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Archive for the ‘pastry’ Category

Caramelised Onion and Tomato Tart

Some times you have a glut of something left in the fridge and nothing seems to use these particular ingredients so they sit around waiting to go off.   That is when I try to create something and regular dishes find themselves having added ingredients.

We had a surplus of tomatoes and onions having been given a whole load of each.    I was not going to waste them. In this instance I had made my own pastry but bought would work just as well.

Onions lots and lots sliced thinly
butter (butter is best for caramelising but you could use oil if necessary)
brown sugar – I use muscavado and probably not as much
Spinach – I always have this in the fridge and it lines the dish giving it a rich colour but you don’t have to use it.
Tomatoes – lots again sliced 
Mozerella cheese –  roughly  torn into small chunks 

Melt the butter and fry the onions very gently, stirring often so they don’t burn.

when they are really soft add the brown sugar and stir in well.

initially it will liquify but keep stirring to coat the onions really well and continue on a really gentle heat. 

When the sugar has all evaporated and the onions are almost golden in colour take it from the heat and allow to cool slightly.   We are now ready to put it all together.

Roll out your pastry and line your dish

you can build your layers however you want; I like spinach on the base, onions in the middle with the tomatoes spread over the top.  This could be repeated if you had enough of the fillings.

It was after the tomato layer I threw in some salt and a good helping of pepper but that is a matter of choice

a good covering of mozzerella cheese and the tart is ready for the oven.

A hot oven for 20 minutes or until the cheese is melting, bubbling and turning golden.  The smell of fresh tomatoes wafts through the house and the children miraculously appear demanding food.

This makes a great lunch dish or if you have to take a dish to some buffet event, you don’t have to eat it hot.   

Enjoy and let me know if you have any recipes for using up extra.


Check out my other blog at Tiggy Hayes

Caramelised Apple Pie

Sunday lunch is when I put effort into a pudding and with the wind and rain lashing down at the moment a good old fashioned warming pie goes down so well. This would make just as popular crumble but I had some puff pastry left over. 

Rather than just sprinkling with a bit of sugar I like to caramelise the sugar first then coat all apples in the mixture softening them as they absorb the sweetness.

Brown Sugar
dash of Water
Sprinkling of Cinnamon
Nutmeg  a good grating 
Cooking Apples
Pastry – shop bought is fine
Beaten Egg for glazing 

In a heavy pan add the brown sugar with a dash of water and put on a high heat.

Add the Cinnamon and Nutmeg and let it boil before reducing the heat.

As it reduces add the sliced apple pieces  coating them well in the syrup.

Allow apples to begin to soften 

Transfer to pie dish

Cover with pastry, allowing a few steam holes and decorate with any left over pastry.

Brush the egg wash over the pastry.  I also like to add a sprinkling of brown sugar to sweeten the pastry slightly.

Bake in a medium hot oven for 25 – 30 mins depending on your oven.  The pastry will turn a golden brown.

Serve with Custard, Cream or even Ice Cream and watch the pie disappear off the dish.  A very popular pudding in our house which I use with a crumble topping sometimes.

Enjoy and let me know what other combinations you can come up with.


Find out what I am up to in my other blog  Tiggy Hayes

Steak and Ale Pie

As the weather turns cold and the nights draw in our tastes turn to warming food from our childhoods.  What is better than a steaming hot home baked pie to cast your taste buds back to the care free days of Mother’s cooking.

This particular day I picked up some good steak and a bottle of Ale from the supermarket and the pie was gone in minutes.


Steak or Stewing Beef  cut into bite size pieces 
salt and pepper
sprigs of Thyme 
onions chopped finely 
Pastry –  I cheated and used shop bought plus egg or milk for glazing

I use a new plastic bag for preparing the meat.  I find them great for marinades as well.

Fill the bag with a generous couple of spoons of flour – plain is good.    This is one place where I make a point of adding salt and pepper.  I also threw in a couple of Thyme sprigs to bring out the flavour of the beef.

Add the meat and toss it around well, making sure all the little mouthfuls have some flour on them.

Meanwhile in a little butter fry the onions until they are soft 

Add in the pre-floured steak and mix well.  

It becomes quite gloopy so keep stirring till the meat is lightly browned.

Slowly pour in the ale.  I like to use a good quality one and usually try and get a fun named one.  It is great to get more than one bottle and drink with dinner as they compliment each other well.

Let the mixture slowly come to the boil stirring often so nothing is allowed to stick to the pan base and burn.   As soon as it is bubbling turn the heat down and let it simmer for a while.  Add the mushrooms but remember to keep stirring often though.

If you feel it is too dry add a little water.  You need it to have some liquid left to cook in while in the oven.

You can leave it to cool slightly as you roll out the pastry.  This does not have to be beautifully exact; the more rustic the more it will evoke childhood memories.  

Cover the pie  and use the odd bits of pastry to decorate.   Cut a few steam holes through the pastry.  Beating the egg or using milk glaze the top of the pastry.

Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes depending on your oven. The pastry will turn a golden brown and you will see the mixture underneath bubbling and trying to break through the cover.

Serve with lots of brightly coloured vegetables and some mash potatoes.  If you wish to add a gravy keep some of the ale back and use this to enhance the flavour.

Warming and popular and you can add kidney (take out the mushrooms), try adding bacon lardons.  Change the meat to chicken and add leeks or  mushrooms again – use white wine with this.  With game dishes making a re-appearance on dinner menus try some venison or rabbit.  Let me know what you enjoy.



Find out what I am up to in my other blog  Dawn Chorus

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