Polenta & Chilli Muffins

Lovely ‘little breads’ boasting a warm herbaceous flavour.

With Hubby spending so much time on the road driving the truck, muffins are the ideal fuel to keep him motoring along. They’re also jolly well nice with a cup of tea!

For these wee beauties you’ll need to start by setting your oven to 200c to pre-heat whilst we crack on with the batter. These muffins are really quick & easy, bursting with fabuliciouz flavour!

Line a muffin baking tin with patty pan papers & set aside.

Into a large mixing bowl goes, 175g of Self Raising Flour along with 175g of Polenta, 85g of caster sugar & 2 teaspoons of baking powder. Give them a mix up then add in 55g of grated cheddar cheese, a good sprinkling (about a tablespoon worth) of dried mixed herbs & 3 teaspoons of chilli paste (I use the Korean Chilli Paste from our local Asian Grocer – it wallops a heck of a lot more punch!). Stir all of that together & set aside.

Meanwhile, grab yourself a mixing jug & pour in 1 cup of milk before cracking in 1 egg & adding 1 teaspoon of mustard (I use a mild German mustard to balance out my chilli paste, but by all means, use a good English one if you really want to hurt!). Melt 85g of butter gently on the stovetop & add that into the wet ingredients in the mixing jug in a slow trickle, whisking the entire time so that you don’t accidentally cook that egg!

Make a well in the centre of your dry ingredients & pour your wet ingredients in. Stir it all until it’s just combined into a batter, don’t over-mix it.

Divide the batter evenly into the prepared patty pans & pop it into that 200c oven to bake for 20 minutes.

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Berry Pops

Looks Naughty, but it’s actually Nice.

A fun way to start your day with a healthy breakfast treat.

This is a definite Kids in the Kitchen recipe where Mini-Me simply loves to help out, making her breakfast icy-pops. They’re fun, They’re fast & They’re absolutely fabuliciouz!

But these 3 ingredient wonders aren’t just for kids! This is also a fantastic way for you grown-ups to get a healthy start to your busy days too when you’re on the run.

Nothing could be easier! Simply pop into a mixing jug 250g of any type of delicious berry that floats your boat & give it a good old whazz up with Mr Buzzy (aka stick blender), before decanting 340g of Coconut Yoghurt into the jug, along with a teaspoon of local raw honey. Give it another jolly good mix up, then pour into awaiting icy pop moulds & pop into the freezer to set.

Now you have no excuses to not get that great, healthy start to your day!

Tanz Tip – I have allergies & with having moved around the country so much, the very first thing I do in a new area is to seek out a jar of local raw honey! It’s the quickest way to expose my body to the local pollens & it’s absolutely fabuliciouz too.

Lentil & Egg Curry

A flavour packed dish that’s perfect for sharing.

You’ll need to start this one a day ahead so some prior planning needs to be thought about when wanting this wee number.

Place 1 cup of dried lentils into a bowl, cover with water & allow to soak overnight.

Next day, drain the lentils & let’s get our kitchen smelling like a Curry House!

Peel & finely dice up 2 onions.

Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan, add 1 tablespoon of curry powder, give it a quick mix then add in those onions. Cook them off until they have caramelised right down so that they release all their sweetness. That usually takes about 10 minutes or so, cooking nice & slow.

Splash in 3/4 cup of water along with the lentils, give that lot a jolly good stir then pop on a lid.

Cook, ever so gently, over a low heat for 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, hard boil 4 eggs then peel & set aside.

When the curry is ready, simply slice up the eggs & add them to the pot with a good pinch of salt for seasoning & stir in ever so gently.

Serve this one hot with lovely flat breads or pappadums to pick up the curry with.

Roasted Tomato Soup

A celebration of Summer bursting with the lively flavours of

sun-kissed Tomatoes, tongue-tingling Capsicums & soul-soothing Garlic. 

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This soup is a guilt free pleasure & we feel the goodness pulsating nourishment  throughout our bodies with every fabuliciouz spoonful! I hope your Fam-Bam loves it just as much as mine does.

Begin simply by quartering 1.5 kg of tomatoes & spreading those evenly in a roasting dish. Drizzle over 1 tablespoon of olive oil along with 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar. Season ever so generously with salt, pepper & dried thyme.

Next, squeeze a whole head of garlic into a corner of the pan & just set it aside for a moment.

Grab a baking tray & onto that goes 2 red capsicums which you’ve cut in half & removed the seeds & bitter white pith from. Make sure you place them skin side up on the tray before drizzling with a wee splash of olive oil as well.

Pop both the pan & the tray into a 180c oven for half an hour to roast.

Once done, place the capsicums into a bowl & cover them with cling film to sweat. Set that aside.

Into a big pot or saucepan, place the roasted tomatoes along with all those luscious juices from the pan. Just make sure you take that head of garlic out first!

Meanwhile, return to your capsicums as they should be done by now. Remove the cling film & the skin on all the capsicum halves should easily peel away, then into the pot they go! Remember to pour in any collected juices too – that’s all flavour!

Start to break apart your garlic head & squeeze all that soft yumminess out of the skins & into the pot!

Pour in 1 litre of chicken stock & get that on to the heat. Bring the soup to a boil & then simmer away for 15 minutes.

Finally, drag out good old Mr Buzzy (aka stick blender) to blend your soup smooth before one more go at the salt & pepper, seasoning to your taste.

Tanz Tip ~ To keep my meal completely Gluten Free, I like to serve Mini Pappadum’s alongside my soup so that I still get the crunch factor without the crusty bread.

Skordalia

This Greek garlic potato dip is simply perfect served with refreshing cucumber sticks or sweet cooked prawns.

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Skordalia is, quite honestly, such an easy & fabuliciouzly different dip to add WOW factor to any table. It’s lovely warm but you can make this the day before you want to serve it & just keep it well covered in the fridge.

Start by steaming 500g worth of peeled & chopped potatoes until they’re lovely & tender before giving them a good mash up.

Then add in 4 teaspoons of minced garlic (or 4 cloves if you’re prepared to crush them yourself) along with 60g of almond meal. Beat that lot really well with your wooden spoon to combine.

This recipe is going to give you a great workout for your ‘angel wing’ arms.

Slowly pour in 2/3 cup of really good quality extra virgin olive oil in a thin stream whilst beating to get a gorgeous thick & smooth consistency.

Finally, add in 2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar, a tablespoon worth of finely chopped fresh parsley & season ever so generously with salt & black pepper. Keep beating until it’s a beautifully luscious mash-like dip.

Croquettes with Spiced Aioli

Golden crisp crunch gives way to soft fluffy potato complimented perfectly with a bold flavoured dipping sauce.

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Potato Croquettes are an absolute crowd pleaser & are the perfect vehicle to carry a plethora of fabuliciouz flavours! This is my base recipe which pairs wonderfully well with my strong Spiced Aioli.

You’ll need to start this one the day before you want to serve it.

I begin by steaming 750g worth of peeled & chopped up tatties. I prefer to steam, rather than boil, so the potatoes don’t get waterlogged. It just makes it even fluffier!

Once they’re tender, grab a masher & give them a good squish up. It’s really important that you don’t mash them in a food processor because they get way too smooth for this recipe.

Next, add in 2 tablespoons of butter along with 1 lightly beaten egg, 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg & season generously with salt & pepper. Stir it all in to mix well then spread the mash out onto a flat plate, cover it in tin foil & pop in the fridge overnight.

The following day, divide your chilled mash up into equal sized portions & roll into sausage shapes. Then comes the good old crumbing production line!

  • Bowl 1 – plain flour
  • Bowl 2 – 2 lightly beaten eggs
  • Bowl 3 – whatever kind of crumb floats your boat

Once all of your Croquettes have been through each bowl, add them to a tray which you then need to cover with tin foil & pop back in the fridge for another 2-3 hours to firm up again.

Deep fry time! Get your oil nice & hot before carefully sliding in each croquette to turn a beautiful golden colour. Drain the excess oil from them & they are good to greedily devour!

But Wait! There’s More!

I promised you a fabuliciouz Spiced Aioli to dip those deep fried potato pillows of loveliness in.

This is where my food processor I got in the Christmas sales has been an absolute game changer!

Into the bowl goes 2 eggs, 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon of lemon juice, 12 drops of tabasco sauce, 2 teaspoons of salt & 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper. Give that lot a jolly good whazz until it’s all blended up nicely. Now, with the machine still running, start to pour in a slow, steady stream of 1/2 cup of olive oil until it’s gorgeously smooth. Add in 8 cloves of crushed garlic & process it until it’s also smooth & Voila! Instant Aioli! Pour into a pretty bowl to serve with your Croquettes.

Gluten Free Mini Mushroom Pies

Fabuliciouzly creamy mushroom filling encased in a shortbread like pastry.

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I love pies! I love baking pies! I love eating pies! So when I was forced to go Gluten Free for my health, naturally, I was devastated. My search for the perfect Gluten Free Pie commenced. After much trial & error, I am still no closer to finding that magic recipe, but this pastry recipe I found from The Australian Women’s Weekly is ok, although I would liken it more to a shortbread biscuit rather than pastry.

The BEST Gluten Free Pie of all time still belongs to Hayden’s Pies in Ulladulla on the New South Wales South Coast. Hayden, I beg of you, PLEEEAAAAAASSSSSSSEEEEEEEEEEE, share your perfect pastry recipe with me……..

For these wee beauties, I started off by making the filling. Simply melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a frypan before adding in 250g worth of sliced mushrooms (I prefer to use Swiss Browns, but whatever floats your boat) & cook those down until they’re lovely & tender. Next, add in 1/2 cup of thickened cream & allow that to simmer gently until it’s reduced. Finally, season generously with salt & white pepper. Set the filling aside to go cold.

Now comes the ‘pastry’. Into the bowl of your food processor goes 1 & 3/4 cups of rice flour, 1/3 cup of cornflour & a 1/3 cup of soy flour along with 200g of cold chopped butter. Process that lot to make it into a fine mixture. Next add just enough cold water (about 1/4 cup worth) slowly until everything comes together in a dough ball. Wrap the dough in cling film & pop in the fridge to chill for half an hour.

Now, I don’t know if it was the fact that I was crazy enough to making these in 42c heat that day or what, but my pastry didn’t roll as per the recipe. If you can get yours to, then they say to pop it between 2 sheets of baking paper to roll it out to 5mm thick before using your cutters to cut rounds.

I did manage to roll mine out successfully, however, attempting to pick up my cut out rounds simply didn’t happen, they just tore apart. So what I then did was to re-knead it back into a dough ball & I just broke bits off by hand & flattened out into my wee home-made pie tins.

Oh yes, I couldn’t find any foil pie cases so all I did was cut out squares of my tin foil & stuff them into the holes of a cupcake baking tray – voila!

Once I had all my pie cases ready, it was an easy task to spoon my prepared mushroom filling into each one before brushing the edges with some lightly beaten egg & crowning them with more of the pastry flattened out by hand. Then I brushed the tops with more of the beaten egg & popped them in a 220c oven for 25 minutes.

 

ClapShot

A nod to my Scottish heritage,

this fancy mash is fabuliciouzly sweet.

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It’s one of the most treasured of Scottish dishes but it’s one of those oral knowledge recipes that’s usually passed down in the family rather than recorded, so here is how you can all make this classic wee bonnie meal!

Start off with 2 saucepans because the veggies take different times to cook. Place 500g of peeled & chopped potatoes in one & 500g of peeled & chopped swedes in the other. Cover both in water, add salt & bring to the boil. Let those bubble away on your cauldron until the root vegetables are soft & tender before draining them well.

Now you can mix them together in the one pot. Mash them up good & proper before adding in 50g of butter along with 75ml of double cream. Mash them thoroughly until lovely & smooth.

Season the ClapShot generously with salt & white pepper then finish off by stirring through 1 tablespoon worth of freshly chopped chives.

Hubby declares this to be the BEST mash EVER!

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.

 

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.