Sunday, December 27, 2009

Turkey Broth

Even if you never usually make stock from bones, now is a good time to start since you have all those left over turkey bones!

Home made broth lifts soups and sauces into a different league, and it really isn't difficult to make

Put all the turkey bones and skin into a large pot and cover with cold water. Add "pot herbs", an onion, a carrot, a celery stick, a couple of bay leaves, a few peppercorns and a handful of parsley stalks.

Bring the pot to a simmer then transfer to an electric slow cooker (crock pot).

If you don’t have a crock pot, you can cover and put in a very low oven (200F/100C) for six hours or overnight.

Once the time is up, strain the stock and cool it, before chilling in the fridge and lifting off the fat.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

My Christmas contribution

This year we are celebrating Christmas at my daughter's new home - her first Christmas there! My contribution is going to be Tiriamisu.  Its really easy to make but this time, for some reason, we just could not find the savoiardi - ended up ordering them from Amazon! Whats so great about this recipe is that there is no cooking at all so it's quick to make. It's important that, since the eggs are raw, you use really fresh eggs - better taste and safer!

500 gms Mascarpone
150 gms savoiardi (lady fingers)
4 eggs
4 tsp sugar
1/2 cup strong coffee mixed with 1/2 cup coffee liquor
Powdered chocolate (dark/bitter)
1 pinch salt

Beat the egg yolks and sugar until soft and fluffy.
Add the mascarpone and whip to a cream.
Beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until fluffy then gently fold into the mascarpone mixture
Dip the sponge fingers into the coffee and, in a large dish, alternate between layers of the sponge fingers and a layer of mascarpone cream.
When done, dust with a layer of bitter chocolate powder.
Cover, put in the fridge, and serve when cold.

I find that if you add the cocoa powder before serving it looks better!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Linzer Cookies

I adapted this from an old recipe and updated it with a modern touch with a recipe i found on Delish
They make great last minuite gifts and are rather festive!

8 oz roasted hazelnuts *
1/2 cup cornflour (cornstarch)
1 1/2 cup unsalted butter,softened
1 1/3 cup icing (confectioners') sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 tsp salt
1 egg
2 3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp grated lemon rind
3/4 cup raspberry jam

In a food processor with knife blade attached, pulse hazelnuts and cornflour until pecans are finely ground.

In  a large bowl, beat butter and 1 cup icing sugar at medium speed until mixed. Increase speed to high; beat 2 minutes or until light and fluffy, occasionally scraping bowl. Lower to medium speed and beat in vanilla, salt, and egg. Reduce speed to low and gradually beat in flour, spices, lemon rind and nut mixture just until blended, occasionally scraping bowl.

Divide dough into 2 equal pieces. Wrap each disk with plastic wrap and refrigerate 4 to 5 hours or until dough is firm enough to roll.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Remove a piece of dough from refrigerator and if necessary, let stand 10 to 15 minutes at room temperature for easier rolling. On lightly floured surface, using a floured rolling pin, roll dough 1/8 inch thick. With a floured 21/4-inch round cookie cutter, cut dough into as many cookies as possible.

Cut the same number of pieces from the 2nd piece of dough and put aside and with floured 1- to 11/4-inch round cookie cutter, cut out the centers. With lightly floured spatula, carefully place cookies, 1 inch apart, on ungreased large cookie sheet. Any left over dough can be used to make more 'tops' and 'bottoms'.

Bake cookies 17 to 20 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Transfer cookies to wire rack to cool.

In small bowl, stir jam with fork until smooth. Spread scant measuring teaspoon jam on top of whole cookies; place cutout cookies on top. Store cookies, with waxed paper between layers, in tightly covered container at room temperature up to 1 week or in freezer up to 2 months.

When ready to serve sprinkle with icing sugar.

*You can use pecans or almonds instead of hazelnuts

Potato Fritters

A recipe that I found on Butta la pasta, a great Italian site that has the most wonderful recipes!
Potato fritters are a quick and easy meal and accompanied by a salad makes for a great main course or a quick supper. Check out the site for more recipes - in Italian!

400 gr cooked potatoes, mashed or cubed
130 gr flour
50 gr grated parmiggiano
1 tsp powdered mustard
50 gr butter (cut in small pieces)
1 egg
1 clove of garlic(crushed)
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste

Mix the flour, cheese, mustard, salt and pepper
Add the butter and mix till you get a breadcrumb like consistency.
Add the beaten egg, the garlic, cumin and milk
Mix well then add the potatoes.
Cover a baking tray with greasproof paper, spay with non stick then put spoonfulls of the mixture about 1cm away from each othere.
Cook in a pre heated oven at 200C for about 15 mins

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Chocolate Truffles

This is a really easy recipe that makes a great gift. The success of these truffles depends solely on the ingredients used.
First decide on the type of chocolate - milk or dark? sweet, semi sweet or white. Whatever your preference try and get the best quality possible.
Next is your choice of the alcohol you will be using. If you want a coffee flavour, tia Maria or Kahlua mixed with some strong coffee powder should do the trick. Grand Marnier and some orange zest should make great orange flavoured truffles....and so on....use your imagination!
A quick note, you don't have to use alcohol - you can also use jam or fruit puree instead.
The truffles will then be rolled in powdered chocolate/cocoa powder - again, choose a good quality chocolate.You can also re roll in chocolate sprinkles.

8 ounces (227 grams) chocolate, cut into small pieces. My preference is for semi-sweet
3/4 cup (180 ml) heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons (28 grams) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons alcohol (or jam)
Orange zest, coffee or whatever you have decided to use.
Powdered chocolate/chocolate sprinkles

Place the chopped chocolate in a medium sized stainless steel bowl. You could also sue a food processor but don't grind too finely.
Heat the cream and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil.
Immediately pour the boiling cream over the chocolate and allow to stand for 5 minutes.
Stir with a whisk until smooth.
If desired, add the alcohol or flavoring
Cover and place in the fridge until the truffle mixture is firm .This can take a couple of hours so I find its sometimes better to leave overnight and continue the next day.

Shape the Truffles.

Decide on your coating - chocolate powder, can also just be icing sugar, again, imagination comes in handy! Put the coating in a large flat plate.
Remove the truffle mixture from the fridge
Here is the fun part... form the chocolate into round bite-sized balls, using your fingers - the faster and less contact with warm hands the better!
Roll the truffle in the coating and place on a parchment lined baking sheet or tray.
Cover and place in the fridge until firm.
Truffles can be refrigerated for a couple of weeks or else frozen for a couple of months.
Bring to room temperature before serving.

You can also place them in paper cups for presentation. They look so professional and are so yummy that they make a great gift.

Friday, December 11, 2009


Eggnog - warms you up on a cold day - not that we have many in Arizona but it has gone down to 45f  and Up north in Flagstaff they had 18" of snow!!! So you see, Arizona is not all sun and cactus!

I got some interesting information by Nanna Rognvaldardottir on an article taken from She explains that Eggnog literally means eggs inside a small cup. It is used as a toast to ones health.  Eggnog, however, is first mentioned in the early nineteenth century but seems to have been popular on both sides of the Atlantic at that time.
If anyone knows more about the origin of this drink please let me know!
The recipe for eggnog (eggs beaten with sugar, milk or cream, and some kind of spirit) has traveled well, adapting to local tastes wherever it has landed.
Eggnog goes by the name coquito in Puerto Rico, where, not surprisingly, rum is the liquor of choice (as it is these days for many eggnog lovers in the U.S.). There the drink has the added appeal of being made with fresh coconut juice or coconut milk.
Mexican eggnog, known as rompope, was created in the convent of Santa Clara in the state of Puebla. The basic recipe is augmented with a heavy dose of Mexican cinnamon and rum or grain alcohol, and the resulting drink is sipped as a liqueur.
In Peru, holidays are celebrated with a biblia con pisco, an eggnog made with the Peruvian pomace brandy called pisco.

The Germans make a eggnog or rather egg soup with beer (Biersuppe).

2 small eggs - as fresh as possible
60g sugar
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
2 drops vanilla
200ml double cream
150ml milk
100ml dark rum

In a medium bowl, beat the eggs until very frothy Don’t skimp here!
Add the sugar while beating vigorously, then sprinkle in the nutmeg and vanilla, beating all the time.
Pour in the cream, slowly, followed by the milk. Beat some more and then add the rum.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Mac and Cheese - with a twist!

Cooking pasta in parchment paper makes for an unusual dish. I am taking boring mac and cheese and trying to make it more interesting. The parchment paper allows the flavors to be absorbed one into another while keeping ingredients moist. I have suggested substitutions for the cheeses used.
4 cups milk
1 pound good-quality maccaroni
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup corn flour (corn starch)
3/4 cup emmental (or Gruyere or Provolone) cheese cut in cubes
3/4 cup Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled (or stilton or the cheaper danish blue)
1 1/2cup Parmesan cheese, shaved (or romano if you find parmesan too expensive
1/3 lb goat's milk cheese ( feta or Cotija or any other goat's cheese you prefer )
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Six 24 by 13-inch sheets parchment paper

1. Bring the milk to a quick boil and take off the heat
2. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the maccaroni and cook for 6 minutes. Drain and keep in colander.
3. Make a bechamel sauce: Melt the butter. Take off the heat and the flour, stirring continuously until no lumps remain. Add 3 tbs of the warmed milk. Put back on the heat. Add the rest of the milk stirring continuously ( I use a whisk here). Lower the heat to medium. Continue to stir until the sauce is thick (about 5 minutes).
4. Add the cheeses to the bechamel. Use a whisk to thoroughly combine. DO not leave the sauce on its own as it will stick to the bottom so keep whisking!Add the salt and pepper.
5. Put the maccaroni to the pasta pot or in a large mixing bowl. Add the cheese sauce to the pasta. Stir to combine. Let cool.
6. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Divide the maccaroni into 6 equal portions and place in the center of the parchment. Pick up each corner of the paper squares and twist on the top to make a package with a twist on top (!!). Place the bundles on a baking sheet with sides. Bake until the parchment turns pale brown and you can almost see the pasta turn brownish gold through the paper, about 45 minutes.
7. Serve immediately.

Coriander Chutney

A request from my cousin Paula to find a recipe where she could use her home grown coriander. (Cilantro in the US).

About 7oz of chopped coriander leaves
1/4 cup grated coconut (you can also use coconut cream if you want a creamier sauce)
2 green chillies
1/2 tsp ginger (freshly grated is great)
2 cloves of garlic crushed and mashed
1 small onion - chopped very small
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tsp sugar
pinch of salt
Some recipes also add 1/2 cup yoghurt.

Put all the ingredients in a blender

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Chestnut and Chocolate cake

This is a wonderfully soft, gooey chocolate cake, which can be served warm or cold - and it’s also ever so easy to make.

The Times on Line (UK) has the most wonderful recipes which I try then just have to share! You can see the original recipe here:

250g dark chocolate
250g unsalted butter
250g peeled cooked chestnuts (canned if you like, makes things easier!)
250ml milk
4 eggs, separated
125g sugar

1 Melt the chocolate and butter in a pan over a gentle heat. In another pan, heat the chestnuts with the milk until just boiling, then mash thoroughly with a potato masher (or process to a rough puree in a food processor).
2 Put the egg yolks in a bowl and mix with the caster sugar. Stir in the chocolate mixture and the chestnut puree until you have a smooth, blended batter. Whisk the egg whites until stiff and fold them carefully into the batter.
3 Transfer the mixture to a greased, lined 23cm spring-form cake tin and bake at 170C for 25-30 minutes, until it is just set but still has a slight wobble.
4 you can  serve the cake warm, but leave to cool a little, then release the tin and slice carefully as it will be very soft and moussey. Or, leave it to go cold, by which time it will have set firm. You can serve it with a trickle of double cream, especially when warm, but it is also delicious as is.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Chocolate Raspberry Tartlets

Decadent, rich and not so good for the waistline...but what the heck....they taste great! Makes 24.

For the pastry
1 1/4 cup flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 egg yolk
some cold water

Use a food processor and pulse the 1st 3 ingredients
In a seperate bowl, whisk the yolk and 2tbs cold water
Add to the processor and mix till a ball forms. If necessary, add some more water.
Divide into 24 pieces
Heat oven to 375F
Shape the pieces of dough into balls and press into 1 3/4" muffin cups (use non stick muffin trays and do not grease) so the bottom and sides of the cups are covered.
Put aside.

For the filling:
1 cup semi sweet chocolate (chopped)
2 tbs unsalted butter
1 egg (beaten)
1/3 cup sugar
1 tbs strong raspberry liqueur
2 tsp vanilla sugar.

In a small saucepan, mealt the chocolate and butter on a medium low heat, stir until smooth
Remove from heat and add the egg, liqueur sugar and vanilla, mixing well.
Spoon about a tablespoon into the pastry shells.
Bake for about 15 mins untill the filling is puffed up.
Leave in pan for about 15 mins then gently remove and place on a wire rack to cool completely.

Butter Cream
1/4 cup softened unsalted butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar(sifted)
3 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder(sifted)
2 tbs raspberry jam. (dont use seedless jam - the real stuff is better)

Beat well until a tickish consistency. If necessary, add more powdered sugar.
Spread on top of the cooled tarts.


Apricot Bacon

Who does not love bacon!!! This is an easy yet different way of eating your favourite.

8 slices of thick cut bacon (fresh and easy have the best - i think it is called English Bacon)
2 tbs apricot jan
1 tsp fresh orange juice.

Heat oven to 450
Line a baking sheet with foil and arrange bacon on so no slice overlaps.
Bake for about 12 mins
In the meantime, mix the jam and juice.
Drain the grease from the bacon tray and spread the jam mixture over the bacon
Bake for a few more minutes until nice and crisp.


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Quick and Easy Biscuits (Cookies)

I like having home-made  biscuits (cookies) at home and an easy way to ensure a constant supply is to make extra dough and freeze, then slice off what you need. The dough keeps well in the freezer for about a month - or around a week in the fridge.

4oz butter
4oz  sugar
Grated zest of one lemon or orange
(other options may include adding spices like cinnamon, ginger or nutmeg. This is a basic recipe so you can tweak it a bit! If you want chocolate flovoured biscuits, add  1 tbsp cocoa powder to the flour)
9oz  flour
1 egg
pinch of salt

Beat the butter, sugar and zest together until light and fluffy.
Beat in the egg and salt.
Add the flour and using your hands work in  gently.
Shape the dough into a roll about 2" thick and wrap well in plastic wrap.
Put in the fridge for about an hour or if you are freezing, just put in the freezer

To bake, heat the oven to 350F.
Line a baking sheet with non-stick paper.
Cut the dough, straight from the fridge or freezer into ¼in slices and arrange, well spaced, on the baking sheet.

Bake for about 12 mins (the exact time will depend on the thickness of the biscuits) until very lightly coloured.
Put the biscuits onto a rack to cool .
These biscuits will be nice and crisp
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All the recipes here have either been sent to me, adapted by me or found on the web. If I know the source I always give credit to the author/website. If you know of a source I may have missed please let me know.