Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas Eve Dinner

Butternut Squash & Pumpkin soup
Christmas is a time of eating.. no? So when we decided to invite 6 friends over for Christmas eve, I wanted to go all out, as usual. I prepared a 4 course meal which included : Butternut squash & Pumpkin Soup, Baked goat cheese with caramelized onions (the nights favorite), Stuffed Chicken with a side of baked potatoes, chestnuts with broccoli, and thyme infused honey carrots.. and lastly for dessert we had Chocolate caramel tarts.. and Christmas spiced muffins

Baked goat cheese with caramelized onions

Stuffed chicken, with potoatoes and veggies, with a berry sauce

Chocolate caramel tart

Christmas spice muffins

Friday, December 21, 2012

Its been a long time.. But Tis the season for baking

Home made mince pies


Ingredients
225g cold butter , diced
350g plain flour
100g golden caster sugar
280g mincemeat
1 small egg
icing sugar , to dust

Directions
To make the pastry, rub 225g cold, diced butter into 350g plain flour, then mix in 100g golden caster sugar and a pinch of salt. Combine the pastry into a ball - don't add liquid - and knead it briefly. The dough will be fairly firm, like shortbread dough. You can use the dough immediately, or chill for later.
Preheat the oven to 200C/gas 6/fan 180C. Line 18 holes of two 12-hole patty tins, by pressing small walnut-sized balls of pastry into each hole. Spoon 280g mincemeat into the pies.
Take slightly smaller balls of pastry than before and pat them out between your hands to make round lids, big enough to cover the pies. Top the pies with their lids, pressing the edges gently together to seal - you don't need to seal them with milk or egg as they will stick on their own. (The pies may now be frozen for up to 1 month).
Beat 1 small egg and brush the tops of the pies. Bake for 20 minutes until golden. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack. To serve, lightly dust with icing sugar. They will keep for 3 to 4 days in an airtight container.

Note: photos are unedited and uploaded from my ipad :) hoping id get a new laptop for xmas :D









Sunday, September 4, 2011

POACHED PLUMS

Its nice to have something to look forward to, and this is my sanctuary.. Its been hard for the last couple of days, getting used to a new diet.. and its been a while since I made a nice dessert, so I decided to treat myself... had some friends coming over, so why not prepare something special.

I personally love poached fruit... it started all with apples... on a cold winters day, warm poached apples are to die for. Plus the combination of warm, sweet, fluffy fruit, with ice cream is the best way to end dinner

Poached plums are very simple to make, simmer them and just add sugar and water. I wanted to add a little more layers of flavor so i included a dash of vanilla extract, ground cinnamon, and a nice full-bodied red wine. And the result to this is a very succulent plum, full of flavor, enriched by the sweetness of the mulled wine.

INGREDIENTS
makes 4 servings
500G Plums
1/2 cup Brown sugar
Ground cinnamon
Ground cloves
2 cups Red wine
1 Brioche for serving







































PREPARATION
Cut plums, and discard the stones
Add the wine in a medium saucepan, with the sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and cloves.
Gently dissolve the sugar over moderate heat, stirring continuously
Bring wine to boil, and gently slide plums into saucepan. 
bring down heat and let simmer for 10-15 minutes.
Once ready, turn heat off and let plums cool for 10 minutes.
Served with ice-cream and brioche cut into small "crouton" sizes



Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Lemon Kisses & Homemade Lemon Curd

It's about time, and finally I'm back with a new blogpost! I couldnt think of what my next recipe was going to be, so i was inspired by the Lemon tree in my parents garden, they have so much lemons left over, why not try lemon Curd. This is the first recipe involving lemon curd, and there is more to come... since I've got leftovers

 




























LEMON CURD

3 large eggs

3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated white sugar

1/3 cup (80 ml) fresh lemon juice (2-3 lemons) (do not use the bottled lemon juice)

4 tablespoons (56 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 tablespoon (4 grams) finely shredded lemon zest



In a stainless steel bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water, whisk together the eggs, sugar, and lemon juice until blended. Cook, stirring constantly (to prevent it from curdling), until the mixture becomes thick (like sour cream or a hollandaise sauce) (160 degrees F or 71 degrees C). This will take approximately 10 minutes. Remove from heat and immediately pour through a fine strainer to remove any lumps. Cut the butter into small pieces and whisk into the mixture until the butter has melted. Add the lemon zest and let cool. The lemon curd will continue to thicken as it cools. Cover immediately (so a skin doesn't form) and refrigerate for up to a week.

Makes 1 1/2 cups (360 ml).



Note: If you want a lighter lemon curd whip 1/2 cup (120 ml) of heavy whipping cream and fold into the lemon curd.

The cookies recipe is here











Saturday, April 30, 2011

Strawberry tart

Strawberries are currently in season here in Malta, and I haven't yet experimented with them, more than just milkshakes and strawberry meringues, so this is a new recipe for me.







































I knew i didn't want a custard tart, so I just went with a basic Sweet tart pastry, then I made a strawberry caramel with Cinzano, which didn't turn out so great looking since it didn't really harden up, and remained quite watery :( Next was double cream with sugar and vanilla extract.. topping up with Strawberries, simple and delicious





Wednesday, April 27, 2011

To stew or not to stew... That is the Question!!







































Im not a big fan of stew's but this recipe won me over, I decided to keep the rustic idea, so I placed the stew in half a loaf of bread... it not only looks appealing but tastes great too since once finished the bread woul have absorbed the juices from the stew and it tastes just divine.



INGREDIENTS
3 pounds beef (I used steak)
Worcestershire sauce
Olive oil
3 tbsp Kunserva (Sweet tomatoe paste)
2 cups tomatoe sauce
1 pint stock (i used half vegetable and half beef)
3 cups of frozen mixed vegetables
2 onions
6 garlic cloves
salt and pepper
10 potatoes
4 loafs


PREPERATION
Cook the garlic and onions until browned. Add the beef, leave until cooked through
Meanwhile in a large saucepan put the stock, vegetables, sauces, salt, pepper, and let simmer for 10 minutes. 
Add the cooked beef, onions and garlic into the large saucepan, and simmer on low heat for an hour.
In another pan, boil the potatoes for 25 minutes
Once ready, drain the potatoes, cut into wedges, season with paprika, olive oil, salt and pepper and place in oven on 250 degrees, for 15 minutes
Once the stew is ready, half the Loafs and cut out the inside (make sure not to cut through)
Place the stew inside loaf and serve




Friday, April 22, 2011

The one, the only, Butternut Squash Soup







































And im back... kitchen is now back to working order, and what better way to than to kick start with this soup. I have been craving this since visiting my friends... it seemed sweet, but yet has no sugar.. no honey or sweeteners, just that the combination of ingredients bring out that luscious, mouthwatering taste... which keeps you wanting more... at least that's how it was for me.


INGREDIENTS

1.8kg/4lb wedges of butternut squash
3 tbsp olive oil
6 cloves garlic, 4 whole, unpeeled and 2 finely chopped
2 sprigs of thyme
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 onions, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely sliced
2 sticks celery, finely sliced
1 tbsp freshly chopped sage
1 litre vegetable stock
1 litter chicken stock
(for sweetness half a teaspoon of sweet chili sauce)






































METHOD
Preheat the oven to 240C/475F/Gas 9.
Cut the butternut squash (including skin) wedges and scoop out the seeds using a large spoon. Brush the wedges with 1 tbsp olive oil, place in a roasting tray and season with salt and pepper. Place in the oven and roast for 45 minutes or until soft and caramelised.
After 25 minutes of cooking, add the unpeeled garlic and the sprigs of thyme.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining olive oil in a large pan. Add the onions, carrots, celery, sage and remaining garlic and cook gently for 10-15 minutes until soft but not brown.
Pour the stock into the vegetables, bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
Allow the squash to cool for 5 minutes when cooked. Using a large spoon remove the flesh from the skin and add to the stock. Squeeze the roasted garlic from its skin into the stock and discard the thyme.
Simmer the stock and vegetables for a further 5 minutes or until the squash is beginning to break up.
Place the soup in a blender and blend until smooth. Return the soup to the pan and gently reheat. Check seasoning.
For the parsley purée, place the chopped parsley into a food processor with 
Serve immediately with crusty bread/pita.