Category Archives: Recipes

Browse through our recipes archive and let us know which is your favourite Brookers of Blunty’s recipe!  Alternatively, you may wish to use the search function on our homepage to find exactly what you’re looking for.  We have plenty of inspiration for what to have for supper tonight!

Oreo Brownies

Hello! We’re hoping that normal service has resumed now that I have a new laptop (which even works when it’s not plugged in!) and hopefully the photography will be a bit better, but no promises, as Charles has been trying to teach me some of his moves, but I’m not a very patient student.

Brownies are one of the things I have the notion to bake the most. Delightful with tea or coffee, cold or warm with ice cream, whole or crumbled, there’s just something so comforting about eating them and magical about baking them.

Most often, I’ll make these plain for a slab of gooey, dark cake to melt onto your tongue, but a different flavour and texture can be lovely too, be it nuts, chocolate chips, caramel or Nutella. In fact, we also have a great recipe for Campfire Brownies (S’mores Brownies, I suppose) made with marshmallows and Digestive biscuits. This version used up a packet of Oreo Thins we had in the biscuit drawer (yes there is an entire drawer for biscuits in our house) but you could just as happily use full sized Oreos, or even the flavoured ones (mint or peanut butter Oreos would be awesome in this recipe), just make sure they’re pushed nicely into the batter.

Oreo Brownies

Oreo Brownies

Ingredients

  • 175g Salted butter
  • 150g Dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids)
  • Pinch salt
  • 300g Caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 75g Plain flour
  • 40g cocoa powder
  • Oreo cookies (as many as you want or have - I used 16 Oreo Thins, which was a whole packet)

Instructions

  1. Preheat a fan oven to 160c or 180c for non-fan. Line and grease a square baking tin.
  2. Melt the butter and chocolate together in a saucepan, gently, or in a bowl over a saucepan of hot water if you can't trust yourself to watch and stir it. Add a pinch of salt and set aside to cool.
  3. Weigh out the sugar into bowl and add the eggs. Whisk together until mixed and airy.
  4. Mix in the cooled chocolate mixture.
  5. Fold in the cocoa powder and flour until just combined.
  6. Pour the mixture into the tin, using a spatula to get as much batter out of the bowl as you can (although what's left will be yummy as it is!).
  7. Carefully place the Oreos on top in whatever pattern you like, pushing them down gently so they settled into the batter, or chop them and mix them through the batter if you'd prefer.
  8. Slide into the oven and bake for around half an hour, or until the top is glossy and there's no wobble left when you shake the tin gently from side to side.
  9. Cook for less time if you like them super gooey, but bear in mind that the eggs might still be raw and shouldn't be fed to the elderly, pregnant or very young.
  10. Allow to cool then slice up and enjoy!
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These will keep well for around a week, and if you get bored of eating them (as if…) why not chop or crumble them up and add them to the top of some ice cream, or mix them into your own homemade ice cream. Ah, so versatile. But like I say, IF they last that long… Lets us know if you have a go! Photos encouraged!

Honey and Mustard Glazed Ham

This honey and mustard glazed ham looks pretty impressive, right? It’s delicious too, but don’t be fooled: it’s really very easy to make if you have a little time on your hands.

We like to cook our own hams if we can, for two reasons: 1. they always end up much more delicious than the ham you can buy in supermarkets (and even delis) and you can flavour them exactly hoe you want and 2. it’s a much, much cheaper way of giving yourself a good supply of ham. A joint will usually cost between £5 and £10, and you can easily pay £4 for a few decent slices (and the stuff you buy often isn’t even very good).

It’s always a good idea to have one of these babies in the fridge if you have people coming to stay for a few days. Homemade ham makes epic sandwiches, but can also make a relatively simple meal by adding it to pasta with some mushrooms and creme fraiche, or even in thick slices as ham, eggs and chips. It’s simple, but it’s pretty unbeatable.

This one is finished off with a really simple honey and mustard glaze. It’s so much more straightforward than you think but it’s also delicious and well-balanced.

Let us know what you think!

Honey and Mustard Glazed Ham

Honey and Mustard Glazed Ham

Ingredients

  • A gammon, joint, smoked or unsmoked
  • 1 litre orange juice (the cheap stuff will do)
  • A chicken stock cube
  • 1 bay leaf
  • cloves
  • 4 tbsp runny honey
  • 4 tbsp Dijon mustard

Instructions

  1. This ham is prepared in two stages. First, it is boiled, and then it is baked in the oven to set the glaze. The cooking time is dependent on the size of your gammon joint, and the label will usually tell you how long it needs, so don't panic! When boiling, I usually refer to the time on the label, which is usually about an hour and a half, and then knock off 10 minutes since it'll be going back in the oven for half an hour.
  2. Start with a large stock pot. Put the gammon into the pot and pour over the orange juice. Dissolve the stock cube in boiling water and then top up the water until the ham is covered. Add the bay leaf and turn to the hob a low to medium heat. Start timing it when the liquid hits simmering point but don't let it boil over.
  3. Preheat the oven to 200c.
  4. Once the time is up, turn the heat off and carefully fish out the ham and move it to a chopping board. You might want a friend to help with this if you don't have a carving fork.
  5. Carefully cut off the very top layer of skin, but leave plenty of fat behind. Score the fat diagonally in both directions so it criss crosses, and push a clove into each corner where the crosses intersect with the crisses.
  6. Now move it onto a foil lined baking tray.
  7. Get a bowl out and mix up the glaze. It really is as simple as mixing the honey and mustard together.
  8. Now spoon it on top of the ham. It'll start to drip off a little but don's worry too much about that. scoop as much as you can back over the top, and keep a little of the glaze back for a second coating once the first layer has set.
  9. Pop it into the oven for 10 minutes, take out and reglaze, and then put back in the oven for another 10 to 20 minutes, or until the glaze has set and is turning dark around the edges.
  10. And that's it! Slice it up carefully and enjoy!
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If you liked this recipe, but you prefer your ham a little fruitier, why not try our Mango Glazed Ham or Cranberry Glazed Ham? And if you have leftovers, you can always cut it up into chunks and add it to a delicious pie like this Turkey and Ham Pie.

(Leftover) Turkey and Ham Pie

I make this (leftover) turkey and ham pie every year to use up leftover Christmas turkey and ham, although it’s just as good with leftover roast chicken.  The Ham can be substituted for bacon, and you can even add sliced mushrooms and/or sweetcorn.  It’s ridiculously simple, you can make it in advance, and it’s sure to impress.  It is a little calorific though! You can switch the double cream for creme fraiche – we just had some to use up.

We had my father-in-law for supper and he was very enthusiastic about this little baby, and professed that I’d worked far too hard on it.  Little does he know how easy it is to put together.  In fact I quite fancy another one of these now….

Let’s dive in…

Turkey and Ham Pie

Turkey and Ham Pie

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 leeks
  • 1 clove garlic
  • A slosh of white wine (optional)
  • 1 tub creme fraiche or double cream
  • 1 Knorr chicken stock pot
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg (ideally freshly grated)
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • A couple of handfuls of cold roast turkey or chicken
  • Cubed ham or bacon, about a handful or two of that
  • 1 sheet ready roll puff pastry
  • 1 egg

Instructions

  1. Start by slicing the leeks into narrow half moons. Heat the oil in a large, deep frying pan and add the leeks. Cook them on a low to medium heat for around 10 minutes then add the wine and garlic.
  2. Cook those out and tip in the cream, then mix together. Add the seasoning, herbs and nutmeg and then the mustard and stock. Mix together and heat through.
  3. Add the chopped meat, and also some chopped mushrooms or sweetcorn if you fancy. Cook that all out for 10 minutes or so then see how the consisteny is. If the sauce seems a bit thin, mix the flour with a little water and pour a little in. Bring to the boil, stirring continuously and then check the consistency again. Repeat until the sauce is as thick as you'd like, then allow to cool completely. If you don't let the mixture cool it'll steam into the pastry and melt it from underneath.
  4. Tip the cooled mixture into a pie dish, casserole dish or pyrex dish.
  5. Preheat the oven to 180c fan.
  6. Cut the pastry to fit your dish, and use any scraps to make little decorations - I used a star cutter and twisted some strips for round the side. Beat the egg together and brush it round the edge of the dish. Place the pastry on top being careful not to let it dip into the filling. Press it down around the edges and cut a cross in the middle to let the steam out. Egg wash the top of the pastry and add the decorations then egg wash again.
  7. Put in the oven for half an hour or so and until the sauce is bubbling and the pastry has risen and turned golden.
  8. Serve up with some lovely veg and enjoy!
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And if you need to know how to roast that bird, we have some recipes for that too! Try our Clementine and Thyme Roast Chicken or Harissa Roast Chicken for something a little different.  If you want to try something really unusual, this Beer Can Chicken is really beautiful and can be eaten with salad in the summer, as well as taking about half the time to cook as a normal roast chicken.

If a pie isn’t your thing, this Chicken and Avocado Open Sandwich will use up your leftover roast chicken too.

Mince Pie Chelsea Buns

I’m going to commit the cardinal sin of food blogging here and admit that in the case of some food items, there are existing recipes that simply cannot be beaten.  All you would do is alter them, but you would be very unlikely to improve them.  But, thankfully, they often can be adapted.  Whether it’s that perfect chocolate sponge which can be filled and iced differently or flavoured with a hint of orange or a drizzle of brandy, or a beautifully buttery shortbread which can be made in a number of shapes and thicknesses, or iced and filled with jam, there is always some leeway for evolution.

This recipe is one of those adaptations, and a fantastic way to use up Christmas leftovers.  As you may know, I make my own mincemeat and mince pies every year, but more often than not I make far too much, and with little need for yet more dried fruit in the leaner months of self-restraint it can often end up in the bin.  This is a brilliant recipe for using up that leftover mincemeat, although it would of course work with jarred mincemeat, or even a little crumbled up Christmas pudding.

The buns are pure Paul Hollywood (although I’m always fairly certain these people get a bit of a helping hand with their classic recipes) but it is a ruddy good Chelsea bun mix and it’s also really straightforward, but the filling and zesty orange icing are all mine, so I’m fairly sure I’ve added enough value to make these buns worthy of inclusion in our blog.

As you may have gathered, we’ve had a bit of a busy month, first trotting around Basel and going to my work Christmas party in the Cotswolds, and then working really hard to get finished up with work for the Christmas break and getting the house and fridge ready for a big family Christmas.  But don’t think we haven’t been working on recipes – they just haven’t quite made it here!

Mince Pie Chelsea Buns

Mince Pie Chelsea Buns

Ingredients

  • 500g strong white bread flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 7g (1 sachet) fast acting dried yeast
  • 300ml milk
  • 40g butter
  • 1 egg
  • 25g butter
  • 75g soft brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 5-6 tbsp mincemeat
  • 1 tbsp apricot jam
  • 200g icing sugar
  • zest and juice of one orange

Instructions

  1. Mix together the flour and salt, then add the yeast and mix well.
  2. Meanwhile, pour the milk into a small saucepan and add the butter. Put over a low heat and warm until the butter has melted.
  3. Mix the warm milk and butter into the flour mixture, then add the egg.
  4. Put the bowl into your mixer with the dough hook installed, and allow it to knead away for about 20 minutes. If you don't have a mixer, lightly flour the board and knead the dough by hand for around 20 minutes or until smooth and elastic.
  5. Place in a bowl and cover then leave to rise for at least an hour (or several if you live somewhere cold) until the dough has at least doubled in size.
  6. Roll the dough out into a large, even rectangle. Melt the 25g butter and spread over the dough using a pastry brush. Sprinkle with the sugar and cinnamon and then the mincemeat.
  7. Roll the longest side over and over towards you, as tightly as you can, like a swiss roll. Once you have your long roll, slice into 9 even pieces.
  8. Butter a square or round tin and lay the pieces into it, one cut side down, one cut side up. Cover again with cling film and leave for a second prove for around an hour.
  9. Preheat the oven to 200c and pop the buns in for around 25 minutes or until golden and baked through. If they're getting too brown, cover with tin foil for the last 5 to 10 minutes.
  10. Once removed from the oven, spread the tops with apricot jam and allow to cool.
  11. Zest the orange into the icing sugar and then add the juice from the orange. Mix together to form the icing. If you think it's a little thick for your liking, add a little water. Drizzle over the buns and allow to set. Or dig in. They will rise up and bake together, meaning you have the joy of pulling apart these sweet sticky buns before digging in. You might wish to have a napkin handy...
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Pesto and Bacon Chicken

We all have one of these pesto and bacon chicken recipes don’t we? Or at least some sort of recipe whereby we stuff a chicken breast with something gooey then wrap it in some sort of porky meat.  Delicious when done well; dry and horrible when done poorly (usually when cooking for someone you want to impress).

This recipe uses homemade pesto, although your can buy your own (but seriously, make ours, it’s really easy and very tasty indeed) and smoked streaky bacon, but feel free to riff with unsmoked bacon, non-streaky bacon or even prosciutto or pancetta.  And you may need a couple of cocktail sticks.  Try not to overcook it though because it will turn dry and horrible pretty rapidly.

Scared yet? Let’s begin.

Pesto and Bacon Chicken

Pesto and Bacon Chicken

Ingredients

  • 1 chicken breast per person
  • about 3-4 tbsp fresh pesto
  • 2-3 rashers smoked streaky bacon per person
  • 2 cocktail sticks
  • a little olive oil

Instructions

  1. Unless you're preparing this several hours ahead, take the chicken breasts and bacon out of the fridge nice an early - an hour before in a cold kitchen won't do you any harm.
  2. Carefully, slice the chicken open along one side, but not all the way to the edges, so you're creating a pocket. When I say 'carefully, I mean don't cur yourself but also look where you're going. If you can get the slice in the chicken to pass through the middle depth wise, you have more chance of an evenly cooked chicken with the filling in the middle. Bear in mind that's it's to be stuffed too, so you need the right balance between having a pocket big enough to without the stuffing falling out everywhere, and actually making enough room to get lots of pesto in there.
  3. Next, spoon in and spread around the pesto.
  4. Stuff it as full as you like, but it's good to have a decent enough layer which will also let you close the pocket up again with relative ease.
  5. Now, grab your bacon. If the rashers are quite wide, cut them in half lengthways, then start to wrap them around the chicken at a slight angle, so that the next slice can join onto the first.
  6. Using cocktail sticks, skewer the chicken in a way that can take in the bacon and close that pocket you've made. 2 -3 cocktail sticks should be enough, but it's a good idea to count them so you can tell whomever you're serving how many they're looking for to avoid any unpleasant surprises!
  7. Preheat the oven to 180c. Heat the oil in a large frying pan on a medium heat and fry the chicken on both sides until the bacon is browning and crispy.
  8. Place on a baking tray in the centre of the oven for around 10 minutes (less if you cook it in the pan for a long, long time) and then check one they're cooked through by sticking a sharp knife into the thickest part of the breast to make sure none of the chicken is translucent. Cooking it through should be easiest if the chicken is an even temperature to start with by being out of the fridge.
  9. Serve with sweet potato wedges or pasta and peas and enjoy!
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If you like pesto, you could also try our Salmon and Broccoli Cous Cous Bowl or Pesto Chicken Quesadilla.

Chorizo, Pepper and Potato Tortilla (Spanish Omelette)

This chorizo, pepper and potato tortilla (Spanish omelette to the uninitiated) is the perfect dish for one of those nights (or lunchtimes) when you don’t have much of anything to make a meal out of.  Due to extensive flooding, we found ourselves delayed in being able to get to the supermarket this week, but thankfully we have the remains of a large sack of potatoes kicking about, and we always try to keep eggs, peppers and chorizo in the house (among other things like onions, sweet potatoes and garlic) so we came up with this creation.  Neither of us has had a Spanish Omelette/Tortilla before, but as far as we’re concerned, you can’t go far wrong with chorizo, peppers and potatoes so it was most definitely worth a shot.

I did a quick bit of Googling, and of course there are a number of schools of thought as to how one of these should be made, most of which involved cooking it entirely on the hob, flipping it over halfway through, and knowing how useless I am when flipping pancakes, the grill option seemed to make much more sense.  And we’re all about making things easy.

So here it goes: dig in and let us know what you think.

Chorizo, Pepper and Potato Tortilla (Spanish Omelette)

Chorizo, Pepper and Potato Tortilla (Spanish Omelette)

Ingredients

  • 6 medium potatoes
  • 1 cooking chorizo or about 1/3 of a cooking chorizo ring
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 red pepper
  • 6 eggs
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • grated cheese, optional but delicious
  • 1 tbsp or so olive oil

Instructions

  1. Peel and slice the potatoes - not too finely, and chuck the slices into a large frying pan, covered with salted water. Let them simmer, topping up the water if it dries out before the potato slices are nice and tender.
  2. When cooked, remove from the pan and add the oil. Now fry the potato slices, half at a time, until lightly golden. Remove and set aside for now.
  3. Slice the onion and fry until soft, then set aside.
  4. slice the chorizo into pound coin sized pieces and half each piece, then fry those off until just turning crisp.
  5. Mop up some of the fat, and beat the eggs together in a jug along with parsley and seasoning.
  6. Layer the potato slices in the pan with the onion, chorizo and pepper slices (they'll cook enough in the pan) then gently pour over the egg, letting it fill in the gaps. Turn your grill or oven up high.
  7. Let the pan sit over a low to medium heat, letting the egg gently set, like you're making a regular omelette.
  8. Slide the pan under the grill while the egg on top is still raw. Leave it there for a couple of minutes then remove and sprinkle on the cheese. Put it back under the grill until the cheese is melted and turning golden then carefully remove and set the pan on a worktop saver. Try not to leave it under the grill for any longer than you have to, as the eggs will turn rubbery.
  9. Slice up and serve with peas or salad and enjoy!
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Campfire Brownies

The colder and darker it gets, the more I hanker for a mug of something hot and a slice of something sticky, and these campfire brownies are just the ticket.  Dark, sticky and just sweet enough, these guys will beat smores hands down.  I baked these on Bonfire Night instead of my usual Bonfire Night Cupcakes, and they went down rather too well.  They’re not great for the waistline but the dog walking will make up for that (we hope!).

There seem to be recipes for brownies everywhere these days, in all shapes, colours and varieties, some an improvement, some, well, not so much, but trust me when I say that these really are quite delightful (if I do say so myself).  I haven’t called them smores brownies because a) Starbucks has done that b) we don’t live in America and c) they don’t have a solid cracker base, but the toasted marshmallow on top gives just enough of that campfire vibe.

Campfire Brownies

Campfire Brownies

Ingredients

  • 175g salted butter
  • 150g dark chocolate, at least 70% cocoa
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 40g cocoa powder
  • 75g plain flour
  • 7 chocolate digestives
  • mini or regular marshmallows, enough to cover the surface area of the tin

Instructions

  1. Place a medium pyrex bowl over a small saucepan (get the two sized so the bowl will balance inside the rim of the saucepan, so it can be suspended over water) and add some boiling eater to the base of the saucepan (not so full that it touches the bottom of the bowl but no so empty that it could boil dry). Weigh the butter and chocolate into the bowl and set over the simmering water, which should be set over a low to medium heat on the hob. Stir gently until both have melted and combined, then carefully remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
  2. While that's cooling, line and grease a 9 inch square loose bottomed cake pan and break up 8 chocolate digestives into small uneven pieces (but not crumbs!). They're going to be mixed into the brownie mixture to add another texture so think of them like large chocolate chips or nuts.
  3. In another bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar together until fluffy.
  4. When the chocolate mixture has cooled, fold it into the eggs and sugar.
  5. Add the cocoa powder and mix this in well, followed by the flour. Once the flour is in, mix until just combined, then mix in the broken digestives. Don't over mix!
  6. Scoop into the tin then top with as many mini or full size marshmallows as you fancy, pressing them down slightly into the chocolate mixture to make sure they'll combine.
  7. Pop the tray into the middle of the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until there's no wobble when you shake the pan a little.
  8. Allow to cool then remove the while lot from the pan as a slab, either by loosening the loose bottom or just by lifting out the greaseproof paper. Cut into squares and enjoy with a mug of tea and coffee!
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Why don’t you check out some more of our tasty bakes like these Honey and Lemon Madeleines or these Chewy Oat and Sultana Cookies?

Cottage Pie

Another page in the calendar has flipped over and the clocks have hopped back an hour, so it’s definitely time to dust off the casserole dish and make a hearty cottage pie. If you don’t know what a cottage pie is, it’s basically a shepherd’s pie, but made with beef mince instead of lamb – because for some reason or another, lamb and I just don’t get on.  The beef version is every bit as tasty, in my opinion, and it’s a little bit cheaper to make.

I’m sure most people have an old family recipe for cottage pie, or at least their own way of doing it, but I made one recently and thought I might as well throw my recipe into the ring.

Cottage Pie

Cottage Pie

Ingredients

  • 1 large packet beef mince
  • 2 onions
  • 6 carrots
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tsp tomato puree
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Knorr beef stock pot
  • salt and pepper
  • a pot of good mashing potatoes, such as Maris Pipers
  • knob butter
  • splash milk or cream
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper
  • a few gratings of nutmeg
  • 200g mature cheddar

Instructions

  1. In a large frying pan on a high heat, brown off the mince in batches, making sure not to overcrowd the pan and risking it boiling. Colour = flavour! Reserve each browned batch in a bowl or plate to the side for the meantime.
  2. Finely chop the onions, grate the garlic and chop the carrots into quarter discs, and cook these off over allow to medium heat in the pan, until the onions have started to turn translucent.
  3. Transfer into a large saucepan or casserole pot and add the tomato puree. Cook that out for a couple of minutes, mixing into the vegetables.
  4. Add the mince back into the pot and add the herbs, cinnamon, Worcestershire sauce and stock pot, plus enough water to just cover the mince. Put a lid on the pot and allow to simmer over a low heat, stirring every now and then. If it's getting too dry, add a little more water, but we're not going to add anything to thicken it later, so don't go too mad.
  5. The amount of mashed potato you will need for the top will depend how big your casserole dish is and how deep you like your potato, so it's easiest to work that out by eye. Just start peeling and quartering your potatoes and stop when you think they'll make enough mash. It's not very scientific I'm afraid but it's how I do it!
  6. Boil the potatoes in salted water until tender when prodded with a knife. Drain the water out then add the butter, cream, salt, pepper, nutmeg and mustard and mash until creamy and lump-free. That can be set aside with the lid on until you're ready to construct the pie.
  7. The mince should be given at least 45 minutes to simmer, but an hour and a half would be better.
  8. When you're ready to construct the pie, preheat the oven to 200c and grab a nice oblong or square oven safe casserole dish. Spread the mince into the bottom then carefully layer the mash on top, smoothing it out gently with a fork.
  9. When it's all nice and smooth, drag a fork through the top in furrows like a ploughed field. This helps to make the pie nice and compacted, but also gives the surface of the mash some texture, which will help it to crisp up in the oven.
  10. Sprinkle the cheese on top and then put back in the oven for at least half an hour, or until the mince is bubbling and the top is turning golden brown.
  11. Serve up with some lovely green vegetables and maybe some Branston pickle!
  12. Enjoy!
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If you liked this British classic, why not try Charles’ Pork and Cider Stew with Sage Dumplings?

Apple Crumble Cupcakes

It’s definitely getting colder as the days go on but we haven’t quite reached ‘batten down the hatches, all food must be hot including puddings’ weather, so these apple crumble cupcakes are a nice seasonal compromise, delicious with a cup of tea.  They are quite messy though so I’d recommend eating them with a fork and a plate!

If you like cake, apples, cinnamon and biscuity crumble, these are definitely for you, and the apple helps to keep them moister than your average cupcake for a good few days after you bake them.  If you’re not a fan of the sweetness of traditional butter icing, you might be converted by these guys, as the tart apples and almost savoury crumble temper the icing sugar’s sweetness.  Anyway, try them! They are a little bit of a time investment due to the number of stages involved, but on the bright side they are very quick to decorate!

Apple Crumble Cupcakes

Apple Crumble Cupcakes

Ingredients

    For the apple filling:
  • 2 bramley apples
  • 55g light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • For the cakes:
  • 175g soft salted butter
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 175g self-raising flour
  • For the icing:
  • 150g salted butter
  • 300g icing sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • For the crumble topping:
  • 25g salted butter
  • 25g light brown sugar
  • 50g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Start by peeling the apples and cutting them up into cubes. Bramleys have a habit of turning brown relatively quickly once they hit the air but don't worry too much about this as they are going to be cooked in lots of brown sugar and cinnamon anyway.
  2. Toss the apples in the sugar and cinnamon and then put into a smallish saucepan over a medium heat, stirring every now and then until they have become tender and syrupy, but take them off the heat before they lose their shape entirely and allow to cool.
  3. Once cool, set out 12 cake cases into a muffin tin and spoon a couple of tablsepoonfuls of apple mixture into the base of each one - you really just want a single even layer in each. Any leftovers will be used later so no panic to use it all up.
  4. Now make the cake batter by whipping up the butter on its own before adding the sugar for another whisk, followed by the eggs and finally the flour and milk. As usual, whisk as much as you like (in fact, the longer the better) up to and including the addition of the eggs, but only whisk in the flour and milk until they are just combined with everything else. Spoon the finished batter into the cupcake cases on top of the apple, to come just underneath the top of the cases. If you have too much batter, you can always fill more cases after the initial 12 have baked.
  5. Bake in the oven at 160c fan for 15 minutes or so, or until risen, golden and springy to the touch, then remove from the oven to cool.
  6. While those are baking, you can get to work on the icing and crumble. For the icing, combine all the ingredients together and whisk together in a bowl, adding in any leftover apples you have. If there aren't any, cinnamon icing is just as good, but if you have any leftover apple mixture it'll add a little more interest.
  7. When the cakes are cool, remove from the tray and spread with a relatively thin but even layer of the icing. It's up to you how much you want to use, but if you go too thick the end result could be a little too sweet and cloying. If the cakes are a little greasy in the tin, place them all on kitchen towel as you're icing them to soak up the excess.
  8. http://brookersofbluntys.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/iced-cakes.jpg
  9. In another bowl, rub together the butter, sugar, flour and cinnamon to make your crumble mixture - the mixture should resemble largeish breadcrumbs of varying sizes.
  10. Spread this out on a baking tray and put in the oven until the crumble is golden and toasty.
  11. Let that cool and then sprinkle over the iced cakes.
  12. And voila, you have a batch of delicious autumnal goodness to share with whoever you like, or keep all for yourself.
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If you liked this recipe, why not try our Chocolate Orange Bonfire Night Cupcakes or Coconut and Jam Cupcakes for Halloween?

Pork and Cider Stew with Sage Dumplings

Now, I am not one for semantics but was in a bit of a pickle as to whether this pork and cider stew with sage dumplings really was a stew, or whether it would be better classified as a casserole which then led me to looking on the internet for a definitive distinction between the two and abruptly stopped when I saw Marco Pierre White said “there’s no bloody difference at all!”. I went with stew because what sort of a monster has dumplings with a casserole?!

Pork and cider is such a classic combination but I was slightly worried about it being a bit too sweet in stew form so added the mustard to calm it down. The amount used just rounded the edges off the sweetness without adding any kick. You could certainly add more mustard if you wanted to have a spicier taste.

We are slowly getting into a routine here at Blunty’s, but there has been call for many late night suppers recently, which means preparing ahead but also making sure we’re eating well in a way that warms us from the inside out.  We’re still battling to stop the heating being turned on!

These quantities served two for supper and then a little lunch each the next day.

Pork and Cider Stew with Sage Dumplings

Pork and Cider Stew with Sage Dumplings

Ingredients

  • 4 pork shoulder steaks (diced)
  • 1.5 cans cider
  • 2 onions cut in strips
  • 5 or 6 mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp rosemary
  • 1 tbsp parsley
  • 1 tbsp thyme
  • 1 grated garlic clove (or squeeze of garlic paste)
  • 1 large tbsp Dijon mustard
  • Olive oil for frying
  • Dumplings:
  • 80g vegetable suet
  • 160g self-raising flour
  • 2 tbsp sage
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • some cold water
  • A beaten egg

Instructions

  1. Heat a casserole pot as high as the hob will allow and aggressively brown the diced pork, you want to add colour without cooking the pork through or it won’t be as tender at the end. I did this in 4 batches, deglazing the pan with cider between batches and then pouring in over the resting pork.
  2. Throw the onions into the pot) and give them a decent amount of colour before pouring in the cider and all other ingredients (except mushrooms).
  3. Add the browned pork and pop it into a 130° oven with the lid on for 2 hours. Checking every so often to adjust flavour etc. and add more cider if need to (provided you haven’t polished off the can!).
  4. While the stew is slowly cooking combine the flour, salt, suet and herbs and slowly add the water a bit at a time. you don’t want to over-work it and leave it so you can still see grains of suet but it is a soft dough. - You want to let the dumpling mixture rest for half an hour before using it.
  5. When you are 30 minutes from serving time add the mushrooms and Roll the dumpling mix into balls and gently place them on top of the stew, try to avoid them sinking down too low, also given them plenty of space to expand, giving them a light egg wash to help them go golden and put the stew back in the oven at a temperature of 180° for the last 30 minutes.
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If you liked this stew, why not try some of our other winter warmers such as this Chicken and Chorizo Cassoulet or this simple Coq au Vin?