Perfect pastry

How to make perfect pastry

Day 2 of our Christmas countdown deals with pastry. Ok, there are plenty of ready made pastries on the market, but there is nothing nicer & more satifying than making your own.

Apart from the fact that there will be no hidden, additives in your homemade pastry, you also have the opportunity, to ring the changes, by using different flours. You need to experiment with this, as some flours, Rye for example, produces a lovely nutty tasting pastry, but it can be quite heavy, needing the addition of a bit more liquid than when using normal plain flour.

Always, use the best quality flour that you can afford, cheap flours contain bleaching agents, to retain the whiteness & the quality of the wheat used in the milling, is not always of great quality. All this reflects in the final taste & texture of your finished result. I personal use Mathews Cotswold flours, in all my baking. In the photo above, you can see pastry made with their Maize flour, which make a beautifully crisp, golden pastry, suitable for quiches, tarts etc.  Recipe below:

Short crust pastry. 

Makes 1kg enough to line 4 x 20cm Quiche or Tart tins.  Allegens:: Wheat, Egg.

450g Maize Flour

115g Unsalted butter- chopped into small pieces.

115g White Cooking Fat – chopped into small pieces.

1 medium free range egg, beaten & made up to 8 tbspns with ice cold water.

Large pinch of salt.

METHOD

Place the flour & salt into the bowl of a stand mixer.

Using the K beater, mix on speed 3 until the mix resembles breadcrumbs. DO NOT OVER MIX.

With the mixer running, gradually add the egg & water. Until the mix forms a ball. Remove from the bowl & lightly knead on a floured surface. Wrap in cling film & chill for 30mins, untill ready to use. Never over work your dough, & keep all ingredients chilled. Warm over worked pastry, results in oily, heavy pastry. Always bake in a metal tin, placed on a pre heated oven tray (place in oven, when switching on). This conducts the heat better. NO soggy bottom. As a general rule, this pastry bakes at 200f 400c Gas 6 for 15mins, reducing to 180f 350c Gas 4 for a futher 20mins, depending on your recipe & oven.

The above recipe makes, 1kg of pastry. you can halve the quantity, but I think it is always better, from a time point of veiw, to make a larger quantity, & divide it into portions & freeze for later use. You can line 4 tins with the pastry & pop into the freezer. When needed you have them ready to fill & bake.  

To make a gluten free version of Shortcrust pastry. Replace the above flour with the following:

200g Buckwheat Flour

250 Brown Rice Flour.

Omit the egg & use nine tablespoons of chilled water. Follow the method as above.

Apple, shortcake. tart, pie
Fill you flan.

Have fun choosing your fillings, both sweet & savoury, get creative

On tomorrows Christmas Countdown, we will be dealing with Rough Puff Pastry & Christmas Cake Pies?

A Cook in the Baking

Here at TRUFFLEicious/Wiltshire Artisans we know all about the small food business, not because we have done a couple of baking courses & think we know it all, but because over the years, (about 40), to be precise, we have done it. Several times. I am definitely a cook in the baking.

cake, chocolate, homemade, small business, cookery
A chocolate treat

We have never been, or wanted to be a large food business, small & exclusive, I think are the words that describes us best. Circumstances prevailed, when it was not always possible to continue those businesses, but never the less our passion for food & creativity has led us down different paths, over the years.

Learning the basics of cookery, like most girls in my youth (this was 40 yrs ago), from my mother, I had various jobs in kitchens during the school holidays where I learnt even more about food & my passion was born.

Leaving school, my teachers thought I was bound for Art College, but it was not to be “out to work & earn some money” my father told me and so off I went. The Lady Magazine, a publication which still exists today, was the key to my short term future.

“Cook required for small family of 5. Large Rectory in the rural Cotswold’s. Simple daily cooking & some entertaining at weekends”. Putting pen to paper, (no e-mails in those days,) I applied & two weeks later I was installed in my first proper cooking job. I thoroughly enjoyed the 5 years I spent here, the family were lovely, I had a cosy little cottage in the grounds & learnt a lot – about people & food.

During my time at the Rectory I was introduced to many interesting people, made even more fascinating because my cookery skills were in demand. I made steak & kidney pies for local pubs, cakes for cafe’s & cooked dinner parties for friends of my employer. One particular lady, the grand-daughter of a famous composer, lived in a beautiful Elizabethan Manor House. Finding times difficult, she started a bed a breakfast business for visiting Americans. Dinner in the evening was becoming a necessity, my services were needed on an ad hoc basis, a cottage became available on her estate, & the rest, as they say, is history.

cooking, history, small business, food, changing world
A Cook in the baking

Farm Cottage was started from my kitchen in rural Gloucestershire. Having obtained a list of names from my landlady I set about creating a mail shot. This was hard work in the pre-internet years. I hand wrote menus on vellum paper, stapled them into booklets and popped them into 25 large envelopes. I then sat back & waited for the phone to ring & ring it did.

Read more of my journey, in a later post on this site.

menu, mail shot, advertising, small business
A menu from the past

Spiced Potato & Carrot Bahji

Spiced Potato & Carrot Bahji’s

I love a nice spicy, crispy Bahji, served with a nice fresh crunchy salad & a big bowl of chilli & cucumber ratia, for dipping. The only thing I don’t like is the fat content. Traditionally, Bahji’s are deep fried, which gives them that gorgeous, crunchy texture, it also gives them a high fat content. Well foodies after playing around a bit with my ingredients & cooking methods, I have come up with these little low fat, gluten free, dairy free vegan & vegetarian Bahji balls.

Carrots, Potatoes, Bahji's, Oven baked, low fat
Hot from the oven

INGREDIENTS: SERVES 4. GLUTEN FREE, DAIRY FREE, VEGETARIAN, VEGAN, Oven temp 200c 400f Gas MK 6.

500g Potatoes, grated. Put in a tea towel & squeeze to remove excess water.

2 medium red onions, grated ( I find red onions more digestible for lowfodmap diets)

200g Carrots, grated

5cm, Fresh Ginger, peeled & grated

2. Fresh red chillies, finely chopped

1tspn Turmeric powder

3 tspns Cumin Seeds

1 tspn Salt

5 Tbspns Gram Flour

Juice of 1 Fresh Lime

2 tbspns Rapeseed Oil

Fresh chillis & Corriander to serve.

es, bahji's, vegetables, low fat, oven baked
Assembling the spicy Veg mix

METHOD:

Place the drained potatoes, carrots, onions, chillis, ginger, spices and salt in a large bowl, & mix together well. (get you hands in).

Add the gram flour & mix well again.

Add the lime juice & oil & mix well again, adding a little more oil if necessary to produce a sticky mix.

Line a baking tray with non stick parchment, roll the mix into small ball, & place a little apart on the tray.

Bake for 25-30mins, checking half way through & turning if necessary.

Remove from the oven & sprinkle with fresh corriander & finely chopped chilli’s

Serve with a grated carrot, spring onion & red pepper salad, a bowl of corriander & chilli yoghurt & mango chutney.

Enjoy.

Another little tip, for low fat nibbles. 15mins before the Bahji’s are ready, Sprinkle some pumpkin seeds in a single layer on baking parchement. Sprinkle with a little salt & some spice of your liking & bake.  Beats peanuts anytime.

pumkin seeds, low fat, nibbles with drinks, vegetarian, gluten free
Spicy, low fat nibbles

TRUFFLEicious Totally Homemade Food. light lunches, salads, bread, cakes — TRUFFLEicious.org

TRUFFLEicious Stable Kitchen, Great Chalfield, Atworth, Melksham, Wiltshire. SN12 8NJ 07778 15737 https://goo.gl/maps/4FccXTZaXuo

via TRUFFLEicious Totally Homemade Food. light lunches, salads, bread, cakes — TRUFFLEicious.org

Home made bread, Artisan Breads, Organic Bread, Cheese Breads, Sweet potato & walnut bread
The Staff of life

Pop in and see us, we are open until 31st October Tues, Wed, Thurs, 12.30 – 3.30 & Sundays 1-4pm.

We cater for all dietary requirements . You can also pre-order our range of homemade organic, Artisan bread, throughout the year. Fresh local free rage eggs also available.

If you have visited us, please leave a comment or leave a review on Trip Advisor.

Summer Food

We tend to think of Christmas as a time of food & feasting, but for me, Summer will always be the time, when feasting on fresh healthy food comes to the fore.

I can think of nothing nicer than whiling away a hot summer’s day with friends, whilst enjoying a delicious light lunch. Maybe you grow your own herbs & veg to make your own salads & dressings. Serve them with this light summery dish, made the night before. Toss a salad on the day & serve with my Small batch, Artisan, Fennel & Sesame Bread.   Add some fresh strawberries & raspberries for dessert & Voila a tasty, healthy, summer meal.

SMOKED SALMON & CUCUMBER MOUSSE

Gluten Free. Vegetarian.        No Cooking time. Prep time: 20mins. Chill Overnight.

Equipment  1.2Ltr Ring Mould.

Serves 6 as a main Course, 12 as a starter.

INGREDIENTS.

Tspn Olive Oil for greasing

200g Smoked Salmon Slices.

1 Medium Cucumber, finely diced.

225g Cottage Cheese, Sieved,

7g Sachet of Gelatine

150ml Water

150ml Homemade Anchovy Mayonnaise

150ml Greek Yoghurt

METHOD.

Lightly grease the mould with olive oil.

Line the sides of the mould with the smoked salmon slices.

Finely dice the Cucumber.

Put the water into a small saucepan, sprinkle the Gelatine over & allow to soak for 5mins. Place over a very low heat, until dissolved. DO NOT ALLOW TO BOIL.  Allow to cool.

Place the cottage cheese, mayonnaise into a bowl & mix well.

Working quickly, add the cooled gelatine mix to the cheese & mayo. Mix well.

Add the diced cucumber & fold in the Greek Yoghurt.

Season with white pepper. Pour into the mould, shake to level to top.

Cover with cling film & allow to set overnight.

Bread, Baking, Small batch, Artisan, Bakery
Bread. The Staff of Life

TO SERVE

Loosen the edges carefully with a palette knife & turn out onto a serving dish.

Decorate the edges with lemon slices & fresh herbs.

Serve with Crunchy Cos Lettuce & herb salad and a lemon Viniagarette dressing and slices of my fresh Fennel & sesame Bread.

Don’t forget the Chardonnay.

Chardonnay, wine, summer eating, summer drinking, food
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