Saturday, 10 January 2015

First cook-up in the new house

To introduce ourselves to the neighbours we invited them round for pre-Christmas drinks and nibbles. It was a chance to try out the new kitchen which is my ideal baker's kitchen. I planned a lot of finger food, but time limited me to the following:
 Nibbles for Neighbours

 Prawn Cocktail crostini

From a BBC Good Food magazine recipe, but I left out the avocado and cut the slices of ciabatta in half to make small finger bites. Cocktail sauce is just mayonnaise and tomato ketchup with a sprinkling of cayanne pepper on top. Lettuce leaf and tiger prawns completed the crostini.
 Smoked salmon blinis

This is a recipe I have done many times. I downloaded it many years ago. It should be smoked salmon on soured cream on party blinis, with a sprinkling of lemon zest on top. However my nearest Tesco supermarket did not stock blinis. I bought square wholemeal pitta breads. Toasted them and cut them in four. They made a good canape base.
Cheese on toast with ham hock                        These were a failure. I adapted a recipe I saw somewhere, but the experiment didn't work. The base was toasted rye bread. The cheese mixture had mustard and milk in it and after spreading on the bread was sprinkled with ready-pulled ham hock before toasting. They tasted very salty and the rye bread was hard.

 Baby meringues.

Mary Berry's striped baby meringues. I made hollows in the top of some and when cooked placed a raspberry in the hollow. My mistake was using thawed frozen raspberries. With hindsight it might have worked better with fresh raspberries. The plain meringues were great. Three egg whites produced dozens and they keep for weeks in an airtight container.

Portuguese custard tarts

I love these. They are best eaten fresh, but freeze well. They are just shop-bought puff pastry rolled out and then rolled up into a sausage-shape. The pastry is then sliced (like refridgerator biscuits) into rounds and these are placed into a mini-muffin tin. The custard uses whole milk and egg yolks so it is very rich, but these are just one mouthful each. The recipe comes from: Petits Fours published by Murdoch

Christmas buns

Recipe from BBC Good Food magazinne. These are made from yeast dough rolled out to the size of a swiss roll and spread with dried cranberries, dried apricots and cinnamon. I soaked the dried apricots in orange juice before hand. The dough is normally rolled up tight and sliced to produce buns the size of Chelsea buns, but I wanted them finger size so I halved the oblong of dough lengthwise before rolling up into small rounds. After cooking they were glazed with apricot jam and when cold drizzled with icing sugar. Very sweet, but moist and delicious.

Not shown here are my signature mini sausage rolls. I use shop-bought puff pastry, a pack of sausage meat intended for turkey-stuffing, and my home-made red onion marmalade. After rolling out the pastry I cut it into 6cm strips. I then spread the strips with the marmalade and then a thin roll of sausage meat before sealing the edges of the pastry around the sausage meat. I then cut the rolled up strip into 1 cm sections and bake. They produce bite-sized sausage rolls with a sweet oniony flavour. Lovely!

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