Easy Mince Pie Rolls {Recipe}

A few years ago I embarked on the challenge to be the perfect Christmas housewife and decided I had to make homemade mince pies.
I didn't really eat mince pies before, well I did but they had to be hot with lots of extra thick cream. But I'd seen a recipe from Kirstie Allsopp and as she is one of my idols I had to give it a go.

I failed.
The pastry didn't cook well and it all ended up a big soggy yukky mess.
And so I gave up.

Then this year I decided I couldn't let pastry get the better of me, and successfully made Sausage Rolls.
Well, I thought, if I can make sausage rolls then I can make mince pies.
And two days ago as the ingredients were dropped off by my jolly Sainsburys driver I set about completing my perfect Christmas housewife challenge.

You need:
Puff Pastry (I used a block)
Flour for sprinkling
Egg wash

I decided to keep it simple and basically wanted to follow the same process as the sausage rolls.
Rather than the sheets of pastry I had a block of puff pastry (this wasn't what I ordered but this is what Sainsburys had substituted me with) so I first cut it in half, put some flour on my work top and rolled the pastry into a rectangle.
I then spooned mincemeat along the top of the pastry (leaving a cm gap from the edge to make it easy to roll) and then rolled the pastry up, leaving an inch at the bottom of the rectangle, brush on some egg and then fold and press so that the pastry sticks together.
Flatten the roll slightly and brush along the top with egg wash. I used a fork to do this and scored the pastry slightly.
Once this is done then slice the roll into portions. I got around 6 pieces from the roll. Then put the mince pie rolls onto a baking tray (I lined my tray with greaseproof paper which worked really well)
Place in a preheated oven (200 degrees) for around 20-25 minutes.

Serve hot or leave to cool.

With the other pastry I decided to experiment and made squares, in one corner put a couple of teaspoons of mincemeat and then folded the other corner over, almost like an apple turnover/Samosa. These were obviously equally as yummy, and probably a little easier to eat as they were easy to hold and didn't have as much of the mincemeat pouring out.

Christmas Housewife Challenge: PASSED



Ferrero Rocher Cupcakes {Recipe}

One thing that's exciting for most of us at Christmas is the food. I've said before that I'm not a HUGE chocolate fan, I prefer sweets or crisps, but Christmas I tend to indulge a little more than usual, although by that I mean I'll have 4 chocolates from a selection box rather than 2! I know what you're thinking, I'm a rebel.
One chocolate that I can never ever ever resist is....a Ferrero Rocher. Oooooo, aren't they lovely.
Now Ferrero Rocher's are also the only chocolate I can eat lots of in one go. I *might* have polished off a pack of 10 a couple of weeks ago.

Thinking to the end of the school term I want to get gifts for not only Charles' keyworker, but also the other staff members at his preschool because every single one of them is lovely.
I thought about getting cupcakes made but it would completely break the bank (small budget) and I didn't want to buy 8 boxes of chocolates.
And what better than Ferrero Rocher Cupcakes!

150ml Vegetable Oil
170g Self Raising Flour
2 Eggs
150g Caster Sugar
40g Cocoa Powder
100ml Full Fat Milk
Ferrero Rocher

First mix together the oil and eggs in a bowl, gradually adding sugar until all combined.
Then add your flour whilst mixing.
Add the cocoa powder and milk and mix.
One all the ingredients are combined devide between cake cases. I was able to make 15 cakes using the same units as above.
Bake for 20-25 minutes at 175 degrees.
Once baked, leave for around 5-10 minutes.
Once they have cooled slightly scoop a hole in the middle of the cake, discard (into your mouth) the scooped piece of cake and add a scoop of Nutella (you could use anything, I thought Nutella worked well though). Then simply add a Ferrero Rocher to the top and you are finished!



Peppery Parmesan Potato Wedges {Recipe}

I love potato wedges. Simply because I think they make a great alternative to chips and can be served in many different ways. I love how the are suitable for Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. Served with Salad, Chilli or Pie.
Earlier this year I posted a Cajun Potato Wedges recipe.
Today I think I may have beaten this recipe. In terms of flavour and ease of making them.

Using just one potato you can get a portion for one person.
Before I used olive oil and heated my wedges in the microwave before adding the flavouring and then transferring into the oven.
I wanted to reduce the time needing to cook and reduce the methods of the potato being cooked.
So, I experimented and shockingly, was really pleased with my first attempt and will be making more to serve with dinner tonight!

Potatoes (for my experiment I used one medium sized potato)
2 tablespoons of parmesan
2 tablespoons of natural breadcrumbs
1 egg

First chops your potatoes into wedges. I keep the skin on mine.
In a bowl mix up one egg.
In a seperate bowl, mix together parmesan, breadcrumbs and salt and pepper. I used big chunks of peppercorns and sea salt.
Roll the potato wedge into the egg mix, then transfer it into the dry mix and cover well. Then place on a baking tray.
Do this for all wedges.
Place in the oven at 200degrees, for 25-30 minutes, or until the wedges are cooked.
Remove from the oven and serve.

I sprinkled a little more Parmesan on mine and served with mayo.



Old School Cornflake Tart | Recipe

I was always a fan of school dinners. I either had a mixture of school cooked dinner, packed lunch or I went home for lunch.
High school would normally involve us all having a slice of pizza and a cheeseburger in the break, then home for something light or nothing at all. It was a nightmare to queue up at lunchtime and the school had a silly system so it was easier to eat a bigger meal at morning break.

The food cooked at Middle school was, now looking back, a mixture of junk and yummyness. They occasionally had a really nice flan. I remember it so clearly and wouldn't know how to recreate it! In those days too we were also served Jamie Olivers nemesis....Turkey Twizzlers. I'm not ashamed to say that actually, I quite liked them. The flavour was always quite nice. They were something like 20p per Twizzler and I would spend the majority of my £1.50 on as many Twizzlers as I could, with also a lump of mash potato and dessert, if I could afford it.
Some desserts I liked and some I didn't.

It seems, through various discussions, that everyone has vivid memories of school dinners, specifically desserts and there is one in particular that comes up as a strong favourite.
Cornflake Tart.
I used to mix it up a bit by having chocolate custard poured over mine rather than the normal custard. Rebel, I know.

This week I all of a sudden fancied one and looked into how easy they would be to make.
They are super easy! Literally anyone could make one.
And I did just that.

I used a ready made sweet pastry case from Sainsburys
200g Strawberry Jam
115g Cornflakes
135g Golden Syrup
70g Butter or Margarine (I used stork)
40g Dark Brown Sugar

Firstly, take your sweet pastry case and place it in a quiche dish to ensure it will keep it's shape during cooking.
Melt the butter, sugar and golden syrup together in a saucepan until the sugar has dissolved. Then gently fold in the cornflakes until they are all coated in the syrup mixture.
In a separate saucepan, gently warm up the strawberry jam. You don't want it too hot.
One this is warmed, pour/spread onto the pastry case. Making sure there is a nice, evenly distributed layer.


Caramelised Onion and Sausage Rolls {Recipe}

For some reason I've never been able to cook with pastry. Something has always gone wrong.
I really wanted to make mince pie parcels one year. I'd seen Kirsty Allsopp making some and being a "Kirsty Allsopp Wannabe" I thought I could do them.
I couldn't.
They ended up burnt on the top and outside yet the inside was all soggy.
I gave up on that idea.
I tried to make a ham, cheese and tomato tart but again, that didn't go to plan at all. In fact I've tried that a couple of times and it's messed up both times.

This year I set myself the challenge of making sausage rolls and pies. I had to keep going until I got it right.
Last week I made sure I bought the ingredients needed and on Friday I set to work.
I didn't want my sausage rolls to be plain and after my first plan was immediately dismissed due to lack of ingredients but knew there was something in the cupboard which would suit perfectly!

I recalled once having Sausage Rolls with a red onion chutney, without having any chutney I knew I had red onions. I decided to caramelise them and then add them into the pastry.
The result. Perfect. And they were all gone within 12 hours. Charles doesn't like onions or pastry yet ate one of these whilst saying "mmmmm" they whole time. He loved it.

What you need:

Caramelised Onions
3 Red Onions
Brown Sugar
Balsamic Vinegar
Olive Oil

Slice the onions into tiny pieces. Drizzle with honey and add to a frying pan with olive oil. Fry until they start to colour then add  brown sugar (I used 5 dessertspoonfuls) and balsamic vinegar ( I used 4 dessertspoonfuls) Fry until brown. You may want to add more honey or balsamic vinegar until it meets your required taste.
Place into a bowl and leave to cool.

Sausage Rolls
Caramelised Onions
Sausage Meat
Ready Rolled Puff Pastry
1 Beaten Egg

Take the pastry and roll it out on a board or work surface. Cut the pastry in half. Take your sausage meat and line it down the middle of the pastry. Add to the top of this the caramelised onions. Make sure you spread the mixture right to the ends of the pastry.
Once you are pleased with the amount of sausage meat and onions then brush the beaten egg on the pastry either side of the sausage meat. Then fold however you you like.

I made one of them with no excess pastry and one with. With the one on the right I just pulled and pinched at the pastry, which made it easy to eat actually as it was almost like a handle!
Brush Egg white over the top of the pastry, cut to size and then transfer to a baking tray.
I oiled the baking tray before putting these in the oven but would use greaseproof paper in the future.

Bake for 20 minutes or until the meat is cooked and the pastry brown and crispy (not burnt!)
Serve warm or cold.

Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com


Fish and Vegetable Pie {recipe}

When I worked I used to want to come home and cook a dinner which was easy. Stick in the oven, wait and eat easiness.
We used to get ready made fish pie and eat it with a side of garlic bread, but each time we ate this I realised just how easy it would be to make.

We were running late for dinner recently and popped to the supermarket. As it was reaching Charles' bedtime we grabbed him a fish pie, thinking he actually wouldn't eat it....how wrong we were!
He ate the lot! And when I looked at the ingredients I realised it was something I could do at home, but make even better!
I think the best thing about this is that you could use any fish and any vegetables. This is probably one of the best meals for using up old vegetables in the fridge!

And so I made this:

Mash Potatoes (I used Maris Piper)
Parsley Sauce
Cod (I used Sainsburys breaded)
Parmesan (I used grated)

This is really easy to make. The reason I haven't included amounts above is because you can just make it up as you go along. Add as much vegetables and fish as you like.
I first cooked the fish in the oven for the suggested time on the pack.
Whilst this is cooking make up your parsley sauce and boil sweetcorn, courguettes and leeks in this sauce for approx 5-10 minutes.
When your fish is cooked add this to your pan of vegetables and leave to thicken slightly. Add to this mixture the majority of your parmesan, leaving enough to sprinkle on the top of your mash later.
Stir this up until its a nice thick consistancy then add to a oven proof dish.
Leave this to cool for 15 minutes then add your mash potato topping.

Sprinkle parmesan on the top of your mash and then bake in the oven for around 30 minutes (200 degrees)

Serve hot and enjoy!



Chocolate Slab {recipe}

It's my husbands birthday today!
As a stay at home mum/housewife money is tight. I want to spoil him with lots of presents but its simply not doable.
We're away this weekend, I've paid for it using my child allowance which I've saved a little each month. I wanted to give my husband some presents to unwrap and one of his favourite things in the world is....chocolate.
I could go to the shops and buy bars or boxes of chocolates.
But that's too easy.
What says I love you more than chocolates...homemade chocolates! Thats what!

300g dark chocolate
100g milk chocolate
Mini marshmallows*
Chopped hazelnuts*
*You can use any toppings you want.

First melt down the dark and milk chocolate. I placed mine in a glass bowl over the top of a saucepan filled with water and simmering on the hob.
Once the chocolate is melted, take a baking tray, cover with a sheet of greaseproof paper and then spread your chocolate mixture around the sheet. I found it easier to use a ladel to pour and spread the chocolate onto the sheet, rather than pouring it straight from the bowl.
Once you are happy with that start adding your topping.
I first added the mini marshmallows then the hazelnuts and almonds.
Once the chocolate is covered place it in the fridge for around an hour to an hour and a half [or until it has set].
You can either than serve the chocolate as one big slab or do as I have done and break it into smaller pieces and place in a gift box.
Of course you can always make smaller slabs when pouring out the chocolate on to the greaseproof paper.

Easy and delicious!



The Perfect Flapjack Supply

Weddings, Christenings, Birthdays, Pregnancy, Playdates...just a few good excuses for cake.
I'd heard that breastfeeding alone burns around 500 calories A DAY! 
500 calories doing nothing other than having a sit down and a cuddle with a gorgeous baby. 
Great excuse for some guilt free cake!
When I then found that oats are great for breast milk supply I couldn't believe my luck.
I love flapjacks and to know I'd be allowed to eat them...guilt free...made breastfeeding even better than ever!

I've tried over the last three years to perfect a recipe for it. Trying different methods, ingredients, cooking times and temperatures and yesterday...I did it!
I made some perfect flapjacks. Even Charles will eat them...and my husband...that means SUCCESS!

125g butter or margarine (I used Stork)
100g soft brown sugar
4 tablespoons golden syrup
250g rolled oats
50g sultanas or raisins
50g dessicated coconut

Melt down the butter, sugar and syrup until all combined. 
Add the rolled oats, raisins and coconut to the liquid and stir until the dry ingredients are completely coated.
Spoon onto a baking tray, lined with greaseproof paper and place in a preheated oven for 20 minutes.
Take out of the oven and cut into portions, however big or small, and then place back into the oven, at the bottom, for a further 10 minutes. 

Remove from the oven and leave to cool. You can eat them warm too, totally delicious!

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