Category Archive: Taste Tuesday

Taste Tuesday: Chocolate Cake and Cheese Scones

Finance and Admin Assistant Charlotte is clearly a fan of the PP blog and knows that we love a little bit of cheese and a little bit of chocolate. Her Taste Tuesday effort brought together both in delicious union as she treated us to two terrifically turned out treats: the family birthday cake and some savoury scones. Delish. 

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Chocolate Cake

Ingredients for sponge cake/
6oz Caster Sugar
6oz Margarine
3 Eggs (roughly 2oz each)
5oz Self Raising Flour
1 ½ oz Cocoa Powder
1 tsp Baking Powder

Ingredients for butter cream/

3oz Margarine
6oz Icing Sugar
2oz Cocoa Powder

Method/

Preheat the oven at 170 degrees.

Mix flour, caster sugar, baking powder and (sieved) cocoa powder into a mixing bowl. Then add the margarine and eggs. Using an electric whisk mix together for two minutes and divide the mixture between two greased tins. Bake for 20-25 minutes, then leave to cool.

For the butter cream, put all ingredients together in a small mixing bowl and whisk until creamy. You may need to add more butter gradually to make it lighter. To finish, spread the butter cream evenly over one sponge and sandwich together.

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Cheese Scones

Ingredients/
8oz Self Raising Flour
3oz grated Cheese
3oz Margarine
1tsp Baking Powder
1 Egg
1tbsp Milk/Water

(for 8-10 scones)

Method/

Preheat your oven to 190 degrees.

Add the margarine to the flour and baking powder and rub in with your hands then add the cheese, egg and milk/water. Mix with your hands to form a soft dough (you may need to add a small amount of water to help it come together).

Using a rolling pin, roll out to roughly 1 inch thickness and cut out your scones before placing on a greased baking tray and brushing with a little bit of egg or milk.

Bake for 12 minutes.

And you’re done – enjoy.

– Charlotte.

 

Taste Tuesday: Traditional Greek Marple Cake

We’ve been excited about Sofia’s Taste Tuesday debut since she revealed that she comes from a very foodie family with a load of authentic Greek recipes up her sleeve. We could barely contain our glee when she presented a traditional Greek marple cake, using her family recipe.  We can categorically state that the Stephanou School of Cookery has produced a Masterchef.

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The ingredients for the cake are standards that everyone should have in their cupboard – if not they’re really easy to come by in your local supermarket.

Ingredients/

200 ml (7 floz) vegetable oil
225g (8oz) caster sugar
4 medium eggs
juice of 1 large orange and the zest
200 ml (7 fl oz) milk
A few drops of vanilla extract
450g (1 lb) plain, fine flour
3 teaspoons baking powder

… and some strawberries to make it healthy.

Here’s the how to…

Method/

Pre-heat the oven to 190°C/375 f/ Gas Mark 5.

Beat together the oil and sugar in a mixing bowl and gradually add the eggs one at a time. Mix in the orange juice, zest, milk and vanilla extract and fold in the sifted flour and baking powder until smooth.

Pour the mixture into a greased and floured 1.2 litre (2 pint) cake ring known in Germany as a ‘Kugelhopt’.

Tap the cake ring gently to level the surface, and bake in the pre heated oven for approximately 50 minutes or until the cake is nicely brown (test with a skewer).

Allow the cake to cool in the tin then place a plate on top of the tin and gently tip it upside down onto another plate. Pour some strawberries into the middles and serve with cream.

Serve and enjoy!

– Sofia

Taste Tuesday: Caramelised Onion and Cheddar Cheese Quiche

Our General Manager, Aysha, totally spoiled us when her turn to rustle up something for Taste Tuesday rolled around, serving up a tangy, cheesy quiche with caramelised onions. If you fancy having a go at whipping up your own, here’s the how-to. 


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Who doesn’t like quiche?! Following on from George’s breakfast bars, I thought I’d go for a lunchtime treat for the team – a nice simple Taste Tuesday to keep everyone happy.

Caramelised Onion and Cheddar Cheese Quiche
Serves 4
Ingredients/
­ 300ml double cream
­ 500g onion, finely sliced
­ 3 tbsp balsamic Vinegar
­ 140g mature cheddar cheese, grated
­ Handful of pine nuts
­ 2 eggs
­ Seasoning

Method/
1. Fry the onions for 20-30 minutes in a little olive oil and the balsamic vinegar – this will give them enough time to start caramelising. You could leave them to cook for another hour, but we’re not looking for fully caramelised onions since they work nicely with a little texture remaining.
2. Meanwhile, whisk two eggs in a large measuring jug. To this add the cream, half the cheese and a generous pinch of salt and pepper.
3. Tip the onions into the pastry case before covering with the cream and cheese mixture. Sprinkle over the remaining cheese, pine nuts and season with a little more pepper. Then just pop the quiche into the oven at 170C for 20-25 minutes, or the cheese has turned golden brown.

Serve with rocket and more balsamic vinegar then get stuck in…

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Enjoy!

– Aysha x

Taste Tuesday: George’s Blueberry Breakfast Bars

Courtesy of Joint Artistic Director George (and his mini sous chef!), this week’s Taste Tuesday were some totally delicious, brain-boosting blueberry breakfast bars to kick off the day. Here’s the lowdown on how to make your own…

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INGREDIENTS

  • 4 tbsp coconut oil (or butter)
  • 3 tbsp honey / date syrup / maple syrup
  • 3 tbsp nut butter
  • 200g / 2.5 cups rolled oats
  • 150g / 1 cup blueberries

METHOD/

First you should preheat your oven to 170c / 340f. While this is heating up, line a baking dish with grease proof paper and then you can start to prep your mixture.

The next step is to melt the coconut oil, honey and nut butter in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Once melted and combined, stir in the oats and continue to mix until they have all been coated, then fold in the blueberries.

Once everything has combined, transfer the mixture into the baking dish and with the back of a spoon press down and into the sides. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until the sides are just beginning to brown.

Allow the dish to cool before lifting the grease proof paper with the oat mixture onto a cooling rack. Leave to fully cool in the fridge or at room temperature before attempting  to cut the mixture into bars – this mixture made about 16.

And you’re done!

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Enjoy!

– George x

 

Taste Tuesday: Black bean chilli soft shell tacos

This week’s Taste Tuesday was definitely something to taco ‘about as Joint Artistic Director, James, laid on a spread of Mexican munchies for us to devour.

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I got really into soft shell tacos in the US last year. Roadside taco trucks serve the best – two or three mouthfuls of spicy chilli or chicken or pulled pork (or all three) smothered in cheese and lettuce for $2 a pop. Fast food heaven.So here’s my Taste Tuesday attempt at a Mexican / Southern States finger-lickin’ classic.

Ingredients

2 red onions

1 celery heart

1 pack of mushrooms

1 green pepper

1 clove of garlic

1 tin chopped tomatoes

A good squeeze of tomato puree

A teaspoon of harissa

Cumin

Paprika

Chilli flakes (or fresh chillis)

Tabasco

750g minced beef

1 tin of black beans (because who has time to soak beans overnight?)

Passata as required

To serve/

Soft shell tacos

Fresh limes

Grated cheddar

Chopped fresh coriander

For the vegetarian option:

Simply swap the beef for mixed beans & pulses

Method /

1. Chop the onions, celery, mushrooms, pepper, garlic and then blitz into a paste with a blender.

2. Fry the paste in a little olive oil for a few minutes, stirring regularly, until it smells properly delicious. Stir in the harissa paste and tomato puree, then add the tin of tomatoes and give it a few minutes to reduce down a bit.

3. Meantime brown the beef in a deep oven dish.

4. Combine the oniony, tomaotey sauce with the beef and season generously with salt & pepper then add loads of cumin, a bit of paprika, chilli / Tabasco to taste. Give it a stir then add passata until your chilli is the consistency you like, then add the black beans and stir again.

5. Pop it in the oven for an hour or keep it on the hob for 45 mins. Check it occasionally and add more passata if it’s getting too dry.

To serve /

Load a soft shell taco with chilli, top with cheese and coriander and squeeze a lime over it. Pretend you’re by the side of the road in the middle of nowhere in Texas.

Yum.

– James.

Taste Tuesday: Cut-the-corner Jamaican Patties

Taste Tuesday took a short hiatus while we dealt with the small matter of getting four of our colleagues to the other side of the world (more on that here…) but thanks to Trainee Administrator, Bhavini it is BACK, and it was totally worth the wait…

My best mate Sydnee makes the best Jamaican patties, so I basically thought I could copy her and make some for the office. This is a super easy recipe – you could say it cuts corners, but it made everyone in the office a happy bunny and that’s all that matters.

Unfortunately I didn’t have measurements for the recipe because I work on the ‘hmm let’s add more of this and a pinch of that…’ policy in my cooking, so I will trust you all to do the same!

Recipe
So the instructions on my *shop bought pastry* (I could only hide it for so long) advised me to only put cool fillings into the pastry otherwise it would break, so I cooked the filling the night before and allowed it to completely cool overnight.

Lamb Patty filling
– 500g Lamb mince
– 1 onion, finely chopped
– 1 carrot, diced
– 1 tomato, diced
– Paprika
– Caribbean curry powder
– Chilli powder
– Salt

Fry the onions and carrots until tender. Once tender, add the curry powder, sautee for another 10 minutes until the carrots are soft and then add the tomatoes. Once the tomatoes have reduced add the mince as well as the other spices and allow to cook and let your mouth water over the amazing flavours.

Veggie Patty filling
– 1 butternut squash (donated to me by the lovely Aysha Powell), finely diced
– A couple of celery sticks, finely diced
– 1 big carrot, finely diced
– 1 onion, finely diced
– 3 garlic cloves (I love garlic), finely chopped
– Caribbean curry powder
– Salt
– Passata (just a little bit…I did this instinctively)
– Coriander leaves, finely chopped
– Salt
Steam the butternut squash, carrot over boiling water for about 10 minutes until soft. At the same time, fry the chopped onion in a pan until soft and add the garlic until the onions are browned. Once the vegetables are steamed, add to the onions and allow the flavours to combine. Add the passata and the other spices and allow the mix to reduce.

Leave your fillings to cool overnight.
NEXT MORNING
You’ll need:
– Shop bought pastry
– 1 egg for egg wash

Pre-heat the oven to 220 degrees, then ASSEMBLE:

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When you’ve put a tbsp of filling onto the pastry, cut a moon shape around the filling and fold over to make a half moon shape. Pinch the ends and clamp over with a flat fork to secure the shape. Brush with egg wash.

If you get amazing shop bought pastry like mine it will come with greaseproof paper but if not, line an oven tray with greaseproof paper, place the patties in the pre-heated oven and cook for 25 minutes until golden brown.

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And, in the words of Art Attack’s Neil Buchanan – there you have it! Cut-the-corner Jamaican Patties.

Enjoy!

– Bhav x

 

Taste Tuesday: Lemon Drizzle Fairy Cakes

When I was growing up, my favourite thing to do with my Granny of an afternoon was to harass her in to helping me make fairycakes. And by ‘helping’, I obviously mean her doing the bulk of the work while I licked the spoon.

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When my first Taste Tuesday rolled around I panicked – I cannot cook for the life of me and I was following Bhavini’s A-MA-ZING jambalaya. It was stressful times, guys.

Attempts to make an entire lemon drizzle cake ended in disaster – twice. One attempt exploded over the side of the cake tin thanks to baking powder which you’ll notice is absent from my ingredients list… The other fell apart while coming out of the baking tin. I managed to salvage it slightly by pouring over the lemon drizzle mixture and wrapping it in cling film – at least my flatmates got to enjoy it.

Unfortunately this resulted in a ‘Taste Blues-day’ in the office and after hearing the cries of disappointment from the Admin office when they read my email, I decided that I should attempt something smaller and more managable – Granny D’Arcy’s Fairy Cake recipe to the rescue!

Here’s the how-to:

Lemon Drizzle Fairy Cakes 

Ingredients:

  • 225g (8 oz) butter , softened.
  • 225g (8 oz) caster sugar
  • 275g (10 oz) self-raising flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons milk
  • 2 lemons

This makes a batch of about 24.

Method:

Place butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and cream together until light and fluffy. I tried doing this with a whisk initially and it was an outright disaster so I recommend a fork so you can mash it all together good and proper!

Next you’ll need to beat in the eggs one at a time, adding a little flour with each one to prevent curdling, and so that the mixture starts to thicken.

Once you’ve done that fold in the remaining flour and your 4 tablespoons of milk and with a spoon and spatula. This is where the whisk comes in to its own – whisk away until the mixture is smooth, making sure to get plenty of air into it so your cakes come out nice and fluffy!

Once you’re done, simply spoon the mixture into the paper cake cases. Two or three spoonfuls should be enough – you want to make sure there’s room for the cake to expand while heating.

Level the tops gently with the back of the spatula then pop your tray in the middle of the pre-heated oven to bake for about 35-40 minutes or until the cupcakes spring back when pressed lightly with a finger in the centre.

Et voila!

I decided to go a little off-book with this next bit and add some lemon drizzle into the mix which I’d never done before, but it’s laughably easy. It’s the only part of the process I didn’t struggle with because literally all you do is mix the lemon juice and granulated sugar in a small bowl. That’s it. Amazing. I’m basically Mary Berry now.

Use a fork to pierce the fairy cakes then spoon the mixture evenly over them whilst they still just warm and leave them to cool.

And you’re done!

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Boom.

– Rachel x

Taste Tuesday: Caribbean Brittle and Cheese Straws

So this week I made two different things that had absolutely no relation to each other and we all had to deal with it… it was a limited success. Oh and also there was A LOT of free-styling, so this all may be very vague, but it was fun … I think. Here goes:

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  1. Toast 300g of hazelnuts and 300g pumpkin seeds in the oven for about five minutes on a baking tray lined with grease proof paper.
  2. In a large pan on the lowest heat possible, heat 800g of caster sugar. This is going to take a LONG time, I’m talking 40 mins. DO NOT STIR. It’s quite magical, for the first 20 mins nothing will happen, and then you will start to see it caramelise and melt, looks a bit like lava. Move the caramel around in the pan by tipping it gently, making sure that no white sugar is left. Now, BE CAREFUL, the caramel is going to get very hot and very sticky and if you get any on you it will burn you so, word of warning and all that.
  3. Grate 1 tablespoon of cinnamon and 1 tablespoon of nutmeg into a bowl and add a large pinch of salt (maybe two large pinches).
  4. When the sugar is totally caramelised, take off the heat, and it’s all systems go! You’re gonna have to be quick but don’t panic. Add 80g of salted butter, your cinnamon and nutmeg, evenly to the caramel. Then as quick as you can add the toasted hazelnuts and pumpkin seeds. THEN STIR LIKE MAD. It will soon seize up but keep stirring until you feel your arms about to break.
  5. With the caramel still soft, pour/spread the mixture evenly into the grease proof paper lined baking tray.
  6. Leave to cool for an hour, and when it has set break the brittle into small and large chunks by smashing it with a rolling pin. HAVE FUN!

Cheese Straws (mmmmm the perfect taste combination)

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  1. Cover a wooden chopping board in flour.
  2. With the same rolling pin, roll and stretch out your puff pastry to A3 size (don’t break it).
  3. Sprinkle grated cheese and lots of black pepper on one half and fold the other half of the pastry over this half.
  4. Roll it out some more.
  5. Repeat sprinkling exercise and fold again.
  6. Cut pastry into finger size sticks.
  7. Bake in the oven for 10 mins, and leave to cool.

And there you have it – perfect party food!

Enjoy!

Hugo x

Taste Tuesday: Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni & Biscotti

As Taste Tuesday Champion 2015 I had a far way to fall if I cocked this up so I decided to go with a surefire Italian classic to ensure I remain top dog. In fact I made two dishes – spinach and ricotta cannelloni and biscotti.

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Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni

I made enough for about 9 people.

• 750g of spinach
• 1 pack of cannelloni
• 500g of ricotta cheese
• 2/3 packs of mozzarella
• 2 x 500g of passata
• 2 tins of chopped tomatoes
• Basil
• Spring onion
• Garlic
• 2 x vegetable stock cubes
• Sugar
• Parmesan – I used a veggie friendly one`

In a large pan wilt the spinach with some olive oil and salt. Once cooked, put into a sieve and leave to drain and cool.

In the same pan, fry the spring onion, garlic and some basil leaves over a low heat with some olive oil. Add all the passata and the chopped tomato and bring to the boil. Once boiling add the veg stock cubes and 2 table spoons of sugar (I know it sounds weird but it takes away the acidity of the tomatoes). Reduce till the sauce thickens.

Once the sauce is nearly done you can start on the cannelloni.

In a bowl shred the spinach with your hands or a knife, had the ricotta, salt, pepper and some Parmesan. Mix it all up and get ready to start filling!

I made a makeshift piping bag out of some baking paper. Was a bit of a struggle but I watched a few YouTube videos to help me.

Put a couple of spoonfuls of the tomato sauce into the bottom of the baking dish – I used a disposable one – then start filling the cannelloni and start laying them in the dish. I made two rows of 20.

Once all filled, use the rest of the tomato sauce and cover the cannelloni.

Layer the mozzarella over the top as best as possible and put in a preheated oven at 190 for 30 minutes. If it looks like it’s burning cover with foil.

I actually did all the prep on Sunday night and then cooked it ready to go to PPHQ on Monday morning.

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Biscotti

You bake this twice but it’s super easy! We don’t have measuring scales in our house so I had to use spoons. It works out around 25g to every tablespoon…apparently.

7 tbsp castor sugar
10 tbsp self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 medium eggs
White chocolate chips
Chopped hazlenuts

Milk chocolate for dipping the biscotti in.

Mix the eggs and sugar together in one bowl till light a fluffy.

Sift the flour, baking powder into a bowl and add white chocolate chips and nuts.

Fold in the flour mixture into the egg mixture to create a soft dough.

Roll out onto a floured surface to make what looks like a bit of a ciabatta and transfer to a baking tray lined with baking paper.

Cook for 30 minutes at 190

After 30 minutes take out and cut into 1 cm thick fingers. Turn them on their sides to so the cut side is facing upwards and reduce the temperature of the oven to 160 and cook for a further 15 minutes.

Once done, take out and leave to cool on a wire rack.

– Nadia x

Taste Tuesday: Surprise Cheese and Garlic Stuffed Mushrooms

Responsibility for the first Taste Tuesday of 2016 fell to our Administrator, Simone, and she didn’t disappoint with a delicious, cheesy, garlic-y, veggie friendly dish that’s super easy to whip up. Here’s the recipe if that sounds like your kinda thing:

I thought I’d do my bit for Team PP and ensure that PPHQ spends the rest of 2016 smelling of yummy blue cheese and garlic. You’re welcome.

No, but, here follows a quick, optionally healthy, hopefully yummy starter for the cheese-lover in your life.

INGREDIENTS
Portobello mushrooms, loads of mini ones for finger food/one large mushroom per person for a starter
Some* fresh garlic, half crushed, half chopped
Half a white onion, finely chopped
Pinch of rosemary
Pinch of red chilli flakes
Handful of breadcrumbs, chunky lemon and black pepper ones work quite well in this
Very dry white wine
Some butter
All of the cheeses

Time: Takes about 15-30m depending on your chopping and faffing time.
Dietary info: For a Paleo/Dukan/generally healthier version (yes, it’s that time of year again), simply replace the butter with a splash of oil and dispense with the cheese and wine. You can also add chopped (and slightly drained) plum tomatoes to fill the larger mushrooms up a bit.
This is veg-friendly depending on your choice of cheese.

PREPPING YOUR PORTOBELLOS
1. Use kitchen towel to clean the mushrooms, patting off any excess moisture.
2. Cut out their stalks to leave more room for cheesy/garlicky goodness. If you’ve got the normal sized ones, you can also cut little grooves in the main body of the mushroom to stuff the garlic slices into later.
3. Brush the cap of the mushroom with oil and place under the grill for a couple of minutes. While they’re cooking…

GLAZE
1. Heat up some butter in the frying pan and add the onion.
2. When it starts to brown slightly, add in your garlic, and pinches of chilli flakes and rosemary.
3. Sauté until the garlic and onion are browned then add a smidge of white wine and reduce by half.

PUTTING IT TOGETHER
1. This can get a bit messy… Stuff the chopped garlic into the mushrooms if you cut grooves earlier, and brush/pour/spoon** the rest of the glaze into the bells of the mushrooms.
2. Add breadcrumbs, go wild with the cheese (I tend to go with one blue, one white per mushroom, then one surprise one with all of the cheese), then sprinkle a few more breadcrumbs on top.
3. Brush any remaining glaze over the top and place under the grill on a high heat until the cheese has melted and browned, and the mushrooms are hot through.
4. Serve with rocket, plum tomatoes, balsamic and salt/pepper to taste.
5. Probably have a breath mint…

Enjoy!

-Simone x

*Some = a helluva lot of. I think I used seven cloves for ten people and the office smelled all day but no regrets.

**/eventually give up and use your fingers