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4 November 2013

Soft Cheese, Pickle and Dill Calzone


Lovely refreshing Calzone with soft cheese, prosciutto, sour pickles, San Marzino tomatoes, and fresh dill.



This is a ridiculously simple recipe with hardly any work required - especially if - like me - you despise kneading pastries and buy ready-made pizza dough :)

Ingredients (for 1 calzone):
  • a small bunch of fresh dill, roughly chopped
  • 1 cherry tomato, sliced
  • 1/4 fresh onion, sliced
  • 1 slice of Prosciutto
  • 1/2 of a pickle, sliced
  • 2 tbsp of cream cheese (I used Quark)
  • 1 tbsp of tomato passata
  • a pinch of ground black pepper
  • Ready-rolled pizza dough (1 circle about 10cm in diameter)


1. Place all ingretients on the pizza dough and roll up into a calzone.
2. Cook in an oven pre-heated to 180 degrees until the dough is golden-brown (about 20 min).
3. Ta-dah!

21 October 2013

Blue Cheese Pappardelle





Ingredients:

  • 2 small or 1 large courgette
  • 5 chestnut mushrooms, finely sliced
  • 150ml of double cream
  • 1 large or 2 small onions, chopped
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 3-5 cloves of garlic (crushed, to taste)
  • 150g of blue cheese, crumbled
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • small pinch of salt
  • 3 chicken breasts, diced
  • Pappardelle or Tagliatelle pasta - enough for 3-4 portions




  1. In a large pan or wok, gloss the onion, add chicken and brown it. Add the mushrooms, salt and pepper and fry until the mushrooms soften up a bit.
  2. Wash the courgettes. Using a potato peeler, slice them into thin, long ribbons.
  3. Add the courgettes to the pan and toss everything together. Fry until the courgettes are soft.
  4. Cook the pasta according to instructions and drain it.
  5. In a milk-pan, slowly bring the cream to boil. Add in the cheese and mix constantly until all the cheese is dissolved.
  6. Add the pasta to the wok and pour the cheese sauce evenly over it. Mix everything together. Season to taste with more pepper if needed. Add the garlic, mix it in and serve.

14 October 2013

Thai Noodle Soup


This is my version of Nigella's recipe. Turned out really lovely. Exactly what I needed on a cold, windy day.



Ingredients:
  • 2 litres of water and 4 chicken stock cubes
  • 400g of rice noodles
  • 400ml of coconut milk
  • 5-7cm piece of fresh root ginger (peeled and sliced thinly then cut into skinny strips)
  • 3 tbsp of thai fish sauce (nam pla)
  • 4 tbsp od dark soy sauce
  • 2 fresh chillies (red or green, chopped with seeds)
  • 2 tsp of turmeric
  • 3 tsp of soft brown sugar
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • 2 chicken breasts, sliced thinly
  • 400 grams stir fry vegetables
  • a bunch of fresh corriander
  • salt to taste


  1. Put the chicken stock in a good-sized pan to heat up.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients, except the vegetables and coriander, to the pan and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 20 minutes.
  3. Add the vegetables and coriander and cook for a minute or two. Add the noodles and cook for another few minutes until the noodles are cooked and the vegetables are tender.
  4. Season to taste with salt.

7 October 2013

Cherry Crumble


Such an unbelievably simple recipe and yet the result is absolutely delicious :) And one of your 5-a-day! ;)



Filling:

Ingredients:
700g frozen cherries (I used 2 x 350g boxes of Asda's frozen Morello Cherries)
1 tsp of almond extract
3 tbsp of plain flour
about 100g of sugar (or to taste)

Crumble:

Ingredients:
300g of plain flour
175g of sugar
200g of unsalted butter (cubed and at room temperature)

  1. Place the cherries in a cake tin. Add enough sugar to lightly coat the cherries, the almond extract and the flour.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees. Place the cherries in the oven for about 3 minutes, or until they're completely defrosted and warm. Take them out of the oven and give them a stir and a taste. If you want them a bit sweeter, add more sugar (but keep in mind that the crumble will be very sweet!). If there is too much juice at the bottom, add another spoon of flour.
  3. For the crumble, place the flour, sugar and butter in a large bowl and rub together with your fingers until you get the texture of bread crumbs.
  4. Sprinkle the crumble on top of the cherries and return to the oven for another 40-45 minutes, or until the crumble is nice and golden.
  5. You could serve it with some cream or custard, but frankly I think it's so good it's best eaten on it's own.



30 September 2013

Sour Cucumber Soup


One of the favourite Polish classics, done in a very traditional way. The stock is based on pork ribs, which give it a wonderfully sweet, aromatic flavour, much more hearty than chicken or vegetables. The meat is juicy and melt-in-your-mouth tender, and together with the sweet carrots and dill mellows down the sourness of the cucumbers a little bit, adding up to a flavourful, moreish combination.




Ingredients:
  • About 900g of pork ribs
  • 1 jar (should be about 0.9-1l) of sour cucumbers, or cucumbers in brine – easily available from any Polish section in any major supermarket.
  • 2 large carrots, grated
  • 1-2 parsnips, chopped into pieces, sliced up or however else you like it.
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 4-5 allspice berries (or a tsp of ground allspice)
  • 3-4 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp of ground black pepper (or less or more, depending on your taste)
  • 1-2 stock cubes (vegetable, pork, bacon or chicken will do)
  • A small bunch of finely chopped fresh dill (about 2 tbsp)
  • 500g of potatoes, peeled and chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 2 tbsp of butter

  1. Place the pork ribs in a large soup pot with about 2 litres of cold water, add the bay leaves, allspice, pepper, grated carrots, chopped parsnip and 1 stock cube. Place on very low heat and slowly bring to boil. Make sure it doesn't boil too hard – you just want it to simmer away very gently. Leave it like this covered on very low heat for about 2-3 hours, or until the meat is so soft it falls off the bone as soon as you touch it. By then you should have quite a lovely, aromatic stock.
  2. Fish the ribs out of the stock and place them on a plate or in a bowl. Let them cool until they are safe to touch and peel the meat off the bones. Dispose of the bones, chop up the meat into small bits and put the meat back in your soup.
  3. Take the sour cucumbers out of the jar (keep the water) and grate them. In a pan, melt the butter and roughly gloss the onion in it. Add in the grated cucumbers and fry them up a little bit until they become a bit softer and soak up the butter.
  4. Add fresh dill, and the cucumbers with onion to your soup. At the same time, pour in about half of the cucumber brine water you had left over. Bring the soup back to boil and let it simmer for about 20 minutes. After about 20 minutes taste the soup and decide whether it needs any more spices – if you'd like it a bit more sour, add the rest of the cucumber brine water. If it needs more salt, add another stock cube. If you want it to have a bit more heat, add some black pepper. If you decide to add some more cucumber brine, leave it simmering again for a while before you try it again, as it will gradually become more and more sour over the next few minutes.
  5. In a separate pot, parboil your potatoes in salty water. Once they are ready, drain them and add to your soup.
  6. Simmer it all together a little longer until the potatoes are fully cooked.
  7. Plate up and garnish with a bit of fresh dill. If you want the soup to be a bit more creamy, you could add a spoon of sour cream to your plate. My other half even likes to add a splash of Tabasco!

23 September 2013

Starbucks Style Cinnamon Rolls


My (yet another) attempt to re-create the gorgeous cinnamon swirls from Starbucks. I have to say, in my humble opinion, the icing turned out even better than the original, but the dough was just a little bit drier. Good enough for me! :) I reckon this is as close as I'll get to the original. I'm pretty damn proud of myself! :)




Dough:

Ingredients
  • 250ml warm milk (about 45 degrees)
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 75g of unsalted butter, melted
  • 600g self-raising flour
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 100g sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp of dried yeast
Filling:

Ingredients
  • 225g dark brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 75g of unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 glass of raisins (if they're very dry, soak them in hot water for about 20 minutes)
Icing:

Ingredients
  • 100g of cream cheese (I used Quark, but any other soft cheese will do just as well)
  • 50g of unslated butter, at room temperature
  • 200g of icing sugar
  • 1/2 tsp of vanilla essence
  • 1/8 tsp or salt
  • Zest of 1 orange

  1. Mix the yeast with warm milk in a large bowl until fully dissolved (I used a milk frother. Probably not the most professional method, but it worked! :))
  2. Mix in the sugar, butter and salt. Add in the eggs and mix in quickly, or otherwise they'll cook!
  3. Add flour and mix roughly together with a spoon. Once it starts sticking together, knead the dough by hand for about 10-20 minutes (be prepared to have sore biceps the next day) or until the dough starts coming off from the bowl and shape it into a large ball. Leave it in the bowl, cover with a cloth or kitchen foil and let it rise in a warm spot for about 1 hour, or until doubled in size. If like me you live in Scotland - good luck finding a warm spot.
  4. Roll the dough out on a floured surface into a 40x50cm rectangle. Spread the melted butter (75g) on the dough and sprinkle on the raisins. Mix the sugar and cinnamon together and sprinkle on top through a sieve to avoid larger lumps. 
  5. Roll up dough and cut into 12 slices. Place buns in a lined and greased 23x33cm baking tin. Cover and let rise until nearly doubled, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 200 degrees.
  6. Place in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown.
  7. Beat together cream cheese, 50g of soft butter, icing sugar, orange zest, vanilla essence and salt. Pour the icing over the warm buns.
  8. Take a bite while they're still piping hot, burn your mouth and tell yourself it was worth it...






16 September 2013

Zebra Cake


This is a really nice and simple recipe. It's exactly the kind of cake I like most, not having a massive sweet tooth - it's moist yet very light, it's got plenty of lovely flavour, but it's not too sweet or overpowering at all and doesn't make you feel sick with sugar after a slice. Or two. Or five. ;) And it goes perfectly with tea!




Ingredients:
  • 5 eggs
  • 1½ glass of cater sugar. Or normal sugar. Or icing sugar. Whatever sugar you've got :)
  • 1 glass of plain flour
  • 1½ glass of self-raising flour
  • 2 tsp of baking powder
  • 1 glass of sunflower oil
  • ¾ glass of fizzy lemonade
  • 1 tsp of vanilla essence 
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • Another 3 tbsp of plain flour

  1. Separate egg yolks from whites. Beat the whites with sugar until you get soft peaks. Still mixing, add in the yolks one by one until they are mixed in well.
  2. Add in the flour and baking powder and fold in gently with a large spoon or a spatula until there are no lumps left.
  3. Add in the oil bit by bit and fold it in until fully incorporated. Add in the vanilla essence as well.
  4. Gradually add in the lemonade and mix it in as well. Try to pour it in quite gently so that it doesn't fizz out - you want to keep the bubbles in.
  5. Divide the mixture into 2 equal parts. Add the cocoa to one half, and the remaining 3 tbsp of plain flour to the second half. Mix them in.
  6. Take a round cake tin, about 20cm in diameter should be about right. Pour in 3 spoons of brown batter in the middle of the tin, then 3 spoons of white batter in the middle of it, then 3 spoons of brown and so on.
  7. Bake for 40-50 minutes at 180 degrees.

9 September 2013

Mascarpone-Ricotta Cream with Strawberry and Black Pepper Compote


By far and undeniably the best dessert I ever made. The Mascarpone-Ricotta cream is so light, flavourful and delicious it's hard to stop eating it once you've tried it. Strawberries and black pepper are one of these combinations that sound wrong, but couldn't be any more right - like chocolate and salt. Pepper brings out the flavour in the strawberries and a subtle hint of balsamic vinegar adds that extra little bit of freshness.




Mascarpone-Ricotta Cream:

Ingredients:
  • 300ml of whipping cream
  • 450g of ricotta cheese
  • 220-250g of mascarpone cheese
  • 3/4 glass of sugar
  • zest of one lemon

  1. Beat the cream until you get stiff peaks.
  2. Using a mixer, combine the mascarpone, ricotta, sugar and lemon zest until you get a smooth, creamy texture.
  3. Gently fold in the whipped cream with the cheese so that it's fully combined, but be careful not to mix it too much, so that you don't lose too much of the fluffiness.


Strawberry and Black Pepper Compote:

Ingredients:
  • 350g of fresh strawberries
  • 3 tbsp of sugar
  • 2 tbsp of water
  • A few drops of balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp of coarsely bround black pepper

  1. Cut the strawberries roughly into halves or quarters and place them in a pot with the sugar, black pepper and water.
  2. Place on low heat and bring to a simmer, stirring frequently until all sugar is dissolved. Cover and simmer for about 3 minutes.
  3. Let it cool and add in the balsamic vinegar.

I layer the cream with the strawberry compote and sprinkle a little bit of dark chocolate shavings on top. Bon appetit! :)












2 September 2013

Irish Coffee Cake with Cinnamon Glass



Perfect for breakfast ;) It’s guaranteed to brighten up your day, but I wouldn't drive to work after a couple of slices!





Cake:

Ingredients
  • 150g sugar
  • 150g butter or margarine
  • 3 eggs
  • 150g self raising flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp hot water
  • 1 tbsp instant coffee
  • Prune jam (you can use strawberry if you can't find prune)
  • 50(ish...) ml of rum

  1. Mix the sugar with butter and whisk until you get a very fluffy and pale creamy texture.
  2. Whisk the eggs in a mug with a fork and then add them gradually to the mixture with 1 spoonful of flour each time.
  3. Add baking powder to the mixture and fold it in gently.
  4. Dissolve the coffee in boiling water and add to the mixture still folding. Pour into a cake tin lined with baking paper and bake for 30 minuted at 160 degrees.
  5. Once it's ready, take it out of the oven and set it aside to cool.

Icing:

Ingredients
  • 225g icing sugar
  • 100g butter
  • 1 1/2 tbsp instant coffee
  • 1 tbsp hot water

  1. Mix the butter and the icing sugar until light and fluffy. 
  2. Dissolve the coffee in boiling water and add it to the butter and icing sugar. Be careful not to add too much liquid as the icing will become too runny.
  3. Once the cake has cooled, slice it into two halves and using a teaspoon sprinkle the rum equally over the two halves.
  4. On the bottom half, spread a thin layer of prune jam.
  5. Place the top half on top of the bottom one and cover the whole cake with icing.
Cinnamon Glass:

Ingredients
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon

  1. Prepare an oven tray lined with grease-proof paper.
  2. Mix the sugar with cinnamon and place it in a frying pan.
  3. Put the pan on medium heat and leave it until all the butter melts. Do not stir it no matter how tempted you may be, because it will clump up.
  4. Once the sugar is melted, pour it out onto the baking tray evenly to create a large, thin sheet.
  5. Leave it to cool for a few minuted and once it's completely hardened, whack it with a blunt object to break it up into pieces.
  6. Use these pieces to decorate your cake. Go wild! :)







26 August 2013

Pigeons


No, they are not actual pigeons :) Gołąbki, or "pigeons" in English, are a very traditional Polish dish, which consists of cabbage leaves (I bet you didn't see that one coming) stuffed with rice, mince, mushrooms and herbs and spices. They can be served with a lovely, zesty tomato sauce or a wild forest mushroom sauce - both options are amazingly delicious and ridiculously easy to make.



Ingredients
  • 500g of beef or beef/pork mince
  • 250g of rice (500g boiled)
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 5 white mushrooms, chopped
  • A small bunch of fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 medium or one large white cabbage
  • 1 glass of stock (can be beef, chicken or vegetable)
  • Salt and pepper (you can substitute salt with Vegeta, if you have any)
  • Oil for frying

  1. First of all, you’ll need to prepare the cabbage leaves. A fresh white cabbage is quite tough and if you tried to separate the leaves they would break, so what you need to do is cut out the core of the cabbage with a sharp knife (without slicing the cabbage itself), then place it in a large pot of water (so that it’s fully covered) and boil it until the leaves become soft and start peeling off. You may find that a couple of layers of leaves will come off and the ones underneath are still tough – in that case just take the soft ones off and put the rest of the cabbage back into the boiling water. Repeat until you get through to the really small leaves, which will be of no use. You’re only interested in ones that are large enough to wrap them into a parcel (so probably no smaller than ca. 15cm in diameter). Be careful not to burn yourself when peeling the leaves off!
  2. Once you’ve got all of your leaves separated, you’ll need to trim the big thick vein in the middle of each leaf. All you need to do is to take a knife and scrape off the large bulge in the middle of the leaf, so that it’s the same thickness as the rest of the leaf. This way it will be easier to fold the leaf.
  3. Now on to the stuffing: Gloss the onions with the mushrooms in a frying pan with a bit of oil. Add the mince and brown it.
  4. Boil the rice according to instructions in salty water.
  5. Mix the rice with the mince and fresh parsley. Season the mixture to taste with salt (or vegeta) and pepper. You can actually taste it, because all the ingredients should be thoroughly cooked, so it’s safe to eat.
  6. Wrap the stuffing in the cabbage leaf (a bit like a burrito) and pile the parcels up in an oven-proof dish. Pour some stock over the parcels and cover the dish with a lid.
  7. Place the parcels in an oven and cook at 180 degrees for about 30 minutes.


Tomato Sauce:

Ingredients
  • 3 tbsp of flour
  • 3 tbsp of unsalted or slightly salted butter
  • 1l of stock (vegetable or pork would be best)
  • 5 tbsp of tomato puree
  • Salt and pepper

  1. Prepare the roux by melting the butter in a pan and mixing in the flour. Fry until golden brown.
  2. Transfer the roux into a saucepan and add in the stock. Mix until you get a nice, thick sauce base.
  3. Mix in the tomato puree. Season to taste with salt and pepper if needed.


Mushroom Sauce:

Ingredients
  • 3 tbsp of flour
  • 3 tbsp of unsalted or slightly salted butter
  • 0.5l of stock (vegetable or pork would be best)
  • A pack of dried wild forest mushrooms
  • Salt and pepper

  1. Place the mushrooms in a pot with about 0.5l of hot water and leave it overnight to let the mushrooms plump up and give off some of their flavours. By the next day the water should be dark brown.
  2. Bring the water and the mushrooms to boil and simmer for about 20 minutes. Fish the mushrooms out (keep the water) and let them cool. Then chop them up very finely and return them back to the water.
  3. Prepare the roux by melting the butter in a pan and mixing in the flour. Fry until golden brown.
  4. Transfer the roux into a saucepan and add in the stock. Mix until you get a nice, thick sauce base.
  5. Mix in the mushrooms with the mushroom-infused water. Mix until you get a nice, uniform mushroom sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper if needed.


Serve the “pigeons” with either sauce. Both the “pigeons” and the sauces are also perfectly freezable, so if you end up cooking a huge batch, just split up some portions into Tupperware boxes and chuck them in the freezer for later.




19 August 2013

Haggis, Potato and Apple Tart


The tart is really lovely on its own and it's possibly the first recipe I ever used that I thought didn't need adjusting or changing any proportions at all. The only addition I made was a little bit of tangy gravy sauce to make it a bit more moist. It will go really well with some greens as well, like broccoli.




I found this recipe in a cook book I picked up for £2 in a charity shop – by far the best cook book I've ever had, if you can get your hands on it get it now.


Ingredients:
  • 450g of potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tbsp of salt
  • about 1/2 of freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp of ground black pepper
  • 400g of ready-made puff pastry
  • 300g of haggis
  • 2 cooking apples - peeled, cored and sliced
  • egg wash (1 egg and a splash of milk, beaten together with a fork)


 1. You will need a rather large tart dish - mine was a bit too small (23cm diameter, 4cm deep), which meant I had leftovers, which meant I had to make an apple strudel... Ah well. ;)
2. Roll out the puff pastry. You will need two discs - one about 25 cm in diameter and one slightly larger. Line the dish with the larger disc. Trim away any uneven edges, but leave a bit of a rim, so that you can fold it in later.
 3. Mix the potatoes with garlic, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Layer half of the potatoes on the bottom of the dish (sorry, forgot to photograph that stage).

Then take the haggis out of its packaging. It will have the texture of sticky play-dough. Roll it out with a rolling pin until it matches the size of your dish and place it on top of the potatoes.
 4. Layer the apples on top of the haggis.
 5. As a final layer, place the remaining half of the potatoes on top of the apples...
6. ...and finally cover the whole tart with the other disc of pastry. Fold the edges together using some egg wash as glue and make a few small cuts in the surface of the pastry to let the steam escape. Brush the whole surface thinly with egg wash.

I also used some pastry off-cuts to make flowers and leaves.
7. Place in an oven pre-heated to 200 degrees and bake for about 40 minutes.

As you can see, my oven insists on burning one side of everything. I think that damn thing hates me.













For the sauce

I cheated here a little bit. I only needed a little bit of sauce, so rather than cooking beef stock from scratch I used gravy granules to make about a cup of beef gravy, and then spiced it up with a good splash of Lea and Perrins Sauce and about a teaspoon of finely ground black pepper. The sourness of Lea and Perrins corresponds really well with the apples, and the pepper matched the spiciness of haggis.


As I said, the tart dish I used was too small, so I ended up with a bit of apples left over. I also bought a big pack of puff pastry, which meant I had that leftover as well. I figured it would have been an absolute abomination not to use it to make a quick and simple apple strudel. :) Have a look here.



Apple Strudel


I had some apples and puff pastry left over from one of my other recipes and I simply couldn't not make this. I think there may be a law which states you need to make an apple strudel if you have apples and puff pastry.




Ingredients:
  • about 150g of ready-made puff pastry
  • 1 cooking apple, quartered and thinly sliced (although I had less than that left over, probably around half to ¾ of an apple, and it worked just as well)
  • 3 tbsp of raisins
  • 1 tbsp of plain flour
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp of sugar (any type of sugar will do, but I used 1tbsp of white sugar and 1tbsp of brown)
  • Icing sugar (for dusting)
  • Egg-wash (1 egg plus a small splash of milk, beaten with a fork)


  1. Mix the sugar, cinnamon and flour together. Add the apples and raisins until they are evenly coated.
  2. Roll out the pastry until you get a large, thin square. Spread out the apples and raisins evenly all over the pastry, leaving only about an inch or so of a rim around the edges.
  3. Start rolling up the pastry from one edge until you've rolled the whole thing up and reached the opposite edge. Use a bit of egg-wash to glue that edge up.
  4. Using some more egg-wash, pinch and seal up the sides of the roulade.
  5. Place the apple strudel on an oven tray lined with parchment paper and spread a bit egg-wash all over its surface.
  6. Place in an oven pre-heated to 200 degrees and bake for about 20 minutes.
  7. Once it’s golden brown, take it out of the oven and dust with icing sugar.

Serve hot with a bit of custard, cream or ice-cream if you have any, or just on its own. Enjoy! :)

5 August 2013

Pork Meatballs with Sesame Seeds and Sweet Chilli Stir-Fry.


This one here is a bit of a cheat recipe to be honest, as it calls for a lot of ready ingredients. But it’s a nice, simple alternative to the usual chicken-and-vegetable stir-fry I tend to make so often out of sheer laziness. And there’s nothing wrong with a bit of a culinary cheat every now and then ;) In fact without them Jamie Oliver would be out of a job tomorrow.


...Ouch.





Ingredients
  • 500g pork mince (I bought pork chops and minced them at home - that way you can be sure of the quality)
  • 3 onions, chopped finely
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • Dark soy sauce, about 3 tbsp
  • Sesame seeds (about 5-6 tbsp)
  • sunflower oil (for frying)
  • a pack of stir fry vegetable mix of your liking
  • about 300g of egg noodles
  • sweet chilli sauce


  1. Gloss the onions on low heat in a little bit of oil and let them cool down to room temperature. Mix them together with the mince, garlic, egg, 1 tbsp of soy sauce, 1 tbsp of sweet chilli sauce and 1 tbsp of sesame seeds.
  2. Once it's all mixed together quite well, form about 20-ish meatballs. Place the remaining sesame seeds on a plate and roll the meatballs around to coat them.
  3. Fry the meatballs in a pan with a bit of oil on high heat for a couple of minutes just to brown them on the outside, then turn the heat down to medium and fry them for about 15 minutes, turning regularly.
  4. Now onto the rest - you can use the same frying pan, just take the meatballs off it and top up the oil a bit if needed, remembering to keep the meatballs warm. Place the stir fry mix in the pan and add the remaining 2 tbsp of soy sauce, plus a good dollop of the sweet chilli sauce, according to your liking. I added about 100g, give or take. If youe have any leftover sesame seeds, chuck them in there as well. Fry for about 5 minutes or until your stir fry vegetables soften a bit.
  5. Mix in the noodles and fry for another 2-3 minutes. And that's your stir-fry done! All you need to do now is serve it with the meatballs and enjoy! :)


N.B. I found that there were slightly too many meatballs for me, so I simply froze the leftover ones for next time.





29 July 2013

Bagel Snake


Bagel Snake and other Party Snacks :) Pretty amusing to serve at your house party instead of your boring old bowl of crisps and party sticks. Mind you, they're not exactly creme de la creme of neither my culinary nor artistic achievements, but I'm no Dr Lecter - can't be perfect all the time ;)



I feel like there's not much of a recipe to give you here. I cut bagels into quarters, arranged them into a 'snake', spread some soft cheese on them and drew the stripes with chilli sauce. I made the head from a leftover piece of bagel, I made the eyes out of a couple of capers and chilli sauce, and stuck them to the head with some mayo, and finally I made the tongue out of some chives. Et voila :)



The other sandwiches I made were the bog standard cheese and pickle, ham and mustard and pate with gherkins, but I used my dinosaur sandwich cutter which made all the difference :) I served them with some tomato roses and 'mushrooms' made out of hard-boiled eggs and cherry tomatoes. To make these all you need to do is cut the tip of the tomato off, scoop out the inside and put the tomato on top of the egg. You can use mayo or soft cheese to make the spots. Tip: Mayo will go transparent after a while when it dries out, so I would recommend soft cheese.




  

22 July 2013

Vodka Jelly Watermelon


The. Best. Party. Snack. EVER. :) I can guarantee that your guests will absolutely love it. A really funny and original way to make your cocktails a lot more entertaining!


Ingredients:
  • 1 Watermelon
  • Red fruit jelly - like a cherry, strawberry or raspberry one. You can either use a powdered or concentrated jelly. I used Hartley's Jelly cubes.
  • Vodka (may I suggest cheap, low quality one, like Russian Standard or Grey Goose. I may be getting a little bit political here...)
  • Boiled Water 
  • Cold Water
  • a couple of gelatin sheets
  • chocolate chips

  1. Cut the watermelon in half. Use a spoon, a scoop or whatever else suits you to remove the red pulp from the watermelon, leaving just a thin layer in, so that the 2 watermelon shell bowls you get as a result still appear red on the inside. Use the pulp for another recipe, like a fruit salad, or just eat it alone - we won't need it for the vodka jelly recipe.
  2. Fill in each watermelon with water all the way to the rim, and then transfer all that water into a measuring jug. This way you'll know the volume of jelly you'll need to fill them.
  3. The watermelon will keep oozing a lot of liquids. Leave it for a bit to dry, preferably upside-down over a rack. It's hard to tell how long this will take, as it depends on the size of the watermelon, the ambient temperature and air humidity etc. You want to wait long enough for the liquids to stop oozing, but not so long that the shell will wither or overdry.

For the vodka jelly:

  1. The general rule of thumb is to only use 75% of the liquid recommended on the label. Based on this calculate how many jellies you'll need to fill in both halves of the watermelon - for example, if the capacity of your watermelon bowls is 1.5 litre and your jelly calls for 1 litre of water, use 2 packets of jelly.
  2. Out of the 75% of liquids 1 part should be hot water, 1 part cold water and 1 part vodka. So, for example, if it says on the box to use 1 litre of water, you should use 250ml of cold water, 250ml of hot water and 250ml of vodka. I'll use this example in my recipe:
  3. Boil 250ml of water and mix in the jelly in a bowl. 
  4. Soak 2 gelatin sheets in cool water and then transfer them to the hot water with the fruit jelly. Mix until they're dissolved. Let it cool a bit (to room temperature).
  5. In the meantime, mix 250ml of Vodka and 250ml of cold water.
  6. Mix the jelly solution with the water and vodka.
  7. Fill the watermelons with the vodka jelly mixture and leave them in the fridge just long enough for the jelly to start setting.
  8. Using a skewer or any other utensil, push the chocolate chips into the watermelon, so that they look like seeds. Return the watermelon to the fridge for a couple of hours or until the jelly is fully set.
  9. Slice up and eat responsibly. They are surprisingly strong! :)






15 July 2013

Leek and Potato Soup



One of the simplest recipes I've ever uploaded here, but I couldn't resist it :) There's something nice and homely about the leek and potato soup. I like it chunky and without milk or cream, which makes it even quicker and easier. Enjoy!




Ingredients:
  • 2 large leeks, chopped into small chunks
  • 3 small or 2 large onions, chopped into small chunks
  • 2 carrots, chopped into small chunks
  • 4-5 medium white potatoes, peeled and chopped into chunks
  • 3l of chicken stock
  • 3 tbsp of salted butter
  • 5 allspice berries, or 1 tsb of ground allspice
  • 1 tsp of ground black pepper


  1. Boil potatoes in salty water, drain and set aside.
  2. Melt the butter in a pan, add the onion and leeks and fry on medium heat for 10-20 minutes until the leeks are soft and the onions are glossy.
  3. Place the carrots, leeks and onions in a large pot. Add the stock, allspice and pepper and boil until the carrots are soft.
  4. Add the potatoes and heat up for another minute or two.






8 July 2013

Proper Scrambled Eggs



Stand back children and watch how it's done. Scrambled eggs a la me - the only right way to make scrambled eggs. Ever.





Ingredients (for two):

  • 6 eggs (shock horror)
  • good quality smoked streaky bacon - either sliced or lardons (I prefer lardons). If you're using slices, pick thick-cut ones and chop them up into small chunks.
  • 1 large onion, chopped roughly
  • 5 chestnut mushrooms, chopped
  • a bunch of fresh chives... also chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp of butter (either salted or unsalted)
  • 1 tsp of sunflower oil
  1. Separate whites from yolks.
  2. Heat up the butter and the oil in a frying pan and let the butter melt. The butter will give the scrambled eggs the lovely traditional buttery taste, while the oil will keep it from browning and burning too quickly.
  3. Add in the bacon and fry it until it's nice and very crispy on the outside, but not dried out throughout. Mmmm :)
  4. Add in the onions and mushrooms and fry until the onions are glossed and the mushrooms are soft.
  5. Turn the heat all the way down. Add in the egg whites and stir them into the bacon, onions and mushrooms with a wooden spoon. Heat up until they start setting. When the whites are about half way cooked, add in the yolks. Season with salt and pepper. Be careful with salt, though, if the bacon you used is quite salty. Mix the yolks in roughly with the rest of the ingredients. You don't want to end up with an omelette - the eggs just need to be roughly stirred. Heat up, stirring frequently, until the egg whites are *just* cooked. Don't worry, they'll keep cooking with their own residual heat over the next couple of minutes, so they'll be perfect by the time you dig in to them. Also, don't let the eggs stick to the pan, as they will dry out very quickly. Now we wouldn't want that, would we?
  6. Just before transferring onto plates mix in some chopped up chives. Ta-dah! :) Best served with either some tomatoes or tomato ketchup, in my personal opinion. :) Enjoy.