Double Chocolate Ginger Ice-Cream

Decadently creamy chocolate ice-cream that nobody can quite pick what that secret ingredient is!

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The long anticipated wait is over! Today is my day to make my offering for this years ‘Spice It Up’ Advent Calendar! HOORAH! What an incredibly exciting honour it is to be chosen to participate in this worldwide special event. I’d like to take a moment to thank Jenny from http://www.jennyisbaking.com for her tenacity in organising such an amazing project. Her organisational skills are awe-inspiring & I applaud you, Jenny, for successfully seeing this magnificent Advent Calendar into fruition. Such a wonderful way to celebrate the giving spirit of Christmas with strangers right around the world.

Here in Australia, Christmas means Summer. Our Festive Season abounds with scorching hot days & balmy nights. It’s a time for beach cricket, prawns on the Barbie, good times with mates & trying to gobble your ice-cream before it melts!

But Christmas is also a time of watching the budget closely for a lot of families. That is why, this year, I am bringing to you FIVE amazing recipes before Christmas to help keep the Festive Feast indulgent without leaving you broke!

The first in my Festive Feast on a Budget series is this fabuliciouzly sumptuous Double Chocolate Ginger Ice-Cream! It’s so incredibly rich & the secret ingredient of GINGER is just enough to leave everyone guessing what on earth makes your ice-cream so much more special than all the rest! And it only takes just 5 standard kitchen staples!

Into the bowl of you mixing machine place 600ml thickened cream along with a 395g can of sweetened condensed milk, 200g of melted dark chocolate & 1 teaspoon of ground ginger. Beat that lot until they’re incredibly thick & creamy.

Next, simply fold through 1/2 cup of white chocolate bits gently so you don’t knock all the air out of it.

Pour the mixture into a container & pop in the freezer to set BUT if you are fortunate enough to have an ice-cream machine, like me, pour the mixture into the bowl & churn for whatever amount of time your particular machine recommends before popping it into the container to set in the freezer. Trust me, the results are well worth the extra time.

Check out all the Advent Doors on the link below & check back every day as we’re only HALF way through!

http://jennyisbaking.com/2017/11/30/food-advent-calendar-spice-it-up/

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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.

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!

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.

Strawberry Jam

My Fam-Bam loves my Homemade Strawberry Jam

declaring it to be sticky yumminess!

Honestly, making your own jam is dead-set simple! You’ll be amazed at how easy it really is using your slow cooker! Imagine the delight on your loved one’s faces when you give them a jar of your very own homemade jam, made with love.

So grab yourself a kilo of strawberries, give them a quick wash then chop the tops off & cut them up roughly. Bung them into the slow cooker along with a chopped up green apple, ensuring you leave the skin on (this is where the pectin is which is what sets your jam).

Pour in a kilo of caster sugar & 1/4 cup of lemon juice. Give that lot a jolly good stir & whack the setting on high for 4 hours with NO LID.

Then all you have to do is just give it a blitz with good old Mr Buzzy (aka stick blender) & pour into sterile jars.

https://foodforage.net/2016/09/07/how-to-sterilise-jars/

Yep, that’s it! Homemade jam! YUM!