Showing posts with label 2. Snacks Chutneys and Dips. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 2. Snacks Chutneys and Dips. Show all posts

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Spicy mango salsa in tortilla cups

I stumbled upon these at a recent wellness day I attended.  It was packed with everything girly.  I'm talking beauty, fashion, gifts, cakes and cooking of course.

I have the lady demonstrating her gadgets to thank for this recipe.  She was working with a hand held food processor, a pretty versatile little thing.  Which as it turns out I had sitting in my cupboard all along, which I had never used.  I guess my qualm with the gadget was it only cut things one way...which for me was unacceptable as I feel sometimes food needs to be prepared differently in order to give it a little 'jenesequa'.  However for this recipe its the perfect tool for the job.  Since rediscovering it, I now use it for chopping herbs, onions and lots more and its the one gadget I can't live without (that is because I don't have an electrical food processor). Take a look at it here.

As for the tortilla cups, they are revolutionary, I love them.  Ideal for kids.  I fill them with all sorts of fillings for my 3 year old.  She loves them with cottage cheese, cherry tomatoes and ham and would love this salsa without the chilli of course.

They also make great canap├ęs or snacks and I've been waiting to host the next dinner party to fill them with all sorts of deliciousness (mascarpone and fig preserve).

You will need:

  • 4 Tortilla wraps
  • 5 vine ripen plum tomatoes
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 chilli
  • a few sprigs of Coriander
  • 1 ripe mango
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbs red wine vinegar
Tortilla cups
1) Cut a cross in each tortilla creating 4 little squares out of each tortilla.  I cut all the round edges straight.

2) Place the small square tortilla in a muffin tray and push down to create the cup.  Place in the pre-heated oven 180 degrees for 5 - 10 minutes.  Keep an eye on them as they don't need long as burn easily.

Spicy Mango Salsa
1) Using a food processor or knife finely chop the onion, mango, tomatoes and chilli together.

2) Chop a few sprigs of coriander and add them to the salsa

3) Season with salt and pepper and a tablespoon of vinegar and spoon into your tortilla cups.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

easy cranberry sauce

Christmas is all about 'Giving' and 'Eating'.  This year for the first time I made my own home-made cranberry sauce and I will never look back, after all a traditional turkey is not complete without it.

I've said this before and not sure why, but for some reason people are intimidated with things that come in jars.  Chutneys, jams and sauces are some of the easiest things to make and this recipe proves it.

The reason the idea dawned on me was solely down to my husband.  I sent him out to buy some fresh red currants which I was going to use to decorate a cheese board.  He returned with, wait for it.....a frozen packet of cranberries :)

I kept my cool as I realised I hadn't explained myself properly (lesson No.1 learnt) and secondly thought, good work Jimbob.  Instead of leaving these little puppies sit in the freezer for months on end, I decided to put them to good use.

Our annual Christmas dinner with friends is always a great success with everyone taking turns to host.  This year was our turn.  I tend not to get involved in the cooking as it's all down to hubby, his tradition, his mates. However I did contribute this little jar of red heaven and would encourage you to try it too.

It's the quickest, easiest preserve I've ever made, taking 5 minutes, or slightly more if you prefer it less runny and an absolute delight.  Eat that Mr Oliver's 15 minute meals, GF does it in 10.

You'll need:

  • 1 Pkt frozen cranberries
  • grated zest of 1 orange
  • juice from 1 orange
  • 150g sugar
  • 1 Tbs port (optional)


1) Place all the ingredients in a pan and bring to boil
2) Simmer for 5 - 10 mins (or till sauce thickens slightly)
3) Pour into jar and let cool, serve with Christmas meal.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Camembert brulee

With only a month to go to Christmas, we're really getting in the spirit and it's all about feasts and delicious treats here. 

Let’s eat and be merry I say!

After all there is plenty of time in January to detox and I'll be bringing you lots of tasty detox recipes to try, but for now and until then it’s all about eating anything and everything, join in the festivities and indulge.

If you're thinking of serving a cheese course with your Christmas meal, then you have to try this neat and impressive little trick.  Introducing, the Camembert brulee!

It's oh so simple and the perfect finale to a great meal and best enjoyed with a glass of port. 

If you have a blow torch its best to torch it in front of your guests, alternatively the grill caramelises the sugar in exactly the same way.  Both warm the cheese leaving it all gooey on the inside with the sweet caramelised sugar on top.  It’s divine and will leave your guests wanting more

You'll need:

1 block of Camembert cheese
2 Tbs of sugar

1) Sprinkle a think layer of sugar on top of the cheese.
2) Using a blow torch, torch the sugar until it starts to melt and caramelises, careful not to take it too far as the sugar burns very quickly.

Alternatively, if you don't have a blow torch, you place the sugared cheese under a grill for a few minutes until the sugar caramelises.

Friday, 26 October 2012

beetroot houmous

I'm always amazed at the selection of houmous in the shops, roasted pepper ones, caramelised onion ones, full fat ones, healthier lighter ones and so on.  But none taste as good as a simple homemade one...  With such a fabulous colour, this houmous makes a statement whatever the occasion.  I served it with homemade bread sticks as a simple afternoon snack.

The bread sticks are made by simply whacking any old bread you have in the oven, preheated at about 180 for a few minutes until crispy.  They keep really well in an air tight container, ready for you to pull at at any last minute wonder.  

My little girl loves snacking on them and I get a real kick out of making something from nothing.

Beetroot Houmous

You'll need:
  • 1 tin chickpeas
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled
  • 1-2 whole cooked beetroots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 2-3 lemons, juice
  • salt and pepper

1) Place chickpeas, beetroot, garlic, olive oil and lemon juice in a blender and blend till smooth.
2) Season with salt and pepper.  Add more lemon or olive oil if you feel it needs more.
Note:  If you buy raw beetroots and need to cook them. The best way of doing this is to cut off the tips and leaves and wrap each one individually in foil.  Bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees for at least 30 minutes or more, till soft.  Once cooked, the skin peels off easily.

Top Tip:
To get more juice out of your lemons, put them in the microwave for a few seconds and you'll have double the juice.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

a pear a day

When a friend told me she had a pear tree I knew a chutney day was in order.  I did not expect all the other delicious goodies that came with it.  Below are three very simple and very delicious recipes with pears.

Homemade pear chutney

Chutney may be a bit daunting for some, but it's very simple to make.  As long as you don't mind your house smelling of vinegar for a few hours you'll be alright.

This is a sweet and spicy recipe adapted from delicious magazine and as the source suggests would go deliciously with your Christmas meal or any leftover ham.  Tie a ribbon around and would make a great gift.

You'll need:
  • 1 kg ripe pears
  • 150g dried prunes, chopped
  • 150g sultanas
  • 150g raisins
  • 200g shallots, finely sliced (or finely sliced red onions)
  • 2 eating apples, peeled, cored and chopped
  • 300g light brown sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 600ml cider vinegar
1) Peel and core the pears, then chop them into chunks.  I wanted a chunky chutney so roughly chopped all the ingredients, but you can do whatever suits you.
2) Place the chopped and dried fruit in a large pan together with the sugar, cinnamon and shallots.
3) Pour half the vinegar in and mix till all the sugar is dissolved.
4) Then pour the remaining vinegar in and simmer for approx. 30 minutes till it starts to thicken.  If it's still runny simmer for a further 10 -15 minutes, but remember it will thicken even more when it cools.
5) Divide warm chutney between your sterilised warm jars.  This is very important to create the vacuum needed in the jars to preserve the chutney.  See below for sterilising jars.


Sterilising jars:  Clean your jars with hot water and leave on drying rack to dry.  Preheat the oven to 140 degrees and place the clean jars in the oven to warm through, approx 15 minutes.  Remove warm jars and fill with chutney while chutney and jars are warm - this creates the vacuum and will keep for up to 6 months in a cool dry place, away from direct sunlight.

Next on the agenda,

Pear Cake

This is the simplest cake I've ever come across and can be used with most fruits so long as they are not too juicy, works just as good with a tin of fruit cocktail...  In fact I think it's so simple would go as far to say its fool proof.  Try it, it's worth it.

You'll need:
  • 50g melted butter
  • 500g ripe buttery pears, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 75g plain flour
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 1 heaped tsp baking powder
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 Tbsp apricot jam (for the glaze)
  • icing sugar for dusting
  • creme fraiche (to serve)
1) Heat oven to 180 degrees.  Grease a 20cm cake tin with butter
2) Put the prepared pears in a bowl with the lemon juice to prevent them from discolouring
3) Beat the eggs in a mixing bowl.  Melt the butter in the microwave and pour in the eggs mixture.  Add the flour, sugar and baking powder
4) Add the pears with their juices and pour into the cake tin.  Note: if your pears are very ripe you may need to add 3 more tablespoons of flour.
5) Bake for 50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean then place on a wire rack and let cool
6) for the glaze, mix the apricot jam with a little boiling water to make a runny paste.  Then pour over the cake and dust with icing.  
10) Serve with creme fraiche or a scoop of vanilla ice-cream.

And finally the 'pears' de resistance...

Cinnamon poached pears in chocolate blankets

These poached pears are very simple, and very quick to do.  I always thought poached pears were slightly old fashioned but when you take into account how easy they are and how tasty they are, I think they still have it when it comes to making an impression.  Being pure fruit and a little dark chocolate coating they remain a healthier option when it comes to sweets. 

Another serving suggestion with the actual poached pears, is to thinly slice the poached pear and serve it on a cracker with blue cheese (I would happily serve that as a starter at a dinner party).

You'll need:
  • 6 ripe eating pears
  • 30ml lemon juice
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 300ml water
  • 100g dark chocolate
1) Peel the pears leaving their stalks on.  Pour lemon juice on the pears so they don't discolour.
2) Place sugar in pan with the water and bring to boil or till the sugar is dissolved
3) Place the pears in the pan with the cinnamon stick.  If necessary add more water in the pan till all the pears are covered
4) Simmer for 20 minutes or till pears are soft.
5) Melt the chocolate in the microwave for 30 sec on high heat (careful not to burn).  Then pour over warm pears and serve immediately.

Gluvine poached pears with double cream

Now these are very precious little things.  If you enjoy a mug of mulled wine in front of the fire, you will love these pears.  Again they are very simple to make and you could have a decadent dessert ready in 20 minutes.  You could even prepare them beforehand and just warm them up before serving, not mention drink whatever mulled wine is left in the pan...

You'll need:
  • 6 ripe pears
  • 30ml  lemon juice
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 1 sachet of mulled wine spice
  • half a bottle of cheap red wine
  • double cream
1) Peel the pears leaving their stalks on and pour the lemon juice over them so they don't discolour
2) Pour the wine, sugar and sachet of spice in a pan and bring to boil
3) Place the pears in the pan and simmer for 15-20 minutes.  Pears should be totally covered and start to take on a red colour.
4) Once pears are ready remove and serve warm with double cream.