Saturday, 31 January 2015

Treat Petite February

Welcome to Treat Petite February!

Thank you to everyone who took part in last month's theme of 'Healthy Treats'! It definitely cheered up our January to see the tasty yet healthier treats you came up with!

This month's theme is... 'Love Is In The Air'. That means anything made for the one you love, for Valentine's Day, or anything involving hearts, red, pink and typical 'love' themes. Or if you're single and you want to make something you love to eat!

Here are those all important rules:

1. Add your petite treat to the Linky Tool at the bottom of the current month's post by the 25th of the month, midnight at the latest

2. Post your bake onto your blog and link back to Cakeyboi and The Baking Explorer, stating who is hosting this month

3. Follow Cakeyboi and The Baking Explorer blogs on Google+ (see sidebar links), if you haven't already.

4. If you tweet use #treatpetite and mention @MrCakeyboi and @BakingExplorer - we will retweet

5. Add the challenge logo to the post and 'Treat Petite' as a label to the post

6. Use any recipe as long as the source is noted

7. If you like, add your photo to the 'Treat Petite' Pinterest board (request access from Cakeyboi)

Feel free to enter old posts as long as you update the post and meet all the requirements above!

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Spinach & Feta Tart

For Christmas I was very excited to receive a rectangular shaped 'Tarte Maison' tart tin. It's something I've wanted for a while as I love the appearance of tarts in this shape as opposed to circular ones. They look more elegant I think. Mine is from John Lewis. For the tins first outing I decided on a savoury filling and I was inspired by Greek food, such as Spanakopita, which is filled with a spinach and feta mixture. The filling varies with leeks sometimes added and different cheeses, so this is my twist on it.

I made enough filling for two tarts, which is why it looks a lot more in the photos, but I'll just give you the amounts to fill one tart. I started by cooking 1 clove of garlic, half a medium sized onion and 6 spring onions in a pan on a medium heat in 1/2 tbsp oil. Once soft, I set them aside in a bowl.

I added a drizzle more oil to the same pan and wilted 350g fresh spinach, once it began to wilt I added a small knob of butter and a sprinkling of nutmeg (about 1/4 tsp). When it was all wilted I put it in a sieve over a bowl to drain out the excess water. I pressed it down with a spoon to get plenty of water out.

I mixed the spinach with the onions in a bowl.

I chopped up 15g of fresh flat leaf parsley and 15g fresh dill. Fresh herbs are a must for this recipe, the flavour can't be matched by dried herbs!

I added the herb to the spinach mixture and stirred in well.

In a separate bowl I weighed out 50g natural breadcrumbs, 25g parmesan, 140g crumbled feta, and 60g crumbled goats cheese.

I added the cheese mixture to the spinach and stirred in well. Finally I added 1 egg and mixed it in, as well as some salt to taste. I added approx 1/4 tsp, you can add more or less as desired.

To make the pastry I used the same method and amounts from my Pumpkin Pie recipe. I rolled out 2/3 of the pastry onto some cling film (this makes it easy to pick up!)

I greased my tin and lined it with the pastry, cutting off any excess and pricking the bottom with a fork. I then put baking paper in the pastry and poured in some baking beans. I baked it on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 10-15 minutes until the pastry started to brown around the edges.

I took the paper and baking beans out and baked it again for 5-10 minutes until the bottom looked fully cooked.

I filled the pastry case with the filling and packed it in quite well, filling the tin right to the top.

I rolled out the final third of the pastry and cut out strips, using 1 beaten egg as 'glue' I brushed the edges of the tart, stuck the strips in a lattice pattern and trimmed the edges. I also brushed the egg white on the bottom layer of pastry where it crossed over. When I was done I brushed the tart all over with the beaten egg.

I baked the tart on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 20-25 minutes until it was golden brown.

I recommend serving with mash and vegetables! However if you're serving the tart cold it would be really good with salad. Both myself and my boyfriend ate this up quick, it was really tasty. The freshness of the herbs really comes through in the filling and the pastry was perfectly crisp. A delicious week night dinner!

I am entering this into Lavender & Lovage's monthly challenge Cooking With Herbs as this recipe contains some great fresh herbs. This month's challenge is Store Cupboard favourite, I used nutmeg, flour and salt in this recipe from my store cupboard.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Chocolate & Peanut Butter Granola Bars

It's really hard to find snacks that are both healthy and tasty. I struggle with it a lot! Especially this time of year when a lot of people are trying to be healthy, but it's still so dark and horrible outside you need comfort food. Fruit is of course always an ideal option for snacking, but sometimes you need something more filling and preferably containing chocolate! These granola bars obviously aren't as good as fruit and vegetables, but they are much better than a chocolate bar. Plus, they are so easy and quick to make, no oven required!

I started by melting 250g peanut butter (I used a smooth organic kind), 150g agave nectar (you could substitute this for honey), and 90g light brown sugar on a low heat. Once it all came together I took the pan off the heat.

In a bowl I measured out 150g oats and 120g of a seed mix I got from Tesco that contained pumpkin, sunflower, sesame and linseeds. I added the peanut butter mixture to the dry ingredients and mixed it until everything was fully coated. I then added 100g chopped milk chocolate and stirred in. The heat from the mixture will melt it so you don't need to pre-melt.

I gently spread the mixture in a lined baking tray (9"x12"), making sure it was packed in tight and had a smooth and flat top. I popped it in the fridge for about an hour.

Once it was set I removed it from the tray and cut it into bars. It had set nice and firm.

The bars are best wrapped in parchment paper or foil and stored in the fridge to keep them firm, but they will be fine for a few hours out of the fridge, so perfect for lunchboxes. They taste really good, very moreish! I have been really enjoying them and they give me that chocolate hit I often crave.

I am entering these into myself and Cakeyboi's monthly challenge, Treat Petite. Cakeyboi is hosting this month and the theme is 'Healthy Treats'.

I am also entering these into Tea Time Treats, hosted by The Hedge Combers and Lavender & Lovage on alternate months. This month's theme is Packed Lunches, which these would be perfect for!