Friday 28 March 2014

Banana Raisin Bread

I’ve stated before I don’t really like bananas. But I buy them every single week. Why? I don’t have a clue! Well I do know, sometimes when they’re good, they’re REALLY good. So I get them and my husband has his pick over the fruit and usually takes my unwanted bananas. This week I’ve found myself with a lot of extras, so as I’ve stated before in my banana using recipes, I need to use them up fast. What better way than banana bread. I really love banana bread and have blogged several recipes. This one I took no inspiration from any other recipes and used up what was in my cupboard. I had some mixed dried fruit leftover from the hols and I decided to dump that in, and it turned into a really yummy bread! Perfect for a cup of tea, this is my kind of sweet. I labelled it ‘banana raisin bread’ because the dried fruit mix I used has raisins in it but in addition it also has dried dates, currants, and mixed dried citrus peel. I suspect this recipe would be a great base for any additional dried fruits like cranberries or blueberries. Have a go! This makes about 12-18 slices, depending on how you like your bread!

2 c. plain flour
1 ½ c. granulated sugar
4 very ripe bananas mashed (about 1 ½ c.)
3 eggs
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
1 ½ c. dried fruit with mixed peel
¼ tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
½ tbsp. orange zest (or very finely chopped orange rind)

For the Bread:
Heat oven to 185C.
In a large bowl, mash all the banana, and then mix with the sugar, eggs, vanilla, and salt.
Next sift in the flour, baking powder, and baking soda.
Mix thoroughly.
Next fold in your dried fruit and orange zest (if you’re using it).
Grease a loaf tin and bake for 30m-1hr. Depending on your oven check it every 15 minutes after the first half hour.

Monday 24 March 2014

Smoked Salmon Deviled Eggs

Deviled eggs are a classic party food, and these I decided to make with a very simple twist. For those of you who don’t frequently eat deviled eggs they’re a tiny bit of joy into the mouth. Hard boiled eggs, with the yolk taken out and mixed with mayonnaise or any other types of ingredients and fill them back in the half white shells. They’re perfect for any occasion, such as picnics, BBQs, holidays and gatherings. They’re so versatile too; you can use this recipe to jump into something more adventurous. The sky is the limit really because so many things go with eggs. My recipe here is for 12, but you can easily do more as I’ve found at so many gatherings I’m often left with none! Spring is coming up and it’s a perfect time to give it a go!
Smoked Salmon Deviled Eggs
Perfect treat to impress guests!

6 hard-boiled eggs
5 tbsp. extra light mayo (I use Hellmann’s)
100g smoked salmon
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
Garlic powder
Paprika for dusting

To Start:
Peel the eggs, slice carefully in half and remove the yolk and place into small bowl.
Arrange the egg white halves nicely on a platter.
Dice the salmon into very small pieces

To Make:
Mix the yolks thoroughly with a fork to break up any lumps.
Add the mayo and the Dijon and mix thoroughly. (A hand blender works fantastic here).
Salt and pepper to taste with a dash of garlic powder.
Fold in the smoked salmon and mix to incorporate.
In a piping bag carefully add the mixture and pipe into the egg whites.
Alternatively you can spoon it in as well.
Refrigerate covered in cling film, eat on the same day.

Friday 14 March 2014

Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes with Baileys Buttercream Icing

I am always trying to keep up with the seasons by buying seasonal items, as well as making recipes for holidays and giving people tips for entertaining. Today I decided to celebrate Irish heritage and searched through loads of recipes. I had a chocolate cake in mind and I wanted to incorporate Guinness. I think I have seen Guinness chocolate cake on a menu once. So I searched through many recipes and combined them into my own. I must say this is one of the best chocolate cake/cupcake recipes I’ve ever made on my own. I have no idea where these recipes started from but the base idea is the same. I tweaked it to fit my own needs and you should make it and see how it goes! I also decided “Hey, if I’m getting Irish, I might as well make something with Baileys! Right?” I thought it was a great idea. I have no idea how to really make buttercream but I went on my instincts from watching my mom make icing and it really worked. Came out really good! I encourage anyone to try this for St. Patty’s Day or for any occasion you want to impress. This recipe makes 12 cupcakes but can easily be doubled for a larger group. Oh and if you omit the Baileys in the icing it would be appropriate for children, but as the recipe goes they’re for adults. Enjoy!

*Note: For all my American readers, it’s really hard for me to convert this recipe into US measurements, I suggest you get a scale, or if you’re in a pinch, message me on my Facebook page and I can walk you through it in US measurements.
Guinness chocolate cupcakes with Baileys buttercream
Very light and fluffy.

125g unsalted butter
125g self-raising flour
100g dark brown soft sugar
50g Silver spoon Half Spoon (If you don’t have this use 100g granulated white sugar)
50g Green & Blacks Cocoa powder
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 large egg
75ml non-fat yogurt ( I used Yeo Valley)
125ml Guinness draught

For the Icing:
55g unsalted butter room temperature
200-300g icing sugar
3-5 tbsp. Baileys Irish Cream Liqueur

To start:
Heat an oven to 175C or 350F
Guinness chocolate cupcakes with Baileys buttercreamIn a medium saucepan combine, butter, brown sugar, Guinness, cocoa powder and vanilla on a low heat until the butter and brown sugar is melted – do not boil. Take off heat and leave to cool slightly.
In another big bowl, sift together flour salt, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Slowly pour the liquid into the dry ingredients and stir to combine until smooth.
Next add the egg and yogurt and stir well until combined and no lumps.

To Bake:
Line 12 muffin cups and pour the batter in evenly through the cups.
When the oven is hot place them in the middle and bake for 20-25minutes.
At about 20 minutes check them with a tooth pick, if it doesn’t come out clean cook for a further 5 minutes.
These cupcakes are REALLY soft and will feel uncooked.
Take them out and leave them to cool completely before trying to eat them or ice them.

To Finish with Buttercream and Ice:
You can do this while the cupcakes are baking.
There really isn’t an easy way to explain this; it’s a bit of trial and error getting the mixture right.
The idea is to mash all the butter until soft and have it absorb the sugar a little at a time.
When the butter has absorbed some sugar, add a little bit of Baileys, then more sugar then repeat until you have a good thick consistency and enough icing for your cupcakes.
These measurements did my cupcakes no problem.

Wednesday 12 March 2014

Lemon and Stem Ginger Coconut Macaroons

I’ve had this coconut lurking around in my cupboards and I’ve been wondering what to do with it. Then I realized, why not make macaroons? I absolutely adore them, but how can I make them better? As I was looking around in my cupboard, as this is how most of the recipes I make transpire, I found some crystalized stem ginger. What a fantastic idea I thought! Lemon, coconut, ginger; what could go wrong? Nothing! These were absolutely delicious; I really enjoyed them even though the texture of the coconut isn't exactly like it is back home. We have a shredded coconut which tends to be longer and isn’t so chopped up as desiccated coconut. These none the less were delicious, and go perfectly with a cup of tea. These are very simple and yield about 12. If you can’t find crystalized ginger you can easily grate one tsp of ginger in. Enjoy!

150g desiccated coconut (about 1.5c shredded)
100g caster sugar (½ c. fine sugar)
100g crystalized stem ginger chopped fine
1 tbsp. ground almonds
2 egg whites beaten very soft peaks
Zest of one large lemon

To Start:
Lemon and Ginger Coconut macaroons.Heat oven to 180C (375F).
Measure out coconut and almond flour and mix thoroughly.
Dice the crystalized ginger finely and zest the lemon. Mix in with the coconut and almond flour thoroughly.
In another bowl whip the egg whites until just light and fluffy, not looking for stiff peaks, just some froth.
Slowly add in the sugar a little at a time.
Fold in the coconut, almond flour, ginger and lemon zest a little at a time and mix thoroughly.

To Bake:
With two spoons form the balls and place them on a wax paper lined baking tray.
Bake for about 20 minutes or until lightly toasted and brown.
Cool completely before removing from wax paper.

Monday 10 March 2014

Mom's Peach Pudding

I've previously posted this recipe, and I decided to make it again over the weekend and change make sure the measurements were good. They're great! This is one of my favorite dishes that my mom makes. Most importantly this is the only dish she makes that I can replicate with complete confidence that it will taste like the real thing. It’s very simple to make and can feed up to 6 people but I guarantee you they’ll want more! Try it out, it’s fool proof and you won’t regret it.

peach pudding
Serve it hot with ice cream!
What you’ll need In Two Parts:
¾ c. sugar
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. cinnamon
1 c. flour
4 tbsp. butter melted
½ c. milk
3 cans sliced peaches drained or equivalent fresh peaches or frozen (be approx.)

To start:
Drain the peaches and spread out on the bottom of a baking dish.
Mix the butter with the sugar until well incorporated.
Next add the flour, cinnamon, salt, baking powder and milk; mix until well combined.
Spread this mixture on top of the peaches. As evenly as you can but it doesn’t have to be perfect.

Next you’ll need:
fresh out of the oven
MMM Fresh out of the oven!
½ c sugar
1 tbsp. corn starch (corn flour)
¼. Tsp. salt
½-1c. boiling water

To combine:
Mix the sugar, salt, corn starch together in a bowl and sprinkle on top of the peaches and batter. (You don’t have to use all this mixture, but a generous amount).
Next pour 1 c. boiling water over the top of the whole pan. (If 1 c. looks like too much water cut it down according to your pan size).
Bake in the oven at 180C (350F) for about 50 minutes until bubbly and golden brown!
Serve HOT with vanilla ice cream!!

Friday 7 March 2014

Halloumi Stuffed Peppers with a Spicy Tomato Sauce

I love a good vegetarian dish for supper as well as a good Moroccan spiced dish. This fortunately combines both! It’s fairly easy to put together as well, but once it’s together you shove it in the oven and forget about it. There are also a million things you can do with the couscous stuffing. You can eat it as a side by itself or stuff it into a chicken or lamb roulade. You could also integrate other ingredients; the options are endless! I made this dish to serve as a main course for two people making 4-5 peppers. It can easily be a side dish as well, just up the ingredients a bit.
Couscous and Halloumi stuffed peppers with a tomato sauce
Light lunch, dinner or a side dish!

1 400g tin of tomatoes
2 medium onions
75g dried whole wheat couscous
225g block halloumi
4 large peppers
3 cloves garlic
50g dried dates
50g dried pistachios
2-4 tbsp. ras el hanout rub
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp. olive oil

For the Sauce:
Dice one onion and chop garlic.
In a saucepan combine tinned tomatoes, onion, garlic, and 1-2 tbsp. ras el hanout.
Bring to a boil and let it reduce until the onions are soft, about 10 minutes. (You might need to add half can of water)

For the Couscous:
Dice the other onion and garlic.
Slice the dried dates and pistachios.
In a small pan heat the oil and fry the onion, garlic, and dates until soft.
At the end add the pistachios and take off heat.
In a bowl mix the dried couscous with the friend onions, garlic, dates, and pistachios.
Pour about 250ml boiling water on to the couscous, cover with cling film and set aside.

To Assemble:
When the sauce is done take off heat.
Cut the tops off the peppers and remove seeds and veins.
Cut the halloumi in about 24 chunks (six pieces for each pepper)
Place a ladle of sauce at the bottom of the dish.
Place halloumi in each pepper arranged so you can still fill with the couscous mixture.
By now the couscous should be rehydrated and ready to fluff and fill. Use a large table spoon to fill each pepper evenly and repeat for all of the peppers.
Pour the rest of the sauce over the peppers.
Cover with foil and bake for about 45mins-1hr at 180.

Tuesday 4 March 2014

Turkey Escalopes Stuffed with Spinach and Cream Cheese

I’ve wanted to stuff some meat for a long time! Escalopes are the perfect medium for that, and you can easily use pork, chicken, and beef would go especially nice with this recipe. I used turkey in this particular recipe but like I said, anything will do. I couldn’t quite get them to ‘roll’ like a roulade, but I ended up just pounding the fillets out and folding them in half and baking them with a tooth pick (soaked of course so they won’t burn). I love these and I hope you do too. You can also use this as inspiration for finding fillings of your own. This recipe serves 2-4 depending on how hungry you are!
Turkey escalopes stuffed with spinach and cream cheese.
Serve with any dipping sauce you'd like! I like cranberry.

350-500g turkey escalopes of similar size
75g extra light cream cheese
150g frozen chopped spinach defrosted and drained thoroughly
½ diced red onion
½ red pepper sliced thinly
1 garlic clove crushed
½ tbsp. light olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

To Start:
Soak about 6 tooth picks in water.
Heat the oven to 200C.
In between two pieces of wax paper or cling film, pound out the escalopes until thin.
Heat a large pan with the oil until smoking hot.
Season the escalopes and pan sear on one side in the hot pan, only to get color but not to cook through.
Remove from pan and set aside.

To Assemble and Cook:
Mix the spinach, cream cheese, crushed garlic, and red onion together in a bowl.
Spread a layer onto the flat escalope, top with a few slices of thin red pepper.
Fold over and secure with a tooth pick.
Bake in a hot oven for about 45 minutes.