Turkey, cranberry and stuffing rolls

After the success of my festive alfajores in round one of the Plymouth Chamber bake off, the pressure was on for week two, when three people would be eliminated from the competition.

The theme was bread – the aspect f baking I’m least experienced in and least confident about. Great!

I had quite a lot of ideas, and couldn’t decide whether to go sweet or savoury. The sweet option, white chocolate, cranberry and marzipan sweet rolls, went down well with all my taste testers, but the savoury option got the majority of the votes, so that’s what I went for.

I used the dough from this recipe as I knew it worked well, and took inspiration for the filling from a Paul Hollywood recipe – cooked turkey and stuffing, cranberry sauce, and my own additions of edam cheese and black pepper.

My favourite aspect of this bake was definitely the presentation – arranged in a Christmas tree shape with a ribbon tied around the base, so festive and cute!

Although I wasn’t at all confident when I dropped these off for judging, I needn’t have worried – not only did they get me through to round three, but I was actually awarded Star Baker! Amazing!

These are so perfect to make with leftovers from your Christmas dinner, they’d make the ideal boxing day lunch. Try them, and maybe your family will even give you Star Baker status too… 😉

Turkey, cranberry and stuffing rolls (adapted from here and here)

Makes 12 rolls (with some dough leftover)

  • 450g plain flour
  • 14g sachet dried yeast
  • 1tsp salt
  • 250ml milk
  • 55g butter
  • 1 egg
  • 2tbsp butter
  • 150g cranberry sauce
  • 150g cooked turkey, shredded
  • 100g cooked sage and onion stuffing, broken up
  • 20g edam cheese, finely chopped or grated
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste

Mix together half the flour, yeast and salt in a large mixing bowl. Heat the milk to a lukewarm temperature, then add into the dry ingredients with the eggs and butter. Stir to combine all the ingredients, then add in the rest of the flour a bit at a time, until the dough forms a ball that leaves the sides of the bowl. Knead the dough for about five minutes, until springy, then spray the bowl with cooking spray, put the dough back in, cover and leave to rise for at least an hour until doubled in size.

When risen, knock the dough back, give it a quick knead, and then leave for a second rising, for another hour until doubled again.

Turn the proofed dough out onto a floured surface and knead quickly. You only need 2/3 of the dough, so keep the rest wrapped in clingfilm and use for something else (I made cinnamon rolls!)

Roll the dough into a rectangle 12″ long and 9″ high. Spread the cranberry sauce all over, then evenly distribute the turkey, stuffing and cheese, then finish with a little black pepper. Roll up the dough from one of the long sides, keeping it as tight as you can, until you have a long roll of dough with all the filling rolled up inside.

Slice the roll into 12 1″ pieces with a sharp knife – try not to press down too hard so they don’t lose their shape.

Place 11 of the rolls on a large baking tray arranged in a triangle shape, with one extra at the base, leaving a couple of centimetres between them. Cover with clingfilm and leave to rise again, this time for about 45 minutes. Once risen, bake at 200 degrees for 25 minutes until risen and golden on top. Brush with melted butter straight away, then eat hot or leave to cool.

Perfect cheese scones

Before anyone says anything, I know that billing something as ‘perfect’ is really just setting yourself up for a fall.

But, as this recipe isn’t mine, I think that kind of makes it ok! It’s in fact a recipe from Dom at Belleau Kitchen, which I tried out a couple of weekends ago, and was beyond impressed with the results.

The recipe is super simple, uses just a handful of ingredients that I pretty much always have on hand, and the scones turned out beautifully – such a good rise!

Inside they were light, moist and cheesy, perfect warm from the oven with a little butter, and even good toasted a couple of days later.

I adapted the recipe a little as Lincolnshire Poacher isn’t so easy to come by in Cornwall so I used cheddar instead, but to be honest I think any cheese would work well – adaptability is another thing going in this recipe’s favour!

So thanks Dom for a super recipe – it’s definitely one I’ll be making again!

Perfect cheese scones (adapted from Belleau Kitchen)

Makes 10-12

  • 340g self raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp English mustard
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ‘a healthy grind’ of black pepper
  • 50g butter
  • 150g cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 6 tbsp milk

Sieve together all the dry ingredients, then rub in the butter to turn it into rough, crumbly breadcrumbs, then stir in the cheese. Add the mustard, eggs and milk and cut through the mixture with a knife, until it starts to come together as a dough. Use you hands to bring the dough into a ball, then flatten out onto a floured worktop – don’t use a rolling pin, just your hands. Flatten it to about 3cm thick, then use a fluted biscuit cutter to cut rounds from the dough.

Once you’ve cut them all out, bring the dough together again and flatten out, trying to work it as little as possible, then re-cut, and repeat until all the dough is used. Place the scones on a baking sheet and brush with a little milk, then bake at 200 degrees (180 fan) for 15-20 minutes or until risen and golden. Eat as soon as they’re cool enough to handle!

Cheese and leek breakfast rolls

I may have mentioned this before, but the friendly pony has a real issue with breakfast – he doesn’t like any of the normal things like cereal or toast, so I’m constantly trying to think of new things that are relatively cheap to make, have some sort of nutritional value (more than a slice of cake at least) that he will actually enjoy and stop him starving at work until lunch.

I’ve made cinnamon rolls before, which went down well, so I decided to try and make a savoury version which would be a bit more suitable for breakfast.

I based it on this recipe, using the same dough but filling it with cheddar cheese, leek and a mustard butter, with just melted butter for the glaze.

It turned out better than I’d hoped – the rolls rose brilliantly and looked really quite pretty, the bread was really soft and light and the buttery, cheesy leek filling worked well.

Another plus is that they freeze well – this recipe makes 18 rolls, so you can just keep a few out and freeze the rest, then defrost them a day ahead of eating them. Perfect!

Cheese and leek breakfast rolls (adapted from Dulce Dough’s Cinnamon Rolls):

Makes 18 rolls

  • 450g plain flour
  • 14g sachet dried yeast
  • 1tsp salt
  • 250ml milk
  • 55g butter
  • 1 egg
  • 2tbsp butter
  • 1tsp wholegrain mustard
  • 100g cheese, grated
  • 1 medium leek, washed and chopped finely
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted

Mix together half the flour, yeast and salt in a large mixing bowl. Heat the milk to a lukewarm temperature, then add into the dry ingredients with the eggs and butter. Stir to combine all the ingredients, then add in the rest of the flour a bit at a time, until the dough forms a ball that leaves the sides of the bowl. Knead the dough for about five minutes, until springy, then spray the bowl with cooking spray, put the dough back in, cover and leave to rise for at least an hour until doubled in size.

When risen, knock the dough back, give it a quick knead, and then leave for a second rising, for another hour until doubled again. While it’s rising you can make the filling – start by sauteing the leeks to soften the set aside. Mix the mustard into the butter.

Turn the proofed dough out onto a floured surface and roll into a 9 x 18″ rectangle. Spread the mustard butter evenly all over, then sprinkle the cheese and the leeks on top. Roll up the dough from one of the long sides, keeping it as tight as you can, until you have a long roll of dough with all the filling rolled up inside.

Slice the roll into 1″ pieces with a sharp knife – try not to press down too hard so they don’t lose their shape.

Place the rolls on a large baking tray, leaving about an inch between them, cover with clingfilm and leave to rise again, this time for about 45 minutes. Once risen, bake at 200 degrees for 25 minutes – they should be risen and lovely and golden on top. Brush with melted butter straight away, then eat hot or leave to cool.

Mushroom, cheese and potato pasties

First of all, let me be clear – these are NOT Cornish pasties.

Made in Cornwall, yes, but no true Cornishman would ever allow them to be known as a Cornish pasty, due to my complete disregard for the traditional contents.

They are however Cornish inspired, and are my entry for the Best of British Blogger Challenge, sponsored by New World Appliances and hosted this month by Choclette, who naturally chose the best county in England to kick off the challenge.

There is a fantastic range of local produce around at the minute, so there are any number of things I could have made using Cornish ingredients, but as pasties are what I would wager the majority of people think of when the words ‘Cornish’ and ‘food’ are mentioned, that was what I wanted to do.

Being a non-meat eater I obviously had to put my own spin on the traditional recipe, and while these are not in any way traditional, they are rather tasty and a worthy vegetarian offering.

The usual cheese and onion pasty fillings of potato, cheese and onion are given a bit of jazzing up by the combination of regular and sweet potatoes and the addition of mushrooms and fresh herbs.

I’m far from an expert when it comes to crimping pasties, but I’m actually quite proud of how these turned out – not quite bakery standard but maybe I’m on the way!

Mushroom, cheese and potato pasties

(makes 6 medium pasties)

For the pastry:

  • 200g butter, chilled in the freezer
  • 400g strong white flour
  • 1/2 beaten egg (keep the other half for glazing)
  • 50ml (ish) water

Take the block of butter out of the freezer, wrap foil around the end to hold it, and grate into the bowl of flour. Mix the butter in with a knife, then add the beaten egg and the water until it comes together as a dough – you may need a little more or less water so add it slowly. Chill in the fridge while you make the filling.

For the filling:

  • 1 medium potato
  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 onion
  • 250g mushrooms
  • 100g cheese (any would be ok, but for Cornish-ness I used Davidstow Cheddar)
  • Handful fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 tbsp single cream

Peel and dice the potatoes into 1cm cubes, then spread out in a baking tray and sprinkle with the dried thyme. Bake at 180 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until almost cooked through. Meanwhile, finely chop the onion and slice the mushrooms, and fry over a medium heat until softened. Add to a bowl with the potatoes and leave to cool.

Chop the cheese into small cubes, then stir into the vegetables with the cream and fresh thyme leaves. You could use more dried herbs, but I have a crazy thyme plant that just won’t stop growing and needs to be used!

Take the pastry out of the fridge and divide into 6 equal pieces. On a lightly floured surface, roll each out into a circle a little larger than a side plate, then use the plate to cut around for a perfect circle.

Add a dollop of the filling into the middle and spread out towards one side of the pastry, making sure to leave about an inch all the way around the edge.

Brush the edges with the remaining egg, and fold the pastry over to seal the sides around the filling.

To crimp the pasties, start with the flat edge towards you, then fold over the right hand corner of the edge to begin. Fold the edge over in a sort of rolling motion, working your way around from right to left until you get to the other side.

Transfer to a baking sheet, brush all over with the egg and add a few steam holes on top. Bake at 180 degrees for about 40 minutes, or until golden, crisp and piping hot. Serve hot or cold – they’re also great for the pony to take to work and heat up for lunch!

Cheesy rough puff twists

Last weekend, the pony made a shocking announcement – he wanted a cake-free week.

This put me into a bit of a panic as a weekend without baking just wouldn’t seem right, but after a quick think I realised it was a good chance to try something savoury for a change.

These cheesy twists are incredibly simple really, all you need is some puff pastry, cheese, and an egg. Using ready-made pastry would sort of defeat the point of wanting to bake something though, so I decided to have a go at making my own.

I followed this Gordon Ramsey recipe, as it sounded dead simple and didn’t need lots of chilling and re-rolling.

I was really pleased with how it turned out – not quite as many layers as shop-bought puff, but deliciously buttery and flaky – and I think the twists themselves definitely look as good as the ones you can buy!

I’ll certainly be using this recipe again the next time I need a quick pastry fix, and the twists went down well with the pony as an alternative to the usual sweet treats – result!

Cheesy rough puff twists

  • 300g rough puff pastry (half Gordon’s recipe)
  • 100g hard cheese , grated- I used Red Leicester which gave the twists a really nice colour
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1tsp ground black pepper

Roll out the pastry on a floured work surface to a rectangle approximately 20cm wide x 50/60cm long.

Brush the top with the beaten egg, then sprinkle about 3/4 of the grated cheese all over the top. Cut the pastry lengthways into four slices, each about 2.5cm wide.

To roll the twists, begin by folding over the bottom left hand corner, bringing it over to be in line with the right hand side of the pastry strip. Fold the bottom of the strip over to the right again, at about a 120 degree angle. Keep folding the pastry over in the same direction – as you do this you’ll see the pattern of the twist forming. Try to leave a bit of a gap for the filling to show through the twist. This is my step-by-step photo guide, hopefully it will make sense!

Once you’ve folded all four twists, place on a baking sheet, brush with a little more egg, then sprinkle the black pepper and remaining cheese on top.

Bake at 200 degrees for 20-25 minutes, until puffed up, golden and bubbling. You can either eat them warm or leave to cool, up to you!

Cheese and herb knotted rolls

For some reason, whenever I know the next thing I’m posting is savoury, I find it takes a lot longer to get around to writing it.

I don’t know if it’s just because I find sweet baking more interesting, or if it’s because the pictures I take of bread aren’t very good, but I just don’t seem to find it as exciting… does anyone else have this problem?!

Don’t let that put you off making these bread rolls though, they were actually really good!

I adapted Paul Hollywood’s basic dough recipe for bread rolls, then added in cheddar cheese, basil and parsley – purely because they’re what I have growing in my window at the minute, I’m sure any fresh herbs would be good.

I twisted them into knots to try and make them look a bit more exciting, which I think worked – a bit?!

Cheese and herb knotted rolls (recipe adapted from Paul Hollywood’s 100 Great Breads)

  • 250g strong white flour
  • 1/2 tbsp salt
  • 30g butter
  • 15g yeast
  • 150ml water
  • 50g cheddar, grated
  • handful fresh herbs

Mix all the ingredients, apart from the cheese and herbs, in a bowl until all the flour has been combined. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes. Put the dough back in the bowl and leave to rise for an hour.

After an hour, knock the dough back and knead in the cheese and herbs. Divide into 6 equal sized pieces, then stretch each out into a long sausage shape. Tie each piece into a rough knot shape.

Place the knots on a baking tray, lined with foil and dusted with flour. Leave to rise again for another hour, then bake for 20 minutes at 220 degrees, or until golden brown and cooked through.

Garlic and cheddar tear-and-share bread

I don’t venture into the world of breads too often, but last weekend something pretty amazing happened – I gave the pony the option of choosing absolutely anything for me to bake, and he chose bread.

This is the same pony who can devour an entire chocolate cake in one day, and could pretty much live off chocolate given the chance, so for him to choose a savoury bake was a bit of a surprise!

To be fair, The Pastry Affair’s Garlic and Parmesan Pull-Apart Bread does look pretty tempting, and is something I’ve been wanting to try for a while, so I was quite happy to oblige.

I made a few changes to the original – I didn’t think the two of us could manage an entire bundt tin of bread, so I halved the recipe and baked it in a loaf tin, and I substituted the parmesan as we don’t eat non-veggie cheese.

The results were pretty delicious – I’d even go as far as saying this is the best bread I’ve made yet! And definitely better than any of the tear-and-share breads you can buy in the supermarkets.

On another note, my photos have not been going well recently – there’s just never any daylight when I’m at home! If anyone has any ideas on how to make the best of artificial light, please let me know!

Garlic and cheddar tear-and-share bread (recipe adapted from The Pastry Affair):

  • 210g bread flour
  • 1tsp dried yeast
  • 1tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup lukewarm water
  • 1tbsp olive oil
  • 50g butter
  • handful of fresh parsley
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 50g grated cheddar

Mix together the yeast and water, and set aside for 5-10 minutes, until it’s starting to froth. Sift together the flour and salt, make a well in the centre and add the olive oil and yeasty water. Mix together with a wooden spoon, then tip out onto a floured surface and need for about 10 minutes. Put back in the bowl, cover over with oiled clingfilm and leave to double in size (about 2 hours for me, but my house is freezing).

While the dough is proving, melt the butter in the microwave and add the chopped garlic and parsley. When the dough is ready, knowck it back down then tear off walnut-sized balls, dip each into the buttery mixture, then place in the tin. Once you’ve done one layer, sprinkle half the cheese on top, add the rest of the butter-dipped dough balls, and then add the rest of the cheese.

Leave to rise again, for about half an hour or until it’s doubled in size again, then bake at 175 degrees for about 25 minutes, or until the top is golden and it easily releases from the tin. Serve with anything, it’s delicious!