A Happy Easter(Birthday) Party

On 5th & 6th April 2015, This was Dinner

We were invited to my Mum’s to celebrate Easter, it was also her birthday. I took my contributions of:

Pesto, Mozzarella & Roasted Tomato Wheels

Pork, Walnut & Wensleydale Sausage Rolls

Mushroom Pies

White Chocolate & Raspberry Cake

Chinese Custard Tarts

Mum had made about a thousand quiches* and everyone else brought contributions of too many things to remember.

It’s a good job the birthday girl isn’t an attention seeker as Walter was the star of the show as he got to meet the remainder of my side of the family. He was really well behaved too, but a very tired little puppy when it came to home time. Let’s just say he slept well. Hopefully Angel the cat has forgiven them for allowing a nasty doggy into her home!!!

Look at these lovely Easter gifts my Mum/Sister made up.


The sun shone and we managed some outside time.

Monday was even better in terms of the weather. We went on a good walk to finish off a lovely long weekend then copped out on cooking and ordered a Chinese takeaway.


White Chocolate & Raspberry Cake and Chinese Custard Tarts

If you read the blog regularly you will know I am not much of a baker. A couple of times I have made a cake it’s been a little on the heavy side. When Mr S and I tried this we declared it the best one ever! Having looked back on my blog I think we might have both been a little hard on me. I’ve made some pretty decent cakes! OK I won’t win prizes for presentation but then again, I’m not trying to either.

This is a John Whaite recipe that I’ve had in my torn out BBC Good Food recipes file for ages. I thought it was perfect for those who are coming to the party and had given up chocolate for lent. I also had some raspberries in the freezer.

My eggs and butter were at room temp.

Preparing the cake:

  • Cut butter into small cubes (200g)
  • Break white chocolate into pieces (100g)
  • Measure out caster sugar (200g) and self-raising flour (200g) & frozen raspberries (175gish)
  • Get 4 large eggs ready
  • Grease & line 2 x 20cm loose bottomed cake tins
  • Preheat the oven to 160ºc (fan)
  • Boil the kettle

Making the cake:

Pour the boiling water into a saucepan and leave on a low simmer. Put the butter and chocolate into a heatproof bowl and set over the water. Let it melt slowly and stir occasionally.

Remove from the heat and let it cool for a couple of minutes. Transfer to your mixer if, like me, that is what you are using.

Beat in the eggs and sugar then gently fold in the flour and raspberries.

Divide between the two tins and bake for 20-25 minutes. Stick a skewer in and if it comes out clean, it’s ready.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tins for 10 minutes then turn on to a wire rack to cool completely.

Preparing the ganache:

  • Chop up some white chocolate (200g)
  • Measure out the double cream (250ml)
  • Boil the kettle
  • Get icing sugar ready for dusting

Making the ganache:

Pour the boiling water into a saucepan and leave on a low simmer. Put the chocolate into a heatproof bowl with 100ml of the cream and set over the water. Let it melt slowly.

Allow to cool to room temperature then beat in the rest of the cream.

Spread all over the base of the cake then place the other on top. I took my icing sugar with me to dust with just before serving. Unfortunately I didn’t get a photo of the cake when it was cook but take my word, it was very good.

TWD_Baking_CakeI have had these tarts bookmarked since February over on the wonderful Food Daydreaming.

I can confirm that they were delicious but I never got to take a photograph of them once I had dusted them with icing sugar and this is just a quick phone snap.

Chinese Custard Tarts

Mushroom Pies

I obviously have to make something for the veggies amongst us but to be honest, these were my favourite. I should hold the party at mine next time and that way I get all of the leftovers.

I made the mushroom mixture quite early on to allow it to cool, soaking my porcinis the previous evening.


  • Soak some porcini mushrooms in hot water
  • Chop up some large flat mushrooms
  • Chop up some portobello mushrooms
  • Finely slice an onion
  • Finely chop a garlic clove
  • Chop some parsley
  • Beat an egg
  • Preheat the oven to 190ºc (fan)
  • Grease a 12 hole bun tin
  • Get oil, butter, single cream, flour, ready made shortcrust pastry & seasoning ready


Heat some butter and oil in a large frying pan and fry the onion until softened.

Add the garlic and give it a stir.

Add all of the mushroom and cook well.

Add the parsley and cream along with some seasoning then transfer to a bowl and leave to cool.

Roll out the pastry on a floured surface and cut out 12 circles that will fit up the side of your baking tin. Then cut out another 12 for lids.

Place the pastry discs in the greased bun tin and divide the mushroom mixture. Brush the edge of the pastry with egg and add the lids. Seal well (unlike me) and cut a little hole in the top (unlike me), brush with egg then bake in the oven for about 25 minutes.

TWD_Baking_Mush_PiesThe beauty of these is you can use whatever mushrooms you fancy. A little cheese would be nice in these too.

The original Delicious Magazine recipe can be found here. We didn’t reheat them and they were lovely cold.

Pork, Walnut & Wensleydale Sausage Rolls

So I got back from getting my hair done and got straight on with my baking, the next things to be ready were these. I had to stop Mr S from eating them all!

Not only did the man in front of me at the cheese stall get the last bit of mozzarella but the lady gave me wensleydale cheese instead of Stilton. Waste not, want not and I did not have time to go back so I just stuck it in these.


  • Skin some good pork sausages
  • Toast and chop some walnuts
  • Crumble some, ahem, wensleydale
  • Roughly chop some parsley
  • Beat an egg
  • Get a pack of puff pastry ready
  • Heat the oven to 190ºc (fan)
  • Get flour, butter & seasoning ready


In a large blow, mix the sausage meat with the nuts, cheese and parsley and season well.

Roll out the pastry and cut into 3 strips.

Divide the sausage mixture into 3 and roll our to 3 ‘sausages’  to the length of the strips.

Brush the edge of each piece of pastry and, starting from the other side, roll the sausage into the pastry. Sealing with the edge you have brushed. Turn over the seal side down and cut each strip into about seven.

Pop on a baking tray, slash each sausage roll with a knife and brush all over with egg.

Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes.

TWD_Baking_Sausage_RollsOriginal BBC Good Food recipe here.

Pesto, Mozzarella & Roasted Tomato Wheels

I’m at a party on Sunday. I meticulously planned my baking around all of the other things I have to do on Friday and Saturday and started with these on Friday (late afternoon). As there is quite a bit of waiting involved they only came out of the oven at 10.30pm.

Obviously this recipe involves waiting times. I used my mixer to do the hard work with the bread too.


  • Quarter some tomatoes
  • Put the oven on high
  • Grate some parmesan
  • Get basil leaves, grated mozzarella*, pine nuts, olive oil, a 7g sachet of fast action yeast and seasoning ready
  • Measure out 450g strong white bread flour, 1tsp golden caster sugar, 2tbsp olive oil and 1½tsp salt


Pop the tomatoes on a baking tray, cut side up.Sprinkle with salt and drizzle with oil. Pop in the oven, turn it off and leave for a couple of hours. (or you could buy semi dried tomatoes as per the original BBC Good Food Recipe April edition).

Whizz up the pine nuts and basil in a processor then add the parmesan and oil. Season well.

Combine the flour, yeast, sugar and salt in the mixer then add 280ml of warm water along with the oil. Mix until you have a soft, springy and elastic dough (about 5 minutes). If it is a bit dry, add a little more warm water.

Transfer to a clean, oiled bowl and turn over in the oil then cover with oiled cling film and leave to double in size. Mine took about two hours but it depends how warm the place you leave it is.

Line a baking tray with parchment.

Knock back the bread a couple of times to get rid of any air bubbles.

Sprinkle your worktop with flour and roll out the dough to about 40x30cm.

Spread the pesto over the base. Roughly chop your tomatoes and sprinkle over then sprinkle with mozzarella.

Roll up along the long edge then using a sharp knife, cut into 12 pieces. Pop them on the baking tray, cut side up.

Cover with oiled cling film and leave for another hour.

Preheat the oven to 180ºc (fan) and cook for about 35-40 minutes.

TWD_Baking_BreadOnce cooled I popped them in the freezer as I didn’t want them to be stale for Sunday.

*I don’t normally buy pre-grated anything! I was going to buy a block of hard mozzarella but the man in front of me at the cheese stall took the last piece – the cheek of it!

Trifle ‘Loaf’

Mr S was in charge of this, I was merely the helper. He was still upset that he’d missed out on his jelly and ice cream on Christmas Day (He was asked!) and made this trifle for after the beef.

Preparing Stage 1

  • Grease a loaf tin, line with cling film, then line with baking parchment, one long strip then a strip the other way leaving enough to help pull the trifle out
  • Get gelatine leaves, double cream, sweet sherry, mascarpone & icing sugar ready

Preparing Stage 2

  • Get gelatine leaves, custard powder, icing sugar & milk ready

Preparing Stage 3

  • Get raspberry jelly, frozen raspberries & shop bought madeira loaf ready

Preparing Stage 4

  • Get double cream, icing sugar & sprinkles ready


Stage 1

Soak the gelatine in cold water.

Warm the sherry and cream in a pan and remove from the heat. Squeeze the excess water from the gelatine and add to the cream. Whisk in the mascarpone and icing sugar and then pop in the tin, smooth out and pop in the fridge to chill.

Stage 2

Make the custard up according the the packet (use measurements from the attached recipe), remove from the heat. Soak the gelatine in cold water and then squeeze the excess water and add to the custard. You need to leave this to cool so pop some cling film over the surface, this will stop a skin forming.

When at room temperature, scrape over the cream layer then chill.

Stage 3

Make the raspberry jelly according to the packet instructions but only use 300ml of water. Again, cool to room temperature. (This is where ours differs slightly) Cut the madeira into long strips and lay on top of the custard with gaps, fill these gaps with the raspberries. Pour over the jelly and chill.

Stage 4

Just before ready to serve, whip up the cream and icing sugar until thick. Turn out the trifle and, if you have the time, pipe on top. We just stuck it on with a pallet knife. Sprinkle with your chosen sprinkles, slice and serve.

It felt time consuming but to be honest, it’s really just the waiting that’s involved.

It was a resounding success and I was disappointed when I went back for seconds and it had all gone!


Here’s the recipe with measurements, as you can see we did ours slightly different.

Blue Cheese, White Grape & Red Onion Tart

This was supposed to be a dinner but with takeaways last week it ended up as a spare so I decided to make it, cut it and freeze it to take for work lunches.


  • Preheat the oven to 170ºc (fan)
  • Finely slice a couple of red onions
  • Halve some white grapes
  • Slice up some blue stilton
  • Get some shortcrust to room temperature
  • Get plain flour, paprika and oil ready


Roll out the pastry on a floured surface and line a tart tin. Mine was probably a little big for the amount of filling. Prick the base and cover with baking parchment and baking beans. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes then take out of the oven and remove the paper and beans, bake for another few minutes if you feel it needs it.

Heat some oil in a pan and add the onion, frying gently until softened.

Transfer the onion to the base of the pastry then add the grapes and the stilton, sprinkle with paprika.

Bake for about 10 minutes.


Digging out old cookbooks again, this comes from ‘The People’s Cookbook, A Celebration of the Nations Life through Food’ and I think it might be the first I’ve ever cooked out of it.

I had a piece for lunch at work yesterday and it’s quite rich but very nice.