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Simple cheese straws

Recipe blog

Simple cheese straws

Emily Kerrigan

Modern Family Food has yet to meet a baby, child - or grown-up - that doesn't like cheese straws. The sesame and poppy seed versions are a cinch and teach kids to separate eggs and rub butter into flour to make an easy dough. The tomato twists are even easier because they use ready-made puff pastry. Both freeze well and can be warmed through in the oven for finger food, fifth birthday parties or at after kids' bedtime with a g&t. Serve with our minute-make lucky dips and, for the seeded ones, make sure you have the butter at room temperature before you start.

Sesame or poppy seed straws

Makes about 20

125g cheddar
50g plain flour
50g wholemeal flour
100g butter
1 egg
a handful of sesame seeds
a handful of poppy seeds

Takes 20 minutes 

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas mark 6. Lightly grease a large baking sheet and cover it with baking parchment. Grate the cheddar - kids find this easiest to do in a box grater like this one

2. Mix the cheese together in a big bowl with both types of flour. Cut the butter into cubes and show them how to rub it into the flour mix with their fingertips until it looks like breadcrumbs (if you want to speed things up, you can do this with a pulse in a processor).

3. Show the kids how to separate an egg. Reserve the egg white for glazing then add just the yolk and mix (still in the processor, if using) until it forms a dough. Flour a surface and roll the dough with a rolling pin until it's about 5mm thick. Cut into straws with a sharp knife (adults only) and use a slice to transfer to your baking sheet.

4. Brush with a little of the egg white and sprinkle with sesame seeds, poppy seeds or some of both. Press them down a little with the back of a teaspoon so that they don't fall off and bake for about 10 minutes until golden. Cool on a wire rack then store in an airtight tin for 3-4 days or freeze and reheat from frozen.

Tomato twist straws

Makes about 20

30g Parmesan or cheddar
250g sheet of ready-made puff pastry
1 tbsp tomato purée 

Takes 20 minutes 

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas mark 4. Lightly grease a large baking sheet and cover it with baking parchment. Grate the cheese - kids find this easiest to do in a box grater like this one.

2. Flour a work surface then roll out the puff pastry until it's roughly 5mm thick and 25cm long. Spread with the tomato purée (or use our superfood pesto if you have some to hand). 

3. Cut into straws with a sharp knife (adults only) and sprinkle with the cheese.

4. Hold at each end and twist into spirals (little kids might find this a bit fiddly) then pop on your baking sheet. Press the ends down a bit so that they don't untwirl and bake for 10 minutes until golden. Cool on a wire rack then store in an airtight tin for 3-4 days or freeze and reheat from frozen.