Easy Easter Baking: Chocolate Mini Egg Swirls

 

Easter mini egg swirls

I love chocolate mini eggs and I REALLY love the fact that Easter means that they’re usually on special offer, I even love them enough to want to get the pastry out and get baking.

If you haven’t bought the book Bread Revolution by Thoughtful Bread yet or borrowed it from the library then I highly recommend it, thanks to that ace book I made the best cinnamon swirls ever which were my inspiration for these little beauties.

Instead of making a dough I just bought a pack of ready made, ready rolled puff pastry, it cost just £1 and was brilliant, life’s too short for making your own puff pastry I reckon.

Ingredients: Makes about 10 swirls.

  • 150g soft brown sugar (I used dark)
  • 100g plain flour
  • 120g unsalted butter, cubed
  • 25g ground almonds
  • 1 x 375g pack ready rolled puff pastry
  • 300g chocolate mini eggs
  • milk
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla icing sugar

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C. Combine the sugar, flour, butter and ground almonds in a food processor and blitz until completely mixed and powdery.
  2. Lay out the puff pastry, brush with some milk then cover with the flour mix then dot with the mini eggs.
  3. Roll up the pastry very tightly and brush the ends with more milk to help the seams stick, then using a very sharp knife cut a thick slice (about 3cm thick) then use a second knife to help transfer the slice onto a baking paper covered roasting tray. Repeat leaving about 3cms around each round.

Easter chocolate mini egg swirls5. Bake for 15minutes on the middle shelf then reduce temp to 180C and continue to            cook for about 8-10 minutes or until pastry is lightly golden. My oven is really  temperamental so just keep an eye on the first batch. Once cooked transfer onto a cooling rack, dust with vanilla icing sugar whilst hot then once again when cold if you have any swirls that made it that long without being snaffled.

Easter chocolate mini egg swirls

Great to make with kids over Easter

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Hollingshead Menu – June

**I am no longer at the Hollingshead in Melton Mowbray, see update at bottom of post.

So tomorrow I start work as head chef for evenings at the Hollingshead in Melton Mowbray. Keeping the menu simple (it’s just little *ahem* old me in the kitchen) and using plenty of local produce.  If you are local and have an allotment or garden full of lovely veg or edible flowers please drop me an email at hazelpaterson@me.com, if you are a producer, local or not, and have something that you think I may like then drop me an email.

We are open for dinner Thursday, Friday, Saturday nights 6pm – 9pm service and only 20 covers.

This week’s menu:

Grilled peach and goat’s cheese salad with edible flowers

STARTERS

  • Seasonal soup of the day served with local bread and homemade butter
  • Grilled peach and goat’s cheese salad with blackberry dressing, watercress, red onion, balsamic glaze, violet flowers.
  • Whole Camembert baked with wine, garlic and fresh herbs, served with homemade red onion and thyme chutney,thyme flowers and local bread
  • Chicken liver parfait, toasted brioche, homemade chutney crispy fried sage leaf
  • Smoked mackerel pate, watercress salad, toasted local bread

Slow roast pork belly on celeriac mash& cheesy leeks with apple, elderflower and lemon thyme jellies, crackling, crispy sage leaf and cider gravy

MAINS

  • Ballotine of free range chicken breast stuffed with wild mushrooms and garlic served with buttery mash and porcini sherry sauce
  • Local sausages and buttery mash with red wine and onion gravy and crispy fried sage leaf
  • 28 day dry aged Sirloin steak, handcut fat chips, watercress, confit tomato (served with choice of garlic or tarragon butter, peppercorn or stilton sauce).
  • Wild mushroom pasta drizzled with truffle oil and aged parmesan
  • Rutland trout baked in white wine with new potatoes, watercress and tarragon butter sauce
  • Slow roast pork belly with celeriac mash, cheesy leeks, apple elderflower and lemon thyme jelly, cider gravy, crackling

A BIT ON THE SIDE:

  • Fat chips
  • Seasonal salad
  • baby leaf spinach and peas

Seriously sexy freshly made scratchings and fresh salsas: fennel and zingy chilli

** An update. So having had nothing but great feedback from everyone who ate my food and the owners telling me that they were so excited that they now wanted to turn the upstairs of the bar into a separate dining space with lovely white linen sheets because they loved the menu so much I went in the following day to be told “Melton people don’t want real food, they want frozen crap and thats how we make our money. Sorry we have changed our mind and we have no money.” 

Well to say I was shocked is a bit of an understatement, particularly as I had only just emailed that morning to let them know I had bought some bits so not to worry about picking them up and was told that’s all fine. 4 hours later I was told they now had no money (despite upon interview being told they were financially in a great position and had a big budget and they wanted to really go to town).

Just a couple of days previously they had told me to quit my other cooking job and come and do more hours with them, thank god I felt they were a bit dodgy so didn’t! The fact that they point blank refused to pay me for the 30mins after the kitchen closed to clean down the grills, label and put away food, do all the fridge checks, sweep and mop the floor etc rang huge alarm bells, well that and the fact they thought it fine to pay a head chef £6.08/hour! “Oh don’t worry”, they said, “tips will make it up a bit” Yes tips paid at the end of the month once the boss has taken £150 out of it to pay for accidental breakages the previous month! Well employers that use tips to pay wages really can’t be trusted.  The customer tips because they have had good service and want the tips to go to those that made that happen.  The fact that the staff don’t even receive them is appalling.

So yes, I picked up my things from the kitchen and left (although I was given the option to stay on to cook crap frozen rubbish…mm microwave ribs I wouldn’t even feed my dog, tasty!). I wouldn’t even trust that though as when I bought local cider for the “local cider gravy” on my menu I was told to just use the Somerset cider they had. Fine I said, you just need to take the word “local” off the menu. To which I was told “no, Somerset is kind of local”. Yes if that local is a 4 hour drive away, sure! Integrity is important in whatever it is that you do.  People will lie to you so they can charge you more for words like : local, organic and free range, but trust me, not all of these places will actually be using that, particularly not the Hollingshead in Melton Mowbray.

Lychee Limoncello Martini for World Gin Day!

As “World Days” go, World Gin Day has got to be one of the best, well, up there with World Wine Day, Fish & Chips Day, Staying in Bed til 3pm Day (also falls on World Breakfast in Bed Day.) OK so not all of those are actual Days but there should definitely be a world Breakfast in Bed Day.

Lychees are one of my favourite fruits, with their heady scent and tropical flavour they transform this cocktail into an exotic sherbet lemon glass of heaven!  Canned lychees are perfect for this as they are ready prepped and you can use the syrup (much cheaper than buying a lychee liquor. You don’t have to use the popping candy, I know it isn’t the height of sophistication, but then again neither am I!

Ingredients:

  • 50ml of your favourite gin (Sipsmith is perfect)
  • 50ml Lychee syrup (from the can)
  • 25ml Limoncello
  • Lychee to garnish.
  • Popping candy
  • Ice cubes

Put your ice in a cocktail shaker with the gin, syrup and Limoncello.  Shake until the outside of the shaker goes frosty.  Put a couple of pieces of popping candy inside the lychee then put it in a chilled martini glass and pour over your cocktail.

Now if you love gin how about entering a competition to win a bottle?