Parmesan cheese Pastry

This is a beautifully flavoured pastry to make as the base for a quiche or for a pasty. With a twist of Parmesan to flavour and enrich your food, just add your imagination and see what you can tantalise your palate with. Enjoy!

200g Plain flour
100g Salted Butter, chilled and cut into small cubes
30g Parmesan cheese, grated
1 medium Egg yolk, beaten
35-45ml Cold water, straight from the fridge

The secret to a good pastry is to have your ingredients cold and to work quickly.  Ensure you make it early enough to be able to leave your pastry to rest in the fridge.  This prevents shrinkage in the oven when you cook it.
1. Tip your flour into a large bowl.  Don’t worry about sifting it, you can give it a quick whisk to add some air and lighten it up as well as remove any lumps.
2. Add the cubed butter and, using your finger tips and thumbs, rub the butter into your flour until it resembles breadcrumbs.
3. Add the Parmesan cheese, and quickly work it through your flour & butter mixture until thoroughly combined.
4. Add the beaten egg yolk and about 35ml of your cold water and mix with a flat bladed knife until the pastry comes together. If required, you can add some more of your water, a bit at a time until the dough starts to stick and form a clump.
5. Tip your dough out on to a lightly floured surface and bring together completely with your hands, then quickly and lightly knead into a ball.
6. Wrap in cling film and place in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.
7. When chilled, remove from the fridge, roll and use as required.
As a variation, when you add your cheese, why not also add:
* 10ml dried herbs such as parsley, sage or thyme for a cheese & herb pastry.
* 10ml caraway, poppy or sesame seeds.  This’ll give it an extra crunch when cooked.
* pinch chilli powder for a little ‘kick’
What will you make?  With ours, my daughter made a salmon and smoked cod flan.  I will share the recipe for that soon.  Until then…. X

Salmon en Croute

Quick and relatively simple to make when using bought puff pastry.  Light and fresh in taste.  Good for you too!

500g pack of fresh Puff Pastry
4 Salmon Steaks/a side of salmon, boned and skinned
350g Philadelphia cream cheese
Fresh Dill, chopped
1/2 lemon, zested and juiced
Fresh spinach
1 egg, beaten to seal & glaze

1. Preheat your oven to 220°C.
2. Remove the pastry from the fridge and allow to come up to room temp for about 10 minutes.
3. Mix together the Philadelphia cheese, chopped dill, lemon zest and juice.
4. Cut the pastry into half.
5. Roll out one half to a rectangle about 5cm larger both ways than the salmon steaks/side of salmon.
6. Spread a layer of the fresh spinach over the base of the pastry, leaving a 2cm border all round the edge.
7. Place the salmon on top of the spinach.
8. Spread the cheese/dill/lemon juice paste over the top of the salmon.
9. Top with a thin layer of spinach.
10. Brush the edges of the pastry with a little of the beaten egg.
11. Roll out the other half of the pastry and cover the salmon and spinach.
12. Seal the edges of the pastry together.
13. Brush the top with beaten egg and pierce a couple of holes in the top layer of pastry to allow the steam to escape.
14. Place onto a baking sheet and cook for 25-30 minutes until golden and cooked.

Serve with carrots and boiled potatoes.