Mutton & Cheese Pie

‘Pie’ is nothing but a baked dish of fruit, or meat and vegetables, typically with a top and base of pastry.

I recall to share a few posts on tarts ( Fruit Tartlets, Cherry tomato & poppy seed tartlets, Blue Cheese & Walnut Tartlets, Caramelized Lemon Tart ) in the past. Pies, which fall almost in the same category of tarts, but with a lid, are pretty interesting baked items too. Here I share with you the recipe of a savoury pie filled with mutton and cheese which also happens to be my first ever post on pie.

‘Mutton & Cheese Pie’ reminds me my good old days in Utrecht, Holland, where I got exposed to different kinds of baked items. Quite a few times I tested the savoury pies in small street-side baking shops there for which I grew an instant linking. It has been almost 4 years since I am back from Europe and after such a long time, finally managed to try one of my favourites among those pies, by my own. However, as a substitute of lamb meat, I used mutton along with Cheese, the latter being an addition and innovation from my side. One can skip adding cheese at will,  since simple mutton pies are also pretty delicious.

Mutton & Cheese Pie

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Savoury Curried Bites

I just love to have cheeses without looking at my weight meter 😛 . While returning from Europe I brought a large chunk of Cheddar cheese which I bought from cheese factory in Netherlands. I utilize the cheese in many a dishes, one of my favourites among those is the ‘savoury curried bites’. These are basically savoury biscuits with richness of cheese and flavoured with spices. It highly satisfies ones need for tasty teatime snacks.

Savoury Curried Bites

Savoury Curried Bites

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Spiced Cocktail Bites

I have found in the cocktail parties people craving for appetizers with their drinks if they find them even a bit out of the usual. Sadly in most of the in-house parties, the snacks are the same age old ones, bought from the shops and heaped on the plate. It must have been very interesting if the appetizers are also home made like the food following, just out of the oven, light, less oily and devoid of any artificial flavour. Well well, the present recipe satisfies all of them and comes up with a mind blowing snack which fits in apt for the cocktail parties. If you are ready to put in the extra effort, having the extra amount of Cheddar cheese in your kitchen, no body cant stop you making your guests ga ga over these delicious bites.

Spicy Cocktail Bite

Spicy Cocktail Bite

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Blue Cheese & Walnut Tartlets

Miniature forms of anything around us are always attractive and win one’s heart quickly. The same applies for the food and I am not an exception here. When I first came to know about the miniature form of tarts, known as ‘tartlets’, it turned me on instantly and the adoration grew over the days. Among the various types of tartlets, the fruit tartlet could be a great dessert, while the savoury ones serve the purpose of tempting snacks. In fact in one of my earlier posts, I shared with you the recipe of Cherry tomato & poppy seed tartlets. No one on earth can dislike the cheesy filling of savoury tartlets. Although different cheese can be used for the filling, as the name reveals I used blue cheese in this recipe. Make these tartlets to surprise your guests and I bet they will enjoy it and end up licking their leaps 🙂

Blue Cheese & Walnut Tartlet

Blue Cheese & Walnut Tartlet

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Herb Muffins with Smoked Cheese

I already shared with you the recipe of Spicy Chicken Muffins which I liked a lot. Since then I got enthusiastic about savoury muffins and started looking for them. Suddenly I came across an interesting recipe in my baking book as they told the story of a muffin with herbs and cheese in it. The recipe is very simple and quick to make. If you don’t dislike the flavour of herbs, this muffins will not disappoint you.

Herb Muffin with Smoked cheese

Herb Muffin with Smoked cheese

Ingredients to serve 12 :

  1. Sunflower oil or groundnut oil (for oiling) – 1 tbspoon
  2. Plain flour – 280 gm.
  3. Baking powder – 2 teaspoon
  4. Bicarbonate of soda – ½ teaspoon
  5. Smoked hard cheese (grated) – 25 gm.
  6. Fresh parsley (finely chopped) – 50 gm.
  7. Egg (large, lightly beaten) – 1
  8. Thick strained plain yogurt – 300 ml. (I used Greek style yogurt)
  9. Butter (melted) – 4 tbspoon

Procedure :

Oil your muffin tin with sunflower oil, or line it with muffin paper liners.

Sift the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda into a large mixing bowl. Add the smoked cheese and the parsley and mix together well.

In a separate bowl, lightly mix the egg, yogurt and melted butter together. Add the yogurt mixture to the flour mixture and then gently stir together until just combined. Do not overstir the batter – it is fine for it to be little lumpy.

Flour & Yogurt mixture

Flour & Yogurt mixture

Muffin batter

Muffin batter

Divide the muffin batter evenly between the cups in the muffin tin or the paper liners (they should be about 2/3 full).

Bake in a preheated oven at 200°C or 400ºF for 20 minutes or until risen and golden.

Before baking

Before baking

After baking

After baking

Remove the muffins form the oven and serve warm, or place them on a wire rack to cool.

Muffin is ready to be served

Muffin is ready to be served

Aubergine & Pesto Tartlets

I love to try different recipes for evening snacks. Generally, you cant afford to experiment much over  lunch and dinner all the time. So I put most of my experimental skills at test on either preparing evening snacks or on baking.

Today I am sharing another recipe from my cute baking book, which is a bit different still appropriate to have in the evening.

Here in Europe, I discovered the “Puff pastry sheet” which is quite amazing in its multipurpose utility to make a large variety of savoury as well as sweet dishes. It is readily available in the freezer section of all the super markets although one can prepare at home too. If not exactly the “Puff pastry sheet”, still something similar is used to make the layered coating  of veg & non-veg patties in India as well. Although I often prepare these patties with the pastry sheets, the current recipe tells the story of an experimentation with pesto sauce, aubergine and cheese. The food is light, munch and tasty and perfect to impress your guests.

Aubergine & Pesto tartlet

Aubergine & Pesto tartlet

Ingredients to serve 2 :

  1. Ready-made puff pastry sheet – 85 gm.
  2. Aubergines/Bringels (trimmed and thinly sliced) – 8 slices
  3. Olive oil – 2 tbspoon
  4. Mozzarella cheese (sliced) – 1 (150 gm.)
  5. Pesto – 2 tbspoon
  6. Egg yolk – 1
  7. Salt & Crushed black pepper

    Ingredients

    Ingredients

Procedure :

Roll out the puff pastry on a lightly floured work surface and divide into 2 pieces. Roll each piece into either circles or rectangles, then place on baking sheets. (I used two 12 cm. square sheets and roll them out to12 x 15 cm. rectangles.)

Brush the aubergine slices with 1 tbspoon of olive oil and cook briefly in a non-stick frying pan. Then arrange the slices neatly overlapping on each dough base, leaving a 2.5 cm./1 inch margin along the edges. Lay the mozzarella slices over the aubergine slices and spoon over the pesto. Drizzle with remaining olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Brush the edges of the dough with egg yolk.

Ready to go into the oven

Ready to go into the oven

Bake in a preheated oven, 190ºC/375ºF, for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve.

Note :

  1. If you don’t find any ready-made puff pastry sheet, then you can also prepare it at home. There are a number of videos in you tube for this recipe. Follow any one of them.
  2. I have used ready-made Pesto available in market. You can also prepare it at home. Follow Pesto recipe under “Useful Supplementary” tab.
  3. Any cheese instead of mozzarella would be fine.
  4. To make the dish completely vegetarian skip egg wash and use milk instead.

 

 

Cheese Straws

Crispy, crunchy cheese straws are very common snacks to have with drinks as well as with a hot cup of coffee here in Europe. They are readily available in each and every super markets here.

After making Cherry tomato & poppy seed tartlets I had some extra Cheddar cheese left in my refrigerator. Since then I was little worried about how to utilise it as it could be no longer edible if I leave it for a long time. Again started searching for a simple recipe in my baking book and ended up with this simplest one. Hope you will like it. Enjoy 🙂

Cheese Straws

Cheese Straws

Ingredients for 17 pieces :

  1. Self raising flour – 115 gm. + extra for dusting
  2. Curry powder – 1 teaspoon
  3. Pinch of salt
  4. Butter – 65 gm. + extra for greasing
  5. Grated cheddar cheese – 65 gm.
  6. Egg, beaten – 2
  7. Poppy and cumin seeds for sprinkling

Procedure :

Sift the flour, salt and curry powder into a bowl.

Add the butter and rub in until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

Add the cheese and one egg and mix to form a dough. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Lightly grease two baking sheets with butter.

On a floured work surface, roll out the dough to a 5 mm. (¼ inch) thick and 15 x 17 cm. (6 x 6.7 inch) rectangle.

Cut into 15 x 1 cm. (6 x ½ inch) strips. Twist the strips slightly along its length and place on the prepared baking sheets.

Cutting the dough into strips

Cutting the dough into strips

Brush the straws with the remaining egg and sprinkle half with poppy seeds and half with cumin seeds.

Bake in a preheated oven, 200ºC / 400ºF, for 10 – 15 minutes, or until golden.

Transfer to wire racks to cool.

After baking

After baking

Enjoy with a hot cup of coffee or a glass of beer . 😉

Note :

  1. If you are using plain flour, then adda ½ teaspoon of baking powder into it.
  2. You can lengthen or shorten the size of the straw according to your preference. Just roll out the dough to 5 mm. (¼ inch) thick.

Cherry tomato & poppy seed tartlets

Cakes and pastries come into my mind first whenever I think about baking whereas my small cute book of baking provides me recipes with a range a savoury items as well apart from sweet ones.

In Europe, particularly in Netherlands, you will be flooded with a variety of cheeses among which Gouda and Edam are most popular. The use of cheese in a dish enhances its richness and taste. In fact none of Italian dishes are imaginable without cheese.

The present recipe of savoury tartlets is pretty much interesting for the cheese sauce filling. Here the cheese sauce is made of Cheddar cheese, a particular form of cheese originated from a small town called Cheddar, in Somerset, UK. With a single bite in the tartlets, a miniature form of tarts, one can feel the melted warm cheese with a taste of sourness coming from the tiny cherry tomatoes.

Cherry tomato and poppy seeds tartlets

Cherry tomato and poppy seeds tartlets

Ingredients to serve 12 :

For pastry :

  1. Plain flour – 200 gm.
  2. Pinch of salt
  3. Cold butter, cut into pieces – 100 gm.
  4. Poppy seed – 2 teaspoon
  5. Cold water

For filling :

  1. Cherry tomato – 24
  2. Olive oil – 1 tbspoon
  3. Unsalted butter – 2 tbspoon
  4. Plain flour – 2 tbspoon
  5. Milk – 250 ml.
  6. Mature Cheddar cheese – 50 gm.
  7. Cream cheese – 100 gm.
  8. Salt and pepper
  9. Fresh basil leaves to garnish

    Ingredients

    Ingredients

Procedure :

Lightly grease a 7.5 cm/3 inch muffin tin (6 or 12 cups).

Sift the flour and salt into a food processor, add the butter and process until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. You can also do it by hand without using any food precessor.

Pour the mixture into a large bowl and add the poppy seeds and just enough cold water to bring the dough together.

Now divide the dough into 12 equal parts and roll them out, on a floured work surface, into 12 cm./4½ inch diameter circles. [Alternatively cut the dough in half. Roll out the first piece and cut out six 9 cm/3½ inch circles. Roll out each circles to a 12 cm./4½ inch diameter. Repeat the process with the remaining dough.] I follow the first procedure.

Now press these circles into the muffin cups.

Muffin tin filled with pastry dough

Muffin tin filled with pastry dough

Put a piece of baking paper in each cup and fill with dried beans. Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Bake blind for 10 minutes in a preheated oven at 200ºC, then remove the paper and beans.

Put the tomatoes in an ovenproof dish, drizzle with the olive oil and roast for 5 minutes.

Cherry tomatoes are ready to go into the oven

Cherry tomatoes are ready to go into the oven

Melt the butter in a pan, stir in the flour and cook for 5 – 8 minutes. Gradually add the milk, stirring, and cook for further 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the cheeses until well combined.

Put 2 tomatoes in each tart case and spoon in the cheese sauce, then put back into the oven for 15 minutes.

Just taken out from the oven

Just taken out from the oven

Remove from the oven and top each tartlet with basil leaf.

Yummy tartlets are reday to be served. 🙂

 Note :

  1. If you don’t find Cheddar cheese then use any similar type of cheese which melts fast.

 

 

Spicy Chicken Muffins

Muffins are essentially regarded as a sweet form of small cakes, originated in America. The word “muffin” used to bring into my mind, either the images of dark brown chocolate muffins or those with vanilla flavour, lighter in colour. However, I discovered recently from the cookbooks that muffins can be savoury too and to my delight, small bits of chopped chicken can be imparted into!!! So, here I present the new recipe called “chicken muffins”, which is a departure from the usual muffin recipe and a sheer delight for all the non-vegetarian snack lovers.

Spicy chicken muffins

Spicy chicken muffins

Ingredients to serve 12 :

  1. Sunflower oil – 125 ml + extra for oiling
  2. Chopped onion – 2
  3. Chopped spring onion – 3
  4. Small fresh red chilli (seeded and finely chopped) – 1
  5. Skinless, boneless chicken thighs (chopped into small pieces) – 3
  6. Paprika – 1 teaspoon
  7. Self-raising flour – 300 gm.
  8. Baking powder – 1 teaspoon
  9. Large egg – 2
  10. Lemon juice – 1 tbspoon
  11. Grated lemon rind – 1 tbspoon
  12. Soured cream – 125 ml.
  13. Plain yogurt – 125 ml.
  14. Salt and pepper

Procedure :

Oil muffin tin with sunflower oil.

Heat a little of the remaining oil in a frying pan, add the onions, spring onions and chilli. Cook over low heat stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat, lift out the onions and chilli and set aside.

Heat a little more of the remaining oil in the frying pan, add the chicken, paprika and little bit of salt and cook, stirring, over medium heat for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Sift the flour and baking powder into a large mixing bowl, sprinkle over salt and pepper.

In a separate bowl, lightly beat the eggs, then stir in the remaining oil and the lemon juice and rind. Pour in the soured cream and the yogurt and mix together.

Liquid, dry and fried mixtures

Liquid, dry and fried mixtures

Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture, then gently stir in the onions, spring onions, chilli and chicken. Do not over stir the batter, it is fine for it to be a little lumpy.

Final batter

Final batter

Divide the batter evenly between the cups in the muffin tin (they should reach the top), then transfer to a preheated oven, 190°C / 375°F. Bake for 20 minutes, or until risen and golden. Remove the muffins from the oven and serve warm.

Just baked chicken muffins

Just baked chicken muffins

Note :

  1. If you are using plain flour instead of self-raising flour then add ½ teaspoon of baking soda into the dry ingredient mixture.