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creamy-avocado-and-sweet-chilli-pasta

What you need:

250g  pasta (shells, Penne or Fusilli work best )

2  ripe and ready to eat avocados

2 tbsp  extra virgin olive oil

The juice of 1/2 lemon

2 handfuls baby spinach leaves

3 tbsp sweet chilli sauce

2 tbsp toasted  pine nuts, toasted

What you do:

Cook the pasta according to the pack instructions.

Remove the stones from the avocados, scoop out the flesh and mash well. Stir though olive and lemon juice.

Put the spinach in a colander in the sink. Strain the cooked pasta through it, reserving 2-3 tbsp of the pasta water.

Stir the pasta, spinach, reserved pasta water and avocado mixture together in a pan, until the pasta is well coated.

Serve drizzled with sweet Chilli sauce and sprinkle over pine nuts.

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Slow Cooker Taco Soup

What you need:

What you do:

In a medium frying pan or skillet, cook the minced beef until browned over medium heat. Drain, and set aside.

Place the minced beef, onion, chilli beans, kidney beans, sweetcorn, tomato sauce, water, diced tomatoes, green chilli peppers and taco seasoning mix in a slow cooker.

Mix to blend, and cook on Low setting for 8 hours.

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Slow Cooker Thai Pork with Peppers

 

What you need:

1/3 cup soy sauce

1/3 cup creamy peanut butter

6 cloves garlic, minced

2 tbsp minced fresh ginger root

1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

2 red  peppers, thinly sliced and cut into bite-size lengths

1 lb boneless pork chops

What you do:

Place the chicken broth, soy sauce, peanut butter, honey, garlic, ginger, crushed red pepper flakes, red bell peppers, and pork chops into a slow cooker, stir together, and set the cooker on Low.

Cook for 5 to 6 hours until the pork is tender, and remove the pork from the sauce. Shred the pork, return to the sauce, let cook until hot, and serve.

 

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Chicken Cacciatore

 

What you need:

3 lbs  chicken, cut up in pieces

1 large onion, thinly sliced

2 (6 oz) tins tomato paste

6 oz sliced mushrooms

1 green pepper , finely chopped

2 -4 garlic cloves, minced

2 teaspoons oregano

1 tsp dried basil

12tsp  celery powder

1 tsp salt

1cup  dry white wine

3 tbsp  olive oil

1 tsp  crushed red pepper flakes(optional)

What you do:

Place onions in bottom of crock pot.

Add chicken pieces.

Stir all the other ingredients together.

Pour over chicken.

Cook on low heat  7 to 9  hours or high heat for about 3 to 4 hours.

Serve  with pasta or rice.

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Chorizo in Red Wine

What you need:

1-2 tbsp olive oil

1 shallot, finely sliced

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

200g fresh chorizo, cut into slices about the thickness of a one pound coin (about 5mm)

1 tsp smoked paprika

2 x bay leaves

200ml red wine

fresh flat leaf parsley, finely chopped (to serve)

What you do:

Heat a frying pan over a medium heat. Heat olive oil and lob in the shallot. Fry for 2 to 3 minutes and then add the garlic. Continue to cook for another 2 minutes. The onion will begin to soften.

Add the chorizo to the pan and fry for another 3 minutes until they have coloured and started to crisp up. Fresh chorizo will exude their own fat into the pan together with some of the paprika, turning this to a lovely bright oily mixture.

Add the bay leaves and red wine. Cook until most of the wine has evaporated off and you are left with a rich unctuous coating to the chorizo.

Tip into a warmed serving dish and sprinkle over a little chopped parsley.

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Tuscan-White-Bean-Stew2

 

What you need:

4 oz pancetta or bacon, finely diced

1 small white onion, peeled and diced

5 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

8 cups good-quality chicken stock

4 (15 oz) cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

1 bay leaf

1 large sprig fresh rosemary

salt and freshly-ground black pepper

What you do:

Heat pancetta (or bacon) in a large stockpot over medium-high heat.  Cook until crispy, stirring occasionally.  Transfer the bacon to a separate plate, using a slotted spoon, reserving about 3 tablespoons of bacon grease in the stockpot.  (Discard any extra grease, or you can substitute olive oil in place of the 3 tablespoons of bacon grease.)

Add onion and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent.  Add garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant, stirring occasionally.

Add chicken stock, beans, bay leaf, rosemary and half of the cooked pancetta (or bacon).  Stir to combine.  Continue cooking the soup until it reaches a simmer.  Then reduce heat to medium-low, cover partially, and let the soup simmer for 10-20 minutes so that the flavors will meld.

Add salt and pepper to taste.  (I definitely recommend a generous pinch or two of black pepper, and extra salt if needed, depending on your chicken stock.)  Remove the bay leaf and rosemary.

Serve warm, topped with the extra pancetta (or bacon).

Garnish with Parmesan and serve with Italian bread if desired.

 

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

What you need:

1.5kg peeled floury potatoes

180ml olive oil, for shallow frying

salt

FOR THE SALSA BRAVA:

3 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp smoked hot Spanish paprika (pimentón picante), plus a bit extra

½ tsp crushed dried chilli flakes

½ tsp Tabasco sauce

1 tbsp red wine vinegar

125 ml tomato sauce (see below)

TOMATO SAUCE: 

125ml olive oil

225g onions, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, crushed

400g can of chopped tomatoes

150ml water

3 fresh bay leaves

¾ tsp salt

¾ tsp sugar

What you do:

First make the tomato sauce:

Heat the olive oil in a wide shallow pan over a medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and sauté for 15 minutes until soft and very lightly coloured.

Add the tomatoes, water and bay leaves, salt and sugar, then bring to the boil, lower the heat and simmer very gently, uncovered, for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Stir occasionally – you are aiming for almost a purée consistency.

Leave to cool a bit then remove the bay leaves and blend in a food processor until smooth.

Next make the salsa brava:

Heat the olive oil over a low heat, then add the pimentón, chilli flakes, Tabasco and vinegar and mix together well. Stir in the tomato sauce and adjust the seasoning to taste. Thin with up to 3 tbsp of water if the salsa is too thick.

Now fry the potatoes:

Cut the potatoes into small even-sized chunks and cook in a large pan of well-salted water for 6-7 minutes or until just tender, then drain well.

Heat the olive oil in two large non-stick frying pans, divide the potatoes between them and shallow-fry in a single layer for 10-12 minutes, turning regularly, until crisp and golden.

Spoon the potatoes onto warmed plates, drizzle over the sauce, sprinkle with the pimentón and serve with cocktail sticks and napkins.

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spicy stuffed squash

 

What you need:

2 butternut squash, halved length ways and de-seeded

2 tbsp olive oil

1 red chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped

300g bag baby spinach

Juice of ½ lemon

100g goat’s cheese, crumbled

2 tbsp pumpkin seeds

What you do:

Preheat the oven to 180 C/350 F/ gas mark 4.

Cut off the long halves of each squash and put the round halves on a baking tray. Drizzle with 1 tbsp  oil and roast for 20-25 minutes.

.Meanwhile, peel the remaining squash and cut into cubes. Heat the remaining oil and fry the cubed squash with the chilli for 5-10 minutes, until tender. Stir in the spinach until wilted and season well.

Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice, cheese and pumpkin seeds. Remove the squash from the oven and preheat the grill to medium. Fill the squash with the spinach mixture and grill for 5 minutes, until the cheese has melted

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Christmas Meatballs

 

What you need:

2 eggs

1 packet onion soup mix

1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs

1/4 cup chopped dried cranberries

2 tbsp minced fresh parsley

1-1/2 lb lean minced beef

SAUCE:

1 tin (14 oz) whole-berry cranberry sauce

3/4 cup ketchup

1/2 cup beef broth

3 tbsp brown sugar

3 tbsp finely chopped onion

2 tsp cider vinegar

What you do:

In a bowl, mix together the eggs, soup mix, bread crumbs, cranberries and parsley. Crumble beef over mixture and mix well. Shape into 1-in. balls; place 12 to 14 balls on a microwave-safe plate. Cover with grease proof paper; microwave on high for 2-3 minutes or until no longer pink. Remove to paper towels to drain. Repeat with remaining meatballs.

In a 2-qt. microwave-safe dish, combine sauce ingredients. Cover and microwave on high for 3-4 minutes or until heated through, rotating once. Gently stir in meatballs.

Cover and cook on high for 1-2 minutes or until heated through.

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mincepies1

 

What you need:

280g plain flour

125g icing sugar, sifted

pinch of salt

200g butter, diced

2 egg yolks

500g mincemeat

300g plain chocolate

2 clementines, zest and juice

2 tbsp milk

1 egg, beaten

Fresh double cream to serve

What you do:

Preheat the oven to 200 C/400 F / gas mark 6

Mix the flour, icing sugar and salt together in a bowl. Mix in the butter with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the eggs until the mixture comes together in clumps. Knead the pastry briefly until smooth, wrap in cling film and leave to chill in the fridge for one hour

Remove the pastry from the fridge, and roll out to a thickness of 6mm, the thickness of two stacked pound coins. Using a 7.5cm fluted cutter, stamp out 12 discs from the pastry and use them to line a 12-hole bun tin.

Break your chocolate into a small bowl and put this over a pan of boiling water (be careful not to burn yourself). Allow the chocolate to melt slowly, stirring very occasionally to ensure that it melts evenly. Mix in the mincemeat and the clementine zest & juice, then fill each pastry hole with two tsp of your choco/mincemeat mix.

Brush the edges of your pies with a little milk. Using a 6cm/2n fluted cutter, cut out 12 circles and use them to top the mince pies, pressing the edges together with your fingertips. Brush the top of each one with beaten egg.

Re-roll any remaining pastry and cut out star or snowflake shapes to decorate the top of each pie. Gently place the decorations on top, then brush again with egg.

Bake your mince pies in the oven for  around 25 minutes until the pastry is cooked through.

Allow to cool,.

Serve with fresh double cream.

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