Frequently Used Recipes

Shortcrust Pastry

225g/8oz plain flour
150g/5oz butter, diced
1/2 teaspoon salt
 (for savoury pastry)
or 25g/1oz caster sugar (for sweet pastry)
1-2 egg yolks
Sift the flour into a
bowl and rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine
breadcrumbs. Stir in the salt or caster sugar, then mix to a dough with
the egg yokes and a little cold water if necessary.  Wrap in clingfilm
and leave to rest in the fridge for 20-30 minutes. Roll out on a lightly
floured work surface and use to line a deep 28cm/11 inch loose-bottomed
flan tin.
To bake blind, cover
the pastry with greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans (either
ceramic ones or any raw dried beans, which you can reuse for baking
blind).  Remove the beans and greaseproof paper and return the pastry
case to the oven for 5-10 minutes, until very lightly coloured.

After removing the
beans and paper you could brush the partly cooked pastry with lightly
beaten egg white before returning it to the oven.  This helps to form a
seal and keeps the pastry crisp when you add the filling.

Onion Gravy
1 tbsp oil
250g onions, thinly sliced
few thyme sprigs
1 tsp butter
1 tsp light brown sugar
2 tsp flour
300ml stock

Heat the oil  in a pan in stir in the onions, thyme and some seasoning.  Cover and cook gently for 20 mins until the onions are softened butnot coloured.
Remove the lid, turn up the heat, add the butter and sugar, then let the onions carmelise to a dark golden brown, stirring often.  Remove the thyme sprigs and set aside.
Stir in the flour and cook for 1 min. Remove from the heat and gradually add the stock until the gravy is as thick as you wish it to be, make sure to cook it for a further minute to make sure the starch is cooked out of the flour.  Taste for seasoning and adjust as appropriate.

Zesty Mincemeat (makes 3lb)
500g bag starndard mixed dried fruit
100g/4oz chopped candied peel
200g/7oz light muscovado sugar
zest and juice 1 orange and 1 lemon
175g/6oz coarsley grated Bramley Apple and 100g4oz finely grated Bramley apple
3 tbsp brancy
1/2 nutmet, freshly grated
100g/4oz beef or vegetarian suet
up to 1 tbsp ground almonds (optional)

1. Tip all the ingredients, except the suet and ground almonds, into a large bowl and stir really well.  Stir in the suet, cover with aplate or cling film and leave overnight for the fruit to plump up in the juices and brandy.
2. Next day, stir thoroughly again, and if the mixture still looks very juicy add a sprinkling of ground almonds to absorb some of the liquid.  Now it is ready to jar.

The mincemeat will keep for 6 months but once open, store in the fridge. 

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