Black Forest Pudding

I’ve taken an old world classic & given it a modern make over to create a contemporary dessert for today’s dinner table.

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Start the day before by baking up the classic black forest sponge. Pre-heat your oven to 180c before lining a cake tin with baking paper.

In a large bowl, mix together 1 & 2/3 cups of plain flour, 1 & 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder & a 1/4 teaspoon (good pinch) of salt. Just set that to the side for now.

Next, we need to pop a saucepan with a small amount of water in it to bring to the simmer. We’re making a bain marie, so just ensure the bottom of your heat proof bowl doesn’t actually touch that water, easier to do before you make it hot 😉 You’ve probably guessed it by now – we’re about to melt chocolate! Bung 150g of good quality dark chocolate melts into the heat proof bowl & then what I am about to say will shock you! Pour 1/2 cup of water on top of the chocolate! I know, breaking the cardinal rule, but for reasons unknown, this works. Melt the chocolate & water gently over the simmering pan & then set aside.

Time to bring out the artillery – grab your mixer & beat 125g of softened butter with 1 & 1/4 cups of dark brown sugar until fabuliciouzly creamy. Add in 2 eggs, one at a time, beating until just blended after each one. Turn your mixer down to low speed & pour in the chocolate mix. Next add in 1/2 cup of sour cream before slowly popping in that bowl of dry ingredients we set aside right at the start.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin & whack in the oven for 40 minutes or until baked through (either a skewer comes out clean when inserted or it springs back when lightly touched in the middle).

Cool the cake in the pan for 10 minutes before turning out onto a cooling wire & removing the paper. Once completely cold, store in an airtight container overnight.

Next day, crumble up the cake & set aside. Spike a tub of double cream with a teaspoon of vanilla paste & set aside as well. Grab some pretty glasses & we’re ready for assembly.

On the bottom layer, sprinkle some cake crumbs, the next layer spoon in some cherry jam, layer 3 is tossing in some Maraschino Cherries (at this point you can opt to sprinkle over some of the cherry juice for family friendly or some cherry wine/liquor for grown ups) before finally dolloping in some of the cream. Repeat the layers as many times as you like before crowning off with a grating of chocolate over the luscious cream. Remember to pop a cherry on top.

Fire Crackers

Today I want to share with you all my FireCrackers which are awesome for TGIF drinks or popping on a platter for parties.

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Start by baking 4 skin on potatoes in a 180c oven for 50 minutes, so they get gloriously tender. Just leave those aside to cool before peeling the skin off & either using a fine grater or potato ricer to push those through into a mixing bowl.

Bung in 1 cup of cheddar cheese, 1/4 cup of finely diced jalepena chillis, 2 egg yolks & then season with salt & pepper. Next, get your hands dirty! Moosh it all up into a lovely, gooey tattie ball.

Pinch off good amounts of mix (about a heaped teaspoon worth) & roll into balls before coating in rice crumbs. I use rice crumb a) because it’s Gluten free and b) because it gives a better crunch.

Now my secret trick to imbue even more flavour into these little suckers – duck fat!

Heat up a tub of Duck Fat in a medium frypan & shallow fry the balls for about 10 minutes to heat them through & turn them nicely golden brown. Drain on paper towel.

Final step is to pop them on a platter & stand back as the hoards invade to greedily devour them!

Scotch Egg

Time for a wee bit of my Scottish Highland heritage!

The Scotch Egg is the perfect picnic food or lunchbox snack,

but I like to half or quarter them then toss through a classic Caesar Salad!

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The only trick to perfecting the Scotch Egg is time. Forget about your kitchen instinct & trust in your watch for this one!

Bring a pot of water to the boil. Pop in 4 eggs to boil for 5 minutes only! Then plunge them immediately into a bowl of icy water. Clearly, there is no way the eggs will be cooked after only 5 minutes at the boil, but they do get a second chance later……

When the eggs have cooled, ever so carefully peel the shells off. Remember, they’re not cooked through so be very delicate.

Next, bung 500g of mince in a bowl & season it generously with salt & pepper. In another bowl, whisk up a couple of eggs & in a third bowl, get your crumb on (I’ve used a Maize Corn Crumb but whatever floats your boat). Then it’s production line time! Coat the egg in the mince to seal it, dip it in the whisked egg, then crumb it.

Bring a pot of oil to a nice high temp & deep fry each egg for 10 minutes only.

When you slice into that luscious wee nugget, you want to see the yolk sensually coat whatever it’s crowning.

Tortilla Cannelloni

This Tortilla Cannelloni is a quick, super easy, fabuliciouz go-to meal for those busy days!

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Pre-heat the oven to 190c.

Heat up a good glug of oil in a frypan & saute off a dozen sliced mushrooms before adding in 500g of chicken mince. Season well with salt & pepper. When they’re cooked through nicely, stir in a 2 cup carton of chicken stock & simmer for 10 minutes.

Pop some mixture on a Tortilla & roll up before bunging in a casserole dish. Keep going until you fill the dish all up in a neat line.

Next, you could simply pour over a 600ml jar of store bought cheese sauce, but I prefer to make my own. Just melt 2 tablespoons of butter over the lowest heat before removing & stirring in 2 tablespoons of flour. Pop back on the lowest heat & stir for a wee bit to cook off the flour taste then simply add 2 & 1/2 cups of milk slowly while stirring constantly. Next, dump in an epic amount of cheddar cheese (I use about half of a 500g bag, but you just make it as cheesy as you like) & turn up the heat to melt the cheese & thicken the sauce.

Pour the cheese sauce over the filled Tortillas, crown it with a generous amount of Parmesan cheese & whack in the oven for 15 minutes.

It’s Chompin Time!

Cheese & Bacon Toastie

Nutty Swiss Cheese warmly embraces big, bold flavours ~ this ain’t your average Sanga!

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It’s oozing with melted gooey FABULICIOUZNESS! I guarantee you’ll be left craving for more of this decadent brunch favourite.

Start by cracking an egg into a mixing bowl then grating in some Swiss Cheese, fresh off the block. Next, add in a teaspoon of Mild American Mustard, just a splash of good old Worcestershire Sauce, a pinch of cayenne pepper along with a generous amount of black pepper & then……..Fried Bacon! With that bacon, I just diced up a couple of wood-smoked bacon rashers, heated a small frypan & whacked them in to cook. But, whatever you do, DO NOT clean that pan! We’re going to use that luscious seasoning of the bacon fat later 😉

Lay out some bread slices on your board (I use Gluten Free bread but whatever type floats your boat) and place a slice of Swiss Cheese on each one. Yep, that’s right, we’re using TWO different ways with that cheese – Delish!

Scoop some of the filling mix on top of the cheese slice & then put yet another slice of Swiss Cheese on top before crowning it off with another bit of bread. Let’s just take a moment to think about that, fried bacon & grated cheese encapsulated between slices of cheese………..mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Back to that bacon seasoned frypan! Melt a knob of butter into the pan & let the luscious bacon fat & the creamy butter get to know each other. Then it’s simply a case of toasting your sandwich on each side until it’s golden brown. I find that whacking a lid onto the pan helps with the melt factor of the cheese.

It’s Chompin Time!

BBQ Lamb Souvlaki

This BBQ Lamb Souvlaki is a recipe we first enjoyed on our honeymoon so always brings us memories of warm summer sunsets.

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In a meat marinating dish flomp in 400ml of Greek yoghurt, 2 tablespoons of finely chopped oregano fresh from the food patch, 3 teaspoons of minced garlic & a generous amount of sea salt flakes (I use Maldon). Combine that well before popping in 3 luscious lamb backstraps from your local butcher (800g worth).

Get messy with massaging that marinade to completely cover the meat before popping on the lid of your dish & whacking that in the fridge overnight.

Next day, have the man fire up the Alter of Burnt Offerings (aka the BBQ/Grill) to smoking hot. Oil it up well to prevent sticking before bunging on the lamb & immediately drop the temperature back to medium. Constantly turn the Souvlaki, basting in the leftover marinade & grinding black pepper all over it like there’s no tomorrow!

When you’ve got it done to how you like your meat, take it off the heat to allow to rest before slicing finely on the angle to serve to a ravenous audience!

Pan Fried Fish with Curry Sauce

A luscious wee number that my 5 year old says is “So Yummy Mum!”

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Start off by whipping up the curry sauce. Grab a saucepan & gently melt 2 tablespoons of butter over the lowest heat, once melted remove from the heat & stir in 2 tablespoons of flour & a teaspoon of salt. Place back on the low heat, stirring continuously, to cook the flour taste off for a minute before you start ever so slowly adding in 2 & 1/2 cups of milk. Finally, bung in some curry powder (I use Keens), just as much as your own taste buds can handle. Turn up the heat to thicken the sauce & it’s as simple as that.

Meanwhile, heat a wee splash of oil in a frypan & place a fillet of fish in. Wait until it turns opaque before flipping it to cook the other side. It usually takes a few minutes on each side.

Whack the cooked fish on a plate & smother it in that luscious curry sauce.

Prawn Cocktail

I’ve channelled my inner Fanny Cradock & got all retro when I stumbled across some gorgeous champagne saucers in the op shop! What better excuse to bust out the good old Prawn Cocktail?!?!

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You’ll be amazed at just how quick & simple this impressive little treat is to whip up!

Grab yourself a bowl, bung in 2 tablespoons of thickened cream, 1/2 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce, 1/2 cup of tomato sauce & 1/2 cup of whole egg mayonnaise. Give it a jolly good whisk then season with salt & pepper – that’s it!

Spoon some of your seafood sauce into pretty glasses & dangle some cooked, peeled prawns off the rims.

Honestly, Fanny was on to it here people!

Easter Pudding

This is a fabuliciouz seasonal spin off of a scrumptious classic –

the good old bread & butter pudding.

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Traditionally, in my home, Good Friday breakfast has always been toasted hot cross buns smothered in lashings & lashings of butter! This year, however, I now know why I get so ill after eating so need to go Gluten Free. I have failed in my exhaustive efforts to locate Gluten Free Hot Cross Buns 😦

Not to worry, I shall make my scrummy pancakes instead! But you may still like to indulge in my Easter Pudding, hubby says it’s definitely a winner!

Start by rubbing butter lightly around a baking dish before stacking six hot cross buns, sliced in half, in it with points up. Melt 80g of butter & drizzle over the buns for them to slurp up all that dairy goodness, mmmmmmmmmm.

Next, ever so gently over low heat, bring to the boil 300ml coconut milk, 300ml coconut cream, a teaspoon of vanilla paste & a good dash of ground cinnamon. Mixed altogether in the one saucepan, of course!

While you’re waiting on that to come up to temp, whisk 4 eggs with 2/3 cup of rich brown sugar until it’s nice & frothy.

Then comes the tricky part, be patient & take your time with this bit or you’ll get scrambled eggs. Simply pour little bits at a time of the hot mix onto the egg mix whilst whisking constantly. It is so easy & nothing to be scared of, but you must control that inner urge to just dump the lot in & get on with it.

Pour the combined mix over the buns.

Pop the baking dish, groaning under the weight of that impending pleasure, into a pan of water half way up the side of the dish. Then whack it in a 180c oven for 45 minutes or until that custard is set properly.

You can enjoy this pudding hot or cold so can be prepared in advance. If you want to make this at any time of the year, not just Easter, then swap out the hot cross buns for a whole loaf of bread (whatever type floats your boat).

Have a safe & happy Easter everyone.

Moroccan Curry

Whoever invented the slow cooker needs a medal! If you don’t have one, why not? They’re cheap & produce fabuliciouz meals from very little effort.

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For example, my Moroccan Curry! Just a warning you will need to ensure your doors are securely locked before starting as the neighbours definitely can’t resist this one!

Pop 500g of either diced beef or lamb in a plastic freezer bag along with a seriously generous amount of Moroccan seasoning, twist the opening & pretend you’re a cocktail star! Shake it high, shake it low, shake it baby Go Go Go! Every piece of meat should be well coated.

Grab a large frypan & whack a splash of oil in to heat. Saute off a heaped teaspoon of minced garlic then add the meat to just seal the outside. Bung that lot into the pot of the slow cooker.

Throw on top of it an 800g tin of diced tomatoes, 2 tablespoons of tomato paste & 1 finely diced yellow wax Chilli. Give it all a jolly good stir & pop the lid on. Turn the dial to low & cook for 8 hours. The trick to the slow cooker is to never, ever lift that lid!

Now if you don’t have a slow cooker, you can still make this mouth watering meal by pre-heating your oven to 180c & placing it all in a lidded casserole dish to cook for 3 hours. Remember to seal the meat step though.