Happy New Year!

I write this, my first post of the new year on the first day of 2015, absolutely EXHAUSTED following a marvellous New Year party thrown by Josh and Stephen, again with a cheese theme but this time in the form of fondue.

FONDUE

After many cheesey treats and ginny delights, we got a good dance on before making our way down to the Thames to enjoy the inevitably fantastic firework display. This was followed by more gin and dance. The perfect New Year celebration!

I was asked to contribute something to be used with the fondue cheese goo on this evening, so set about having a little think as to what that could be. I thought about making some flavoured breads then cutting them into cubes and frying into croutons, but goodness what a lot of work for the time of year. Then is came to me. Another simple, tasty treat that allows both you and the eater to get creative!

IMG_4848

Flavoured Pastry Cups!
(For filling with melted cheese, and other delights!)

The flavours I made this time were Rosemary & Garlic, Chilli & Chorizo and Tomato & Basil, but you can go with whatever! I considered doing a Pear & Roasted Red Onion… A weird mix on their own, but one I thought would complement certain cheeses? Well… Perhaps next time. For now, I’ll tell you about these!

Ingredients

First, you will need to make a batch of shortcrust pastry. This will make about 12 cups:

  • 250g of Plain Flour
  • A pinch of salt
  • 110g of butter
  • 5-6 tablespoons of water

Then, your pastry flavouring:

  • 1 teaspoon of chilli powder, 1 teaspoon of chilli flakes, a handful of very VERY finely diced chorizo (SO fine… like about the size of uncooked rice)
    OR
  • A big sprig of fresh rosemary and two garlic cloves
    OR
  • A handful of fresh basil leaves, finely sliced, and handful of sunblushed tomatoes, finely diced. Pop them in a colander and pour boiling water over them to remove the extra oil, otherwise they will make the pastry too oily. Squeeze them dry with a piece of kitchen towel before using.

Let’s end 2014 right

1. Sift the flour into a bowl and add a pinch of salt. Next add the butter and rub in with your fingers until you have a fine, breadcrumb like texture.

[Note: you can see a more detailed explanation of how to make shortcrust pastry here.]

2. Now add half the water and use a butter knife to briskly move the mixture around and bring it together.

3. Now add the chilli powder, chilli flakes and chorizo

OR

Now remove the rosemary from the sprigs and add to the bowl. Use a garlic press to squeeze the garlic into the bowl.

OR

Now add the basil and sunblushed tomato pieces to the bowl

4. Now add the rest of the water and finish bringing the mix together with your knife. It may be easier to dredge it onto a surface and press it into a ball with your hands (but don’t be tempted to knead it!)

5. Wrap the pastry tightly in cling film and leave in the fridge for 15 minutes.

6. Pre-heat the oven to 190 and lightly grease a deep set cup cake/tart baking tray
(keep in mind that, if you’re using the chorizo, a lot of grease will come of this naturally. You may find in this case you don’t need to grease the tin at all.)

7. Roll out your dough to about the thickness of a pound, and proceed to cut circles out of the dough, pressing them gently into the moulds in your baking tray. Continue until the tray is full.

8. Bake for 15 minutes. Job done!

Present to your friends, and enjoy filling with whatever flavours you think suit them best!

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Bacon and Cheese…
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Mushroom, Cheese and Salsa…
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Or just straight up cheese, dammit!

So long, 2014!

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Hellooooooo 2015!

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