Cherry Chocolate Brownies

This is usually reserved as a Festive Season favourite in our home but with the popularity of mid-year winter celebrations in Australia, I’m starting to spoil my fam-bam twice a year!

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Set aside half a block (125g) of butter on the bench to get nice & soft before you start making these as your mix will then be lovely & smooth.

Start by beating 2 eggs before adding 1 cup of caster sugar & the softened butter. Keep right on beating that mix until it’s smooth.

Next, pop in 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder, a good pinch of salt (about 1/2 teaspoon as well, really), 1/3 cup of cocoa powder & 3/4 cup of plain flour. You guessed it, beat all that in to mix it up really well to a nice, smooth batter.

Add in a teaspoon of vanilla paste & however many glace cherries (cut in half) that you fancy. Fold those through the mix, rather than beat, so they don’t get crushed.

Bung that lot into a tin foil tray, spreading all the way to the edges & whack in a 180c oven for about 35 minutes or until it’s baked all the way through in the middle.

Let the brownie slab cool in the tray completely before turning out & cutting into slices.

Moroccan Fish Tacos

I needed to whip up a fabuliciouz meal in a flash after a late arrival home.

My mind instantly fell upon a new trend I was seeing all over the Food Network of Fish Tacos.

Now, I must admit, that I had never tried these anywhere so I wasn’t quite sure what they should taste like, but I do know the flavours that my fam-bam enjoy.

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This was honestly so embarrassingly simple you’ll wonder why I’m bothering to share at all, but it really is something I will now keep in my quick & easy repertoire for post Ballet evenings!

Grab a bowl & bung in some plain flour (obviously I use Gluten Free) before seasoning it ever so generously with salt, pepper & Moroccan seasoning. Mix it all up really well & coat some fish fillets in it ensuring an even coverage. I like to double coat mine (just like with my fried chicken) to get a beautiful crunch.

Heat up a good amount of oil so we can shallow fry off the fish fillets before allowing them to drain on a paper towel lined plate.

Next it’s time to whip up the sauce. Into a bowl goes some whole egg mayonnaise then simply season it with salt & pepper before spiking it with mild American Mustard (that’s where the yellow colour comes from). Combine all that really well & just adjust it to your taste.

Heat up some corn tortillas in a frypan & then it’s an easy peasy task of simply breaking off chunks of the fish to lay down the middle before drizzling over some of the sauce.

Now, that’s fabuliciouz as it is for a light meal or brunch but if you want to you can dress it up even more with some salads in there as well like some crunchy slaw or diced avocado & tomato. Whatever floats your boat, really.

Frittata

This is a rather convenient wee number to keep up one’s sleeve.

You can substitute it for anything you’d serve as a quiche or a super brunch idea or take it cold for a picnic.

Hubby even has it in his lunch box at work!

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Start off by peeling 2 large potatoes & getting them in your steamer. I prefer to use the steamer so the spuds don’t get waterlogged. When those are cooked to a soft point but not mushy (we want to slice not mash) set them aside to cool unless, of course, you enjoy the exfoliation of taking off the top layer of skin on your fingers! When they’re ready to handle, slice them as thinly as you can.

Bring a pot of water to the boil, add salt & whack in about a cup’s worth of frozen peas to cook. Drain those off & set aside for later.

Next, we’re going to heat up a good solid glug of olive oil in a large frypan. Pop into that 4 teaspoons of minced garlic, a finely chopped red chilli & half a dozen bacon steaks (or rashers if you can’t get them) which you’ve diced up. Cook that lot off until the bacon is where you like it then spread it out nicely to cover the bottom of the pan. That’s right, unlike quiche which has a pastry crust, this Frittata is all about a bacon bottom!

Gently layer the slices of tatties to cover the bacon then bung all those cooked peas right on top, spreading them out for an even coverage. Then we want to season really well with salt, pepper & believe it or not…….nutmeg!

Now we want to grab a separate mixing bowl & crack 8 eggs in before giving them a jolly good whisk & pouring right over the top of the Frittata in the pan. Cook this on the lowest heat setting possible (we don’t want to burn that bacon!) until the eggs are just set, usually takes about 10 minutes or so.

Finally, throw on a good handful of both grated cheddar & parmesan cheeses, pop it under the grill to melt & brown then It’s Chompin Time!

Popcorn Chicken Pizza

Oh yes I did just morph together two outstanding comfort food favourites!

Nom Nom!

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My fam-bam really are spoilt, aren’t they?! I’ve taken one of our favourite snacks of wee fried chicken balls & teamed it up with arguably the best fast food of all time, PIZZA!

Start by making your pizza dough. I make my own because I need to be gluten free, but if you want to skip this step, by all means, just buy some ready made pizza bases, whatever floats your boat.

So into your mixer goes 4 & 1/2 cups of self raising flour (I use Gluten Free Flour) then in a mixing jug you’ll need to combine 2 cups of water with 2 teaspoons of yeast & 1 teaspoon of raw sugar. Give that a jolly good stir up before adding to the flour. Season well with salt & pepper then ensure you have your dough hook attached to your mixer & let her rip! If you don’t have a mixer with a dough hook then you, my friend, are going to get a fantastic arm workout as you mix & knead!

Because I use Gluten Free Flour, this dough comes together before getting sloppy again in the bowl but don’t worry about it. It doesn’t take very long to mix & then you simply pop a clean tea towel over it & set aside to rise for about an hour & a half.

Now, if you’ve gone the Gluten Free route you’ll need to blind bake the pizza base, if not, skip this bit.

Once the dough is done rising, pour it out into a big tray which you’ve greased well & spread to the edges. Into the oven it goes at 180c for a 10-15 minute blind bake.

While the base is in the oven, lets get the topping ready!

Dice up 500g of chicken thigh into little bite sized pieces. Bung that lot into a plastic bag along with some flour, salt, pepper & paprika. Shake the shizenhowzen out of it & cook off in stonking hot oil before draining on paper towel.

Now, to the PIZZA! On your base you will need a layer of grated cheddar cheese followed by the popcorn chicken & topped with even more grated cheddar cheese. Whack it in a 180c oven for half an hour.

As a final flourish before serving, drizzle sour cream all over your fabuliciouz masterpiece.

Beef & Potato Curry

Perfect one pot cooking to warm you up from the inside on bitterly cold winter nights.

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Mini Me gave this flavoursome curry a million thumbs up whilst hubby was too busy shovelling spoonfuls into his gob to talk! I shall take that as a win.

Start by heating up a solid glug of oil in a large saucepan. Brown off 500g of beef mince seasoning with salt & pepper. Add in 2 teaspoons of minced garlic along with 2 tablespoons of curry powder (I use Keens) & give it a jolly good stir.

Bung in half a dozen peeled & roughly diced potatoes then chuck in a tin (410g) of crushed tomatoes & 150ml of water. Season again with salt & pepper then stir it all up really well.

Whack on a lid & allow that to gently simmer away for about half an hour to get those tatties nice & tender.

Baked Bean Pie

The ultimate comfort food!

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Hubby absolutely lost his mind over this one! Devouring this rich meaty sauce crowned with creamy mashed tatties & golden cheese in a flash after a hard days work.

In a large frypan, heat up a good glug of oil to brown off 500g of mince (I use pork but whatever floats your boat is fine) along with 2 carrots which you’ve peeled & finely diced. Season generously with salt & pepper before adding in a tin (410g) of diced tomatoes. Stir in 1 cup of beef stock & a tin (425g) of baked beans. Finally, bung in a jolly good sprinkling of mixed dried herbs to boost flavour. Allow that to gently simmer away so it reduces the liquid & develops all that fabuliciouz flavour.

Meanwhile, peel some potatoes & get them turned into a mash. How I do mine is dice up roughly the peeled spuds & throw them into my steamer (this way they don’t get waterlogged). When they’re nice & soft, I add in a lot of butter (I slice a good chunk off the block, probably about 50g worth) & splash in a good amount of milk too as well as always seasoning with salt & white pepper. Smash it up well with the masher & there you have it – mashed tattie.

By the time the mash is ready, the filling should be thick & rich. Pour the filling into an oven proof dish then spread the mash tattie all over the top to cover before crowning off with a generous helping of grated cheddar cheese.

Whack the pie into a 200c oven for 45 minutes then It’s Chompin Time!

Kebab Noodle Salad

Just perfect for a quick mid-week dinner or to kick start a weekend BBQ!

The fresh citrus flavour is sure to liven up your tastebuds.

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This is yet another fabuliciouzly tasty number from my whip it up quick after ballet arsenal. Before we leave the house, I pop about 8 bamboo skewers into a shallow dish of warm water to soak while we’re out. This saves precious time when we get home as bamboo skewers simply must soak for at least half an hour in warm water before you use them so they don’t catch fire when you’re cooking.

Start by bunging 500g of pork mince into a mixing bowl & season ever so generously with salt, white pepper & curry powder (about a tablespoon will do it but if you like more, go for it!). Get your hands in there & mix it all up really well before rolling into little meatballs.

Next, thread your meatballs onto the soaked bamboo skewers & set aside on a plate while you warm up a griddle pan. If it’s the weekend, have the hubby fire up the alter of burnt offerings (aka BBQ) to chuck these on the barbie ~ fabuliciouz! Cook the kebab skewers off in the hot griddle pan, turning as needed. They’ll probably take about 10 minutes, depending on how big you rolled those balls!

Meanwhile, cook a packet of rice noodles off as per the packet instructions & whack them into a lovely salad bowl.

In a separate small frypan, heat up a solid glug of oil & then fry off a teaspoon of minced garlic along with a finely diced red capsicum. Throw that straight in on top of the noodles before squeezing out the juice of a lime over the lot. Toss the noodle salad to mix all that luscious flavour through before crowning off your creation with the cooked kebabs!

There you have it, super quick, super tasty & super fresh dinner in a flash.

It’s Chompin Time!

Strawberries & Cream Sponge Cake

This has just got to be the easiest sponge cake EVER to whip up!

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So what’s a girl to do when she sees juicy plump strawberries at a ridiculously cheap price?!?! Make cake, of course!

Hubby sure wasn’t complaining as he hooked into a well deserved hard working man slice!

Honestly, this cake is so embarrasingly simple to make, you’ll never have any excuse again to not invite the ladies over for a lovely morning tea.

Grab yourself a mixing bowl & into that goes 1 cup of self raising flour, 1 cup of caster sugar & 6 eggs. Drag out good old Mr Buzzy (aka stick blender) with the whisk attachment & absolutely go to town on getting as much air in there as possible. In other words, whisk away madly!

Pour the batter into a prepared cake tin (I’ve used an 8 inch) & whack in a 180c oven for about 40 minutes. Just check when a skewer, inserted in the middle of the cake, comes out clean.

Turn it out onto a cooling wire.

When the cake is cold, get a serrated knife & slice in half horizontally, so you’ve got a top & a bottom.

Once again, it’s good old Mr Buzzy (aka stick blender) to the rescue! Pour 300ml of thickened cream into a jug, spike it with a teaspoon of vanilla paste & whisk it up to a beautiful stiff peak consistency.

Spread a good dollop of the vanilla cream onto the bottom layer of the cake & spread out to the edges. Next, sprinkle some diced up strawberries before popping on the top layer of cake.

Scoop the rest of the vanilla cream right on top of the cake & spread it out to cover the cake & fall down the edges covering the whole lot. Then it’s just a simple case of placing a few sliced strawberries in a pretty pattern on top.

There you have it, a lusciously gorgeous cake that’s super dooper easy to whip up to impress almost anyone.

Easy Carbonara Sauce

On Mini Me’s Ballet lesson days, I don’t get home until very late in the evening, the time when I really should have dinner served, not just be starting to cook! To resist the temptation of stopping for take away, I like to plan ahead for an uber quick throw together meal.

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Amongst my arsenal of post ballet meals, I keep this ripper sauce up my sleeve for a fabuliciouz pasta hit! It’d be quicker than waiting in the drive through line, I reckon, to whip up this at home instead.

Simply whisk 1 egg in a mixing bowl before adding in 600ml of thickened cream & season well with salt & white pepper. Throw in a generous man handful of grated parmesan cheese & stir well to combine.

Finally, just pour that sauce over your favourite cooked pasta & gently heat through!

In the photo I’ve used gnocchi, but we also often have this with various shapes of pasta & even fry up some diced bacon to put through on occasion too.