the ratio for a basic muffin batter – 2 flour : 2 liquid : 1 egg : 1 fat – to make whatever quantity you need (the ratio is by weight not volume).

Basic batter (makes 18 muffins)

  • 375g plain flour
  • 375g milk
  • 187g melted butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp baking powder

Pizza Muffins

  • small handful of sun dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 50g grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 red chilli, de-seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil

Parmesan and Herb muffins

  • 50g grated parmesan (we actually made these with cheddar as we didnt have any parmesan so you can use either)
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • few sprigs chopped thyme
  • 1 sprig finely chopped rosemary

Feta and Caramelised Onion Muffins

  • 50g crumbled feta
  • half an onion, finely chopped and fried until golden and soft
  • 1 clove garlic finely chopped and fried with the onion
  • 1/2 sprig finely chopped rosemary

Prepare all the flavourings in 3 separate bowls and preheat the oven to 180°C. Whisk together the flour and baking powder in a large bowl and set aside. Combine the cooled melted butter with the milk and eggs and beat until combined. The butter will start to solidify if the milk is too cold but it doesn’t effect the end result so don’t worry. Divide the batter into 3 equal portions and the flavourings to each one. Spoon into silicone cups or a lightly greased muffin tray and bake for 25min until golden and an inserted skewer comes out clean. Turn out onto a rack and cool slightly before serving (yummy with a lathering of garlic and herb cream cheese!).

Grilled Pork Loins with Caramelised Red Onion, Apple and Smoked Applewood Cheese

I owe Dawn for this recipe too. At some point during the muffin making proceedings she mentioned making pork loins topped with apple and cheese  like this and I immediately started thinking about how good that would be, especially made with Smoked Applewood cheese.  So by last night I was thinking about nothing else and had to make it today to get it out of my system. The sweet apple is perfectly balanced with the smoky cheese and caramelised onion, just served with a simple mash. I don’t know why I didn’t think to try this before.  Thanks D!

  • 2 pork loin steaks
  • 1 eating apple, peeled, cored and grated
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 50g grated Smoked Applewood Cheese
  • pinch of dried thyme
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 large potatoes, boiled and mashed, to serve

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Heat a splash of olive oil in a pan and fry the onions until browned. Add the garlic and grated apple and fry a few minutes more until the mixture is softened and caramelised (don’t fry too long or the apples will get mushy).

Take off the heat, season with the thyme, salt and pepper and set aside. Heat another splash of oil over a high heat and fry the pork loins briefly on each side to sear the outsides. Place them on a baking sheet and top with the apple and onion mixture. Add the grated cheese and place in the oven for 10-15 minutes until the steaks are cooked through and the cheese is melted and lightly browned.

Serve on a portion of mash (drizzle over the juices from the baking tray or gravy as optional).

Hope that makes up for last week’s absence and gives you something to perk up your week. Happing cooking! ♥

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Just to prove my point about making more mistakes than successful meals, yesterday’s new recipe didn’t quite go according to plan. I had some figs in the fridge so I decided to make a fig and goats cheese tart for lunch…

Attempt Number One

I did a bit of research beforehand and decided to try out a recipe by Bron Marshall. Everything was going well and it was looking more and more appetising as I assembled the onions, fig slices and cheese on the pastry.

Sadly the proof wasn’t in the pudding. The onion and fig filling was delicious but I didn’t like the puff pastry base with it and there wasn’t enough cheese on top to give it a proper punch so overall it was a bit of a disappointment (I didnt make the mustard glaze though as I wanted pure fig and cheese flavours).

However, not to be discouraged, I tweaked the recipe slightly and changed the pastry to short crust instead. Now I think it ticks all my ‘perfect fig and goats cheese tart’ boxes and hopefully yours as well (for those who are still in the puff pastry camp or want to make up their own minds, please refer to Bron’s recipe instead).

I’ve just come back to add to this post because, reading it over it sounds as though I’m saying Bron’s recipe was a flop which wasnt my intention. There’s nothing wrong with it and I have only adapted it to get the result I had in my own mind, which is why I’ve suggested that anyone who reads this looks at both and chooses according to their personal preferences. Thank you Bron for the  recipe and the inspiration!

Caramelised Onion, Fig and Goats Cheese Tart

Adapted from the same recipe by Bron Marshall. Serves 4.

Pastry:

125g plain flour

pinch of salt

55g butter, cubed

30-45ml tbsp cold water

Filling:

2 large red onions, halved and sliced

3 figs, sliced

300g goats cheese (or enough to cover the area of your pie dish)

3 tbsp brown sugar

45ml balsamic vinegar

Put the flour, butter and salt in a food processor and pulse until the butter is rubbed in (you can do this by hand if you dont have a food processor). Gradually add the water through the funnel until the dough comes together into a ball. Only add enough water to bind it and then stop. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and chill for 10-15min.

Fry the onions on a medium heat until they are soft (about 10min). Add 2 tbsp of the sugar and half the vinegar and fry for another 15-20min until the onions are really sticky and most of the moisture is gone. Sit aside to cool.

Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees. Roll out the pastry and line a pie dish. Blind bake for 15-20min. Line the base with the onion mixture and season with salt and pepper. Lay the sliced figs over the onions and then lay the slices of cheese over the figs. Put the tart back in the oven for about 20minutes or until the cheese is melted and lightly browned.

While the tart is in the oven, heat the remaining vinegar and sugar in a small pan until sticky and drizzle over the top when its ready (you can use pre-made balsamic glaze if you have it but it will be nicer warm).

Yum yum!

♥ ♥ ♥

While I was writing about this recipe, my brain started to wander over other recipes which have taken me several attempts to get right (yesterday’s milk tart is one of these odysseys) and how “practice makes perfect”. One of the things I can remember my mom making when I was young is banana bread. It was wonderfully soft and damp without being too heavy and it smelled of vanilla and spices (and bananas of course).

Unfortunately I don’t have a copy of my mom’s recipe so I started trying other’s until I found one that fitted my mental blueprint for good banana bread. Here’s my favourite recipe, please feel free to let me know if you think you can beat it though!

Banana Bread

Adapted from Nigella Lawson’s recipe (I left out the alcohol, nuts and sultanas because I was trying to recreate my mom’s but you might want to keep them in).

175g plain flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1/2 tsp salt

125g unsalted butter, melted

80g brown sugar

80g white sugar

2 large eggs

300g of mashed very very ripe bananas (3-4 bananas)

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Butter and flour a loaf tin and preheat the oven to 170 degrees.

Mix the flour, baking powder, bicarb, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and combine well. In a large bowl, mix the melted butter and sugar and beat until blended. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the mashed bananas and vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture, a third at a time, stirring well after each bit. Scrape into the loaf tin and bake in the middle of the oven for 1-1 1/4 hours until a skewer inserted comes out cleanish.

Leave in the tin on a rack to cool. My favourite way to eat it is hot from the oven or toasted with a slap of butter. Mmmmmmm, hope you like it.

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