Foodie Friday (well Monday!) – Simple Bread Rolls

These little rolls might not be the prettiest but they are great for picnics and now that the weather is getting a bit cooler I think they would be perfect dunked into some nice soup. I have a pot of leek and carrot soup ready at home for lunches this week. They are very versatile as well, I think next time I might try them with some sweet flavours for a breakfast treat.

Bread Rolls (makes 12 rolls)

500g Strong White Bread Flour (Tweak: I used a little wholemeal flour to give some more flavour & goodness, overall still added up to 500g)
1 tsp salt
1tsp fast action yeast
1 tsp sugar
300ml water
25ml oil

Flavourings: eg. Pesto, sesame seeds, fresh torn up basil, poppy seeds

I confess I have a breadmaker! So whilst I did bake these rolls myself I did the first knead in the breadmaker… just to save a little time.

Place the flour & salt into a mixing bowl. Mix the yeast, sugar, water and oil in a jug. Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and mix together until it forms a dough and comes away from the bowl. For this you need to use your hands.

Transfer the dough to a floured work surface and knead for 5 – 10 minutes. As my chef cousin once told me ‘Bread Kneads Love’.

Pop the dough back into the bowl and cover with cling film. Leave it for 30-40 minutes in a warm place.

Switch the oven on to 200c to preheat . Give the dough another light knead on the floured surface and then divide up equally into how many ‘flavours’ of rolls you are making. I went with 4 types.

So I got each lump of dough, stretched it out a little then sprinkled my flavour over, eg. Sesame seeds. Then I roll it up and repeat, kneading lightly until the seeds/basil are distributed evenly. I then cut the dough into roll sizes, shape a little the place on a parchment lined baking tray.

For the pesto or if you were using a spread (I think something like lemon curd or Nutella would be yum) I stretched the dough out until a rough rectangle, then rolled up the dough like a swiss roll then cut into smaller rolls.

Bake for 20 minutes until golden on top and hollow sounding when tapped on their bottoms.

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Foodie Friday – Chocolate Brownies

So today I am going to share one of my never fail recipes: Chocolate Brownies. Chocolate Brownies are always popular. I suggest that if you are going on a picnic then you make them the night before then you must test one warm out the oven with ice cream. – yum yum yum. The rest once cooled are great little picnic treats, or great to bribe work colleagues into liking you. Or just making friends in general!

Makes around 10.
75g Mixture of milk and dark chocolate (whatever you prefer, I use about half and half, all dark is too bitter for my sweet tooth!)
75g Butter
2 Eggs
Splash of Vanilla Essence
250g Caster Sugar (no one said these were healthy!)
100g Plain flour
½ teaspoon Baking Powder

Melt the chocolate with the butter over a pan of simmering water. Meanwhile switch the oven on to warm up, 190c Gas mark 5.
Whisk the eggs and sugar together until the mixture is pale and creamy. Add the vanilla essence and stir in the melted chocolate into the egg mixture.
Grease a tin. I suggest a 20cm square tin. Line the tin with baking paper. Our the brownie mixture into the tin and smooth so it is roughly even, remember the corners.
Bake in the oven for around 25 minutes until the brownies are firm on top and a skewer into the centre comes clean. I like my brownies slightly gooey but if you like them firm leave them a bit longer, but keep an eye on them so the don’t burn.
Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before cutting into pieces – the size is up to you!

I don’t have a photo, by the time I remember they have all been eaten. Oops! I don’t have much more to post today as it is way too hot for my brain cells to work. I long to be by a pool with an icy drink, alas I’ve spent all week in front of a computer and my eyes hurt, my brain is sweltered and once again the sun is supposed to go over the weekend when I’m off to enjoy it, typical!

Have a good weekend folks!


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Party Time – Simple Savoury Treats


A wee while ago I helped host a friends baby shower. It was a lot of fun and I really enjoyed making lots of tasty treats for our ‘Teddy Bear’s Picnic’. For savoury food we had a selection of cheeses, meats, olives, tomatoes in a basil dressing and slices of fresh baguette for people to choose from.

I also made my simple (cheats) version of sausage rolls and Rosemary and Pesto Palmiers.

Sausage Rolls

1 x block of ready made puff pastry (about £1 in Sainsburys) Room temperature.

8 x Sausages (fairly basic plain ones will do)

Spices – I tend to use a BBQ spice blend and plenty of black pepper

Tomato puree – a couple of tablespoons

1 x beaten egg.

Get your sausages an cut them open, peel off the skin and put the sausage meat into a large bowl and mash it up with a fork. Add your spices and tomato purée, season. Stir well and leave in the fridge whilst you get the pastry ready.

Make sure your work surface is clean and spread flour over it, this will prevent the pastry from sticking. Roll out the pastry until it is about the thickness of £1 coin, then cut it into little squares – I got around 24 sausage rolls from 1 block but it depends on how large you would like them to be. Put some of the sausage meat mix into the middle, fold over the pastry, brush a little egg down 1 edge to seal.

Leave it in the fridge to firm up for at least 20 minutes.

Brush each of the Sausage rolls with the beaten egg (or a little milk) before baking in a hot oven for around 15-20 minutes until golden and crispy.

Place on a cooling rack to cool before serving.

My Sausage rolls never look perfect – I like to call them ‘rustic’ but they always go down well at partie and are great cold for picnics and a snack when wandering the hills.

Rosemary and Pesto Palmiers (little pastry bites!) (Vegetarian)

I adapted this from a recipe I found on the BBC food website, they used sun dried tomato but I love the taste pesto gives these little bites. I could quite easily eat them all, very more-ish!

1 x Block of Ready Made Pastry Room temperature

Pesto (I like roasted red pepper pesto but any works fine!)

Rosemary (dried works fine)

1 x egg beaten.

Make sure your work surface is clean and spread flour over it, this will prevent the pastry from sticking. Roll out the pastry until it is about the thickness of £1 coin.

Spread pesto and sprinkle rosemary all over the pastry, ensuring to cover it all. Some sun dried tomato purée also works well.

With the shortest end facing you, take both long edges of the pastry and roll them towards each other to meet in the middle. Brush a little egg down the centre to stick the two halves together.

Leave in the fridge for at least 20 minutes to firm up.

Once firm use a sharp knife to slice into pieces around 1cm thick. Place on a baking tray with the cut side facing upwards. Brush well with a little beaten egg.

Bake in a hot oven for around 15 minutes until crisp and golden brown.

Place on a cooling rack to cool before serving.

Again these little treats are great for picnics and they are a nice side with cold meat such as salami or with soup on a chilly day.


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