Bolognese Pasta Bake

Layers of creamy, rich comfort!

I am sure this fam-bam favourite will be a regular at your home too.

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This is a simple recipe but takes some multi-tasking skill in the kitchen so get organised & your tastebuds will definitely thank you for it.

Start with popping a pot of water onto the back burner to come to the boil, before salting & emptying an entire 500g packet of pasta in to cook.

In a large frypan, heat up a wee glug of oil to brown off 500g of pork mince (or whatever type floats your boat), remembering to season the mince well with salt & white pepper. Pour in a 700g jar of passata, stir through then season again with salt, white pepper, paprika & dried mixed herbs. That can now set aside.

Onto the white sauce! In a medium saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon of butter over low heat. Once melted, remove from the heat to add in 1 tablespoon of plain flour & 1 teaspoon of salt. Stir that well to incorporate with a wooden spoon then pop back onto the low heat to stir for another minute. Slowly start adding in 2.5 cups of milk whilst stirring constantly. When all the milk is added, turn up to a medium heat & keep stirring until it thickens lusciously.

Ok, back to that pasta! Drain it off & then pop it back into the saucepan. Pour just a smidge of the white sauce onto it along with 2 whisked eggs, just enough to toss the pasta through to coat it evenly. This is a wee trick to add that extra luxury to the pasta that nobody quite knows why yours is so much better than theirs 😉 Season it with salt & white pepper!

Now for the layering up fun bit!

On the bottom of your baking dish, place a layer of the pasta, then a layer of the bolognese mince. Keep layering that up in your dish before reaching the top & pouring all that gorgeous white sauce over it. Finally crown your culinary creation with a copious amount of grated cheddar cheese & grated parmesan cheese which will form a lovely crust.

Whack that into a 180c oven for 20 minutes & It’s Chompin Time!

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Spiced Pumpkin Bites

These bite sized Indian inspired balls of spice

could be directly from my witches cauldron for the grown up trick or treaters! 

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I had a 1/4 of a butternut pumpkin leftover in my fridge & thought what on earth can I do with that?!?! Read on to find out how scary the inner workings of my brain can be!

So, I started by peeling & chopping up that 1/4 butternut pumpkin, tossing it into a pot of water & bringing it to the boil.

Whilst that was happening, I grabbed out my mini wok to create a spice paste. How I did that was to pop in a splash of peanut oil along with 1 teaspoon of minced garlic, 1 teaspoon of curry powder, 1 teaspoon of garam masala, 1/4 teaspoon of hot cayenne pepper, 1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger powder & 1/2 tablespoon of red thai curry paste. Then I turned on the heat to fry those spices off until Hubby came running with the fragrance!

By this time, the pumpkin was nice & soft so I drained it, put it back into the now empty saucepan & mashed it up. I added in a good knob of butter too!

Into the spice paste in my mini wok, I added a splash of full cream milk, just a normal amount that I’d use to make a mash (you know, how you do butter & milk to any mashed tattie or pumpkin) but I put the milk into the spices first to loosen them up so the milk I used for my mash was spiced, rather than placing the spice paste directly into the pumpkin.

Next, I mixed through some cooked rice to continue along with my Indian theme & which would act as my binding agent.

Pop that lot in the fridge to chill.

When you’re ready to eat, simply heat up some oil in a pan, roll the spiced mashed pumpkin into balls & coat in whatever crumb float your boat before frying them off to colour as it’s already cooked. Make sure you set the balls aside to drain excess oil off & serve whilst still hot.

Now these are soft, so not finger food by any stretch of the imagination, so you will require forks for these wee beauties.

 

Choc-Ginger Fudge Truffles

A delectable sticky treat to please sweet conoissuers.

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It’s getting to that time of year again when we start to look forward to rich delicacies seducing our taste buds!

These truffles are uber easy to whip up from just a few kitchen pantry staples! Enjoy them for Halloween to help get the festive season started.

Simply pour a 400ml tin of chocolate flavoured sweetened condensed milk into a small saucepan along with 200g of dark chocolate & melt it gently over a low heat, stirring constantly, until it’s nice & smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.

Crush up an entire packet (125g) of Gingernut Biscuits then stir through the chocolate fudge mixture.

Pour the fudge into a tin foil tray & pop in the fridge overnight.

The reason I use a tin foil tray is because this stuff is seriously sticky! It just helps to be able to peel the tray away as you go. Heat a sharp knife in hot water to cut off slices of the fudge, wet your hands & roll into balls. Use a teaspoon to coat the truffle balls in cocoa powder & put on a tray before placing back in the fridge to set.

This is a fabuliciouz little truffle that you can whip up a huge batch of using a few simple ingredients that most of us have easily at hand.

 

Churros

You won’t believe how easy this Spanish classic,

adored the world over,

is to whip up in your own home kitchen!

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When Mini-Me looked up at me with terribly sad eyes saying how much she misses her hot cinnamon doughnut treat since being required to maintain a Gluten Free diet, it absolutely shattered my heart. I mean, what was I supposed to do except go to my pantry, grab my Gluten Free Flour & make my wee poppet some Churros!

This is such an easy doughnut to make at home & this recipe will easily provide you a party platter worth of delectable delights.

Start simply by popping 1 cup of water along with 100g of butter into a medium saucepan & bringing that to the boil, stirring until the butter is melted, before removing from the heat.

Next, add in 1 cup of plain flour & a good pinch of salt. Stir with your wooden spoon to combine it well & when the dough starts to come away from the side of the pan then cover the top with some plastic wrap & allow to stand for at least 15 minutes or until it’s cooled.

Then it’s just a case of beating in the eggs. You’ll need 3 eggs in total, lightly whisk each separately to add in one at a time, beating the dough well after each addition to combine it.

Spoon the dough into a piping bag which is fitted with a star nozzle.

Heat up 1 litre of oil in a large saucepan to nice & hot. Squeeze lengths of the dough into the hot oil, using a sharp knife to cut the dough between each one. Fry for a couple of minutes until they turn a lovely golden colour. Remove from the oil to drain on a cooling wire set over a tray then dust with Cinnamon Sugar.

Meanwhile, break up 200g of good quality dark chocolate into a small saucepan & pour over 1 cup of milk. Pop that on the stove over a gentle heat to melt, stirring continuously, until the chocolate is melted & the dipping sauce is smooth & slightly thickened.

Serve the fabuliciouz Churros with the luscious chocolate dipping sauce & bask in the glory!

Swedish Cream Sauce

A fabuliciouzly versatile sauce with countless applications!

An absolute must in your culinary arsenal.

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To have a variety of sauces up my sleeve has saved me so very many times from kitchen disaster! The ability to create a fam-bam pleasing meal from standard pantry & fridge items is both totally satisfying to me & their tummies!

For this gorgeous sauce, start by melting 1 tablespoon of butter in a saucepan over low heat before adding 1 tablespoon of white flour & then whisk it until it turns a lovely golden colour, just to make sure that the flour is cooked out.

Next, pour in 1 cup of beef stock, 1/4 cup of milk, 1/4 cup of thickened cream & a good splash of soy sauce. Give that lot a jolly good stir before seasoning well with salt & white pepper.

Turn up the heat to thicken up the sauce to your liking & use it any which way your imagination can dream up!

In the photo here I’ve teamed this Swedish Cream Sauce with pasta & meatballs. These basic meatballs I’ve shared before but just a quick reminder of what’s in these ones.

Into a bowl place 500g of either pork or chicken mince (whichever floats your boat) along with 1 teaspoon of minced garlic, 1 & 1/2 tablespoons of Maple Syrup, 1 teaspoon of mixed herbs, 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper & then season generously with salt & white pepper. Mix it all up well with your hands then roll into balls. Heat up a little oil in a pan & fry them off until cooked through.

Watermelon & Honey Slushie

Warmer weather on our mountain top gets us in the mood to party!

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Who doesn’t love a refreshingly cool fruity concoction on a warm day?! This combination of juicy watermelon with the sweetness of honey will definitely give your taste buds a tingle! And I’m sure that the booze hounds among you out there will very quickly work out how to sully this one 😉

It’s another easy 3 ingredient wonder of awesomeness from me to lift up your Summer!

Simply start with 6 crushed ice-cubes, add in some roughly chopped watermelon (about 2 cups worth which is a smaller wedge of the melon) & drizzle in a teaspoon of honey (I always use a local raw honey).

Grab good old Mr Buzzy (aka stick blender) to blitz that lot into a fabuliciouzly cool slushie!

Spinach & Mushroom Cannelloni

Boasting Spinach, Mushrooms, Tomato & Mince,

this is not-your-average meat & 3 vege!

Yes I am well aware that Tomato is a fruit & Mushroom is a fungi, but let’s not ruin my joke here 😉

This is such a fabuliciouz mince bake meal that it’s sure to be just as big a hit with your fam-bam as it is with mine.

Bonus is, it’s deadset easy & you can even prepare the filling earlier to speed up dinner time.

Start by heating a good glug of oil in a large frypan & bunging in 250g of sliced up mushrooms to cook off. Then add in 500g of whatever mince floats your boat to brown. Remember to season the meat with salt & white pepper as soon as it hits the pan. Pour in an entire 700g jar of passata & give that lot a jolly good stir. Let it bubble away on a simmer for a good 10 minutes.

(Now this is the bit that you can pause at if you’re pre-preparing ahead, otherwise, press on.)

Meanwhile, pop a pot of water onto the boil & gently wilt off an entire 150g bag of baby spinach leaves. Drain them well & stir them into the sauce.

Grab your baking dish & ladle in some of the sauce over the bottom, then start filling your cannelloni tubes using a teaspoon to help you get the saucy goodies in there. Lay each filled tube, side by side, into the baking dish. Ladle all the leftover sauce on top of the filled tubes before spreading the contents of an entire 250g tub of mascarpone cheese over the top. Finally crown your culinary creation with a handful of whatever crumb floats your boat & a generous handful of parmesan cheese too.

Whack that lot into a 200c oven for 30 minutes.

Spiced Pumpkin Scones

Fabuliciouzly light & oh so devourish!

These scones, with a hint of something special, won’t last long enough for the lashings of butter to melt upon them!

Start off this culinary delight by peeling 1/2 a butternut pumpkin & chopping into rough cubes. Bung into a baking dish, sprinkle with cumin & paprika to your taste before drizzling over a wee bit of oil & whacking into a 180c oven to roast for an hour. Drain the excess oil off then mash it up & set aside to go cold.

In a mixing bowl, cream together 30g of softened butter with 2 teaspoons of caster sugar. I don’t know why, but I’ve always been told to use a wooden spoon to do this so that’s what I shall pass onto you too 🙂

Next, throw in 1/2 cup of the mashed spiced pumpkin, 2 tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese, 1 beaten egg & 3/4 cup of milk. Give that lot a jolly good mix in.

Into the bowl plop 2 & 1/2 cups of self raising flour & mix together to form a dough then get your hands in there to knead it lightly. The mix will be awfully sticky so just wet your hands to pull bits off & roll into balls. Place the balls onto baking paper lined trays then lightly press down to flatten the tops & sprinkle with a wee bit of grated parmesan cheese.

Pop them straight into a 210c oven for 5 minutes before reducing the heat to 200c for another 5 minutes.

Be mindful of the hungry hoards thrusting their hands at the hot trays as you pull out your luscious scones!

Thai Green Chicken Curry

A fabuliciouzly quick & easy curry that’s sure to please the whole Fam-Bam!

This is another gem of a dish from my post ballet arsenal that I can not believe I haven’t shared with you all already! Forget stopping for takeout on the way home, you’ll have this whipped up quicker than the store can!

Simply pop a pot of water on to boil, salt & cook off some rice before draining.

While that’s happening, grab a medium pot & bung in 2 diced up chicken thighs then pour over a 400ml tin of coconut milk. Get that onto a medium heat to cook off the chook.

In a small pot, pour in a 400ml tin of coconut cream & gently heat it up before popping in 2 tablespoons of Thai Green Curry paste along with a splash of soy sauce. Stir it well to incorporate & then add it into the chicken pot. Give the whole lot a jolly good stir.

Whack in the cooked & drained rice & dish up!

Now that’s the base recipe! Back in the day, before Mini-Me, I used to use 4 tablespoons of the curry paste which makes it really pack a spicy punch! Also, if you have a wee bit of extra time, load that curry up with a gazillion veggies for a more substantial meal.

Pan Fried Ricotta Gnocchi

Delightful wee pillows of fluffy potato that simply make you smile.

I’ve always loved making my own gnocchi. There’s something which I find just so satisfying about taking a humble potato & creating a fabuliciouz meal from it. Now that Mini Me & I are both Coeliac, I thought my “fluffy pillows” ,as she calls them, were yet another distant memory of our culinary past but NO! I have discovered a Gluten Free recipe which is a somewhat acceptable alternative.

Start by popping 3 large, starchy tatties into a pot of water & bringing to the boil. Make sure you leave their skins on so that no water can get into them. Once they’re cooked through, peel them whilst hot (careful not to blister the prints off your fingertips!) then use the fine side of your grater to mimic what a potato ricer would do with a nice fine shred.

Make a well (hole) in the centre & add 1 egg yolk with enough ricotta cheese to knead into a dough.

Heat some oil in a pan to shallow fry before pinching bits of the dough off to roll into balls then use your thumb to add a slight depression in the middle before placing gently into the hot oil.

Turn the gnocchi carefully to crisp up both sides before removing to drain any excess oil.

You can team them with your favourite pasta sauce or whack them through a fresh salad.