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Pumpkin fillo triangles December 24, 2009

Posted by Helen in nibbles, Uncategorized.
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I normally make these little triangles with goat’s cheese and wild mushrooms, but as I was serving stuffed mushrooms alongside them this Christmas Eve, I decided to try a different filling. They’re called pumpkin triangles, but I cheated and used sweet potato instead. Actually, it wasn’t so much cheating as improvising as I was unable to find any pumpkin purée. I just baked one quite large sweet potato, and it yielded enough mashed contents for this recipe.











300g pumpkin or sweet potato purée
200g feta cheese, crumbled (next time, I think I’d add more feta for an extra zing)
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp salt
1/2 Tbsp dried red chili flakes
Ground black pepper
Frozen or fresh fillo pastry
Lots of melted butter
Olive oil

Mix together the sweet potato, feta cheese, egg, salt, chili flakes and black pepper.

If using frozen fillo, make sure it’s thawed completely. Put one sheet of the pastry on your worktop with the long edges facing you. Brush it with melted butter. Top with a second sheet and brush with more butter, then top with a third. (Make sure that you keep the fillo you’re not working with covered with a damp teatowel so it doesn’t dry out!)

Cut the three-layered fillo into six strips the short way. Put a small spoonful of the sweet potato filling about half an inch from the top of each strip. Don’t overfill, or the triangles will split. Then the complicated folding begins. This is the fun part. Gently lift the pastry corner and fold it tightly diagonally over the filling to create a triangle (take care not to tear pastry). Continue folding, keeping the triangle shape. I’m probably not explaining it very well, but this website has some better instructions, along with photos to demonstrate the technique. It’s very easy once you get the hang of it.

Spray the triangles or brush them lightly with olive oil. Bake for about 30 minutes at 200C.


Smoked oyster puffs December 24, 2009

Posted by Helen in fish, nibbles.
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These were the easiest things in the world to put together, yet looked rather impressive and tasted wonderful! They were less about cooking and more about assembling!










100g cream cheese
2 Tbsp mayonnaise
1 tin smoked oysters
10-12 frozen puff pastry vol-au-vent cases
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Combine the cream cheese, mayonnaise, pepper and one of the smoked oysters in either a blender or food processor. Bake the vol-au-vent cases according to the directions. Put a spoonful of the cream cheese mixture in each case and top with a whole smoked oyster.

Cheese straws November 11, 2009

Posted by Helen in nibbles.
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I love cheese straws and make them fairly often, using my mother’s recipe. But I thought for a change I’d try Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s recipe, and I have to say they were really nice. They were  more buttery and crumbly, and less like traditional pastry than the ones I usually make, but still very good.










100g butter, plus extra for greasing
150g mature cheddar cheese (or a mixture of cheddar and parmesan – I used all cheddar because that’s what I had on hand)
100g plain flour, plus extra for dusting and rolling
Cayenne pepper
Freshly ground black pepper
1 egg yolk

Preheat oven to 200°C. Lightly grease a large baking sheet with butter and cover it with a piece of baking parchment.

Finely grate the cheese into a mixing bowl. Sift in the flour and add a sprinkling of cayenne pepper. Add freshly ground black pepper and  mix.

Cut the butter into little cubes and rub it into the mixture with your fingertips. When the butter has almost disappeared into the flour and you have a crumbly mixture, stir in the egg yolk with a butter knife.

Gather the pastry into a ball of dough (it should come together very easily). Dust the work surface with plenty of flour. Carefully roll out the cheese dough into a rough square – it should be about ¼” thick. Neaten the edges with the side of your hand.

With a sharp knife, cut the square into strips, then each strip into fingers. Gently lift them onto the lined baking sheet, leaving a little space between each one.

Bake for about 8 minutes, but check after 5 or 6 minutes. The cheese straws should be a very pale golden brown. They are fragile when they come out of the oven, so leave them to sit for 5 minutes before you try to move them.