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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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Cinnamon Roll Casserole (Slow Cooker)

 

What you need:

2 12 oz tubes of cinnamon rolls cut into quarters- divided

4 eggs

½ cup whipping cream

3 Tbsp maple syrup

2 tsp vanilla

1 tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp nutmeg

What you do:

Spray your slow cooker  with cooking spray.

Place a layer of cinnamon roll pieces to cover the bottom of your slow cooker completely. (Reserve icing packets)

Beat eggs, cream, maple syrup, vanilla and spices until blended well.

Pour evenly over the rolls in the slow cooker.

Place remaining roll pieces on top and spoon one packet of icing evenly over rolls.

Cover and cook on low for 2½ to 3 hours or until sides are golden and rolls are set.

Drizzle remaining icing over top and serve warm.

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Bacon Cheese Potatoes (Slow Cooked)What you need:

1/4 pound bacon, diced

2 medium onions, thinly sliced

4 medium potatoes, thinly sliced

1/2 pound cheddar cheese, thinly sliced

salt and pepper

butter

Green Onions (optional)

What you do:

Line the slow cooker  with foil, leaving enough to cover the potatoes when finished.

Layer half each of the bacon, onions, potatoes and cheese in slow cooker. Season to taste and dot with butter.

 Repeat layers of bacon, onions, potatoes and cheese. Dot with butter.

Cover with remaining foil.

 Cover and cook on low for 10-12 hours.

 

 

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Chicken & Stuffing

 

What you need:

4 Chicken Breasts (Thawed)

1 Box  Stuffing Mix

1/2 cup of Sour Cream

1 tin of  Chicken Soup

1/4 c. water

What you do:

place all four chicken breasts in the bottom of your slow cooker.

Sprinkle all the dry stuffing mix all over the chicken breasts.

Mix together the cream of chicken soup, 1/2 cup of sour cream & 1/4 cup of water in a bowl and simply pour over the top& put the lid on.

Switch slow cooker on ‘low’ and cook for 4 hours.

 

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SLOW COOKER CHILLI CON CARNE pic

 

What you need:

500g (1  1/4lb minced beef

1 onion diced

2 stalks celery diced

1 green pepper diced

2 cloves garlic minced

1 (600g) jar Passata

2 (400g ) tins kidney beans liquid reserved from one tin

1 400g tin cannellini beans liquid reserved

1/2 tbsp chilli powder

1/2 tsp dried parsley

1 tsp salt

3/4 tsp dried basil

3/4 tsp dried oregano

1/4 tsp ground black pepper.

What you do:

Place the mince in a frying pan over a medium heat, and cook until evenly brown.

Drain fat.

Place the mince in a slow cooker, and mix in the remaining ingredients.

Cover, and cook on LOW  for 8 hours.

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tiramisu

 

What you need:

568ml pot double cream

250g tub mascarpone

75ml marsala

5 tbsp golden caster sugar

300ml strong coffee, made with 2 tbsp coffee granules and 300ml boiling water

175g pack sponge fingers

25g chunk dark chocolate

2 tsp cocoa powder

What you do:

Put the cream, mascarpone, Marsala and sugar in a large bowl. Whisk until the cream and mascarpone have completely mixed and have the consistency of thickly whipped cream.

Get your serving dish ready. Put the coffee into a shallow dish and dip in a few sponge fingers at a time, turning for a few secs until they are nicely soaked, but not soggy. Layer these into your dish until you have used half the biscuits, then spread over half of the creamy mixture. Using the coarse side of the grater, grate over most of the chocolate. Then repeat the layers (you should use up all the coffee), finishing with the creamy layer.

Cover and chill for a few hrs or overnight. This can now be kept in the fridge for up to 2 days.

To serve, dust with cocoa powder and grate over the remainder of the chocolate.

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Raspberry White Chocolate Scones

What you need:

3 cups flour

½ cup sugar

6 tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

¾ cup very cold butter, cubed

6 oz  good quality chopped white chocolate

2 tbsp lemon juice

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup milk

1½ cups frozen raspberries

What you do:

Preheat the oven to 190 C  / 375 F / gas mark 5

I start these in my food processor because it is so fast but they can be made just as easily in a large bowl by cutting the butter in with a pastry blender or even 2 knifes held between the fingers.

In a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.

Pulse in the cold butter until this mixture resembles a coarse meal. It is very important that pea sized pieces of butter remain in this mixture.

Transfer to a large bowl and toss in the white chocolate.

Mix together the lemon juice, vanilla extract ans milk.

Pour this over the surface of the dry mixture. Toss all together gently with a fork only enough to form a dough ball.

When the flour is almost incorporated, add the frozen raspberries.

Frozen berries work best because they are less delicate and easier to incorporate into the scone dough.

It is important that you work this dough as little as possible or the finished scones will be too dense and heavy.

Roll to 1 inch thickness and cut out scones with biscuit cutter or in triangles with a sharp knife and place on parchment lined baking sheet.

If desired you can brush the tops of the scones with an egg wash of 1 egg beaten together with 1 tbsp water.

Bake  for 25 minutes or until light golden brown. Baking time will vary depending on the size of your biscuit cutter.

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