Friday, January 12, 2007

Spinach Soup, Stilton & Walnut Tartlets, Sticky Toffee Pudding

Last night I bammed up some spinach soup, stilton & walnut tartlets and sticky toffee pudding for dessert. The spinach soup was tasty after some seasoning and accompanied by crusty bread. It could have been a little more creamy but for a starter, it did the job. Next up were the stilton and walnut tartlets which didn't turn out as I wanted because the muffin tins were not as big as I'd hoped so if you're going to make this, check the size of your tin. Therefore they were a tad pastry heavy but erstwhile totally edible and was served alongside a salad. Finally there was the sticky toffee pudding which, modesty aside, was faultlessly delicious and the favourite of the 3 dishes.

Here's the science:

Spinach Soup

Serves 6-8


1 Large Onion, peeled and chopped
5 Garlic Cloves, peeled and chopped
2 Medium Potatoes, peeled and chopped
750ml cold water
450g Spinach, stems removed
50g Butter
3 tbsp Flour
750ml Milk
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
8 tbsp Creme Fraiche
Warm Foccacia Bread


Place the onion, garlic and potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with the cold water. Add half the salt and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Remove from the heat and add the spinach. Cover and set aside for 10 minutes.

Slowly melt the butter in saucepan, add the flour and cook over a low heat for about 2 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the milk, a little at a time, stirring continuously. Return to the heat and cook, stirring continuously, for 5-8 minutes, or until the sauce is smooth and slightly thickened. Add the freshly grated nutmeg, or to taste.

Blend the cooled potato and spinach mixture in a food processor or blender to a smooth purée, then return to the saucepan and gradually stir in the white sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper and gently reheat, taking care not to allow the soup to boil. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with spoonfuls of creme fraiche or soured cream. Serve with foccacia bread.

Stilton & Walnut Tartlets

Makes 12 tartlets


Walnut Pastry:

225g plain flour
Celery salt
100g butter
25g walnut halves, chopped


25g Butter
2 Celery Sticks
1 Leek
200ml Double Cream
200g Stilton Cheese
3 Egg Yolks
Salt and Pepper
Fresh Parsley


Grease the 12 hole muffin tin. Sift the flour with celery salt into a food processoe, add the butter and process until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Tip into a large bowl and add the walnuts and a little cold water, just enough to bring the dough together.

Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and cut the dough in half. Roll out the first piece and cut out 3 1/2 inch rounds. Roll out each to 4 1/2 inches in diameter and use to line the muffin holes. Repeat with the remaining dough. Line each hole with baking paper and fill with baking beans. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200C. Bake the tartlet cases for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and remove the paper and beans.

To make the filling, melt the butter in frying pan over a medium heat and add the celery and leek and cook, stirring occasionally for 15 minutes until very soft. Add the 2 tablespoons of cream, crumble in the cheese and mix well. Season with salt and pepper. Put the remaining cream in a saucepan and bring to simmering point. Pour onto the egg yolks in a heatproof bowl, stirring constantly. Mix in the cheese mixture and spoon into the tartlet cases. Bake for 10 minutes, turn the tin around in the oven and bake for a further 5 minutes. Serve garnished with fresh parsley.

Sticky Toffee Pudding

Serves 4



75g sultans
75g currants
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tbsp butter
200g brown sugar
2 eggs
200g self-raising flour

Sticky Toffee Sauce:

2 tbsp butter
175ml double cream
200g brown sugar
zested orange rind
whipped cream to serve


First place the fruits and bicarbonate of soda into a heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water and leave to soak.

Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease a round cake tin, 8 inches in diameter with butter. Put the butter in a separate bowl, add the sugar and mix well. Beat in the eggs, then fold in the flour. Drain the soaked fruits, add to the bowl and mix. Spoon the mixture into the cake tin. Transfer to the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes. The pudding is cooked when a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

About 5 minutes before the end, make the sauce. Melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat. Stir in the cream and sugar and bring to the boil, stirring constantly. Lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

Turn out the pudding on to a serving plate and pour over the sauce. Decorate with zested orange and serve with whipped cream.



Blogger Skry said...

Man that cake was nice!! It's a pity the pies turned out so small, but in the end I don't think I could have squeezed any more in so it probably worked out for the best :-)

11:56 pm  

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