Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

These are so good I almost don’t want to share the recipe. 

They always turn out great – they taste amazing, texture is fantastic and everyone loves them. Plus, the recipe makes like a million cookies. These are the perfect way to get over the mid-week slump. Also great for the weekend, Monday, Christmas..

There are a few ways to prepare these, normally I form them into rough balls just using the spoon to shape the dough on the greaseproof paper. Alternatively, you can take a small amount of the cookie dough and form it into discs using your hands. The latter is easier, and forms rounder cookies but it is a bit messier. Whichever you prefer, people will eat these anyway. Looks don’t matter when they taste like little chocolate-nutty drops of happiness.

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Pork Loin (with Crackling!), Roasties and Gravy

The best day of my life.

Oh, I love a good Sunday roast. I have become very comfortable with chicken – it’s relatively cheap, easy to roast and delicious. But I decided to go out of my comfort zone and get some pork with obligatory crackling on the go. The key with crackling is to pat the meat dry, and apply liberal amounts of oil and salt before roasting. And it was spectacular. You need this in your life, I’m not even exaggerating.

I have also been disappointed recently by my lacklustre roast potatoes which don’t hold a candle to the ones my mum whips up with apparent ease. So, being the loving and inquisitive daughter that I am, I pumped her for information and shamelessly copied her technique.

And I decided that you can’t have a good loin of pork without some gravy. I don’t really eat gravy, but was intrigued by making it from scratch (not a bisto granule in sight!) and it really went well with the meat, adding depth of flavour and moisture.

All in all, I’m feeling pretty pleased with myself. You, too, can feel this smug. Just read on..

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Lime and Ginger Chicken Stir Fry

I have to admit, I’ve never really made a stir fry before. I am just not a big fan of noodles, in general. But of course, noodles are my boyfriend’s favourite thing ever. I have combined a regular stir fry with another recipe I love for lime and ginger chicken, and it turned out deliciously. The flavours are complimentary, and it is packed full of my favourite veggies! Note, I did not add beansprouts because they are totally pointless and gross, but feel free to mix and match with the vegetables of your choice. Mushrooms, sugar snap peas, baby corn.. all solid options.

If you have a wok, this is the time to break it out. I do not have one, so a non-stick pan has been drafted in instead. Improvisation is a big part of how I cook. Don’t have the exact utensil/ingredient? Improvise and you never know, it might turn out better than the original! If not, eh, lesson learned. There’s a fairly laissez-faire attitude which predominates in my kitchen.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Hazelnut and Salted Caramel Macaroons

Happy Easter, everyone!

I thought I would change it up a bit on this most foodie of holidays, because I’m kind of full of Easter eggs so I don’t think I could face dealing with even more chocolate (shh, nutella doesn’t count!).

I love these little French morsels, and people genuinely go crazy for them. They look really intricate, but a few simple tips makes them simple to whip up.

  1.  Make sure you whip the eggs enough! Those egg whites should be glossy and stiff, and should stay in the bowl, even when tipped upside down.
  2.  Allow to dry out before cooking. You should be able to gently press your finger onto one and have it come away clean before you put them in the oven.
  3. Allow to cool before removing from the baking tray/mat. They should peel off easily when cooled.

Once you've nailed that, you should be making on point little maracoons with ease. The basic recipe can also be used with a multitude of flavours, in fact, I was planning to make blueberry ones before I realised I was out of blue food dye (food blogger problems).

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Banana, Honey and Cinnamon-spiced Smoothie

Well, we are home from our hols and I am not happy about it. One thing I noticed in Dubai that every cafe had an extensive fresh fruit juice menu, with blended flavours creating delicious cold drinks. My obvious favourite is mint lemonade, which I plan to make soon for the upcoming summer weather (optimism!). But I noticed something similar to this on a menu, and I've turned it into a delicious spiced smoothie.

These smoothie posts are always light on photos, because there’s only so much that you can break a ‘peel, pour, blend’ recipe down into. They’re that simple.

There is only one simple fruit here, and it is allowed to shine. I don’t know about you, but I find eating a banana intensely boring. The flavour is so monotonous and I get distracted half way through. 

Not so with this smoothie! The vanilla yogurt makes it creamy, and the added sweetness of honey and spice of cinnamon makes this so different from any of the fruit-heavy other ones I normally whip up. In fact, it feels closer to a milkshake than a smoothie. And it is YUM.

Friday, 11 April 2014

Peanut Butter Traybakes

In Dubai, Friday is the start of the weekend. And what better way to kick it off than sweet nutty goodness? Warning: these are seriously sweet, and a really hard to define tasty little morsel.

I always feel like it deserves some quirky name like crunchynutchocs.

..I’m not a namer. But to give you an idea of what you're in for, these delights are all about the peanutty chocolatey chewiness. 

I have always had a soft spot for making and devouring tray bakes. There is nothing that makes me happier than pressing a mixture into a tin, slathering with chocolate, and slicing into squares. A lot of my food loves are embedded in childhood memories. Mars Bar squares were definitely the first thing that I ever made (with my mum’s help, of course!) and these are just a slightly more elaborate version. That, and the fact that they are delicious, really cement them as firm favourites in my house.

Monday, 7 April 2014

Chana Masala

How I wish there was smell-o-vision around..

Recipe taken from a beautifully presented blog: ekant cook curry.
Well, I found WiFi! Day one in Dubai and there has been a lot of skyscraper admiring and pool lounging. This is a 'here's one I made earler' post. And I'm posting it because a similar item was a part of today's breakfast buffet. Yes, curry for breakfast. Yes, I ate some. It was eye-wateringly beautiful. I will have more tomorrow morning.

This was originally supposed to be just chickpeas, as I fancied a little veggie dinner. But my boyfriend came back from the gym and requested some protein for his “guns” so I had to oblige with a little meat.

I love curry in all flavours, meats and sizes. And I bow down to the chickpea. Those two loves combined in this extremely tasty meal which had a depth of flavour and a hint of hot spice. And unsurprisingly, it was even nicer the next day, as the flavours developed.

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Sweet Orange Loaf

The boyfriend and I are off on our Easter hols tomorrow! Hopefully I'll still be able to post once or twice, but if the wifi is spotty then this will be the last post for about a week.

And what a post.. I've been saving this humble little cake.

This is one of those little loaf-cakes which looks fairly dull on the plate, but is packed full of flavour and deliciousness. I am compiling a ‘dream afternoon tea’ tray (in my head) and this is on it. I think the reason it is so good is down to the moist texture and sweet, zesty flavour. And it doesn’t hurt that it is pretty simple to whip up!

Again and again I am indebted to Mary Berry for giving me delicious recipes. This is something I never would have thought of making if I didn’t have her book and an orange kicking around to use up, and I am so glad I did. It cuts up into little morsels of happiness!

Friday, 4 April 2014

Spinach and Pepper Chicken

You should by now have a feel of what I am about with my cooking. I like chicken, and I have a list of veggies which I will come back to again and again. I'm a boring gal. This dish combines a lot of my most-used ingredients, to the point where I can pretty much whip it up at any time because my fridge is fully stocked with the goodies to make it. As such, it is one of my all-time favourite suppers.

This recipe combines some of my 3 favourite attributes in a meal; simple, fast, delicious. There’s not much else that can be said about this classic meal, it’s a tasty twist on chicken and veggies.

Best served with a few roasted new potatoes, but I think this could be equally delicious with some couscous or rice. I love couscous. But that is a story for another day.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Leek and Bacon Risotto

Risotto with an Irish flair.

I love rice. Rice is awesome. I have always had a soft spot for risotto, but have been kind of afraid to tackle it, because I was never sure how it was meant to turn out. I recently had some risotto in a restaurant and now I am an expert. The rice is supposed to have a bit of a bite, to retain some firmness without being hard or crunchy.

A whole meal made of rice awaits you, enjoy.