NEW BLOGSITE!

Hi!

Thank you for visiting my blogsite – I hope that you have enjoyed the recipes that are listed here.

I also make bespoke bakes and I have now added this blogsite onto my webpage so if you would like to visit www.heather-brown.com then you can enjoy more recipes and find out more about what I do – along with some (hopefully) beautiful pictures.

See you there!

love Heather x

 

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Sausage Rolls.

Local sausage meat wrapped up in light and flaky pastry. I am a big fan of supporting local independent shops and I discovered a great local butcher (www.armstrongbutchers.com). They were only a fraction more expensive than sausages from the supermarket and I knew where the meat came from and that the animals were well looked after. I encourage you to explore your local shops and see what gems you can find.

I researched different types of pastry for this recipe and whilst flaky pastry is quicker to make, and can give a crisper finish, the puff does give you better layers – especially when eaten warm from the oven.

This recipe involves making the pastry but feel free to replace this with ready made puff pastry.  

sausage rolls

Ingredients.

  • 6-7 large sausages.
  • 3 rashers of dry cure streaky bacon
  • 1 small onion
  • 8oz strong white bread flour
  • 4oz butter
  • 4oz lard
  • pinch of salt
  • some iced/cold water
  • 1 egg

Method.

To make the pastry: Mix the salt into the flour and cut the butter and lard into chunks (1cm cubes) and add them to the mix. Using your hands, mix in the butter and lard pieces until they are coated in the flour.

Add the water bit by bit, and using a knife or a spatula, mix the water into the flour/butter mix until the dough just comes together. The aim is to create a ‘dough’ with the flour, but to still have lots of large lumps of flour and lard.

As soon as the dough has come together, tip out onto a floured work surface and shape into a large ‘brick’ shape. With your rolling pin, roll out the dough into a long strip of pastry. Take one of the ends and fold it into the middle and repeat with the other end – folding the dough into thirds. Press together with your hands to seal the ends. Cover with a sheet of cling and leave to rest for 5 minutes.

Rotate the dough 90 degrees. Repeat the above by rolling out into a long strip, folding into 3 and sealing in. Cover and rest for 5 minutes.

Repeat this 3 more times.

Wrap the dough completely with cling and pop in the fridge for at least an hour but overnight is also good.

NB. This pastry recipe has been adapted from Delia Smith’s ‘rough puff’ pastry recipe.

To prepare the meat: In a food processor, add the onion and the bacon and whizz until fine pieces. Take the sausages out of their skins and add the bacon/onion mush to the sausage meat, squishing with your hands until it is all combined. You can add extra herbs (like sage or thyme) but if you have quality sausages you may not need any. I also wouldn’t add any extra seasoning as the bacon will add salt to the taste.

To make the sausage rolls: Preheat the oven to gas 6/200.

Roll out the pastry until it is 0.5cm thick and rectangular in shape. (do NOT scrunch or fold the pastry).

Shape the sausage meat in your hands into a ‘sausage’ shape and place in lines down the pastry, allowing about an inch either side of each strip of meat. Using a knife or a pastry cutter, slice the pastry into sections. Beat the egg in a bowl. Fold the pastry over the sausage meat use some beaten egg to ‘glue’ the pastry together (you will end up with a long strip with one rounded edge and an edge where the pastry is stuck together).

Cut the sausage rolls from the long strip and cut little marks in the pastry on the top. Brush the beaten egg on the top of the sausage rolls. Place on a greased/lined baking tray and bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until golden on top.

This made about 6 chunky sausage rolls but would make more smaller rolls, depending on how large/small you shape the sausage meat.

Christmas Craft Fair.

A mini Winter Wonderland full of beautiful craft, delicious hot drinks and scrumptious Christmas bakes and the best bit… it will be raising money for charity too! Continue reading

Christmas Pudding.

Its now just 9 weeks to Christmas and its time to make the Christmas Pudding so that it has lots of time to mature ready for Christmas day. 

Shop-bought Christmas Puddings are often dense and full of all different kinds of exotic fruit and nuts and usually I am big advocate of fiddling with recipes to add different yummy things. This pudding is incredibly simple and soft in texture but so full of Christmassy flavour and definitely doesn’t need any tweeking. 

This recipe has been passed down from my Great-Nan and my lovely Mum is the Queen of making these each year – she has even provided me with these pictures! Thank you Mum! 

If you make any Christmas Pudding this year then I urge you to make this one – you really won’t regret it.

Ingredients.

  • 4oz plain flour
  • 3oz (vegetable) suet
  • 8oz sultanas
  • 8oz raisins
  • 8oz fruit
  • 1/4 pint milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1tbsp brandy
  • 3/4tsp mixed spice
  • 1/2 lemon (juice and rind)

NB. if you wanted to make these gluten free then just replace the plain flour with gluten free plain flour.

Method.

Mix all of the dry ingredients together, then all of the wet ingredients together and then combine both wet and dry ingredients and stir thoroughly. Leave in the bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave overnight for all the juices to be soaked up by the fruit.

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Place the mixture in a 2lb basin and cover with baking parchment, with an extra fold in the top to allow for expansion and steam. Then top the baking parchment layer with a layer of foil (with a similar fold in the top).

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Place an extra strip of foil around the basin to create a handle. Fill a saucepan with a couple of inches of water and place a plate in the bottom (so that the pudding is not in direct contact with the bottom of the pan). Put onto the heat and boil/steam for 8 hours.

Important: Check the water level frequently so that it does not boil dry.

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Once the pudding has cooled, store in a cool, dry place until Christmas Day.

On Christmas Day.

Make a new hat for the pudding (with the baking parchment and foil) and steam just like before for 1-2 hours.

Pudding will easily feed 10 people with leftovers. 

Christmas Cake.

Its 10 weeks until Christmas and now is the time when I start thinking about my Christmas baking (yum yum yum…). Lots of delicious recipes improve by being left for a couple of months to mature and for the flavours to develop and this deliciously fruity Christmas Cake is the perfect example of that. 

A Christmas Cake is a very flexible cake recipe and can take all sorts of different goodies being added (or removed) to change the flavour to suit your own tastes. I prefer to not to use dried peal and to use dried cherries, marmalade and brandy as some of my chosen goodies so get creative!

If you would rather not have the hassle of making a Christmas Cake yourself then I am taking orders for Christmas Cakes so do get in touch by calling 07971423678 or emailing heather@heather-brown.com

christmas cake

Ingredients. 

  • 10oz currants
  • 12oz sultanas
  • 3oz dried cherries
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 orange
  • 2tbsp brandy
  • 7oz plain flour
  • 1tsp mixed spice
  • 5oz butter
  • 6oz soft brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1tbsp marmalade

Method. 

Line an 8″ round tin with 2 good layers of baking parchment. You can also wrap the outside of the tin with brown paper too. Also make a ‘hat’ for the cake out of baking parchment to protect the top but cut a hole in the centre to allow the steam to escape. The cake cooks for a long time in the oven and this helps not to scorch the top and side of the cake.

Preheat the oven to 140/gas mark 1.

Add the sugar and butter to a large bowl and beat them together until pale (about 2 minutes with an electric whisk). Add in the eggs gradually (alternating an egg with a spoonful of flour). Then mix in the flour.

Then add all your goodies – juice and rind of the lemon and orange, mixed spice, brandy, marmalade and all the dried fruit and mix well.

Place in the tin and put in the oven and bake for 2.5 hours. Check the cake every 30 minutes until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.

Allow the cake to cool in the tin and once cold, wrap the cake in a layer of baking parchment and a layer of foil and place in an airtight container and leave until about 1 week before Christmas, when you can ice the cake however you fancy. If you would like to – every 2 weeks, poke the cake a number of times with a skewer and spoon over some brandy. This is called ‘feeding’ the cake.

Raspberry Jam.

I use this jam in a lot of my recipes as its brilliant sharpness helps to cut through some of the sweetness and balance the flavours. As a bonus – this jam is really easy to make too! 

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Ingredients

  • 1kg Jam Sugar
  • 1kg fresh raspberries
  • Juice from 1 lemon
Method
Place a small saucer into the freezer (that sounds weird … but trust me). Also – if you are using jars, then make sure you sterilise them first – either by heating them in a pan of boiling water for 5 minutes or by running them through a hot dishwasher.
Add all of the ingredients to a large saucepan over a medium heat and stir the ingredients together as the sugar dissolves. When the mixture reaches boiling point, stop stirring and let the mixture boil for 5 minutes.
After 5 minutes – take the saucer from the freezer and drip some of the mixture onto it (this cools the jam very quickly). Push the mixture with your finger and if it wrinkles then it is set. If it is not, boil for a further 2 minutes and re-test.
If you would like a jam without seeds (arguably better for use in cakes), then push the jam through a sieve before putting it into jars.


Makes about 8-10 small jars of jam. 

Cheese Scones.

This is my favourite treat after a long day.

It might seem at first like too much work to make scones when you are tired but they are ridiculously easy, barely any washing up and just SO good straight from the oven with cold butter and nice cup of tea – 100% worth the effort. 

Cheese Scone

Ingredients.

  • 8oz self-raising flour
  • 1.5oz butter
  • pinch salt
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 50g mature cheddar cheese (or whatever you have)
  • 150ml milk

Method. Makes 4 large scones. 

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees/160 fan/gas 5. Line a tray.

Place the flour in a bowl and add the salt and sugar. Add the butter in smallish pieces and ‘rub together’ (this simply means to rub together the butter with the dry ingredients between your fingers and thumbs until the mix ends up looking like breadcrumbs).

Grate in the cheese and give a quick stir. Then pour in the milk bit by bit until the mix comes together to form a dough (you might not need all of the milk so go steady).

Sprinkle your work surface with a bit of flour and tip the dough. Gently pat out so its a bit less than 1 inch thick and cut with a round cutter, placing the scones onto the tray. I usually don’t bother with all that though – I simply break the dough into pieces and place on the tray.

Brush the top with a little milk (or dribble on if no brush/cant be bothered to wash brush!) and place into the oven. Bake for something like 15 minutes until golden on top (the bottom will sound ‘hollow’ when you tap it too).

Tips.

  • Don’t knead the mixture much at all (otherwise it can get tough and dry)
  • If your dough is too wet, just add a little more flour.
  • This is a very forgiving recipe so don’t worry all that much about being completely accurate – often my butter just gets chucked in and I rarely measure the cheese or milk out.
  • You can add any extras you fancy… like chopped olives, sun-dried tomatoes, cooked bacon pieces…
  • Half of the above recipe is enough for one hungry person for dinner and makes two large scones.

Enjoy! 

Cookie Dough Brownies.

These treats combine the oh-so-delicious cookie dough with a dense and chocolatey brownie base. These are super sweet but also super tasty. 

Cookie Dough Brownie by Heather Brown UK

Ingredients. 

For the cookie dough.

  • 180g butter
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 150g soft brown sugar
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 190g plain flour
  • 200g dark chocolate chips
  • a little milk (if needed)

For the brownies.

  • 50g butter
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 50g soft brown sugar
  • 40g golden syrup
  • 150g dark chocolate
  • 2 eggs
  • 40g plain flour

Method. 

Line an 8″ square tin and preheat the oven to 180 degres/160 fan/gas 5.

To start, make the brownies by gently melting together the butter, caster sugar, soft brown sugar and golden syrup in a saucepan until the mixture is smooth. Melt into this mixture the chocolate  and then take off the heat. Stir in the eggs and then the flour.

Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for 15-20 minutes. When it is cooked, the cake should start to crack at the edges and the top should change from glossy to a matt finish. Leave the brownies to cool completely in the tin.

Once the brownies have cooled – beat together in a bowl the butter and sugars until well combined. Add in the vanilla and then mix in the flour (adding a tablespoon or two of milk if the mixture is too stiff). Stir in the chocolate chips.

Squash this mixture into the brownie tin and press down onto the brownie base. This then needs to be chilled for about 1 hour until it can be sliced up and scoffed.

A tip for when you slice, heat the knife in hot water and wipe the blade clean between each slice.

Makes 20 small pieces. 

Viennese Fingers.

These are another of my childhood favourites… buttery biscuits filled with sweet buttercream and dipped in smooth, dark chocolate. Yum. 

Viennese Fingers by Heather Brown

Ingredients.

  • 6oz butter
  • 6oz caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 12 oz plain flour
  • 8oz icing sugar
  • 4oz soft butter (spreadable butter works really well)
  • dark chocolate

Method. 

Line 2 baking trays and preheat the oven to 200 degrees/180 fan/gas 6.

Mix together the butter and sugar until the mixture turns pale and creamy (about 5 minutes with a spoon and about 2 minutes with an electric mixer). Add the eggs and mix in well. Stir in the flour. Place the mixture into a piping bag and pipe onto the tray – either in lines or in swirls.

Bake in the oven for 15 minutes (or until golden) and allow to cool completely.

To make the buttercream icing simply beat together the soft butter and icjng sugar. Taste and if not sweet enough, simply add some milk and then add some more icing sugar.

For the finished biscuit – take one line/swirl and spread a thick layer of buttercream over the bottom (the flat side of the biscuit) and press the base of another biscuit to it. Melt the dark chocolate and dip each end of the biscuit in the chocolate and leave to set on a wire rack.

Alternative – if you would like chocolate biscuits, substitute 2oz of flour for 2oz of cocoa powder.

Makes about 20 biscuits. 

Chocolate Chip Muffins.

This is one of my favourite recipes as it is both simple and quick but super delicious! My secret is simple – I just add lots and LOTS of chocolate chips! If you always sometimes have the need for chocolate cake, then this recipe is for you! 

choc muffins 1 (2)

Ingredients. 

  • 6oz caster sugar
  • 6oz butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 6oz self raising flour
  • 1/2tsp vanilla extract
  • 200g chocolate chips

Method. 

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees/180 fan/gas 6. Place paper muffin cases into a 12 hole muffin tray.

Mix together the butter and sugar until the mixture turns pale – this can be done with a wooden spoon but a mixer will make this quicker (and easier on your arms!). Beat in the eggs and vanilla really well (the mixture may look ‘curdled’ at this point but the flour will sort this out). Mix in the flour until combined (go easy with the mixing at this point) and then stir in the chocolate.

Spoon into the cupcake cases and bake for 15-20 minutes until brown on top and middle cakes in the tray are ‘springy’ to the touch. Check the muffins after 15 minutes and rotate the tray if necessary so they brown evenly.

These are great eaten warm but if you don’t manage to eat the whole tray warm from the oven (!) then 10 seconds in the microwave is enough to just melt the chocolate chips to make this delicious snack even better!

Makes 12 muffins.