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Cheesy Chipotle Stars

STARS  Copy of STARS

I figured that this recipe was rather apt. I recently won an award, earning myself a place amongst 23 other ‘Rising Stars’ as we are now known. The award was given by Strategic Proposals is for up-and-coming talent the bid and proposal profession. This week saw the completion of the training sessions for the award, and I sat an exam last week (which I passed – yay!). I’ve been travelling about a lot for work this week too, so it’s been one of those ridiculously busy weeks. Hurrah for the weekend!

These golden cheesy treats are a deliciously spicy savoury snack. They are the perfect balance of smoky Chipotle and yummy mature cheddar. It doesn’t get much better that that, right?

Just looking at these little golden wonders makes me excited that autumn is officially upon us. Amongst the many reasons I celebrate the return of autumn, are the leaves starting to fall, woolly socks, the smell of rain in the morning and of course pumpkins, roasted parsnip soup and gingerbread lattes. It’s is my favourite season for sure. So much so that I’ve decided to dedicate a whole blog post to ‘The Reasons I Love Autumn’… coming soon!

These cheesy delights are the perfect little snack alongside a delicious autumnal soup, or as my sister-in-law (which I can now call her as Rich and I got married 3 weeks ago, yay us!) suggested, these would be great washed down with a glass or two of sangria. She’s in Spain, jealous much?

The recipe makes a whole bunch. Forgive me because I didn’t count exactly how many, and I guess it all depends on the size and shape of your cookie cutter anyhow. Of course, you could use any shaped cutter, but I opted for ‘Rising Stars’ (ahem,  I make no apology for the shameless plug to my recent success).

The base of this recipe will serve you well for other varieties of snack. If you don’t like spicy food, or Chipotle – you’re odd. No, but seriously, you could try cheddar and rosemary, or poppy seed, or maybe some sunflower seeds for crunch. Experiment. It’s the best thing about cooking.

Ingredients:

  • 200g mature cheddar cheese, grated
  • 115g plain flour
  • 50g salted butter (cold)
  • 1tbsp Chipotle paste (less if you don’t like it too spicy)
  • 4-6 tbsp cold water

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees (fan)
  2. Tip the ingredients into a blender with a dough hook and blend adding a tablespoon at a time of water until a soft dough forms. If mixing by hand, combine and bring the mixture together by hand, knead on a floured work surface.
  3. Roll out the dough on a floured work surface to 3mm thick.
  4. Using a cookie cutter stamp out your stars. Place on a lined baking tray and bake for 15-18 minutes.
  5. Allow to cool on a wire rack.
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Smoked Mackerel Pâté

Howdy folks. I’ve been so busy of late; I literally haven’t even had the time to think about blogging. So what’s been going on then? Well, after much deliberation, I decided it was about time I picked myself up, dusted off the past couple of months and signed up to a dating website. So, I’ve been on a few interesting dates… and we’ll just say I’m still on my search for Mr. Right. I’ve also been on my friend’s hen weekend in Bath, which was a scandalous affair. But, that’s to be expected right? So, needless to say, Miss Friday’s Feast has taken a back seat, just whilst I get myself back on track anyway.
So, I haven’t really been cooking much lately, I spend most of my weekends out and about, which inevitably means eating out, lucky me, although, my waistline is probably suffering a little. I’ve made a few bits and pieces, mainly my go-to recipes like curries, steak and pasta dishes. But, yesterday I had an urge for smoked mackerel, so I decided to make a quick pâté.
A pâté is perfect for when you’re stuck at your desk, with little hope of escaping for a Nando’s lunch. It’s great to have something tasty to grab.
You can make it in under 5 minutes, so there’s no excuse that you don’t have time in the evening to prepare lunch, grab a couple of slices of bread, French stick or even some vegetable batons, such as carrots, peppers and celery.
I believe it’s a fairly healthy lunch too, although I’m no dietician so don’t hold me to that. Well that’s about it for now, I’ll try and get my focus back to the kitchen, in-between the dates, and I have another hen weekend in three weeks. Speaking of which, we are going to Vinopolis (wine tasting), so I’ll try and get lots of pictures and maybe I’ll do a little review for you all.

1 packet of smoked mackerel (non-peppered)
150g soft extra light cheese (such as Philadelphia)
Half a packet of chives, snipped
Juice of half a lemon
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Ground black pepper

Break the mackerel fillets up with your fingers and place in a blender, add the cheese, chives, lemon juice and cayenne pepper. Pulse in the blender until combined, you want a fairly smooth consistency. Add a little black pepper and refrigerate. Eat within 4 days.

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Flipping hell it’s almost Shrove Tuesday!

That’s Pancake Day to you and me, and it is only a matter of days before we start seeing the ingredients shoved at us left right and centre in the supermarkets. Buy one get one free squeezy lemon anyone?

Shrove Tuesday is on 12th February.
I don’t know about you, but I’m kind of bored of basic pancakes with lemon and sugar. Don’t get me wrong they taste great, and provoke wonderful childhood memories, but there are so many other pancake recipes waiting to be discovered. Think of it like your Christmas dinner if you will. Yes, you still have turkey every year, but I’m guessing you try different side dishes with it each year, a new glazed carrot recipe maybe? So why not make this the year you ditch the norm and discover exciting new pancake day recipes. Go on, you know you want to!
What is Shrove Tuesday?
Now, I couldn’t very well write a post about Shrove Tuesday without having done my research, so for those of you who are interested, or just need to know in case the kids ask. Shrove Tuesday (also known as Pancake Day) is the day preceding Ash Wednesday, the first day of the Christian festival Lent (a time for giving things up).
So why the pancakes?
During Lent many Christians give up certain foods as a way of remembering the time Jesus fasted in the desert, and as a test of self discipline. Pancakes have become the customary food of choice on Shrove Tuesday so that rich ingredients, such as eggs, milk and sugar could be used up before the start of the 40 days of Lent.
Having scrawled through numerous Pancake Day recipes, I decided to have a go at this one from the Banking Mad website, and it was delicious with a little Greek yoghurt and honey drizzled on top.  


Toasted Almond Pancakes

Makes 12-14 pancakes
1tbsp vegetable oil
125g plain flour, sifted
210ml milk
90ml water
75g flaked almonds, toasted
2 medium eggs
Pinch of salt
Mix the flour and salt together in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre of the flour and crack in the eggs. Mix together the milk and the water in a jug.
Beat the eggs into the flour with a wooden spoon and gradually pour in the milk and water mixture to get a smooth mix similar to single cream. Stir in the flaked almonds.
Stir in the oil and allow to stand for 30 minutes before using.
Heat a non-stick frying pan until very hot, then add a tablespoon of oil. Swirl the oil around the pan. Pour a ladleful of the batter into the pan, quickly turning the pan to coat the base evenly with the batter. Cook for 30 seconds to one minute, until the base is lightly browned.
Gently flip the pancake over and cook on the other side for a few seconds, until lightly browned. Slide the pancake onto a plate, cover with greaseproof paper and keep warm. Repeat the process with the remaining batter.
Serve the pancakes folded in quarters with a dollop of Greek yogurt and a generous helping of runny honey.
  
I urge you not to grab one of those horrible ‘shake to make’ Pancake mixes from the supermarket. There are a few reasons why. Firstly Pancakes are ridiculously easy, and so much cheaper to make. The kids will have great fun making them, and it’s good to teach kids how to cook properly – unless you want them to grow up on ready meals. And if that’s not enough to put you off, I checked and there are a staggering 190 calories in a pancake made from Tesco Pancake Mix Bottle compared to only around 70 in a home made one. 
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Homemade Sausage Rolls

I’m going to start today by doing something I’d hoped I would never have to, apologising for my lack of blog posts this month. 
I know what you’re thinking: bad blogger, right? The truth is work as been hectic; I work in a client services role, which means we are manic one week and dead the next. The run up to Christmas is always busy though, which is a little frustrating when you just want to wind down and blog about all the delicious things you’ve been making. Especially when there’s been an abundance of culinary treats coming out of my kitchen of late. I just haven’t had the time to share them all, so hopefully the Christmas break will give me that opportunity to catch up, and be that committed, frequent blogger I set out to be.
There is another reason I haven’t been able to give my posts and recipe write ups as much focus as I would have liked, an exciting one too. Miss Friday’s Feast is currently undergoing a well needed visual make over. And, I just can’t wait to reveal the new look; all in good time.
So, today I give you my sausage roll recipe, just in time for making a batch to stash in the freezer for Christmas. Perfect for those Christmas drinks parties, when hosting a full blown dinner party is just out of the question. After all, Christmas is such a busy time for everyone, especially if your juggling a busy job with present buying, wrapping, planning and cooking – it can be exhausting, who wants to add extra stress by hosting a dinner party? Not me, I’d rather flop on the sofa with a glass of mulled wine and a plate of delicious warm sausage rolls I had the insight to make a month ahead. Yes, a whole plate.  Sounds a little Bridget Jones doesn’t it? The funny thing is, I actually have those pajamas, and will most likely spend the best part of December wearing them.





This recipe really couldn’t be simpler, which is what makes it so great, it makes about 16 bite sized sausage rolls, or 4 four larger ones. Just double the ingredients for a larger stash. I buy the puffy pastry in a ready rolled sheet, because all you need to do is cut it length ways down the middle and you’re ready to get cracking. Make sure you take the pastry out of the fridge 30 minutes before you want to use it to allow it to soften slightly. Not too much though, you don’t want it gooey or stringy.

8 pork and herb sausages (or 500g of sausage meat)
Puff pastry sheet (375g)
1 egg yolk, whisked
½ white onion, finely chopped
2 coves garlic, minced
1 tbsp parsley, freshly chopped
1 tsp crushed chilli flakes
1 tsp crushed fennel seeds
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
If using individual sausages, remove the skin by piercing them with a sharp knife, place the sausage meat into a large bowl and season well.
Fry the onion and garlic in a little oil and add to the sausage meat whilst still warm, this helps to bind everything together. Add the parsley, chilli and fennel seeds and mix well. I find clean hands are best.
Roll out the pasty onto a lightly floured work surface and cut in half length ways. Place the mixture in the middle of each piece, ensuring you leave enough pastry each side to fold over and close. Once you have rolled up your sausage rolls, pinch the fold together using a folk and brush with the egg yolk.
Cut the sausage rolls to the desired size before baking (otherwise you’ll have pastry everywhere) and place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Place in the centre of a pre-heated oven (200⁰C) for 14 minutes.
Allow to cool on a wire rack, or gobble them down whilst warm, which I highly recommend.