Sunday, 17 August 2014

Amish Sugar Cookies (sort of !)

Oven: 200 deg.C : 400 deg.F
2 large eggs
1.1/2 cups of white sugar
1 cup of vegetable oil
1 cup of either buttermilk, OR half whole milk yogurt and fromage frais
1 tablespoon of baking powder
3 cups of plain (all purpose) flour
1 tsp. of vanilla extract

some Demerara sugar mixed with cinnamon for sprinkling on top of batter.

1. Beat together the eggs, sugar and oil.  This already begins to look like thick custard.
2. Add the buttermilk and baking powder
3. Beat in the flour.  Let the batter stand for 5 mins.
4. Butter a traybake tray and ladle the mixture in.  It shouldn't quite reach the top of the tin.
5. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over and bake until golden, feels firm and springs back slightly when touched.  The cake should just be shrinking from the sides of the tin*
6. Cool slightly and cut into squares.  (These are lovely when still warm :) )

buttered tin

ready for the oven

*cake just shrinking from the sides

cut into squares when cool, then leave till cold.
I found this recipe on* and made half the recipe just to try them out.  I found the batter was like a thick custard and decided to pour it into a traybake tray and bake it that way. The batter wasn't  stiff enough as a dough.  
This is not a crisp cookie/biscuit but just inbetween a cake and biscuit.  Whether I made them correctly I'm not sure! but they have a very nice taste - (I tweaked the original recipe slightly).............
 and had enough mixture for another small bake.   
* Have since found another website with another recipe: link

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Chocolate Orange Mousse - Michel Roux Jnr. (and Chocolate Sauce recipe)


1 orange - zest - pared and cut into fine strips
100g caster sugar
150g (55-70% cocoa solids) chocolate - chopped into small pieces
1 tablespn liquid glucose
2 egg yolks
150 ml. double cream
30g icing sugar

1. Place strips in a small saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil over a medium heat.  Refresh and drain, then repeat twice more. 
2. Put the zests in a small pan with 100ml. water and the sugar and bring to the boil.  Bubble for 1 minute. Cool the zests in the syrup.  When cold, drain and set aside.

3. Place choc. in a bowl over a simmering pan of water.  Don't let the bowl actually touch the water. Melt the chocolate and remove the bowl from the heat.
4. Mix the glucose with the egg yolks and 2 tablespns of warm water - mix this into the melted chocolate.

5. In another bowl, whip the cream and the icing sugar to a ribbon consistency and carefully fold into the chocolate - don't overwork it.
6. Pour 1/3 of the mousse into 4 glasses (or dishes).  Scatter 1/3 of the zests on top and repeat the layers.

7. Refrigerate for about an hour before serving.  If chilled for longer, remove 30 minutes before serving.

Michel Roux Jnr. Chocolate Sauce Recipe

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Coconut Ice Cream


Ingredients: serves approx. 6
4 eggs
1 cup of caster sugar
2 cups of double cream (or whipping cream)
2 cups of tinned coconut milk (not 'lite')
1 tsp. vanilla

optional: coconut flavouring  or 3 tblspns. dessicated coconut - sweetened

1. Place the eggs and sugar in a bowl and beat (or blend) for about a minute.
2. Pour this mixture into the top of a double boiler - medium heat.
3. Stirring constantly - use a whisk - cook for 8 - 10 mins.until the mixture becomes thick and creamy - like custard.
Cool slightly, then place in the fridge to become cold.

4. Pour the double cream into your food processor (or beat) and blitz until cream becomes very thick and peaky - scoop into a large bowl.
5. Fold the coconut milk, plus dessicated coconut, if using, into the whipped cream and stir to combine.
6. Add the cold custard mix and any flavouring you may use, stirring gently and you should have a thick, ivory white batter-like mixture.

Pour into containers with lids and freeze for at least 8 hours.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Cream Cheese - Home Made - very very easy

2 cups of Greek (or Greek style) Yogurt (or amount of choice)
1 tsp salt - to taste
paper coffee filter or muslin cloth for straining off excess liquid
olive oil to drizzle over when serving
1. In a bowl, mix the yogurt and salt together and .........
(a) If using a cotton muslin to strain the yogurt, pour boiling water over it first to sterilise it, squeeze out when cooler, then place cloth in a sieve over a  bowl.  Pour in the yogurt and salt, cover with the overlapping muslin and let it drip drain - keep in the fridge overnight.
(b) If using a paper coffee filter, place a jar-lid in the base of a bowl to raise the filter slightly when filled with the yogurt. Cover.  
Pour off the whey from time to time. 
I found that the paper filter soaked up the excess liquid more quickly, so you may only need to leave for several hours until the right thickness of cream cheese is reached.
(c) You can also add some plain natural yogurt to the Greek Yogurt - this will give the cheese a tarter taste.
(d) You can add honey, maple syrup or more salt/ground black pepper, or fruit to serve.
I also used mine to make a cheesecake - which was delicious - but obviously don't sprinkle with too much olive oil.

This is also known as 'Labna' - and is Middle Eastern.

Monday, 4 August 2014

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Almond and Garlic Soup - a (delicious) cold Andalucian soup .... (Ajo Blanco)

1 cup of almonds (or cashews) soaked for at least 6 hours, remove skins from the almonds.
2 or 3 slices of white bread - soaked in cold water for about 5 mins., and squeezed out.
Large clove of Garlic - (or more if you like it)
1/4 - 1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 cup of chilled bottled water
1/3 to 1/2 cup of a good olive oil
2 tablespoons of Sherry Vinegar (Balsamic will do, but Sherry Vinegar is better)
Green Grapes and Chopped peeled Apple to garnish

This is a traditional cold soup, and is delicious ......
1. Using your liquidiser, place the bread, almonds, garlic, salt and water and blend until smooth.
2. With the motor gently running, add the olive oil - the consistency should not be too thick.
3. Pour the puree into a bowl and add the sherry vinegar - if the consistency is still too thick, add more chilled bottled water.  Taste to re-season, if necessary.
4. Pour into a glass jug and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
5. Cut up some green grapes (halve or quarter), and some chopped, peeled Apple and either place in the centre of the bowl, or serve in separate dishes.
There are lots of accompaniments to this soup - raisins, flaked almonds, cucumber - peeled and chopped, dark red cherries, chive flowers, garlic flowers - etc. 
it can look very pretty.
You can also serve this served as a duo with Red Tomato Gazpacho (and croutons) - - lovely on a summer buffet table.
PS: I cant take credit for the pics - but they are very pretty

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Blueberry Cake

Oven: 180 deg. C : 350 deg.F - approx. 35 mins (or longer)
3/4 cup of sugar
1/4 cup of softened butter
1 large egg
1/2 cup of milk
2 cups of Plain flour
2 tsps. baking powder*
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups of Blueberries - more or less :)

1/2 cup of sugar
1/3 cup of flour
2 tsps. cinnamon
1/4 cup of softened butter

1. Mix together the sugar, butter, egg, milk, flour, baking powder and salt.
2. Fold in the Blueberries
3. Pour the mixture into a 9 x 13" or 8 x 11" baking dish (loaf shape tin is good too)
4. Mix the topping ingredients together and crumble over the cake batter.
5. Place in the oven and cook for the 35 mins - check the cake with a skewer to see whether it is cooked through. The original recipe said 35 mins but I baked mine for longer.

* This American recipe originally came from
and is called "Blueberry Buckle" - I have tweaked it slightly, and in fact had a little accident when I was making it!   .........
After it had been in the oven for a few minutes, I realised I hadn't added the baking powder!  I 'speedily' managed to scoop out the batter into a bowl, added the baking powder - mixed it together again, (gently), and stuck it back in the oven!  Unfortunately the topping got mixed into the batter as well, but the cake turned out beautifully!

PS: I've made this cake again - (correctly this time!) - and thought it was better the first time! :)

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Quiche/Flan - no pastry required :)

Oven: 180C/ : 160(fan) : (Gas 4) (preheated)
butter for greasing dish
small amount of oil and small knob of butter
3 rashers of streaky bacon - chopped
4 or 5 sliced mushrooms
4 spring onions - trimmed and sliced
250ml evaporated semi-skimmed milk (canned) OR milk and double (thick) cream mixed.
3 large eggs
75g hard cheese - grated

1. Grease a round flan dish - 19-21cm - (not loose bottomed)
2. Dry fry the bacon in a non-stick pan for a couple of minutes. Set aside.
3. Lower the heat, add the oil and butter and saute the mushrooms and onions for a minute or two. Set aside with the bacon.
4. Beat together the evaporated milk and eggs and add the bacon, onions, mushrooms and cheese.*
Season to taste, dont oversalt, as the cheese may be quite salty - - mix well, taste and pour into your greased flan dish.
5. Bake for approximately 20 - 25 mins. until just set and golden.

This is nice eaten cold with a green salad and vinaigrette.

*maybe some fresh breadcrumbs on the base - and of course omit the bacon for a Veggie Quiche.

Monday, 14 July 2014

Marinated Turkey Breast - Ottolenghi recipe

Ingredients: serves 4 - 5 people.
1/2 turkey breast - approx. 1 kg. - (free range if poss.)

1/2 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
125ml. white wine
60ml olive oil
60ml. lemon juice
1 crushed clove of garlic (peeled)
4 tblspns. fresh chopped corriander
4 tblspns. fresh chopped parsley
4 tblspns. fresh chopped mint leaves

1. place all the ingredients - (except the turkey) into a food processor and blend for a minute or so until smooth.
2. Place the turkey into a non-metallic container and pour the marinade over. Make sure the meat is covered with the marinade. Cover and leave in the fridge for 24hrs.

3. Preheat the oven to 220C, remove the turkey from the marinade*, but retain the marinade for later to make the sauce.  Roast the turkey for 15 mins, then reduce the oven temp. to 180C and cook until for approx. another 30/45mins.  Cover with foil when done, leaving it in the oven,  - making sure it is cooked through.

4. *Heat up the turkey marinade, simmer for about 1/4 hr. then reduce the liquid by about half.  Taste and season if necessary.
5. Remove the turkey from the oven and let is rest for about 10mins, then slice thinly and serve with the warm sauce.

If serving cold, leave the meat to cool completely, then slice.  Adjust the seasoning of the sauce once it is cold, and serve the sauce on the side.

This recipe is c/o Yotam Ottolenghi

Monday, 7 July 2014

Leeks with Tomato Vinaigrette - very easy

6-8 leeks (small/medium)

Wash the leeks well, cut in half if large.
Cook them in boiling water for approx. 10 mins - make sure they are nice and soft, otherwise they can be a bit chewy. 
Refresh under cold water, drain, then place them on paper kitchen roll to absorb the excess water.
Using a sharp knife, slice them lengthways and place in a dish.

Tomato Vinaigrette:

2 tablespoons of fresh tomato pulp (skin a large, fresh tomato, then liquidise)
or 1 tblspn. tomato puree diluted with 1 tablespoon of water
2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar or cider vinegar+tablespoon of honey
4-5 tablespoons of oil
salt, pepper to taste

Liquidise all these ingredients together so you have a nice smooth sauce.
Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary ..... do be careful when tasting, in case you have too much vinegar!

Carefully spoon the vinaigrette over the leeks, while still warm.

These leeks can also be served hot - very nice.
and are lovely served with cold meat, chicken or fish, and also as part of a buffet table.

Friday, 4 July 2014

Ice Cream - Vintage American Recipe from 1914

Chocolate Ice Cream* (American recipe from 1914)
1 pt (575 ml)  cream ..... (presume this is double cream)
1 pt milk
6 eggs
5 ozs. (approx. 130g.) chocolate
3/4 lb.  (280g approx.) sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon extract

1. "Melt the chocolate, adding the cinnamon extract. Cook the custard."
2. Custard: 
    Warm the cream and milk through
    Beat eggs and sugar together
    Pour the milk slowly, onto the chocolate, eggs and sugar, stirring, and bring gently to the boil - 
    constantly stirring until the custard thickens.

3. "Cool/chill the custard and freeze".
4. "Pour the chilled cream into the freezer.  Place the freezer in the pail and pack with ice nearly to the top.  Sprinkle coarse salt uniformly on the ice as you pack it into the bucket.  Cover and fasten the can and turn it slowly until it becomes difficult to turn.
Open the can and remove the dasher."
5. "Scrape the cream from the sides of the can.  Mix until smooth, close the can and drain off the brine.  Add fresh ice and salt, covering the entire can.  Wrap a blanket around the freezer and let is stand two hours".

In very hot weather renew the salt and ice three times and keep the blanket cold and wet with the brine from the freezer"

*Think making ice cream today could be a mite easier! :) - but the recipe looks good.

Sunday, 29 June 2014

American Pancakes

Ingredients: batter is best made in advance*
Dry ingredients:
1 cup of plain flour (cake flour)
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. baking powder

Wet ingredients:
1 beaten egg added to
1 cup of buttermilk (or yogurt and milk) and
1-2 tablspns. melted butter

1. Sift all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl
2.  Add the wet ingredients and mix well, but dont overbeat.

I left my batter in the fridge overnight, covered, but dont think it's necessary to leave it this long - probably *anywhere from 3-6 hrs. is ok.  If the mixture looks a little too thick, you can add some milk.

3. Using a large hot frying pan, place carefully in - ladlefuls of batter.

Just heat your frying pan - you dont need to put any extra fat in to fry the pancakes.  
(A non-stick pan is easy.)
Wait until bubbles rise to the surface of the pancake, and making sure the surface is almost dry, loosen around the edges with a flat knife, and carefully turn over with a spatula - cook for another minute or so and remove with a spatula.    

If you manage to have two pans going at once, you can obviously get more done.

The first lot - for some strange reason :) - dont come out as well as the rest of the batch! This seems to be a universally accepted  'rule' with most pancakes!!

These are really easy to make, and are delicious any way, but we like them with streaky bacon, Maple Syrup (and a little lemon juice).

Monday, 23 June 2014

Sponge Cake - small, quick-mix teatime sponge cake

Oven: 160 deg. C, 325 F. - 30 - 40 mins.
4ozs. (1 cup) self-raising flour - sifted with
1 teaspoon of baking powder
4ozs. (1/2 cup) soft margerine
4ozs. (1/2) cup of either caster or demerara sugar
few drops of vanilla essence
2 eggs

Raspberry (or jam of choice) for filling and sifted icing sugar for top

Grease and line a small tin (7" square or 8" round)
Place all the ingredients (except jam and icing sugar!) into a mixing bowl and combine well - dont overbeat.
If the mixture seems a little heavy, mix in a small amount of hot water.

Place in your baking tin, even out a little, and
Bake until firm to the touch, and going lightly golden.  Also the edges will have moved away from the side of the tin, when it's done.

Cool the cake on a wire rack, then slice carefully in half.
Place jam on the base and replace the top.
Add some sifted icing sugar over.
Serve ........... how you fancy.

This is a very easy spongecake, and you can add or fill it with lots of other stuff :)

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

White Gazpacho Soup (cold summer soup)

  • Ingredients:
    250g (9 ozs.) whole blanched almonds
    500 ml. (18fl.ozs) iced water, chicken or vegetable stock
    80g. (3ozs.) white bread - crustless and cubed
    2 cloves of garlic - roughly chopped
    50ml. (2 fl.ozs) olive oil
    50ml. (2fl.ozs) sherry vinegar
    salt and ground black pepper
    150g (5ozs.) golden raisins and/or chopped chives/slivered almonds/grape slices

    1. Place almonds into your food processor and blend until very fine.
    2. Add 50ml. of the water and blend to a paste.
    3. Add the bread and garlic and blend again.
    4. With the motor running, gradually add the remaining water, then gradually add the olive oil.
    5. Add the sherry vinegar and season to taste.
    6. Serve sprinkling a few raisins over each bowl. drizzle of olive oil and garnishes.

    Recipe (slightly tweaked) c/o Simon Rimmer

Monday, 9 June 2014

Chicken Casserole - from vintage Pressure Cooking book

While browsing though some old books, I found this second-hand (vintage) book and there are some really funny recipes in it.  The book was first published in 1948, when pressure cookers first came out, and they must have seemed magic!
There is a recipe in the book for something called "Matelote" which requires 1lb.liver or whale meat! - (not normally found too easily in Waitrose!)

Here's a fairly simple (and normal) Chicken Casserole recipe: (4-6 servings)

1 jointed chicken
3 skinned, deseeded and chopped tomatoes
12 pickling onions - whole
1 clove of crushed garlic
salt and pepper, seasoned flour
1 oz. margerine 
1/4lb. mushrooms
1/2 cup of white wine and 1/2 cup of water

1. Toss the chicken in seasoned flour
2. Melt the fat in cooker and fry the chicken joints until golden brown.
3. Add the mushrooms and brown slightly, the add the tomatoes, onions, garlic, liquids, and pressure cook for 20 mins.
4. Reduce the pressure with cold water and serve.

If you dont own a pressure cooker any more - (I dont) - just fry over the ingredients and either slow cook or bake in oven until done - - - serve with mashed potatoes.  
I would also substitute the margerine for either butter, sunflower or olive oil.

Friday, 30 May 2014

Asparagus - 5 ways of cooking

As Asparagus are in season at the moment (and are delicious) - 
here's a few different ways of preparing them:

1. Grilled:
1 bunch of Asparagus:
Trim the ends (peel if necessary) : heat your grill pan and lightly brush the asparagus with oil : grill for about 4 - 5 mins. until nicely charred - turning them.

2. Microwave:
Place about one pound of asparagus in a microwave-safe dish with 1/4 cup water : Cover and cook on high for 5-7 minutes. (check manufacturer's instructions for timing.)

3. Steaming:
Using a steamer basket above boiling water, or a saucepan containing about 1/2 cup boiling water : add asparagus and cover pan : cook until all pieces are tender, about 6 to 10 minutes

4. Roasting:
Line the asparagus spears side-by-side in a shallow baking dish.
Drizzle olive oil lightly over, adding ground pepper and some salt.
Roast at 180 deg.C (350 deg.F) for 10 - 12 mins. - depending on the thickness of the stalks.
Midway through roasting, shake the pan to roll the asparagus a half-turn.
Remove from the oven when the tips begin to go brown, and cool for a minute or two before serving.

5. Boiling:
Bring a pan of water to the boil, drop the asparagus in with a couple of bayleaves, and boil gently until tender - (to taste.) Depending on the size they could take approx. 4-5 mins or a bit longer - sorry cant be exact. 
Either test with a skewer or just cut a bit off and tast it!  Drain - serve hot or cold.

Simply served hot, + melted butter with crushed garlic added is delicious.
If serving cold, a good mayonaise is also great, and triangles of crustless brown bread and butter!

Storing them:
Wet a paper towel and wrap around bottom of the stalks.
Place in a plastic bag and put them in the coldest part of the fridge - (preferably the  crisper.)
Store for not more than 2 - 4 days.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Apple and Raisin Cake - small cake and very easy

Oven: 160 deg. C - approx. 45 mins.
4 ozs. (110 g) soft margerine (Olio, Flora or similar - make sure it's ok for baking)
4 ozs. demerara sugar
2 medium eggs
4ozs. self-raising flour
1 sweet apple - peeled, cored and chopped
2 - 3 tablespoons of  raisins
1/2 tsp. vanilla essence
tablespoon or two of plain yogurt, milk or warm water*, if mixture is too thick

1. Cream sugar and fat together.
2. Beat eggs and add them one at a time with a small amount of the flour.  This should stop the mixture from curdling.
3. Add vanilla.  (A few drops of both vanilla and almond essence is also nice.)
4. Dredge the raisins in flour and add both to the mix with the chopped apple.  Stir in, adding either a little milk, yogurt or warm water if the mixture looks a little thick.
5. Grease and flour a smallish cake tin/dish and bake until cooked - test the centre with a skewer.
6. Leave to cool, remove and store in an airtight container.

While it's still warm you can drizzle some Maple Syrup over the top - - yummy.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Lemony Chicken Burgers - home made

Ingredients and method for Burger  - using a Hand Mincer - 
Makes 2 x 6oz.  Burgers (approx.)
5 or 6 chicken thighs 
Remove bone, any gristle, skin, (discard or freeze for soup stock), Roughly chop chickenmeat - place in mincer using larger holed disc.
Adding grated lemon rind, fresh herb selection - marjoram, rosemary, corriander - (leaves only), salt and black pepper.
You can also use dried herbs if fresh aren't available.
Place chicken mince into a large bowl, add approx. a tablespoon of dried breadcrumbs.
Form into patties.

In another bowl mix together well: *
Lemon juice - 1 lemon (or more)
about a tablespoon of grainy mustard
small amount of olive oil
crushed garlic if wanted
large spring onion chopped
any extra grated lemon rind 
small amount of runny honey or maple syrup - to taste
salt, black pepper
Pour some of this over the burgers before cooking, and keep any left to heat through and pour on top, when serving.

I use an iron griddle pan, preheated but not greased.
Cook the burgers on one side until griddle marks show on the meat, then carefully turn over and cook the other side.  It doesn't matter if it looks slightly charred, as long as the burger is cooked through - (but not overcooked.)

Lovely served with home-made potato salad (Charlotte potatoes are good)  .... and anything else you might fancy!

* this can also be used as a marinade.

Friday, 16 May 2014

Rice Balls & Tomato Sauce

Ingredients for Rice Balls:
4ozs. of cold, cooked white rice ('sticky' is fine)
2 eggs
handful of chopped corriander or parsley
and enough dried breadcrumbs to make a nice 'balling' mix
grated parmesan (to taste)
salt, black pepper, pinch of  chilli flakes (to taste)

Seasoned flour to roll rice balls in before frying
Corn Oil for deep frying

1. Process the above (red) ingredients, plus seasoning together in the food processor until you have a nice mixture that you can roll easily into balls. Taste for seasoning.
2. Roll each ball into the flour - patting off any excess and deep fry until golden.  Drain on kitchen paper.

Ingredients for Quick Tomato Sauce:- made in the Micro
1 can of tomatoes
dried basil and oregano - approx. teaspoon of each - or to taste
little sugar
olive oil
small amount of chopped onion
crushed clove or two of garlic
salt and black pepper
and about a teaspoon of Arrowroot with a little water to add to the sauce - this just takes away the acidity.

1. Place all the ingredients into a micro bowl,  and zap for a good 10 mins - longer is fine. Stir after about 5 mins.
2. Taste for seasoning and while still hot, stir in the slaked Arrowroot.

Serve the rice balls either hot or cold with the tomato sauce - also either hot or cold.

These rice balls are also called Arrangini - Italian Rice Balls - you can also fill them with meat, cheese or veg. before rolling them into balls and frying - they are lovely as a snack, but even nicer in the tomato sauce or using it as a dip.

You can also make them all by hand, so that the rice isn't so squished as when using the food processor, and you dont need to roll them in flour - so there are several different ways of making them - but the basic ingredients are generally the same.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Red Onion Pasties and Gravy - easy

While watching Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall the other day - he made some delicious looking Pasties using leftovers.  I had just the right stuff in my fridge! and made a couple of lovely pasties - one with chicken & veg. leftovers and the other with some roasted lamb & veg.

You can make these using any chopped up leftovers, making sure the mix is wetted with some 'gravy', sauce or a little stock. Pile the leftovers into your pastry circles, fold over, seal and bake.
I prefer shortcrust pastry*, which I make using self-raising flour.

I also thought they needed some proper gravy - and made this onion gravy :

4 red onions - dont bother to peel
Olive oil, salt and pepper
knob of butter
some apple juice and a little water
honey  (or Maple Syrup)

1. Drizzle the olive oil and honey over the onions in an ovenproof dish.
2. Add the other ingredients - using enough apple juice and water to cover the bottom of the dish, plus little extra.
3. Roast the onions at about 180/90 deg. C, in their skins, until they are very soft.  (Test with a skewer.)
4. Remove the softest inside parts of the onions and place in your liquidiser, together with the cooking juices.You may need to add some more liquid/juice.
5. Liquidise until smooth, strain, and adjust the seasoning to your taste.
6. This probably wont need thickening, but if it does, use a little slaked arrowroot to the hot gravy.

This really is tasty and easy to make, and will go with lots of other dishes.

* Savoury Shortcrust Pastry - Using a food processor:
8 ozs. self-raising flour
2 ozs, butter and 2 ozs. white veg. lard (Trex)
Few pinches of dried Oregano and Basil, little salt and pepper
2-4 tablespoons of cold water - (more or less depending on your flour!)

Whizz until all the ingredients come together in a 'sort-of' ball.
Chill the pastry for about 20 mins, and roll out on Klingfilm, cut into circles.

Monday, 28 April 2014

Corncakes and Salsa

2.1/2 cups of water
2 cups of Masa Instantanea - precooked yellow maize meal (as above pic.)
salt and pepper to taste
1 small tin of sweetcorn - drained - (if wanted - otherwise make them 'plain')
amount of grated cheese - to own taste (cheddar or similar)
Corn oil for frying

Pour the water into a large bowl and add the maize meal, stir, then add the cheese and sweetcorn.
Stir well to combine, and as you stir, it will thicken.
Leave for about 5-10 mins. and stir again.
It should be a thick enough consistency to be able to roll (a rounded dessertspoonful) into a ball, flatten out a little and fry in hot corn oil.
Don't try and turn them over until one side is done -
when ready, lift around the edges slightly, and turn over using a flat, heat-resistant spatula.
Cook until golden, and drain on kitchen paper.

Ingredients for Salsa:

4 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped (2 cups)
1 medium red onion, chopped finely (1/2 cup)
1/2 cup chopped green Pepper (1/2 medium)
1/2 cup chopped fresh corriander
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 large jalapeƱo chile, seeded, finely chopped (2 tablespoons)
Mix all the ingredients together in a non-metallic bowl - (glass, pottery)
- refrigerate and leave to 'blend' for a short time.

 Recipe for Sweet Potato Cornbread

Monday, 21 April 2014

Moroccan Chicken Pie with Filo Pastry

Oven: 180 deg. C 
cooking time: 30/35 mins.

Ingredients - serves 8
1 tablspn. olive oil
50g butter - melted
800g Chicken breasts (chunky pieces)
1.1/2 tsps. ground cinnamon
50g raisins
50g pine nuts
500g frozen spinach - defrosted and excess liquid squeezed out
200g filo pastry

1. Preheat oven and place a heavy baking sheet in there to heat.

2. Melt the oil and butter in a frying pan and add the chicken.  Cook for 3 - 4 mins. until opaque.

3. Add the cinnamon, raisins and pine nuts and season and mix well together. 
Remove from the heat and add the Spinach.

4. Brush one filo sheet with more (melted) butter and place inside a springform tin.  Leave the pastry hanging over the edge.  
Continue overlapping the sheets (greased) until only 2 sheets are left.  Keep these unbuttered sheets covered to stop from drying out too much.

5. Pack the chicken filling in the tin and gather the overhanging pastry over the filling.  Brush the remaining two sheets with butter and place these over the top.  Brush the surface with any remaining butter.  Melt a little extra if you run out.

6. Place on the preheated baking tray and bake for 25 - 30 minutes until the pastry is becoming golden.  (Cover with foil if it goes too brown).

Remove from the oven and leave in the tin for about 15 mins. before turning out and slicing (with a serrated knife).
Delicious served either hot or cold.
Serve in wedges with potato salad, tomato and red onion salad.

Recipe from Waitrose.

Friday, 11 April 2014

Potato and Mushroom Croquettes & Sweet Potato Kugel

1. Potato and Mushroom Croquettes
1.1/2 lbs potatoes - (not waxy ones) - peeled and chopped
1 onion - peeled and chopped
1/4 lb. mushrooms (chestnut pref.)
1 tsp. oil
1 tblsp. water
salt/pepper - to taste
1 cup of matzot meal (or cornmeal)
oil for frying (shallow)

1. Boil the potatoes until tender, drain and mash.
2. In a separate pan - pour in the oil and water, heat, and cook the mushrooms for about 3 mins.
3. In a large bowl mix the mashed potatoes, onions and mushrooms, (add the cooking liquid, if any, a little at a time for right consistency), seasonings and meal.
4. Form into croquettes / patties.
5. Fry for about 8 mins on each side.

2. Sweet Potato Kugel- this recipe can also be used as a 'Stuffing'

Oven: 190deg. C
6 small sweet potatoes - peeled and grated (or blitzed in the processor)
3 apples - peeled and grated (or blitzed)
1 cup of raisins
1 cup of matzot meal (or cornmeal)
2 tsps. cinnamon
1 cup of walnuts (optional)
1 cup of fruit juice or water

1. Mix all the ingredients together.
2. Press into a greased baking dish and bake for about 45 mins. until crisp on top.
3. Serve hot or reheated.