Some of my favourite recipes have come from using whatever was in the cupboard at the time, and the underlying principle of bung it cookery.
Last week, armed with some leftover home baked bread, (not enough to do anything useful with) some bacon bits, (ditto) sliced mushrooms (ditto) and some dear little eggs from Henrietta, I came up with some quirky little starters for when our friends came over to dinner.
They went down very well, and have been provisionally entitled
Full English Mini Tarts
Collect together some leftover bread. You could keep a bag of bits in the freezer until you have enough. Not too stale and dry, but crusts are fine
Add as much butter or margarine as you would have used to spread the bread generously for sandwiches.
Whizz or mix the two thoroughly.
Add just enough cold water to enable you to knead the crumbs into a firm ball. It only needs to hold its shape in your hand, not to be pliable dough.
Squeeze and knead crumbs into balls the size of a small walnut
Put a ball in the bottom each indent of a fairy cake pan and squash and mould to line the pan. Forget any ideas about being gentle, as you would be with pastry – this is a different beast altogether. Bear in mind you want these cases to hold together, so you can mash them quite ferociously into submission.
Continue the same way until you have lined all the individual indents in your pan. You can add and take away the crumb mix and fiddle as much as you need to – you won’t ruin anything.
Put the tray in the middle of the oven, heated to 180ºC, and bake for about 10 minutes. Keep an eye on your tart cases, and remove when they have turned golden brown.
While they are baking, scramble an egg* and gently fry mushroom slices and bacon pieces. (You could also fry some small pieces of sausage, tomato, black pudding etc, and heat a few baked beans, depending on just how full – and bonkers – you want your Full English to be. The tart case counts as the toast, obviously.)
I found that one small egg was sufficient for six tarts, and I used one slice of mushroom and a couple of bacon pieces for each one.
You can prepare your cases ahead of time and warm them in the oven just before filling, if it is more convenient.
Of course, you could also use the cases to hold all sorts of fillings. I rather fancy
- soft cheese and cherry tomato
- chilli con carne and sour cream
- goat’s cheese and onion marmalade
- strawberry jam and clotted cream
- nutella and raspberries
*Top egg scrambling tip: Take your eggs off the heat before you think they are done. The heat in the eggs and the pan will continue to cook them for a while longer.