Category Archives: Recipes

Simple puff pastry apple puffs with caramel sauce

Simple puff pastry apple puffs with caramel sauce

So when I woke up this morning, it was a typical rainy British bank holiday Monday that we love, know and expect. Although we had no plans so it didn’t really matter, it just makes the day a bit miserable! 

So naturally, I thought ‘I’ll make some caramel’ – this is an obvious thought process on such mornings. So make caramel I did. I also like apples. And pastry. And I made these quick wee parcels of appley pastry-y goodness. 

  
They’re nothing fancy. But quick, simple, tasty little bites which work well as snacks, for lunch boxes, dessert served with ice cream or, in our case, breakfast. 

You will need – 

Apples. Any apples will do and I used 2 apples to make around 10 puffs

Ready rolled puff pastry. Don’t be ashamed of the ready rolled pastry, I’d actually rather do anything else than make puff pastry from scratch

*Caramel sauce* 

250g caster sugar (and some for sprinkling) 

4 table spoons of water

150ml double cream 

50g butter

Let’s make yummy things! 

*1 

Pre heat your oven to gas mark 5, 190 degrees C. Unroll the pastry, cut a strip approximately 4″ wide and cut into 4 triangles. Sprinkle with a little caster sugar.  

 
*2 

Cut the apples into chunks around 1″ thick. You can peel them if you like, I chose not to because I was hungry and wanted food now the skin is good for you. But it’s up to you! Place the apple chunks along the edge of the pastry triangle, in the centre. 

  
*3 

Wrap the pastry around the apple chunks. I wrap the shorter edge in first, then the long edge around. Sprinkle with sugar, place on a baking tray (mine was clean but this was actually the second batch so don’t judge me) and pop into the oven for around 20-30 minutes or until golden. 

  
While they’re cooking, let’s make the sauce! 

*1 

Put the caster sugar and water into a heavy bottoms pan over low/medium heat and stir until the sugar has disolved. 

  
*2 

Increase the heat so there are gentle bubbles and keep mixing! It’ll begin to thicken.

  
*3 

The sugar will start to turn golden and thicken more. Keep mixing! You don’t want it to burn. And yes, I’ve changed from a plastic spatula to a wooden spoon, well spotted. This is because I stupidly forgot how hot sugar gets, melted the spatula and had to pick pink plastic out of the caramel dropped it on the floor.

  
*4

Once you have a smooth, golden caramel remove the pan from the heat and mix in the cream and the butter. Slowly and carefully! 

  
Then all you have to do is remove your puffs from the oven, allow to cool for a few minutes (they really are best eaten warm) with lashings of sauce! Hooray! What a wonderful breakfast. Or pudding. Or both. Let’s not put limits on things now. 

The apple puffs will keep for a few days in an air tight container (ha! Ours were gone within minutes) and the caramel sauce you can also keep in an air tight container in the fridge (unless you have a 4 year old who enjoys drinking any neat sauce, caramel, gravy etc…). 

The girl child decided that she would be making these when she appears on Junior Bake Off (in her little baking dreams) as they ‘look quite easy’ however, she is worried she would be expected to make her own pastry. So I guess she better get practising! 

Enjoy your puffs! 

  

  

Simple gratin dauphinois recipe – an authentic taste of France.

Simple gratin dauphinois recipe – an authentic taste of France.

I ummed and ahhed about this first post, choosing to bypass the ‘hi this is me and this is what I do’ (after all, you can read that here) and jump right in with food. Who doesn’t love food!    

 

Gratin dauphinois is a potato side dish which originates from the south west of France. Our family were introduced to this *amazing* food when we lived in the region and it was something that my dad continued to cook for us throughout our childhood. It is my ultimate favourite food, it can accompany everything from pie to fish and salad. Just a bowl on its own is pretty good too!

So let’s get on with cooking!

You will need –

*An oven proof dish (any size will do, from individual portions to mammoth offerings depending on the amount of people. It works well as left overs so if in doubt, over cater!)

*Waxy potatoes (my dish was approx. 12″ x 8″ and I used 8 medium potatoes)

*3 large carrots. Ok so I’ve never read a recipe that had carrots in it before but this is how we always had it when we were little. Feel free to leave them out but they definitely add something good!

*3-4 tablespoons of crème frâiche

*Approx. 300ml of single cream or milk (I use milk, I don’t think it makes a huge difference)

*Black pepper

*Grated cheese

Pre heat the oven to gas mark 5, 190 degrees.

1) Slice the potatoes and carrots. I like to slice mine so they are almost transparent but the thickness varies from wafer thin to as thick as a coin as slicing isn’t an exact science. It doesn’t matter too much, thinly sliced is fine. Alternatively you could use a mandoline.

2) Layer the potato and carrot slices into your dish to the top. I seem to alternate two layers of potato, one of carrots but you can mix this up how you like.

3) Add the milk or cream. I fill the dish about half way with milk, so it depends on how large your dish is. Too little is better than too much as you don’t want there to be lots of liquid.

4) Expertly and artistically ‘blob’ on (technical culinary term) the crème frâiche.

5). Cover liberally in black pepper. The eagle eyed among you might notice my pepper is rainbow pepper, not strictly black pepper but it is essentially the same. Don’t skimp! The pepper is very important.

 

6) Sprinkle over the grated cheese, lots of! Cover with foil and pop into the oven for approx. 60-90 minutes. This will depend on the size of your dish, mine took around 90minutes. Remove the foil 10 minutes before the end to make the cheese nice and crispy. You can check if it’s done by poking it with a knife, if it slides through with little resistance, your food is cooked!

And that is it! Cook, eat, enjoy.