Today’s recipe is a simple recipe for butter frosting or icing as we like to say on this side of the pond! Having an quick and easy frosting recipe on hand is always a good idea. You never know when you will need a reliable frosting recipe at 10pm when your whipping up a forgotten [...]
This recipe is so simple but so delicious. There is nothing like a plate of cheesy, creamy Macaroni Cheese when it is cold or when you are hungry. And the kids absolutely love it. They are always ‘guaranteed’ to clean their plates! This recipe includes smoked bacon, which adds a salty and crunchy note to [...]
These fritters are one of the easiest Courgette (Zucchini) recipes going. So simple and so moorish – make sure you cook more than you think you will need! The kids absolutely love them as well as the adults. A great meal; serve with salad in Summer, or with creamy, cheesy polenta and a tomato sauce [...]
This recipe is our family favourite. It is a simple bolognese; yet leave out the mince and you have an equally tasty vegetarian pasta. Kids love it and it can be blended easily for babies. We have it once a week in our household! For vegetarian option – leave out mince. Triple mushrooms and double [...]
I did not realise for a long time the difference between Cottage Pie and Shepards’ Pie. I assumed the terms where interchangable. However, Cottage Pie is made with beef mince and Shephards’ Pie is made with lamb mince. Logical once you know!
This recipe for Cottage Pie includes lots of vegetables to be as healthy and nutritious as possible. It’s colourful and appealing so the kids will love it too. It is sure to become a family favourite.
Cottage Pie Ingredients
500 grams Minced Beef
1 medium Onion
4 medium Mushrooms (your favourite sort)
1 clove Garlic
2 each Bay Leaves
handful Fresh Thyme (A dried mix from the supermarket is fine)
300 grams Mixed, peeled and chopped vegetables.
2 – 3 large Potatoes
1 tablespoon Butter
1 tablespoon Oil
3 heaped tablespoons Gravy Granules
Optional – 70 grams Grated Cheese.
Cottage Pie Method
- Peel and roughly chop the onion, garlic and mushrooms.
- Add oil to pan then add the mushroom mix with the bay and thyme leaves.
- Saute until cooked but not coloured. (approx 5-6 minutes.)
- Add the mince and gravy granules.
- Stir on medium heat for 8-10 minutes until cooked.
- Add a little water if needed.
- Meanwhile peel and chop potato and other vegetables.
- Place in pan of boiling water to cook.
- Once cooked, remove from heat and mash with butter and salt.
- In a greased baking dish spoon the cooked meat mix, removing the bayleaves.
- Add the mashed vegetables to the top.
- For added flavour, grate 70 grams of cheese and sprinkle on the top.
- Bake in an hot oven for 20 minutes or until the top is browned.
- Serve with boiled vegetables.
For today’s cook, how to mince garlic and how to peel garlic successfully is always a challenge. I often get asked just how do you easily remove the skin from a garlic clove as the uninitiated always find peeling garlic to be a chore. Today’s post will show you how!
Garlic is such a wonderful herb. A rich, pungent, sharp and earthy flavour that imparts such a delicious aroma and taste to any dish in which it is added. Garlic is believed to have it’s origins in Central Asia from where it’s use spread to the Mediterranean and beyond. It has been popular since ancient times as a medicine and flavouring and in folklore. We know the stories of its power to repel the evil eye and vampires. It also was used to ward off jealous nymphs said to terrorise pregnant women!
Garlic can be used in sweet as well as savoury dishes. I have had garlic ice cream and a caramelised garlic custard tart. Both were just delicious. For a sweet dish to use garlic and be successful the garlic needs to be caramelised before-hand.
The most important thing to remember when cooking garlic, is not to brown it or it will turn bitter. Another hint, is if you have a sensitive stomach, then always remove the green ‘root’ from inside each garlic bulb as this can cause indigestion. That is, the little baby garlic shoot that you will find if you split a garlic bulb in half. The older the bulb, the more obvious this shoot will be.
I will also demonstrate how to simply and easily make a garlic paste. See the instructions below.
Tools Required To Peel and To Mince Garlic
- 1 sharp knife.
- 1 chopping board.
- 1 pair of hands!
Method Required To Peel and To Mince Garlic
1. Place the un-peeled garlic clove on your chopping board.
2. Place the flat of the knife on top of the garlic clove and ‘smash’ down on the knife with the palm of your hand.
Tip – keep your fingers bent up and out of the way of the knife blade!
3. Lift up the knife to reveal the crushed clove.
4. The garlic skin will now come away easily from the clove.
5. Chop the garlic lengthways into thin strips.
6. Turn and chop the garlic strips into tiny dice. Viola! Minced Garlic!
7. To make a garlic paste – add a generous pinch of salt and with the back of the knife ‘press and smear’ the garlic into the board.
8. Viola! Garlic Paste!
I could not, not include this wonderful recipe from Nicole from her recipe A-Z challenge. Chocolate eclair cupcakes – are you for real? Yes, and they look delicious. I can’t wait to make them. I hope you will too! Thank you Nicole.
So I decided I wanted E to be Éclairs, because I love French Food, and I’ve been dying to figure out a way to make a Chocolate Éclair cupcake that does not have graham crackers or whipped cream in the recipe. That is not French and that is not a real Éclair.
An éclair is a pastry made with choux dough filled with a cream (crème patisserie) and topped with a ganache. Thus, I knew I needed to perfect the perfect choux dough to begin with. It wasn’t too hard to come up with a really good batch. It took two tries. The first batch was wonderful flavor wise, but the texture was slightly denser than I wanted.
After the choux dough was perfected, I came up with how to pipe the custard in – I decided the best way was to utilize any holes that formed naturally in the baking process, and any that didn’t, I would insert the nozzle through the top of the cupcake which would eventually be covered in chocolate ganache.
Then I needed to actually come up with the pastry cream recipe (crème patisserie). I have now piped these things with pistachio custard, vanilla custard and vanilla and coffee pastry creams. Each one is delicious, so you can choose if you want to find something different. I share the recipe for the vanilla pastry cream (crème patisserie) here, but definitely feel free to change it up.
Then I needed to top it off with a delicious ganache, and I needed it to be slightly thicker in texture than a more standard glaze so it will hold nicely. And thus, the Éclair cupcake was born.
Yield: 12 Cupcakes
Serving Size: 1 Cupcake
1/2 C. of water
2 Tbs. unsalted butter
1/2 C + 1/2 Tbs. of all purpose flour
2 eggs + 1 egg white
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/4 C. milk
3 egg yolks (save the yolk from the egg whites used in the dough for one of them)
1/4 C. granulated sugar
2 1/2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
2 1/2 Tbs.cornstarch
1 tsp. vanilla extract (this is where you can play with the flavor a little if you’d like)
6 oz. of semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
3/4 C. heavy cream
Preheat the oven to 400°F; prepare your cupcake pan – you can either use baking cups or spray the pan with cooking spray. I chose not to use baking cups because I wanted to see everything and I wanted to be able to utilize the natural holes that occur in baking to fill the pastry with the cream.
In a saucepan on medium heat, heat the water until boiling. Drop the butter in and allow to boil until the butter is melted. Add the flour, stirring constantly until the mixture is smooth. Continue cooking over low heat, until you have a nice dough and you notice its leaving the sides of the pan easily.
Immediately remove from the stove and put into your stand mixer (or a large bowl with an electric mixer). Add the two whole eggs, one at a time, beating in between each addition. Drop the egg white and the vanilla in together and mix well.
Using a large kitchen spoon, drop the mixture into the muffin pan. This dough has enough to make 12 cupcakes, try to keep the amount even across the board.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until they are puffed and a beautiful golden color.
Remove from oven and immediately, BUT CAREFULLY, remove them to a wire rack to cool. As they are cooling, begin working on the pastry cream.
In a pan on the stove over low heat, warm the milk until it begins to steam. While it’s heating, take another bowl and whisk the egg yolks, sugar, flour and cornstarch until it is very smooth. Once the milk is steaming, add the vanilla extract in and stir. Now add the egg/flour mixture a little at a time, mixing well, stirring constantly. Allow the custard to continue cooking for 1-2 minutes never stop stirring. It’s done when the custard is very thick. It will seem very loose at first, but keep stirring and heating and I promise you’ll wind up with a thick custard like cream at the end.
Remove from the heat, pour into your bowl and refrigerate for about a half hour to allow it to cool.
When it is finally cool, use a pastry bag to pipe the cream into the center of each cupcake using any natural holes that developed in the pastry while cooking, otherwise insert nozzle in the top and push down and fill that way.
Place the cream in a saucepan and allow to scald. Turn the heat down and stir in half the chocolate. Stir constantly, once that’s melted add the rest and continue stirring until the chocolate is smooth and melted.
Remove from heat and pour into a bowl. Allow the chocolate to cool to room temperature before glazing the top of the cupcakes, otherwise you will have quite the liquidy mess on your hands.
They were absolutely amazing, I loved them – the kids loved them, my husband loved them. The different flavors change them up so you can enjoy them any way you want. Perfection in a cupcake.
Here are my other entries for the A-Z Challenge:
- A is for Avocado Fries with Garlic Lime Chili Aioli
- B is for Bacon Popcorn
- C is for Chicken Kiev
- D is for Dip - Basil Dip
- E is for Éclair – Chocolate Éclair Cupcakes
YA Author. Food Blogger. Mom to 5. Love books, photography & all things paranormal. Coffee, Diet Dr. Pepper & Sushi Addict. http://www.dailydishrecipes.com
Today’s recipe is a simple recipe for butter frosting or icing as we like to say on this side of the pond! Having an quick and easy frosting recipe on hand is always a good idea. You never know when you will need a reliable frosting recipe at 10pm when your whipping up a forgotten batch of cupcakes for tomorrows school bake sale!
Please see the end of the recipe for frosting variations.
This recipe will provide frosting cover and two internal layers for one large cake.
500 grams Pure Icing Sugar (confectioners sugar)
500 grams Unsalted Butter
- Ensure the butter is very soft. Leave it out of the fridge overnight if possible. Or heat it at a very, very low temperature for a short time in the microwave.
- Sift the icing sugar. (Ensures there are no pesky lumps in the frosting.)
- Whip the butter and sugar, with the pinch of salt, in a mixer until the mix is light and fluffy. (Start the mixer off slowly of all the icing sugar will end up around the kitchen!)
- Add any flavourings now.
- That’s it. The frosting is ready to use!
Tip – Once you have iced your cakes, leave it out of the fridge to prevent the frosting from hardening.
- Chocolate – add sweetened or unsweetened melted chocolate to taste.
- Lemon – add juice of 3 large lemons.
- Rum – add rum to taste.
Today I am delighted to share a guest post from Nicole Cook - YA Author. Food Blogger. Mom to 5. Love books, photography & all things paranormal. Coffee, Diet Dr. Pepper & Sushi Addict. http://www.dailydishrecipes.com
Hope you enjoy the recipe as much as I did.
Today is day 3 of the Blogging from A-Z Challenge in April. I tossed around a lot of ideas for the letter C, but decided to go with my tried and true favorite – Chicken. I thought for a moment about doing a coconut chicken recipe, and then my kids reminded me that they love my Chicken Kiev with a Twist, so I went with that instead. I hope you enjoy today’s recipe.
Letter A: Avocado Fries with Garlic Lime Chili Aioli
Letter B: Bacon Popcorn
- 6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
- 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
- 1 Tbs. minced chives
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 3/4 – 1 c. Panko
- 2 Tbs. minced fresh parsley
- 1/2 tsp. paprika
- 1/3 c. buttermilk
In a small bowl, combine the cream cheese, chives and garlic. Shape it into a 3-in. x 2-in. rectangle. Cover and freeze until firm, about 30 minutes.
Flatten each chicken breast to 1/4-in. thickness using a meat tenderizer mallet or something similar.
When the cream cheese mixture is solid again, cut the cream cheese into six equal sized pieces. I usually place the cream cheese mixture in a plastic butter container (but you could even use an ice cube tray) and then I just slice them like I would a pat of butter.
Place one piece in the center of each chicken breast. Fold the short sides over the cream cheese piece and then fold long sides over and secure with a toothpick or two (or three in some cases).
In a shallow bowl, combine the panko, parsley and paprika.
In another bowl, place the buttermilk.
Begin by dipping each chicken “package” into the buttermilk and then coat it with the panko mixture.
Once you have each chicken thoroughly coated, place them into a 13″ x 9″ baking dish with the seam side of the chicken face down.
Bake, uncovered, at 425° for about 35-40 minutes or until the middle is no longer pink.
Remove the toothpicks before serving.
I do have to tell you, I found it funny as we sat down to eat this meal, my observant daughter pointed out that everything but the green beans followed our Letter C theme – haha – Chicken Kiev, Corn and Crescent Rolls. What’s just a tad odder than that, is that we made Caramel Coconut Cupcakes for dessert.
How did that even happen?
Here are the other posts in this challenge:
YA Author. Food Blogger. Mom to 5. Love books, photography & all things paranormal. Coffee, Diet Dr. Pepper & Sushi Addict. http://www.dailydishrecipes.com
This is a quick, simple and delicious pasta recipe. It eschews a heavy cream or tomato sauce, instead using olive oil and has a lovely delicate flavour from the thyme. A versatile dish; you can substitute your (or your childrens’) favourite pasta and/or vegetables. The vegetables I’ve used in this recipe are all one’s that my 5 year old son likes. If it’s just for the adults, try adding a little chopped chilli. If your a vegetarian, leave out the chicken and increase the vegetables – use your imagination, or more prosaically, what is in the cupboard!
400 grams Trottole Pasta (or any pasta you fancy!)
400 grams Chicken (100 grams per person is a good amount)
250 grams Mixed Vegetables (I have used broccoli, cauliflower & carrots)
1 dozen Cherry Tomatoes (or any tomato you prefer)
5 medium Mushrooms (whichever you prefer)
1 medium Onion
1 clove Garlic
3 Bay Leaves
1 handful Thyme (you can substitute an italian herb mix for these)
1/2 cup Olive Oil
to taste Salt/Pepper
- Put a large pot of water on to boil for the pasta.
- Put a smaller pan of water on to boil to cook the vegetables.
- When the large pot is boiling, add the pasta, and cook as per the packet instructions.
- Drain the pasta when cooked and put to one side.
- Wash all vegetables and chop to bite size pieces.
- When the smaller pot is boiling, add the broccoli, cauliflower and carrot.
- Cook until tender, but still has some ‘bite’.
- Drain and put to one side.
- Crush or dice the garlic until fine.
- Dice or chop the onion into small pieces.
- Dice the chicken into bite size chunks.
- If using fresh herbs, wash if need be and strip the thyme leaves from the stalks.
- Put a pot or pan on to a gentle heat, add the olive oil, garlic, onion, thyme, bay leaves and mushrooms.
- Cook without colouring for 5 -7 minutes.
- Add the chicken, turn up the heat a little, and cook.
- When the chicken is cooked, add the tomatoes, cooked vegetables and pasta.
- Heat through gently.
- Season with salt and pepper. (You might want to skip this or serve the kids first, then season the remaining.)
Remember earlier in the week when I wrote how food bloggers should be friendly and communal with each other?
Well, another blogger out there had the same idea back in September of last year and thought it would be a lot of fun to start a Foodie Pen Pal program. Lindsay from The Lean Green Bean took our childhood memory of having a pen pal and turned it into a great big foodie swap across the US (Canada and the UK get to participate too!)
This was my first month participating and I had a blast picking out items for my pen pal and of course sitting and waiting for the package to arrive from mine! Oh, and the best part of the entire program, you actually don’t need a food blog to join! I’ll get to the fine print in a bit, but first I want to share what my pen pal sent.
My pen pal was Corey from Miami – one of the readers in the group. When we touched base to say hi and get my address, she asked what type of items I wanted. Me, being the travel lover that I am, wanted to taste some local goodies from Miami. Corey did not disappoint and picked out some really amazing and interesting items! A big thank you Corey for the wonderful package!
In my package was some local honey (too bad that won’t help with hubs allergies!), some orange cranberry bread, Florida Sunshine spice blend, Shawnee’s Greenthumb Popcorn and Cashew Herb Nori Crackers.
We dug into this seriously 2 minutes after I finished taking my photos. We have no self control sometimes!
This popcorn was awesome and the most intriguing flavors I’ve ever had on top of popcorn before.
I haven’t had a chance to use my seasoning blend yet, but I bet it will bring a bit of sunny Florida to this cold front we just got hit with again up in NY!
Doesn’t this sound like a lot of fun? Want to join the party? This is how you do it:
Click here – it will take to Lindsay’s blog where you can sign on up. If you don’t hear back from her in 2-3 days send her an email or a tweet! Foodie Pen Pals is growing each day, but she will get back to you! Also, below are the guidelines, so please read them through first!
Here’s a detailed explanation of the program:
-On the 5th of the month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal!
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you can choose to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month.
- Foodie Penpals is open to US, Canadian residents & UK residents. Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We’ve determined things might get too slow and backed up if we’re trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa. So, I’m going to keep two separate lists and match US w/ US and Canada w/ Canada!
Susan – The Girl in The Little Red Kitchen
likes cooking, baking, chocolate, my husband, my pug, the theater, beer, bon jovi, reading and napping in no particular order.
This recipe is so simple but so delicious. There is nothing like a plate of cheesy, creamy Macaroni Cheese when it is cold or when you are hungry. And the kids absolutely love it. They are always ‘guaranteed’ to clean their plates! This recipe includes smoked bacon, which adds a salty and crunchy note to the macaroni. If you or the kids don’t like it though, just leave it out. Enjoy!
Serves 8 (It freezes well.)
500 grams Macaroni (actually – you can use any pasta you want)
250 grams Good Quality Smoked Bacon
25 grams Butter
200 grams Grated Cheese (I love to use a strong cheddar)
1 litre Béchamel
half teaspoon English or Continental Mustard (leave this out if you prefer)
to taste Salt and Pepper
This makes 1 litre.
100 grams Butter
100 grams Plain Flour
1 litre Warmed Milk (any sort will do)
1 Bay Leaf
1 Onion, studded with a Clove (you can omit this if you prefer, though it does give a lovely flavour. The Bay Leaf I would recommend leaving in however, it imparts a delicious flavour to the sauce.)
- Pour the macaroni into a large pan of boiling water. Stir, turn down the heat if necessary and stir occasionally. It will take approx. 10 -15 minutes to cook.
- Once cooked, drain the macaroni and return to the empty pan with the 25 grams of butter, stir. (The butter keeps the Macaroni from sticking together.)
- For the Béchamel, melt the 100 grams of butter in a thick bottomed pan. If you suspect your pan is a little thin, use a gentle heat and stir constantly. The sauce will take longer to thicken though.
- Add the flour and mix in. Cook for a few minutes over a gentle heat without colouring the flour.
- Remove the butter/flour mix from the heat.
- Slowly pour in the warmed milk, stirring fast to ensure no lumps form. Remember it is easier to remove any lumps from a thick sauce, rather than a thin one – so don’t add the milk all at once, but rather bit by bit.
- Add the studded onion and bay leaf.
- Gently simmer, stirring occasionally for 15 mins, or until the ‘floury’ taste has gone. (i.e. the flour has been cooked!)
- While the sauce is simmering, slice your bacon to your desired size and cook until browned and crisp. Put to one side to cool a little. Don’t drain – the ‘juices’ can be added to the macaroni cheese for wonderful added flavour.
- Remove the bay leaf and onion from the Béchamel Sauce.
- Add the cheese, bacon and pan juices, mustard and Béchamel to the macaroni.
- Season to taste.
- Stir until well combined.
- Serve immediately, or pour into a oven dish, sprinkle with extra cheese and brown the top under the grill
These fritters are one of the easiest Courgette (Zucchini) recipes going. So simple and so moorish – make sure you cook more than you think you will need! The kids absolutely love them as well as the adults. A great meal; serve with salad in Summer, or with creamy, cheesy polenta and a tomato sauce in winter. Delicious.
Makes about 8 medium sized fritters.
3 medium Courgettes/Zucchini
good pinch Salt
4 Spring Onions (or a normal round onion, but use much less as they are stronger tasting)
1 small Chilli Pepper (optional, and definitely avoid if making for kids)
1 clove Garlic
2 medium Eggs
1 cup Plain Flour
1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
(Or substitute Self-Raising flour for the Plain Flour and don’t add the baking powder)
Olive Oil For frying. (Any oil can be substituted)
Black Pepper for seasoning – Optional
1 cup Natural Yogurt (for serving)
- Wash the courgette, trim ends and grate – either by hand or with a grater attachment in a blender. Tip – the latter will give a better looking end product!
- Place the grated courgette in a colander in the sink.
- Mix through a small handful of salt and leave. This will remove excess moisture from the courgette.
- Thinly slice the spring onions and chilli.
- Mince the garlic. Or in other words, chop finely!
You can blend the onion, garlic and chilli in the blender too (but not with the courgette!)
- In a bowl, lightly beat the eggs.
- Place a pan on the stove on a low heat, add some oil and leave to heat. (Watch though!)
- After 10 minutes, wash the courgette thoroughly.
- Press the courgette against the sides of the colander with your hand to remove excess moisture.
- Tip the courgette onto a clean tea towel. Wring over the sink to squeeze out as much moisture as possible.
- Place the courgette into a bowl.
- Add the spring onion, chilli, garlic and beaten egg. Mix.
- Sift in the flour/baking powder, add a pinch or two of salt and some black pepper if you wish – and combine thoroughly.
- Spoon mix into medium-hot pan and press down lightly to flatten (they will cook quicker). You will cook in batches as you don’t want to overcrowd the pan.
- Cook on one side until golden brown – approximately 3-4 minutes.
- Turn over and repeat. If you find them browning too quickly, turn down the heat.
- Once cooked, place onto a plate with draining paper, then transfer into a warm oven.
- Repeat until all the mix is used.
- Serve with a spoonful of yogurt as garnish.
Tip – The fritters will keep in the fridge and they freeze well. Simply place in a medium-hot oven to heat through and crisp and then serve!
Product: ’You Crack Me Up’ extra thick egg. From Hotel Chocolat
Description: Milk chocolate easter egg selection.
I was pleasantly surprised to find a Hotel Chocolat Easter Egg to review on my doorstep on Friday. For me, one of the greatest attractions of Hotel Chocolat, is the unusual and sometimes quirky yet always tasteful, chocolate products offered by the company. So different from the usual mass produced offerings at easter. This year, their easter selection is no exception.
Another plus of Hotel Chocolat, as far as I am concerned, is their Engaged Ethics sustainable Cocoa program. This program draws in over 100 independant Saint Lucia Island cocoa growers to Hotel Chocolats’ Rabot Estate. The aim is to provide a sustainable future for the growers on Saint Lucia and Ghana. More can be read on their website: Hotelchocolate.co.uk/ethics.
But I digress. Back to the easter egg! The egg itself comes in a lovely, elegant tall round box (if such a thing is grammatically possible) tied with a black ribbon. If your looking for an easter gift to make a favourable impression, then the packaging of this easter egg will do it in spades. On opening the lid, you find the milk chocolate egg, each extra thick half wrapped in gold foil and containing, nestled in white tissue paper, the individual easter chocolates. The box also contains a ‘Menu’ card that features pictures and descriptions of each of the chocolates.
The product contains:
- 2 Egg Halves – Extra Thick Milk Chocolate (40% cocoa house milk chocolate)
The egg halves contain (1 of each per halve):
- 2 Milk Praline Fried Egg Chocolates
- 2 White Soldier Chocolates
- 2 Cocoa Pod Bunny (40% cocoa milk chocolate)
- 2 Chirpy Chicks (40% cocoa house milk chocolate, caramel pieces and sea salt)
- 2 Crunchy Praline Smiley Face Chocolates
- 2 Chocolate Brownie Smiley Face Chocolate