This savoury strudel is a wonderful winter dish bursting with flavour.
1 x 450g jar of red peppers in brine, drained
175g (6oz) butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, crushed finely
450g (1lb) mixed mushrooms (Chestnut, Field, Oyster, Shiitake etc.)
2 tbsp mushroom ketchup
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp fresh Thyme, finely chopped
25g (1oz) pine nuts, toasted
25g (1oz) white breadcrumbs
55g (2oz) dried cranberries, soaked in
50ml (2 fl oz) brandy
8 - 10 small sheets filo pastry
2 - 3 tbsp sesame seeds
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg
1. Place the cranberries in a jar and add the brandy. Shake and leave for several hours, or overnight to rehydrate. Take the red peppers and pat dry with kitchen paper and lay out on a plate. Melt half the butter in a saucepan and add the onion. Cook on the simmering end of the hotplate for two minutes, and then add the garlic, cover and partially offset on the hotplate for 10 - 15 minutes to soften. Place the remaining butter in a ramekin to melt on the Rayburn top plate on a piece of kitchen paper.
2. Add the mushrooms to the softened onions and garlic and stir in the mushroom ketchup and soy sauce. Stir carefully so they become coated with the buttery juices and continue to cook on the simmering end of the hotplate for a few minutes until they are soft and any excess moisture is driven off.
3. Transfer to a large bowl and spread out in a thin layer so that the mixture quickly cools. After 20 minutes, add the thyme, pine nuts and breadcrumbs. Season well with salt, pepper and a good grating of nutmeg. Keep a clean tea towel handy for covering the opened filo pastry until it is used as can dry out quickly in a warm kitchen.
4. Build the strudel on a large piece of Bake-O-Glide or baking parchment. Place one sheet of pastry on this with the longest side towards you and brush with a little of the melted butter. Repeat with three layers added on top of the first.
5. Place half the red peppers lengthways onto the pastry and fill using half of the prepared mixture. Down the middle of the filling scatter half of the soaked cranberries in two lines. Fold in the ends and roll using the Bake-O-Glide or parchment. Transfer to a full size baking tray or Cold Plain Shelf lined with Bake-O-Glide or parchment. Make a second strudel with the remaining pastry and fillings.
6. Brush the strudels well with the remaining butter and scatter the sesame seeds over. Bake on the floor of the main oven at 200°C (400°F), Gas Mark 6, for 10 minutes. Then transfer to continue to cook on a grid shelf on the floor of the main oven with a cold plain shelf on the second set of runners above. Cook for 30 - 35 minutes until golden brown, turning once.
7. Serve each slice with a spiced cranberry compote or kumquat chutney or relish.