Friday, 26 December 2008
Wednesday, 17 December 2008
The other day I started to make some pumpking bread. The recipe makes two loaves so I decided well I'll make one loaf and the rest into muffins. Also, when I went over the ingredients for my recipe I noticed I was out of nutmeg. So I went to my spice shelf and started taking out spices and giving them a good old "sniff". When I came across garam masala I knew it was the one. So I used the garam masala in this recipe instead of the nutmeg. And I don't think I will ever go back to the nutmeg again. These things are so good. I froze the loaf to use at Christmas but the muffins...uh, well, let's just say those are gone.
Okay here are the ingredients:
3 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 16-ounce can solid pack pumpkin
3 cups all purpose self rising flour
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg ( I used garam masala)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (optional, I used pecans)
Preheat oven to 350F/175C Butter and flour two loaf pans. Beat sugar and oil, in large bowl to blend. Mix in eggs and pumpkin. Sift flour, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg (or garam masala), baking soda, salt and baking powder into another large bowl. Stir into pumpkin mixture in 2 additions. Mix in walnuts if desired.
Divide batter equally between prepared pans. As I said above I made one loaf and the rest into muffins in my muffin pan using the muffin liners (easy clean up). Bake until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour 10 minutes. (note the muffins will not take that long). Transfer to rack and cool for 10 minutes. Using sharp knife, cut around edge of loaves. Turn loaves out onto rack and cool completely. Freezes well.
Tuesday, 9 December 2008
I made this wonderful recipe today and just had to share it with everyone. It was my first attempt at making scones and my first try of wonderful Cornish Clotted Cream. Both of them were love at first bite. This recipe was in my Sainsbury's magazine recipe calendar 2009
225g self-raising flour, (or 8 ozs)
50g unsalted room temperature butter, cut into small pieces (or 2 ozs)
3 tbsp casters sugar (or superfine sugar in USA)
zest and juice of one small lemon
100ml 1% fat milk (or 1/2 cup appx)
Icing sugar, for dusting (aka powdered sugar)
Preheat the oven to 220C,425F. Sift the flour along with a pinch of salt into a large roomy mixing bowl. Add the butter and rub it in with your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs.
Stir in the sugar and lemon zest. Mix 75ml or most of your milk into the lemon juice and add it to the flour mixture. Stir it around until it begins to come together, then use your hands, adding a spot more milk if necessary to form a dough.
Tip the mixture on to a lightly floured work surface and roll or pat it out to about 2cm thick (appx 1 inch) Stamp out rounds ( I used a glass) and place them on a baking sheet. Brush the tops with a little milk. Bake for 12-15 minutes in total until golden. ( I forgot to brush the top with milk and mine took 12 minutes). Allow to cool until just warm, then dust with icing sugar.
Serve the scones with strawberries and clotted cream. Yummy !
I made this curry for dinner last night and it was a hit. Every time I make it I use whatever two vegetables I happen to have in the house. Last night it was carrots and mange tout (snow peas). The time before it was baby corn and red bell peppers. Just use whatever you like. Even though I might use a stock cube or granules here or there. I still feel like the food I am feeding my family is much better than pre-cooked, processed foods. You can't go wrong with this easy to make, looks like I slaved over a hot oven all day little recipe.
2 chicken breasts ( I use one breast per person )
1/2 jar Barts Thai Red Curry Paste ( I use mild and it doesn't matter what brand)
3 carrots sliced and pre-cooked
1 package mange tout (snow peas) ends removed and sliced on the diagonal, pre-cooked
1 can coconut milk
2/3 tablespoons soy sauce (I used soy lite)
1 cup chicken broth (can be made from stock cubes)
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp sunflower oil
Fresh Basil approximately 1/4 cup sliced (optional)
After I pre-cooked my carrots, mange tout (snow peas) and chicken I just put them all in a bowl waiting for the time to toss them in.
First thing I do is slice up my chicken breasts, I slice the length of my breast right down the middle then chop it up into bite size pieces. I then pan fry those until lightly browned in a little sunflower oil and remove from the pan and set aside for later. It doesn't take long maybe 4/5 minutes total just stirring them around to get all sides cooked. I cooked mine on medium high.
Then add your curry paste to a med high pan and let it sizzle just a minute and add in your pre-cooked carrots, chicken, soy sauce and snow peas. I pre-cooked both of mine in the microwave for about 5 minutes each just until they are "nearly" done. Add in the cup of chicken broth, coconut milk and brown sugar. Simmer for about 10 minutes. When ready to serve just before you serve it stir in the fresh basil. It's so worth it.
I serve mine with white basmati rice. I take rice and put a good portion in the bottom of the bowl then ladle the curry over it.
Tuesday, 2 December 2008
Pic of Allspice above
I also wanted to mention I was surprised to see the Allspice was just the dried unripe fruit of the Pimenta dioica plant, a tree native to the West Indies, southern Mexico and Central America. For some reason I thought allspice was a blend of spices and after reading about it I see I am not the only one to think that either. Evidently, it was the English who named it allspice for that reason.
Anyway, here is the recipe.
• 1 teaspoon ground cumin
• 1 teaspoon ground ginger
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
• 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
• 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
click image for larger view
Moroccan Spiced Chicken with preserved Lemons
12 thighs and drumsticks total ( I used 4 chicken breasts)
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed (I used 2 and I grated instead of crushing it – I am breaking hubby in slow with garlic it’s not his favourite food but it’s oh so good for you)
2.5cm piece root ginger, peeled and grated OR (1 inch)
3 preserved lemons, chopped and seeds removed OR (zest of 1 large lemon)
3 tablespoons Moroccan spice blend ( I will add recipe for it)
300ml chicken stock OR (10 oz)
A handful of pitted green olives (I also added some sliced black ones)
Juice of 1 lemon
1 25gram pack coriander leaves only chopped OR (appx. An ounce)
Preheat the oven to 190C/375F. Arrange the chicken in a large roasting pan in a single layer. Mix the oil with the garlic, ginger, preserved lemons and Moroccan spices. Rub the mixture all over the chicken. Roast the chicken for 45 minutes. (NOTE: Being as I used chicken breasts which were boneless I only did mine for 30 minutes). Then pour the stock into the tin and baste the chicken. Add the olives, return the chicken to the oven for a further 15 minutes or until the juices run clear when pierced at the thickest part.
Transfer the chicken to a serving dish. Spoon off the excess oil from the juices in the roasting tin, then put the pan directly over the heat and simmer for a minute or two. Stir in the lemon juice and coriander, season to taste and serve spooned over the chicken.
This chicken is sooooo good you will definitely get that new dress, purse or shoes you have been wanting your hubby to get you. Trust me on this one. It’s worth the effort.
Saturday, 22 November 2008
I made this soup as part of a challenge from a good friend of mine JB over at Good Vegetarian Recipes and you can find her blog here drop by and give her a holler and tell her how good my soup sounded…..hahaha. If you get the chance I hope you will try this soup it’s really easy and inexpensive to make. And it made enough soup for at least three/four people.
1 medium shallot or small onion, chopped
1 tsp salt (I used sea salt because I like it)
1 large Sweet Potato
2 med white potatoes (for texture)
1 sachet coconut cream or 1 can of coconut milk either is fine.
½ tsp Chinese five spice
2 cups chicken stock
1 medium hand full of chopped basil optional ( I am guessing ¼ - ½ cup, I grow mine so hard to measure)
1 tbsp sunflower oil
2 tsp single cream (optional)
Note: This soup comes out pretty thick or at least mine did. If you wanted to stretch it further you could certainly add a little more chicken stock to make it go that extra person.
Saute shallot (or onion) in a little sunflower oil until done and caramelized a little. Add in 1 tsp sea salt, peel sweet potato and slice in to small , slim pieces. At this point you can either bake or microwave the sweet potato until done. Then do the same with the white potato. In a saucepan add 2 cups chicken stock, sautéed onions and sweet potato, white potato, coconut, five spice and simmer for 5 minutes. Just to mingle the flavours. Take off the heat and CAREFULLY blitz with a hand mixer until smooth. I garnished mine with croutons and a little basil. You could add cream to make it even richer if you wanted to. Dang I am hungry now.
Saturday, 15 November 2008
Edited Nov 23, 2008 to add these are too large. I found that out when I used them with my soup. They taste great but they were just too big. I will make them much smaller next time.
I had a baguette that was getting too hard to eat any more and I didn’t want to throw it away so I decided I would try to make some homemade croutons. Now I have never tried them before but, I like them with my soup. I made two flavors thyme and smoked paprika. Here’s what I did.
I took my baguette and cut it into small pieces. Then I mixed up the following in a bowl. I made two different batches.
1 tsp of either Smoked Paprika or Thyme (I used both separately)
3 tbsp Sunflower Oil OR Olive Oil or butter
You can use any kind of seasoning you want or none at all.
Then, into a pan which I lined with aluminium foil for ease of clean up. I am all about easy cleanup. I put it in the oven for 5 minutes. Then take it out stir them around trying to get them mostly turned over. Then back in for 5 minutes and that is all it takes in such a hot oven.
Allow them to cool and I put mine in Ziploc bags and put them in the freezer. Expect to see them make an appearance the next time I make soup…..
Sunday, 9 November 2008
• 225g unsalted butter , softened (8oz)
• 225g caster sugar or (8oz granulated)
• 4 eggs
• finely grated zest 1 lemon (I used 2)
• 225g self-raising flour or (8 oz)
• juice 1 and 1⁄2 lemons (I used 2)
• 85g caster sugar or (3 ozs)
1. Heat oven to 180C/375F. I greased my non stick pan just to be sure it came out, it’s up to you the recipe didn’t call for it. Beat together the butter and sugar until pale and creamy, then add the eggs, one at a time, slowly mixing through. Sift in the flour, then add the lemon zest and mix until well combined. Line a loaf tin (8 x 21cm) with greaseproof paper, then spoon in the mixture and level the top with a spoon.
2. Bake for 45-50 mins until a thin skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. While the cake is cooling in its tin, mix together the lemon juice and sugar to make the drizzle. Prick the warm cake all over with a skewer or fork, then pour over the drizzle - the juice will sink in and the sugar will form a lovely, crisp topping. Leave in the tin until completely cool, then remove and serve. Will keep in an airtight container for 3-4 days, or freeze for up to 1 month.
Note: This cake can be made with orange and it’s delicious. I used granulated sugar anywhere it called for casters sugar.
Here is the cake after we had a little "sample". Oh my if you love lemon you will love this simple and easy cake. Recipe Source: bbc good food
Saturday, 8 November 2008
I’ll be honest, I am not a BIG sweet potato fan but when I want them, I want them. And every so often I just have to have them. And I prefer them with smokey mesquite over any other way.
Smokey Mesquite Sweet Potato Wedges
1 large sweet potato aka “winter’s super food”
1 large shallot or one small onion diced
2-3 tbsp sunflower oil (add more if needed for frying)
3-4 tbsp Durkee Grill Creations Smokey Mesquite Seasoning*
1 tbsp lemon juice (optional)
I take my sweet potato and cut it in half then cut into manageable wedges and then peel it. I then cut it into smaller wedges and microwave on medium high for at least 5 minutes. It may take more minutes in your microwave but better to be too slow than over cook it. I am just trying to get it “under-done”.
Once “under-done”. Add mesquite seasoning and a little oil to coat, just enough to make the seasoning stick to the taters. Pan fry the shallot until caramelized nicely. We want flavor here not “onion/shallot taste”. Then add your sweet potatoes to the pan and gently pan fry until golden brown and caramelised. At the end before you take them out of the pan spritz it with your lemon juice………..it just makes it special.
I just love these little mouth watering gems. Let me know if you try them. They are nice served with sour cream.
* If you can’t get Durkee Grill Creations where you live I recommend using whatever Cajun or mesquite spice mix you can get from your local grocery store. I have used both.
Thursday, 6 November 2008
Today my husband and I went to Windsor Castle to see the changing of the guards. It was a wonderful thing and so worth the trip (especially if you are an American living in Britain like me). On the way back we stopped for lunch at this place called Cape Fish Continental Seafood and Grill. I cannot say enough about the great service we got. These people really go the extra mile. From the basket of bread with butter to the mint at the end of the meal. The food was wonderful. My husband had fish and chips and I had chicken salad with dijon honey mustard dressing.
My pictures don't do it justice it was that good. They offer an extensive menu and I can't wait to go back and try something else.
P.S. We did check with the proprietors and they were happy for us to use this on our food blog.
Location: In case you want to check it out it's near Amersham on London Road in St Giles, England. Tell them Sherrie sent you over !
Wednesday, 5 November 2008
I love meatloaf and my favorite way it to have it in little mini meatloaves. They're so easy to do and they're the perfect serving size.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease muffin tin. Okay let's make these things.
1/2 lb ground beef (ground mince)
1/4 lb ground pork
1 shallot or small onion minced up small
1 large egg
1/2 c bread crumbs
2 tsp parsley flakes or chopped fresh
1 tsp black ground pepper
2 tsp salt
Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
Topping for mini meatloaves
1/4 c tomato ketchup
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp white vinegar
Mix all together in measuring cup. Microwave for about 10 seconds just to heat the ingredients enough to melt the sugar.
After the mini meatloaves have cooked for 30 minutes brush the tops with the topping. Put back in the oven and cook another 15 minutes. I give them another brush on top and put back in for 5 minutes.
Yield appx 6 mini meatloaves
Saturday, 1 November 2008
I saw an article over at Kalyn's Kitchen about Farro. Now I had never heard of Farro but it really did peak my interest so thank you Kalyn. I bought a little package and today I got a chance to "play". My pictures do not do this wonderful grain justice. I just love it ! It's chewy , it's oat tasting, it's great !
Adapted from the recipe at Food and Wine Magazine by Barbara Lynch
1. 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2. 1 small white onion, finely chopped (I used a shallot)
3. 1 1/2 cups farro (10 ounces)
4. 1/4 cup dry white wine (you could sub chicken broth here)
5. 3 cups water
6. 1/2 cup heavy cream
7. 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
8. 2 teaspoons unsalted butter
9. Salt and freshly ground pepper
1. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 6 minutes. Add the farro and cook for 1 minute, stirring to coat it with the oil. Add the wine and cook, stirring until it is absorbed, about 2 minutes.
2. Add the water, 1 cup at a time, and cook, stirring, until absorbed between additions. The farro is done when it is al dente and suspended in the thick, creamy liquid, about 25 minutes total.
3. Stir in the heavy cream, the cheese and butter and simmer until the risotto has thickened, about 5 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper and serve.
Serves: 4 - 6 people
Note: This risotto won’t be like your classic risotto made with Arborio rice. This is more like a creamy pasta dish. And it’s chewy, wonderfully chewy. In my opinion you can use this just like a pasta......I see Mac and Cheese Farro . . .
Click on picture for larger image
With the weather cooling off here and the fact that I cooked a small ham in the crockpot the day before I decided it was time for Ham and Potato Soup. I love this soup it's filling, healthy and inexpensive to cook. And a little goes a long way. I used this ham three different nights and then we finished it for breakfast this morning along with scrambled eggs.
1 cup cooked cubed ham
3 large potatoes peeled and cubed small
1 large carrot peeled and cubed small
1/4 cup of green peas (I used frozen)
1 tsp butter or margarine
1 tbsp fresh parsley chopped finely (from a jar is okay)
Water, milk, salt and pepper
I started with a 4 quart pot. I filled it 2/3 of the way full with hot water. I then added my potatoes and carrot and boiled for appx 10 minutes until semi-tender (do not over cook). I then added my peas and cooked another 5 minutes. At this point I poured off about half the water out of the pot. Add in the butter. Take about 1/2 cup of the potatoes out and mash. Then add back to the soup. That will act as a little thickening agent. Add ham and approximately 1 cup of milk (I used 2%). Add salt, pepper to taste. Add parsley. I then simmered it maybe 5 more minutes just to let the ham flavor mix with it all. We really enjoyed this and will have it again.
Our favorite salad dressing recipe was given to me by a friend but at the time I didn't have any sesame or poppy seeds so I made it without and we're not wild about minced onion so that was another option I left off. This is so tasty I double the recipe and make it up in a quart jar. Then, I transfer it to a squeezy bottle and place it in my refrigerator. I don't even buy dressing from the grocery store any more not since discovering this.
Here is my take on it:
1/4 c white sugar (you can add more if you like it sweeter)
1/2 cup sunflower oil
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 tsp smoked paprika
Mix all ingredients together, shake up until sugar is dissolved.
Friday, 31 October 2008
Click picture for larger image
I love tuna salad. And I love tossed salad so I always make them together.I try to post recipes that anyone at any level of cooking can make. If you ever have a question about how I did something or what I meant just let me know. I also always use my homemade dressing with it. (which I will share next) I made this for my hubby and I for lunch one day last week when we were working from home. It's light yet filling. And not too many calories either. You'll have to imagine the tomatoes I didn't have any that day. I try to cut all the ingredients roughly the same size. That day I used:
1 can tuna packed in water
2 tbsp mayonnaise
1/2 tsp mustard (any kind you like)
You can add any thing else you like to your tuna salad to make it your own.
Mix together tuna, mayonnaise and mustard
I made up my salad with: Gem lettuce , iceberg lettuce, red bell pepper, sliced black olives and, english cucumber.
I put my salad in a bowl/plate, add my salad dressing then add my tuna mix on top.
Tuesday, 28 October 2008
2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
2 sprigs fresh Thyme (pull leaves from sprigs)
4 pieces sun dried tomato (re-hydrated in very warm water if needed, I did for 20 mins)
Vegetable Oil, butter
Pancetta, 2/3 strips per breast (you can use bacon also)
Take chicken and bash it out pretty thin, sprinkle with thyme. Add 2 pieces sun dried tomato to each piece of chicken. Fold over one side of chicken on to the other to conceal the thyme and tomato. Lay the pancetta strips on the chicken breast. Pan fry, at medium high heat, pancetta side down until done in oil/butter combination. One side and then the other……for approximately 3-4 minutes each side until golden brown.
I made this for dinner the other night and it was really good. These could easily be made ahead if you had guests coming over for dinner and then pan fried at the last minute before you serve them. Just be sure to take out of the fridge in time for it to warm up a little. I served mine with steamed broccoli and bacon/mushroom risotto.
Sunday, 26 October 2008
Homemade Egg Rolls
Wrappers: I used a simple recipe I found on the internet for the wrappers. It’s really a simple thing but I could not get it rolled out thin enough to work with it. I would recommend if you can find wrappers just buy them. It’s not worth the trouble to me. That is just my opinion only. Having said that the taste was great but, they were just too thick.
½ lb ground pork
½ lb ground beef
¼ large, green cabbage grated
1 carrot grated
1 large shallot chopped into small pieces
1 stalk celery cut into small pieces
6 ozs bean sprouts ( I bought canned ones)
2 tsp garlic salt
3 Tbsp Soy Sauce
1 Tbsp Cornstarch
Brown the beef and pork in a skillet until nice and brown along with the shallot and drain well. Add the next 6 ingredients and continue to fry until tender approximately 10 minutes on medium high heat. Add in the soy sauce and cornstarch. Simmer another minute or two stirring well and then take off the heat.
Roll up into egg rolls/ spring rolls using 2/3 tbsp of mixture for each wrapper. I deep fried mine until golden brown. They don’t look the best but I think if you use the pre-made wrappers they would look better. But to be honest they tasted great. We ate them with Thai Sweet Chilli dipping sauce…….yum !
Yield: 2 Generous Portions (we had leftovers)
Quick and Easy Asparagus Soup
1 bunch of fresh asparagus (8-10 pods I guess)
1 individual container of Knorr Stock Pot (beef or chicken either will work)
1 large potato (or 2 medium)
Olive oil, butter/margarine, and black pepper
First put potato in microwave and cook until soft and completely done.
Take out and let it be cooling. I usually cut it in half to speed the cooling process.
While that is cooking wash your asparagus to remove any sand that may be on. Asparagus have a woody end and you don’t want to eat it. So just bend your asparagus and it will snap off in just the right place where the wood part ends and the good begins. Keep the woody ends we’re going to use those.
Mix up your Stock Pot according to the directions on the box. (You can make your own stock of course if you like) Once you have that going add those ends to the stock. They will add to the flavour. Simmer for about 15 minutes. Then with a slotted spoon or tongs remove your woody ends and throw them away.
While it’s simmering put your asparagus in a bowl and drizzle a little (2 tbsps) olive oil over it. I use my hands to move it around and get it all coated. Then, place it on a griddle pan. (and if it’s summer, place it on your grill, believe me the taste is wonderful). I cook mine approximately 15-20 minutes on a high heat until it starts to brown. I like that nutty flavor the browning gives it. When it’s almost done I squeeze about three to four tablespoons of lemon on them. I then take them off and lay them on a plate starting with the little ones first as they will cook quicker.
Add them and your potatoto to your stock pot and simmer a further 5 minutes then, either blitz up with a handheld mixer or let it cool down and use your blender. You can add a “dollop” of cream if you like. It does enhance the flavor but, sadly it also enhances the waistline.
Note: If you want your asparagus soup “greener” add a few spinach leaves to the stock and blitz it up. Also, if you want your soup “thicker” add another potato or two.
Friday, 24 October 2008
Okay, I love Salmon and so does my husband. It's good for you, it's low calorie and what's not to love right ? I have always either pan fried it or baked it. Tonight, I tried a recipe I saw done on TV......omg, it's sheer heaven I mean it....seriously and it's only 4 little ingredients. . . . .It's at original recipe here I have to add if, you add some lemon to the sauce once you have it in your plate, it really makes it GREAT !
You will need 4 salmon fillets, skin on. I served it with brown rice and cavolo nero cabbage.
The Teriyaki Sauce
275 ml Soy Sauce
140 ml Sake
140 ml Mirin
120 g sugar ( 4 ozs)
1. Mix all the ingredients for the teriyaki sauce together and stir until the sugar dissolves.
2. Marinate the salmon fillets in half the mixture and put the other mixture in a pot to reduce by half (appx. 30 minutes on a good simmer)
3. Preheat the oven to 240C/400F or the highest setting you have.
4.Add a little oil to an oven proof dish and add your salmon fillets skin side UP. Cover the skin with tin foil/aluminium foil to keep it from burning and cook/bake for about 15 minutes, watching carefully.
5. Remove the tin foil and cook for approximately 5/10 minutes more until skin starts to crisp up.
6. Ta Da ! Serve skin side up with salmon sitting on a drizzle of the sauce.
Believe me I always eat tartar sauce on my salmon, I got it out and put it on the table but never got that far. That is the best sauce I have ever had......ever......woo hoo !! I definitely licked the plate on this one....rofl.
My newest food I have tried is Cavolo Nero Cabbage aka Black Leaf Kale in Australia and I just love it. It's originally from Tuscany, Italy if my information is correct and part of the Brassica family (kale,cabbage, etc). It has a strong nutty flavor.