All posts by Elly

Recipe: Pesto Chicken Caesar Salad

Pesto Chicken Caesar Salad
Pesto Chicken Caesar Salad

Ingredients;

2 chicken breasts
1 tablespoon pesto
Romaine lettuce leaves
Parmesan shavings
Croutons
Caesar salad dressing

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Chop chicken breasts into decent-size chunks. Stir in pesto until chicken is completely coated.

Shallow fry chicken in a hot pan until cooked through.

Roughly tear up romaine leaves and plate. Sprinkle over croutons, chicken and parmesan shavings. Drizzle with Caesar Salad Dressing to taste.

Recipe: Sweet Vanilla Pastry Pie Case

Sweet Vanilla Pastry Pie Case
An Empty Sweet Vanilla Pastry Pie Case

Ingredients;

250g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
50g icing sugar
125g good quality unsalted cold butter, cut into small cubes
1 vanilla pod, halved and seeds scraped out
1 large egg, beaten
A splash of milk

Makes approx 500g

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This is an all purpose sweet pastry mix for making pies and it is remarkably easy to make.

Start by sieving the flour and icing sugar into a large mixing bowl. Using your (clean) hands gently work the butter in to the flour and icing sugar mix until it resembles breadcrumbs.

Next add the milk and egg. Work it together using your hands until you have a ball of dough. Don’t over work it at this point as it will become chewy not crumbly. I’ve also heard that cold hands make better pastry, so if you have warm hands, rinse them under the cold tap as much as you can to cool them before you start to work the dough together.

Sprinkle a little flour onto a clean work surface and place your ball of dough on this, then flatten the ball until it’s about two and a half centimetres thick. Sprinkle some flour over it and then wrap it in cling film and pop it into the fridge to rest for at least thirty minutes.

At this point you can also place the wrapped pastry in a freezer bag and freeze for up to one month.

Next grab a 9 inch cake tin, preferably one with a removable bottom, and grease it lightly using some kitchen roll and vegetable oil.

Once the dough has rested, sprinkle some more flour on to a large work surface and grab a rolling pin. You want to roll the dough out turning it occasionally until it’s about half a centimetre thick.

The best way to get the pastry from your work surface to the cake tin is to roll it gently around the rolling pin and then unroll it over the oiled tin. Carefully ease the pastry into the tin making sure to get it into the corners. Trim off any excess, by running a knife around the top of the tin and then using a fork, prick the base all over. Place the tin and pastry into your freezer for about 30 minutes, while you heat your oven to 180C.

Take some greaseproof paper and scrunch it up, then use this to line the visible surface of your pastry case, making sure to press it into the sides as well. Next, fill it with either ceramic baking beads or plain rice and bake blind for about 10 minutes.

Remove the baking beads (or rice) and the greaseproof paper and bake the pastry case for another 10 minutes until it firms up and gets a bit biscuit like.

Recipe: Apple Cake

Apple Cake
Apple Cake

Ingredients;

1 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup white sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar (packed)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 extra-large egg, beaten lightly
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup grated apples
1/2 cup raisins

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Preheat your oven to 170 C.

Mix together all the dry ingredients (flour, white sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, salt & all spice) in a large bowl.

In a measuring jug, mix together your vegetable oil, beaten egg and vanilla, then mix into the dry ingredients, until everything has been incorporated. Finally stir in your apples and raisins and mix through well.

Pour into a 9-inch cake tin and bake for 30-35 mins, until a toothpick inserted and wiggled around comes out clean.

Allow to cool fully before cutting.

You can also use this mix to make cupcakes / muffins, reduce the cooking time by approx 5 mins. I also like to soak my raisins in whisky overnight for extra flavour.

Recipe: Mango Muffins

Mango Muffins
Mango Muffins

Ingredients;

2 ripe mangoes, peeled and coarsely grated
1/3 cup melted butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups plain flour

Makes approx 18 small cupcakes/muffins

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When I tried to make this, I discovered that the easiest way to get the flesh off the mango is to peel it with a potato peeler and then grate it on the coarse side of your grater, and then I chopped it lightly to make the pieces a little shorter. You can also substitute tinned mango if fresh is not available, in this case just mash the mango to a paste with your hands.

Cup measures can be bought in most large supermarkets or homeware stores these days and I find them much easier to use than having to weigh everything. A plastic set is best, as you can use them in the microwave if needed and they can also be cleaned in your dishwasher.

To melt butter, place it in a microwave proof container and heat for 20 secs on the lowest power setting (usually 30%), remove, stir and repeat until fully melted.

Preheat your oven to 180 C.

Start by mixing your mangoes and melted butter.

Add in the sugar, egg, vanilla extract, baking soda & salt and mix well.

Finally, mix the flour in and stir until fully incorporated, the mix should be damp and very sticky.

Place paper muffin covers in your muffin pan and spoon in the mixture until it sits just below the top of the pan. These muffins won’t rise very much.

For small muffins, bake for approx 40 mins at 180 C, if you are using a large muffin pan, then increase the time to approx 50 mins.

To check that muffins are done, stick a cocktail stick into one, and swirl around. If it comes out clean or with just crumbs, then they are done. Remove from tins and leave to cool.

Will store for approx 5-7 days in an airtight box.

Recipe: The Best Bacon and Cabbage

Bacon and Cabbage with Onion and Parsley Sauce served with Mashed Potato
Bacon and Cabbage with Onion and Parsley Sauce

Ingredients;

Approx 700g Bacon Loin
2 small pinches ground cloves
Handful brown sugar

1/2 head of white cabbage, finely sliced
1 teaspoon goose fat (or duck fat or butter)

Small white onion, finely diced
Handful fresh parsley, very finely chopped
2 heaped teaspoons plain flour
Knob of butter
Tablespoon cream

Serves 2

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OK, let’s be honest, this is not a quick recipe, but it is totally worth it, especially if you’re trying to impress someone!

Start by placing your bacon loin in a large saucepan and filling it with cold water until the bacon is covered. Get this on the heat and bring it to the boil. Once boiling, keep the pot covered and leave it at strong simmer for about an hour, ensuring that the water always covers the bacon.

After an hour, place the bacon loin in a baking tray and sprinkle on the ground cloves and sugar, mainly over the fat, but also on the meat as well. Reserve a mug full of the cooking water.

Heat your oven to 200 C and bake the loin for 45 mins.

While the bacon is in the oven, begin to prep the cabbage and sauce ingredients. These both take less than 20 mins to cook, so you don’t want to be starting too early.

Add your diced onion to a small frying pan with the butter and cook on a medium heat for about 5-10 mins, to soften, but not colour the onion. Next add the flour and stir until it vanishes. Begin to pour in the reserved cooking water about a tablespoon at a time, stirring constantly.

You want the sauce to be slightly thick, not too runny. Keep adding the reserved water as needed, stirring regulary. Adjust your heat so that it is just barely simmering. Right before serving, add the parsley and cream and stir well. Add salt and pepper if needed (taste it and see!)

With about 10 mins of cooking time left on the bacon, melt the goose fat in a large frying pan and add the cabbage. Give this a few mins on full heat, then reduce to about 3/4 heat. Keep stirring it regulary, it should brown, but not burn. Once it has taken on a good bit of colour, add some the reserved cooking water and keep stirring. The cabbage should absorb the liquids and keep taking on colour.

Rest the bacon for 5 mins before carving and serve with the cabbage and sauce (and mashed potatoes if you like).