Mushroom and Stilton Wellington

The mushrooms in this are a great alternative to meat and make a substantial and delicious supper dish for a cold winter night.

Mushroom Wellington5

This serves 2, but you could easily double this to feed 4 people. I would serve this with a side salad, but the addition of sweet potato fries would be good too!

Mushroom Wellington4

Ingredients:
5 field mushrooms – stalks removed and one of them chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1.5tbs olive oil
1tsp salt and freshly ground black pepper
Small bunch of thyme – leaves removed and roughly chopped
Small bunch of Cavolo Nero – tough ribs removed and roughly chopped
100g mature blue Stilton cheese, crumbled
1 pack of puff pastry
1 egg beaten with a little milk to make a wash

Mushroom Wellington3

Method:
Heat oven to 220°C/425°F and line a baking sheet with parchment or a non-stick liner

Heat 1tbs of the oil in a large pan and fry 4 of the mushrooms for around 4 mins on each side until golden and cooked through. Set aside on kitchen paper to absorb the excess oil and moisture.

Place the pan back on the heat and add the rest of the oil. Add the chopped mushroom, onion, thyme, salt and pepper. Fry until the onion is soft and translucent. Then add the kale and continue to cook until wilted, before setting aside to cool.

On a lightly floured board, roll out the puff pastry until it is a little under half a centimetre thick.

Using a large cookie cutter or a small bowl; cut out two circles that are 2cm wider than the mushrooms. These will be the bases. Then cut another two circles about 8cm wider for the tops. You need the tops to be big enough to cover the mushrooms without stretching, so go bigger if your mushrooms are on the large size.

Mushroom Wellington2

Place the two base circles on the baking sheet and add a quarter of the vegetable mixture, taking care not to spread it wider than the mushrooms.

Place a mushroom, cap down and top with half of the cheese. Place another mushroom cap side up and add another quarter of the vegetable mixture.

Brush the pastry base border around each mushroom with egg and then layer the top circle of party over the filling, like a large ravioli.

Use your hand to gently smooth the pasty over the mushrooms and make sure you have not trapped any air in the parcel. Just take care not to stretch the pastry, as it can shrink in the oven and open up.

Seal the edges together using a fork.

Mushroom Wellington

Trim any untidy edges – I used a small bowl over the parcels and cut around the edge.

Brush each wellington with egg and bake for 30-40 mins until golden brown and puffed.

Mushroom Wellington1

Serve with a green salad and sweet potato fries for a delicious vegetarian dinner.

Spinach makes a good alternative to the kale and feel free to up the cheese content for an extra indulgent treat.

Christmas Spiced Mincemeat Friands

Friands are so easy to make, a Christmas themed recipe was inevitable!

Christmas Friands

These friands have the addition of ground mixed spice in both the cakes and the glaze for that unmistakable Christmas flavour.

As before, I use refrigerated Two Chicks egg whites from the supermarket. So much easier than separating egg whites and then finding something to do with all the yolks. I also used some homemade mincemeat that was given to me as a gift, but there are lots of really good jars of mincemeat in the supermarket at this time of year.

Christmas Friands2

I sometimes like to customise shop bought mincemeat with a little extra brandy, pistachios or cranberries, but as the children were going to eat this one, I kept it simple. This particular jar had slivered almonds which made it particularly good to eat.

Ingredients:
6 large egg whites/250ml Two Chicks pasteurised egg whites
250g icing/powdered sugar, sieved with 2tsp ground mixed spice
130g ground almonds
100g plain flour, sieved
Zest of 1-2 satsumas or clementines
160g melted butter + extra for buttering the pan
1 jar of good quality mincemeat

Method:
Preheat the oven to 180°C and brush the friand tin with melted butter.

In a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, whisk the egg whites until frothy and then add the melted butter and zest.

Mix in the ground almonds and add the icing sugar and spice on low speed. Finally, fold in the flour until just combined.

Half fill a 12-hole friand pan with the mixture and add a heaped teaspoon of mincemeat to each one. Don’t be tempted to add too much, or it will bubble out due to the high sugar content.

Using the rest of the mixture, cover the mincemeat, dividing it equally between each one. The mincemeat will be encased inside.

Christmas Friands closeup2

Bake for around 30 minutes, or until they are cooked through. A toothpick inserted should come out clean.

Leave to rest for 15 minutes before gently turning out onto a wire cooling rack. Leave to cool completely before preparing the glaze.

Christmas Friand close up

Glaze:
1 cup of icing sugar, sieved with 1tsp of ground mixed spice
Juice of the two satsumas used for the cakes, plus the zest and juice of an extra one – enough to make a dropping consistency.

Simply mix together the sieved icing sugar, spice, zest and enough satsuma juice to make a dropping consistency – I used all 3 satsumas, but mine were very small ones.

Drizzle over a little of the spicy, zesty glaze and dust with a small amount of sieved icing sugar.

Christmas Friand inside

These are spicy, moist and delicious, with a juicy mincemeat filling – a really good alternative to the traditional mince pie. Serve with coffee for a festive treat.

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

Ingredients:
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

Method:
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.