Semi-Dried Tomatoes

Fill your kitchen with the intoxicating aroma

of roasting garlic, herbs & sun ripened tomato.

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This absolutely gorgeous addition to my Gifts From The Kitchen series will have the savoury lovers salivating! It’s a wonderfully practical culinary shortcut to enhance pasta & pizza dishes throughout the festive hangover.

Simply start by using an apple corer to cut out all the middle cores of the tomatoes before placing them into a pot of boiling water for 20 seconds only! Remove them immediately to plunge into a bowl of ice & water to cool.

Now I know that doesn’t actually sound like enough time to achieve anything at all, but trust me, it does! This is what allows you to be able to peel the skins off the fruit.

Once you’ve peeled all the skin off, cut the tomatoes in half & place them straight onto a baking tray.

Drizzle them with a wee bit of olive oil, then season with salt & black pepper. Throw on a few garlic cloves that you’ve peeled & ‘squashed’ with either your palm or the flat blade of your knife & sprinkle over some dried mixed herbs, or you might like to just throw on some thyme sprigs if that’s more your thing.

Bake them in a 140c oven for 4 hours before then putting them straight into a clean jar, topping with olive oil & screwing on the lid to seal.

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Spice It Up 2017 Advent Calendar

A very special Announcement.

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As promised, I have a BIG announcement for the end of the month & finally the day has arrived!!!!

You all know what an advent calendar is, right, for Christmas?!?!? Where you get to open a wee door every day for a special treat between December 1 to 24 ?!?!

Well, calling all food lovers!!!! This is the ultimate advent calendar for you!

24 Food Bloggers from all around the world have banded together to create a very special advent calendar indeed! From tomorrow, you will be able to use the link below to ‘open’ a new door to a brand new recipe featuring a classic Festive Spice each day! How cool is that?!?!?

2017 Spice It Up Advent Calendar

So, what can you expect from your exceptional culinary line-up this year? Check out each ‘door’ below –

December 1, Jenny, from Jenny is Baking  will feature tonka bean in a sweet bread
December 2, Rachel from   Dishing Up Dinner will feature nutmeg in a cookie
December 3, Jyoti from  The Hungry Belly will feature saffron in a dessert
December 4, Natalie from  Natalie Journeys will feature nutmeg in a drink
December 5, Renea from   Inspire a Creation will feature peppermint in a dessert
December 6, Samira from   Samira’s Recipe Diary will feature cardamom in a dessert
December 7, Markus from  Earth, Food & Fire will feature cloves in a side dish
December 8, Candi from  Make Ahead Meal Mom will feature nutmeg in a dessert
December 9, Rachael from  Coloured Plates will feature star anise in a condiment
December 10, Kori from Irok the Kitchen  will feature ginger in a cookie
December 11, Megan from Life on Paradise Drive will feature pumpkin pie spice in a dessert
December 12, Leslie from  Deliciously Plated will feature cardamom in a beverage
December 13, Tanya from  Food Forage will feature ginger in a dessert
December 14, Ali from  Fix Me a Little Lunch will feature bay leaves in a cocktail
December 15, Daniela from  Dani’s Cookings will feature cinnamon in a cake
December 16, Neha from  Witty Mushroom will feature cardamom in a dessert
December 17, Lizet from  Chipa by the Dozen will feature aniseed in a cookie
December 18, Jillian from  Simple Sassy Scrumptious will feature cinnamon and cloves in a cookie
December 19, Jennifer from  Jennifer Bakes will feature cayenne pepper in a snack
December 20, Angela from  Bake It With Love will feature nutmeg in a dessert
December 21, Kaveri from  Pretty Little Things will feature ginger in a dessert
December 22, Nataliya from  The Friendly Gourmand will feature clove in a side dish
December 23, Myriam from  Milly’s Melting Pot will feature vanilla in a cookie
December 24, Jenny, from Jenny Is Baking will make a roundup

Make sure you mark your favourites in your diaries & remember to check the advent calendar every day to see what incredibly amazing Yuletide Recipe awaits you!

I am so extremely excited to be apart of this GLOBAL project & can’t wait to check out all the fabuliciouz Christmas recipes from around the world!

It’s that time of year again!

Get ready to Deck the Halls & Jingle those Bells!

It’s my FAVOURITE time of the year!

Xmas 2017

Well after a whirlwind few weeks, we have moved house yet again! Hence why I’ve not been online! Moving is stressful at any time of the year, but right on top of the Festive Season?!?!?! Let’s just say I don’t want to be doing that again EVER! I still don’t have a working oven in the new place so we’ve been living on BBQ & whatever I can manage on the cooktop burners for our first week here, but hopefully, we should have that issue resolved shortly.

I have ‘enough’ of my kitchen unpacked now to get back to doing what I love ~ cooking up a storm to share with all of you on my blog. My Fam-bam are happy now too as they’re the ones who get too greedily devour everything I make.

And just in time too! Because today I start my Christmas Gifts From The Kitchen series! HOORAH!

Over the next 3 weeks, I shall be bringing you fabuliciouz festive culinary treats that you can whip up at home to surprise your loved ones this year with edible presents. Choose to either give them separately as lots of little gifts or combine a wee bit of everything into glorious gourmet hampers! You may even wish to use some of them as your offering on a share plate table as the parties kick in.

After our 3 weeks of Gifts From The Kitchen, I will then be launching straight into my Christmas Feast! This year is a whopper so you definitely won’t want to miss that! Plus, something EPIC is coming up which I can announce to you all at the end of the month ~ you won’t want to miss that one!

So, without further delay, let the Merry Christmas season begin!

Fish Cakes

Golden encrusted discs housing a

fabuliciouzly soft & flavourful gift from the deep.

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I simply adore Fish Cakes & would order them every time at one particular restaurant in Sanctuary Cove on Australia’s iconic Gold Coast. I haven’t found them that good any where else in the nation……until I started making my own! Hubby goes absolutely wild for these, devouring them greedily as if he’ll never experience them again. It is such an easy recipe, but that’s what a lot of good food is ~ Simple.

Start by frying off 750g worth of fish fillets in a wee bit of heated oil. I use Basa which is about 4 fillets. Then you’ll need to flake them up into small, mince like, consistency in a bowl.

Add in 300g of mashed potato (this is a great way to use up cold left overs!) along with 1/2 a bunch of chopped up flat leaf parsley, 1 teaspoon of hot cayenne pepper & then whisk 1 egg well & pop that in the bowl too.

Combine that lot well & then season generously with salt.

Rest the mixture in the fridge for half an hour then shape into cakes, dust with a wee bit of plain flour & shallow fry over a medium heat until each side is lusciously golden.

Drain any excess oil off your Fish Cakes before serving with a colourful salad & lemon wedges.

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!

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!

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.

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.

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.