Stilton, Spinach & Walnut Stuffed Mushrooms

I don’t care what people think, life is definitely not too short to stuff a mushroom!

Stuffed mushrooms2

I love stuffed mushrooms and these meaty, Portobello ones have delicious Colston Bassett Stilton cheese, fresh spinach, walnuts and sage.  They make a really nice lunch that’s perfect for this time of year and make a great side dish for nice juicy steak.

I have also made smaller versions of this recipe, using chestnut mushrooms and served them warm as a canapé.

Stuffed mushrooms

Serves 2

3 Portobello Mushrooms, with stems removed
1tbs olive oil
Knob of butter
Salt and pepper
1 small onion, finely chopped
Freshly chopped sage
Large bunch of fresh spinach leaves
180g Stilton cheese, broken up into large crumbles
Handful of walnuts, roughly chopped
Two slices of lightly stale white bread, just leave it out for an hour. Remove crusts and whizz up in the food processor until you have crumbs
Small bunch of flat leaf parsley, chopped
4tbs double cream

Stuffed mushroom

Pre-heat the oven to 190°C/375°F

Add the parsley to the breadcrumbs and stir to combine and set aside.

Heat the oil and butter in a non-stick pan.

Very finely chop one of the mushrooms and add to the pan, along with the chopped onion, sage and a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook until the onion has softened, add the spinach until wilted and then stir in the cream. Cook for a further minute, before turning off the heat. Stir in the stilton, walnuts and herby breadcrumbs.

Stuffed mushroom closeup

Using a spatula, gently press the mixture into the mushroom caps, dividing the mixture equally between the two mushrooms.

Stuffed Mushroom slice

Bake for around 30 minutes, until melted, golden and crisp. Serve as a first course with salad, or on the side of a steak.

Bonfire Toffee

This is old fashioned and traditional treacle toffee that is seasonal for this time of year. As loved by children and adults alike, this is perfect for bonfire night parties!

Bonfire Toffee2

I use a candy thermometer to make this, but it is possible to make using a bowl of water to test when the toffee is ready. Just drop a small ball into the water and if it separates into firm threads (not brittle), it’s ready.

I make sure the children are well out of the way when making this as the toffee gets phenomenally hot!

300g light brown sugar
150g golden syrup
150g black treacle
150g butter
¼ tsp cream of tartar
Vegetable oil for greasing

Prepare your tin by lining with non-stick baking parchment and oiling, or you could use foil and oil that. An oiled silicone mould would work well too. I used one that was 15cm square.

Place the ingredients into a deep, heavy based pan and heat on medium, stirring occasionally until everything is completely melted.

Place a candy thermometer in the pan and turn up the heat. You need to boil this until it reaches 140°C/284°F. Then, very carefully, pour the molten toffee into your prepared tin and leave to cool at room temperature.

Bonfire Toffee

If you want to cut the toffee into individual pieces, wait until the toffee has cooled enough to handle but is still soft and pliable – around 15 minutes. Use an oiled knife to cut into pieces and wrap in small squares of parchment paper, twisting up the sides. Alternatively, use a toffee hammer and break into irregular shards once it has cooled completely.

This must be stored in an airtight container and separated with layers of baking parchment. Once it has cooled and exposed to the air, it will become really sticky and all the pieces will get stuck together.

Bonfire toffee closeup

As a child, I remember buying this in little paper bags and you had to make a decision whether to eat the paper stuck to it or not. Don’t let that happen!

Butterscotch Chocolate Bark Bars

These are Halloween butterscotch and chocolate bark bars. Most chocolate bark is just poured onto parchment and then studded with dried fruit, nuts and all kinds of candy, depending on the occasion.

Butterscoth bark pile

I found some great chocolate moulds with bark patterns in them on Amazon and they are just the right size for making individual chocolate bars. The moulds are made from silicone, so getting the bars out couldn’t be easier.

Halloween bark butterscotch

These bars are made with old fashioned butterscotch candy with a coating of chocolate and decorated for Halloween.

It really is best to use a candy thermometer for this recipe as the sugar needs to be heated to the soft and hard crack stage.

If you are not using moulds, line a tin with oiled foil. When the candy is poured into the tin, leave it to cool for 5 minutes before scoring into squares, or break with a toffee hammer when cold.

butterscotch bark1

450g sugar
150ml water
85g golden syrup
1tsp lemon juice
¼tsp cream of tartar
130g butter
1tsp vanilla extract
100g dark chocolate
100g milk chocolate
Decorations – I have used candy corn, sugar eyes, bones and Halloween sprinkles

butterscotch bark1

Place the sugar, water, syrup and lemon juice in a heavy based pan over a medium heat until almost boiling.

Remove from the heat and stir in the cream of tartar.

Place back on the heat and take it up to the soft crack stage (132°C/270°F).

Remove from the heat and add the butter and vanilla, mixing in well.

Return to the heat and take it up to the hard crack stage (146°C-154°C/295°C/309°F)

Take off the heat and immediately pour into the moulds, or the prepared tin. Leave to cool completely.

butterscotch bark single

To decorate, melt the chocolate in the microwave until almost melted, stirring well so the residual heat melts it completely.

butterscotch bark closeup

Spoon over a coating of the chocolate, before decorating with your chosen edibles.

butterscotch bark closeup2