Shared Lunch- Jalapeño Popper Pies?


Friday was a sad day at work, we said goodbye to a friend. In the grand tradition of our branch we had a shared lunch. Said friend is a spice fiend and rather than do my predictable sweet baking, I opted for something with jalapeños in. After getting lost in Pinterest for a few hours I settled on a recipe for the above pies. They were good and a big success.

I made them the night before, let them cool and stored. Some of my pies burst a bit and while they were still warm I pushed the cheese back in. I will be making these regularly for bring a plate events.


The original recipe is here and I adapted it to suit me. Now these are not a quick thing to but I did enjoy myself with a Luke Cage Spotify music fest and a dance.

Jalapeño Popper Pies-

  • Servings: enough for a group
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1 egg

1 tablespoon water

150g cream cheese

1 cup grated cheddar

2 tablespoons plain flour

1/3 cup jared jalapeño peppers chopped (we use Delmaine)

1 packet frozen puff pastry with 5 sheets

Lay pastry  sheets out to defrost.

Heat oven to 200°

Cover 2 baking trays with greaseproof paper.

Mix cream cheese, cheddar, flour and jalapeño peppers.

Cut pastry with a fluted 5cm cutter.

Place heaped teaspoon of cream cheese mix in centre of pastry circle.

Moisten edges with egg/water mix.

Put another circle on top and crimp shut with a fork.

Lightly prick tops with a fork.

Place on a greased baking tray.

Continue until all circles have been used.

Brush finished pies with egg/water mix.

Bake until golden, about 15-20 minutes.

Allow to cool on tray.


OK, back to food, Mary Berry, Bakewell Tart and an Apple and Almond Cake

I have been putting this post off as I am waiting for a Mary Berry book to arrive. It isn’t here yet and I needed more cake so I tried out her Bakewell Tart. It had to be one of her recipes as the Apple and Almond cake a couple of weeks ago was a success and because, well, she is Mary Berry. If you have no idea who she is you must have never seen The Great British Bake Off of been alive in the 1970’s. She is kind of the UK version of Julia Child. My mums most used cook book was the Hamlyn All Colour Cook Book , I now have a copy. It is delightful and uses things such as bacon fat for cooking. The flapjacks are the bomb, I will make them soon and post a photo. I had to add the recipes as I am living in fear that they will be withdrawn from the net.

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Back to the cakes that I actually made. The first was the Almond and Apple cake.

I replaced 50g of the SR flour with ground almonds and also 1 tsp ground cinnamon. It gave more of an almond crust to the outside of the cake. This cake was lovely and could be served with custard or cream. I will use it as a base for other fruit and can imagine a plum versions. It was somewhere between a sponge cake and shortbread.

Almond and Apple Cake-

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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225g self-raising flour (swap out 50g with ground almonds)
1 level tsp baking powder
225g caster sugar
2 large eggs
½ tsp almond extract
150g butter, melted
250g cooking apples, peeled and cored
1 tsp ground cinnamon
25g flaked almonds


    1. Preheat the oven to 160C/fan 140C/gas 3. Lightly grease a deep 20cm loose-bottomed cake tin.
    2. Measure the flour, baking powder, sugar, eggs, almond extract and melted butter into a bowl. Mix well until blended, then beat for a minute.
    3. Spread half this mixture in the prepared tin. Thickly slice the apples and lay on top of the mixture in the tin, piling mostly towards the centre. Using 2 dessert spoons, roughly spoon the remaining mixture over the apples. This is an awkward thing to do, but just make sure that the mixture covers the centre well as it will spread out in the oven.
    4. Sprinkle with the flaked almonds.
    5. Bake in the preheated oven for 40-50 mins until golden and coming away from the sides of the tin.


Yesterday I made this beauty. The main change I made was to cover the whole top in icing. I mixed the icing sugar with boiling water to get an icing with a nice thickness and shine. This Bakewell Tart is good, oh so very good. In the spirit on Mary, I made the pastry by hand and it is good. This whole tart is good. I am almost upset at how easy this is to make. Things this good should never be this easy.

Bakewell Tart-

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


For the shortcrust pastry

175g/6oz plain flour

75g/2½oz chilled butter

2-3 tbsp cold water

For the filling

1 tbsp raspberry jam

125g/4½oz butter

125g/4½oz caster sugar

125g/4½oz ground almonds

1 free-range egg, beaten

½ tsp almond extract

50g/1¾oz flaked almonds

For the icing

Preparation method

To make the pastry, measure the flour into a bowl and rub in the butter with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the water, mixing to form a soft dough.

Roll out the dough on a lightly floured work surface and use to line a 20cm/8in flan tin. Leave in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6 (180C fan).

Line the pastry case with foil and fill with baking beans. Bake blind for about 15 minutes, then remove the beans and foil and cook for a further five minutes to dry out the base.

For the filing, spread the base of the flan generously with raspberry jam.

Melt the butter in a pan, take off the heat and then stir in the sugar. Add ground almonds, egg and almond extract. Pour into the flan tin and sprinkle over the flaked almonds.

Bake for about 35 minutes. If the almonds seem to be browning too quickly, cover the tart loosely with foil to prevent them burning.

Meanwhile, sift the icing sugar into a bowl. Stir in cold water and transfer to a piping bag.

Once you have removed the tart from the oven, pipe the icing over the top, giving an informal zig zag effect or just smother as did.

Puff pastry isn’t THAT frightening !

I don’t normally post about things I do in life, mainly because I created this blog for storing recipes. I decided after my wonderful fear conquering evening that I should do a more personal post. I wasn’t actually that scared, not as scared as some one I know, yes, you Lucy.

I belong to a meet up group called Wellington Foodies, join if you live in Wellington and like the idea of joining like minded foodies and learning new things, eating out at restaurants and potluck dinners. There are similar groups in most cities in the world. Last night we went to Elements Cafe Cookery School to learn the art of both puff pastry and choux pastry.

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With the puff pastry we made savoury pies, twistie pastry things that have a flash name and apple turn overs. There was lots of rolling, twisting and turning for the pastry with some wine in between. Yes, that was that much butter in the pastry, that is how you get the golden flaky look.

Now talking of flaky, this was my savoury pie. Look at those layers, just look. I did that. The pastry tasted wonderful and the butter shone through. I can’t say I would make this pastry everyday but I certainly will do it again.

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And here is a photograph where you can see the concentration.

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We also conquered choux pastry and Crème patisserie , I don’t think I have either of these since my friend Claire’s 18th birthday. It wasn’t that hard but did involve a lot of tipping, stirring and getting things just right. I have eaten many an eclaire today. The Crème patisserie really does complete the package.


So, reader, find a meet up group, go along and have some fun. It might take a bit of courage to turn up to a room full of strangers, as they saying goes, strangers are only friends you haven’t yet met. Maybe I just say that?

I would like to thank the hard work of Lucy and others involved in organising events. I hope you don’t mind me using some of the photos.

Tuesday- Caramelised onion and sausage tart, 100+ Tasty Meals by Sophie Gray


This was never going to be a pretty dinner, it tasted good though. We had corn and a few chips with it. It was hard to know what to have as it had so many things on it.

You can find Sophie Greys website here- The Destitute Gourmet

Oven 210 C

1 1/2 sheets of frozen or 1 block of puff pastry

4-5 pork sausages

2 potatoes, peeled and cubed

1 apple, peeled, cored and diced

caramelised onions  (see foot note *)

1 cup of beef stock

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp cornflour

1 tbsp water

Roll pastry out to a rectangle, place on a greased baking sheet

Score a 1 cm boarder with a sharp knife, do not cut all the way through

Prick the centre with a fork

Fry sausages until browning and just cooked through

Boil potatoes for 3-5 minutes in a small pan until just soft, drain

Remove cooked sausages and slice

Return them to pan with potatoes and fry until potatoes turn golden

Add apple, caramelised onion, stock and balsamic vinegar

Simmer until apple is soft and sauce reduced

Combine cornflour and water, add to mix

Spoon onto pastry evenly

Bake for 25 minutes until edges have risen and filling hot.

* Caramelised onion- (p62 of 100 + tasty $10 meals)

1 tbsp olive oil

2 onions, thinly sliced

1 tbsp brown sugar

heat oil in a small pan

add onion, gently fry until they are a good dark colour

add brown sugar and cook until they are a rich caramel colour


The only change was decreasing ingredients by 1/3 but using full amount of caramelised onion. I only used 3 sausages and 1 sheet of puff pastry as there are 3 of us.


I would make this again. It did feel fiddly as it was a new recipe. I would cut down on the time by cooking the sausages in advance. It would also be a good way to use up left overs.

French Farmhouse Cherry Pie

This tart/pie is one of my favourite things in the world. It is my birthday request and my mum likes to make it for me. Now she has gone back to the UK I will have to make it myself.
I copied the recipe from my parents scraggy old French farmhouse cooking recipe book. I did not copy the pastry recipe as mum always uses the store bought stuff and there are plenty of recipes out there, if you are stuck try here
If you are a fan of cherries and almonds like me, you must make this as soon as you can. If you have followed a link from Sweet New Zealand, you know you have to try it, you clicked, you liked.Thanks Sugar & Spice & all Things Nice for hosting. If you are wondering what I am talking about, look HERE.
Tin- I used my new rectangle tin but mother always uses a normal flan dish- the fluted round type.

Sweet Short crust pastry
I used the Ruth Pretty recipe as mentioned above, I baked the shell blind for 15 minutes while I prepared the filling.
300g (2 cups + 3 tbsp) flour
75g (1/4 cup + 2 + 1/2 tbsp) sugar
1/2 tsp salt
150g unsalted butter (cold and diced)
1 egg yolk
45ml (3 tbsp) water
In food processor whiz flour, butter, sugar and salt until the mix forms breadcrumbs
Lightly whisk egg yolk with water and, with processor running, slowly pour liquid through feed tube.
Process until pastry just forms a ball. 
Form pastry into a disc and let pastry rest for 30 minutes before rolling, or store in fridge for up to 2 days, or till required. Alternatively freeze till required.

Roll short crust pastry to a 5mm thickness
Shape into prepared flan tin and chill for 30 minutes, prick base gently with a fork.

Blind bake for around 15 minutes or until just starts turning brown.

450 grm jar of Morello cherries
125 grms butter
125 grms caster sugar
125 grms ground almonds
1 tsp flour
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons rum flavour 

Pre-heat oven 180, blind bake pastry case
Drain cherries
Cream butter, sugar, almonds and flour until smooth
Add eggs one at a time
Stir in rum flavour
Arrange cherries in the bottom of pastry case
Pour almond mix over the cherries
Bake for 30 minutes until golden, cover with foil and bake for further hour.

175 grms icing sugar
1 tablespoon rum flavour
2 tablespoons of water
jam to glaze (states red current, we use raspberry or black cherry)

Dissolve icing sugar, rum and water in a small saucepan over a low heat, beating constantly
Brush tart with jam, heating jam if necessary
Pour glaze over the cooled tart