24 April 2012

Wild garlic & Lancashire cheese scones

Wild garlic & Lancashire cheese scones - Well Seasoned recipes

Wild garlic is literally everywhere at this time of year, not just on the ground in any damp woodland but many a blog, tweet and online recipe too! I've always spotted it around, normally it appears about the same time as the first bluebells and in similar terrain, so this year I thought I'd give it a go.

With a little advice from the Tasty Herbalist it was easy to identify, it kept fine in the fridge for a day or so in an airtight container and I chose to blanche it quickly in hot water before using it as an ingredient. I was very pleasantly surprised by how delicate and sweet the flavour of the young leaves is and the flowers have a tasty tang of garlic to them too.

I've spotted lots of yummy wild garlic recipes from Yotam Ottolenghi, Angela Hartnett and the Word of Mouth blog, but after a damp mornings walk in the woods I was in the mood for some comforting afternoon munchies perfect with a cup of tea. These cheesy garlicky scones hit the spot, it was difficult not to devour the lot still warm and slathered with butter before I had time to photograph them ...

Wild garlic & Lancashire cheese scones
Makes 6-8 scones
Oven 175°C

250g plain flour
75g cold butter, small chunks
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
50g Lancashire cheese, finely grated *
15 - 20 young wild garlic leaves, blanched and finely chopped **
150ml milk & extra to glaze

To prepare your wild garlic leaves firstly wash thoroughly then place in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Quickly strain in a colander and refresh under running cold water. Set aside onto a tea towel to absorb the excess water then chop finely.

Place the flour into a large bowl and add the cold butter. Rub the flour into the butter until it resembles fine breadcrumbs working as quickly and lightly as you can, then add the salt, baking powder, grated cheese, chopped wild garlic leaves and mix.

Add the milk little at a time using a butter knife to mix until it starts to come together then form into a ball using your hands. Flatten the dough into a thick round on a floured surface and cut into wedges, it is best to handle the dough as little as possible. Place on a lined baking tray and brush the top of each scone with a little milk.

Bake in the middle of the oven for 15-20 minutes until risen and lightly browned.

* I used creamy Lancs but tasty Lancs or similar would also be good!
** If you don't have any wild garlic finely chopped chives or spring onions could be used instead.

Wild garlic & Lancashire cheese scones - a posy of wild garlic - Well Seasoned recipes

3 April 2012

Leek & goats cheese tart with pink pepper

Leek & goats cheese tart - Well Seasoned recipes
This is an attempt to recreate my favourite tart from the Le Chalet du Pain bakery in Tignes, France. Perfect to make at this time of year with young leeks and creamy goats cheese, it reminds me of sitting about in the late afternoon sun after a day on the mountain, tired but happy.

The pastry case can be made ahead and stored in an airtight container if you want to be prepared, and once cooked the tart keeps fine for a day or so in the fridge. I like it best at room temperature so its makes perfect picnic food or packed lunch for me!

Leek & goats cheese tart
20cm tart or quiche case 

Oven 175°C

For the pastry:
90g wholemeal flour
180g plain flour
135g cold butter, diced
A little cold milk

For the filling:
4-6 small leeks, trimmed & finely sliced
1 small log of goats cheese
4 large eggs
2 tbsp crème fraiche
Pink pepper to garnish

To make the pastry sift both types of flour into a bowl and rub in the butter using your fingertips until no large lumps remain. Add the cold milk one tablespoon at a time, at first using a knife to mix then bringing it together into a ball with your hands. Wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. To make using a food processor pulse the flour and butter until it has the consistency of bread crumbs, then add the milk one tablespoon at a time. Keep testing the dough to see how sticky it is as you will need to bring it together into a ball with your hands.
Once chilled roll out the pastry onto a floured surface and use to line a 20cm tart dish. Line the pastry with baking paper or cling film and fill with baking beans or you can use any dry pulses such as rice or lentils. Place into the oven for 20 minutes or until the pastry starts to turn golden brown, remove the lining and return to the oven for a further 5 minutes.
Meanwhile finely slice the leeks and wash well in plenty of cold running water. Place in a pan with a little olive oil, season and cook on a low heat until they soften. Prepare the goats cheese by slicing half of it into thin slices for the top of the tart, then remove the rind of the remaining cheese and chop into little cubes for the filling.
In a large bowl whisk the eggs, crème fraiche, cubes of goats cheese and season with plenty of salt and a little pink pepper. Scatter the leeks into the pastry base, fill with the egg mix and arrange the sliced goats cheese on top.
Place in the oven and cook for 30-40 minutes until firm to the touch and golden on top.