The Pheasant Inn

Recently My husband and myself spent a night away from home, the reason…a visit to Kielder Observatory. So naturally, we had to find a place to stay. The night was going to be long and we knew wouldn’t finish star gazing until the early hours. We needed somewhere comfortable to sleep, somewhere close to the observatory, and somewhere we could get an early evening meal. We found such a place at Stannersburn,near Kielder Water, which was ideal. A small family run Country Inn offering Bed and Breakfast and accommodation.

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The room we stayed in was located in a small courtyard, within the grounds, a 30 second walk from the front door of the Inn. The room was en-suite, very comfortable and clean. The Inn was full of character and charm, with open fires and oak beams. The staff were also very warm and welcoming.

Interior of Inn

Interior of Inn

The food served is very traditional and flavoursome. I had Sea Bass, which was cooked very simply but perfectly. My husband decided on steak and kidney pie cooked with shortcrust pastry, which he described as melt in the mouth. Both mains were served with vegetables. For dessert we had a very light and yummy sticky toffee pudding with ice cream to follow. Both courses were very enjoyable. It might be worth mentioning that other residents were raving about the Slow Roast Shoulder of Northumbrian Lamb with Rosemary and Redcurrant.

Sea Bass

Sea Bass

Breakfast also lived up to expectations, again a very traditional English but well cooked and tasty.

Overall we had a wonderful stay in one of the most beautiful parts of our country. Kielder Water and Kielder Observatory are both well worth a visit to those of you who have never ventured into that part of Northumberland.

Kielder Water and Observatory

Kielder Water and Observatory

Spiced Scone swirls

For my second scone to celebrate World Bake Day I am going to adapt the traditional fruit scone. This scone can be served on its own as part of an afternoon tea party or it is delicious served with custard for a dessert. They are delicious eaten warm or cold.

Ingredients

350g (12oz) SR Flour

pinch of salt

1 tsp baking powder

85g (3oz) butter chilled and cut into cubes

4 tbsp caster sugar

150g pot of natural yogurt ( low fat or full fat, both work)

4 tbsp milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

1egg with 1 tbsp milk

(you may need extra to glaze the scones)

1tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground nutmeg

3 tbsp Demerara sugar

4 tbsp soft butter

1 eating apple ( your choice of variety), peeled,chopped into small cubes

85g (3oz) Raisins

Method

Put oven on Temperature 220C/200C Fan or Gas 7

Prepare the filling first

Beat half tsp of each spice and 2 tbsp Demerara sugar into the butter, then stir in the apple and the raisins.

Cream butter,sugar and spices

Cream butter,sugar and spices

Add fruit

Add fruit

Prepare the scone mix

Put flour,salt, remaining spices and butter into a food processor and pulse until butter can no longer be seen.

Add the sugar and pulse again. Transfer mix to a large mixing bowl and make a well in the centre.

Warm the yogurt, vanilla extract and the milk. (It should not be hot, just warm to your finger tip )

Warm yogurt and milk

Warm yogurt and milk

Tip into the dry mix and work into the flour using a metal table knife. Bring the dough together with your hands.

Turn the dough onto a floured surface and roll to about 30×40 cm.

30-40cm rectangle

30-40cm rectangle

 

Spread the fruity butter on the dough, then roll up from the long side, making sure you tuck the ends over neatly.

Mark and cut into 10 triangles.

Spread butter mixture

Spread butter mixture

Roll,fold in ends and mark into triangles

Roll,fold in ends and mark into triangles

Brush with egg was and sprinkle with Demerara sugar.

Flour your baking sheet. Space the scones onto the sheet then bake for 12 mins approximately until golden brown and risen.

Flour baking sheet and bush with egg wash

Flour baking sheet and bush with egg wash

Sprinkle with Demerara sugar

Sprinkle with Demerara sugar

Take out of oven and cool.

Spiced scone swirls

Spiced scone swirls

 

Feta,Olive and Sun dried Tomato Scones

What better way to celebrate World Baking Day (17th May 2015) than to make a traditional bake. So with that in mind I have decided to make scones. However, as part of the celebrations I have decided to tweak the recipe to make them that little bit extra special.

Scone mix is a great base for both sweet and savoury recipes, so for my first bake I have decided to make a scone that can be used to serve as a canapé or part of a take on a Ploughmans lunch.

Ingredients

3 oz (75 g) Feta, cubed small

10 black olives, pitted and roughly chopped

2 oz (50 g) sun-dried tomatoes, drained of oil and chopped (reserve 1 tablespoon oil)
6 oz (175 g) self-raising flour

2 oz (50 g) wholewheat flour

¼ level teaspoon baking powder

¼ level teaspoon cayenne pepper

¼ level teaspoon mustard powder

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Half level teaspoons dried thyme

1 large egg

2 tablespoons milk

For the topping:

milk for brushing

2 oz (50 g) Feta, crumbled

Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 7, 425°F (220°C).

Method
Sift the flours and baking powder into a large bowl,tip in any bran left in the sieve, then add the cayenne and mustard powder and, using a table knife, work in the 2 tablespoons of olive oil, plus the reserved tablespoon of oil from the sun-dried tomatoes.

Sifted dry ingredients and chopped feta,olives and tomatoes

Sifted dry ingredients and chopped feta,olives and tomatoes

When the mixture looks like lumpy breadcrumbs stir in the chopped thyme, cubed Feta, olives and sun-dried tomatoes.

Add chopped ingredients to flours

Add chopped ingredients to flours

Now in a separate bowl beat the egg with the 2 tablespoons of milk and add half this mixture to the other ingredients. Using your hands, bring the mixture together to form a dough, adding more of the egg and milk as it needs it – what you should end up with is a dough that is soft but not sticky.

Bring together to form a dough

Bring together to form a dough

Now on a floured board, roll the dough out to a depth of 1 inch (2.5 cm). Then stamp out the scones using a 1and half  inch (3-4cm) cutter, either plain or fluted. Put the cut-out pieces on a baking tray and brush them with the milk.

(At this stage you could also roll out the the dough into an oblong. Spread with a thin layer of Marmite. Roll up and make pin wheels to serve as a snack )

Finally top each scone with the crumbled Feta, and put the tray on the highest shelf of the oven to bake for 12-15 minutes or until they’ve turned a golden colour.

Ready for the oven

Ready for the oven

Then remove them to a wire rack until they are cool enough to eat

Served sandwiched together with a cream cheese and Italian ham on the side is a delicious take on a Plougmans lunch

Ready to eat

Ready to eat

Serve  with Italian ham and cream cheese

Serve with Italian ham and cream cheese

 

Malty Beer Loaf with Jarlesburg Cheese

imageBread is a staple food, produced from simple ingredients, flour, water and yeast moulded into a dough and usually baked. In recent years there has been an increase in the growth of artisan bakeries who are producing variety of breads using traditional techniques and traditional ingredients.

The formation of movements such as the lottery-funded Real Bread Campaign aims to ‘encourage the consumption and production of real bread in Britain’ has helped real bread become a hot topic in homes across the country.

This year Real Bread Week runs from 9-15 May 2015.

The Real Bread Campaign is part of the food and farming charity Sustain. The main aim of the week is to encourage people to get baking Real Bread or buying it from local, independent bakers.

So the campaign has encouraged me to get back to basics and make some bread. I hope this blog encourages you to do the same.
For this recipe I decided to use two ingredients that have been linked together for centuries ‘beer and bread’. Early bread and beer have exactly the same ingredients – water and cereal. Then yeast is added to both to get the finished desired product.
My recipe is a real ‘blokes’ bread. Malty beer loaf with the smooth, distinctive, rounded taste of Jarlesberg cheese. Lovely.

Ingredients

Ingredients

Ingredients

370g Very Strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
200g Very strong wholemeal bread flour
(I used Allinson flour in both cases)
1tsp salt
1x7g sachet of fast action dried yeast
200ml beer ( you could use apple juice if you don’t fancy beer)
120-180ml warm water
150g Jarlesberg cheese (cut into small cubes)

Method
Dust a large tray with flour

In a large bowl, mix the flours, yeast and salt together. Pour in the beer and enough water to make a sticky dough. Stir everything together and knead until smooth and elastic. ( This will take approximately 10 minutes by hand or 5 minutes if you use an electric mixer with a dough hook)

Turn dough out onto work surface and knead in the squares of cheese

Cubed cheese

Cubed cheese

Knead in cubes of cheese

Knead in cubes of cheese

Return dough to the bowl and cover with cling film. Leave to rise in a warm place for 1 hour until double in size.

Cover and put to rise

Cover and put to rise

Dough risen to double the size

Dough risen to double the size

Punch down the dough and shape into a Cob or (rolls,loaf,plait). Place onto floured baking tray.

Punch down

Punch down

Shape

Shape

Cover and put shaped cob to rise

Cover and put shaped cob to rise

Cover with cling film or a plastic bag and put to rise for 1 hour until almost double in size.

The baking of this loaf is a method I took from the master of bakers Paul Hollywood. Believe me it is a method worth following as it produces a great finish to your bread.

Heat the oven to 200C, gas mark 6 and place a roasting tray on the bottom shelf to heat up. Once the loaf is risen, spray with water. Dust with a handful of flour and rub all over the loaf. Score 4 diagonal slashes across the top of the loaf, 2-3cm deep.

Just before baking pour 1 litre of water into the baking tray. This will create steam while the loaf is cooking and give the bread a crispy crust. Place the loaf on the middle shelf and bake for 25minutes. Lower the temperature to 180c, gas mark 4 and bake for a further 15minutes. The crust should be dark and crisp and the base should sound hollow when tapped. Leave to cool on a wire rack.

Cool on a wire rack

Cool on a wire rack

Serve (buttered if you wish) with chutney or pickle and extra cheese. ENJOY!!

Slice serve with chutney

Slice serve with chutney

Mash up 2

Cookie cup

Well let’s get creative again and produce another mash up. This time let’s be innovative using cookie dough. This year, in restaurants across the land, we should see the smaller dessert become more prevalent on menus. Probably linked with the trend to cut down on sugar. So why not follow this trend in our own homes and wow your dinner party guests or family with a small treat made with everyone’s favourite ‘ the home made cookie’.

For this recipe I have used a tried and trusted cookie recipe,which moulds well into a cup shape and equally can be used to make the most crispest and moreish cookie with flavours of your choice.

Ingredients

Use the same base ingredients to make cookie cups or normal cookies
You will need a muffin tin to form the cups
125g (4oz) butter, plus extra to grease
125g (4oz) self-raising flour
125g (4oz) light brown soft sugar
125g (4oz) porridge oats

½tsp bicarbonate of soda

1tbsp golden syrup

If coating cookies you will need :125g (4oz) milk or plain chocolate, melted
You can also add 30g chocolate chips,or some ginger flavouring etc.
Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan) mark 4 and lightly grease two baking sheets. Grease muffin tin very lightly

Method

In a small bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, oats and soda. Set aside
In a small pan, melt butter and golden syrup. Add to the dry mixture and combine.
Allow to cool.
(If adding chocolate chips for cookies this is important otherwise the chips will melt.)

Melted fat and syrup ready to add to dry ingredients

Melted fat and syrup ready to add to dry ingredients

Divide mixture into 16 and squeeze each portion into a ball

Walnut sized balls

Walnut sized balls

To make cookie cups: you will need one and a half balls per cup. Half one of the balls and press mixture into the base of one of the moulds. Use the remaining pieces of dough to mould around the tin to form a cup shape. At this point I used the end of a rolling pin to firm up the dough in the mould.

Moulded cookie dough

Moulded cookie dough

For cookie cups :Take the cups out of oven after ten minutes. They will have puffed up, gently remould with your fingers or the end of a rolling pin (be careful because the mixture is hot). Put back in the oven until all of the surface is golden brown. When you take them out of the oven you will probably have to remould again.

Partially cooked,ready to remould

Partially cooked,ready to remould

Moulding

Moulding

If making cookies : Arrange the balls on the baking sheets, spacing apart, and squash down a little.

For cookies and cups:

Bake for 15-18min until golden.
Leave to cool for five minutes,loosen with a round bladed knife. Leave to cool completely, give a gentle twist and remove from the tin.

For cookies: leave to cool for 3min on the trays, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Cooling cookie cups

Cooling cookie cups

Cookies and cups cooling

Cookies and cups cooling

If coating cookies:

Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water (or microwave on full power in a glass bowl for 20sec bursts). Using a pastry brush, paint half of each biscuit, on the top and bottom, with chocolate. Alternatively, drizzle the chocolate liberally over biscuits. Transfer biscuits to a wire rack and allow to set before serving.

To fill cookie cups:
You can fill the cups with a filling of your choice ( I used ice cream and fruit).
However if you are using a liquid filling you would be wise the coat the inside of the cookie cup with chocolate to prevent the filling soaking into the biscuit and softening it.

Finished cookie cup

Finished cookie cup

 

MASH UP (food combining)

Ice cream bread

There is no end to the way people like to enjoy their food be it sweet or savoury. Combining your favourite foods together can produce unpredictable or even outstanding results that can wow family and friends.
This trend has been going on for a number of years in restaurants with the fusion of ingredients from across the globe to produce some outstanding dishes which combine elements of different culinary traditions.
In my search for new hybrid ideas in food combining I have come across some weirded and wonderful ideas. Two of which I would like to share with you.

The first recipe is ICE CREAM BREAD…..Yes that’s right! I was doubtful at first also,but it sounded so quirky I just had to try it.
The bread consists of only TWO ingredients….S.R. Flour and ice cream of your choice.
Take it from me the ice cream makes this bread so light, and the best bit is, it only takes minutes to mix up and get into the oven.

Ingredients

Makes one 8×4 loaf
240g Ice Cream, (full fat works best) any flavour, softened (I used Carte D’or vanilla and I added 50g walnuts)
180g Self-RaisingFlour

Basic ingredients

Basic ingredients

Preheat your oven to 180C (160C fan oven) Spray and flour a 8 x 4 loaf pan, or line it with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl mix the ice cream and flour together until just combined.
Scoop into the loaf and and smooth out.

Uncooked ingredients

Uncooked ingredients

Bake for about 45 minutes or until a skewer stuck in the loaf comes out with a few crumbs stuck to it.

Remove from the pan and allow to cool

Cooling loaf

Cooling loaf

Once cooled I spread my slice with butter it was……yummy. Come on, what are you waiting for get the ice cream out of the freezer and mix up a loaf.

Finished loaf

Finished loaf