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

 

Aubergines Going Spare

I’ll admit that I didn’t think this one would turn out anything like as well as it did. Thankfully it was well worth the gamble.

Spare aubergine that I bought for no other reason other than it looked shiny – tick.

Block of puff pastry in the freezer – always.

This is a spin on a beautiful Spanish Aubergine Stew we adore devouring with tapas and a bottle of Rioja.

Eggplant Tart

Ingredients:

  • Puff Pastry
  • 1 small Aubergine (Eggplant)
  • ½ Courgette (Zucchini), sliced
  • 1 Onion, sliced
  • 2 Celery sticks, diced
  • 2 Garlic cloves, crushed
  • 300ml Passata
  • Olive Oil
  • Oregano
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1 Egg, beaten
  • Gruyere

Method:

Cut the aubergine into 2cm cubes, fry it off in plenty of olive oil and set it aside.

In the same pan, soften the onion, celery, garlic and courgette.  Add the fried aubergine, passata and a scattering of oregano.  Season and cook it down until nicely thickened – it mustn’t be too wet as the pastry won’t be very happy with you.

Roll the pastry out to about 5mm thick, cut to the desired size and score borders.  Pile on the filling, top with grated gruyere cheese, and brush the edges with beaten egg.

Bake in a preheated oven at 200°C for about 15 minutes.

Serve with rocket salad and perhaps that glass of Rioja.