Honey digestives

These are fantastic with goat’s cheese and a little sliver of dried fig.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 225g wholewheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 125g butter
  • 2 tbsp clear honey

METHOD:

  • Mix the flour and salt, and rub in the butter – fine breadcrumb texture
  • Mix in the honey to make a stiff dough.
  • Roll out thinly on a floured board, and cut into rounds with a 5cm cutter.
  • Bake at 150C for 20 minutes.

Cheese Straws

A big hit at the recent coffee morning. I think the helpers had quite a few.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 175g plain flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • a pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 75g butter
  • 75g grated cheese, mixture of cheddar and parmesan
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 3 tsp milk

METHOD:

  • Sieve the flour, cayenne pepper and salt into a bowl.
  • Rub in the butter, then stir in the grated cheese.
  • Mix the mustard, egg yolk and water together.
  • Make a stiff dough by adding the egg yolk mixture to the dry ingredients.
  • Roll out to about 1cm thick, and then cut into fingers, about 1cm by 5cm.
  • Place on a lightly greased baking tray, and bake at 220C for 12 minutes.
  • Lift onto a wire rack to cool.

Ham and leeks in a cheese sauce

This is a good quick supper, easy and tasty. I scored some cheap ham at the co-op this afternoon. Top tip – if you want to eat cheaply and feel good about stopping food waste, Sunday afternoons at the co-op is peak bargain time.

After we ate this, we reflected that we could have snuck in a layer or two of lasagne as well.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3-4 leeks
  • approx 4 slices of cooked ham, chopped
  • 40g butter
  • 40g flour
  • salt and pepper
  • 150ml of cooking liquid from the leeks
  • 300ml milk
  • nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp prepared mustard
  • 100g grated cheese
  • breadcrumbs

METHOD

  • Prepare the leeks, cut them into 1 cm slices and cook in boiling water for around 7 minutes.
  • Drain the leeks and reserve the cooking liquid.
  • Put the leeks into the bottom of a gratin dish, and cover with a layer of ham.
  • Fry the flour in the butter, for around a minute, and then add the liquid to make a smooth sauce, and simmer for a couple of minutes.
  • Add half the cheese, along with the mustard and a grating of nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste. Cook until the cheese is all melted into the sauce
  • Pour the sauce over the ham and leeks, then top with the rest of the cheese and then the breadcrumbs
  • Cook for 10 minutes under a moderately hot grill, until the topping is nicely browned.

Tartiflette

We make this frequently at home, because it is easy, and it is a top comfort food. For a vegetarian option, leave out the bacon.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1.2 kg waxy potatoes
  • 200g diced smoked bacon
  • 1 onion, finely sliced (you can add garlic if you like)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil or butter
  • Salt, pepper, nutmeg
  • 1 reblochon cheese (a softish cows’ milk cheese)
  • 2 tbsp creme fraiche or sour cream
  • 1 glass of dry white wine (Apremont for preference: it has a fresh light taste)

METHOD:

  • Peel and boil the potatoes for ten minutes, drain and leave to cool
  • Gently fry the onion in the oil, and add the bacon. Cook until the onion and bacon are beginning to brown slightly. Season with salt and pepper, and a grate of nutmeg
  • Butter a gratin dish large enough to take all the ingredients. Slice half the cooked potatoes thickly, and make a layer over the bottom of the dish
  • Add half the onion and bacon.
  • Use the rest of the potatoes, sliced to make a second layer and top with onion and bacon.
  • Pour over the glass of wine
  • Spread the creme fraiche over the top, then halve the reblochon lengthwise, and put this cut-side down over the potatoes.
  • Bake at 200C for 15 to 20 minutes, so the cheese has melted into the potatoes.