Berrynana Smoothie (1)

Mushroom toasts with bacon, thyme, garlic and roasted bone marrow

This is without doubt one of the most deliciously mouth watering recipes I’ve ever devised, for obvious reasons I guess. Roasted bone marrow spooned over garlicky mushrooms and salty jewels of bacon and perfumed woody thyme… what’s not to love? These mushroom toasts would be ideal for a Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve dinner party. Just go easy on the garlic so as not to knock your guests side ways with your garlic breath.

This recipe really packs a punch in terms of flavour and it’s just so simple. Aside from waiting for the bone marrow to cook it only takes about 10 minutes to throw together, so even when you’ve still got some last minute wrapping to do you can find 10 minutes right?

Bring some restaurant elegance into your home

It is easy to bring a little bit of restaurant into your own kitchen. In fact, Christmas has to be the ideal time. Your guests will really appreciate the touch of elegance it brings to the dinner table, plus you’ll look extra chefy. All you have to do is ask your butcher for some femur bone cut into small discs and pop it into the oven. Job done! Well almost…

The inspiration for the recipe

The inspiration for this recipe came from a book I recently bought for a friend. It’s a book I feel compelled to share with all foodies I know. ‘The Flavour Thesaurus’ is always on hand in my kitchen. If you’re a foodie and you’ve not heard of it or read it I urge you to pop out and grab a copy. As the title suggests, the book is set out like a thesaurus and is a bible of parings, recipes and ideas for the creative cook. On many an occasion I’ve taken inspiration from the book, perhaps when I have a random ingredient left over and I’m not sure what to pair it with. I can always count on The Flavour Thesaurus to come up with the goods.

The recipe

Garlic mushroom toasts with bacon, thyme and roasted bone marrow
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Starter, Main, Snack
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Ingredients
  • 250g mushrooms (I used Chestnut and Shiitake), roughly chopped
  • 4 rashers of smoked streaky bacon
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp freshly chopped thyme
  • Splash of white wine
  • 2 disks of femur bone (bone marrow) - ask your butcher for this
  • 4 thick slices of sourdough bread
  • 1 tbsp each of butter and olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Turn the oven on to the highest temperature and pop in the bone marrow (in a roasting tin). It will take about 35-40 minutes.
  2. When the marrow has only 10 minutes from being done heat the butter and olive oil in a pan on a medium heat. Add the bacon and cook for 4 minutes.
  3. Add the mushrooms, garlic and thyme, cook for another 2-3 minutes.
  4. Then add a splash of wine and allow to cook until reduced. Season to taste.
  5. Pop the slices of sourdough bread under the grill. Remove when lightly toasted and whilst still hot rub them with a garlic clove.
  6. Remove the bone marrow from the oven and carefully spoon out the soft marrow from the middle - stir this through the mushroom mix.
  7. Pile the mushroom mix on to the toasts and garnish with a little fresh thyme.
  8. Serve immediately.

 

 

Berrynana Smoothie (1)

Chicken & Mushroom Pie

I’m really rather fond of pies, especially when the weather is as wet and gloomy as it’s been today. There is something oh so comforting about pie, whether it’s steak, chicken or apple… you just can’t beat the deliciousness of buttery flaky pastry on a cold day.

Chicken Pie

Given that today has been rather horrid on the weather front, I thought I’d share one of these recipes with you to really get you in the autumnal spirit of things. I’m feeling rather autumnal myself, I’ve spent the entire day cleaning my home (yes it’s that bloody nesting instinct as baby still hasn’t arrived), I figured that there wasn’t anything else to do seeing as it was so wet outside.

I digress, here is my delicious home-made chicken and mushroom pie recipe made using left over roast chicken, so it makes a perfect Monday night treat that’s really cheap to make.

Chicken & Mushroom Pie
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: British
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Chicken & Mushroom Pie
Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, roughly chopped
  • 3 sticks celery, roughly chopped
  • 2 carrots, roughly chopped
  • 300g mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tbsp freshly chopped thyme
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • Left over roast chicken, pulled off the bone and shredded
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 400g shortcrust pastry (either home-made or store bought - I won't judge!)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
Instructions
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large casserole dish and add the onion, cook until translucent. Add the other vegetables and thyme, stir well to coat the vegetables with the oil and cook for 10 minutes until they have softened.
  2. Add the flour and stir well to coat the vegetables, then immediately add the tomato purée and chicken stock. Season generously then add the shredded chicken. Turn the heat to medium and simmer for about an hour until the pie mixture has thickened.
  3. Once the pie mixture is cooked remove it from the heat and allow it to cool for about half an hour.
  4. If you are making pie with a base you'll need to blind bake the pastry crust first (see notes below). However, you may only wish to add the pastry on top, in which case follow the steps below.
  5. Fill your dish with the pie mixture and pop the sheet of rolled pastry on top allowing about 2cm of pastry to over-hang the dish. Use cutters to decorate the top.
  6. Brush with egg wash, poke a few small holes in to let the steam out and bake for 40 minutes.

Instructions for Blind Baking a Pastry Crust

If you wish to make a pie crust (which I think is best), roll out your pastry to the desired size, depending on the size of your dish. Use a small ball of pastry to push the corners into place so you don’t tear the pastry.

Ensure that you roll the pastry out so that you have about a 2cm overlap on the dish (sometimes the pastry shrinks in the oven). Place a sheet of baking paper over the pastry and fill the dish with ceramic baking beans. Pop into a pre-heated oven (180oC fan) for 15 minutes, then remove the baking beans and baking paper and bake for a further 5 minutes.

Once you have blind baked your pie crust allow it to cool slightly before adding the chicken mixture and complete the recipe from step five above.

Berrynana Smoothie (1)

Donna Hay’s Classic Spaghetti & Meatballs

Spaghetti and meatballs have got to be the ultimate comfort food. I love them, the boyfriend on the other hand has never been convinced – that was until he tried this recipe. I’ve tried plenty of recipes before, but never have I found one as good as this. It’s a Donna Hay recipe, she uses a combination of pork and beef mince which is definitely the secret. The bold fragrant aroma of sage and fresh basil work beautifully in unison in this dish – a real palate pleaser. The sauce is so fresh tasting, I’ve made it twice now and both times it was delicious. This recipe simply wouldn’t be complete though without a large glass of read wine.

I urge you to try this recipe, it makes a large batch (far too many meatballs for two, about 30 if I remember rightly) which is great as they freeze so well in batches ready for a speedy week-night supper when you are in a hurry; the sauce also freezes well.

Given all the changes to my blog recently I’ve been cooking from recipes and books for a while, rather than being adventurous myself, it saves time and produces a fool proof delicious meal every time, so I bring you this one from the wonderful Donna Hay.

All that is about to change though as I embark on what is likely to be a labour intensive festive cooking extravaganza, meaning I’ll be putting my creative culinary skills to the test. I’m helping out at my cousin’s Christmas open day (he owns a Butchers and Delicatessen) and has asked me to provide an array of festive baked goods for people to sample and order ahead of Christmas. I guess that means I’ll have a busy December lined up, I’ll be sick of the sight of mince pies. It also means I’ve been running about like a headless chicken in search of hamper baskets, cellophane and various other wrapping items at a reasonable price.

Donna Hay Meatballs

Click here for Donna Hay’s Classic Meatballs recipe!