Tuesday, December 27, 2011


I am on (yet) another diet so it is torture to post this recipe cos I cant make it or I'll eat it!
I challenge someone to make it and tell me what it tastes like! And ill send you a free gift if you do!

2 1/3 cups  flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 sticks unsalted butter, cold and cut into pieces, plus more for the pan
2 large egg yolks
1 12-ounce jar orange marmalade

Heat oven to 375° F.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add the butter pieces and blend with your fingertips until the mixture is crumbly.

Add the egg yolks and knead just until the dough comes together. Form the dough into a disk. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Using your fingertips, evenly press 2/3 of the dough into a buttered 10-inch pie plate. Spread the marmalade evenly over the top.

Roll the remaining dough into six 1/2-inch-wide strips and place them in a crisscross pattern over the marmalade. Bake until lightly golden, 40 minutes.

Just FYI - its over 500 calories a serving... OUCH!!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Scallion soup

Thanks to Saveur for this recipe

Photo: James Baigrie

 SERVES 4 – 6
This is cookbook author Colman Andrews's variation on vichyssoise.
5 large bunches scallions
2 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 russet potato, peeled and thinly sliced
6 cups chicken stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup heavy cream

1. Trim and thinly slice scallions; set aside 1/2 cup in a small bowl for garnish, and cover with plastic wrap.
2. Melt butter with olive oil in a medium heavy-bottomed pot over medium-low heat. Add scallions, and cook, stirring often, until soft but not browned, about 20 minutes. Add potatoes and chicken stock, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until potatoes begin to disintegrate, 35–40 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
3. Allow soup to cool slightly; then purée in an electric blender or food processor until smooth. Stir in cream, mixing in thoroughly, and adjust seasonings. Serve hot or cold, garnished with reserved scallions.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

mashed Potatoes with a twist

I  LOVE mashed potatoes - and found a way to make them into a meal..

you will need:
5-7 potatoes (get the right quality for mash)
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 medium onion
5 green onions
2 cups finely chopped green vegetables: broccoli, kale, spinach, arugula (or whatever you may fancy)
fresh rosemary
butter (as much as you like, start with 3 tbs)
small quantity  milk or cream or yogurt
salt and pepper to taste

Fill a pot with water and prepare vegetables and herbs while water is coming to boil. (Keep an eye on the water and when it comes to the boil add the potatoes, skin and all - wash well please!)
Chop onion and saute until just softened. when onions are ready, lower the heat and add the crushed garlic.
Saute vegetables over medium heat. Always add broccoli, kale and more robust vegetables first, adding tender greens, such as chard, spinach, arugula, towards the end.

When potatoes are soft, drain. Return to pot,start mashing and add the butter and the milk/cream/yoghurt till the potatoes are nice and fluffy
Stir in greens, onions, garlic and chopped fresh rosemary. Add generous amounts of salt and freshly cracked pepper.


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Chocolate Truffles - in time for the Holidays

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.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Mince Pies - Traditional British Christmas

Christmas just wouldn't be Christmas without Mince Pies. Why? Take a look at this easy Christmas Mince Pie Recipe full of rich, sticky, sweet fruits wrapped in pastry. Delicious.

Mince pies have been eaten as part of a traditional British Christmas since as long ago as the 16th century. Then they were made of meat but are now made with sweet mincemeat; a mixture of dried fruits, sugar, spices and brandy. Home made mincemeat is quick and easy to make and there are also many great commercial brands out there to use instead.

Shortcrust pastry, using lard (or crisco) as well as butter is my favorite

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: Depends on size of tin used.


  • 12 oz/350g all purpose/plain flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 8oz/ 225g butter, cubed or an equal mix of butter and lard
  • 1 beaten egg + 1 cold water as needed
  • 1 jar of mincemeat, shop bought or home made
  • 2 tbsp icing sugar


Heat the oven to 400°F/205°C/Gas 6
Make the Pastry
  • Place the flour, butter and salt into a large clean bowl.
  • Rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs, working as quickly as possible to prevent the dough becoming warm.
  • Add the egg to the mixture and using a cold knife stir, add cold water a teaspoon at a time until the mixture binds but don't make it too wet that it is sticky.
  • Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for a minimum of 15 minutes, up to 30 minutes.
The dough can also be made in a food processor by mixing the flour, butter and salt in the bowl of the processor on a pulse setting. When the mixture resembles breadcrumbs, add the egg a slowly, through the funnel until the dough, then add water a tsp at a time until the dough comes together in a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill as above.

Assemble the Pies
  • Choose a muffin or bun tin for the size of the pie you want. Choose from a standard 12-cup muffin tin down to small canapé size. The number of pies will depend on the size of cup you choose.
  • Dust a work surface lightly with a little flour and roll out two-thirds of the pastry to 1/8"/3mm thick. Cut circles to line the cups of your tin, don't worry if the pastry doesn't come to the top.
  • Fill the pastry lined tins 2/3 full with mincemeat.
  • Roll out the remaining pastry to the same thickness and cut smaller circles to fit as lids on the tarts or to be decorative, cut stars or other fancy shapes.
  • Dampen the edges of the tart bases with a little cold water and press the lids on. Make a small hole in the surface of each pie with a small sharp knife to allow the steam to escape (you can omit this if using star-shaped lids).
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 20 mins (15 mins if making canape size) or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the icing sugar.

    Mince pies are delicious served hot or cold on their own or with Brandy Butter. They will keep well if placed in an airtight tin - up to seven days. Sometimes they benefit from a gentle warming in the oven before serving. 
thanks to british food  http://britishfood.about.com/od/christmasrecipes/r/mincepies.htm


     One of my favorite desserts!
    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, November 21, 2011

    Thanksgiving Pumpkin Cake!

    I never thought I would be using pumpkin so much! I got this recipe off my mum - its really easy and very moist and tasty. I made it for Thanksgiving Lunch as a Dessert.

    2 cups flour
    2 tsp baking powder
    pinch of salt
    1 tbs mixed spices (i used cinnamon, ginger and all spice with a dash of cloves)
    3 eggs
    1/1/2 cup sugar
    1 1/2 cups canola oil
    1 tsp vanilla
    1 1/2 cups pureed pumpkin - I actually used the canned one here and its not that bad!

    Sift first 4 ingredients together.
    In another bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, oil and vanilla.
    Add the pumpkin and beat some more.
    Add the dry ingredients.

    You can divide mixture in 2 pans or use one.
    Bake at 350 for about 40 mins or until cake passes the toothpick test.
    Let cool.

    I used a cream cheese topping made this way:
    8oz cream cheese ( a packet of Philly)
    2 cups  icing (powdered) sugar
    1/2 cup butter  (melt 1/4 cup until browned then pour it over the rest until all is melted)
    Put all in a bowl and beat well

    Cut cake in half and spread mixture on one piece, use the rest of the topping to cover the cake.
    I also used some crushed walnuts as decoration.

    The colour of the cake rather surprised me - its rather orange!!But looks great with the white topping!

    Thursday, November 17, 2011

    What is Gourmet food?

    It seems the word is often used..but do we really know what it means?

    The term gourmet may refer to a person with refined or discriminating taste or to one that is knowledgeable in the art of food and food preparation.
    Gourmand carries additional connotations of one who simply enjoys food in great quantities. An epicure is similar to a gourmet, but the word may sometimes carry overtones of excessive refinement.

    Gourmet may describe a class of restaurant, cuisine, meal or ingredient of high quality, of special presentation, or high sophistication. In the United States, a 1980s gourmet food movement evolved from a long-term division between elitist (or "gourmet") tastes and a populist aversion to fancy foods.
    Gourmet is an industry classification for high-quality premium foods in the United States. In the 2000s, there has been an accelerating increase in the American gourmet market, due in part to rising income, globalization of taste, and health and nutrition concerns.
    Individual food and beverage categories, such as coffee, are often divided between a standard and a "gourmet" sub-market.

    So where does one go to find Gourmet food? There are many specialty  Gourmet Food Stores available, it simply is a matter of trial and error.

     It is worth shopping around - good quality ingredients will definitely make your culinary creations the best!

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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.