Category Archives: Pastry and bread recipes

Leek and Bacon Tart





For the pastry

  • 275g plain flourOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
  • pinch of salt
  • 175g butter
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 3 tbsp very cold water

For the filling

  • 225g middle bacon rashers, diced
  • 4 leeks
  • 6 eggs
  • 115g cream cheese
  • 1 tbsp mild mustard
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • salt and ground black pepper


  1. Sift the flour and salt into a bowl, and rub in the butter until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.  Add the egg yolks and just enough water to combine the dough. Wrap the dough in cling wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 200 deg C. Roll out the pastry thinly and use to line 6-8 tartlet tins or a 28cm tart dish. Remove any air pocket and prick the base with a fork. Line the pastry loosely with baking paper, weigh down with baking beans and bake the pastry shell blind for 15 minutes or until golden.
  3. To make the filling, cook the bacon in a hot pan until crisp. Add the leeks and continue to cook for 3-4 minutes until just softening. Remove from the heat.  In a bowl, beat the eggs, cream cheese, mustard, cayenne pepper and seasoning together, then add the leeks and bacon.
  4. Remove the paper and baking beans from the tartlet tins or tart dish, pour in the filling and bake for 35-40 minutes
  5. Serve warm with a small salad.



Homemade Pizza


Over the last 6 months, I have been trying my hand at baking sourdough bread thanks to my friend Ronnie, and I do turn out a kick ass sourdough.  Baking great bread does take a lot of experimenting, and I started this process at a more intermediate level because I had a friend handy to teach me.  Anyway I would like to bake different types of breads so I am starting again at a basic level to get a better understanding of yeast, flours etc.  This is a pizza recipe which tastes fab using basic dried yeast.  I will share my experiments with baking bread moving forward. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

140 ml water lukewarmOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
2 cups unbleached white bread flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp granulated sugar
7g dried yeast

NB: Makes one 30 cm/12 inch pizza

For the filling
2 tbsp sun-dried tomato pesto
1 tbsp tomato paste 
150g mozzarella cheese, sliced
1/2 pun net cherry  tomatoes roughly chopped
1 small yellow pepper halved and sliced
50g prosciutto torn into pieces
8 fresh basil leaves
2 large garlic cloves
50g feta cheese crumbled
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
30ml grated Parmesan cheese

Cream yeast and sugar, add lukewarm water, let stand 10 minutes or until bubble a appear on the surface. Sift flour and salt in bowl, makes well in centre, add oil and yeast mixture. Mix to a firm dough by hand.
Turn dough onto a floured surface, knead for 10 minutes or until dough is smooth
Place in a lightly oiled bowl , cover and stand in a warm place for 30 minutes or until dough has doubled in bulk. 
Knock back, punch down gently on lightly floured surface. Roll out pizza dough into a 30 cm round. Place in prepared pan. Mix sun-dried pesto and tomato paste and spread on pizza base. Arrange two-thirds of the mozzarella on top. Scatter with chopped tomatoes, pepper strips, prosciutto, feta, whole basil leaves and garlic. Drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle with Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper. Bake at 220 deg C for 15-20 minutes or until crust is golden and crisp.

Stollen – a german festive bread

  • 75g sultanas (golden raisins)
  • 50g cup currents
  • 3tbsp rum
  • 375g cups unbleached white bread flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup castor sugar 
  • 1/4  tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 40g fresh yeast
  • 1/2 cup lukewarm milk
  • 50g butter, melted
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup mixed (candied) peel
  • 1/3 cup blanched whole almonds
  • melted butter for brushing
  • icing sugar to dust
For the Almond Filling
  • 1 cup ground almonds
  • 1/4 cup castor sugar
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 egg lightly beaten
Lightly grease a baking sheet. Preheat the oven to 180c/350F/Gas 4. Put the sultanas and currants in a heatproof bowl and warm for 3-4 mins. Pour over the rum and set aside.
Sift the flour and salt together into a large bowl. Stir in the sugar and spices.
Mix the yeast with the milk until creamy. Pout into the flour and mix a little of the flour from around the edge into the milk mixture to make a thick batter. Sprinkle some of the remaining flour over the top of the batter, then cover with clear film (plastic wrap) and leave in a warm place for 30mins.
Add the melted butter and egg and mix to a soft dough. Turn out the dough on to a lightly floured surface and knead for 8-10mins until smooth and elastic. place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with lightly oiled clear film and leave to rise, in a warm place, for 2-3hours, or until doubled in bulk.
Mix the ground almonds and sugars together for the filling. Add the lemon juice and sufficient egg to knead to a smooth paste. Shape into a 20cm/8in long sausage, cover and set aside.
Turn out the dough on to a lightly floured surface and knock back (punch down).
Pat out the dough into a rectangle about 2.5cm/1 inch thick and sprinkle over the sultanas, current, mixed peel and almonds. Fold and knead the dough to incorporate the fruit and nuts.
Roll out the dough into an oval about 30 x 23cm/12 x 9in. Roll the centre slightly thinner than the edges. Place the almond paste filling along the centre and fold over the dough to enclose it, making sure that the top of the dough doesn’t completely cover the base. The top edge should be slightly  in from the bottom edge. Press down to seal.
Place the loaf on the prepared baking sheet, cover with lightly oiled clear film and leave to rise, in a warm place, for 45-60mins, or until doubled in size.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200c/400f/Gas 6. Bake the loaf for about 30mins, or until it sounds hollow when tapped on the base. Brush the top with melted butter and transfer to a wire rack to cool. Dust with icing sugar just before serving.

Cook’s Tip: You can dust the cooled stollen with icing sugar and cinnamon, or drizzle over a thin glace icing.