Posts Tagged ‘parmesan’

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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…bribe them with baked goods. As I’ve mentioned before I was lucky enough not to be the one doing the cooking on New Year’s eve and I knew our friends would be more than prepared with enough food to feed a small army but I didnt want to turn up completely empty handed so besides the artillery of cocktail making ingredients I packed my bag with, I decided to make these Grissini (bread sticks to you and me) as a pre-dinner offering to our hosts. I think they went down well although I made short work of quite a few myself. I wrapped them up as a little brown paper parcel, which not only makes them into a proper present but also saves you trying to remember which houses you have left all your tupperwares at.

I had piles of rosemary left over from Christmas so I made a batch rolled in rosemary and sea salt as well as a plain parmesan batch for the breadstick purists but I had seen a basic recipe whilst paging through my Italian cookery book (The Italian Cookery Course by Katie Caldesi) which suggested wrapping the baked sticks in strips of parma ham to serve and I wondered what they would be like if I used pancetta instead and twisted it round the dough before baking. Addictive is the answer. Careful rationing and threats of grievous bodily harm were the only way to make sure there were enough left to make a worthy gift by the time they made it to the safety of a sealed parcel.

You might think why bother going to all this hassle when you can buy perfectly good bread sticks in the shops. Well that’s true but making these is the adult version of being let loose with a glue stick and some glitter when you were little. I might be alone in this but I could quite happily spend hours in my kitchen with the radio on in the background – cutting long strips of dough and rolling, twisting and sprinkling them with different toppings then repeating over and over again. And as long as you prepare your chosen flavourings and have them ready on plates so that you can dunk, place straight onto a baking sheet and repeat, then this doesn’t take nearly that long. Sadly. I ran out of dough long before I got bored and I was left contemplating whether to make another batch and keep going until I ran out of parmesan or kitchen surfaces.

I always think if something looks delicious before its been cooked then you’re probably on to a winner and I think these look so pretty laid out ready to be put into the oven. Which is a good thing really as you may have noticed that besides the wrapped parcel, there are pictures of the finished article. By the time I wrapped them up I realised I had forgotten to take any post-oven snaps and although I contemplated unwrapping them, the sun had set by that point so there was no decent light left to take a picture I would dare to post. Besides if I had risked opening up the parcel then they really wouldn’t have made it as far as the party.


Parmesan, Rosemary and Pancetta Grissini

Adapted from a recipe from The Italian Cookery Course by Katie Caldesi.


  • 325g strong white bread flour plus extra for dusting
  • 7g dried yeast
  • 200ml tepid milk
  • 50g grated parmesan (if you are making plain grissini with no toppings then use 100g)
  • 100g soft butter
  • 1tsp fine salt


You can adjust quantities or add other ingredients depending on how many you want to make of each.

  • 50g grated parmesan
  • handful fresh rosemary, very finely chopped
  • 2 tsp maldon sea salt
  • 1 pack of thin pancetta slices (or other thinly sliced ham)

Preheat the oven to 150°C.  Prepare your toppings by combining the rosemary and sea salt on one plate, parmesan on another and cutting the pancetta in half length ways to make thinner strips.

Mix the yeast with the tepid milk. Blend the flour, salt and parmesan in another bowl and then add the butter and blend, followed by the yeasted milk. Bring the dough together using your hands to ensure everything is evenly incorporated. Turn out onto a floured surface and roll out to about 5mm thick. The width should be just less than the width of your baking sheet as they stretch a bit as you pick them and transfer them. Cut into thin strips about 1cm wide.

If you are making plain grissini then put them straight onto a greased baking sheet. Otherwise roll the dough in the rosemary or parmesan mix and then place carefully on to the baking sheet. For the parmesan ones you may need to sprinkle a bit extra after they are on the sheet as it doesn’t stick as well. For the pancetta ones, lay a strip along the length of the dough and then twist the ends in opposite directions. You can also roll these ones in the parmesan if you like.

When you have two trays ready, place them in the oven and bake for 25-30minutes until golden and crispy. Leave to cool on a wire rack while you bake the other batches and then store in an air tight container.

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