Spicy Smoked Mackerel Parcels

Spicy Smoked Mackerel Parcels

Spicy Smoked Mackerel Parcels

We had some filo pastry sitting in the freezer for a while now (I’m going to make Apple Pie Samosas as some point) and I was wondering whether or not there was a filo pastry recipe for smoked mackerel.

First hit I found was this recipe from Waitrose, who are usually spot on but this time were ever so slightly off.

One clove of garlic is neither use nor ornament, if a recipe requires garlic it requires at least three fat cloves, and cooking onions for 3-4 minutes is no use, 6-10 minutes over a medium heat gets them nicely soft and translucent.

So with these changes in mind I set to making them, and the smell of the onions and Ras el Hanout was gorgeous, the spice mixture we have has a lot of rose in it so it was especially fragrant.

Everything else from the recipe was spot on and 15 minutes after they went in the oven they were done.

We served them with a red cabbage and apple slaw, pickled beetroot, pickled onions, apple chutney, and green leaf.

They are also great as a lunch, all parcelled up with a salad.

ingredients

  • 1 ½ tsp Ras el Hanout
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 25g sultanas
  • 3 clove garlic, crushed
  • 250g hot-smoked mackerel
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 8 sheets filo pastry

putting it all together

Preheat the oven to 190C, gas mark 5. Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a non-stick frying pan and gently cook the onion for several minutes until softened, then add the sultanas and garlic and cook for another minute or so. Then add the Ras el Hanout and cook this off, stirring occasionally, for another minute or so. Remove from the heat and transfer to a bowl and let cool slightly.

Flake the mackerel, discarding any skin and bones. Add to the bowl, with the lemon zest and some freshly ground black pepper, mix to combine mackerel and onions.

Lay a sheet of filo pastry on a clean chopping board and cut in half lengthways. Brush one half with a little of the remaining olive oil and lay the other half on top. Place 1&frac12-2 tbsp of the mackerel mixture on one corner of the pastry and fold over to form a triangle shape. Continue folding in a triangle shape until you reach the end of the sheet. Repeat to make 8 pasties.

Transfer to a non-stick baking sheet and brush with a little oil. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden and crisp. Cool on a wire rack.


If you want to help and support this blog you could become a Patreon which would help pay for my hosting, domain names, streaming services, and the occasional bag of popcorn to eat while watching films.

If you can’t support with a monthly subscription a tip at my Ko-Fi is always appreciated, as is buying things from my Ko-Fi Shop.

You can always email me on contact@bigbeardedbookseller.com with any suggestions.

Leek and Thyme Galette

Leek and Thyme Galette

Leek and Thyme Galette

This was originally a recipe from Mark Diacono from the Guardian, but we’ve made a few tweaks to it, as you tend to do.

The original was very tasty in and of itself but we felt that the tweaks would just lift it that little bit more, adding an onion to pan before the leeks and adding some lemon zest to the ‘custard’ at the mixing stage.

Also no matter how hungry you’re feeling let it rest for the five minutes it needs to properly set.

Serves four as main, eight as starter

For the pastry

  • 250g plain flour, we are thinking of adding wholemeal spelt to the mix the next time for a nutty flavour
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 150g cold butter, cubed
  • 1 medium egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp picked lemon thyme leaves, savory works

For the filling

  • 30g butter
  • 1 medium white onion, thinly sliced into half moons
  • 500g leeks, thinly sliced
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 medium eggs
  • ½ tsp lemon zest
  • 150g creme fraiche
  • 1 tbsp picked lemon thyme leaves
  • ¼ whole nutmeg, grated
  • 20g Parmesan or Cheddar
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Putting it all together

  1. For the pastry, put the flour, a pinch of salt, ground black pepper and the butter into a food processor and pulse until the mix resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the egg and the thyme and pulse again until the mixture just comes together. Bring the dough together with your hands and shape into a round then wrap the pastry in cling film and rest in the fridge for 30 minutes, bring out five minutes before rolling to make it easier to work.
  2. Melt the butter in a pan over a low-medium heat and add the onion and cook for several minutes until translucent, then add the leeks and bay leaves. Cook for a further 15 minutes or so, until really soft and sweet, then leave to cool a little.
  3. Heat the oven to 200C (180C fan)/390F/gas 6. Beat the two eggs in a bowl, then scoop out enough beaten egg to glaze the pastry later, and add the creme fraiche, lemon zest, cheese, thyme leaves and nutmeg to the bowl.
  4. Stir in the cooled onion and leeks and season to taste. Roll out the pastry into a circle on a lightly floured surface until about 3mm thick, leaving no gaps or holes. Put a sheet of greaseproof paper on a baking sheet and put the circle of pastry on to it. Spoon the creamy leeks on top, spreading them out evenly and leaving a 1–2cm border around the edge.
  5. Fold the edge of the pastry over to create a lip pinching to ensure no leaking from the filling, then nudge the bay leaves to the top of the filling. Glaze all the exposed pastry with the reserved egg.
  6. Bake the tart in the middle of the oven for 35–40 minutes, until the pastry is crisp and pale golden and the filling is set. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for five or so minutes before cutting into wedges to serve.

We initially had it with loads of buttery peas which was really nice but are going to make an orange, chicory, and olive salad to go with it for the next night. Will add how that goes over on Twitter.


If you want to help and support this blog you could become a Patreon which would help pay for my hosting, domain names, streaming services, and the occasional bag of popcorn to eat while watching films.

If you can’t support with a monthly subscription a tip at my Ko-Fi is always appreciated, as is buying things from my Ko-Fi Shop.

You can always email me on contact@bigbeardedbookseller.com with any suggestions.

Spiced Pear Chutney

Spiced Pear Chutney

Spiced Pear Chutney

It’s that time of year once more, and our lovely neighbour has been leaving us bags of pears.

Woke up to that bag of pears that we were given and decided that they had to be turned into something that would last so to the Internets we go.

There were a few different recipes but I came across a recipe on the BBC website that seemed ok, though there were some changes that I wanted to make for personal taste.

The other thing after actually cooking this recipe is that it took a good twenty minutes longer than described, and it filled two jam jars and a small Kilner jar, I would have four decent sized jars sterilised to be on the safe side.

    ingredients

  • 200g demerara sugar
  • 200ml cider vinegar
  • 100ml perry (pear cider)
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 red onions, chopped
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 10 firm pears, peeled
    and chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • ¾ tsp urfa chilli flakes
  • 50g sultanas

putting it together

Into your big pan add the sugar, turmeric, cider vinegar, perry, star anise, cumin, red onions, and ginger. Give this a good stir and then bring to the boil.

Then add the pears and urfa and simmer for 60 mins until the liquid is syrupy and the pears are just cooked. Stir in the sultanas 10 minutes before the end, remove from the heat, then spoon into sterilised jars just out the oven and put lids on.


If you want to help and support this blog you could become a Patreon which would help pay for my hosting, domain names, streaming services, and the occasional bag of popcorn to eat while watching films.

If you can’t support with a monthly subscription a tip at my Ko-Fi is always appreciated, as is buying things from my Ko-Fi Shop.

You can always email me on contact@bigbeardedbookseller.com with any suggestions.

It’s Pizza Jim…

Finished Pizza

Finished Pizza

… but not as we know it.

The first recipe up here is one that I think we may have found in an old Guardian weekend article in the 90s, but we just aren’t sure anymore but it was an easy recipe to remember.

A lot of the recipes are going to be veggie with a few fish recipes thrown in for good measure, I’m also not going to judge you on portion sizes as sometimes we can eat the whole pizza and sometimes we save some, and this is the same for the other recipes.

If we’ve taken the recipe from a cook book and have adapted it, I’ll credit the cook book and discuss the changes we’ve made to it, but both of us have been cooking for so long and really enjoy food quite a few of these are from our own heads or from recipes from the mists of time (the 80s!).

Most of the recipes are quite simple and use a lot of the vegetables that are grown on the allotment and we do try to be as seasonal as possible.

    for the pizza base:

  • 250g strong white bread flour
  • 7g dried activated yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 150ml hand-warm water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    for the topping:

  • 2 large cooking apples
  • 2 medium red onions
  • 200g goat’s cheese, cut into small bits
  • a few sprigs of thyme
  • freshly ground black pepper

Making the pizza base

Put all the dry ingredients into a big mixing bowl and thoroughly combine and make a well in the centre. Add the oil and water to the well and using your hands or a large butter knife combine all the ingredients into a soft slightly moist ball.

Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for several minutes until the ball of dough is smooth and bouncy. Put in lightly floured bowl, cover with a tea towel and let rise in a warm place for about 1½ hours.

In the last 20 minutes of the rising time put the oven on to 230°C and oil a swiss roll tin or appropriate sized baking sheet. After the rise put onto lightly floured surface and knead for a minute or so then using a rolling pin roll out to fit the sheet ready to put the topping on.

Making the topping

Once you’ve put the bread onto rise start the topping. Peel, top, and tail the onions then cut into wedges. In a large pan add a couple of knobs of butter and a tablespoon of olive oil and heat to a medium heat. Add the onion edges and start gently frying for about 8 minutes.

As the onions are gently cooking; core and peel the apples, cut them into small wedges then add them to the onions and cook for about another 5 minutes until a little bit of colour comes to the apples.

Putting it all together

Once the base is on the baking sheet, add the onions and apples and spread all over. Dot the top of the pizza with the goat’s cheese and the thyme.

Cook in the pre-heated oven for approximately 20 minutes until the base and topping are browned and look cooked.


If you want to help and support this blog you could become a Patreon which would help pay for my hosting, domain names, streaming services, and the occasional bag of popcorn to eat while watching films.

If you can’t support with a monthly subscription a tip at my Ko-Fi is always appreciated, as is buying things from my Ko-Fi Shop.

You can always email me on contact@bigbeardedbookseller.com with any suggestions.