February 14th is here and for most of us it’s just another day. However, as a day which is all about love let’s make today extra special and focus on the type of love that often gets left behind – self-love!
Everyone has their own idea of the perfect Valentine’s Day, whether it’s going out for meal or enjoying a movie there are always new things to try. For me, it’s baking!
Whether you are celebrating valentines or palatine’s head over to the kitchen and spice up your culinary skills. It’s a great way to experiment with new ingredients and recipes whilst learning valuable skills and of course let’s not forget the best part, eating!
According to an article by Mental Health First Aid, investing in a new skill such as cooking is a great way to support your mental health. It is important tobe able to bring yourself joy even when no one else is around and find time to invest in your passions. If you’re still looking for that inspiration, why not try one of these fun, valentine’s themed recipes.
So let’s share the love and make or bake this Valentine’s Day!
Easy Jam Tarts
- 250g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- 125g butter, chilled and diced, plus extra for the tin
- 1 medium egg
- 1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped (optional)
- 100g jam, fruit curd or marmalade of your choice
Put the flour, butter and a pinch of salt in a bowl and rub them together with your fingertips (or you can pulse these ingredients together in a food processor if you have one). When the mixture looks and feels like fresh breadcrumbs, stir in the egg and vanilla seeds, if using, with a cutlery knife. Add 1 tbsp cold water, then start to bring the dough together in one lump with your hands – try not to knead it too much. Add 1 more tbsp of water if it’s not coming together, but try not to add more than that. Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 mins.
Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Butter a 12-hole tart tin, then dust your work surface with flour. Unwrap and roll out the chilled pastry so it’s about the thickness of a £1 coin, then use a straight or fluted round cutter to cut out 12 circles, big enough to line the holes in the tin. Dollop 1-2 tsp of your chosen filling into each one and, if you like, cut out little pastry hearts (perfect for Valentine’s Day) and pop them on top.
Bake for 15-18 mins or until golden and the filling is starting to bubble a little. Leave to cool in the tin for a few mins then carefully transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Strawberry & White Chocolate Choux Buns
For the choux pastry
- 50g butter
- 75g plain flour
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tbsp flaked almonds (optional)
For the filling
- 2 tbsp custard powder
- 300ml milk
- ½ tsp sugar free vanilla extract
- 150ml Greek yogurt
- 15g coarsely grated white chocolate
- 125g small strawberries , halved
- dusting of icing sugar (optional)
Line a large baking tray with baking paper. Heat oven to 200C, 180C fan gas 6. Heat the butter in a nonstick pan with 125ml water until melted. Increase the heat until boiling then remove from the heat and quickly beat in the flour until the mixture comes together as a ball. Cool 5 mins then beat the eggs with 1 tbsp water then beat into the pastry a little as a time to make a thick glossy mix.
Spoon onto the baking tray in 8 equal size blobs then add the almonds if using poking them into the mixture. Bake for 25-30 mins until well risen and golden. Take from the oven make a slash in the sides and return to the oven for 5 mins more to dry out.
While baking make the filling. Mix the custard powder with a little of the milk then, with the remaining milk and vanilla put in a non stick pan and cook, stirring over the heat until thickened. Stand for 5 mins then beat in the yogurt and set aside to cool, stirring frequently to make sure a skin doesn’t form. When cold, stir in the grated chocolate.
Reserve 1 tbsp of the custard mix then use the rest to fill the buns. Distribute all but 8 halves of strawberries between the buns, then blob a little of the remaining custard filling on top and add the reserved strawberries. Lightly dust with the icing sugar before serving if you like.
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