Goats Cheese and Red Onion Jam Pastries

In my fridge I had some soft goats cheese and baby plumb tomatoes.
In my freezer I had some ready made puff pastry.
In my cupboard I had a jar of red onion jam - So, wondering what to do with all these nice things, I came up with this!

You will need:

250g of Ready Made Puff Pastry - divided into two
1 Jar of Red Onion Jam
100g of Soft Goats Cheese
6 x Baby Plumb Tomatoes
Some Fresh Thyme Leaves, chopped
Rocket Leaves and a Few Olives to Serve - if you like them, which I do!

Preheat the even to 190C or 375F Gas 5

I rolled the pastry till into two oblongs until they were about a quarter of an inch thick - or slightly more.

Then I lightly scored (being careful not to go right the way through) a border of just over half an inch all the way round.

Taking a fork, lightly prick the pastry inside the border all over to prevent pastry on the inside part from rising as much as the rest of the pastry.
Place them on a non stick baking tray.

Bake in the heated oven for about 10 minutes, remove and very carefully retrace the line you made that formed the border.
Normally, you see in recipes where you would remove the top layer of pastry and either discard or use it as a lid. I didn't remove it, after re-tracing the scored line, I just pushed it to the bottom to make the base thicker and more yummy.......Ha ha a cunning plan ah?!

Now spread a good amount (to your liking) of the red onion jam all over the bottom and top with some goats cheese.

Now, add some halved cherry tomatoes. Sprinkle with some freshly chopped thyme leaves.

Return to the oven for (approx) a further 10 minutes until the cheese begins to melt and the pastry takes on a light golden brown colour.

Remove from the oven and top with some black olives and rocket.
Serve immediately.


A Walk to Ironbridge, Shropshire

This post has nothing to do with food, it's just something I thought people might find interesting. The Iron Bridge was built in 1779, and was the first structural use of cast iron.

I love Ironbridge itself, which is also the name of the place. There is so much history there and there's also a Victorian Town further down the road at a place called Blists Hill.

Yesterday we took a walk there and the following pictures are in order of that walk.

Down a steep hill - well it's seems steep on the way back up!

A house at the bottom of that hill.

Here's a cute looking pub called 'The Horse and Jockey'

A Rooftop!

Now were are at the old Police Station, which has since been turned into an Indian Restaurant. It's our favorite place to eat Indian and is called 'The Pondicherry'

A couple of other restaurants on the way down.

An old fashioned sweet shop called Memory Lane Sweets.

Now we are at the Iron Bridge itself, with tourists everywhere!

Just past the bridge still walking down by the river there are many shops, Bed and Breakfast places and loads of Pubs!

I love the little side streets.

Below is the main street, with the river on the left.

Below are the Lincoln Hill Lime Kilns.

Under tremendous heat, rock hard limestone was transformed into powdery-fine lime in the lime kilns.
Lime kilns have been found in the Gorge since medieval times.
These kilns operated from about 1760 to 1870 when Lincoln Hill supplied huge quantities of lime stone to the surrounding iron furnaces.

Below is one of the many pubs!

And finally, this is the view from where I'm sat with my wine in one of our favorite pubs! 'The Swan' in Ironbridge.

Thai Red Chicken Curry

I first blogged about Thai Red Chicken Curry back in April, but I've since made it a few more times and have modified my recipe to perfection - well say I anyway! 
  So, with that in mind, I've decided to remove the old post and start again.
I made this last night but couldn't get red birds eye chillies yesterday so I used green ones. I think red look nicer, but in these pictures you will see green ones, just take no notice!
Too lazy to go upstairs and get my camera, I used the camera on my phone and forgot to put that macro thingey on for close up's so some aren't too sharp.  Anyway, you'll get the gist......

Sirloin Steak with Roquefort Sauce

Roquefort sauce is so very easy to make.  Steak is my all time favourite food to eat.  For me it has to be cooked medium-rare  - more on the rare side than the medium.
I personally don't like to have any sauce served with mine. Just simple steak, chips, Portobello mushrooms, tomato and either peas or salad and I'm happy.
I pour a little red wine into the pan after the steak has been removed let it simmer for a few secs (it removes any of the nice cooking bits on the bottom of the pan) and I then pour it over my steak - am very particular about that having to happen!

Paul (the husband) loves to cover his steak with Roquefort sauce. He had in in a restaurant and I tasted it, it was okay, but quite runny and not too much going on in the way actual Roquefort!
I had a go at making it myself and made it up as I went along and I've made it the same way since.

Print Recipe

You will need:
1 Knob of Butter
1 Small Red Onion or a Shallot, chopped (I do usually use a shallot but didn't have any last night when I made it).
100g of Roquefort Cheese cut into small cubes so it melts quicker.
150ml of Double Cream (Heavy cream I think they call it in the US)?
2 Teaspoons of Brandy
How to do it:

In a small saucepan melt the butter over a low heat and add the onion. Saute until soft but not coloured. Turn the heat up and add the Brandy, stirring for a minute.
Turn the heat back down and add the Roquefort and stir with a wooden spoon when it starts to melt add the cream. Don't be tempted to use single cream (it must be double) or it will split when being cooked.

Don't let it boil. Stir until heated through and serve immediately.

The finished Roquefort sauce.

Jan's steak cooked to perfection!


The Perfect Jacket Potato

The perfect jacket potato has to have a nice crispy skin and be perfectly cooked through on the inside.

There are many people who will cook a jacket potato in kitchen foil but to me, it isn't going to be any where near as nice if the skin isn't crispy.

**Update: Please see my latest blog post with more information on the variety of potato to use.

Pre- heat the oven to 200c/Gas6
Be sure to get nice big potatoes and leave them in their skins.
Wash the potatoes and then dry them.
Now rub the skins with a little olive oil and rub on a little crushed sea salt.

Prick the skin of the potatoes here and there with a knife a few times all over.
Bake directly on the bars of a pre-heated oven for at about 1 hour to an hour and a half.
The actual time will of course, will depend on the size of your potatoes and the variety.
The potato is done when you can easily insert a knife into it and it and the skin is nice and crisp. There is nothing worse than a baked potato that's not cooked through so make sure it is.

Cut a big cross on each potato and add a big dollop of butter and some salt. You don't have to add salt but it just won't taste the same.
Be sure to serve straight away.


Pantespani (Greek Lemon Sponge Cake)

While we were on the island of Thassos, in almost every place we ate in they gave us free something or other. Either coffee at the end of the meal with, or water melon, or Metaxa (Brandy) and sometimes a dessert.

Every time we were given Ouzo at the start of our meal and in one place we went to they gave us 500ml of red wine, which was a bit of a worry since we'd already had 1.5 litres between us!! I love red wine but I can not cope with that amount of it!

One of the desserts we had was a Greek sponge cake called Pantespani. The syrup that is poured over the top of the cake while it cools when we had it was a lemon syrup.

This is my atempt at making it!

I had a go at making it at the weekend. I used this recipe but I used lemon instead of orange.

I am no baker - mine grew in the oven at am alarming rate! So it came out a bit more deeper than when we ever had it in Greece.

This picture was when it first came out of the oven. You then cut it into squares and pour over the syrup, which then soaks into the sponge.

I served it with ice cream (can't imagine that your supposed to) but hey, it was nice!


Cheese Saganaki (Fried Feta) and How NOT to make it!

While we were in Greece we had a dish called 'Cheese Saganaki' (Fried Cheese)

So, I tried to make it myself. Silly me didn't look on the net or anywhere first I just 'decided' how to make it......Can't be that tricky I thought, it's just a block of feta in batter and deep fried. WRONG!

UPDATE: Since this attempt I have got it right - here.

This is what it should look like.

This (below) if you haven't already guessed, is mine.......

It doesn't look quite the same does it?!

Deep frying is not good - I didn't have my brain in when I made this as the batter floated to the top of the fryer and the feta melted!......I retrieved what I could of the feta and balanced the batter back on top. Tasted okay but this obviously isn't how to make it!

Peter over at Kalofagas tells me you just dip the cheese in flour and shallow fry it.
Tiz easy when you know how. I'll have another go soon. Do I get any points for trying?!

The Beautiful Greek Island of Thassos

We'd never been to Thassos until now but I must admit I didn't realise it so beautiful and very green too.

We stayed in 'The Four Seasons Apartments and Studios' and they were fantastic.
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