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    Sunday, August 30, 2015

    Blinis - Another way to serve - Try Prawns

    Recently I posted a recipe for Yummy Blinis click here for the recipe
    I made a couple of changes
    First, defrosted then roasted a bag of Prawns
    as below

    Just toss the defrosted prawn tails with a slosh of Olive Oil
    Some sea salt 
    A grind of Freshly Ground Black Pepper
    Grated zest of a lemon

    Into a 200C oven for just 6 mins
    Remove from the oven
    Squeeze juice of 1 small lemon and mix 
    Take about 8-10 cooked prawns and chop finely 
    Make a batch of the blini mixture
    add the prawns and 
    1 tablespoon lemon zest
    Leave to rest on the refrigerator minimum 30 minutes
    Then cook and set aside

    Meanwhile, prepare some Cream Cheese for the topping
    Whip together 1/2 cup cream cheese with a tablespoon of chopped parley
    Grind of black pepper
    1 tsp grated lemon zest
    2 tbs of a good olive oil
    Spread over cooked blinis
    Top with a cooked prawn and little bit of chopped parsley

    Everything packed up ready to take to Granddaughter Sophia's 18th Birthday
    Seems like it was months ago she was this beautiful baby
    I also provided some Pinwheels with an Italian Flavour, Tomato, Basil and Pecorino Cheese and 
    Little mushroom filled bread cases
    We just warmed them up
    All perfect with drinks

    Cauliflower - So Trendy - So Tasty - This Recipe Not Paleo Though

    In fact this is from Ottolenghi’s “Plenty More” book
    I love his recipes and this is a winner
    Cauliflower Cake
    When I started to cook this little delight, I realised that I had forgotten to top up my cheddar cheese supply, so instead of running out to the supermarket.
    I used the Castello White Cheese that I had in the fridge
    It was delicious but was very rich, next time I will use  Cheddar or Parmesan

    To serve, I just sautéed some mushrooms, garlic and spinach
    Very tasty.

    With the leftovers, Popped some beetroot relish on the side. Yum
    I reckon served with a  lovely crisp Salad and some French Bread. That would be superb

    1 small cauliflower, outer leaves removed, broken into 3cm florets (450g)
    1 medium red onion (170g)
    75ml olive oil ½ tsp finely chopped rosemary
    7 eggs
    15g basil, chopped
    120g plain flour, sifted
    1½ tsp baking powder
    ⅓ tsp ground turmeric
    150g coarsely grated Parmesan, or another mature cheese
    melted butter, to line the tin
    1 tbsp white sesame seeds
    1 tsp nigella seeds salt and black pepper

    Preheat the oven to 200ºC/180ºC/Gas Mark 4.
    Place the cauliflower florets in a saucepan and add 1 teaspoon of salt.
    Cover with water and simmer for 15 minutes, until the florets are quite soft:
    they should break when pressed with a spoon.
    Strain and set aside in a colander to dry

    Cut 4 round slices, each 0.5cm thick, off one end of the onion and set aside.
    Coarsely chop the rest of the onion and place this in a small pan, with the oil and rosemary.
    Cook gently for 10 minutes on a medium heat, stirring from time to time, until soft.
    Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
    Transfer the cooked onion to a large bowl, add the eggs and basil, whisk well and then
    add the flour, baking powder, turmeric, Parmesan, 1 teaspoon of salt and plenty of pepper. Whisk until smooth before adding the cauliflower and stirring gently, trying not to break up all the florets.

    Line the base and sides of a 24cm springform cake tin with baking parchment.
    Brush the sides with melted butter, mix together the sesame and nigella seeds and toss them around the inside of the tin so that they stick to the sides.

    Tip in the cauliflower mix and arrange the reserved onion rings on top. 
    Place in the centre of the oven and bake for 45 minutes, until golden-brown and set:
    a knife inserted into the centre of the cake should come out clean.
    Remove from the oven and leave for at least 20 minutes before serving:
    it needs to be served just warm, rather than hot, or at room temperature

    Sunday, August 23, 2015

    Flavours of Morocco - Pinwheels - Perfect to have with drinks

    Off to a Family dinner. Theme is Moroccan.
    I frequently make my Pastry Pinwheels for pre-food drinks
    Always very popular and I have developed many different flavours, so why not Moroccan
    Here is my little Cooks treat. Yum
     As luck would have it, in my fridge and pantry, I had enough interesting goodies that would deliver what I was wanting
    I haven't put quantities, use as much or as little as you like

    In this case, I had some Goat Feta, the crumbly kind
    But a soft Goats cheese would be best
    Actually that is quite expensive, so I usually use Feta

    For some other flavour ideas of these yummy pinwheels… click Here

    By the way, I used two products from Local Chef’s and I want to mention them, as I find both excellent


     Al Browns Orange and Chili Olive Oil

     Simon Gault's Moroccan Seasoning

    Sheets of Frozen Puff Pastry
    Goats Feta Cheese
    Zest of 1 orange
    Slosh of Al Brown’s Orange and Chili Olive oil

    Black Olives stoned and chopped
    Semi dried tomatoes in oil (I used a tablespoon of this oil as well)

    Simon Gault’s Moroccan Seasoning
    Beaten egg

    Lay out the pastry on the bench
    Mix together, the Feta, Orange zest, Orange and Chili Olive Oil
    Plus  1 tablespoon Moroccan Seasoning
    Beat till you can spread it

    Cover bottom 2/3 of the pastry sheet
    Sprinkle over the olives and the semi dried tomatoes

    Brush the beaten egg over the top third of the sheet
    Refrigerate the egg in a container, to finish off the pastries

    Roll up,
    Press down gently

    Cover and chill for at least 2 hours, overnight is fine
    Heat oven to 200C

    Cut into pinwheels and place on baking sheet covered with baking paper
    Brush with reserved beaten egg, sprinkle over with some more seasoning
    Bake for about 15 minutes, till golden and crisp

    Best served just warm or room temperature to get the best flavour
    And my word, they went very well with
    Helen’s Celery Gimlet, which is divine.
    Bloody fantastic, even if I do say so, my self

    Friday, August 21, 2015

    Red Soup - For The Want of a Better Name

    This delicious soup came about by chance, as many great dishes are evolved
    It was a bleak day, I was bored, spent the afternoon catching up on some food programmes that I had recorded…Too early for a wine
    My oven wasn't working, so it was all stove top cooking in our house
    I had some chicken stock left over and thought I should turn it into soup
    So into the vegetable bin I dove.
    I found  a Red pepper, Red onion. Beetroot. Red chili
    Let's put them together
    What a fabulous colourful soup that would make, and it did
    So good I have made for guests and it got the thumbs up
    By the way I did a little cheating the other day and bought cooked  fresh beetroot from the
    supermarket. It is more expensive but saved me time.
    If you use concentrated chicken stock, dissolve it in the stock produced, by boiling the beetroot

    For 4 People
    2 tablespoons Olive oil
    2 Red Peppers
    2 Medium Beetroot, roasted or boiled for about an hour, peeled and chopped
    1 Red Onion, chopped
    1 Red Chili, chopped
    4 cups Chicken stock
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    1 tablespoon cider vinegar

    Optional -  slosh of hot pepper sauce 
    Sour cream and dill for garnish
    So I cooked the beetroot till tender, that can take about an hour
    If boil, don't waste the stock, save it for cooing the soup
    You can either roast or boil
    Peel and chop

    Meanwhile chop the red onion
    The red pepper and the chili

    Sauté the vege in the olive oil
    Season with salt and pepper

    Cover with Chicken stock
    Bring to boil and simmer about 20 minutes
    Add vinegar and hot sauce (optional but I like the kick it gives)

    Into the blender.
    Taste and adjust if needed

    Mix dill with the Creme Fraiche
    and dob it on top
    This is wonderful
    Not only looking fabulous but tasting fabulous as well
    A keeper

    Friday, July 31, 2015

    Best Blinis That I Have Made - Topped with Yummy Cream Cheese and Smoked Salmon

    Our friend Annette had the misfortune to break her leg, so she has ended up in hospital till it is mended. Once a month a group of us have lunch including Annette, we normally choose a cheap and cheerful restaurant and try and find something different each month.
    Seeing as Annette is laid up we decided to take lunch to her.

    I made some little chicken sandwiches, very yummy but the piece de resistance was these beautiful light Blinis
    I know normally Blinis are made with yeast, but here is a recipe, that just uses Baking Powder.
    I think the secret is the amount of BP, plus the resting time in the fridge, before cooking. The mixture really starts to  kick in. They are so light and delicious
    I found it on The Australian Woman's Weekly website
      1 cup (150g) plain flour
      1 tablespoon caster sugar
      3 teaspoons baking powder
      pinch salt
      2⁄3 cup (180ml) milk
      1 egg
      50g unsalted butter, melted

    100 gms Cream Cheese
    2-3 Pickled Gherkins finely chopped
    Zest of a lemon 
    Sea salt and Black pepper

    Smoked Salmon

    Sift flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a large bowl.
    Gradually whisk in combined milk and egg, then half the melted butter. 
    Refrigerate mixture for 30 minutes.
    It's a living thing
    Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat.
    Lightly brush the pan with a little remaining butter.
    Drop two teaspoons (10ml) of blini mixture into pan.
    Cook for a minute or until browned lightly underneath and bubbles appear on the surface.
    Turn, cook for another  minute, or until blinis are cooked.
    Repeat with remaining butter and blini mixture.

    I made my blinis a little bigger so they took longer than that to cook
    See how fluffy and light they are
    Meanwhile just blend together all of the topping ingredients
    When they are cool
    Top with Cream Cheese mix
    and Some Smoked Salmon 

    If you don't have any smoked, just fionely chop a tomato and add to the cream cheese mix
    Equally as good

    So after I wrote this blog, decided I needed a cure for Cabin Fever
    Popped into my local with my Kindle and had a nice chilled Glass of wine


    Sunday, July 12, 2015

    Lamb Tagine - Perfect for The Cold Weather

    Dinner at our House on Saturday. The weather is so cold. It is Winter of course,  so we need nice warming food. A few weeks  ago I found on my blog... an excellent Fish Tagine, recipe courtesy of Anthony Worrall Thompson.
    I have made that more than once recently. went down a real treat with guests
    Would you believe, he has also got a recipe for a Lamb Tagine?
    So I gave that a go
    Thumbs up from the crowd.
    I bought my meat from the Supermarket and they only had Lamb Shoulder chops.
    I cut off as much of the meat as possible, then I left the bones in.... for extra flavour plus, some of that meat close to the bone is The Best, So don't throw that away


        1 tsp cayenne pepper
        2 tsp ground black pepper
        1½ tbsp paprika
        1½ tbsp ground ginger
        1 tbsp turmeric
        2 tsp ground cinnamon
        1 x shoulder of lamb, trimmed and cut into 5cm/2in chunks (about 1.1kg/2½lb meat in total) 

        2 tbsp olive oil
        2 tbsp argan oil...Optional I didn't use it

        (Argan oil is a Moroccan oil from the argan tree. 
        You should be able to find it in specialist food shops.)
        2 large onions, grated, I chopped them finely in the food processor    
        3 cloves garlic, crushed
        570ml/1 pint tomato juice, or Passata
        2 x 400g tinned chopped tomatoes
        115g/4oz dried apricots, cut in half
        55g/2oz dates, cut in half
        55g/2oz sultanas or raisins, I used craisins
        85g/3oz flaked almonds
        1 tsp saffron stamens, soaked in cold water
        600ml/1 pint lamb or beef stock
        1 tbsp clear honey
        2 tbsp coriander, roughly chopped
        2 tbsp flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped

    Preparation method
    Place the cayenne, black pepper, paprika, ginger, turmeric and cinnamon into a small bowl and mix to combine.
    Place the lamb in a large bowl and toss together with half of the spice mix. 
    Cover and leave overnight in the fridge.

    Next day
    Preheat the oven to 150C/300F/Gas2.

    Heat 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp of argan oil in a large casserole dish.
    Add the grated onion and the remaining spice mix and
    cook over a gentle heat for 10 minutes so that the onions are soft but not coloured.
     Add the crushed garlic for the final 3 minutes.
    In a separate frying pan,
    Heat the remaining oil and brown the cubes of lamb on all sides then
    You will need to do this in batches
    Add the browned meat to the casserole dish.
    De-glaze the frying pan with ¼ pint of tomato juice and add these juices to the pan.
    Add the remaining tomato juice, chopped tomatoes, 
    apricots, dates, raisins or sultanas, flaked almonds, 
    saffron, lamb stock and honey to the casserole dish.
    Bring to the boil, cover with a fitted lid, place in the oven and
    cook for 2-2½ hours or until the meat is meltingly tender.
    Place the lamb in a Tagine or large serving dish and sprinkle over the chopped herbs.

    To accompany this dish. I made a colourful rice dish
    for 6 people
    2 tbs olive oil
    1 red onion finely chopped
    3 cloves garlic crushed
    1/2 yellow pepper, finely chopped
    Sea salt and Pepper
    2 1/2 cups Basamti Rice 

    Handful of shelled pistachio nuts 
    Cup of craisins
    1 tablespoons powdered Chicken Stock dissolved
    in Warm Water approx 5 cups

    Handful parsley leaves, chopped
    Grated Zest of 1 orange

    Heat the oil in a pan 
    Add onions and yellow pepper cook till soft
    Season with Salt and pepper
    Add garlic, nuts and craisins
    Toss then add rice and cook till slightly toasted

    Add water. 
    There should be enough water so that if you touch the top of the rice
    The water should come up to the first joint of your finger
    Stir and bring to the boil
    let simmer away till holes start to form (about 4 minutes)
    Turn the heat off and
    Cover with a tight lid
    Leave for about 12 minutes
    Remove lid
    Fluff up with a fork and turn into serving dish

    Scatter herbs and orange zest over the top
    Some of the satisfied customers
    It warms the Cockles of your heart!!!

    Tuesday, June 02, 2015

    Tasty Flavoured Tomato Butter - Liberally Spread on the Best Cheese Scones - Divine

    Now Here’s A Thing.
    Seriously, I thought there was nothing finer than a good cheese scone.
    BUT I have discovered an embellishment.
    Tomato and Parsley Butter
    Now these are really the Best Cheese Scone

    Friends were coming over for Afternoon Tea, well actually and Afternoon Wine
    Of course I must make food
    So I whipped up a batch of Cheese Scones,
    Normally I would just supply some good butter to spread on them
    This time I decided to flavour the butter

    Take 150 gms of Unsalted Butter at room temperature
    4 Cherry Tomatoes, very finely chopped
    2 tablespoons of chopped Parsley
    Sea Salt and freshly Ground Black Pepper

    Mash the butter
    Add the tomatoes and parley
    Season to taste with S & P

    Spread liberally on the freshly baked scone
    Seemed to go well, with the Champagne and also Chardonnay
    Covers all bases
    Just in case, people cant be bothered looking up how to make the scones… I have added the recipe for the scones from a previous post
    So Pre-heat oven to 220C

    1 cup of plain high grade flour
    2 1/2  teaspoons of baking powder
    Pinch of salt
    Good pinch of Cayenne Pepper
    1 cup grated tasty cheese
    2 spring onions finely chopped
    1/2 cup milk
    Sift the dry ingredient into a big bowl
    Add cheese, stir

    Add spring onions 
    Add milk
    Quickly mix and turn onto lightly floured bench
    Pat into a circle
    Cut into wedges
    Place on a lined baking sheet (you could just flour it if you wish)
    Bake for 8-10 minutes
    Break open and put a nice pat of butter on top

    Monday, May 25, 2015

    The Best Stew - Cajun Style

    Here's a tasty stew.

    Being a “clever” shopper!!! I noticed that there was an amazing  special at the supermarket... about 12 mixed coloured peppers, for only $3.99. That is really cheap at this time of the year
    Also there was beef on special, close to use by date, but that's fine, planning to use it straight away.
    Plus I found an organic chicken cheap as chips,  sectioned that and straight into the freezer.

    Peppers are very much part of Cajun cooking,
    They form part of The Trinity,  Onion, Peppers and Celery
    The main base of Gumbo, Jambalaya Or anything your Cajun heart desires.

    Perfect, so I found some Cajun seasoning in my pantry and started work on this very tasty stew
    Which we ate with mashed potatoes
    The rest of the peppers, I roasted, marinated them in olive oil, and they are in my fridge
    They will last for ages

    There was some Pinot Noir remaining in a bottle
    Good, wine such a good addition to any meat dish


    500 gms Beef chopped into 1 inch pieces
    2-3 tablespoons flour, seasoned with sat and freshly ground black pepper
    2-3 tablespoons olive oil
    1 x onion roughly chopped
    3 Capsicums seeds removed and chopped
    2 sticks celery
    2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning
    Slosh of wine
    1 can Chopped Tomatoes
    Water to cover

    Toss the chopped beef into the seasoned flour
    Heat the olive oil in a pan till it its hot
    Add the beef and brown the pieces
    Place in an ovenproof dish
    Add the onions to the pan and they will pick up the nice crispy bits
    Cook till soft but not browned
    Add the capsicum and celery
    Continue to cook until they are soft as well
    Add the Cajun seasoning
    Keep cooking for about 5 minutes to cook the spices out
    Add the wine. this will help to deglaze the pan
    Add the tomatoes
    Stir well and then pour over the meat in the dish

    Rinse out the pan with some hot water, so that all the lovely flavours are not lost
    Add to the meat
    Make sure that everything is just covered
    You may need to add some more water

    Bake in 170C oven for about 2 hours
    The meat should be tender and the sauce thickened

    I served with mashed potatoes
    Perfect for a Winter Night

    Of course There was too much for two people and there were left overs
    The mashed potatoes were turned into fish cakes
    And the stew into a lasagne
    Which was layered with Bechamel and some of the roasted peppers

    You could use some of those peppers in the jar, bought from the Supermarket
    Up to you the amount you use

    So, first, I made a béchamel sauce
    2 tablespoons butter
    2 tablespoon flour
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    1 cup milk
    1 bay leaf
    1/2 cup grated tasty cheese

    Melt the butter in a small pot
    Add the flour to make a roux
    Cook for 2-3 minutes to cook out the flour
    Season with salt and pepper
    Infuse the milk with the bay leaf
    I just pop it into the microwave for about1 1/2 minutes to heat it

    Pour the hot milk onto the roux
    Stir, till it is smooth
    Let it simmer away for about 3-5 minutes
    Add the cheese and set aside
    Drain the oil off the peppers
    Open a packet of lasagne sheets
    I like to use these Barilla Sheets, no need to pre-cook

    So to assemble the lasagne
    A spoonful of béchamel
    Lasagne sheets
    The stew

    Roasted peppers

    Lasagne and top with the remaining Béchamel

    Cover with oiled foil
    Cook in a 180C oven for 30 minutes
    Take the foil off and finish off for another 15 minutes

    The top should be golden and the sauce bubbling
    The aroma. so inviting

    What a really tasty dish. Just like a bought one