Sunday, 23 December 2012

Baking Mad

Had a mad day's baking yesterday, ready for all the guests we are expecting over Christmas. Whipped up some more mince pies, as the ones I made last weekend were all eaten rather quickly!

Some were a little smaller than others, due to the slightly different sizes of our baking trays. But they all still look great packed in a nice tin for Christmas. They will just need heating through and a light dusting of icing sugar on the day.

One thing I have never made from scratch before is sausage rolls. You can buy ready to roll flaky pastry, but I wanted to try making it myself, so followed Delia's really simple recipe for quick flaky pastry, which basically involves freezing and then grating the fat. Roll the pastry out into an oblong shape, cut into three strips then roll out your sausage meat. Our butcher has some lovely organic sausage meat which really does have no rubbish in it. Do try and support your local high street shops.

Mix in some very finely chopped onion and a pinch or two of sage, then divide and make three rolls long enough to fill your pastry. Brush one edge of the pastry with beaten egg , then roll the other side of the pastry over the sausage meat and seal it. Cut every 2 inches, brush with egg and make a couple of holes in each one, and pop them in the oven for 20 minutes or so at gas mark 7. It's great fun to watch the pastry rising though the oven door (if you have nothing better to do!)

Finally we made some cheese straws. Dead easy. Roll out more flaky pastry, cover one half with grated cheese then fold the other half over. Roll out again, squashing the cheese in the middle of the pastry. Cut into strips, twirl them around and pop them on a greased baking tray. Brush with a little egg or milk, and maybe sprinkle with some sesame or poppy seeds. Bake on gas mark 6 for about 20 minutes, until they are golden brown.

Happy baking everyone. I'm off to pick up some wine to mull. Hope you all have a very Merry Christmas.

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