Friday, April 30, 2010

Cottage Pie

I love cottage pie! It is a winter dish so this will probably be the last time I make it for a while. I have terrible allergies this week - and to think Arizona was once a place where one came because it was good for people with allergies! I need some comfort food....

1 tbsp oil
1 large onion chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
560g/1¼ lb beef mince
400g/14oz can tomatoes
290ml/10fl oz beef stock
1 bay leaf
fresh thyme leaves from 1 sprig
2 tbsp tomato purée
salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 cloves garlic
75ml Worcestershire sauce

Mash Potato Topping:
750g/1½ lb potatoes, peeled and chopped
75g/2½oz butter
55ml/2fl oz milk
Grated parmesan.
1. Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5.
2. Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the onion, garlic and carrot and cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes until soft.
3. Add the minced beef and cook for 3 minutes to brown. Drain any excess grease
4. Add the tomatoes, purée, beef stock, bay leaf, worchestershire sauce and thyme.
5. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Season.
6. Make the mash: boil the potatoes until soft. Drain and mash with the butter and milk. season with salt and pepper.
7. Spoon the meat into an ovenproof dish. Top with the mash and bake for 30 minutes until golden brown.
8.Add the cheese and grill for a few minuites until the cheese melts and forms a crust.


and don't forget to visit my Mark Beauty Store for your mother's day gifts and also check out my AVON website!New Customers are eligible to receive a free gift with their first purchase

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Guest Blogger

I was lucky enough to persuade Carmelita from cook italy to submit some great recipes.
They are 3 of my favorites so get cooking!!

I live in Bologna, and as most people know this really is the food capital of Italy. I eat very well and have no grounds for complaint but even so there are certain Maltese dishes I miss badly. For some I can find the ingredients and I make them here and for some not, and I cannot get anything that comes close to our marvellous Maltese bread. So I am always very pleased when I have a reason for going back for a visit, as happened recently. 
I was in Malta for a family wedding just after Easter and had a lovely week there with family and friends. The island was at its best, full of wild flowers after the winter rains and before the hot sun starts to take its toll. My much missed parents passed away some years back so I no longer have the luxury of requesting my favourite Maltese dishes from my mother, as I used to do when she was alive. But I stay with a long standing friend, who lives just above her mother. Both are fabulous cooks and both spoil me rotten, feeding me all my favourite things. Between the two of them, they fulfill all my cravings for Maltese food.  
My friend made Malta's totally delicious Spring time soup for me for the first night of my arrival: Kusksu bil-Ful w il-Pizelli. It was exquisite with the fresh favas and fresh peas and the luxury of both a poached egg and a fresh cheese-let -  usually it is either/or or neither|And the kusksu pasta has a fabulous texture that is like no other, chewy but slippery, velvety and so nice to roll the little beads round in your mouth. I am still cursing myself for not having thought to bring some back with me, with Italy's fresh fava and pea season in full swing. 
Kusksu pasta is marketed as "Israeli couscous" in the US. Sometimes it described as "toasted" but our Maltese kusksu is not toasted as far as I know .  

Sardinian Fregola, which is very similar to Maltese kusksu in shape is toasted and it shows because the pasta beads are not all the same colour. Fregola Sarda  would make a good substitute all the same.  

Or you may find something that comes quite close in Middle Eastern shops under the name of Mhammsa or Moghrabieh (Giant) Couscous,  thought it is more round than the square-with-rounded-off-ends of the  Maltese pasta. 

Failing all of the these, you can use small pasta like "Acini di Pepe" ( mainly produced outside Italy) or " Tempestina" "Ppastina" or the larger "Ditalini".. 

Kusksu bil-Ful w il-Pizelli 
Spring Soup with pasta beads, fresh favas and fresh peas 
For 6 people, you will need: 
Four tablespoonfuls of olive oil, a large onion - peeled and finely chopped, two tablespoonss thick tomato paste, 300g kusksu pasta, 300g peas  - shelled weight, 400g fava beans/broad beans - shelled weight, two litres of vegetable stock made with onion, carrot and celery leaves and a bay leaf or use plain water, Parmigiano-Reggiano or similar to grate at table if you wish
* Optional but highly recommended: either a fresh egg  to poach or a fresh small cheese-let  to melt into the hot soup, one per person - you can use a piece of fresh firm ricotta instead of the cheese * 

Gently soften the onion and until softened and lightly golden.
Add the tomato paste and fry for about a minute then add the vegetable stock and bring to the boil.
Tip in the fava/ broad beans first and cook 5 minutes then add the peas and simmer gently  for 5 more minutes. Use your judgment to decide if they need more  cooking before the further 10 minutes when they will cook with the pasta. They need to become properly tender to be true to the traditional recipe .
Tip in the kusksu and cook to "al dente" which should take about 10 minutes. Stir often as the soup kusksu tends to stick to the bottom. Be prepared to add more stock of water if you find the pasta is absorbing all the liquid.
Just before serving, if you are using the eggs, poach them in the soup - this should take just a few minutes.
If using the cheese or the cheese, add these ingredients to the individual soup bowls and ladle the hot soup on top.
Serve hot, with cheese to grate and black pepper to grind over at table .
Froga Tat-Tarja
A crisp outside soft inside Angel Hair Pasta Omelette from Malta 
Every Maltese I know adores Froga tat-Tarja but few seem to remember to make it from time to time, judging by the reactions when i suggest making it for lunch or supper. It is so easy to make, needs very few ingredients and everyone seems to love it. With salad alongside it makes a lovely lunch or supper and it is great picnic and beach food too. 
Though we Maltese think of it as simple home food, as nursery food  childhood food even, it can make an elegant first course when you have friends over for dinner. I was in Malta staying with a friend a few weeks ago and when she asked me to suggest something Maltese for a dinner with old friends vising Malta from Germany. They had studied in Malta years ago and we were friends from back then but had not met each other for many years. 
I suggested a Froga Tat-Tarja and a way of making it a little special. We enriched it by studding it with dice cut from thick slices of the wonderful Maltese cooked ham - Perzut tal-ghadma - and it was more than worthy of an elegant table.  And a big hit with our German friends.   
Even when just eating with family, I like to take the Froga to the table on a round wooden board and to cut it up into portions at table in front of the diners and the guests: a little bit of show to get them salivating as they watch and wait. A little goes a long way when the Froga is part of a three course meal so I would only make half the quantity needed. Of course left overs make great breakfast or supper snacks soyou may want to make a nice big Froga and hope it does not all get eaten up, which is definitely a risk!  

The Recipe 
For six to eight people you will need: 
600g thinnest angel hair pasta, 4 eggs, 25g butter, 1 tbsp olive oil, 100g Parmigiano-Reggiano or similar grating cheese, salt and pepper  
Cook the pasta following the instructions on the packet for timing. Add  a fistful of coarse sea salt to a large pots of already boiling water just before tipping it in and drain ital dente.
Grate the cheese very finely.
In a very large bowl mix together the eggs and cheese and season with pepper and salt to taste - the cheese is already salty but on the other hand you don't want the Frogato be bland.
Let the well drained pasta cool completely so that the starches come to the surface and it becomes sticky.
Using your clean fingers to separate the strands of pasta and to make sure the mixture penetrates, blend the egg mixture with the pasta.  Your aim is to make sure each strand of pasta has some egg on it - this is what will make the froga hold well as a "cake".
Heat the half the butter or oil in a deep non stick pan - you are aiming for a 1.5  to 2 inch high Froga.
Cook the pasta Froga slowly on moderate heat so it is golden and crisp on the first side. When you think it has crisped evenly, place a wide  completely flat  plate or cooking pot lid on top of the pan and carefully invert the Froga onto the plate.
Place remaining fat in the pan and tip the Froga in to cook the second side till both sides are golden while the middle is firm. 
Tip out as before on to your serving plate. Serve when it has cooled a little by cutting wedges as if it were a cake, garnished with fresh parsley if you like. 

Torta tal-Marmurat
Though I completely take over her daughter when I am in Malta, dear Mrs M. is always more than good to me. When she knows I am in Malta, she makes sure to set aside a portion of any Maltese speciality she makes that I might have been craving. On this last occasions she outdid herself  and nearly had me in tears when she presented me with a great big  portion of her wonderful Torta Tal-Marmurat. This heaven-on-a-plate sweet is made with chocolate, candied citrus peel - hers is home-made and mainly tangerine - and chopped almonds. Do try it! 

The Recipe 
For the pastry you will need
200g flour, 2 tablespoons caster sugar, 100g butter, an egg yolk, 1 or 2 tablespoons of Orange Blossom Water - if you wish you can omit the Blossom water, in that case omit the sugar also
For the filling you will need
200g blanched, skinned and toasted almonds, 200g of chopped candied citrus peel - ideally home made or use 100 g shop bought and 3 tablespoons good quality Mandarin orange jam, 100g soft brown sugar, 75g of 70% cocoa chocolate (chopped or grated), one teaspoonful of allspice or substitute a mix of cinnamon and powdered cloves, three large eggs beaten
For the finish you will need

100g of 70% cocoa chocolate

optional hard white icing to pipe round the edges 

To make the Pastry Shell
Preheat the oven to 200°  C
Sieve the flour and add sugar. Rub in the butter until the mixture looks like fine bread crumbs. Add the egg yolk and 1-2 tablespoons of Orange Blossom water to bind.

Mix well and knead gently until the dough is pliable. Place in a plastic bag or wrap in kitchen film and leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes while you make the filling.

To make the Filling 
Grind the toasted almonds leaving them quite coarse in a food chopper or a small food processor.

Combine the almonds,chopped citrus peel, chopped or grated chocolate and the sugar in a bowl, then stir in the beaten eggs. Sprinkle in the spices and blend thoroughly.
Roll the dough to fit a shallow loose bottomed pie dish of 20 to 24 cm diameter, allowing a good overhang of pastry to fold back over the filling later.
Spoon the mixture into the pastry case and when done fold over your pastry overhang to make a border
Bake for  15 minutes then turn oven down to 160° C and bake for another 20 to 30 minutes or until the pastry is golden.
To Finish
Melt the chocolate in a water bath then spoon on to the still warm filling, using the back of the spoon to make decorative swirls. 

Web Site
Food Photos
Carmelita's Second Blog
Cook Italy TripAdvisor Reviews
Cooking in Bologna with Carmelita
Become a Cook Italy Fan on FacebookCook Italy Linked In Recommendations
Cook Italy location on Google Maps

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


I have not neglected my blog, I am waiting for some new guest bloggers to send me their posts (keep a look out they sound amazing!)
I have also been busy with several orders I got for my new venture - selling 'mark' beauty products - check them out as even though they can only be shipped to the USA i can send them to most places. Interested? check out my website or shoot me an e mail!
More recipes should be posted this Friday.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Caribbean Veggie Wraps

We had a pot luck at work - using only healthy recipes and this was one of my favorites submitted by Barbara.

1 sweet potato
1/2 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1 tbs lime juice
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chopped jalapeño pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup water
22 won-ton wrappers
1 1/2 cup salsa

Scrub potato, pierce with a fork and microwave uncovered on high for about 12-14 mins until tender, turning once. Cool, slit potato, scoop pulp into a small bowl and mash.
Stir in the beans, onion, cilantro, lime juice, cumin jalapeño and garlic. season to taste.
Brush water over all four edges of a won-ton wrapper (keep wrappers covered with a damp paper towel until ready to use). Spread 1 tbs filling along one edge of the wrapper and roll up tightly. Repeat with the remainder wrappers.
Place on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray and lightly spray the wrappers too.
Bake at 375F for about 15 min or until golder brown. Serve with salsa.

Well done Barbara!!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Guest Blogger

Here is another Guest Blogger Post - YUM, they look delicious Amanda!! Can't wait to try them!

Hi there... My name is Amanda Waldmannstetter, and I live in El Paso,
Texas, right on the border of Mexico. I just so happen to be married
to a German man whom I met very, very randomly via YouTube in 2006.
Long and convoluted story short – he got his visa and moved here. Now
we are finding ourselves in a very unique situation of trying to
incorporate three cultures into our lives, and finding that it's
rewarding, frustrating, bizarre and fun all at the same time!
I started my blog,, very
recently, but I find it's been such a great way to illustrate how
we're trying to mix American, German and Mexican influences in our
household. On a typical day, I'll sit at my laptop taking Rosetta
Stone German lessons, while my husband (who is fluent in English) will
be reading through a Spanish lesson book. On the stove will be a pot
of boiling sauerkraut and dumplings, to be served with an ancho
chile/cream sauce and blueberry cobbler for dessert.
I get a kick out of learning the traditional German recipes he tries
to teach me, and he appreciates my Mexican food. But like the
proverbial Reese's Peanut Butter Cup commercial, when chocolate and
peanut butter slam into each other, we find that we're creating a
bunch of amazing concoctions by incorporating what each of us knows
into one dish.
Tonight, I decided to go for German-Asian fusion. Excuse the poor
quality of the photos, bitte/por favor! This camera has gone with me
to Munich, Paris, Frankfurt, Santa Fe, Truth or Consequences,
Albuquerque, Carlsbad Caverns, Rohr and back ten-fold. It won't die on
me. I sort of wish it would as it would be an excuse to get a new

Using what I had on hand, here's what I made. My husband, a typical
German in every way (rules, rules, rules! Meaning: Follow Recipes!),
loved this dish and agreed to eat the leftovers tomorrow.
We're just getting started on our lives together, and we live
modestly. That's what's so fun about all of these recipes, to us. We
use what we have and don't go running to the store to get every single
ingredient listed in a recipe. We just improvise.

Okay, here we go, the Amanda way. Read: no measurements, just eyeballed it.
• One sliced carrot
• Three sliced spring onions, whites and greens
• Four large sliced mushrooms
• Handful bean sprouts
• One cup-ish of sauerkraut
• Tablespoon of sliced fresh ginger
• About 5 large sliced canned water chestnuts
• About a third of a bunch of Italian parsley
• About 8 generous dashes of teriyaki sauce
• Red pepper flakes
• Half a tube of spicy pork sausage
• About a half pound of shrimp, cooked

Mix all of the above in a wok until the pork sausage is thoroughly cooked.

• About a tablespoon of Neufchatel cheese
• Wonton wrappers

Put a large pot on the stove, filled with water. Let it come to a
rolling boil. In the meantime, get out the wonton wrappers, two at a
time. Spread some Neufchatel cheese on four corners of one of the
wrappers, and put a pinch of the wok mixture on the cheese-spread
wonton wrapper. Top with the other wonton wrapper, and crimp the edges
so both sides are completely closed together. Finish until you have
about six dumplings per person. Carefully, with a slotted spoon, put
the dumplings in the boiling water, and let them simmer until they all
come to the surface. When they do, place them in bowls. At this time,
there will be extra liquid along with the dumplings in the individual
serving bowls. Don't discard this. It's good! The taste of the
contents of the dumplings make it a great soup.
Serve the dumplings with a sauce made of teriyaki sauce/red pepper
flakes/BBQ sauce/spoon full of Zuckerrübensirip (German red beet
syrup) or any pancake syrup, not maple. All mixed together.
This wonton "soup" makes for a great head-cold or hangover remedy!
Super spicy, nutritious, filling and cheap. Now, we just happened to
have all the ingredients on hand. The sausage for breakfast added to
shrimp for fajitas/salads were the most expensive ingredients, and the
rest were staples for us. AND I have lunch prepared for tomorrow!
We'll just cook a little white rice and pour the leftovers on top of

Tomorrow I'll try to see just what I can do with the leftover
Neufchatel cheese! I'm leaning toward filling gorditas with the
cheese, deep frying them and serving them with a fruit syrup.
Remember, recipes are nice, but eureka moments are great!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

On another subject.......

I have become a rep for beauty products - They are rather young and trendy but are as young as you feel!
If anyone is interested they can check out my store here.
Ill be back to posting recipes soon.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Guest Blogger

My first Guest Blogger, Lazaro, proved to be a great success. Thanks Laz! I have decided to try and feature a guest blogger once a month. I already have 3 more fantastic chefs lined up so keep reading!
If anyone out there would like to contribute just e mail me as I am open to all suggestions. I would need a recipe (or useful tip) a picture and a link to your website or blog (if applicable).
So what are you waiting for???!!!!!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Chicken and Tomato Salad

This is the first in a series of guest blogger posts.
In my relentless search for recipes I cam across Lazaro's blog - Lazaro Cooks, that has wonderful ideas and he kindly agreed to write a post for me. Here is his contribution.

Hello readers of Felice in the Kitchen.  My name is Lazaro.  I am one half of the creative team behind the blog, Lazaro Cooks!  I was approached by Louise, the author of this wonderful and informative blog, about contributing a recipe.  Thank you very much.  It is quite flattering.  For my awesome readers some of this may be redundant, however I am speaking to a new audience.
Cooking to me is a philosophy; a way of life.  It is not a job or a recipe.  Being creative in kitchen affords the cook the opportunity to explore the artistic side of the brain, while honestly expressing the self.  Food can be so inspiring.  As a Florida resident I am quite fortunate to live in a state that produces a wide-range of incredible produce.  Right now we are in the peak of tomato season.  My kitchen is full of these local organic beauties.
When conceptualizing a dish I ask myself three important questions.  What do I want to see on the plate?  What do I want to smell?  What do I want to feel in the mouth?  This dish is a playful chicken and tomato “salad”.  As you eat through the dish you encounter many different tastes and textures; from cooked to raw. 
This quirky, flavorful “salad” will make you an absolute superstar at your next dinner party.

Chicken & Tomato Salad
For the tomatoes:
5 grape tomatoes – (quartered)
1 tbs butter - (unsalted)
1 tbs Safflower Oil
½ Vidalia onion - (minced)
1 tbs organic honey
Pinch of sea salt
  1. Heat the oil and butter in a sauté pan over medium heat.  When the butter begins to foam, add the tomatoes and onions.
  2. Cook for about 5 minutes.  You don’t want too much color on the onions.
  3. Using a fine mesh strainer, drain the pan of the fat.
  4. Return the tomato and onion mixture to the pan.  Add the honey and pinch of salt.
  5. Cook for 2 minutes till the honey coats the mixture well.

For the Chicken:
2 chicken thighs - (medium dice)
Wondra flour
1 tsp Smoked Pimenton - (paprika)
1 tsp Curry Powder
Sea salt
Peanut oil
For the Crispy Shallots:
1 small shallot – (sliced thin on a mandolin)
  1. Heat 1/3 inch of peanut oil over medium heat.
  2. When hot, add the sliced shallots.  Cook till golden brown.  This happens very quickly.  Be careful.
  3. Remove to a plate lined with paper towels.
  4. In a bowl, dust the chicken with Wondra Flour.  Shake off excess.
  5. Season with equal parts sea salt, smoked pimenton, and curry powder.
  6. Drop into the oil.
  7. Cook till golden brown.  Not black…Black not good!
  8. Remove to a plate lined with paper towels.

NOTE:  It is imperative to coordinate the cooking of the different components.  You do not want stuff sitting around.

For the Salad:
Purple Cherokee Tomato - (sliced)
Spinach Chiffonade - (cut into thin strips)
To plate:
  1. Center the honey tomato and onion mixture on the plate.
  2. Next goes the chicken.
  3. Next is a slice of tomato.
  4. Now put on the spinach chiffonade.  Season the spinach with a pinch of sea salt and white pepper, and a squirt of olive oil.
  5. The last thing to go on is the crispy shallots.

That’s it for now…till we exchange a few words again…Peace!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Fame at last!!

One of my recipes is being featured in the Betty Crocker Magazine out on 06th May!!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Barbecue sauce

BBQ sauces add that zing to burgers, ribs or chicken. Here are a couple of recipes that I have tried and that are so easy to make

Basic BBQ Sauce

2 tbs oil
1 choppes onion
1 tbs tomato purée (kunserva)
2 tbs wine vinegar
2 tbs soft brown sugar
1 heaped teaspoon mustard powder (colemans is the best)
2 tbs Worcestershire sauce
150ml or ¼ pint water

Pour the oil into a saucepan, add the onions and fry for 3-4 minutes until the onions are translucent. Stir in the tomato purée and then add the rest of the ingredients. Bring the mixture to the boil and simmer for 10 – 15 minutes.
It’s important to stir the tomato purée in separately in order to get a smooth barbecue sauce. If you just add it with the other ingredients it’ll just form as red lumps in the barbecue sauce and you’ll have no fun at all trying to smooth out the sauce.

Another variation:
3 onions, chopped
1 tbs olive oil
2 tbs tomato puree
2/3 cup  lemon juice
1/2 cup vinegar
5 oz. Worcestershire sauce (about 1/2 bottle)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper 
2 tbsp. mustard
1/2 c. brown sugar, packed


In a skillet, sauté chopped onions in melted butter or olive oil until tender. Remove from skillet and place in 4 quart saucepan. Add remaining ingredients, simmer on low-medium heat for about 1 hour, stirring often. Do not allow to stick or burn.

Sweet and Tangy Sauce
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large yellow onion, minced
1/2 cup tomato puree
8-ounce jar honey mustard
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce


Heat the oil in a large saucepan and sweat the onion until tender and translucent. Add all remaining ingredients and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the sauce from the heat and use a handheld blender to process it to a smooth paste. (Alternatively, transfer it to an upright blender and back again.) Simmer gently for an additional 5 minutes.
Separate the sauce into two containers. Use one to marinate and glaze the meat during grilling. Reserve the remainder for use as a sauce at the table.

Keep all the sauces in the fridge and they last quite long.

Monday, April 12, 2010

No recipe today

There are many foods that I miss, European foods that I cant seem to find here in the USA. Luckily I came accross a great site where I can order my delicacies from!

I am always on the lookout for this sort of website so if anyone has some suggestions let me know!

This is another site where I can get all sorts of fruit from. I have spent some time searching the web cos I couldn't go to work today as I was feeling rather ill (thats what I get from eating out!) I also am not really in the mood to do any cooking today so a new recipe should be available by the end of the week.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Greek Antipasti

Antipasti are great little starters - I think they are called meze. Whenever I visit a Greek, Lebanese or Turkish restaurant I end up eating a combination of these delicious starters and not a main course. Here are two of my favourites.
Aubergine Dip

3 aubergines
olive oil
8 anchovy fillets, chopped
about 20 pitted black olives, chopped
40g (1½oz) walnuts, toasted
4 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
½ tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Cut the aubergines into chunks about 1.5cm (½in) square and sauté in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil until they are golden and soft. It will take about 7 minutes on a medium to high heat. You will need to do it in batches and add a little more oil as you go, but don’t let the devils soak up too much. Put the aubergine in a bowl and stir in all the other ingredients, plus some pepper (you probably won’t need salt). Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
Red-pepper dip
1kg (2lb 4oz) red peppers, halved and deseeded
400g (14oz) tomatoes, halved
5 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
6 sprigs thyme,leaves picked
1 long red chilli, halved and deseeded
50ml (1¾oz) extra-virgin olive oil
A good squeeze of lemon
Put the peppers and tomatoes in a roasting-tin in a single layer. Season and drizzle with the olive oil. Add the garlic, thyme and chilli and turn everything over to coat. Turn the tomatoes cut-side up and make sure the garlic and chilli are well hidden underneath or inside the veg so they don’t burn. Roast in an oven preheated to 190°C/375°F/gas mark 5 for 45 minutes. The tomatoes should be completely shrunken. Put the vegetables and their roasting juices into a food processor and whizz to a purée with the extra-virgin oil. I like a fairly thick mixture, but you can add more oil if you prefer it sloppier. Add the lemon, taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Bean, Tomato and Gouda salad

This  salad of fresh tomatoes, fava beans and smoked gouda is fast, easy and healthy. It tastes good too.
For all my Maltese friends, use FUL, the fresher the better!

For the vinaigrette:
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon sherry wine vinegar
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon whole-grain mustard
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

2 cups canned black beans, drained well
2 cups fresh  fava beans
1 cup fresh snap peas
1/4 cup diced red onion
4 ounces smoked fresh gouda, cubed
12 grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup shredded fresh basil

1. Whisk together all of the vinaigrette ingredients and set aside.
2. Combine the beans, sweet peas, red onion, gouda and tomatoes in a large bowl. Toss the salad with half of the vinaigrette. Garnish with the fresh basil and season to taste with the salt and pepper.

More recipes like this from the Daily Green

Monday, April 5, 2010

Eggplant and Olive Pate

I love Aubergines, or Eggplant. This is an easy pate to make that tastes great on toasted bread, a kind of bruschetta if you wish

Courtesy of The Big Book of Quick & Healthy Meals, published by Hearst Books/Sterling Publishing 2007.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 eggplant, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons soy sauce
12 cherry tomatoes, blended
1 handful basil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
10 black olives, pitted and chopped
salt and black pepper to taste

1. Sweat the onion in a pan with the oil.
2. Turn up the heat, add the eggplant and stir-fry until soft, approximately 10 minutes. Lower the heat, add the garlic, soy sauce, and tomatoes, then the basil, mustard, and olives. Very gently stir-fry for a further 5 minutes.
3. Season and serve on toasted French bread with plenty of crisp green lettuce and French dressing.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Pasta with wine and herbs

First of all, Happy easter to everyone!
This is a quick and easy recipe for a simple pasta dish that has no overpowering flavours so is suitable as a starter to accompany most main courses (not fish ones though!)

The dominant flavours in this recipe are the sausage and herbs. you can use a mixture of spicy and mild sausage.
Serves: 4
1/2 cup chopped onion
4 Pork Sausages
1 tbs Saffron
1/2 cup Dry White Wine
2 sprigs of Rosemary
1  handful of fresh Sage
enough spaghetti (or penne) for 4
Olive Oil, Salt, Pepper
Freshly grated Parmesan for dressing
Sauté the onion in some olive oil. 
Remove the casing from the sausages and sauté, crumbling the meat as it cooks
When the meat starts browning, add the herbs and cook for a few minutes more.
Add the wine and cook until the alcohol evaporates.
In the meantime, dissolve the saffron in 1/2 cup of hot water or broth then add to the sausage mixture and cook on a low heat for about 8 mins making sure the liquid does not evaporate as that is the sauce!
Remove the rosemary and keep warm.
Boil  the pasta for about a minute less than necessary (so it is really al dente), drain and sauté in the pan with the sauce on a high heat for about 2 minutes.
Serve with grated Parmesan and a few drops of Olive oil.

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Perfect Burger

It's almost barbecue time here in Arizona so I thought I'd look for the perfect burger recipe I could find. The best result was mixing different cuts of meat and then adding some bacon. I ask the butcher to mince the meats together with 4 rashers of bacon and then to mince again, that way I get a great combination.

Ingredients for the burgers

1 lb brisket, minced
8 oz rump, minced
8 oz chuck, minced
4 rashers bacon
Burger Buns
Season the meat with salt, pepper and your favourite herb
Make into 4 burgers and let rest in the fridge for a couple of hours
For medium rare cook 3 mins each side, for medium 4 mins each side.
Could this be any easier!!!!
You can then use your own dressing, top with cheese and sliced tomatoes, onion rings - the possibilities are endless! Serve in lightly toasted burger buns.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Ice Cream

In search for the perfect ice cream recipe, I came across this wonderful site by David Lebovitz which explains how to make ice cream the old fashioned way - without an ice cream machine.
Check out his other recipes as they are fantastic!

People have been making ice cream far longer than the invention of electricity so there's no reason you can't make ice cream and sorbets at home without a machine.
The advantage to using an electric or hand-cranked machine is that the final result will be smoother and creamier. Freezing anything from liquid-to-solid means you're creating hard ice crystals, so if you're making it by hand, as your ice cream or sorbet mixture freezes, you want to break up those ice crystals as much as possible so your final results are as smooth and creamy as possible.
Not everyone has the space or the budget for a machine, so here's how you can make your own ice cream at home without a churner. Start with an ice cream recipe that is custard-based for the smoothest texture possible.
Making Ice Cream Without A Machine
1. Prepare your ice cream mixture, then chill it over an ice bath.
2. Put a  bowl made of plastic, stainless steel or something durable in the freezer, and pour your custard mixture into it.
3. After forty-five minutes, open the door and check it. 
As it starts to freeze near the edges, remove it from the freezer and stir it vigorously with a spatula or whisk. Really beat it up and break up any frozen sections. Return to freezer.
4. Continue to check the mixture every 30 minutes, stirring vigorously as it's freezing. If you have one, you can use a hand-held mixer for best results, or use a stick belnder (like a bamix or braun) or hand-held mixer.
You can also use just a spatula or a sturdy whisk along with some modest physical effort.
5. Keep checking periodically and stirring while it freezes (by hand or with the electric mixer) until the ice cream is frozen. It will likely take 2-3 hours to be ready.

Vanilla Ice Cream

1 cup milk
A pinch of salt
3/4 cups sugar
1 vanilla bean
5 egg yolks
2 cup heavy cream
A few drops of vanilla extract

1. Heat the milk, salt, and sugar in a saucepan. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape the seeds into the milk with the tip of a paring knife. Add the bean pod to the milk.
2. Stir together the egg yolks in a bowl and gradually add some of the warmed milk, stirring constantly as you pour. Pour the warmed yolks back into the saucepan.
3. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom with a heat-resistant spatula until the custard thickens enough to coat the spatula. Strain the custard into the heavy cream. Rinse the vanilla bean and put it back into the custard and cream to continue steeping. Chill thoroughly, then remove the vanilla bean and freeze.
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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.