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

 

Spaghetti alla Puttanesca

So. How to politely describe this dish then? Let’s say that the name links this quick, tangy, salty and robust dish, to ladies of the night.. Whether it’s purely in name, or factually linked to the stories passed down over the decades, this dish certainly gets the blood pumping.

It’s my chosen twist on Jamie Oliver’s Classic Tomato Spaghetti – if you can master that one, this is merely a minor deviation that will boost your repertoire and get your taste buds dancing to a new tune.

Essentially, it’s a tomato spaghetti which is elevated to the next level with black olives, anchovies and capers. I also like to add a touch of chilli for good measure.

 

Ingredients:

(serves 4)

  • 400g spaghetti
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 4 anchovies, chopped
  • 2 tbsp capers, rinsed
  • 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 100g black olives, pitted & torn
  • 1 x 400g tin tomatoes or  large handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • Parmesan
  • Olive Oil

For me, this is a dish I like to throw together when I come in late and the fridge is bare; it’s a classic ‘store-cupboard dinner’. To be terribly honest, I can’t say I’ve ever actually measured the ingredients out before now. Recipes are after all, merely guides.

ingredients for store cupboard puttanesca

Method:

Bring a large pan of water to the boil and season with salt. Cook the pasta as per the packet instructions.

About 5 minutes before the pasta is ready, heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan and add the garlic, anchovies and chilli flakes. As the garlic begins to turn golden and the anchovies start to melt away, add the capers and olives, followed by the tomatoes. If you’re using fresh tomatoes, a dash of passata can help. Cook for a few minutes and then add the drained pasta together with a dash of the starchy cooking water to bring it all together.

Serve topped with fresh basil leaves and a little parmesan cheese.

Enjoy!

Whore's Pasta

Super Food

Tomatoes truly are incredible.  A superfood that we can all grow with relative ease.  I have very special memories of walking into my Grandfather’s greenhouse which he devoted completely to the growing these precious little fruits.  The unmistakeable smell of the vines transports me back to the halcyon days of my childhood summers with every single sniff.

Heirloom Tomatoes

Now is the perfect time to buy tomatoes in the UK as we are in the height of the harvest.  Better still, many home-growers have a glut and are keen to share.

There’s such an array of things that you can make to prolong the joy; relish, chutney, ketchup, passata.

Why not go a little Spanish with ‘Pa amb tomaquet’ and rub some thick-cut grilled bread with garlic and freshly cut tomato for breakfast…  Maybe some shavings of Manchego cheese to top it off.  Heaven.

Local tomatoes