Recipes that are delicious and that always work!

You know these recipes are delicious because if I didn't think that they were fabulous . . . I wouldn't be showing them to you. You can also be sure that these recipes work for the same reason! The rest is simply a matter of taste.

Sunday, 31 March 2013

Blueberry Macaroon Slices

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The Toddster and I are no stranger to jam . . . we both just love  ADORE jam.   We like marmalade too . . . but jam . . . it holds a special place in my heart.  Jam is something which I always have in my larder and I have my favourites . . . sour cherry, strawberry, apricot and wild blueberry are real favourites of ours.

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I use jam quite a lot . . . some nights we have just buttered bread and jam for our suppers . . . that makes us quite happy.   Other times it's a slice of toast and jam in the evening when we are feeling a bit peckish . . . which is really nice too,  but what I really love to do with jam is bake with it!

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When I was a child my mother always made delicious raspberry jam filled  Feather Squares for the holidays . . . cake base, jam middles and a coconut toasted meringue topping.  She also made a lovely hot milk sponge which she would split and fill with jam.  We all loved it.

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Today I decided to bake the Toddster a delicious jam teatime  treat . . . Blueberry Macaroon Slices . . . using my favourite Wild Blueberry jam.   They are quite similar to my mom's Feather Squares, but instead of a flaked coconut covered meringue topping, they have a Coconut Macaroon Topping.

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Quite, quite delicious and something which really brought a smile to Todd's face.  Do I know the way to that man's heart or not???  I sure do . . . and it's with a jar of jam!

You're going to love, LOVE these!

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*Blueberry Macaroon Slices*
Makes 16 bars
Printable Recipe

A short cake base, topped with wild blueberry preserves and a sweet macaroon cookie topping.

90g butter, softened (6 1/4 TBS)
110g caster sugar (1/2 cup)
1 large free range egg
100g plain flour (2/3 cup)
35g self raising flour (1/4 cup)
1 TBS custard powder (Birds custard powder)
1 generous half cup of wild blueberry jam

Macaroon topping:
2 large free range egg whites, lightly beaten
190g of shredded coconut (2 1/2 cups)
55g caster sugar (1/4 cup)

Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4.   Butter an 8 by 12 inch rectangular baking tin.  Line with some baking paper, leaving an overhang over the long edges in order to lift it out when done.

Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Beat in the egg.  Sift together the flours and custard powder.  Stir it into the creamed mixture.   Spread the batter into the prepared pan.  Spread the jam over top.

Stir together the egg whites, coconut and sugar for the macaroon topping and dollop evenly over top to cover.  Bake for about 40 minutes until  a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the macaroon topping is golden.  Allow to cool in the tin before cutting into squares to serve.  Store any leftovers in an airtight container for up to a week.

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Some Tasty Last Minute Easter Goodies

 

It's still not too late to rustle up a few treats for your family for Easter.  Here are some of my favourites which I have shared with you in past years.

 

Easter Bark

 

Easter Bunny Cupcakes  Sooo cute!

 

Hot Cross Scones  (Soooo good!) 

 

Easter Chocolate Crispy Nests   Easy to make and kids love em!

 

A Simnel Tart    Very easy and oh so delish!

 

Bun and Butter Pudding   A great way to use up some of those extra Hot Cross Buns!

 

Hot Cross Muffins   Perfect for breakfast.   Tastily fruity too!

 

Hot Cross Buns with a Spiced Fruited Butter for spreading.   

You could be quite spoiled for choice!


Fruit and Nut Scrolls for Easter

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I wanted to make a special bread for our Easter Breakfast this year . . . something which would remind me of the beautiful fruit breads that my mother's sister Thelma would send up to us each Easter.   She was a dear saintly woman, who managed to raise five children all on her own.  She worked really really hard, on her knees scrubbing other people's floors and cleaning other people's homes.  It was so kind of her to make this for us each year and it was something we always really looked forward to.

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It is only as an adult I have come to realize the magnitude of her gift to us and the sacrifice it must have taken.   I know that she must have been really tired at the end of her work days and that it would have taken her a lot of effort to make these breads for us, not to mention a chunk of what must have been a very tight food budget.   She was an excellent baker, and they were always so delicious . . . glazed with icing and studded with candied fruits.

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 I am not much of a bread baker . . .and I'll be the first to admit it.  I have never quite been able to master the art of baking a good loaf . . . that's why I love quick breads so much.   I have always enjoyed a lot more success with those.  These Fruit and Nut Scrolls are absolutely beautiful . . .

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Created by using a lovely buttermilk scone type of dough that you press out to a rectangle and then spread with a lovely moist fruit and nut mixture . . . chopped apricots, prunes, sultanas, currants, cranberries, chopped apple . . . flaked almonds . . . all moistened with rich calvados (you can use orange juice if you wish), sweetened with some soft light brown sugar and then flavoured with some cloves, cardamom and a bit of cinnamon and orange extracts.

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Rolled tightly and then cut into slices and baked.  Taken warm from the oven, they are then glazed with an orange marmalade glaze and then drizzled with a sweet icing drizzle.  All round these are quite simply fabulous and the perfect thing to offer your family as a part of their Easter morning breakfast!

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*Fruit and Nut Scrolls*
Makes 18
Printable Recipe

An easy scone dough, rolled out flat, slathered with a spiced fruity mixture, rolled, sliced and baked until golden brown.  A simple marmalade glaze and icing drizzle completes these delightfully delicious baked treats.

450g self raising flour (3 cups)
2 tsp caster sugar
50g of butter (3 1/2 TBS)
330ml of buttermilk, approx (1 1/3 cups)

For the filling:
40g sultana raisins (1/4 cup)
35g dried currants (1/4 cup)
35g of chopped dried apricots (1/4 cup)
50g chopped dried prunes (1/4 cup)
40g dried cranberries (1/4 cup)
1 medium apple, peeled and finely chopped
2 TBS flaked almonds
1 heaped dessert spoon of orange marmalade
1 TBS Calvados
1/3 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp cinnamon extract
1/2 tsp orange extract
50g of soft light brown sugar (1/4 cup packed)

For the glaze:
2 TBS orange marmalade
2 tsp water

Icing:
55g icing sugar, sifted (1/3 cup)
1 tsp hot water

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Preheat the oven to 200*C/400*F/ gas mark 5.  Line a large baking tray with foil.  Butter the foil.  Set aside.

To make the filling combine all of the ingredients in a bowl.  Mix together well.  Set aside.

Sift the flour and sugar into a bowl.  Drip in the butter and rub it in with your fingertips until you have a mixture that resembles fine bread crumbs.  Add enough buttermilk to give you a soft, sticky dough.   Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently, until smooth.  Pat the dough out to a rectangle about 12 by 18 inches.  Spread with the filling.   Roll the dough firmly up from the long edge like a Swiss Roll.  Cut into 3/4 inch thick slices.  Carefully transfer them to the prepared pan leaving about 2 inches in between each.

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Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown and well risen.  Remove from the oven.  Heat the orange marmalade and water gently in the microwave for about 20 seconds.  Brush this mixture on top of the hot buns.  Remove immediately from the pans to a wire rack to cool.   Whisk together the icing ingredients until smooth.  Drizzle this over the cooled buns.  Best served on the day they are baked.

Happy Easter!

Friday, 29 March 2013

Meatball Sub Pizza . . . Nom! Nom!

 

This is my last meat posting for a while. We don't normally eat that much meat in our house, so this week was surely the exception.  As I will soon be going away for a while, I wanted to make sure I had tried out all of the meat products sent to me by Westin Gourmet before I go.  I still have some steaks to try out, but I'm going to be taking a bread from meat this weekend and my next post should have some tasty Easter Goodies for you to eyeball and maybe even bake this weekend!

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One of the things I was sent was Veal Meatballs.   I avoided veal for many years, having seen film on the telly of  veal calves being force fed, etc.  and spending the whole of their short lives tied up in a very small space . . . it just wasn't something I wanted a part of or to support in any way.

From the Westin Gourmet page:

Our High Welfare British grain fed veal has a subtle yet sublime flavour and a healthy pale pink colour which is indicative of high welfare veal. High in protein, low in calories and very low in fat, veal is an extremely healthy choice. 
All of our veal products come from Brookfield Farm in Tarrant Valley in Dorset One of the UK's leading ethical veal producers, they recently won the Sourcing Honours Award for their High Welfare English Veal at the Health & Vitality Honours.
Proud owners of a Good Calf Commendation from Compassion in World Farming Brookfield's are committed to sustainable farming and animal welfare so you can be confident that the animal led a happy, healthy life.
The RSPCA are also actively supporting High Welfare British Rose veal production awarding all of our veal products the prestigious Freedom Food Certification.

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It all sounds pretty good and ethical to me.  I thought about what I was going to do with them for a few days and a few thoughts went through my mind . . . meatball subs, kept coming up to the forefront of my thinking and then I remembered a Meatball Sub Casserole I had made once when my children were growing up and how much they enjoyed it, and then I thought . . . Meatball Sub Pizza!  Why not!  I love pizza!

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The veal meatballs were tender and delicious.  Not dry, but very moist, and yet, not in the least bit greasy.  In short I felt they would be perfect for what I had in mind.

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I used the basic pizza crust that I always make from scratch.  It makes the type of crust that we like, not too thick, not too thin . . . but with a nice crisp edge.

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I rolled it out and then baked it for a few minutes before doing anything else to it so that it would not get soggy when I spread it with my special meatball casserole cheese/mayo spread/topping.   I spice it with Italian Seasoning, which can be hard to find over here in the UK, but if you look over in my right hand side bar, about halfway down the page you'll find a great recipe to make your own.

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After the mayo/cheese spread, I topped the pizza with two kind of cheese and the meatballs evenly spaced on top of the cheese.  I then drizzled each meatball with some of my special pizza sauce and sprinkled the whole thing with some nicely grated Parmesan cheese, and then I popped it into the oven.

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The end result was a pizza that was deliciously different and that we both enjoyed a lot!  I am beginning to think that the Toddster actually really does like pizza . . . or maybe I am just wearing him down and he's decided if you can't beat them you just might as well join them!  I do hope you will give this a try, and if you can't get veal meatballs I am sure any meatball would work just fine.  I'm just saying that these Veal Meatballs were spectacularly delicious!

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*Meatball Sub Pizza*
Serves 8
Printable Recipe

Your favourite casserole as a pizza.  Well, it's one of our favourite casseroles anyways.  Okay so it's one of MY favourite casseroles.   As a pizza.  'Nuff said.

1 package of veal meatballs, or your favourite kind of meatballs
1 recipe of your favourite pizza dough  (My recipe makes two crusts, so I use half of it, and freeze the
other half for another time)  Here's mine.
coarse polenta or cornmeal
1 250g package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
2 dessertspoons of light mayonnaise (about 1/3 cup)
1 tsp Italian seasoning (I make my own.  See my sidebar.)
fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 pound of a mix of grated mozzarella and cheddar
Parmesan cheese, finely grated
your favourite pizza sauce (I have a great recipe here.)
(You will only need about 1/2 of it, of that.  It freezes well.)

Preheat your oven to 190*C/375*F/ gas mark 5.  Line a baking tray with foil.  Spray it with nonstick cooking spray.   Place your meatballs on the tray and them bake them into the heated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until no longer pink in the middle.   Set aside.

Whisk together the cream cheese, mayonnaise and Italian seasoning.  Season to taste with some salt and pepper.  Set aside.

Butter a medium sized baking tray and scatter it with some polenta or cornmeal.  Roll your pizza dough out to fit onto the tray.  Place it on top of the cornmeal.  Bake for 10 minutes or until the crust is dry to the touch and beginning to brown on the edges.  Remove from the oven and spread with the cream cheese mixture.   Scatter with 2/3 of the cheese.  Top with the meatballs, spacing them out evenly.   Spoon a bit of the pizza sauce on top of each meatball and then drizzle some more in between each on top of the cheese.   Scatter the remaining cheese on top and sprinkle well with some Parmesan Cheese.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until bubbling and heated through and the crust is nicely browned.  Cut into squares to serve.

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Westin Gourmet Veal Meatballs are made from only the finest cuts of 100% British high welfare Veal.  Priced at .82p a serving.

 

Again many thanks to Westin Gourmet for sending me these products and giving me the opportunity to change my mind about the humanity of eating veal, and proving to me that it can be done right.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

A Simple Lasagne, Not Your Mama's Spag Bol, and the Best Chili Ever

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Some of the meat which was sent to me recently by the Westin Gourmet people was some of  their Steak Mince. You would have to have been living under a rock in recent months not to know about the great debacle here in the UK which was the horse-meat scandal.  Hundreds and thousands of minced beef products, ready meals, etc. was contaminated . . . some as much as 100% with horse-meat.  It was not a very proud moment for the processed food industry here in the UK.  Some was also found to be contaminated with pork, which would be very upsetting to someone whose religion forbids them from eating pork.  Facts aside . . . we, as consumers, have every right to know exactly what we are buying.

If we want to eat horse meat, that's fine, but again . . . it should be our choice.  All the more reason for us to be buying our meat from butchers that are able to good meat at an excellent value, fairly priced, responsibly sourced and completely traceable, with checks in place so that this type of thing doesn't happen.

A lot of the contamination was in ready meals . . . frozen lasagne's, beef burgers etc.   The type of food that a lot of families purchase because it is inexpensive, quick and easy to prepare for the working mom or latch key kid, and normally the type of thing which the grocery shops will have on offer. 

I don't think you have to buy this kind of thing for your family though.  With a bit of preparation and planning, you can make your own ready meals for in the freezer, at a fair price and 100% assurance that what you are putting on the dinner table is exactly what you want to put down in front of your family.

The Westin Gourmet Guarantee:
We are so confident that our gourmet meats are the lowest priced (per KG) in the industry that we will guarantee to refund you the difference should you find our meaty cuts available anywhere else at a cheaper price!

Sounds pretty good to me!

Westin Gourmet Steak mince comes from free grazed and grass fed British Cattle.  Lean and delivered to your door fresh, so that you can cook it or freeze it as you choose.  It's lean and healthy too.   I did not have to drain any fat from mine today when I cooked up several meals from it.  It was pretty good stuff and depending on how much you buy, it can cost you as little as 85p per serving.  The last time I looked at steak mince in our local grocery shop, they wanted £4 on special for about a 4 serving size packet, and that was on special, for the lean.  You can get the regular for less, but you end up pouring half of it away in fat and where is the saving in that??? 

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I think it's very easy to make your own ready meals at home on your day off with not a lot of effort and fairly economically . . . and you'll know that you are feeding your family properly.

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*Basic Lasagne*
Serves 8
Printable Recipe

You can easily prepare this in two separate casseroles, cooking one for now and freezing one for later.  It's also very easy to divide it into 8 single serving metal tins so that you have 8 lasagne ready meals ready and in the freezer for when you need them.

1 lb lean minced steak
3 cups tomato and basil pasta sauce
1 package of no bake fresh lasagne noodles
1 container  of no fat cottage cheese (about 1 cup)
1 TBS parsley flakes
salt and black pepper
1 large free range egg, beaten
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed and divided
260g of grated Mozzarella Cheese (2 cups)
120g of grated cheddar cheese (1 cup)
90g of finely grated Parmesan Cheese (1/2 cup)
1 jar of white lasagne sauce (bechamel, about 2 cups)

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Heat a large skillet over medium high heat.  Spray with nonstick cooking spray.  Crumble in the beef and scramble fry until it is no longer pink.  Stir in some seasoning, 1 of the cloves of garlic and the tomato and basil pasta sauce.   Bring to a simmer and allow to simmer for 15 minutes.  Set aside.

Stir together the cottage cheese, parsley flakes, beaten egg, the remaining clove of garlic, 1/4 of the Parmesan cheese and some seasoning.  Set aside.

Mix the remainder of the cheeses together.  Set aside.

Pre-heat the oven to 190*C/375*F/ gas mark 5.   Spray one 9 by 13 inch baking dish, or two 8 inch square dishes, or 8 small deep tinfoil pans with some nonstick cooking spray.

Spoon a portion of meat sauce (1/3) into the bottom of each to cover lightly.  Cover with lasagne noodles.  Cover with another portion of sauce (1/3) and half of the grated cheeses.   Cover with another layer of lasagne noodles.   Spoon the cottage cheese mixture over top of the noodles.  Cover with the remainder of the meat sauce and most of the remaining cheese mixture, reserving a handful for the end.   Add a final layer of noodles.  Spoon the bechamel over top to cover.  Sprinkle with the remainder of the cheese and the remaining Parmesan cheese.

Cover and bake for about 30 minutes.  Uncover and bake for a further 10 to 15 minutes until golden brown and bubbling.  Let stand for about 10 minutes before cutting into squares to serve.

If freezing, do not bake.  Simply place into the dish (s) as required, wrap tightly and freeze for up to six months.   To cook, thaw out over night and pop into the oven , cooking as above.  If you are doing single servings it will not take as long.

You can also cook your mince up into sauces and chili to freeze, ready to be thawed and cooked up for your family.

This is an unusual version of Spaghetti Bolognaise that we like here in this house.  You can multiply the amounts and freeze in family size containers ready for use when you need them.   If you remember to take it out in the morning, by the time you return to the house in the evening in the time it takes you to cook the spaghetti and heat the sauce, dinners ready!



 *Not Your Mama's Spag Bol*
Serves 6
Printable Recipe

This is a different sort of a twist that I put on good old Spaghetti Bolognaise. In truth, I love this even more than regular Spag Bol! I just can't get enough of it!

1 TBS olive oil
16 ounces extra lean beef mince
1 small onion, peeled and grated
1 fat clove of garlic, peened and crushed
2 green chilies, seeded and finely chopped
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cumin
1 envelope of Taco seasoning mix
(I use Discovery)
1 (420g) tin of chopped tomatoes
14 ounces of beef stock
6 ounces tomato puree
1 (420g) tin of black beans, drained and rinsed
12 ounces of uncooked spaghetti
Toppings:
Sour cream, Shredded cheddar cheese, chopped or finely sliced red onion

Place the olive oil into a large saucepan and heat. Once it is hot add the beef mince. Cook and stir until it is completely browned. Add the onion, garlic, chilies, salt, cumin and taco seasoning mix and continue to cook and stir until the onion, garlic and peppers are soft. Add the chopped tomatoes, beef stock, and tomato puree. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Gently stir in the beans and cook for a further 5 minutes.

In the meantime bring a pot of lightly salted water to the boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain well and divide amongst hot serving plates. Top each with a portion of the sauce and pass the toppings!!

This chili recipe below calls for chopped steak, but you can use steak mince if that's what you have.  Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy!



  

*The Best Chili Ever*
Serves 8
Printable Recipe

You can't beat a big tasty bowl of red. This is rich and flavourful and rib stickin' good!

1 TBS oil
2 medium onions, peeled and chopped
3 fat cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
4 green chilies, trimmed, seeded and chopped (or to taste)
1 pound of extra lean beef mince
1 pound of beef sirloin, trimmed and cut into small cubes
1 (400g) tin of chopped tomatoes in juice
1 tomato tin measure of dark ale
1 tomato tin measure of beef broth
250ml (1 cup) dark strong coffee
2 heaped dessertspoons of tomato puree
3 1/2 TBS tomato ketchup
2 ounces soft light brown sugar
1 TBS ground cumin
1 TBS cocoa powder
(not hot chocolate drink mix)
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp mild chili powder, or to taste
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp fine seasalt
4 (400g) tins of kidney beans, drained and rinsed

To serve:
Chopped onion
grated strong cheddar cheese

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic and chilies. Cook and stir until soft. Add the meats. Cook, stirring, til browned. Stir in the cumin, cocoa powder, oregano, chili powder, coriander and sea salt. Mix in well. Stir in the tomatoes, ale, beef broth, coffee, tomato puree and brown sugar. Add the beans. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a low simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally over low heat for about 2 hours, til nice and thick and rich. Serve hot with some chopped onion and cheddar cheese sprinkled over the top. Delicious!

You can freeze it in little single serving tubs, then thaw out and eat when you feel like chili!

Many thanks once again to Westin Gourmet for sending me their delicious steak mince.  I hope that I have been able to show you all here today that you can have some really tasty good meals ready to use in the freezer with very little effort and not a lot of time, and not a lot of money.  You can't put a price on the satisfaction and assurance that comes from knowing you are feeding your family wisely and decently.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Potato, Cauliflower and Cheddar Bake

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 We've eaten so much meat over these past few days, I thought I would take a break from it for a day or so!  We don't normally eat much meat, but I am not complaining, as it has been fabulous meat and I am very grateful for the opportunity to try it out!

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Today I baked us a delicious vegetable casserole, using potatoes, onions and cauliflower.   It's like a version of cauliflower cheese without the creamy sauce.  Don't get me wrong, I do love me some cheese sauce now and again, but I thought this would be just a tad bit lighter after all the rich food we've been eating lately.

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I can't take credit for the idea.  I adapted  it from the Martha Stewart site.  It looked really good and I thought it would be something we would both really enjoy.  I added the onion, because cheese and onion go very well together and I thought it would be delicious.

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I was right.  It was.   It's so simple to make too . . . boiled potato, cauliflower and onion, layered with cheese and thyme, with a bit of stock added.  You could use vegetable stock and vegan cheese if you wanted to keep it totally vegetarian.

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We both really enjoyed it and the leftovers tasted even better.  But then again . . . that's usually the case.  Leftovers always taste even better than the main meal . . . In any case this went down a real treat served as a main course for two along with slices of buttered brown bread, some pickled beets,  and some salad on the side.

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*Cheese and Onion, Potato and Cauliflower Bake*
Serves 4 as a side, or 2 as a main
Printable Recipe

Deliciously different than the usually creamy sauced potato bake.  This is fabulous and very easy to make.

2 large baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch slices
1/2 of a small cauliflower, trimmed and cut into 1/2 inch slices
1 medium onion, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch slices
8 ounces of grated strong cheddar cheese (2 cups)
2 tsp dried thyme
freshly ground black pepper
salt
80ml of chicken stock (about 1/3 cup)
butter to dot the top

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Place the potatoes into a pot of cold lightly salted water, with plenty to cover.  Bring to the boil.  Add the sliced onion and cauliflower, and cook at a fast simmer for 8 to 10  minutes, just until the potatoes are tender.  Drain carefully and set aside for about 10 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 220*C/425*F/ gas mark 6.  Butter a shallow casserole dish.   Layer half of the potatoes in the bottom, all of the onion and half of the cauliflower.   Season with a good grinding of black pepper and half of the thyme.   Top with half of the cheese.  Top with the remaining potatoes and cauliflower.   Grind some more pepper over top and the remainder of the thyme.  (Salt only if you think you will need it.  I never do.)  Pour the chicken stock over top, cover with the remaining cheese and dot with butter.

Bake in the heated oven for 20 to 25  minutes until golden brown and bubbling.  Serve hot.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Sicily

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As you all know I am awfully fond of cookbooks.   My motto is you can never have too many of them. Todd would disagree . . . but what does he know?   His idea of cooking is holding a tin in one hand and a pot in the other.    I have noticed that whilst he might balk at the amount of cookery books I have . . . he never complains about the recipes I cook from them.   He's always more than happy to chow down!

I was recently sent this beautiful cookery book Sicily published by Phaidon.   It's a pretty hefty book, containing more than 50simple  recipes from the Silver Spoon restaurant in Sicily, this book is much more than a mere cookery book.  Personally I found it completely fascinating and I learned a lot about Sicily that I hadn't known before.

I always thought of Sicily as being not much more than an Island at the tip of Italy's boot, but I didn't know a lot about it.  I just always thought of it as being Italian, but it turns out it is so much more than that.

It is a unique cuisine which can boast influences from Neolithic migrants from Africa and the Arab Peninsula, Greeks and the Romans.

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This book is divided into the different areas of Sicily, with a variety of recipes representing each area . . . some 9 different spots and chapters in all . . .

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As you can see from the map, each area has their own individual variety of cuisines, depending on the cultures of the people which have settled there and the raw ingredients which are in abundance.  Sicily has a unique and varied landscape, comprised of lush and fertile mountains and valleys, arid desert-like plains and a wonderful coastline filled richly with a variety of sea life.  Altogether this makes for a delicious mosaic of cultures and cuisines.

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The book is filled with beautiful photographs which read like a travelogue of this beautiful Island . . . representing each area wonderfully.   I really enjoyed seeing them and reading about the cuisine of each area.

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It truly is a beautiful spot.  Earlier this year Todd and I had planned on doing a Mediterranean Cruise and Sicily was going to be one of the spots we stopped at.  Unfortunately we had to cancel it and so this book has truly allowed me to see this beautiful Island in a unique and interesting way.  It is a wealth of information about the climate, the people, the landscape and the food.

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Beautiful fresh produce such as these lovely peppers . . . and lemons

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Beautiful olives, fresh sardines, pasta, pizzas, tomatoes, aubergines, chocolate, anchovies, capers, cheeses, shrimps, swordfish, garlic, fennel, oranges, pistachio nuts . . . there is no end to the variety and quantity of ingredients which make Sicilian food so beautifully tasty, and this book so fabulous.

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One of the recipes in this book is called Pasta Con I Mascolini, or Pasta with anchovies.   It looks delicious, absolutely delicious . . . of course as you know the Toddster doesn't like pasta, but he does love pies . . .

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I was able to bake him this delicious Chicken Pie, Pasticcio Di Pollo. which he really enjoyed.   It was a fabulous mix of chicken, pistachios, almonds, capers, lemon and Parsley and a beautiful crust which was quite unique in that it used eggs, butter, lard and Marsala wine.  Totally delicious. 

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Beautiful sauces such as this Salmoriglio sauce, or Salsa Salmoriglio, consisting of simple ingredients . . . olive oil, lemons, oregano, parsley, salt and pepper.  Said to go very well with fish, especially sword fish.



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Pomodori Ripieni Fritti, Fried stuffed tomatoes.  These look gorgeous and I can hardly wait for tomato season so I can get stuck into some of them.  Have I ever told you how much I love tomatoes??  Well, I adore tomatoes and these look fabulously delish!

But there is not just savory things in this book . . . there is also plenty of sweetness to be found with recipes for these beautiful sounding sweet fritters called Sfinci, served with a citrus syrup,  Panzerotti di ricotta (sweet ricotta pastries), an assortment of ices, granitas, a sweet coffee jelly and sweet biscuits like these  lovely  Convent Biscuits, or Biscotti Del Convento.  (Did you know I love Biscotti?  You do now!)

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Altogether this is a beautifully presented hard covered book, with gorgeous pictures, a wealth of information about Sicily and delicious sounding recipes.

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There are also two great bookmarks included which come in very handy for making note of what you want to make.  I hate picking a recipe to make and then having to search to find it because I have lost my place.  These bookmarks get rid of that problem.  If I had any criticism at all about the book it would be that some of the ingredients are not readily available here where I live at my local grocery stores, although I am sure I would be able to procure them at specialty shops, or with my knowledge of cookery and flavours . . . I could probably quite easily substitute them with something else.

If you are looking for a nice book, with some beautiful recipes, fabulous pictures and which is a feast for the eyes as well as the palate, you could not go far wrong in getting this book.  Many thanks to the people at Phaidon for sending it to me.

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There's all you need to know in that picture there.   Available now.