Wednesday, August 15, 2012

An Easy Dinner...

This recipe is one I've adapted from an issue of Good Food some time ago, it has evolved into a super easy but elegant meal that I have been known to serve at a dinner party but also for a quick dinner after work.

I started by cutting a Red Onion and a Large Pear into wedges, I tossed these in a splash of Balsamic Vinegar and a splash of Olive Oil. These were spread onto a baking tray lined with baking paper and put into a hot oven for 20 minutes.

I tossed some Baby Spinach Leaves into a bit more Oil and Vinegar and divided the leaves between the serving plates.

In the meantime, I heated a griddle pan and cooked a well seasoned Pork Steak for each plate.

I piled the cooked Pear and Onion onto the Spinach, added a Steak to each plate and it looked and tasted fantastic!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Tarty Tuesday...Jam Tarts...

We had some really good Pot Pies last night for tea, I cooked the filling on the weekend in the slow- cooker and all I had to do was cut the tops out of some Sheets of Pastry and bung them in a hot oven, too easy!

The only dilemma was what to do with the left over bits of Pastry, I just hate to waste food! I cut out a few discs, put them into a pan and stuck them in the freezer for 10 minutes. After they were nice and cold, I stuck them in the hot oven and half cooked them.

I plopped a bit of Mixed Berry Jam into them and put them back in the oven until they looked ready.
They were lovely! Just the thing for Supper!

Monday, August 13, 2012

A bit of Weekend Baking...

I haven't been doing much baking lately but I visited my Grandmother on Sunday and thought it would be nice to take some Cake to share with her. This Cake recipe is the easiest one I know of but it's also one of the nicest!

I put into a mixing bowl 125gms Butter, 1-2 Tablespoons of Finely Shredded Lemon Rind, 1 cup of Castor Sugar, 2 Eggs, 1 and a half cups of Self-Raising Flour and 3 quarters of a cup of Natural Yoghurt.

I mixed it all on low speed until the ingredients are combined and then on medium speed for about 3 minutes, it should look paler and smooth.

I divided the mixture into 3 small tins, I love these tins, the 3 of them will take a full size cake mixture, they look really cute and can be very practical.

One for Saturnight Dessert with some Custard, one to take visiting on Sunday and one for the freezer for when I don't have time to bake...Perfect!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Another Tarty Tuesday...

I love Home Grown Tomatoes so much that when they're not in season I hardly bother with the shop bought ones. Yesterday, however, I had a hankering for a fresh Tomato Tart.

 I made a very simple shell using bought Puff Pastry, baked it and filled it with a mixture of Ricotta, 1 Egg and a good handful of Chopped Parsley.

I covered this with slices of Fresh Tomato and more Parsley as well as some left over Blue Brie. Popped it it the oven for a further 10 minutes and patted myself on the back! It looked amazing and tasted fabulous!

Monday, August 6, 2012

August Food Swap...

I went to Food Swap on Saturday, it was a lovely sunny morning and there was plenty of people there, it always surprises me just how much produce people have to swap at this time of year. There was loads of Citrus and also a great variety of Greens and Herbs, also a couple of different types of Pumpkin. I took;

  • 1 Jar of Lime Marmalade Jelly
  • 2 Jars of Grapefruit Marmalade
  • 2 Thyme Plants and
  • 1 Greek Oregano Plant

I came home with;
  • 6 Small Red Onions
  • 2Redcurrant Plants
  • Silverbeet
  • Tuscan Cabbage
  • Pumpkin
  • 3 Small Red Chillies
  • 1 Lemon and
  • 3 Limes

I always look forward to Food Swap, it's great to get together with other people who are passionate about growing things to eat!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

In My Kitchen...

In my kitchen this month is a lovely new set of red saucepans, I'm enjoying using them so much! Don't know why it took me so long to replace the old ones!

A big bowl of Citrus, I feel like I've been using them and using them but the bowl never seems to be empty!

Yet another batch of Marmalade! Food Swap here I come!

And a postcard and some gorgeous Cupcake Papers from my fabulous friend Fleur who has recently been to the U.K.

If you'd like to share what’s been happening in your kitchen this month or to see what's happening in other kitchens all around the world, scoot over to  Celia at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Tarty Tuesday...

I have recently cut down from working 5 days a week to 4, one of the things I have been doing on my extra day off is "cooking ahead", cooking dishes that can be frozen and the heated up for dinner on the days when I do work. Tarts are great for this so I've been dishing them up once a week lately.

This tart was a great way to use up some odd bits and pieces that were lurking in the fridge. I cut up some Pumpkin, Eggplant and Zucchini, tossed them in some Olive Oil and sprinkled them with Morroccan Seasoning. They went into a moderate oven until they were cooked and starting to brown a little.

I set these aside to cool while I sliced up a Leek and cooked it gently until it was soft.

The Pastry was just a sheet and a half of bought Puff Pastry, I cooked this first and then spread Ricotta with Salt, Pepper, Fresh Oregano and Finely Grated Lemon Zest on top of it.

The Roasted Vegies and Leeks went on top and then a good sprinkling of Crumbled Bulgarian Fetta, back in the oven for ten minutes and it's ready!

I froze it when it had cooled down and it heated up beautifully a few days later.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Saturday Seafood...

I usually go food shopping first thing Saturday morning so if we're going to have a seafood meal it will usually be on a Saturday evening while the seafood is nice and fresh. This Saturday I made a dish that is fast becoming my favorite, I always like to add something from the garden to whatever I'm cooking and as the only thing that seems to be growing at the moment is Coriander, this dish was an obvious choice! I started by gently cooking a diced Onion, a couple of cloves of Crushed Garlic and when they were softened, added 2 sticks of Sliced Celery and a Sliced Fennel Bulb.

Once these had cooked for 5 minutes, I added half a teaspoon of Chilli Powder and a teaspoon of Smoked Paprika, a can of
Chopped Tomatoes and 500mls of Chicken Stock, also a couple of Bay Leaves.

Once the sauce had simmered for about 20 minutes I added the Seafood, you can add whatever Seafood you like so long as it adds up to roughly 800gms. I used 500gms of a good quality Marinara Mix, a couple of Basa Fillets and 150gms of prawns. I have used other combinations and it always seems to work well.

I added the prawns along with a good handful of roughly torn Coriander when everything else was nearly cooked. A squeeze of Lemon Juice, a few Coriander Sprigs on top and you have the most delicious and healthy Seafood dish that I know of!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Comfort Food

I had dinner with a group of friends on the weekend, we try to meet about every six weeks at someone's home, everyone brings food and drink and often there is a theme. This time we all wore our pyjamas and brought our favorite Comfort Food! It was hard to choose a favorite! I am comfortable with most food!

I ended up deciding on this Chicken with Lime and Red Onion dish that I have made so often that it feels like an old friend! I love that it is really simple to make and reheats so well. I have been known to eat it cold the next day too!

I also made a favorite Biscuit recipe, it was given to me by my Grandma and the actual recipe is in her handwriting on a scrap of paper, all the more precious as she is no longer with us. She called them Coconut Dainties, although mine tend to be on the hefty side! I tweaked them a bit by adding Marmalade to some, not much escapes my kitchen lately without some form of Citrus fruit involved.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Healthy Snacks...

I have been trying to eat a bit more healthily for the past few months and I've worked out that I have no real problem with eating healthily at meal times, I love veggies and I can live without bread and butter, much as I like it.

Where I really struggle is in the after dinner snack department, I adore cheese and crackers, especially with a bit of our homemade Quince Paste. I have been trying out some really healthy dips, I've long been a fan of homemade Hommus and I've made a Roast Pumpkin Dip a couple of times lately.

It's as simple as roasting pumpkin that has been drizzled with Olive Oil and sprinkled with Morrocan Seasoning (my new best friend). Whizz it in the food processor adding a bit of water if it's too stiff. Great for using up some of the glut if you've had a bumper Pumpkin harvest!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

I'm back!

I can hardly believe that I haven't posted anything since April! I have still been playing in the garden and the kitchen though and my latest ventures have mainly involved citrus fruit.

The only citrus fruit that has actually come from my garden is this one lonely lemon! I have been given some beautiful Grapefruits and I scored some lovely Lemons and Limes from this month's Food Swap.

My only, lonely Lemon had its peel added to the peel of 9 Food Swap Lemons to be steeped in Vodka to make Limoncello for Christmas gifts, I then juiced the lemons and added the juice of some Limes to make Lemon/Lime Cordial.

I've also made 4 batches of Marmalade and very few meals make it to the table lately without the addition of some sort of Citrus!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Tarragon Chicken

I've had Tarragon growing in our garden for about a year now, I was excited about it when I got a little plant from food swap but it occured to me the other day that I've hardly used it for cooking.
I went in search of a recipe that would showcase the Tarragon and came up with this Tarragon Chicken recipe which not only turned out to be super easy and yummy but I actually had all the ingredients on hand!

First thing was to chop up an onion and gently cook it in a non-stick pan with a little oil and 2 cloves of Garlic, then I added Chicken Thigh Fillets and browned them on both sides. I added half a cup of White Wine, a cup and a half of Chicken Stock and simmered for about 20 minutes.

I mixed 2 teaspoons of Cornflour with a little stock, stirred it into the Chicken mixture and cooked it for about 2 minutes, then I added half a cup of Sour Cream and 2 tablespoons of Tarragon Leaves. Once this has warmed through its ready!

I served the Chicken with Potatoes, carrots and (much to my son's disgust!) Brussels Sprouts, everyone loved the chicken!

Monday, April 2, 2012


My pantry is bursting with food, and while I would never complain about having too much food when some others don't have enough, it is getting hard to find things in there! I particularly needed to find a way to use up some of the cereal that had been left in there. These cookies were a delicious and easy solution to my multiplying cereal box situation.

I mixed 125 gms of Softened Butter with 140gms Brown Sugar until pale and creamy. Add 2 Eggs, 1 at a time and a teaspoon of Vanilla Essence, beating well after each addition , until well combined. Fold in 1 and 3quarters of a cup of Self Raising Flour and one cup of Cereal of the flaky fruity kind.

I formed the mixture into balls using 2 spoons and rolled them in more cereal before placing them on a paper lined baking tray , flattening them slightly and baking them in a moderate oven for about 20 minutes.
I made sure I left plenty of room for them to spread which was a good thing because they did!
They didn't last long at all, I think I've solved my problem! If only all problems could be solved in such a tasty way!