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(c) Julia Briggs for The English Tea Store, all rights reserved.

Sometimes one does not want something sweet with a cup of tea but something savoury but the question is what? I came up with a little ‘biscuit’ type thing after seeing a recipe for a cocktail nibble which was not quite what I was looking for. Now I know some of you are very fond of chocolate and all things nice but there may be some people out there who are looking for a nice savoury snack to have with a cuppa so here goes, my tomato and cheese whirls.

Oven 200 C 400 F or gas mark 6

8 oz rough puff pastry
approx 10 cherry tomatoes or 4 thinly sliced bigger tomatoes
approx 4 oz Cheddar cheese sliced.
a beaten egg.

Either make a quantity of rough puff pastry or use some frozen but thawed puff pastry. (We used rough puff pastry for the mince pies if you remember) If you are making your own then sift 8 oz plain flour with a pinch of salt into a bowl and add 5 oz butter cut into very small pieces and stir and chop. Mix to a stiff dough with approx 4 fluid oz of very cold water and turn out onto a floured worktop. Roll into a rectangle then fold down the top and fold up the bottom, turn a quarter turn and roll out again. Do this three more times then leave to rest for 15 mins.

Roll out your pastry quite thinly into an oblong about 18 inches by 14 inches. With the short sides to top and bottom,  spread the pastry with softened butter. Put slices of fresh tomatoes or halves of cherry tomatoes on top of the butter, I used ten cherry tomatoes cut in half. Thinly slice some strong Cheddar cheese and lay on top of the tomatoes.  Leave a one inch gap in the middle of your pastry and brush this with beaten egg, then roll down from the top to the gap and up from the bottom to the gap until they almost meet. Wrap in cling film and pop into the freezer for about half an hour. After 30 mins remove from freezer and place the roll onto a floured worktop. Cut through the centre strip to separate and slice the roll into approx half an inch slices and put onto a lined baking sheet and brush with beaten egg. Cook for about 10-15 mins until golden brown. Sprinkle with more grated cheese when they are cooked and leave to cool. They are good served immediately warm from the oven or cold the next day. If you want you can freeze one half and cook it another day.  Depending on the thickness you can make about 20 – 30 whirls with these quantities.

This is a very versatile recipe and you can use lots of different things if you want to; for instance, parsley or other herbs, black pepper or bacon cut into very small pieces. You can also drizzle olive oil on top before baking instead of the beaten egg. It is a good recipe to experiment with!  Enjoy!

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