Thursday 21 November 2013

Green Jerk Marinade

Jerk seasoning is becoming one of my new favorite experiments. I absolutely love layering spices and herbs and creating depth of flavour. This was such a simple recipe that didn’t take long to put together. I marinated my chicken for a few hours but I suspect you could get away with not marinating it at all because the spices are so pungent. I used bone in chicken breasts which are always a favourite. You could easily use duck or even pork, I think this would go lovely with pork tenderloin or some other light meat. This marinade will do for about 4 chicken breasts. Enjoy!

1 tsp. black peppercorns
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
2-3inch small stick cinnamon
1 ½ tsp. ground ginger
3-4 tbsp. chopped coriander
Zest of one lime
Juice of one lime (two limes if it’s not juicy)
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 scotch bonnet pepper
5 cloves garlic
1 tsp. salt

To Make:
In a small blender, carefully add all ingredients and blitz up until it’s smooth.
Scrape every little bit out and pour over some meat (if it's too thick add a little water to smooth it out)!
I cooked my chicken breasts for about 35-40 minutes at 200C

Friday 15 November 2013

Creamy Vegan Green Bean Casserole

Green bean casserole is such an American classic, typically associated with Thanksgiving dinner. I think it’s such a great dish and could be made with any special dinner. I really enjoy making it, but I was tired of the canned cream of mushroom soup that makes the sauce. I sought out recipes, and was open to the idea of something dairy free that didn’t require a load of cream or butter. I stumbled on a few recipes and here is my rendition of what I found! This is mostly adapted from a vegan recipe that got great reviews. Once I tried it I was hooked. This is quite possibly the most delicious green bean casserole I’ve ever made! The pictures show a half version that I did but the recipe is for the full version. I will be making it in the future. This recipe serves about 8. Enjoy.

Ingredients for the Green Beans:
500g-1kg fresh green beans rinsed and chopped (you can use tinned/frozen)
1 whole onion
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp. pepper
Salt to taste

For the Casserole:
1 diced onion
1 diced green bell pepper
2-3 cloves garlic
200g chestnut mushrooms (any mushroom, just not shitake)
1 tsp. fresh thyme
1 glass white wine
Pinch paprika
Olive oil
Fried onions for garnish (the French’s American ones)

For the Sauce:
1 c. unsalted cashews soaked in water for 1hr
1 tsp. corn starch
1c. +1c to thin the sauce vegetable stock (I use marigold vegan bouillon powder)

To start:
Get your cashews soaking immediately.
Make your stock.
Clean up your green beans and get them on to boil.
Boil them for about 30-45 minutes or until very soft.
Drain and set aside.

For the Casserole:
Dice your pepper, onion, garlic and slice the mushrooms.
Make the sauce; in a blender (a small fast one works well for this), blend the soaked cashews, corn starch, and stock for at least 3 minutes until thick and creamy. Set aside.
In a big sauté pan, heat a couple table spoons of oil, and begin to sweat off the onions, and peppers. When the onions are soft, add the mushrooms and the garlic.
Salt the mushrooms, and as they begin to soften add the white wine.
Cook off at a boil for a few minutes.
When the wine is cooked off, turn down the heat and add the sauce and sauté for a few minutes.
Next add the drained green beans, paprika and thyme.
Stir to combine, add more stock as it thickens and let cook for about 2-5 minutes until thick.
Put in a casserole dish and sprinkle with French’s fried onions and bake at 175C or 350F for about 30 minutes.

Tuesday 12 November 2013

Plum Upside Down Cake

I had a punnet of plums and I was trying to make something like a tart tatin, and then it just sort of ended up more like an upside down cake. I absolutely surprised myself on this one; I must be getting better at desserts because we ate it up! I put some crème fraiche sweetened with a little sugar just on top. I'm generally not a dessert person but I am trying to expand my recipe list so that I have things available on hand to me in a pinch. This is so unbelievably simple and I encourage anyone to try it. Yo could even try it with fresh peaches, or strawberries or raspberries. Impress your family with this one. Serves 8. Enjoy!

300g plums ripe, cored sliced 1cm
butter for greasing pan
2 tbsp sugar for pan
100g butter – soft/room temperature
100g flour
100g caster sugar
50g ground almonds
3 eggs
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda

To Start:
Generously grease a pie tin with butter and sprinkle with 2 tbsp. of sugar.
Core and slice the plums and arrange on the pie tin in a circular pattern or the pattern of your choice.

For the Cake:
In a bowl combine the soft butter, eggs and sugar, cream together until smooth.
Next sift in the flour, backing powder and baking soda.
It will be a thick batter, so pour over the plums and spread out evenly.
Bake at 200C or 400F for about 30-40 minutes, check at 30 minutes and see if a tooth pick comes out clean.
When done take out of the oven and cool for 5 minutes.
Place a plate over the pie tin and flip it carefuly.
Serve with crème fraiche or cream and enjoy!

Thursday 7 November 2013

Classic Toad in the Hole

Toad in the hole, what can I say? I had no real idea what it was when it came to British classics. I thought it was something like ‘pigs in a blanket’, which to me is a lovely little Polish sausage wrapped in a crescent roll. What British people think pigs in a blanket is, is a little cocktail sausage wrapped in bacon. While equally nice neither of these things are what I expected. When I looked into toad in the hole to make it on bonfire night it looked really good and interesting. More like a main course than an appetiser! It’s a lovely Yorkshire pudding batter poured over hot oil and sausages and baked. The texture is really great, it has a nice crunchy outside and a very lovely eggy soft middle by the sausage. I encourage anyone to try it, it’s so simple and makes an excellent economical meal! This serves just 2 only because I used 4 sausages, but you could easily use more sausages for this batter recipe. I adapted this recipe from several ones I read online so but my husband who is British gave it the stamp of approval! Enjoy!

100g plain flour
1 scant tsp. English mustard powder
½ tsp. salt
2 eggs
250ml milk
1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
4 lean pork sausages (you can use up to 8 sausages)
1 ½ tbsp. oil (anything except olive)

To start:
Heat oven to about 220C or 400-420F (really hot!)
Get the batter going by mixing the flour, salt and mustard powder. Mix around until combined.
Add in the eggs and half of the milk. Mix slowly until combined.
Pour in the rest of the milk and the thyme until all is incorporated. Set aside.

For the Sausages:
In a reasonably sized roasting tin, pour the oil in and lay the sausages out.
When the oven is hot, place them in for about 15-20 minutes, depending on how thick your sausages are. The goal is to half cook them before the batter.

To Finish:
When the sausages have cooked about 15 minutes, take the pan out and carefully pour over the liquid batter. Be very careful as the batter will splatter in the hot oil.
Cook for 30-40 minutes in the oven, and gauge doneness by the golden crispy crust.
Take out the glorious bake, and serve with some fresh onion gravy and steamed seasonal veggies. YUM!

Thursday 31 October 2013

Butter Bean Bacon and Autumnal Squash Stew

I love dried beans, and with the weather really getting more troublesome with cold temperatures and even colder rain, I like to stock up and just have them around for really comforting dinner. I’ve also been trying my hand at bread making so this is an excellent accompaniment. I never knew that butter beans were lima beans. I used to think I hated lima beans as a child. I think it must be because when I was a child they came in a can and were green. Who knows, but my recipe for the lima beans now is amazing and I love it. Either I know how to cook them now or I was just a silly child. Probably both. I generally don’t soak my beans as I like the idea of having a pot cooking all day, but if you’re pressed for time and have the time to soak them in advance, I would soak them over night. This serves about 5 depending on your hunger levels. Enjoy!

500g hard squash (butternut, pumpkin, red kobacha etc..)
400g dry butter beans
100g streaky bacon (about 6-8 rashers)
1 large onion
1 stick celery
1 green pepper
4 cloves garlic
2-3 litres of water
2 tbsp. bouillon powder (stock cubes work too)
1 tsp. pepper
Salt to taste

To Start:
Peel and dice your squash. Be careful with this; use a sharp knife and a sturdy cutting surface.
Dice your onion, celery, bacon and green pepper and garlic. (The garlic can be smashed and stay whole as it will be cooked for a long time it will just disintegrate).

To Cook:
Heat a large pan on high, and add the bacon. Stir it around and encourage it to get crispy. 5-6 minutes.
Next add in the onions, peppers, celery, and garlic. Stir around for a few minutes (you may need to add oil depending on how fatty your bacon is)
Add the beans, water, pepper (no salt yet) and bouillon cubes and bring up to a boil.
Once at a rolling hard boil, turn down to a low-med heat (small boil).
Cook for about 2-3 hours, or until beans are completely soft and cooked through.
Salt to taste and serve hot with fresh bread.

Tuesday 29 October 2013

Cajun Style Dirty Rice

Sometimes things can never make you feel as happy as things from back home. Now, while I'm not quite Cajun, I am close enough in Texas. I used to make this dish (maybe not so traditionally) all the time for my roomates and friends who would come over. I have never made it with the chicken livers before but I thoroughly enjoyed it! It gives it a really lovely depth of flavor. I'm a sucker for offal so this was just up my alley. It's really simple to prepare, and you can use any leftover rice that you have. This recipe serves 2-4 depending on how hungry you are! Enjoy!

250g lean pork mince
200g chicken livers
3c. cooked rice
1 stick celery
1 green bell pepper
1 onion
3 cloves garlic
1 tbsp. Cajun seasoning (If you don't have this add equal parts, cayenne, thyme, oregano, salt and pepper)
1 tbsp. oil
1c vegetable stock (maybe less, eye it)
Fresh parsley

To Start:
If you haven't boiled your rice, boil your rice according to the instructions.
Dice finely, peppers, onion, celery and garlic.
Dice the chicken livers to a mince and set aside.
Heat the oil in a hot pan and add the pork mince to brown.
Next add in the onions, celery, pepper and garlic.
Fry down for a few minutes until the peppers and onions have softened.
Add the chicken livers and stir around until thoroughly cooked. About 5 minutes.

To Finish:
Add the hot rice and mix thoroughly, along with the Cajun spice, and about a quarter of the stock)
Simmer on the stove for a few minutes.
Mix around and add more stock to combine ingredients.
When everything is warmed through, taste for seasoning then add the parsley.

Friday 25 October 2013

Cod in Tomato Thyme Sauce

This is the simplest recipe to make when you're in a hurry. It's also really healthy for you if you're watching your calories! I know a few people who don't like fish that have really enjoyed this. This rich tomato sauce is a lovely compliment to the white flaky fish. You can add any herbs you want but I think fresh thyme goes the best here. Don't skimp on the garlic either! Serves 2-3. Enjoy!

400g white fish such as cod, haddock etc..
1 400g tin chopped tomatoes
½ small onion
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp. dark brown sugar
½ tbsp. olive oil
Few sprigs fresh thyme (1 tsp. dry thyme will work as well)
Salt and pepper to taste

To Start:
Dice your onions, chop your garlic and get a pan hot.
Heat the oil and saute the onions for a few moments.
Next add the garlic, and tomatoes, and thyme.
Bring to a bowl then down to a simmer for about 15-20 minutes. (trust me simmering does the world of good)

To Finish:
Add the brown sugar
Place the fish pieces in the sauce.
Spoon over some of the sauce onto the fish pieces.
Cover and continue to simmer for a further 10 minutes or until fish is cooked through.
Serve over toasty brown rice.

Friday 11 October 2013

Smoked Haddock Kedgeree

I loved smoked haddock (the undyed kind of course). I was looking for some inspiration for a dish and I came across kedgeree which was surprisingly British to my knowledge. It's traditionally served as a brunch dish but I decided to give it a go as a dinner option and it worked out great! I really love the combination of egg and smoked haddock, it's almost like a very non-traditional Eggs Benedict with smoked salmon! Either way, I think anyone should try this because it's dead easy, and you can use smoked salmon if you cant' find the haddock. Just skip the poaching process and flake it in at the very end with the eggs. As a dinner this fed 2, but you could easily double it, or serve it at a brunch and make the portion smaller! Enjoy.

200g basmati rice (1c.)
150g undyed smoked haddock
1 onion
½ c. red pepper diced
½ c. frozen peas
2 cloves garlic
2 eggs - Soft boiled
300ml milk
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. mustard seeds
3-4 cloves
1 tbsp curry powder
1 tsp. coriander
1 tsp. turmeric
handful fresh coriander
handful fresh parsley
1 medium tomato

To Start:
Begin by poaching the fish in the milk, mustard seeds, cloves and bay leaves. Poach for about 15 minutes then set aside.
Bring the eggs and a small pan up to boil, boil for 4-5 minutes, turn off and take the eggs out and put them in ice water. Set aside

For the Dish:
Dice the onion and peppers.
Heat the oil in a medium saucepan until hot, toss in the onions, red pepper and garlic. Toss around until fragrant.
Add the curry powder, turmeric, coriander and rice and fry for a further 2-3 minutes. Stirring constantly.
When the onions are soft add two cups of water, half the coriander and parsley and bring up to a boil, place the lid on and turn down to a simmer for about 10-15 minutes.

To Finish:
Remove the haddock from the poaching liquid and flake.
Peel the eggs and cut into quarters.
Dice the tomato.
When the rice is done take off heat, add the fish, the rest of the herbs, half the eggs, tomatoes and frozen peas. Mix thoroughly being careful not to smash the rice.
Serve when hot and garnish with the rest of the egg.

Tuesday 1 October 2013

Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Apples

I love pork tenderloin, it couldn’t be more simple and delicious. When paired with roasted apples it is a treat for the senses. I do mine very simply by searing in a hot pan and roasting in the oven. This is when a meat thermometer becomes very handy. I like my tenderloin with an internal temperature of 150C I think that allows for a medium cook and the meat still be plenty cooked but maintaining all the moisture. This serves 3, but tenderloins vary in size so get one that will suit your family and keep a look out on the temperature in the thickest part. Enjoy!

600g pork tenderloin
2-3 apples
1 tbsp. olive oil
Salt + pepper
Fresh thyme leaves

To start:
Take your tenderloin out about 30 minutes before you want to cook, this helps the meat get to room temperature and will cook properly through.
Heat the oven to 190C or 350F and on a clean surface spread out a few sprinkles of salt, and the thyme leaves and some of the oil, roll the entire tenderloin in it to cover it thoroughly with salt, thyme and oil.
Heat the rest of the oil in a pan until very hot. Sear the tenderloin on all sides, place on a pan with some chunks of apples and roast for about 40-45 minutes, checking the temperature towards the end.

Thursday 26 September 2013

Cannellini Bean Soup with Sausage and Kale

I absolutely love bean soups, any type I’m there. I got some more kale in the veg box, which I don’t mind so much as long as I have a solution of what to do with it! I had some frozen sausages and some dried cannellini beans and presto, bean soup. I love the smell of beans cooking on the stove all day on a cold day. It’s glorious, and with this recipe there’s plenty to go around and plenty for seconds. Serve with crusty bread. Enjoy!

250g dried cannellini beans (half pound)
4 lean sausages, thawed meat removed from casing
2 c chopped kale
4 large carrots
1 large onion
1 tbsp. bouillon powder
2 tbsp. tomato puree (or tomato paste)
2 liters of water and a big pot
Salt + pepper to taste

To cook:
Rinse the beans and put them in a big pot with the 2 liters of water and turn the heat on high.
Peel and chop the onions and toss them in along with the bouillon powder and tomato paste.
Remove the casings from the sausage and dollop the sausage meat all over the pot (not an exact science here!)
Bring up to a boil and then reduce to low, and simmer for about 2-3hrs or until beans are soft.
Salt to taste when they’re done, and voila!

Friday 20 September 2013

Bacon and Chocolate Chili with Sweetcorn

Chili is a standby dish in my house, in all kinds of ways. There’s always a base to chili, once you get that down you can really do anything…beans, no beans, meat, no meat, etc… I wanted mine to be simple, I had a little bacon leftover from another recipe and I decided to make chilli! And even better put some chocolate in it! Delicious, everyone should try this! I used a variety of chilli powders, but for the purposes of this recipe, you can use any chilli powder you want, hot or mild, whatever you prefer. This serves 4-6. Enjoy!

6 smoked streaky bacon rashers
2 corn on the cobs (kernels removed)
1 400g tin chopped tomatoes
1 400g tin cannellini beans
1 400g tin red kidney beans
1 red pepper
1 onion
3 cloves garlic
¼ c. chilli powder
2 tbsp. cumin
3-4 squares of lindt 75-90% dark chocolate
Salt and pepper to taste

To start:
Chop the onion, pepper, and garlic.
Slice the bacon into pieces.
With a sharp knife and sturdy hand slice the corn kernels from the cob. You can use about 1 cup of frozen or tinned if you’d like.
Get a pot hot, when it’s hot add the bacon and get it sizzling. Brown it a little and render the fat. 2-3mins.
Next add in the red peppers, onions, corn, and garlic. About 3 minutes of cooking.

To Finish:
Add the tinned tomatoes and beans (all undrained), and bring up to a boil.
Add the chili powder and the cumin and simmer for about 30-40 minutes on a low heat.
After it’s boiled down, take it off the heat and add in the chocolate and stir.
Serve hot over rice, or with corn bread.

Wednesday 18 September 2013

Pork and Prawn Fried Rice

I absolutely love fried rice. It’s so versatile, so easy and so fast. You can use anything you have leftover, or you can make up some elaborate dish with a few ingredients. I had some frozen pork in the freezer as well as some prawns and decided to bang it out. I hope you like this as much as I did! Ate it right up, this serves two but obviously it can be doubled or tripled to your liking. Enjoy!

150-200g pork shoulder (any cut will do)
175g cooked peeled prawns
1.5 c cooked cold rice
2 cloves garlic
1 red onion diced
1 egg beaten
4 spring onions
150g snow peas
2-4 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tbsp. sweet Thai chili sauce
1.5 tbsp. oil

To start:
Boil the pork for about 10 minutes (can do longer for a more tender result). Set aside.
Make sure your rice is cold and cooked, leftover rice is ideal.
Slice the snow peas on the bias.
Slice the spring onions, and dice the onion.

To cook:
In a large pan, preferably a wok (I used a non-stick pan), heat 1 tbsp. of oil.
When hot add the pork, onions, and snow peas and sauté for a few minutes.
When the pork has a nice char on it, add the rice and stir around until the rice starts to stick to the pan.
Add the prawns at this point and stir in with some soy sauce. Stir around about 2 minutes.
Next shove it all to the size and make a hole, turn up the heat and add the remaining oil.
Drop the egg in the oil and stir quickly to scramble. When almost set begin to mix it throughout the entire dish.
Add the spring onions, chilli sauce, and more soy sauce depending on your taste. Serve immediately!

Monday 16 September 2013

Split Pea Soup with Smokey Bacon

When it’s cold and rainy outside, sometimes you just want to snuggle up with a big bowl of moreish soup, stew, or anything that makes you feel warm and cozy. For me, it’s always beany soups. My mom used to make split pea soup for me all the time growing up. It’s completely simple, and I was able to source ingredients that made it taste just like my moms, which uses a smoked ham hock. It’s difficult to find that here without going to a butcher and putting in a special request so I use smoked streaky bacon. This serves about 4-6 portions depending on how hungry you are! Serve with hot crusty fresh bread. Enjoy!

500g green split peas
6 rashers streaky bacon
3-4 carrots
3 garlic cloves
1 whole onion
1 tsp. pepper
Soured cream or yogurt to finish

To start:
Slice the bacon into little strips.
Get a large pot hot, and throw the bacon in there to cook off and get brown and render some fat.
Throw in the peas and 1.5lr of water, or covering it by 4 inches.
Peel and chop the carrot (leave in quite thick chunks).
Dice the onion and garlic and toss in.

To Cook:
Bring that up to a boil and simmer for about 2-3hrs stirring every 30 minutes.
You will know when it’s done as the peas will turn to mush and everything will be one thick stodgy stew.
Serve hot with crusty bread and a dollop of sour cream.

Friday 13 September 2013

Simple Kale and Chickpea Salad

I got a bunch of kale in my veg box yesterday. It wasn't planned, it was supposed to come last week, needless to say I had to think of something to do with it. When I've previously tried it I stewed it down and I felt it was a bit boring. Instead of doing that again I decided to see if salting it would soften it enough to just make it into a salad. About 30 minutes later after salting it (lightly), it turned into a lovely salad with some persuasion from some lemon juice. It was a good thing because I ran out of lettuce for a dinner salad and it made a great side dish, healthy and substantial! Serves 2. Enjoy!

2 c. shredded kale
½ lemon juice only
½ can drained chick peas (~200g)
1 tomato
½ small onion sliced thinly
½ tbsp. Extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp. Freshly ground sea salt

To start:
Shred the kale, place in a bowl and salt. Mix up with your hands and leave for about 30 minutes to break down.
Next slice the onion thinly and chop the tomato.

To finish:
Add the juice of half a lemon, the tomato, chickpeas and onion.
Adjust seasoning as necessary then drizzle on the oil.
Serve now or it can wait out marinading and the flavours get better.

Tuesday 10 September 2013

Pork and Prawn Summer Rolls

These are my absolute favourite part of a Vietnamese meal. I always order these before I order my pho or bun thit nuong. I haven’t tried my hand at the fried spring rolls but maybe another time. This is really a no brainer; it’s not difficult at all. I literally can throw these together in a few minutes. The only prep is the vegetables that you want to go inside. I generally get all of the fillings set up and sliced beforehand so that you have everything you need when you’re ready to roll up. They’re such a great snack and actually pretty good for you. This makes 8 rolls. Enjoy!

8 Sheets of rice paper
100g vermicelli rice noodles
100g cooked prawns
50g pork shoulder
4 spring onions sliced lengthwise
1 large carrot shredded
50g mint leaves
50g coriander leaves
100g shredded iceberg lettuce
Hoisin sauce and srirracha for dipping

To start:
Place all of your veg in little piles on a large plate or cutting board.
To cook the pork and prawns, bring a small pot of water to boil with a dash of salt.
Drop the pork in first and boil for about five minutes, then add the prawns boil until pink about 1 more minute.
Take out the pork and slice very thinly. Set aside.

To assemble:
In a large bowl pour 1 litre of half boiled water from the kettle in. (If you boil the kettle it will be too hot for you to get the rice paper out).
Get one rice paper and dip it into the water until it goes limp in the warm water, and then dunk the rest of the paper in, only for a few seconds or until it becomes very floppy and pliable.
Pull out and place on a plate try to get it as flat as possible.
Start to add some noodles, across the length of it on the edge closest to you, repeat with carrot, herbs, lettuce, shrimp and pork.
Next fold the sides of the rice paper over the mound and tuck and roll it, folding more rice paper inwards as necessary.
The paper sticks to itself so no need to worry about it coming undone.
Repeat for the rest of the rolls and serve with the hoisin sauce and srirracha for dips.

Wednesday 4 September 2013

Smoked Turkey Carbonara with Mushrooms

I love carbonara, but I don’t particularly enjoy the saltiness of the dish. The salt usually comes from the bacon or so I’ve found…I wanted to try my hand at a turkey bacon one with a few simple ingredients. This is so easy to make, and it’s actually not too bad for you if you make it exactly this way. This serves 2, but can easily be doubled Enjoy!

250g spaghetti
3 turkey bacon rashers (I used aMattesons)
1 small red onion
3 cloves garlic
250g white mushrooms sliced
1 egg yolk
¼ c. freshly grated parmesan
1-2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 tbsp. olive oil

To start:
Slice the bacon into very thin strips.
Slice the mushrooms, onion and garlic.
Get the pasta water up to a boil – put the pasta in when it’s boiling
Grate your cheese, and separate the egg yolk.

To cook:
In a skillet, heat the olive oil.
Add when the pan is hot and get a good crisp on them.
Add the onions and mushrooms and garlic and sauté until the mushrooms are soft.

To Finish:
Drain the pasta but very quickly, so that you keep a lot of the juice (Ideally dump the pasta in the colander and then quickly put the pan underneath to catch the draining liquid).
Add the drained pasta to the mushroom bacon mixture and stir thoroughly.
Add the egg yolk, pepper and grated cheese.
Add ¼ c. – ½ c. of the reserved pasta liquid to make it a creamy texture.
Serve immediately!

Monday 2 September 2013

Peanut Butter Banana Bread with Cinnamon and Walnuts

I’ve wanted to venture into changing a few of my all-time favourite recipes. I have had this idea for a different type of banana bread, and I thought to myself; what goes better with banana than its best friend peanut butter! I have never tasted it before so I decided to just do a bit of combination with the flavours and added cinnamon and also walnuts. It came out so amazingly well I wouldn’t go back to change a thing to redo it. So with that in mind! Here it is banana peanut butter bread with cinnamon and walnuts. Enjoy!

2-3 ripe bananas mashed
1 ½ c. flour
½ c. white sugar
½ c. brown sugar
½ c. egg whites
4 tsp. melted butter
¾ tsp. baking soda
Pinch salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
¼ c. chopped walnuts
½ c. creamy peanut butter

To start:
Mash the banana and mix with the sugars, egg whites, butter and peanut butter until thoroughly combined.
Next, sift in the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
Finally add the walnuts (these are optional).

To Bake:
Bake in a preheated 190C oven or 350F for about 30-1hr. After 30 minutes check it every 15 minutes and check for doneness with a toothpick.

Thursday 29 August 2013

Coronation Style Roasted Chicken with Yogurt Marinade

I love nothing more in this world than a roasted chicken! Any way I can take it, I love to experiment and try new things. This time I really wanted to emulate a tandoori chicken but with more of a coronation chicken salad flavour. This was very simple; the only difficult part was doing cutting the back out of the chicken because I decided to do a spatchcock method. I also removed the skin and slashed it a bit so the marinade would seep in. I marinated mine for about 5 hours but you can do 1-2 in a pinch. Enjoy!

1 medium chicken (1.4kg)
300g non-fat Greek yogurt
2 tbsp. madras paste
2 tbsp. Mango chutney
5 garlic cloves

To Start:
Spatchcock your chicken, please only do this if you are skilled with a knife, and have a sharp one!
Cut out the backbone on both sides of the spine, flip the chicken over and press it down and break the breastbone.
Remove all the skin and slash the breast and thighs.

To Marinade:
In a bowl, mix up all of the ingredients thoroughly.
Put your chicken in a pan, that can go in the fridge, and rub the marinade in, don’t be afraid to get personal with it. It needs a massage!
Pop that in the fridge for a few hours and you’ll be ready to cook!

To Cook:
Take the chicken out and try to wipe down a bit of the yogurt, but not much.
Place on a wire rack pan and bake at 200C for about an hour or until it’s nice and brown but not burnt.

Tuesday 27 August 2013

American Pancakes with Blueberry Syrup

Normally I wake up on a weekend wanting breakfast tacos, but not this past Saturday, all I could think about was pancakes with some lovely blueberry syrup. Turns out I had the blueberries in the freezer, all there was to do was whip it all up for an easy breakfast! This made four exactly and served two, but can easily be doubled. Also, from experience, I would start the pancakes first then work on the sauce while the pancakes are going! Enjoy!

150g self-raising flour
1 large egg
1 tsp. baking powder
300ml milk
½ tbsp. sugar
150g frozen blueberries
1 tbsp. corn flour
½ c. orange juice
½ c. water
½ tsp. cinnamon
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. melted butter
1 tbsp. oil

To start:
Mix up the flour, egg, baking powdering milk and ½ tsp. sugar in a bowl.
In a cast iron skillet, heat a tiny bit of oil and rub it all over the pan with a paper towel.
When it’s hot about 5 minutes, pour on the first pancake, turn the heat to med-low and leave it alone for about 4-5 minutes or until you start to see air bubbles on the top.
Flip, and wait a further couple of minutes until nice and golden on the other side.

As the pancakes are cooking, throw the blueberries, orange juice, water, cinnamon and 2 tbsp. sugar and melted butter into a small saucepan.
Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes or until a thick lovely syrup has formed.
When the pancakes are done, butter them up and pour the blueberry sauce on top!

Wednesday 21 August 2013

Crispy Chorizo and Prawns on Spinach Couscous

I have to admit, this isn’t totally my recipe idea, I adapted it from a chefs recipe I saw on TV. It was a 15 minute meal special and I didn’t believe him so I made my own. The original recipe was with squid and needless to say I did not like it at all. I decided to try my hand at a prawn one and I really enjoyed it! I just have to post it because it literally took nearly 20 minutes. So so so easy, and everyone needs easy. This is for exactly two servings, but I would just double it if you want to make more! Enjoy.

150g uncooked prawns
100g chorizo sausage
1 whole pepper, you can mix and match of any color
1 medium onion in halves
¾ c. whole wheat couscous
100g baby spinach
1 tbsp. bouillon powder
1 c. boiling water
3 cloves garlic
1 tbsp. honey
2 tbsp. sherry vinegar
Yogurt for dolloping

To start:
In a food processor, add the onion, spinach bouillon powder and blitz up until it’s almost a paste, a few seconds.
Add the couscous and stir around.
Next add the boiling water, try to pour it all around.
Pop the lid on the processor and let sit until you’re ready to serve.

To Make the dish and finish:
Slice the pepper, onion, and chorizo.
In a hot pan put the chorizo down until it starts releasing some fat, about 2 minutes.
Next add the peppers and onions and sauté for a good 5-7 minutes until the chorizo crisps and the peppers soften.
Next add the prawns continuing to stir until they get a pink color.
Crush in the garlic and add the honey, stirring around until it gets a nice caramelized color and there’s a real crisp to the veggies.
Next deglaze with the vinegar scraping the bits off the pan, and then you’re done.
Serve hot over the couscous!

Monday 19 August 2013

Easy Vegetable Pearl Barley Risotto

I love love love pearl barley. It’s so useful and good for you. I bought it once because I was going through a whole grain and fibre phase, and I ended up using it in a risotto as a substitute for Arborio rice. I absolutely love this and won’t change back to Arborio unless I have a hankering for it. I vary with my garnishes but I generally keep this vegetarian as there’s just no need for any meat. The base of the risotto is below but you can put anything you want in it. Please enjoy, this serves 2 hungry people!

1 ¼ c. pearl barley
1 stalk celery
1 small onion
1 litre vegetable stock ( I use marigold stock powder)
2 tbsp. Philadelphia cream cheese
3 cloves garlic
1 tbsp. oil

My garnishes:
Yellow courgette
Roasted beetroot (If you would like the recipe message me)
Cherry tomatoes

To start:
Dice onions and celery, fry in a little oil until soft, about 5 minutes.
Add the barley and stir for a further 2-3 minutes.

To finish:
Add a third of the stock and bring it to a boil. Stirring constantly, turn the heat down to a simmer until most of the liquid is gone. This should take 5-8 minutes.
When the liquid is nearly gone add another third of the liquid and bring to a boil then turn down to a simmer, cover for 5 minutes.
Next taste the barley and see if it’s soft, you want a nice firm texture but it won’t feel weird to chew.
Add half of the remaining stock and cover a further 4 minutes.
To finish add the garlic and the cream cheese, the rest of the stock and stir keep on a simmer with lid on until it’s smooth and done.*

*At this point I added sliced courgettes and cherry tomatoes. The heat will cook the courgettes through and give a nice crisp tastes. Then I top with my roasted beetroot and arugula to serve.

Thursday 15 August 2013

Diced Turkey Breast Fideo

For those of you that don’t know what fideo is, it’s a Spanish word for ‘noodle’, but it’s often used to describe one type of noodle dish in Mexican cuisine. Sometimes you’ll find it as a soup called sopa de fideo, but my mom usually just made a thicker version without the soup. I absolutely love to make this, and I was ecstatic when I found vermicelli nests! It’s basically the exact same stuff you would get in a local grocery store back home, except they’re longer and swirled into nests instead of small straight noodles. These noodles cook super fast which makes them a great choice for a quick weeknight meal. This is also wonderful as a vegetarian option without the meat. I hope you give it a try! This serves 3.

500g diced turkey breast (or you could use mince)
125g vermicelli nests or fideo noodles
1 400g tin chopped tomatoes
½ green pepper
1 small onion
1 ½ tsp. cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups vegetable stock
1 tbsp. oil
Handful of chopped coriander

To start:
Dice onion and pepper.
Heat up your stock to have ready.

To cook:
In a shallow sauté pan, heat the oil and fry together the onions, pepper and turkey meat. About 5-6 min.
When the turkey is nearly done and browned on all sides, crush up the vermicelli nests and drop in the pan and stir to combine. (The point is to toast up the noodles)
Next add the cumin.
Stir thoroughly for another 5 minutes.
Next add the tin of tomatoes, coriander and the hot stock 1 cup at a time. Stir thoroughly, and bring to a boil, then turn down to simmer.
Cover for a further 5 minutes or until noodles are soft.

Tuesday 13 August 2013

Easy Lamb Mince Tagine

Who says that a tagine has to be cooked for ages and ages? Well I have a recipe that will give you everything you want from a tagine that has been cooked down for hours, except not! This is so easy you could do during a busy week day, you could even use any type of meat you want, and I used lamb because it’s a traditional flavour profile but I am going to try turkey next. This serves 3-4. Enjoy.

400g lamb mince
1 400g tin chick peas drained
¼ c. sliced almonds (preferably toasted)
1 onion
5 dried apricots
5 whole dates
1 tbsp. honey
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. coriander
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. turmeric
2 cardomom pods
Pinch saffron
Fresh mint
1 ½ c. stock
2 tbsp. flour
1 tbsp. oil

To Start:
Dice onion, apricots, and dates.
Steep saffron in 1.5c hot water with stock cube or stock powder.

To cook:
In a saucepan, heat oil, and brown lamb with diced onion and apricots. 6 minutes or until cooked through.
Next add dry spices, cumin, coriander, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom pods and turmeric, stir continuously until fragrant.
Add the flour and mix thoroughly about 3 minutes.
Next add the drained chick peas, honey, almonds and stock with saffron. Stir thoroughly and simmer for 15 minutes on low heat.
Right before being done toss some mint leaves on it for a few minutes.
Serve over couscous. Enjoy!

Thursday 8 August 2013

Pork and Bacon Sloppy Joes

I had some extra pork mince and I wanted to do something old school and summery, but give it a twist! This was the perfect thing for me, as I’ve never made sloppy Joes from scratch. For any of you that don’t know what a Sloppy Joe is, traditionally it’s beef mince with a sauce made out of ketchup and Worcestershire sauce and other spices that make it a really sloppy meat patty you throw on a bun and get messy! It’s a delicious treat and I will be making my version again, which is with pork and bacon! This recipe makes 2-3 depending on how much you want on your bun, enjoy!

250g pork mince
4 smoked bacon slices
½ onion
½ green pepper
¾ c. ketchup
1 tbsp. yellow mustard
1 tbsp. brown sugar
2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
Salt + pepper to taste
½ tsp. garlic powder
1 tbsp. oil
2 whole wheat baps

To Start:
Dice the onion and pepper fairly small.
Chop the bacon into small pieces.

To cook:
In a large skillet heat the oil, and add the bacon onions and peppers.
Cook until the bacon gets crispy, but don’t burn the onions. About 5 minutes.
Next add the pork mince and break up with a spoon until really fine, until completely cooked a further 5 minutes.
Next add the ketchup, mustard, brown sugar, Worcester sauce, garlic powder.
Mix thoroughly and simmer, on low for a couple of minutes until the sauce heats thoroughly.
To serve, plop the mixture on any buns of your choice and enjoy!

Monday 5 August 2013

Sausage Cassoulet with Bacon

I’ve always been into making casseroles, but I wanted to make a French inspired dish, with sausages and bacon. I thought that I would be in for slaving all day in the kitchen, but what I found was quite the opposite! It was such a simple dinner to throw together. I personally made my own cannellini beans in some stock with onions and carrots, but I would recommend anyone in a hurry to go for tinned beans, which is what I’m writing up the recipe for. This serves 4 people. Enjoy!

6 traditional plain sausages
4 large tomatoes
2 tins of cannellini beans (you can use any white beans)
1 glass of white wine
2 large carrots
1 large onion
3 cloves garlic
2 slices of smoked bacon
1 tsp. pepper
1 beef stock pot/cube
1 c. water (if needed)
1 tbsp. oil

To start:
Heat oven to 190C or 375F
Chop up the onions, carrot, bacon.
Cut up tomatoes and garlic set aside.

To Cook:
In a large skillet (an ovenproof one is ideal), heat the oil and add the onions carrots and bacon. Sauté a few minutes until the bacon gets a little crispy.
Next add the sausages, stirring constantly for a few minutes.
Next add the glass of wine and simmer until that reduces down by half.
Then add the rest of your ingredients, the tomatoes, garlic, pepper, stock pot, beans (undrained). Bring up to a boil, and then remove from heat. You want a thick stew consistency, so if it's not juicy enough add a little water.

To Finish:
If you’re using an ovenproof dish, stick it in the oven for 30 minutes.
If not, transfer to an oven safe dish, and bake for 30 minutes. Be careful the mixture is nuclear hot!

Friday 2 August 2013

Spicy Pork and Apple Meatballs

I had some pork mince and I wasn't sure what to do with it, so I decided to make some meatballs! I've made meatballs before but I wanted to try something new, a new way to keep the flavor and to keep it moist. I decided to grate an apple in for some added texture and it worked out great, the meatballs came out really lovely and juicy. These would be great with a sauce, or simply eaten on their own or in a sandwich! Really good. This is a small portion for two people and it makes 8 meatballs, you can double it for a family portion quite easily.Enjoy!

250g pork mince
1 small apple
½ small onion
½ green pepper
1 slice of bread
1 egg
½ tsp. dried basil
½ tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried chillies
½ tsp. salt
1-2 tbsp. oil

To start:
Chop the onion and the pepper as finely as you can.
Grate as much of the apple as you can skin and all.
Tear the bread into small pieces.
In a bowl combine all of the ingredients.
Clean your hands and mix it up with your fingers, it’s the only way to get it all mixed thoroughly.

To cook:
Form the meatballs by rolling into a ball in your hands, I made 8 with this recipe so about golf ball size.
In a non-stick skillet, heat some oil, when hot add the meatballs and turn continuously. Cook about 5 minutes on each side.
When the meatballs are done they’ll feel very firm when you press into them they will resist.
Enjoy hot with some sauce, or on their own in a sandwich!

Tuesday 30 July 2013

Easy Dal Curry with Veggies

I’ve made this several times, and each time I add something different, and change it up. It’s so versatile and can be used in so many different ways. I enjoy this as a simple bowl of goodness with a piece of naan bread and a dollop of yogurt and chutney. This also makes amazing leftovers so keep them to eat them! The recipe itself serves about 4. Enjoy.

1 c. Dal – red split lentils
1 eggplant
1 large onion
1 chili
1 green pepper
3 large tomatoes (can use tinned)
2 medium potatoes
3 garlic cloves
1 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. fenugreek seeds
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tbsp. curry paste (I use madras)
3 cups water
1-2 tbsp. butter
Mango chutney

To start:
Chop up the potatoes and add to a large saucepan with the lentils, cumin, half the ginger, coriander, turmeric and water. Bring to a boil, and then turn down to a gentle simmer and cover.

While that’s cooking, chop/dice the eggplant, onion, green pepper, chilli.
In a pan big enough to hold all the veggies, heat the butter until melted and add the chopped vegetables, and crush in the garlic.
Stir around until veggies become fragrant and then add the curry paste, fenugreek seeds, and remaining ginger, continuously stirring.

To finish:
Once the veggies have softened, add them to the lentils and potatoes and stir around. You may need to add a bit of water if it’s too thick.
Dice the tomatoes and toss in.
Salt to taste and leave to simmer for about 10 more minutes.
Serve hot with naan bread, or rice, and a dollop of chutney and yogurt.

Thursday 25 July 2013

Gina's Texan BBQ Sauce

A few months ago I put together a little party and had a pulled pork roast in the oven. I made a BBQ sauce that accompanied it, and it was so delicious and I got such great reviews I have decided to post the recipe. I’m sure that a lot of Texans will find it very easy to find this type of BBQ sauce at their local shop, but here in the UK there’s nothing like it. To make it I did have to import a few secret weapons and use my secret stash of ingredients from back home. I understand that many won’t be able to get some of these ingredients, but for those who can this makes a delicious BBQ sauce and will be a hit on all of your BBQ dishes! Enjoy.

700g ketchup (about 2-3cups)
½ c. apple cider vinegar
¼ c. French’s American mustard
½ c. brown sugar
1 tbsp. liquid smoke (mesquite)
1 tbsp. fiesta steak seasoning
2 tbsp. HP sauce
1 c. store bought BBQ sauce (any kind will do)
Couple dashes of Worcestershire sauce
Couple dashes of soy sauce

To cook:
Dump all these ingredients into a pan and bring up to a simmer. Not too fast or you’ll be wearing it!
Simmer for about 30 minutes, taste and adjust seasoning. You might want to add more steak seasoning, or more liquid smoke depending on your tastes.
Cool completely and put into a jar, will last in the fridge several months sealed properly.

Note: If you want to make this and want to make your own steak seasoning here is a quick guide for the spices involved:
Cracked black pepper
Chilli powder
Garlic powder
Onion powder
Brown sugar

I would add equal portions of these and adjust as necessary. Good luck!

Tuesday 23 July 2013

Spicy Chicken and Chorizo Jambalaya

I have made this recipe before, but I wanted to make an original version without any subsitutions because the previous recipe was made with reduced fat sausage and brown rice. Which is wonderful, but I was interested in the original version for this recipe. It’s a very large recipe so I cut it in half, if you want to feed a crowd I would suggest doubling it, and you might even have leftovers for the fridge! I like my jambalaya spicy, but you can add any level of spice that you prefer. Also I know that in the US it might be harder to get hold of Spanish chorizo, just use any pork sausage smoked with a lot of flavour. Enjoy!

250g chicken breasts diced
100g Spanish chorizo
1 red pepper
1 large onion
6 spring onions
1 punnet cherry tomatoes
2 garlic cloves
1 c long grain rice
2 tbsp. paprika
1 tbsp. Cajun seasoning
½ tsp. cayenne
½ tsp. salt
1 chicken stock cube
2-3 c. boiling water
1 tbsp. olive oil

To start:
Dice onions, peppers, chicken and chorizo. Crush the garlic and set aside separately.
Slice the spring onions and halve the cherry tomatoes and set aside.

To cook:
In a large deep pan heat the oil until hot, and then add the chicken and chorizo. Stir constantly about 5 minutes.
To that add the brown sugar and garlic, stirring continuously. 3 minutes.
Next add the peppers and onion stir around for a further 3 minutes.
Next add the rice and 1 tbsp. paprika, stir until incorporated.
Add cayenne, salt, chicken stock cube, Cajun seasoning, remaining 1 tbsp. paprika and 2 cups of water.
Bring up to a boil, then turn down to low heat and cover for about 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes check for doneness, you might need to add a little more water.
Add the more than half the spring onions and half the cherry tomatoes (leave some for garnish), cover for a further 5 minutes.
Adjust seasoning and stir thoroughly. Serve immediately.

Note: This is a great recipe with shrimp as well!

Friday 19 July 2013

BBQ Turkey Meatloaf with Bulgar

Who doesn’t love meatloaf? I certainly do, and it’s so easy to make. It’s a great week night meal, and makes excellent leftovers. I’m not a huge fan of leftovers but I will always make a meatloaf sandwich! I used turkey breast mince for this but you can use any type of mince you want. I personally find that using turkey breast tastes better and doesn’t make you feel as weighed down as beef or pork, combined with the bulgar wheat that I added it just keeps it lighter. This easily serves 4, and will make leftovers as well.

500g turkey breast mince
½ red pepper
1 small onion
1 stalk celery
¼ c. bulgar wheat
2 eggs
200g tinned tomatoes (half a can, you can use fresh though)
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. pepper
½ - 1 c. BBQ sauce

To Start:
Preheat oven to 190C or 375F
Dice pepper onion celery.
In a large bowl combine all ingredients except the BBQ sauce (mixing with hands is best!).

To Cook:
In a small oven dish, place the meatloaf mixture in and spread it out.
Pour the BBQ sauce on top and spread around creating an even layer.
Pop in the oven and bake for 35-45 minutes. You’ll know it’s done because the meat will pull away from the sides and be bubbly in the middle.

Wednesday 17 July 2013

Chorizo and Potato Quesadillas

I know what you’re thinking, what am I doing in London trying to make quesadillas?! Well, thankfully they have tortillas here and lots of different kinds of cheeses so it’s easy for me to make something up! I had wanted to try this idea for a while, cubed Spanish chorizo with potatoes peppers and cheese, but what cheese was it going to be was the question? Since this was the biggest challenge, I had to do some research and tasting. I was wanting a bit of queso fresco, but since that wasn’t going to happen I made due with some Lancashire cheese, which is wonderfully melty and crumbly. I would suggest anyone getting Spanish chorizo for this, as Mexican chorizo is too greasy, and not firm like a sausage like Spanish chorizo. This recipe will make about 2 large quesadillas. Enjoy!


4 large tortillas
1 chorizo ring (200g)
1 clove garlic
1 green bell pepper
1 chilli
½ onion
1 c. grated Lancashire cheese (or any melty cheese you like)
1 tbsp. oil

To Start:
Scrub the potato and poke holes into it with a knife, stick it in the microwave for 4 minutes. (You can fry it in the pan, but who has time for that?)
Dice the green pepper, chorizo and onion.
Crush the garlic.
Grate your cheese.
When the potato is done and cooled, dice it in small chunks.

To Cook and Assemble:

Heat a little oil in a pan until hot; when hot add the chorizo, potatoes, peppers, onion and garlic.
When the peppers are soft and the potatoes are crispy, turn off heat and set aside.
On a comal or cast iron skillet, heat the tortillas, after you turn them once, place some of the filling around the whole surface of the tortilla, top with grated cheese and place another tortilla on top.
Press down with a spatula making sure that the cheese melts.
Flip carefully (I recommend a very large spatula). Once flipped and the cheese is melted in keeping both tortillas together you can remove from heat and repeat for the next one.
Cut your quesadillas in four slices and enjoy!

Monday 15 July 2013

Jerky Duck Legs with Rice and Peas

I’ve really wanted to try to do a jerk marinade because I absolutely love sweet and savoury flavours. Although I haven’t eaten a whole lot of Caribbean food, I have taken inspiration from a jerk seasoning and made my own. It’s not something you have to make yourself but it’s a fun extra step. You can also use a marinade and jazz it up a little with fresh ginger and spices to wake up the flavours. Also I’m sure this dish could go well with chicken legs as well, I just happened to have the duck legs around. I love the rice and peas as a side dish, it’s just rice cooked in coconut milk with some kidney beans mixed in. Really delicious and easy to make! The marinade is easily enough for 4 legs. Enjoy!

For Duck and Marinade:
1 large onion
¼ c. vegetable oil
½ c. orange juice
¼ c. soy sauce
¼ c. brown sugar
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp. each cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice
2 large hot chillies (scotch bonnet)
1 thumb size knob of ginger
1 tsp. thyme
2 duck legs

For the Rice:
1 c. basmati rice
400ml coconut milk
150ml water
1 400g tin kidney beans
1 bunch green onions

To start:
Put every ingredient (except duck legs) into a food processor or blender, don’t worry about peeling anything.
Blitz it up until it’s a fine puree.
Stab the legs a few times with a knife or fork, and pour marinade over legs. Ideally a zip lock bag.
Store in the fridge for at least 2hrs but the longer the better.

To cook:
Preheat oven to 190C or 375F.
Place legs in a small roasting tin and pour a small portion of the marinade over the legs.
Cover with foil and bake 1hr.
Uncover the foil and let bake for a further 15 minutes.

For the Rice:
Bring rice, coconut milk and water up to a boil.
Turn down to low heat and simmer for about 15 minutes.
Drain and rinse the kidney beans and add to the rice when soft and cooked.
Chop green onions and add to rice and bean mixture.
Serve warm with the roasted duck legs.

Thursday 11 July 2013

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies with Orange Dark Chocolate

I decided to blog about these cookies because they came out so good. I have made this recipe before based on another online recipe, but I altered it to make it my own of course. These are so easy and fast to make, it took me twenty minutes in all to whip them up. My neighbour had a birthday and I wanted to give her a little something. This was the perfect recipe, as it only yields about eight cookies. So they are perfect if you just are hankering for something sweet, but don’t want 50 cookies staring you in the face! These cookies are everything you want in a cookie, thick, chewy and not too sweet. Enjoy!

110g (½ c.) butter softened
130g (2/3 c.) light brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 large egg
90g (3/4 c.) flour
½ tsp. cinnamon
Pinch nutmeg (small pinch)
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. fine sea salt
130g (1 ½ c.) porridge oats
150g (1 c.) raisins
50g (half a bar)Lindt dark chocolate and orange bar bashed up

To make:
I generally start by mixing up the egg, sugar and vanilla until smooth next all of the dry ingredients.
Add the raisins and chocolate last.

Preheat an oven to 175C or 350F and bake these for about 10-15 minutes. I give such a big time frame because I personally like mine at about 13 minutes but it might be too soft for someone else.
Cool on a rack and serve warm!

Note: You can use any type of chocolate, but this is the kind I used. These also can have ½ c. walnuts added without the chocolate if you just want oatmeal raisin!

Tuesday 9 July 2013

Gina's El Charro Pinto Beans

This is just my recipe for pinto beans, and one of my most requested recipes. This recipe can also be borracho beans, which are traditionally with beer, but I generally prefer without, but still love all of the peppers and onions added to the beans. It just adds a different flavour that I think adds a lot of depth. There are so many things to do with the beans after they’re done cooking so I made a section at the bottom with a few ideas in case you’re stumped for ideas! This will feed a giant crowd, and can also be cut in half for practicality if you don’t have a large pot. Enjoy!

500g dried pinto beans
½ green bell pepper
1 large onion
200g smoked bacon or ham hock
2 tsp. black pepper
100g ( ¼ can) diced tomatoes
2 jalepenos or chillies
1 bunch of coriander
3 cloves garlic
salt to taste

To start:
Rinse the beans until nice and clean and pick out any stones or anything else foreign.
Place the beans in a large pot of water, cover them by at least 3-4 inches.
Turn on the heat to high.
Chop onions, chillies, bacon, bell pepper, and garlic.
Add to the pan along with the pepper.
Do not add salt! (yet)

To cook:
Bring to a boil and then turn down to a low simmer for about 2.5-4hrs.
They are ready to test at about 2.5hrs and cook to your desired softness.
You can now add salt to taste, as well as the tomatoes.
Add handful of chopped coriander when you take it off the heat.

To EAT: (A new section!)
You can do so many things with these beans.
Eat them as a ‘soup’.
Mash them up and make a bean dip.
Mash and make ‘refried beans’.
Add to a chili.
Have as a side dish to any meat.
Freeze what you won’t use in 2 days. It will be good for several months in the freezer.

Note: As a general rule it’s important not to salt beans at the start of cooking. Waiting until the end lends a softer bean and more flavorful in my opinion.

Thursday 4 July 2013

Bisquick Strawberry Shortcakes

I absolutely love this recipe for when strawberries are in season as they are now. I can’t get good angel food cake to make my mom’s strawberry shortcake so my default is the bisquick biscuits! This is definitely a classic betty crocker recipe, but as usual I always try to put a little spin on it to make it special, and go that extra mile to make it taste delicious. You can make as many or as little biscuits as you want, what you do is follow the bisquick biscuit recipe for however many you are going to need. I cut mine in half so I could make two giant biscuits. For the British cooks, you they have bisquick now, and I just looked and it’s now actually called Bisquick too! This serves two very large portions, but you can adjust as you like! Enjoy!

For the Biscuits:
1 ¼ c. Bisquick
2/3rd c. milk (maybe less, add gradually to see, you want a dough consistency)
1 tbsp. sugar
Pinch cinnamon

For the Strawberries:
450g strawberries
1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp. golden caster sugar (you can use regular sugar, I find that caster dissolves faster)

100ml double cream – get the good stuff, go on
1.5 tbsp. caster sugar

To start:
Remove all of the stems from the strawberries and slice.
Add the sugar and balsamic vinegar, and stir to combine. Set aside while you’re tending to the other items.
Stir frequently.
Give them at least 20-30 minutes to macerate.

For the cream, add the sugar and whip either by hand or in a food processor until thick and gorgeous.
Set aside in the fridge.

For the biscuits:
Preheat the oven 220C (or 450F).
To the flour add sugar and cinnamon, mix thoroughly.
Slowly add half of the milk and stir, add more gradually a little at a time, you want it to form a dough, and not be too wet or sticky.
Place on a floured surface and roll into a ball and pat down until it’s about 2 inches thick, take a glass or biscuit cutter and cut out a biscuit, mix the dough together and repeat for the second biscuit.
Place in the oven for about 8-10 minutes until golden brown.
When the biscuits are all done pop them open, spread some thick cream on top, then add the strawberries making sure to get the juice on the biscuits. Add some cream on top and you’re ready to go!

Monday 1 July 2013

Mixed Seafood Paella

I love paella and it’s so easy to make at home. I know a lot of us don’t have a huge cast iron paella pan with a large gas flame, but it’s really simple to imitate it at home. I absolutely love this dish and I have it many different ways, however I’m writing to share the simplest version I make which is mixed seafood. You can use any seafood for this, I tend to buy the seafood selection packages, with muscles, squid, and prawns, and I also add an extra package of prawns because I love them. Other popular editions are Spanish chorizo, and chicken breasts or anything you’d like. This recipe serves 2-3, and is so simple! Enjoy!

1 c. sushi rice (I like short grain for this but you could use Arborio or American long grain as well)
200g mixed seafood
100g prawns
1 lemon cut into wedges
10 strands saffron
2 garlic cloves crushed
½ c. frozen peas
½ red pepper sliced
½ onion sliced
1 cube of fish bullion (I use knorr stock pots – they dissolve in hot water)
1-2 tbsp. olive oil
2 c. boiling water
pinch of salt and pepper to taste

To start:
Get all of the ingredients together and ready to use, peas, saffron, stock cube pot etc…
Get the onion and red pepper sliced.
Boil the water.

To Cook:
In a large sauté pan, heat the oil over high heat, when really hot add the onion, and pepper and stir around for a few minutes.
Next add the rice and stir constantly.
Next add the garlic, seafood, peas, stock, water, and salt (not too much, the stock has salt).
Sprinkle the saffron threads around – remember to only use a tiny pinch.
Arrange the lemon wedges around the pan.
Bring up to a vigorous boil and turn down to the lowest heat and cover.
Cook for 15 minutes or until rice is done and fluffy.

Note: In traditional paella the goal is to have a crispy layer on the bottom that compliments the soft texture of the rice. I haven’t been able to recreate that without using a cast iron pan, I find it just as lovely without it. And it’s so much simpler not having to worry about burning the bottom!

Friday 28 June 2013

Lamb and Spinach Pastilla/Bastilla

It’s no secret I love Moroccan food, but I wanted to try something I’ve gotten in a restaurant that I really enjoyed. This is called a Bastilla or Pastilla the words are used interchangeably in different cultures but mean the same packet of meat wrapped in filo dough. I don’t expect this is one of the most sought after dishes I make but it was really easy and really delicious! I’m only a bit bummed that I didn’t get a great photograph of the sliced product, but if you’re like me and you like the sweet and salty element in food then you’ll love this dish! It’s got lots of earthy notes to it. And the crunch of the filo pastry is so delicious. Try it for your family and see. I made a slightly more complex one where I added spinach and beans as a layer but you could easily just use the meat. Enjoy!

Ingredients for Pastilla:

500g Lamb mince
1 onion
½ tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. coriander
1 tsp. nutmeg
¼ c. dates
¼ c. sultanas
¼ c. pistachio
1 tbsp honey
Fresh coriander
Fresh mint
1 270g package filo dough (fresh or frozen make sure it’s thawed)
1 tbsp. oil
2 tbsp. melted butter
1 egg yolk
Powdered sugar and cinnamon to finish

Spinach Layer:
400g washed spinach
250g beans (I used tinned beans in sauce, but cannellini would be perfect)
½ onion diced
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp. tomato paste
Juice of half a lemon
½ onion
Ras el hanout
1 tbsp. oil

To start:
Chop onion, dates, sultanas, pistachios to about the same size.
Chop mint and coriander.
Chop onion for spinach, and set aside.

To Cook:
In a large sauté pan, start to brown your lamb, when brown add in the onions, dates, sultanas, pistachios, and spices, and cook down for a further 10-15 minutes.
Once cooked add the honey and herbs, mix thoroughly and turn off heat and set aside.

For the Spinach:
Saute the onion in hot oil for a few minutes then add the washed spinach and sauté until wilted, add the garlic clove and can of beans and stir to cook down.
Next add the tomato paste, lemon juice and spices.
Combine and set aside.

To Combine:
You will want to work very quickly with this dough and also be very careful as it’s fragile, so make sure you have your egg yolk and melted butter handy.
In a pie dish, fold each piece of filo dough in half and lay down around the bottom of the pie dish and also to cover sides, about 3-4 pieces.
Brush the entire area with melted butter.
Next lay down the spinach layer, try to make sure there’s no juice.
Cover with another piece of filo dough, and brush with butter.
Next add the lamb mixture and cover again with a folded piece of filo dough, brush with butter.
Next add all of the remaining filo dough on top and pull in all of the sides and tuck them under to make a packet.
Brush the top with butter and egg yolk.
Bake in a 175C oven for 20-30 minutes or until browned nicely.
When you remove from the oven sprinkle with powdered sugar and cinnamon.
Slice just like a pie and serve!

Monday 24 June 2013

Incredi'blue' Cheese Coleslaw

This weekend, I decided to do a BBQ dinner inside to compensate for the lack of sunshine! Needless to say it came out pretty good. I made a few dishes that I’ll be blogging about periodically so keep an eye out. I can’t say that I’ve ever eaten this before, but I absolutely love cheese coleslaw sold here in the UK, so I decided that it would be nice to bring it up a notch and add some proper blue cheese and give it some love. Whether you’re interested in blue cheese or not, you can always try this with less blue cheese, or none at all. The recipe for the slaw is great with or without the cheese. Enjoy!

For the dressing:
½ c. mayo
¼ c. non-fat Greek yogurt
¼ c. milk
½ tsp. celery salt
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. sugar
2 tbsp. grated onion (about ½ onion pulp)

For the Slaw:
½ head white cabbage
½ head (or more) purple cabbage
3 carrots
½ small onion
100g blue cheese (I used Colston Basett)

To Start:
Shred by either knife or food processor, cabbage, carrot. You can do this step far in advance and mix the dressing before you serve.

For the dressing:
I find a jar works perfectly for this recipe, but if you don’t have one, use a wisk in a bowl.
Combine all ingredients (except cheese) until well mixed, and set aside in the fridge until mixing.

To finish, mix slaw and dressing, pouring a little dressing at a time. When you're at the consistancy you like crumble in the cheese. Enjoy!