How to Make Shortcrust Pastry

DSCI2459

With a few ingredients, you can turn your hand to making your own shortcrust pastry, anytime and for a fraction of the cost of buying ready-made.

Ingredients

225g plain flour

100g margarine

Pinch of salt

4-5 tbsps of water

Method

  • Put the flour into a bowl. Add the margarine and salt.
  • DSCI2441Using your washed, clean hands, rub the margarine into the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs in appearance.
  • DSCI2445Add 3-4 tablespoons of water by sprinkling it across the mixture. DSCI2452

Dawn: The aim is to combine the ingredients to form a small ball being mindful not to add too much water.
Andrew: Why do you have to be aware of how much water to add, Dawn?
Dawn: Too much water will make the pastry hard rather than mouthwateringly crumbly so it’s worth knowing this.

  • Stir in the water with a spoon until the mixture starts to stick together. DSCI2454
  • With one hand, collect the dough-like mixture together to form a ball.
  • Knead lightly for a few seconds to give a smooth, firm pastry dough.DSCI2460

Dawn: Don’t over handle the mixture as this can make it hard in texture, too. 

  • To roll out, sprinkle a little flour on a clean working surface and a rolling pin (no flour on the actual pastry dough). Roll out the dough evenly in one direction, turning it occasionally.

Dawn: Aim for a thickness of about 1/8th of an inch and try not to pull or stretch the pastry.
Andrew: You can bake it straight away but it’s best to allow the pastry to ‘rest’ for 30 minutes in the ovenproof dish or tin you are using, covered with cling film or foil ahead of cooking it. 

  • Bake until lightly golden brown on gas mark 6, 200 °C electric.

Dawn: There are many variations such as wholemeal pastry using wholemeal flour rather than plain flour as well as cheese pastry where you simply add 100g of mature cheddar or a hard cheese of your choice along with an optional pinch of dry mustard powder before you add the water.
Andrew: That sounds a really interesting and delicious alternative pastry, Dawn.
Dawn: It is, Andrew and so very easy to do, too. I reckon that the shortcrust pastry recipe here has cost less that 50p in ingredients using basic range plain flour.
Andrew: WOW! That’s great to learn, Dawn and what this blog is all about.

For more economical and tasty food recipes, follow this blog – www.forfoodlovers.wordpress.com – Twitter @Love_Food_UK as well as finding is on Facebook (come Like us, please) and we are over at MumsNet Bloggers Network, too! 

Banana Loaf

Having your cake and eating it! So the old saying goes and this version gives you a delicious afternoon tea tasty treat that you can ‘dress up’ with preserves or eat on it’s own. DSCI2222

Ingredients

8-10 slices

175g plain flour

50g polyunsaturated margarine

50g sugar (granulated or castor)

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 egg, beaten

3 very ripe bananas, peeled and smashed together

Method

  • Preheat the oven to gas mark 4, 200°C electric.
  • Line a loaf tin with greaseproof paper.
  • Put the margarine and sugar in a bowl and cream together.

Dawn: To cream together is to mix the ingredients into a light, fluffy-looking consistency. 

  • Beat the egg into the margarine and sugar mixture until all three ingredients are combined. Then add the bananas, a little at a time until they are incorporated into the mixture.
  • Next, add the bicarbonate of soda and the flour, sifted together.

Andrew: If you sift the flour, it adds to the lightness of texture of the loaf. 

  • Pour the mixture into the lined loaf tin and place in the centre of the oven to bake for 45-50 minutes, or until golden brown in colour.

Dawn: To test to see if the loaf is baked, simply push a knife blade into the centre and if it emerges clean, the loaf is baked. If there’s googey mixture on the blade, the loaf needs baking a little longer. 

  • Serve warm or cold.

Andrew: The riper the bananas, the sweeter tasting they are. 

Dawn: Yes, so if the bananas you are using are super ripe, you may decide not to add sugar to the recipe. 

Andrew: Afternoon tea! Served traditionally at 4pm with cucumber sandwiches, jams, creams, scones.

Dawn: Simply lovely! In some places in the world, this tradition is still maintained such as Barbados. 

For more delicious treats, tasty meal ideas and food tips, follow this blog – www.forfoodlovers.wordpress.com – Twitter @Love_Food_UK and we’re also on MumsNet Bloggesr Network. See you over there! 

Buoyant Blueberry Muffins

DSCI1639

Who doesn’t like a cake with a cup of tea or coffee? And here we have a “kinder fat” version of a muffin that you can enjoy: “kinder fat” because we’ve used a monounsaturated/polyunsaturated fat which means it is low in saturated fat.

Ingredients

Makes 12 large muffins or 18 smaller ones

150g of blueberries, washed (can use frozen ones, too)

250g self-raising flour

90g sugar

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

55ml sunflower oil

200ml milk (we’ve used skimmed to reduce the calorific value but you can use any)

2 tsps vanilla extract

2 eggs

Muffin cases (paper or silicon; one or two muffin cake trays)

Method

  • Preheat the oven to gas mark 6, 200°C electric.
  • Place the paper or silicon cases into the muffin cake trays. Use two trays and see how far the muffin mixture goes.
  • Put the flour, sugar and bicarbonate of soda in a large bowl and mix together.
  • Now put the sunflower oil, milk and vanilla extract into another bowl along with the eggs and mix together until all the wet ingredients are combined.
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and mix well until they are combined.
  • Add the blueberries by gently folding them into the mixture.

Dawn: The term ‘folding’ means to gently scoop the blueberries into the muffin mixture, making sure that the blueberries are intact rather than mixing as a method which can be a more vigorous way of adding ingredients. 

Andrew: If you did split the blueberries, they would bleed colour into the mixture before it was cooked. 

Dawn: Which is fine and will create a swirly pattern so the choice is yours.

  • Spoon the mixture into the paper or silicon cake cases. Put in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the muffins have risen and and are turning a light golden brown in colour.
  • Place on a wire rack to cool.

Dawn: And enjoy warm or cool with a nice cup of tea!

Andrew: Let me kick off my shoes, put my feet up and enjoy a muffin moment…bliss!

For tasty treats like these Buoyant Blueberry Muffins, delicious meals made on a shoestring and cooking tips, follow this blog – www.forfoodlovers.wordpress.com – and the Twitter feed @Love_Food_UK.