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Monthly Archives: March 2016
  • Posted on March 29, 2016

    Springtime at Walnuts Farm...

    Spring is very much springing here in the UK. It starts with the crocuses and snowdrops, then the bright yellow daffodils start making an appearance and suddenly there are lambs frolicking in all the fields. So to celebrate the arrival of our favourite season (sssh! Don’t tell summer!), we thought we’d share this seasonal passage from our new book The New Homesteader by Bella and Nick Ivins. Over to Bella and Nick…

    Hand-raising Orphan Lambs

    We started keeping sheep three years ago, as organic lamb is expensive to buy. When they are slaughtered in the autumn, the cuts we order from the butcher include rack of lamb, chops, ground mince, kidneys and boned shoulder and leg of lamb, and the sweetness add tenderness of the meat is indescribable. We’ve found that four small sheep can comfortably feed a family of four and our friends throughout the year.

    The cycle starts in spring, when the three-day-old orphan lambs are delivered. These are the lambs that a ewe is unable to suckle – she only has two teats, so anything more than twins is not sustainable. Bottle-feeding lambs is time-consuming, so most commercially-minded farmers are happy to give up orphans rather than see them go to waste.

    Raising these lambs is sheep-keeping in its easiest form, as there is no breeding or shearing involved. At first they are bottle-fed powdered milk, then weaned onto a compound pelleted feed (lamb creep) and grass. The nutritional value of the grass is at its highest in spring and early summer. When this starts to decline, the lambs need hay and a concentrate feed and things start to get expensive.

    For the first few weeks, the lambs are kept in our potting shed on a bed of straw and only venture outside on warm spring days into a small area of grass enclosed with wooden hurdles. We shut them back in at night, out of reach of predators like foxes and crows. Once they are big enough to fend for themselves, the sheep are turned out into the field, but having been bottle-fed they always come rushing to the gate at the sight of us.

    Sheep kept for only a few months are low maintenance. They need a regular supply of fresh water and we supplement the nutrition they get from grass with a bucket of feed mornings and evenings, but this is more as a treat than for any other reason. They are also sprayed with a chemical treatment to prevent flystrike and biting lice.

    The arrival of the orphan lambs coincides perfectly with the school Easter holidays, providing daily entertainment for the children and their friends.

    There is nothing more life-affirming than having a soft little lamb, with wrinkly, ill-fitting skin that’s too big for it, sitting on your lap, greedily feeding on its lukewarm bottle of milk. Where we live in Sussex, orphan lambs are known as sock lambs, probably because they were wrapped in socks in the farmhouse kitchen to keep them warm.

    The milk replacement powder available from our local agricultural merchant arrives in a bag with making-up instructions usefully printed on the back. Four bottles will fit into a wire rack so, if necessary, all four lambs can be fed simultaneously. Once weaned, the lambs move on to grass and concentrate ‘creep’ feed. The sock lambs are always the smallest of their siblings and need to take every  opportunity to put on weight over the summer.

    The New Homesteader by Bella and Nick Ivins is available here. All photography is by Nick Ivins.


    This post was posted in Featured, Interviews, News, UK, What's new and was tagged with photos, nature, home, 2016, spring

  • Posted on March 25, 2016

    Classic Roast Lamb for Easter

    We’re sure many of you will be having roast lamb this weekend and with Miranda Ballard’s recipe at hand, you cannot go wrong – lamb, garlic and rosemary really is a match made in heaven. Taken from her most recent book, Modern Meat Kitchen this recipe will definitely help you make the most of your roast. If you’ve gone for a different roast this Easter, why not take a look at Miranda’s cooktchery tutorials on The Pantry YouTube channel for more tips and ideas. We shared this recipe with subscribers to The Pantry as part of our Perfect Easter Roast - you can find all the recipes here.

    CLASSIC ROAST LEG OF LAMB

    A rich and juicy roast lamb is often such a popular option, and you can’t go too wrong with the cooking of it either, because the shape and ratio of meat to bone makes it the perfect cut for a well-balanced roasting. I like the classic combination of mint sauce with roast lamb, so I’ve included an easy recipe here.

    bone-in, trimmed leg of lamb (usually around 2 kg/4 lbs.)

    2 sprigs of fresh rosemary

    2 garlic cloves, chopped (optional)

    salt and black pepper, to season

    gravy and your choice of accompaniments, to serve

    MINT SAUCE

    10–12 fresh mint leaves, chopped finely

    2 tablespoons soft brown sugar

    2 tablespoons boiling water

    2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

    EASY ROAST GRAVY

    2 tablespoons plain/all-purpose flour

    100 g/3¾ oz. Brown Chicken Stock or 200 ml/scant 1 cup chicken stock from a stock/bouillon cube

    2 teaspoons redcurrant or cranberry jelly

    salt and black pepper, to season

    SERVES 6–8

    Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).

    Place the leg of lamb in a roasting pan and sprinkle the rosemary, garlic (if using), and some salt and pepper on top.

    If you like, put your vegetables to roast around the edge (I recommend parboiling for a couple minutes first, if you’re doing potatoes or root vegetables, so that they don’t dry out too much).

    Cook in the preheated oven for about 90 minutes, but check it a couple of times before the end of that time, as cooking times depend on the shape of the leg – they can be short and plump or long and thin, depending on the breed. For rare/pink meat, it may only need 60 minutes.

    I find the easiest way to carve is to start in the middle and slice towards the ankle end first. Then you can hold that and turn it to slice in the opposite direction. There’s lots of meat on the hind leg, so don’t worry too much about technique; you’ll be able to get all the meat off one way or another.

    Serve with the mint sauce, easy roast gravy and vegetables of your choice.

    Mint Sauce

    Put the chopped mint leaves and brown sugar in a cold frying pan/ skillet and pour over the boiling water (or just enough to soak up and dissolve the sugar).

    Put the pan over a high heat and bring to the boil. Add the white wine vinegar and boil for another couple of minutes.

    Leave to cool; ideally cool it to room temperature then let it chill in the fridge overnight. Alternatively, submerge the bottom of the pan in a sink of cold water and stir so that the mint sauce cools and thickens a bit. Serve cold with the roast lamb.

    Easy Roast Gravy

    Once your meat is fully roasted, move it to a board to rest (don’t put kitchen foil over the top; you’ll only be a few minutes, so just let it breathe).

    Drain nearly all of the meat juices from the roasting pan into a jar, but leave the last 3–4 tablespoons in there – this is usually the fattier portion, which is what we want.

    Put the roasting pan over a medium heat on the stovetop and let the reserved fatty meat juices start to bubble.

    Stir in the flour and then add the stock and stir well until smooth. Add the redcurrant or cranberry jelly and keep cooking until thickened and glossy.

    Season to taste.

    Transfer to a gravy boat or spoon over the carved meat.

    Modern Meat Kitchen by Miranda Ballard is available here. Don't miss an email from The Pantry - join here.


    This post was posted in Recipes, UK, What's new and was tagged with savoury, Miranda Ballard, recipe for the weekend, 2015, lamb, meat, Modern Meat Kitchen

  • Posted on March 24, 2016

    Crafting With Mason Jars blog tour

    We’re sure we don’t need to tell you that we love a bit of upcycling here at CICO Books towers. Whether you’re the sort of person that looks at a wooden crate and thinks ‘Hmm, what can I turn this into’ or you prefer to work on a much smaller scale, we’ve got books with great ideas for you. Latest to add to your upcycling bookshelf is Crafting With Mason Jars by Hester Van Overbeek. This is Hester’s second book for us, after Furniture Hacks last year (you can read more about that book here) and it is absolutely packed with ideas for upcycling the humble glass jar.  We celebrated the launch with a lovely blog tour last week. Just look at all the blogs we had taking part.

    We started the week with Apartment Apothecary who shared some of her favourite projects from the book, including this lovely oil lamp.

    Day two saw us pay a visit to Clare Nicolson’s blog, Full Time Fiesta where she’d had a go at making the Wall-Mounted Vase. How lovely do the flowers look against her block colour backdrop?

    Photograph by Clare Nicolson

    A Playful Day reviewed the book on Day 3 of the blog tour summing up: For me, this is the joy of Hester's book: a project for everyone’ and celebrating with a blood orange cocktail – a delightfully seasonal take on one of Hester’s picnic ideas. So lovely!

    We followed this with a look at Tinkered Treasures favourite projects from the book, including the totally instagrammable picnic in a jar. We know we’ll be doing a lot of this over the summer!

    Last but by no means least, we finished up a beautiful blog tour with a post at Claireabellemakes, who followed Hester’s instructions for making your own mason jar candle. How gorgeous does Crafting With Mason Jars look when it’s lit by candlelight?

    Photograph by Claireabellemakes

    We’ve had a lovely week celebrating a beautiful and innovative book and are looking forward to seeing some more makes from this book! Just to tickle your creative tastebuds, our most recent #MakeOnMonday was Hester’s tutorial for the Coffee Cup Jar – perfect for summer camping trips! Find the project over on our MAKE YouTube Channel.

    Crafting With Mason Jars by Hester van Overbeek is available here. Unless stated otherwise, all photographs are by James Gardiner.


    This post was posted in Book Reviews, Craft Projects, Featured, News, UK, What's new and was tagged with handmade, upcycling, video, photos, blog tour, 2016

  • Posted on March 22, 2016

    Crochet Easter Egg Cosies

    With Easter and the bank holiday weekend on the horizon, we’ve got the cutest craft idea to share with you today. Perfect for keeping boiled eggs toasty whilst you’re hunting Easter Eggs (obviously a priority), these little bunny egg cosies are taken from Nicki Trench’s Cute and Easy Crocheted Cosies. So grab your crochet hooks and brighten your breakfast table, next weekend and beyond! Plus, if you like these cuties, there’s plenty more Easter crafting to be had straight into your inbox with our latest MAKE newsletter. Join here to receive it now!

    Bunny Egg Cosies

    These cute little egg cosies have bunny ears and are made using standard double crochet to fit an average-sized egg. They are made in a spiral so it’s useful to use a stitch marker to mark the beginning and end of each round.

    materials

    Debbie Bliss Rialto DK, 100% merino wool DK weight yarn

    1 x 50g (1.oz) ball – approx. 105m (115yd) – each of:

    A: 58 Grass (green)

    B: 44 Aqua (blue)

    C: 64 Mauve (pink)

    D: 69 Citrus (yellow)

    3.5mm (US size E/4) crochet hook

    Stitch marker

    6 small pink beaded fabric bows

    tension

    17 sts x 19 rows over a 10cm (4in) square, working double crochet using 3.5mm (US size E/4) hook.

    finished measurement

    Approx. 4cm (1½in) diameter

    abbreviations

    approx. approximate(ly)

    ch chain

    cont continu(e)(ing)

    dc double crochet

    dc2tog double crochet 2 stitches together

    rep repeat

    RS right side

    st(s) stitch(es)

    ss slip stitch

    WS wrong side

    Cosy

    (make 1 each in A, B, C, and D)

    Make 2ch, 6dc into second ch from hook.

    Round 1 (RS): 2dc in each dc to end. (12 dc)

    Cont in rounds with RS always facing.

    Round 2: Rep Round 1. (24 dc)

    Rounds 3–7: 1dc in each dc to end.

    Round 8: *1dc in next dc, dc2tog over next 2 dc; rep from * to end. (16 dc)

    Round 9: 1dc in each dc, join with a ss in first dc of round.

    Fasten off.

    Ears

    (make 2 per Cosy)

    Row 1: Using A, B, C, or D, make 5ch, 1dc in second ch from hook, 1dc in each ch to end. (4 sts)

    Rows 2–5: 1ch, 1dc in each st to end. (4 sts)

    Row 6: 1ch, [dc2tog] twice. (2 sts)

    Row 7: 1ch, 1dc in each st.

    Row 8: 1ch, dc2tog.

    Fasten off.

    Finishing

    Sew in ends on WS and turn Cosy RS out.

    Pin and block Ears.

    Position and pin Ears onto top of RS of Cosy and sew in place.

    Sew one bow onto the left-hand Ear.

    Cute and Easy Crochted Cosies by Nicki Trench is available here. Don’t forget to subscribe to MAKE now to receive this and lots more Easter craft ideas straight into your inbox. Join here today!


    This post was posted in Craft Projects, Featured, News, UK, What's new and was tagged with handmade, easter, school holidays, Nicki Trench, quick, crochet, 2016

  • Posted on March 21, 2016

    Motivation Monday: Dynamic Yoga

    Next up in our #MotivationMonday series of posts is an extract from our book Dynamic Yoga by Juliet Pegrum. Dynamic yoga is a rigorous, powerful form and the book provides a perfect introduction so even beginners will feel the benefits right away. In this post, Juliet shares her top hints and tips for supporting your yoga regime, and getting the most out of dynamic yoga workouts.

    Drinking and Eating

    It is important to feed and hydrate your body appropriately while practicing dynamic yoga—advice is provided here on how to do so.

    How to drink

    The intense heat that builds in the body from the combination of movement, internal locks, and breathing produces profuse perspiration. Sweating removes toxins from the body, but it also releases essential salts and minerals, and it is therefore advisable to rub the moisture back into your body after practice, so that the minerals can be reabsorbed. It is advised to avoid exposing your body to the open air in an attempt to dry the sweat, since this will cause a sapping of your vital energies, creating weakness in the body. Wait for at least one and a half hours after practice before venturing out into the open air, and half an hour before taking a hot bath, to give your body time to reabsorb the essential salts and minerals.

    Because of the fluid that is lost from the body during practice, it is important to replenish the system with fresh water, but it is not recommended that you drink either before or during your workout. It is best to wait for 20 minutes after the workout, by which time your body will have cooled down. Do not drink ice-cold water, which is too shocking for the system, but choose fresh mineral water at room temperature. If you are feeling particularly dehydrated, it is good occasionally to mix a sachet of rehydration formula into the water (this can be purchased over the counter at a good pharmacy). Another fast method for rejuvenating the system is to drink freshly squeezed fruit or vegetable juices, which are also full of vital nutrients.

    How to eat

    Food is one of the main human preoccupations and has a powerful effect on our mind and emotions. According to the scriptures pertaining to yoga, the consumption of foods either enhances or hinders the practice of yoga.  In India, it is believed that foods are a combination of particular energies. There are three energies, known as sattva, rajas, and tamas, of which all manifest objects are comprised in different proportions.

    Sattva is a clear, lucid energy and can be felt internally as periods of joy, clarity, and efficiency. Tamas is the polar opposite—its energy is heavy and inert, and it can be experienced as moments of laziness and lethargy. The third energy, rajas, is caused by the tension created in the opposition of sattva and tamas. Rajas energy is restless and active, and it can be experienced as manic energy. It drives us to a state of either lethargy or clarity.

    Good foods for yoga

    The best foods for yoga are those that enhance sattva energy (such as rice, yogurt, legumes, ginger, milk, and sugar), as they create a more tranquil state of mind. Foods containing tamas energy (such as red meat or rich, stodgy food)—and overeating—produce apathy. Foods containing rajas energy (such as hot and spicy foods) affect the mind and heat the body, causing restlessness. Most yoga practitioners favor a vegetarian diet.

    Dynamic Yoga by Juliet Pegrum is available here. Find all of our #MotivationMonday posts here, and we’ve shared lots of vegetarian recipes on the blog which you can find here.


    This post was posted in Featured, Interviews, UK, What's new and was tagged with mind body spirit, healthy, mindful exercise, 2016, exercise, yoga

  • Posted on March 18, 2016

    Recipe for the Weekend: St Patrick's Hangover edition

    If you were doing St Patrick’s Day right, we suspect there are one or two sore heads amongst you today. Or perhaps you were well-behaved because it was a School Night and are planning to really make up for it this weekend? Either way, we know that the only thing worse than a nasty hangover is a nasty hangover and nothing good to eat. Well, this is where our new book 101 Hangover Recipes comes in. This lifesaver of a book contains everything you need to get you ready to do it all over again! So with St Paddy’s heads in mind, and generous folk that we are, we thought we’d share a hangover classic with you this weekend. So go on, mix up a pitcher of Bloody Mary, get these eggs going and let’s beat the hangover!

    Huevos Rancheros

    Some of my worst ever hangovers have involved that most Mexican of awful spirits, cheap tequila. So it stands to reason that huevos rancheros, that most Mexican of awfully amazing breakfasts (see what I did there?) is the perfect antidote to a night necking that hellish booze. To increase the chance that you’ll actually knock this dish up for breakfast, make the salsa the day before.

    4 corn tortillas

    3 tablespoons vegetable oil

    1 cup (90 g) grated mild cheese, such as Cheddar or Monterey Jack

    4 eggs

    sea salt and freshly ground pepper

    Salsa

    6 plum tomatoes, halved

    2 jalapeño peppers

    8 garlic cloves, unpeeled

    ¼ cup (4 tablespoons) chopped cilantro (coriander)

    1 teaspoon Tabasco Sauce or favorite hot sauce

    1 small red onion, finely chopped, to serve

    Serves 4

    To make the salsa, place the halved tomatoes cut-side up in a shallow roasting pan. Season and place on the top rack under a preheated broiler (grill). Broil (grill) for about 10 minutes, or until charred.

    Preheat the oven to 400ºF (200ºC) Gas 6.

    Meanwhile, in a dry, non-stick skillet (frying pan), blacken the peppers and garlic cloves. Keep turning to color all sides. When done, peel the garlic and place in a food processor. Put the peppers in a plastic bag, tie a knot in the bag, and leave the peppers to steam for a few minutes, then peel, deseed, and stem. Add the flesh to the food processor along with the tomatoes, 2 tablespoons of cilantro (coriander), and the Tabasco. Season and pulse until smooth. Pour into a pan and cook briefly over medium heat to warm through.

    Brush the tortillas with 2 tablespoons of the oil and bake for 5 minutes until golden. Divide the cheese between the tortillas and return to the oven for 5 minutes until the cheese has melted. Turn off the oven, open the door and leave the tortillas in to keep warm. Fry the eggs in a non-stick skillet in the remaining tablespoon of oil. Place the tortillas on 4 plates and slip an egg on top of each. Spoon the warm salsa over each and sprinkle with the chopped onion and remaining cilantro.

    101 Hangover Recipes by Dan Vaux-Nobes is available here. If you need some more hangover brunch ideas, why not try our Brunch Quesadilla? You can find The Pantry video tutorial here.


    This post was posted in Featured, Recipes, UK, What's new and was tagged with eggs, savoury, brunch, recipe for the weekend, cheese, vegetarian, Mexican, 2016

  • Posted on March 14, 2016

    Mindful Movement

    Remember our #MotivationMonday posts earlier this year? We know that a lot of you are taking on some big challenges as spring creeps ever closer and the weather becomes a little warmer so we decided to bring them back! Whether you’re training for one of the many marathons on the horizon, doing something exciting for Sport Relief or looking to reach your next fitness goal, these posts are here to support and inspire you.

    Today’s post on Mindful Movement comes from our recent book, A Year of Living Mindfully by Anna Black. A perfect introduction to mindfulness and a great way of being in the moment whilst you exercise, this simple practice can improve your breathing, help you recover from a poor workout or better your workout routine.

    Mindful Movement

    Movement practice is a great opportunity to inhabit the body and explore what we are capable of (or not) in this very moment. Usually we move with a particular purpose in mind—to get from A to B, to become more flexible or burn calories, or perhaps to swim or run a particular distance. Mindful movement practice provides the chance to let go of striving and instead settle into where we are in the moment. When we practice “beginner’s mind” we become open to the possibilities of this moment, regardless of how we “performed” previously.

    The instructions are for a walking practice, but the same principles can be applied to any other activity, such as running, swimming, or more traditional meditative practices such as yoga, tai chi, and qi qong.

    When doing an activity as a mindfulness practice, experiment with the breath. Notice your relationship to it: are you holding it? Does it feel quick and panicky? Explore the “edge” (that place that feels as if you have reached your limit) with your breath. Pay particular attention to the out-breath and noticing how the body softens as you breathe out. Remember always to take care of yourself, never push through pain, and respect the limits of your body.

    • Begin by making an intention to walk mindfully, that is, intentionally become aware of your experience as it arises, without judging.
    • If you can, take a moment to stand still and connect with the sensations of your feet in contact with the ground. Then form the intention to begin peeling your left heel off the ground, noticing how you feel as the foot lifts, shifts, and then is placed on the ground as you take a step.
    • Then, taking your attention to the opposite foot, begin peeling the heel off the ground, lifting, shifting, placing …
    • Continue in this way, at first keeping your attention focused on the feet on the floor.
    • Experiment with walking at different speeds. If you are walking very slowly you might prefer to do this in the privacy of your home to avoid raising comment with friends or neighbors!
    • From time to time, widen your beam of awareness to include the whole  body, becoming aware of sensations within the body and perhaps the environment around you: sights, sounds, and smells.
    • You may also like to stop and stand still occasionally and notice what that feels like in the body.
    • Be curious about the experience of walking.
    • Let go of any agenda, goal, or seeking a particular outcome. Simply be with the experience as it is.

    A Year of Living Mindfully by Anna Black is available here. You can read all our #MotivationMonday posts here.


    This post was posted in Featured, News, UK, What's new and was tagged with mindfulness, mind body spirit, 2015, healthy, Motivation Monday, mindful exercise, exercise, fitness

  • Posted on March 11, 2016

    Recipe for the Weekend

    We’re going back to basics with today’s recipe. A good Bolognese sauce recipe is something every home cook worth their salt should have in their repertoire, and (although we might be a little biased), we think this is a particularly good one. Taken from our new book, A Handful of Herbs, it’s infinitely adaptable and after the grey drizzle that seems to have descended on us lately, we’re definitely in the mood for something hearty!

    Spaghetti Bolognese

    The addition of chicken livers along with fresh bay leaves and thyme brings a great depth of flavour to this Italian classic. Other than pairing with spaghetti, you can use the sauce as the base for lasagne or other baked pasta dishes.

    125 g/4 oz smoked pancetta, diced

    2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

    1 large onion, finely chopped

    2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped

    1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

    750 g/1½ lb minced/ground beef

    50 g/2 oz chicken livers, diced

    300 ml/1¼ cups red wine

    two 400-g/14-oz cans chopped tomatoes

    2 tablespoons tomato purée/tomato paste

    a pinch of caster/granulated sugar

    2 fresh bay leaves

    sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

    500g/1 lb. 2 oz. dry spaghetti

    Serves 4–6

    Heat a saucepan and dry-fry the pancetta for 3–4 minutes, or until browned and the fat is released into the pan. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon. Add the olive oil to the pan and gently fry the onion, garlic and thyme for 10 minutes, or until softened. Increase the heat, add the minced/ground beef and livers and stir-fry for 5 minutes, or until browned.

    Add the wine and bring to the boil, then stir in the canned tomatoes, tomato purée/tomato paste, sugar, bay leaves and seasoning. Cover and simmer over low heat for 1–1½ hours, or until the sauce has thickened.

    Cook and drain the spaghetti according to the packet instructions. Discard the bay leaves from the sauce, season to taste and serve with the pasta.

    A Handful of Herbs by Barbara Segall, Louise Pickford and Rose Hammick is available here.


    This post was posted in Featured, Recipes, UK and was tagged with savoury, recipe for the weekend, beef, tomato, quick, pasta, Louise Pickford, herbs, 2016

  • Posted on March 7, 2016

    Win 3 cookbooks by Jenny Linford!

    Jenny Linford Cookbooks

    After the lovely launch of Jenny Linford's latest cookbook last week, we wanted to celebrate with a giveaway of her three RPS books! For your chance to win all three books, simply subscribe to our food and drink community where you will receive free recipes, exciting news from our authors and exclusive foodie competitions, straight to your inbox. One lucky winner will be announced next Tuesday - good luck!


    And if you just can't wait to see if you win then check out three of Jenny's lovely recipes below. Good quality ingredients, simple methods and super flavours  - it's enough to make you run to the kitchen!

     


    This post was posted in Competitions, Featured, News, UK

  • Posted on March 4, 2016

    Recipe for the Weekend

    In acknowledgement of British Pie Week, today’s recipe celebrates two of our favourite things: cheese and pie! Taken from our new book Cooking with Cheese, this pithivier is an excellent vegetarian alternative to the traditional Sunday lunch - both delicious AND warming, something we definitely need in this chilly weather. Seriously, someone needs to remind the weather that it is in fact March and it needs to catch up with Spring! If you're having a more trad Sunday lunch this weekend, why not tip your hat to British Pie Week and use the leftovers to make Miranda Ballard's Boxing Day Pie? Don't be fooled by the name - this will be delicious in any season!

    Goat’s Cheese, Mushroom And Rosemary Pithivier

    Golden puff pastry filled with goat’s cheese, sliced mushrooms and walnuts, and marked in the sort Catherine wheel pattern typical of a Pithiviers: this would make any vegetarian feel special. Either make one large one for a crowd, or several smaller individual ones. It is good served with a generous spoonful of baby plum tomatoes and basil confit.

    5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

    2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

    1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

    300 g/10 oz. large dark open-cup mushrooms, thickly sliced

    350 g/12 oz. leeks, trimmed and sliced

    1 kg/2¼ lb. prepared puff pastry dough

    50 g/⅓ cup walnuts, chopped (not too finely)

    200 g/7 oz. goat’s cheese, crumbled

    1 small egg, plus 1 egg yolk, beaten to glaze

    salt and freshly ground

    black pepper

    tomato and basil confit, to serve

    A 27-cm/11-in. dinner plate

    A large lipless baking sheet

    SERVES 6

    Put 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and the garlic and rosemary into a spice grinder and blitz until smooth. Tip into a saut. pan/skillet and add the mushrooms. Stir to coat, add 2 tablespoons water, salt and pepper and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes until soft and all the liquid has disappeared. Spread out on a tray and let cool.

    Heat the remaining oil in the sauté pan/skillet and sauté the leeks for about 5 minutes until soft. Season and leave to cool.

    On a lightly floured surface, roll out half of the pastry to a rough circle that is just bigger than the dinner plate. Using the plate as a guide, cut out a circle around the plate with a sharp knife. Slide the pastry circle onto a heavy baking sheet. Spoon the cooled leeks onto the pastry circle in an even layer, leaving a 2.5-cm/1-in. bare rim of pastry all round. Mix the mushrooms gently with the walnuts and goat’s cheese and spoon evenly over the leeks. Lightly flatten the top, keeping the pastry edges clean. Brush the pastry edge with the beaten egg.

    Roll out the second quantity of pastry into a rough circle a good bit larger than the plate (it must be big enough to drape over the filling comfortably). Using a rolling pin, lift it up and lay over the filling, unrolling as you go. Gently mould it around the filling and press down around the edge to seal. Trim the edge to a width of 2.5 cm/1 in. Hold a knife horizontally and use the sharp edge to tap the edge of the pastry all the way around the dish. Scallop the edges and brush all over with the beaten egg. Chill the pastry in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

    Preheat the oven to its hottest setting.

    Once chilled, use the tip of a small sharp knife or scalpel to lightly score a wheel pattern on the surface of the pastry, being careful not to cut through the pastry. The pie can be kept chilled like this overnight, ready to cook the next day.)

    Bake the pie in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 220˚C (425˚F) Gas 7 and cook for a further 20–25 minutes until crisp and golden brown (lay a sheet of kitchen foil on top if it is browning too quickly). Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving with tomato confit.

    Cooking with Cheese is available here.


    This post was posted in Featured, Recipes, UK, What's new and was tagged with baking, savoury, recipe for the weekend, cheese, vegetarian, pie, 2016

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