Tag Archives: onion

Second Desserts is a Thing!

Round two on our academic an cultural exchange took us to our other sister College – Oriel College Oxford!

We were given a lovely tour of Oxford and then fed – lots!

Champagne reception

Starter: Goats cheese and onion endive tartlet

Fish: Sea Bass with Aubergine and Caper NOM

Main: Loin of Venison, CARBS and gravy

Dessert #1: White and dark chocolate mousse

We then “retired” (moved) to a post dinner reception for seconds!

Dessert#2 Cheeses (amazing), Chocolates and Port. Their own College port. I brought a bottle home!

Dinner, Port

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The Caramelised Onion and Mature Cheddar Cheese Bloomer

Here is a bloomer, that I decided to flavour. Flavouring yeasted bread is pretty difficult because the flavourings can be too strong and freak out the yeast in funny ways, but this sort of worked – so happy days!

  • 500g/1lb 2oz strong white flour, plus extra for kneading
  • 10g/¼oz salt
  • 1 x 7g sachet of instant yeast
  • 320ml/11½oz cold water
  • 40ml/2¾fl oz olive oil, plus extra for kneading
  • extra oil and flour, for kneading

Sift flour in to a bowl and place yeast on one side and salt on the other. Get your dough hooks ready. Add the oil and 259mL of the water. (the extra water is there if you need it, but don’t feel obliged to use it!)


Using your dough hooks, knead the dough for 10-15 minutes. (I was advised that time for beginners!) I’m sure master bakers can get the right consistency in much less time!

Getting Ready for Proving

Add some oil to the bowl and bring the dough together in to a smooth ball.

Almost there
Read to prove.


Leave the dough to prove at room temperature, or a little above, for a couple hours or until it has tripled in size.

Caramelizing Onion

In the meantime prepare the flavours. I caramelized 2 onions in water and a tablespoon of brown sugar. I find onions are quite sweet themselves, so don’t need much extar sugar for caramelizing.

Cheddar Chunks

Roughly chop some extra mature cheddar cheese.

When the dough has tripled, grab it out of the bowl and  place the dough onto a floured surface. Knock the dough back by folding it in on itself repeatedly. Do this until all the air is knocked out and the dough is smooth.

Take the caramelized onions and pat dry, really dry, using kitchen towel. Too much moisture in the mix will not be nice and it’ll be difficult to incorporate the cheese and onions evenly then.

Then I rolled the dough out roughly and placed the flavours all over it.

Adding Flavours

Carefully and consistently mix the flavours in to the bread, making sure to evenly distribute them. Try to reform the bread in to a ballish shape to make the next step easier.

Proving Stage 2

Shape the bread in to a long-ish oval. Leave to prove a second time, covering it in flour. The second proving should take another couple of hours until it has doubled in size.

Final Slicing

Get a sharp knife (a sharper one than I used!) and cut several deep slices in to the surface of the dough, 2-3cm deep if possible.

Bake at 220 degrees celcius for 25 minutes (in a preheated oven). Then drop the heat to 200 degrees and continue baking for 15 minutes. Take out of oven and leave to cool completely on a wire rack.

Don’t cut in to it before it’s cooled. I was impatient the first time I made this. It needs the cooling time! It is worth the wait.

I seem to have lost a picture of the final product – it was eaten that fast! 😦 If I find one, I’ll pop it up!

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Cannelloni Nom

I always think Cannelloni is one of those dishes that takes too much time to ever bother doing, its really just as time-consuming as lasagne and is a really nommy treat if your normal routine pasta dishes are becoming a little tiresome.

This one is made with 1/2 pork and 1/2 beef, only because that’s what I had handy. And this recipe made two trays of the stuff, but leftovers are just awesome.

1kg of minced pork and beef (or the lot of one)

an onion

an egg

a handful of sage

salt and pepper

400g dried cannelloni tubes

Firstly get the meat mix ready by popping the minced meat in a bowl, with the chopped onion, a beaten egg, salt, pepper and the handful of sage that you will have chopped. If sage isn’t to your fancy, use a different herb, it just suited here with the pork. I had mince meat left over and made a couple burgers for extra nom.

Pork Beef Mince Mix

Then grab your mince mix and fill the cannelloni tubes. In retrospect I wouldn’t have filled them so densely, but would have instead half to three quarter filled them leaving gaps for some of the sauce to fill later, this would also alleviate the slight dryness I felt the meat had once cooked!

Cannelloni Tubes

Meanwhile get the bechamel sauce (although not the original as I use milk not cream!) going; 600ml of milk, 50g butter, 50g flour and some ground nutmeg. Whisk over a heat until butter is melted then slowly add sifted flour, whisking continuously so that the flour doesn’t go lumpy.

Line the trays with meat-filled cannelloni tubes and pour sauce over the tubes so that they are all well covered. Cover the top with some grated parmesan and pop in to the oven at 180 Degrees Celcius for about half an hour and until the cheese has crisped.

Ready for the Oven

Cannelloni Nom

Serve hot and fresh, as cannelloni is best that way!

Ready to NomDouble Nom

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Easy Lunch: Steak

Stuck for a nice lunch. Sirloin Steak and some spring onions from the garden and some of that salad from last night sitting in a tupperware container in the fridge. That’s all you need.

Pop a little bit of oil and a little bit of butter in the pan. A mix of butter and oil means the boiling point is reduced and it will burn at a slightly higher temperature. We cook on an old AGA that doesn’t know the meaning of “controlled” temperature, it flucuates on a daily basis so it’s always a bit hit and miss.

Grab your steak, and cut off any extra fat. I really dislike the grissly ends on a steak and prefer to spend an extra ten minutes removing any fat I can see BEFORE cooking, than afterwards. Also it’s probably healthier that way!

I used lots of pepper and dried lemon, which is hard to get, but if you know somewhere go get it, it’s amazing. Using dried lemon here allows you to keep the pan really really hot (adding a tablespoon of lemon juice would cool the pan quite a bit and stop that nice brown edge coming up on the steak!).

Once the oil/butter is hot and melted and bubbling a little pop the steak on the pan. Add 5-6 spring onions around the side. The heat will sort of steam them, the butter will caramelise them a little and they’ll end up a nice caramelised green with a sweet oniony taste to them lovely. The steaks we get are usually 2-2.5 cm thick so a good 5 minutes on either side  (this is on the grumpy inconsistent AGA remember) leaves a nice pink streak in the centre of the steak. But cook to your own taste!

Serve with some salad and the soft sweet spring onions.

Om nom nom.

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