So the BH hasn’t been feeling well for the last two days. Not well as in running a temperature of 39°C and unable to eat ANYTHING except for BRAT – Bananas, Rice, Applesauce and Toast. That’s two whole days of really boring cooking. I tried gamely to eat the same things in sympathy, but I’m afraid I cracked this evening. I needed both real food and to actually cook something that had more than one ingredient. The problem was I needed to cook for one and in looking after the poor invalid I didn’t have time to go to the store, so I had to make do with what was in the fridge or freezer. My needs being the mother of this creation, I give you my first attempt at an individual Salmon en Croute. I don’t think it will be the last either. This is honestly one of the easiest dishes I’ve put together and maybe it was the two day BRAT diet, but damn – it was tasty.
- 2 fillets of lightly smoked salmon
- 1 sheet of puff pastry
- 100 gm of spinach leaves
- 200 gm of cream cheese
- 1 tps paprika
- the zest of one lemon
- salt and pepper to season
- 1 egg (to make an egg wash)
If the salmon still has the skin on carefully remove with a really sharp knife and cut each fillet in half then preheat the oven to 180°C.
To make the cream cheese filling, add the cheese, spinach, lemon zest, paprika and salt and pepper to taste into the bowl of your food processor.
Process until smooth and creamy. If any visible spinach stalks remain, remove them before continuing.
Now we get to assemble. Roll out a piece of pastry until it’s large enough to cover the fish. Then place two heaped tablespoons of the cream cheese filling in the centre of the pastry and place the salmon on top.
Brush the sides of the pastry with egg wash and then fold the two longer sides in. Then fold the two short sides in, so the pastry completely covers the fish and the filling.
Score the top on the pastry to allow the steam created from the cooking salmon to escape and place on a baking tray. Brush with the remaining egg wash and bake for 20-25 mins until golden brown. Seriously rich, seriously good!
So I was watching Masterchef USA last night. Yes, I confess that while I eschew reality TV as a whole, I make exceptions for Masterchef and the Great British Bake Off. I mean who among us food bloggers doesn’t secretly dream of winning one or the other? Honestly? So while watching, the contestants were given a MASSIVE bowl of mince, or ground beef if you prefer, and told to come up with a dish that wasn’t a hamburger. An amazing challenge when you consider just how much you can do with it. Now the best part about watching shows like this is that they challenge you just a little bit. They make you ask yourself, “What would I do?” Which I love, because it’s so easy to become complacent in the kitchen. Anyway, this is what I would have made. Simple enough to be fail-safe, tasty and hopefully unique enough to make an impact. BH has nicknamed them Wanton Delights.
To make 18 chili beef wonton cups take:
- 18 Wonton Wrappers
- 400 gms of mince
- 3-4 spring onions (sliced)
- 2 large red chillies (sliced)
- 1 piece of ginger about the size of your thumb (pealed and grated)
- 2 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
- basil to taste (Thai basil if you can find it)
- 2 tsp of corn flour
- 3 Tbs of soy sauce
Preheat the oven to 180 °C. Then heat a little oil in a wok or frying pan and add your aromatics; spring onion, garlic, chili and ginger. I LOVE the smell of Chinese aromatics! Allow to cook for a minute or two and then add your mince. Cook until the mince is cooked through. Add your corn flour to the soy sauce and mix to dissolve. Add the soy sauce – corn flour mix to the mince and continue to cook for a few minutes until the mixture resembles the one in the picture below. Finely slice the basil and add to the dish for the last minute of cooking. You don’t want to loose the flavour of the basil by adding it too soon.
Brush the bottom and sides of a muffin pan with olive oil and press the wonton wrappers into the bottom to form cups.
Brush the wrappers with a little more olive oil and place in the preheated oven for 5-7 minutes until brown and crispy. Keep a close eye on them as they can burn very easily.
Hmmmm, crisp and gorgeously golden. Allow to cool slightly then remove from the muffin tin and fill with the chili beef mixture. Garnish with a slice of raw chili and a sprinkle of spring onion.
I like simple recipes when it comes to breakfast. Before coffee I’m not really able to give a complicated dish the attention it deserves. Heck, I’m not able to give anything the attention it deserves without caffeine. So uncomplicated wins hands down every time, besides there is nothing more satisfying than taking six or seven ingredients and turning them into something that makes your mouth water, even in an un-caffeinated state. The BH’s family traditionally serve cheese scones as a weekend breakfast. A tradition I am more than happy to get behind. They take no time at all to make while still filling the house with the smell of baking. Now I suppose if we lived on the American side of the pond, these would be called biscuits, but I prefer the term scone.
To start take:
- 250 gms of self-raising flour
- 120gm of butter
- 100gm of cheddar cheese
- 2 eggs
- 1 Tbs of milk
- 2 tsp of paprika
- 1 tsp of dried mixed herbs
Preheat the oven to 180 ° C. Weigh out the flour and then add to a mixing bowl. I know I didn’t need to photograph this, but the BH bought me an AWESOME new scale and I wanted to show it off.
Add the butter to the flour and then mix using your hands until they resemble bread crumbs.
Add the cheese, paprika and herbs to the bowl and mix well until thoroughly combined.
Beat ONE of the eggs and the milk together and then mix into the dry ingredients to form a sticky dough.
Place the dough on a well floured surface and flatten until about two and half centimetres thick. Then cut out rounds of dough. Place the scones on a baking tray and then beat the remaining egg and brush the tops of the scones with it.
Place in the oven and bake for about 12-15 minutes until golden brown. Serve with some fruit juice for a simple, awesomely tasty brunch!