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How to make a delicious seafood pie which will convert non-believers to the joys of fennel

Baking Country Life

Fennel divides us, says Melanie Johnson — we either love it or hate it. But if you've yet to decide which camp you're in, this pie might help. It does have a distinctive aniseedy flavour — part of its charm — but if you find it overpowering,
'Fennel divides us, says Melanie Johnson — we either love it or hate it. But if you've yet to decide which camp you're in, this pie might help. It does have a distinctive aniseedy flavour — part of its charm — but if you find it overpowering, rest assured that the strength of that flavour mellows when cooked. Recipe: Seafood and fennel pie Ingredients (Serves 4) 4 fennel bulbs, hard outer layers removed, cut into matchsticks 25g butter 2 leeks, finely sliced 1 lemon, juice and zest 3tbspn plain flour 500ml milk 150g scallops 240g haddock 200g salmon 200g king prawns 100g crème fraîche Handful freshly chopped parsley 2 sheets puff pastry 1 egg, beaten, passed through a sieve Method Preheat your oven to 200˚C/400˚F/gas mark 6. In a large frying pan, gently fry the leeks and fennel in butter until softened. Add the lemon juice and zest and mix well, cooking until the juice has been absorbed. Sprinkle in the plain flour, mix well and, over a medium heat, add the milk a little at a time, stirring continuously. Once it’s all in, you should have a thickened white sauce. Stir in the crème fraîche and parsley. Season well and taste for balance. Set aside to cool. Butter a large pie dish (about 25cm (10in) in diameter or smaller, but deeper) and arrange the chopped pieces of fish and shellfish over the base. Pour the leek-and-fennel sauce into the dish and use a spatula to spread it around evenly. Cut the two sheets of puff pastry into 1in strips. Start with the centre pieces, weaving over and under, making a lattice pattern. It’s slightly fiddly, but relatively easy once you get started and, I think, worth it for the end result. Once the pastry’s in place, brush the top with beaten egg and bake in the oven for about 30–40 minutes or until the top is golden. Serve the pie hot, with lightly dressed salad leaves on the side. \t \t\t \t \t\t\t \t\t\t\t\t\tCredit: Melanie Johnson\t\t \t Salmon with citrus, red-onion flowers, potato gnocchi and wild-garlic cream sauce Melanie Johnson goes foraging for wild garlic. \t \t\t \t \t\t\t \t\t\t\t\t\tCredit: Melanie Johnson\t\t \t Chicken, spring-onion and mozzarella meatballs with pesto courgetti salad Melanie Johnson adds some zing with this season’s new spring onions. \t \t\t \t \t\t\t \t\t\t\t\t\tCredit: Melanie Johnson\t\t \t Pot-roast chicken with pomegranate, walnuts and purple sprouting broccoli Melanie Johnson welcomes the arrival of Spring - and with it, the season of purple sprouting broccoli. \t \t\t \t \t\t\t \t\t\t\t\t\tCredit: Melanie Johnson\t\t \t How to make Toad in the hole, the ultimate British comfort food Try Melanie Johnson's recipe for toad in the hole – the ultimate British comfort food – with a twist thanks to \t \t\t \t \t How to make chocolate-and-orange upside-down tea cake, with orange whipped cream So much more than marmalade – our kitchen garden cook Melanie Johnson finds delicious things to do with oranges.'

Baking fans need to try Breville’s hot new spin on THIS Kitchen essential

Baking Ideal Home


'When it comes to baking, I think it’s fair to say most of us enjoy the eating part more than the mixing.You just need to watch one episode of the Great British Bake-off to see how quickly a relaxing baking session can descend into chaos and frustration.Related: Baking fans will love this new KitchenAid Queen of Hearts collection The buttery mixture isn’t getting fluffy, the cake isn’t rising and the cream isn’t whipping.Luckily the new Breville hand mixer has put a new spin on this Kitchen essential that should change all that, and return baking to the relaxing and delicious activity it should be.Breville Hand mixer Breville has launched the HeatSoft, the first heated hand mixer.Before you scoff at the idea of blasting your buttery sugar mix with heat, bear with us for a second.The perfect cake and cookie recipes usually call for room-temperature butter.At this temperature it is both easier and to work with, but can be whipped up properly  to create feather-light sponges.The thing is unless you always have butter ready softened on your kitchen counter; you’re probably spending most of your baking time battling with chilled butter, and ending up with a thin dense Victoria sponge, and nobody want’s that.The new Breville hand mixer helps you get the ingredients to the right temperature at the touch of a button.The mixer blows warm air over the bowl as the beaters get to work.Buy now: Breville HeatSoft, £69.99, Amazon The mixer promises to soften butter 12 times faster than hanging around waiting for you buttery block to warm up.For any cooks who enjoy a spontaneous baking quickie, this will be music to there ears.The mixer features 7 speeds to allow for greater control when whisking different ingredients.It even has a Boost Power Button to help handle thicker mixtures such as biscuit batters.It comes equipped with attachable beaters, dough hooks and whisks.So will cover everything from show-stopping Pavlovas to chocolate speckled brioche.The attachment can be easily removed from the magnetic slots at the click of a button.They are all dishwasher safe so you can skip the dreaded washing up session while you await the oven ping.The whole set can be packed away after use into its storage case after your cake is baked and awaiting the first slice.Related:  Want to know how to get a Dyson handheld for 25 per cent less than the RRP?Will you be cooking up a storm this summer? . The post Baking fans need to try Breville’s hot new spin on THIS Kitchen essential appeared first on Ideal Home .'