Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Christmas Spirit for 2012

fruit cake - 
Posted by PicasaThe simplest recipes are sometimes the best and this is no exception. Gluten-free beer is easy to find now in the big supermarkets and taste very good. I smothered my thick slices in lactofree butter spread and my friends had goats butter or Pure sunflower spread and all were delicious. Brilliant with a cuppa, in a lunch box or picnic but ideal for festive entertaining as you can wrap it up tightly in clingfilm once it is cold and firm and store it for up to 6 weeks. However, my loaf was gobbled up on the day of baking,still warm a pungent with Ale and spices!
Grease and line a standard non stick loaf tin. Preheat the oven to 140C or 120Cfan.
You  need to mix 390g mixed dried fruit with a 500ml bottle of normal or gluten free beer in a saucepan. Bring to the boil,  and simmer until reduced by half. Turn off  the heat and let the fruit absorb the Beer.
Mix 100g soft dark brown sugar, 2 heaped teaspoons mixed spice, 1 of ground cinnamon and a generous grating of nutmeg into the boiled fruit mixture.
Mix in 185g Doves Farm gluten-free self raising flour blend #GF
or for those can manage it on a wheat-free regime: 85g of the above flour and 100g organic spelt flour
or 85g self-raising flour and 100g wholemeal self-raising flour, preferably organic
Lastly, mix in 2 large beaten eggs, free-range preferably.
Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 1 1/4 hrs  until risen, well browned and firm to the touch.
Remove from the oven and cover with a tea-towel to ensure it stays moist. Store until needed.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Seasonal Christmas Recipes for all Occasions

Winter draws in and the wood fires are burning brightly inside as the fog settles like a cloak of dense dullness over everything outside. This is the moment I start thinking about our Christmas food and browse through my rather long and dusty shelf of cookbooks, flick through my enormous pile of cookery magazines and finally go back to my treasure trove of best ever recipes collected over the past 4 years and resting in a haphazard pile in an old file. Having lurked around these for some time I am tempted by my new apps and e-books and the excitement is reaching giddying heights!
Eric Lanlard is my great baking hero of the moment, Ottolenghi my savoury baking and salads hero of the year and I am certainly going to use both books over Christmas but as of last week I finally succumbed to the temptation to download a cookbook onto my ipad3. Having had the excitement of two of my own cookbooks being made available as e-books this year, I am converted to using the e-books along side the hard or paperback books. I think that there is room for both and pleasure in both. Well, which book to choose? I plumped for Nigelissima as I had watched two of the episodes on the television recently and thought that the recipes looked delicious, easy and simple to shop for, which is my own criteria for preparing meals. Wow, what fun! I can dip in and out at any time that  I fancy without doing my usual of going to the bookshelves in the office, then forgetting what I was looking for and choosing to do something entirely different! I can take it to the supermarket in my handbag... even I don't forget to bring the source of all credit cards...............and then I actually achieve 100% successful shopping for the ingredients instead of remembering the 5 not so important things and forgetting the one vital ingredient! Welcome to middle age...girls!
So now I have chosen my first 2 new recipes that I shall be making this weekend as a practise run for the big week of flawless and inspired  festive entertaining!??? Next week another two recipes for you to try!

So now tested and approved of by the entire family here are the recipes.
The all important Pudding for Christmas Eve as we wait with bated breath for the time when Father Christmas can safely get down the chimney or in our case, squeeze down the flu into the totally shut and scorchingly hot wood burner and appear unscathed out of the lock! Here is the recipe to keep the sugar buzz up and the festive spirit lively!
Naturally gluten, wheat and dairy free and slightly healthier than most! Serves 8
Whether you choose a tiny dollop of this luscious and seasonal ice cream on top or beside a smidgeon of chocolate cake or you go for it and luxuriate in heavenly wedge of dense chocolate with a titanic scoop of very rich and smooth ice cream is of course entirely yours and I wonder what I will be going for that night!
Use an old ice cream or yoghurt pot, washed and dried to freeze the ice cream in for the next month.
The cake can also be frozen but equally you can make it a week before and seal it in an air-tight container which is what I shall do.
Children will prefer a good vanilla ice cream, this is for grown-ups!
For a dairy-free version gently fold the chopped whole cooked chestnuts with the brandy into good quality or home-made vanilla dairy or lactose free ice cream and refreeze until needed.
Make the ice cream first: serves 4-8
Mix 250g can of chestnut spread (vanilla) by Clement Faugier or the equivalent weight of marron glace paste or even mushed-up leftovers from a box of whole marron glaces.
Mix this in a bowl with 4 teaspoons of good brandy or Calvados and 55g of sieved icing sugar.
Roughly chop up half a can or vacuum sealed pack of chestnuts and mix into the paste.(use the rest for stuffing the turkey or with the brussel sprouts on Christmas day).
Fold in 300ml whipped double cream (the best you can get).
Transfer the mixture into the prepared container and freeze overnight but make sure you serve it straight from the freezer as it melts extremely quickly due to the very high sugar content.
Make the cake:
Use light olive oil or it will be overpowering.
Preheat the oven to 170C/gas 3
Grease and line a 21cm square cake tin with a drop of oil and a circle of non-stick paper or teflon sheet.
In a jug, mix:
55g Organic sifted cocoa powder, (check it is dairy free if needed)
with 125ml of boiling water until smooth.
In another bowl mix 150g ground almonds with 1/2 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda and a pinch of fine salt. In a bigger bowl mix 200g caster sugar with 150ml olive oil and 3 large free range eggs and beat until thick and creamy with an electric hand whisk. Mix in the cocoa mixture more gently and then briefly mix in the almond mixture.
Scrape the cake mixture into the prepared tin and bake for about 45 minutes or until just set. An inserted skewer should come out a bit sticky! Cool until cold and then turn out and store until needed.
To serve: dust with a little  sifted (dairy-free) cocoa powder.
What an heavenly combination and so easy!

Friday, 11 May 2012

Almond Paste and a bit of a catch-up!

How time flies when you fly of to America for 3 weeks and return the first day of school. Not a moment to spare since and frankly got a bit zonked but now after a timely visit of generously helpful Grandparents, life has caught up a bit and there is now time to jot down a few words and new recipes. America was as amazing as it was 25 years ago on my last visit and my friends as fun and generous as they were then when we were all having fun in New York and Long Island together. The highlights were of course entirely different to the highlights 25 years ago and it makes me giggle to think of the things that I now think of fun; Alas not nightclubs, cocktail bars and all night parties but horse and carriage driving in Virginia, watching 2 pairs of Osprey dive for fish in Chesapeake Bay in Maryland, shopping in Bloomingdales in New Jersey and the Circle Line Cruise around the Statue of Liberty in New York. Hhhmmm.......not exactly glitzy!
We did however concentrate on the delights of the local food and wine in each county and I was amazed at how many vineyards there were in Maryland and they were quite nice but no wow factor unlike the best of our English wines. Maryland crab cakes were delicious and we sampled three lots only to find that they were all totally different in taste and texture, artistic licence gone a bit mad. I shall make some this weekend for fun.
New York cheese cake unbelievable delicious and so light yet rich at the same time, tons better than our cheesecakes here, unless of course home-made!
Nobody seemed very keen on much exercise on our trip but we did enjoy a couple of spring walks in the woods in Virginia until it was whispered that the local brown bears were starting to come out of hibernation and to keep a look out. Return was prompt! Carriage driving was on the other-hand entirely perfect and our favourite ride was into Middlesburg and into the ice-cream parlour where all of us including the dog and horses enjoyed the best ice-cream that I have ever had! I am now improving my own ice-cream recipes!
Back home at last and glad to see that the endless rain the Herefordshire has been having is at last having an effect and my stream in the garden is full and my new plants, trees and climbing delights are all spreading out and growing faster this spring than in the previous 2 years. Hope for the garden yet! I will battle on trying to convert a blank farm yard canvas into a charming English garden!
Having crammed in a couple of house parties to add to my usual whirlwhind existance I have tried out some amazing new recipes to delight my guests. I have to say that the cookbook by Eric Lanlard is exceptionaly good and his chocolate chip cookies, lemond meringue roulade, lemon and passionfruit tart, Baked blueberry cheesecake, malteser squares and rhubarb and apple tart were all without excepton excellent. Buy the book if you like baking!
I have had a new experience in baking, using almond paste as a base, I made flour-free chocolate chip cookies and they were divine and very easy. Scrumptious warm with tea, coffee or hot chocolate and amazing with ice-cream.
Here is the recipe:
Line a cookie sheet with greaseproof or teflon sheets
Preheat oven to 350degrees
Mix in a large bowl, 3/4 cup (170g aprox) almond butter (which you buy in health food shops or big supermarkets) with 1/2 cup light brown soft sugar and 1/2 cup granulated sugar.
Add 1 large egg, 2 tablespoons maple syrup, 1 teaspoon pure Vanilla extract, a pinch of fine salt,and mix well.
Fold in 1 very heaped teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 cup slivered or flaked almonds and 1/2 cup dark,milk or white chocolate pieces or chips.
Scoop out walnut size balls of dough and place well apart on the sheets so that they can spread.
Bake for about 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Leave to cool but eat warm if you cannot resist!

Apologies for american measurements!

My next recipe is reassuringly English!
Cinnamon Nutella Cake
Preheat oven to 180C/gas 4 and line a 20cm round cake tin
Put 175g softened butter, 175g caster or granulated sugar, 3 large eggs, 200g self-raising flour, 1 heaped teaspoon baking powder,2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, and 4 tablespoons milk into a bowl and for a couple of minutes with an electric hand whisk until light and fluffy.
Tip 3/4 of the mixture into the prepared tin and shake to smooth out. Plop 4 heaped tablespoons of Nutella into spaced out blobs and then cover lightly with the remaining cake mix.
Sprinkle or don't sprinkle with 50g roughly chopped hazelnuts depending on whether you are nutty people or not and bake in the oven for about 1hr or until golden brown and cooked through.
Cool in the tin and then turn out and serve or wrap in foil to keep for up to a week. Very useful for an iminant invasion of family or friends for the weekend!

Happy Baking to you all and I am now off tobake my new Ale Fruit Loaf which is gluten free, to "do" my three hanging baskets and plant out my extremely leggy white geraniums while the sun has momentarily burst out  from behind black clouds and into slightly more spring-like light and warmth.

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Who is Herman?

Of all the bizare things in life, Herman the Friendship cake has to top the list of incomprehensible activities  for me. Who is Herman anyway and why did he want to make a sour dough cake with seething and bubbling dough that you have to stir once every day for NINE days? You then give 3 parts to your friends if you dare! Then fling the cake ingredients into hungry Herman and bingo 10 days to make a fruit cake. Wow! that really suits my economy of time and movement lifestyle but how kind of my treasured neighbours and the gesture is much appreciated.
Yesterday, in glorious sunshine I set off with my plumber terrier to gather kindling for next winter from the orchards next door. This should have been a tranquil and delightful afternoon but alas this activity is not ideal with a stick loving dog. To begin with it was quite funny, every time I picked up a stick to break it and put it in the wheelbarrow, Lucy would grab it and proceed to have a game of tug of war. One stick, fine. 3 sticks fine. 500 sticks not fine! I had to deploy immense deception to divert her by pretending to collect another less worthy stick and then grab the best stick and throw this into the wheelbarrow. A cunning plot you may think but with great intelligence and dexterity my dear dog leapt into the wheelbarrow and started extracting the sticks and spitting them back out onto the ground!.... I didn't know whether to laugh or cry! Actually I pretty much did both as she then bit my finger by mistake trying to wrestle a stick off me!
I am making a gorgeous prune and brandy ice cream for my next dinner party when I have 8 guinea pigs to dinner! I will serve this divine ice with my squidgy brown sugar meringues which are the best that I have ever made. So, just in case you are not a guinea pig destined to taste these incredible edibles, here is the recipe. Cheap and Easy and will keep for over a week in a sealed airtight container for your next spot of light entertaining. You can then use the egg yolks to make the chocolate ice cream in the previous blog or the prune and brandy ice if it is as gorgeous as the recipe makes out and I put it in the next blog
Brown Sugar Meringues
This recipe doubles up easily for 6 egg whites used in the ice cream recipe in the last blog.
As you know, whisk the egg whites until the mixture is so stiff at the end that you can turn the bowl upside down and contents will not slither onto your gorgeous new hairdoo!
Heat oven to 140C/fan120C/gas 1. Lay non-stick paper over a baking sheet or two for double quantities
Blend together in a tea cup 1 teaspoon each of cornflour, wine or cider vinegar, pure vanilla extract until smooth
You will also need 3 large egg whites
100g caster sugar
50g soft brown sugar

Use a hand held electric whisk to beat egg whites until stiff in a metal or glass bowl. Add half the caster sugar and beat until thick, add remaining caster sugar and beat until glossy and then add half the cornflour mixture. Beat again and then add brown sugar followed by remaining cornflour mix. Beat until super stiff. Use a tablespoon to scoop up enough mixture for each meringue, I make them huge which is much more fun and trendy.Bake for 1hr and then turn off the oven and leave them in for the rest of the day or night. Bake for longer if they are really huge.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

A brief encounter with snow and lots of encounters with chocolate!

This has truly been the most manic two months to start any year to date. Not only did I start the year with an astonishing Detox of such severity that every email that I sent ended with "love from" or "best wishes" from "Starving of Herefordshire"! This was brought on by a conversation with equally over-indulgent festive friends that it would be entirely possible to refrain from drinking anything other than water and teas for 3 weeks! I found this concept hideously alarming but in the spirit of 2012 I agreed to give it a go. Well, astonishing though it may seen it has been done, well most of the days anyway...... and what is more than extraordinary is that I did indeed feel amazing and gained at least another two hours per day in energy... frightening some would say!......
The highlight of January was the amazing cocktails and dinner at the Grocers Guild Hall. Divine to dress up and get a taxi into the City of  London but thoroughly fabulous to see inside the Grocers Hall. The amazing chandeliers, silver and paintings, the sheer size of the banqueting tables and the immaculate presentation of delicious food, course after course. The starter is definitely being snatched for my new cookbook!
A couple of other trips to London included a tour of the City of London with the Pink Lovely, a visit to the Geffreye Museum and the Bank of England Museum, both of which were fascinating. However, the favourite pass time of the Pink Lovely was sitting on a double decker bus! Thank God for the Oyster Card! Determined to see "The Railway Children" before it closed on the platform of Waterloo Station, we managed to get to the last performance and it was truly a delight.There were many more adults than children and I think that they secretly just wanted to see the steam train tooting in down the platform. Our trip ended up with skating outside the Natural History Museum and then going on the Merry Go round before returning back to  the quiet pastures of Herefordshire and the new school term.
Having made the decision not to write an e-book or App. but to throw myself into another cookbook with old fashioned paper and binding, I settled into daily writing and testing of winter recipes before the spring brings new ingredients and ideas to try.
We had a brief encounter with snow for one day and it snowed all day, piling up nicely under my watchful eye and those on the committee of the Ludlow Hunt Ball. If I ever question my heritage, remind me of this night because I am entirely sure than all the proof that is needed is here.  200 of us did fight our way through 3 snow storms which were so thick that the lines in the middle of the road were nowhere to be seen!  This was slightly dodgy with approaching traffic struggling towards you. This has to be entirely English, who else would venture out to a BALL in the middle of the Marches along zigzag lanes and single tracks to get to a marquis without snow chains or skiis! It was I am glad to say entirely worth it and we all danced until 2.30am and by the time we went home the moon was bright and the roads passable. But still quite definitely mad!
We are still just in February and this I shall call my chocolate month. I am not entirely sure what has happened but I seemed to have been obsessed by chocolate all month. Not a day has passed without a glorious, melting moment! I have tested every single chocolate recipe in my new book with great success it may be said but also with a secret supply that the Pink Lovely has not yet discovered!  I am now debating which one to write out for you here as they were all rather yummy and easy. Even when I was in London for a couple of days last week to see the Hockney exhibition and attend a few lunches and dinners, chocolate featured every few hours, are we due for an equinox or something! I even put chocolate in my venison stew which was gloriously rich and decadent. There was a brief moment when it occurred to me that I should join Chris Tarrant on Radio 2 and give up chocolate for lent but  giving up my daily cup of coffee seemed an easier option!  What will March bring? I will let you know but certainly not chocolate! So, before all the evidence of my current addiction disappears from my hidey places there is a little recipe that I would like you to try!
Chocolate Ice Cream
350ml whole milk
1 heaped tablespoon pure cocoa powder
The seeds from some cardamom pods (how many depends on how flavoured you like ice creams to be)
6 large eggs, yolks only
125g caster sugar
120g dark continental chocolate 70%cocoa, melted
300ml double cream

Heat the milk with the cocoa and cardamom seeds in a saucepan, simmer for 5 minutes on low. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks and sugar in a large bowl, when pale and thick whisk in the hot milk. Return this to the pan and heat, stirring continuously until thick enough to coat the back of the wooden spoon. Cool and then blitz in the liquidizer until smooth and silky. Pour the mixture into a freezer bowl or container and fold in the cream. Freeze until solid but beat the hell out of it every few hours so that it continues to be silky smooth.

Serve with chocolate brownies for a serious fix!

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Another easy pheasant recipe!

Here is another quickie which can be prepared the day before, ideal for the busy weekends.
Serves 4
large pheasant breasts with skin on
2 red onions, thinly sliced
2-4 garlic cloves, crushed
4 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 lemon thickly sliced
200ml chicken, pheasant or veggie stock
good pinches of sea salt
and freshly ground black pepper
30g unsalted butter
55g pine nuts
4 tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley

In a large bowl, mix the pheasant or chicken with onions, garlic, oil, spices, lemon, stock and seasoning. Leave to marinate in the fridge for a few hours or overnight. Preheat the oven to 200C or GM6 and bake the pheasant in a baking dish skin side up. Sprinkle over the onions and roast until cooked through. Melt the butter in a small frying pan, add the pine nuts and pinch of salt and toast until golden.  Toss the mixture over the pheasant with the chopped parsley and serve with rice or couscous.

A change in the Pheasant repetoire!

I love this recipe because it can be prepared the day before and then cooked 1/2hr before dinner!
Serves about 4
4 large pheasant breasts or chicken
2 red or white onions, roughly chopped
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
 a good pinch of saffron strands
juice and zest of 1 lemon
4 tablespoons cold water
a couple of pinches of sea salt
and freshly ground black pepper
100g unskinned hazelnuts
70g honey or maple syrup
2 tablespoons rosewater

In a bowl mix the pheasant breasts with the onions, olive oil, ginger, cinnamon, saffron, lemon juice and zest, water, salt and pepper and leave to marinate n a cool place for at least an hour or overnight if possible.
Roast/grill the hazelnuts on a tray until golden, cool enough to chop roughly.
Arrange the breasts skin side up in a baking dish with the marinade and roast until birds are NEARLY cooked through.
 Mix the honey or maple syrup, rosewater and nuts into a paste and spread over the pheasant breasts return to oven and cook for about 2-10 minutes until nots are brown but not burnt! Serve with rice.
This is my favourite recipe out of all the ones I tried. Another one later today!

Monday, 2 January 2012

Rhubarb in the Bolognese! Happy New Year!

Lurking around the fridge this bright New Year  morning, I shuffle around on automatic, make a cup of builders tea for me, fresh parsley and carrots for the guinea pigs, cold chicken for the dog and all is going well although in a slight blurr. This you may think is due to an excess of wines over the New Year celebrations, but no, this is due to leaving my glasses up on the 3rd floor and feeling that I can manage perfectly well without them. After all, you can feel your way through most things in life! Back to the fridge: I feel for the bowl of Tomato sauce, might aswell start making the Lasagne and for the bowl of mince. Grope around the darkest cupboard for a pan, chuck in the ingredients and shove it on the hob while I go and get dressed. I return in full glory of muddy jeans, back to front jumper, inside-out cardigan; so reassuringly normal... and Ahhh there are my glasses... AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH and there is a gently bubbling pan of stewed Rhubarb and best mince.. Dash to the fridge, definitely tomato sauce poised beside the jug of custard ... oops! Oh! Well... No one will ever know... just chucked in the tomato sauce but I remain firm about the custard!
We have a delivery of 20 plucked pheasants for the weekend, ready for freezing. Now the fun starts; gazing longingly at glossy photos of heavenly concoctions of feather-light whipped icing, cunning layers of fruits in glorious wrappings, dream-like cakes and pudding.... but with reality and regret I turn to the chapters on game and poultry. I whizz through the list until I reach guinea fowl, duck, chicken and turkey. On the basis that they are all pretty similar and bound to work!  Ottolenghi is top fave at the moment. So, Pheasant in saffron, honey and hazelnuts; Pheasants with sumac, za'atar and lemon; Pheasant breasts with cumin, coriander and white wine are my choices. Whichever recipe is the best I will post! Until then I wish you all a very happy new year and an abundance of all that is good in 2012.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

We have already had one Christmas dinner, another one coming up!

Another triumph! Well, anyway, I didn't set the oven on fire like I did last weekend and I only forgot the chestnuts for the sprouts and omitted the perfectly formed and fried onions for the stuffing... but I thought last year's Christmas pudding from Monsieur Tesco was rather good considering it was 6 months out of date. The stuffing was a marvellous rescue,due to a brain wave of mixing all the left-over odds and ends of chutneys that I had made this year: rhubarb and ginger, pear and spice and mango and cardamom and bashing them into the mixture, totally made up for the lack of onions and chestnuts!
We had left-over cranberries of course and so I made some delicious cranberry and cream cheese muffins this morning and so as promised, here is the gluten free recipe but simply change the flour to your preferred kind to suit you. This can also be made lactose free too! Enjoy....
100g soft cream cheese or lactofree cream cheese
250g caster sugar
150g fresh cranberries or frozen
200g Doves Farm gluten-free or wheat-free plain flour mix
2 generous teaspoons baking powder
2 large free range eggs
75ml sunflower oil
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Heat the oven to 190C/170Cfan/gas5; line a 12-hole muffin tin with muffin cases.
Beat the soft cheese with 25g of the sugar and chill until needed.
Heat the cranberries together with another 25g of the sugar until they start to pop. Squish them a bit but not much!
Sift the flour into a large bowl, add the remaining 200g sugar, baking powder and pinch of sea salt. Stir in the eggs, oil, vanilla and cranberries. Divide the lumpy mixture between the cases. Make a small dip in the centre of each one and gently push in a blob of the cream cheese mixture. Bake for 25 mins or until firm and springy to touch. Cool on a wire rack and eat warm or cold.

Wishing you all a Very Merry Christmas and I will be back with more recipes for the New Year

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Rodent pedicures!

To my horror, a friend came round for coffee yesterday and on viewing our resident rodents, Noodle and Doodle, declared that they needed pedicures. I have come to terms with small rat-like things in The Pink Lovely's playroom but nail clipping was not really on my list!  In fact it brought back fraught memories, as I am sure all mothers will agree, who can remember, the anxiety and stress of cutting a new born babies' and todlers' nails. For some mad hormonal reason we seem to forget that we have been giving ourselves manicures and pedicures for the past 15-20 years and go to pieces just at the thought of it, of missing fingers and toes!
Bribing my friend with a large piece of chocolate fruitcake, which alas, has not made it to Christmas as expected, she heroically clipped the little treasures nails for me. Saint or What!
The excitement of my days never ceases to amaze me as this morning, you would have thought yesterday was enough excitement for one week, I made a cup of tea and on discovering that we had no more milk, hastily retrieved my tea bag and plopped it into a tumbler with a bit of water in the bottom. Lurking in the back of my cupboard was some historic, almost neolithic milk powder and I made up enough to hopefully not poison me but to give me an acceptable cuppa. It tasted disgusting! So, I retrieved the teabag and left it to stew for a few minutes hoping to save the situation. One gulp and OH MY what a surprise, Vodka and tonic flavoured tea! Not a glass of water then but an unfinished tipple from last night! That will teach me to be so slovenly!
As promised I am giving you the recipe for bacon and cheese straws for all your hundreds of guests this festive season. Indeed I may even have a party myself!
I am entirely hopeless at making puff pastry and have never succeeded  in making a gluten-free version so this is not an allergy-free recipe but I shall make amends in the next blog with another recipe that is and will certainly be helpful for  Christmas entertaining.
One big tip: Always buy the most expensive all butter puff pastry you can find. The taste is superb and it is far lighter with crispier layers. The top Michelin Star chefs in the country use it and every chef I have ever met has admitted to baking with bought puff or flaky pastry. So, brazen it out and quote me!
Heaps of them!
1x large packet Tesco finest or other flash all butter puff pastry
for ultimate cheating use the pre-rolled out pastry sheets!
Very thin long strips of rindless yummy bacon and not the watery cheap stuff! You can use middle cut or streaky, smoked or unsmoked or maple cure is perfect, ditto Parma ham cut into long strips
Mature or Vintage Cheddar cheese,grated on to a huge pile on a plate
Your favourite mustard, Dijon or grain but not made-up mustard powder as it is too strong
1-2 eggs beaten until smooth
flour for dusting

Place the rolled pastry onto a floured board or clean surface and brush it with mustard. Use a sharp knife to cut very long strips from top to bottom about 1inch or 2.5cm wide.
Take each strip and place a line of grated cheese along it, place the strip of bacon over the cheese and then twist gently all the way up into secure straws. Cut into 3 or 4 lengths depending on your preference and how many mouths you have to feed.  Brush them all with beaten egg and place on a non-stick baking tray. Bake them in batches, leaving room for them to expand until golden, puffy and crispy. I suggest 220C or 200Cfan oven or the hottest oven in the Aga. Serve warm or store overnight and then reheat for about 10 minutes in the same oven temperature the next day.