Challenge No. 44 – Potato Bomb

Okay, so I’ve been a little cheeky with this one and suggested it myself! I couldn’t help it, I saw this recipe and thought I HAVE to try these.  Mashed potato, bacon and cheese – can it get much better than this? I think not 🙂

I found the recipe on a website called SavoryStyle which is aimed at connecting food bloggers and general lovers of food.  Be sure to check it out.

For this recipe you need:-

  • 2 cups leftover and chilled Mashed Potatoes (I used approx. 450g)
  • 1 Egg
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Cheddar Cheese cut into chunks
  • 1/2 cup Dry Bread Crumbs (see my practical tip below)
  • slice per Bomb
  • Skewers or toothpicks
  • Oil for frying

Ed - ingredients

Dave is not a fan of mashed potato and trying to get him to eat it two nights in a row seemed a bit impossible.  So instead I used ready made mash which just needs reheating.

Ed - potato

I mixed around 450g with an egg and seasoned it with salt and pepper.

Ed - mixed potato

I cut the cheese into chunks.  The recipe says to cut it into one inch chunks, however, when I did this, they seemed huge! So instead, I chopped the cheese into 2cm cubes.

Ed - cheese

I took a tablespoon of mash potato and carefully shaped it around a chunk of cheese.  I the repeated this until all the mash was used.

Ed - balls

I then put the breadcrumbs into a bowl and I rolled the mash balls in the breadcrumbs until evenly coated.

Practical tip: don’t measure out the breadcrumbs.  Just pop some in a bowl and kept topping it up as you go.  If you measure the breadcrumbs out, you could end up wasting them as it’s unlikely you’ll need the full amount. 

Ed - breadcrumbed

I wrapped the breadcrumbed balls in a piece of bacon and pushed a skewer through the bacon and cheese centre.

Ed - skewers

I decided to use my deep fat dryer and heated it up to 175 degree celsius.  I put the potato bombs in the frying basket and carefully lowered it into the hot oil. 

Ed - fryer

The recipe says to fry them until golden but lists the cooking time as 15 minutes.  I therefore intended to cook them for this amount of time, however, I realised part way through that this was a bit too long.  I think 10 minutes would have been better.

Anyway, after 14 minutes, I removed the potato bombs from the fryer and put them on some kitchen roll whilst I finished up the chicken escallops we were having them with.

Ed - drain

Ed - served up

These didn’t really turn out as I would have hoped.  Don’t get me wrong, they were still nice but there was no cheese left inside and they were slightly overcooked.  Next time I will leave the cheese chunks bigger and cook them for just 10 minutes.  However, you could tell these had really good potential as they tasted yummy…if slightly too crispy. 

Coming up soon, Challenge No. 45 – egg custards.

Challenge No. 32 – Leek and Gruyere Quiche

My friend Rachel suggested this challenge for Challenge 52.  I’ve already made two other of Rachel’s suggestions in Challenge No. 20 (Gammon) and Challenge No. 11 (Chocolate Ganache & Cherry Tart).  Rachel decided to challenge me to another pastry dish but this time a savoury leek and gruyere quiche. 

I had a quick search online for a recipe and most of the ones I found used cups as a measurement.  Those of you who have been following MyGastroAdventure from the beginning will have learned that I don’t like recipes in cups! However, I struggled to find a recipe I liked to look of, with the right ingredients, and the right types of measurements.  So in the end I settled for a conversion of this recipe for a bacon, leek and gruyere quiche.  Also quite a nice touch that the recipe bio makes reference to the inspiration for my blog, Julia & Julia 🙂

The recipe makes two quiches, however, Dave doesn’t like quiche so I thought it would be best to make just one and take it into work for my colleagues.  To make the quiche, you will need the following ingredients:-

  • Crust
    • 160g plain flour, plus more for dusting
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 140g unsalted butter, cubed
    • 1/2 large egg yolk*
    • 52ml ice water
  • Filling
    • 226g thickly sliced bacon, cut into squares
    • 2 medium leeks, white and tender green parts only, thinly sliced
    • 1/2 tsp chopped thyme leaves
    • Salt and pepper
    • 114g Gruyère cheese, grated
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1 large egg yolks
    • 427ml double cream

*I know! I know! 1/2 an egg yolk is not easy but that’s what half the recipe meant.  All I did was put my yolk in a small jug and then used a teaspoon to take out approximately half.

Edited - ingredients

I started by putting my flour, salt and chilled butter into my food processor.  I blitzed it together until it resembled breadcrumbs.

Edited - butter and flour Edited - breadcrumbs

I then added the egg yolk and water and pulsed until the mixture started to come together.  It was then time to get my hands dirty.  I floured my worktop and tipped the dough out to work together with my hands. 

Edited - unworked dough

I kneaded it together until smooth, shaped it into a disk and then wrapped it in cling film to chill in the fridge for 20 minutes.  I realised after 10 minutes that my fridge wasn’t particularly cold so I turned it down slightly and given that it was a hot evening, I decided to leave the pastry dough for a total of 30 minutes.

Edited - smooth ball

After the 30 minutes were up, I floured my worktop again, floured my rolling pin and started rolling the dough until it was slightly bigger than the base of my tin.

Edited - rolled out

I greased the tin with a little butter and carefully lifted the pastry in.  Now when I made the ganache tart, my research indicated that the tin should be greased.  However, when I finished with this bake, I thought the base was a bit soft and I wondered if this was because of the extra butter used to grease the tin (as well as a bit of overspill on the filling!).  I’ve done a bit more research and its indicated that when using a shortcrust, you don’t need to grease the tin as there is enough butter in the pastry itself.  Next time, I’ll give this a try and see what happens.

Anyway, with my pastry in the tin, I trimmed and neatened up the edges.  I then set about putting in my baking rice (I don’t have beads so just use rice which I keep in a separate bit of tupperware in my baking cupboard).  The recipe says to line the pastry with foil, however, I remember watching a Celebrity Great British Bake Off where one of the contestants used foil and it stuck to the pastry.  So to avoid a potential disaster, I stuck to what I knew and used baking paper.

Edited - lined tin Edited - trimmed Edited - rice

I then popped the tin into the oven on 190 degrees celsius for 30 minutes.  When the timer went off, I removed the rice and baking paper and popped the tin back in the oven for another 15 minutes.

Whilst the pastry was finishing up in the oven, I got started on the filling.  I heated up my frying pan and then added the bacon slices to cook over a medium heat.  I kept string until they were cooked through.

Edited - bacon

Now this next bit, I deviated from the recipe slightly! It wasn’t on purpose, I just misread it.  The recipe said to “drain the bacon, leaving 1 tablespoon of the fat in the pan”.  I read this to mean, drain off the fat, leaving the bacon and 1 tablespoon of fat in the pan.  What it actually meant was to take the bacon out of of the pan.  Anyway, I’d added my leek and thyme to the bacon, seasoned it with salt and pepper and let it cook for around 5 minutes until softened.  Once it was cooked, I popped the leek and bacon mixture into a bowl to cool.

Edited - leek and bacon

When the pastry was cooked, I put the tin onto a baking tray and left everything to cool whilst I made mine and Dave’s dinner.

Edited - cooked pastry

After we were fed and watered, I carried on with the quiche.  I added the grated cheese to the leek and bacon, mixed it all together and then put it in the pastry case. It was very full!!! So I decided to pull out some of the leek slices, leaving the yummy bacon and cheese.  I’m not sure it really made any difference but I felt like I had at least done something 🙂

Edited - filling in

I then poured the cream into a jug, added the eggs and egg white before whisking with a balloon whisk.  I didn’t really know what I was doing here so I just whisked it until everything was well combined.  I transferred the mixture into a jug and carefully poured it over the quiche filling.

Practial tip: don’t overfill the pastry case.  If the mixture spills over the edge, you’ll end up with a soggy bottom.

So, in light of the tip above, at this point, I kept repeating to myself “don’t overfill it! don’t overfill it!”  and what did I do? Yep, I overfilled it 😦  I actually only used half of the cream and egg mixture too!

Edited - oven ready

Anyway, I popped the (overfilled) quiche into the oven on 190 degrees celsius for 30 minutes to cook through.  I took the quiche out of the oven and popped it onto a cooking rack for 15 minutes. I then removed the ring, leaving the quiche on the base of the tin. I wasn’t sure whether I should remove the base as well but because the filling had spilled over, I thought it best to leave the quiche on a sturdy base.

Edited - ready

Once cooled enough, I popped the quiche in the fridge overnight before chopping it up to take to work the next day.

Edited - slice

Edited - served upEveryone said the quiche was very nice.  Despite my warnings of the notorious soggy bottom (Mary Berry would not have been happy), they all said it was good and that the bottom wasn’t that soggy.  One person even described it as crisp! I have to admit the base wasn’t as soggy as I thought it would be but there was clear room for improvement, in my mind at least.  Although, perhaps I am my own worst critic.

Despite the questionable base, I have to admit this quiche was yummy! I definitely want to make it again and see if I can perfect the base and filling ratios.

Coming up next week, Challenge No. 33 – custard slices.

Challenge No. 30 – Fig and Goats Cheese Tart

This dish was suggested by a family friend.  I’ve known Debbie ever since her daughter and I went to primary school and ballet class together.  I’ve never eaten a fig before but I love goats cheese so was quite excited to make (and eat!) this challenge.

I had a quick search online and found this recipe for fig, goats cheese and caramelised onion tarts.  The tarts are made with filo pastry sheets.   Whilst Challenge 52 is all about taking me out of my kitchen comfort zone, I decided to listen to my baking hero Mary Berry for this one.  I remember watching one of her programmes and whilst Mary Berry once made filo pastry as part of her training, she actually encourages home cooks to use shop bought ready made pastry. And who am I to ignore advice from Mary Berry? 🙂

So for this recipe, you will need the following ingredients:-

  • Filo pastry sheets
  • 1 Onion
  • 2tbsp light muscovado sugar
  • 1tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 55g Goats’ cheese
  • 110g unsalted butter
  • 3 Figs Fresh
  • Honey for drizzling

Edited - ingredients

The recipe on the BakingMad website actually used 2tbsp of dark muscovado sugar and no balsamic vinegar.   However, when I went to get my sugar out the cupboard I realised I only had light muscavado sugar.  After a bit of research, I discovered that you can get the same caramelised effect by adding a tbsp of balsamic vinegar to 2tbsp of light muscavado sugar and this is what I did.

I started by preparing my onion.  I cut it in half and then sliced it at thinly as possible.

Edited - onions

I melted two knobs of butter in my frying pan and then added the muscavado sugar and balsamic vinegar.  Once the butter was fully melted, I added the sliced onion and fried them on a medium heat for about 20 minutes.

Edited - onions cooking Edited - onions

Whilst the onion was cooking, I prepared my muffin tin.  I greased each hole with some butter and then made some little baking parchment squares to insert into each one.  I cut the baking parchment into the following shape:-

Screen Shot 2015-07-17 at 20.51.43

Edited - prepared tin

Practical tip: these little inserts help to remove the cooked tarts without breaking the delicate pastry 🙂

I then melted the remaining butter and started to make the pastry shells.  I took my pastry sheets and decided to cut 12cm squares to line the tin.  The recipe said to cut them into 6cm squares but these looked to small.  I brushed the top of each square with melted butter, doubled it up with another square and pushed the two into a hole in the prepared tin.

Edited - pastry in the tin

I put the pastry cases into the oven on 180 degrees celsius for 5 minutes to brown them slightly. 

Edited - part cooked

With the pasty part cooked, I put a teaspoon of caramelised onion into each one and topped it with some goats cheese.  I then returned the tarts to the oven until the cheese was melted.  This actually took longer than I was expecting, probably around 7 to 10 minutes.

Edited - cheese in the tin

I sliced the figs and topped the cooked tarts with a portion each before drizzling them with a little honey.

Edited - served up

These were delicious.  They weren’t quite as small and dainty as I thought they would be (probably because I used 12cm squares of pastry) but they sure did taste nice.

Coming up next week, Challenge No. 31 – battenberg.