Cheese & Bacon Pastries

Twists, turnovers, straws – all so deliciously naughty and yet devilishly simple to make at home.

Every now and again I have moments where I look at something familiar, and wonder why I’ve never thought of having a go at making it for myself. Often the ubiquitous is simpler than you think. Some things just aren’t worth the effort, however these pastries most certainly are.

I find it so satisfying to transform a block of puff pastry into delectable treats. Naturally, they’re not going to be a healthy option, but at least they’ll be homemade and you’ll know exactly what’s gone into them.puff pastry

Life’s too short to be making your own puff pastry, so don’t feel bad about using a shop-bought block or even splashing out a few extra pennies for the pre-rolled sheets for an even quicker turnaround.

Here’s a few options using similar ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • Puff pastry (block, rolled or even your own homemade rough-puff)
  • Streaky bacon
  • Grated cheese (cheddar is nice and tangy but feel free to experiment)
  • Dijon or English mustard
  • Egg, beaten
  • Seeds – black/white sesame or poppy (optional)
  • Tomato, sliced (optional)
  • Dusting of flour

Method 1 – Twists:

  1. Roll out your pastry to about 3mm thick on a dusting of flour, or simply unfold your pre-rolled sheets.
  2. Brush over a thin layer of mustard.
  3. Top with grated cheese.
  4. Lay down parallel strips of streaky bacon, leaving a little gap between.
  5. Carefully cut between the bacon using a large knife to make equally sized strips.
  6. Holding each end, confidently twist.
  7. Place them onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper and chill in the fridge for 10 minutes to firm up and help them keep their shape when cooked.
  8. Brush the pastry with a little beaten egg.
  9. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 200°C for 15-20 minutes until golden and crispy.

cheese bacon twists

Method 2 – Turnovers:

  1. Cut your rolled out pastry into even squares about 12cm x 12cm.
  2. Brush with a thin layer of mustard (optional).
  3. Add a couple of slices of tomato (optional).
  4. Lay a rasher of bacon diagonally across the pastry.
  5. Top with grated cheese.
  6. Fold one corner into the centre and brush the exposed pastry with a little beaten egg.
  7. Fold the opposite corner over to form the turnover shape.
  8. Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle over a little extra cheese for good luck.
  9. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 200°C for about 20 minutes until the bacon is cooked and the pastry is golden and crispy.

If you’re adding tomato then please do note that it gets remarkably hot – make sure you let them cool down before tucking in.

cheese and bacon turnovers

Method 3 – Straws:

This is perfect for any offcuts or leftover pastry.

  1. Simply cut your rolled out puff pastry into strips, brush with beaten egg and then top with grated parmesan cheese and a sprinkling of seeds.
  2. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 200°C for 10-15 minutes until golden and crispy.
  3. Open a beer.
  4. Devour.

homemade cheese straws

 

Have a go at looking at the world differently. Question yourself and rise to the challenge.

For me, it’s going to be flatbreads next. I already know that they’re super-easy to make – easier than a normal loaf – yet somehow I’ve never had the confidence that my attempt would be as good as shop-bought.

Winter and the cheese bacon tomato turnovers

 

The Big Feastival

Last week we were lucky enough to visit The Big Feastival; a music and good food extravaganza of epic proportions. The brainchild of Jamie Oliver and Alex James of Blur fame, the event is beautifully colourful, refreshingly child friendly, and remarkably chilled out.  Hosted at Alex’s Kingham farm in the stunning Cotswolds, it’s only a short drive from Cheltenham and fortuitously across the road from the local railway station.

Felix @ Festival

Featuring multiple music stages and a plethora of delectable eating establishments, it’s like heaven in a field. My lovely wife even got to sit across a kitchen table from Raymond Blanc in one of the many talks, Q&A sessions and live demonstrations that ran throughout the event. What a way to spend a weekend. Alas we didn’t get to pitch a tent to make the most of the festivities, but thankfully there’s always next year!

We were all super impressed by the setup and layout – it’s easy to see why it’s so popular. It’s certainly a great introduction to a music festival for the younglings.

Felix & Winter

There’s just so much on offer that you find yourself wanting to graze all day. We had the joy of sampling what I have to say was the finest cheese toastie I’ve ever snaffled, crafted by the one and only Henry Herbert of Hobbs House Bakery. It’s inspiring to see something so humble elevated to gourmet heights through the introduction of a little love, thought and patience.

Winter eating a toastie

Felix and the Toastie

Hobbs House at the Big Feastival

The Feastival may be expensive, but in the scheme of things, you certainly get a lot of bang for your buck. The Feastival attracts big names in music and equally big names from the restaurant scene and culinary arts. The fact that it raises money for the Food Foundation charity is the icing on the cake for me.

Would I recommend it? Hell yes! Highlight of the year.

Oh, and you might even spot a few celebs…

Jamie and Alex

Check out the website for further info: www.jamieoliver.com/thebigfeastival/