Aubergine stew

Fry aubergine, peppers, celery and onion. Add garlic and cook until the garlic smells nice, about 2 mins. Add tinned tomatoes, tomato paste, brown sugar, vinegar, butter beans, white kidney beans, spinach, chopped olives, red wine and seasoning and cook low and slow for about 4 hrs. Before serving, add fresh coriander and/or parsley. Serve with grilled chicken, fish or on toasted ciabatta.

Home made holiday dip mix

The one thing I always bring back from Norway, is Holiday Dip Mix. I have finally found a recipe that tastes authentic, or at least just as good, so I can make it myself. And it has to be shared with the world ;)

300ml sour cream or 50/50 sour cream and greek yoghurt
1 tbsp ground paprika
1 tbsp onion granules
1 grated garlic clove
a pinch of salt, to taste
a pinch of freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 tsp sugar (optional)

Mix all ingredients and refrigerate for 1 hour before serving, with crudités or crisps.

Crispy Cheddar Chicken

Crispy Cheddar Chicken:
4 chicken breasts
Ritz crackers
1/4 teaspoons salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup whole milk
3 cups cheddar cheese, grated
1 teaspoon dried parsley

1 can cream of chicken soup
2 T sour cream
2 T butter

Crush crackers. Cut each chicken breast into 3 large pieces. Pour the milk, cheese and cracker crumbs into 3 separate small pans. Toss the salt and pepper into the cracker crumbs and stir the mixture around to combine. Dip each piece of chicken into the milk and then the cheese. Press the cheese into the chicken with your fingers. Then press the cheesy coated chicken into the cracker crumbs and press it in.

Spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray and lay the chicken inside the pan. Sprinkle the dried parsley over the chicken. Cover the pan with tin foil and bake at 400 C for 35 minutes. Remove the tin foil, bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the edges of the chicken are golden brown and crispy.

In a medium sized sauce pan combine the chicken soup, sour cream and butter with a whisk. Stir until the sauce is nice and hot. Serve over the chicken.

Delicious chicken curry in ten minutes

Brown 4 chicken fillets cut into strips in 1 ts hot curry spice, salt and pepper. Pour over 1 can coconut milk. Let cook for a while with 1 chicken stock cube, then add a couple of heaped tbsp Greek yogurt, a dash of white wine or a splash of lemon juice and a handful lime leaves, plus1 ts sugar. Serve with rice.

Home made rocky roads

Melt chocolate and mix in: broken pretzels, salted peanuts, mixed dried luxury fruits, cranberries, granola, corn flakes and desiccated coconut.
You can pretty much use whatever you've got of dry ingredients that taste good. Mix soft and crunchy, sweet and salty. You can even break them up and scatter over ice cream!

Spoon into ice cube trays or press down in a baking dish lined with baking paper.
Place in the fridge until solid.
Cut or break into bit size pieces before serving.
Prep time: 3 mins. Fridge time: 20 mins.

Home Made Bounty Bars

These are oh-so-coconutty, so fresh tasting and delicious. Perfect dessert after a dinner party!

250 g dessicated coconut
400 g coconut milk (1 can)
100 g icing sugar
300 g chocolate (I use 200 g milk chocolate and 100 g dark chocolate)
50 g coconut oil (you may be able to skip this, or replace with butter)

  1. Mix the dessicated coconut and icing sugar in a bowl.
  2. Stir the coconut milk before adding to the coconut mixture.
  3. Push the mixture firmly into silicone moulds (or push down at the base of an aluminium foil tray), cover with plastic and place in the freezer for an hour.
  4. Melt the chocolate and the fat. Pop the coconut mass out of the silicone moulds or slice in suitable pieces and dip in the melted chocolate, using a fork.
  5. Place on a rack with baking parchment underneath and sprinkle with a pinch of dessicated coconut before the chocolate firms up.
  6. Keep the chocolates in a plastic container in the fridge for up to a week. Can also be frozen.

Simple, no knead foccacia

LOVE this recipe! So much, in fact, I will (like with brownies), never bother trying another one!
I am not a fan of kneading and with this recipe, you don't have to. Also, the formula is so simple, I keep it in my head now, which means I don't need to look it up (which is just as good as I now make this every other day!)

Just do as follows:

1 tsp dry yeast
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
(at this stage, I mix in herbs too. I like to add oregano, cumin seeds and/or marjoram)
1 cup luke warm water (when you can't feel the water when you hold your finger in it)
2 cups flour (alt. 1/2 cup cornmeal + 1 1/2 cups flour)

mix with a fork so there are no dry bits at the bottom of the bowl.

Oil the base of an 8x8 inch baking dish with olive oil. I let it just about cover the bottom.
Tip in the dough and, with a spatula or with your hands, spread it out towards the edges.
Cover with clingfilm and leave for 2 hours. The olive oil will be oozing up the sides of the dough now, so I dip the spatula in the oil and "brush" the top of the dough with it.
Turn your oven to 230C (fan)
Press loads of olives into the dough and sprinkle with fresh rosemary and Maldon salt. Grated parmesan is also veeery nice.

Cook for 10-12 minutes (depend on oven). When you take it out, the dough will soak up the oil. Put the bread on a cooling rack (on top of a baking tray as the oil might drip) and the base will go crisp and delicious.

Next, I will mix in tapenade or green pesto and buffalo mozzarella. I will let you know how it goes :)

Watermelon Margarita Wedges

Cut a watermelon into triangles/wedges (halve, then quarter lengthwise, then slice)
Place in a large container (with a fitted lid)
Pour tequila over
Squeeze over fresh lime

Let soak/infuse over night (give it a shake every so often if you have time). You can leave the squeezed lime wedges in with the watermelon.

Before serving, arrange on a platter and sprinkle with Maldon salt.

The original recipe is from Martha Stewart and calls for Triple Sec, but true to my nature, I forgot to check the recipe and just went with what I remembered. And it was marvellous. What an amazingly delicious, refreshing solid cocktail on a warm day (erm...or any other day...)

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Granola Porridge/ Oatmeal

I have never been a massive porridge fan. Until now. I made this mixture for my granola bars but decided to make porridge with it when I ran out of the Ready Brek that Olivia has every morning. And that's it now, no more Ready Brek for us. I should sell this stuff!

I make a massive batch and keep in a big plastic contained on the counter. This is why I am not a good baker... The throw in whatever you think will suit method is more my style. So I did.
I find it much easier to make the dry mixture in bulk, then add to wet ingredients when you are ready to cook.

To make porridge, add twice as much milk as porridge (1 cup oats, 2 cups milk). 

Here it is, and please adapt with whatever you like in yours. Apologies for not providing measurements, though this way, you make it the way you want it! 

Oats (Buy cheap oats, it really doesn't matter)
Dessicated coconut
Brown sugar 
Dried fruits: raisins, cherries, dates, apricots, banana, pineapple, mango.... (I buy bags of mixed, dried fruits + exotic dried fruits + dates + dried banana)
Seeds (I use pumpkin seeds)
A little salt

So, to make breakfast, give the tub a good shake, grab a cup of the mixture, throw it in a pyrex bowl with 2 cups milk and microwave (stir after 2 mins).

I sometimes add a little honey (1 tbsp for 2 portions) as I cook it (microwave or stovetop).

To make granola bars, melt some honey, butter and a little olive oil together in a bowl in the microwave, then add oats, a little at a time, until it's sticky, but not too dry or wet. Cover a baking tin with baking parchment and press mixture down firmly. Bake at 150C for 25 mins. These are the moistest, fruitiest, most delicious bars ever!
My recipe is very loosely based on Ina Garten's home made granola bars, though I didn't add nuts and didn't toast the oats before baking.

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Vietnamese Coffee - Hot or Iced

Morning all! 
I have a new morning staple now and I love it! 
First of all, I am completely addicted to Vietnamese coffee, after being served this in Majorca (!). 
It is also amazing as an Iced coffee, just pour over a glass full of ice cubes (yes, liquid can be boiling hot. There will still be ice cubes and the drink will get cold). 
I prefer to make my coffee with instant espresso powder for richness. Put 2 tsp powder in a mug, fill with boiling water and add 2 tsp sweetened, condensed milk. Be warned, this is a sweet coffee but oh so delicious! 

Image source

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