Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Beef and Beer Stew with Herb Dumplings

No matter how many times I try I still can't quite make beef stew the way my mum makes it. I really wasn't expecting this stew to taste like hers, because there was certainly no beer in hers and no herbs in the suet dumplings. However, I was totally surprised that this stew turned out to taste almost the same as my mum's.

1 lb stewing beef, cubed
1 onion
3 carrots, sliced
3 parsnips, sliced
1 swede, cubed
5 red potatoes, cut in half
1 bottle of beer
1 small can tomato puree
4 cups beef stock
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp plain flour
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp marjoram
1 tsp sage

Suet Dumplings:
1/2 cup self raising flour
1/4 cup suet
3 fl ox water
pinch of salt
1 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp rosemary

To make the stew, in a large pan heat the oil over high heat.  Brown the meat in small batches and set aside.  Cook the sliced onion in the same pot for a few minutes, then add the garlic, carrots, potatoes, parsnips and swede and fry for 5 minutes.  Add the beef back to the pan along with the flour.  Add the beer, beef stock, tomato paste and paprika, marjoram and sage.  Stir together, reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 1 to 2 hours.

To make the dumplings, combine the flour with the suet, salt, rosemary, thyme and water.  Mix to form a dough and divide into 8 balls.  Drop the dumplings on top of the stew, cover and cook for 15 minutes.

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Coconut Snowballs

We have a neighbour who whenever he sees me and the daycare kids outside will always give the girls a popsicle, so for Christmas I made Ernie a treat basket of cookies, fugde and these snowballs and had the girls give it to him as a thank you for all those popsicles and of course Ernie being Ernie we left there with giant chocolate Santas for the kids. This recipe came from Glorious Treats.

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp milk
1 cup finely chopped dates
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups rice krispies

In a medium pan, combine the milk, dates, butter and salt.  Cook for 5 minutes, mashing the dates as it cooks.

In a small bowl, whisk the eggs and add a small amount of the date mixture to warm the eggs.  Add the eggs to the pan stirring constantly and cook for 2 minutes.

Remove from the heat and add the vanilla and rice krispies, mix together well and let cool for a few minutes.

Pour the coconut into a large bowl and using a small cookie scoop, make balls of the date mixture and roll them in the coconut.

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Beer Battered Onion Rings

Randal absolutely loves onion rings, and most of the time when we go out for a burger he will get those instead of fries and we hardly ever have them at home mostly because I don't really like them. So the last time Randal made fish and chips (he's in charge of anything fried at our house!) he made some beert battered onion rings to go with them. I have to admit that for onion rings they were quite good. Randal just used one onion, but you can easily adapt this recipe to make as many or as few as you need.

1 large sweet onion
1 cup all purpose flour
1 (12-ounce) bottle of beer
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon salt 
1/2 tsp black pepper
Heat oil to 375
Slice the onions into 1/2 inch slices and separate the rings.

In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, cornstarch, salt and pepper.  Adding enough of the beer to make the consistency of pancake batter.

Drop the onion rings into the batter and fry a few at a time for around 5 minutes, until golden brown.  Season with salt and serve immediately.

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Bombay Potatoes

One of the things I miss the most about England is all the great Indian food that is available. Here in Houston there just isn't the variety that there is back home, so if I want to eat it I have to find good recipes to make at Home.  These Bombay potatoes are a Jamie Oliver recipe and they are so, so good.

3 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
Pinch ground cumin
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 knob fresh ginger, peeled and grated
4 knobs butter
6 potatoes, peeled, parboiled and cut into cubes
4 tomatoes, cores removed and flesh diced
Handful fresh coriander, roughly chopped

Heat the oil in a pan and fry the spices for a few minutes. Add the butter, then the potatoes making sure they are completely coated in the spicy mixture. Cook for about 10 to 15 minutes, then stir in the tomatoes and the coriander.

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Menu Plan Monday

I know it is Tuesday not Monday, but we spent all day in the car yesterday driving back to Houston from Tulsa

Monday: We stopped at chick fil a in Dallas on the way home

Tuesday: My father in law sent us home with steak fingers, so we are cooking those with garlic fries and cream gravy

Wednesday: We are having a fondue day.  Starting off with cheese, then an oil fondue with various meats and vegetables and finally a chocolate fondue

Thursday: First day back at work for both of us, so just a quick and easy spag bol

Friday: Eating out

See other menu plans over at Organizing Junkie

Banana Bavarian Cake

I made this cake quite a while ago but I am trying to catch up on posts before the new year. I found this recipe over at Pastry Girl Without Borders and as soon as I saw it I knew I had to try it. I ended up using a cake round that was too large, so my cake wasn't as tall as the original so I should have used a 6 inch round not an 8 inch.  There are quite a few steps to this cake, but the end result is well worth it as it looks very impressive and who doesn't love the idea of piping banana puree in any pattern you want on cake batter before it's baked!

Banana Puree
2 large bananas, sliced
2 tbsp unsalted butter
4 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp rum
pinch of nutmeg

In a medium saucepan melt the butter over medium heat.  Add in the sliced bananas, sugar and nutmeg.  Heat until the bananas start to break down, add in the rum and let cook for a few minutes.  In a food processor blend until smooth and set aside to cool.

3 eggs
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup icing sugar
1 1/4 cups cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup butter
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 325

Melt the butter in a small pan and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk the eggs for three minutes.  Add in the honey, followed by the dry ingredients, mix until combined.  Add in the melted butter.

Spread the mixture onto a parchment paper lined half sheet pan until it is about half a centimeter thick.  Place the banana puree into a piping bag and pipe whatever design you like over the cake batter, making sure to leave half of the puree for the cake filling.

Bake for 10-15 minutes, until lightly browned.

Bavarian Cream:
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
3 egg yolks
1 tsp gelatin
1 vanilla bean
1 tbsp water
1 cup heavy cream

Whisk the 1 cup of heavy cream until the soft peak stage and set aside.

Place the water and gelatin in a small bowl and set aside.

Add the half cup of milk and the half cup of cream to a medium pan along with the vanilla bean and half of the sugar, heat until the sugar has dissolved.

In a small bowl mix the other half of the sugar and the egg yolks together.  While whisking constantly, add around a 1/4 cup of the hot milk mixture to the egg yolks, then return the warmed egg yolks to the pan with the milk mixture.  Whisk constantly until the mixture has thickened.  Strain into a large bowl and while it is still hot mix in the gelatin mixture, set aside to cool.

Once cool fold in the whipped cream.

To assemble the cake, cut out two 6 inch rounds (or 8 inch in my case) from the baked cake and one 4 inch (or 6 inch in my case) round for the middle of the cake.

Place one of the larger rounds into the bottom of the cake ring used to cut it out, and seal it by piping a ring of the banana puree around the edge of the ring.  Fill 3/4 of the ring with the cream mixture, place in the freezer for 15 minutes.

Spread the remaining banana puree onto the smaller cake round, and place in the middle of the cake.  Top with the remaining cream and finally the last cake layer.  Place in the fridge for 3 hours before serving.

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Monday, December 23, 2013

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Chili

Tuesday: Eating out

Wednesday: Christmas dinner

Thursday: Boxing day dinner - bubble and squeak

Friday: Eating out with Randal's family in Tulsa

See other menu plans over at Organizing Junkie

Monday, December 16, 2013

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Cottage pie

Tuesday: Tacos

Wednesday: Chicken pot pie

Thursday: Meatloaf, mashed potatoes and peas

Friday: Mango chicken curry, jasmine rice

See other menu plans over at Organizing Junkie

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Gingerbread Cookies

Time for another Secret recipe Club reveal. This month I was assigned the blog Secrets from the Cookie Princess  and with a blog name like that of course I had to make a cookie recipe, especially at this time of the year, although I have to admit that I do not make cookies very often as I am just not that good at it.  However, with a recipe from the cookie princess I hoped to have a better result than normal.

As it is almost Christmas I decided to make Colleen's Gingerbread Cookies and as I couldn't find my cookie cutters anywhere I just made round cookies sprinkled with sugar.  I have to say that my kitchen smelled so good while these were baking and they are quite honestly the most delicious gingerbread cookies I have ever had.

6 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 sticks unsalted butter
1 cup dark brown sugar
4 tsp ground ginger
4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp finely ground pepper
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups molasses

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar.  Add in the ginger, cinnamon, cloves and pepper.  Mix in the eggs and molasses.  Slowly add in the flour and mix until the combined.

If you want to make cut out cookies, divide the dough into thirds and wrap in cling film and refrigerate for at least an hour before rolling the dough 1/4 inch thick.  I just broke off small pieces of the dough, rolled into balls that I flattened slightly, placed on a baking sheet and sprinkled with sugar.

Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes.

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Monday, December 9, 2013

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Chicken pot pie

Tuesday: Chicken tikka, jasmine rice and naan bread

Wednesday: Grilled cheese and tomato soup

Thursday: Pepper steak and jasmine rice

Friday: Eating out

See other menu plans over at Organizing Junkie

Monday, November 25, 2013

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Spicy plum chicken, baked potatoes and salad

Tuesday: Fish and chips

Wednesday: BLTs with curried butternut squash soup

Thursday: Thanksgiving dinner

Friday: Thanksgiving leftovers

See other menu plans over at Organizing Junkie

Monday, November 18, 2013

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Red chicken curry with butternut squash

Tuesday: Lasagna rolls

Wednesday: BLTs with tomato and basil soup

Thursday: Herb roasted chicken, mashed potatoes and green beans

Friday: Eating out

See other menu plans over at Organizing Junkie

Friday, November 15, 2013

Pineapple-Coconut Jasmine Rice

Randal and I eat curries quite frequently, but sometimes I just get bored of the same old plain jasmine rice, so over time I ended up making our perfect rice for curry and now Randal wants this every time I make a curry. It is really quite simple but it's so delicious and we just love it, I always keep a bag of Trader Joes frozen pineapple tidbits in the freezer for this recipe alone.

2 cups jasmine rice
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp pilau rice seasoning
1 tsp nigella seeds
1 tsp salt
1 can coconut milk
1 cup pineapple chunks
3 cups water

In a large frying pan melt the coconut oil over high heat.  Add the rice and fry until the rice turns white.  Add in the nigella seeds, pilau rice seasoning and salt and add 3 cups of boiling water, pineapple and the coconut milk.  Stir to combine everything, cover and reduce heat to medium low and let simmer for 15 minutes, or until rice is tender.

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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Pineapple-Black Bean Guacamole

I love guacamole, but I really wanted to make something a little different his time. In the past I have made a mango guacamole which is probably my favourite guacamole, this time though I thought I would try making it with pineapple and I used a recipe from Better Homes and Gardens.

2 medium Avocados, halved, seeded and peeled
1/4 cup salsa verde
1 tablespoon sour cream
1/2 cup chopped fresh pineapple
1/2 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
2 tablespoons finely chopped red onions
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
 In a large bowl mash avocados. Stir in salsa and sour cream until combined. Stir in pineapple, beans, jalapeno, onion cilantro, garlic, lime juice, salt and cumin. Cover and chill for 2 hours or until ready to serve.

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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Cuban Sandwiches

I love Cuban sandwiches, but I have never made them at home before and knowing there was little chance that I would find actual Cuban bread here in Houston, I bought panini bread from Central Market that worked out great for these sandwiches.

Panini bread
Roast pork, sliced
Ham, sliced
Swiss cheese, sliced
Pickle slices

Slice the bread open, spread mustard on both sides of bread.  Place a layer of pork on the bread, followed by a layer of ham, then swiss cheese and finally pickles.  Close the sandwich and spread a thin layer of butter on one side.  Place in a heated pan and use something heavy to help press down the sandwich, once the bottom has browned flip the sandwich over and brown the other side.

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Cuban Pork Roast

When I bought this pork roast I had intended to make the cranberry pork that Randal loves, however on a whim I thought I would try making a Cuban pork roast, with the intention of using some of the leftovers for Cuban sandwiches. I knew that McCormick had a Cuban seasoning but I looked in multiple stores and I couldn't find it, so I looked up the ingredients in their seasoning and decided to just try making my own. I really wasn't sure how this would turn out, but we both absolutely loved this, Randal said it was the best roast pork I had ever made and even after finishing off this huge roast over a few days he wants to know when I am making it again.

Pork roast
2 tbsp cumin
2 tbsp dried oregano
zest of 1 lemon
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tbsp adobo seasoning
1 tbsp salt
1 1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup lime juice

In a small bowl combine the cumin, oregano, lemon zest, garlic powder, onion powder, adobo, salt and pepper.

In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil until shimmering.  Add half of the seasoning mix and cook for 30 seconds or so.  Remove from heat and leave to cool for 5 minutes, then add the orange juice and lime juice.  Put back on the heat and cook for 5 minutes.  Leave to cool.

Season the pork with the remaining seasoning mix, place into a large ziploc bag and pour over half of the marinade.  Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

Cook the roast at 350 for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, brushing with the remaining marinade every 45 minutes.

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Monday, November 11, 2013

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Bbq brisket, baked potatoes and corn

Tuesday: Beef and ale stew

Wednesday: Chicken tikka with coconut pineapple jasmine rice

Thursday: Spag bol and garlic bread

Friday:Eating out

See other menu plans over at Organizing Junkie

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Lemon Zucchini Bread

Time for another Secret recipe Club reveal. This month I was assigned the blog Cooking on the Ranch. Lea Ann blogs from Denver and has a really great blog filled with such lovely photographs of her recipes.  I decided early on that I wanted to make her jalapeno bacon cheese ball, but at the last minute I changed my mind because I knew that Randal would prefer the Lemon Zucchini Bread and I love anything with lemon anyway, and it was just as delicious as we thought it would be!

2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup oil
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 cup grated zucchini

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a loaf pan.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt.

In a medium bowl, beat the eggs, add the oil and sugar and mix together.  Add the buttermilk, lemon zest and juice.  Add in the zucchini and then add to the dry ingredients, mix well.  Pour into a loaf pan and bake for 50 minutes, or until cooked through.  Let cool completely

Lemon Glaze:
1 cup icing sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice

In a small bowl mix the sugar and juice together, pour over the loaf and leave to set. 
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Hot Milk Cupcakes

This was one of the cupcake recipes I tested out for the United Way bake sale. These look quite plain because I was just testing the recipe, but we loved the end result I just had to put them on the blog. I found this recipe over at Sweet revelations a long time ago, these cupcakes are so light and moist and I topped them with just a simple vanilla swiss meringue buttercream.

4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 plumped vanilla bean
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
1 1/4 cups whole milk
10 tablespoons butter
Preheat oven to 350.  Line a cupcake pan with paper liner.
In a small bowl mix together the flour, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the eggs for 5 minutes, until thick and lemon coloured.  Add the sugar and continue beating until the mixture has thickened.  Add in the vanilla extract and the flour and mix just to combine.

In a small pan heat the milk with the vanilla bean and butter until simmering.  Remove the vanilla bean and gradually add the hot milk to the batter.

Fill each liner 2/3 full and bake for 18 minutes, or until cooked through.

Vanilla Bean Swiss Meringue Buttercream:
5 egg whites
1 cup + 2 tbsp sugar
2 cups of unsalted butter at room temperature
1 plumped vanilla bean
pinch of salt

To make the frosting, put a few inches of water in a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Put the egg whites and sugar into a bowl that will fit over the pan of water and whick until it reaches 150 degrees and the sugar has all melted. Transfer mixture to the bowl of your stand mixer and whisk on medium speed until the bowl feels cold (this can take up to 10 minutes) add the butter 2 tablespoons at a time, then add the scraped vanilla and salt.

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Saturday, November 9, 2013

Moroccan Lamb Burgers

I love lamb burgers, Randal prefers more traditional hamburgers but I still make myself delicious burgers like these, and just freeze the remaining patties for another time.  I usually would make a mint and feta lamb burger, but thought I would try something different this time.  

1 1/2 lbs ground lamb
1/2 cup fresh mint
1 shallot, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp dried currants
2 tbsp pine nuts
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
2 tbsp fresh parsley
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

In a food processor combine the currants, pine nuts, shallot, garlic, parsley, lemon juice and zest, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, salt and pepper.  Process until it forms a coarse paste.

Place the currant mixture into a large bowl, add the lamb and mix together well.  Form into four patties.  Grill burgers for 5 minutes each side.

I served mine on an onion roll as that's my favourite roll for any burger, topped with some tzatziki sauce and lots of fresh mint.

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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Black Forest Cupcakes

I absolutely love black forest cake, Randal not so much, so when I told him I was planning on trying out some black forest cupcakes he was less than thrilled. I have made lots of new cupcakes recently when I was testing recipes for the bake sale, nothing surprised me more though, than Randal saying that these were his favourite.

I made my favourite chocolate cake recipe, and filled the center with a cherry filling I found at specialty baking store in Houston (regular cherry pie filling would work just the same) and for frosting I went with a sweetened whipped cream that Randal made for me, I took half of the cream and added some of the cherry filling to create a swirled frosting.

Chocolate Cake:
¾ cup plus 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
6 tbsp. valrhona cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 cup sugar
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 large egg
½ cup black coffee
½ cup buttermilk
1½ tsp. vanilla extract
Cherry filling

2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
4 tbsp icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

To make the cupcakes, in a small bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt, whisk to blend and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the sugar, vegetable oil and egg. Beat on medium speed until smooth, about 1-2 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, blend in half of the dry ingredients, beating just until incorporated. Blend in the coffee, buttermilk and vanilla just until smooth. Beat in the remaining dry ingredients, mixing just until incorporated. Divide between baking cups and bake at 350 for 22-24 minutes.

Once the cupcakes have cooled remove the center of each cupcake, fill with cherry filling and cut the bottom off the cone of cake and place the top back on the cupcake.

To make the frosting, in the bowl of an electric mixer whisk the cream, tartar, vanilla and icing sugar until stiff.  remove half the cream to a large bowl and fold in 1/4 cup of the cherry filling. Fill a piping bag with the frosting, filling one side with the cherry cream and one side with the plain.  Frost each cupcake and top with some grated 72% valrhona chocolate.

The first time I made these cupcakes I tried using those split piping bags that are specifically made for swirled frosting.  I do not know what I was doing wrong but they just did not work for me.  Filling a standard bag a spoon at a time on each side works so much better!

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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Baked Potato Soup

Randal suggested making this last weekend when discussing the menu plan for the week. I was quite surprised as I have never made this before and baked potato soup isn't usually something that Randal eats that often.  Considering this was my first time making this we both really enjoyed it.

3 large baking potatoes
4 slices bacon, diced
1 onion, diced
1 leek, sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tbsp chicken soup base
1/2 tsp thyme
5 tbsp butter
1/3 cup all purpose flour
4 cups milk
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 cup sour cream
2 spring onions, sliced
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 425.

Wash and dry the potatoes, bake at 425 for 20 minutes.  Lower the oven temp to 375 and continue baking for 1 hour or until the potatoes are cooked through.  Set aside to cool.

In a large pan, fry the bacon until crisp.  Remove from pan.  Add the onion and leek to the bacon fat and cook for 5 minutes, until softened.  Add the garlic and cook for a minute.  Add in the chicken soup base and dried thyme, stir together then add the butter.  Once the butter has melted add the flour and let cook out for a few minutes before slowly whisking in the milk.  Add in the cheese.

Cut the baked potatoes in half and scoop out the potato and add it to the soup. Add in the sour cream. Season with salt and pepper and let simmer for 20 minutes before serving.  Top each bowl with the cooked bacon, spring onions and some additional cheese.

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Monday, November 4, 2013

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Baked potato soup

Tuesday: Cuban roast pork with twice baked potatoes

Wednesday: Mango chicken curry with bombay potatoes

Thursday: Cuban sandwiches

Friday: Tacos with black bean and pineapple guacamole

See other menu plans over at Organizing Junkie

Monday, October 21, 2013

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Beef and vegetable baked spaghetti squash

Tuesday:  Chicken provencal (still have not made this)

Wednesday: Grilled cheese and tomato soup

Thursday: Chicken tikka and jasmine coconut rice

Friday: Eating out

See other menu plans over at Organizing Junkie

Monday, October 14, 2013

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Sausage rolls and garlic fries

Tuesday:  Chicken provencal (didn't make this last week)

Wednesday: BLT's and soup

Thursday: Tacos, chips and queso

Friday: Eating out

See other menu plans over at Organizing Junkie

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Chai Tea

Time for another Secret recipe Club reveal. This month I was assigned the blog Angela's Kitchen.  Angela's recipes are all gluten, wheat and dairy free.  I will admit that I am not very familiar with making recipes that fit into those categories, but I did enjoy looking through all the recipes on Angela's blog.

I finally decided to make the slow cooker Chai Tea.  I love to drink tea, being English it's basically a requirement! Although my usual tea of choice is good old English black tea (Yorkshire Gold, please!) with a splash of milk, I thought that chai tea sounded lovely for autumn, if and when autumn decides to show up here in Texas!

18 cups water
1/2 cup honey
18 cloves
3 cinnamon sticks
18 cardamom pods
12 allspice berries
1 1/2 inch crystallized ginger
12 whole black peppercorns
1 bay leaf 
1 star anise
5 tablespoons loose leaf black tea
Milk to serve

Place everything except the tea into the slow cooker, heat on high for 2 hours.  Add the tea and leave for an addition 30 minutes.  Strain the chai tea and serve with milk of choice.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Sweet and sour pork

Tuesday: Chicken provencal

Wednesday: BLT's and soup

Thursday: Yellow chicken curry

Friday: Beef stroganoff

See other menu plans over at Organizing Junkie

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Samoa Cupcakes

My favourite Girl Scout cookies are the Samoas or Caramel Delites as they are called here in Texas.  I think I have even tried to make a homemade version of the cookies before, but I found the recipe for this cupcake version over at Annie's Eats .  I tried them out for the bake sale at Randal's office, and they are so, so good.  The recipe has a shortbread cookie on the bottom of the cupcake however once they were baked I noticed that the cookies had risen to the top of the cake, I don't know what I did wrong but for the bake sale I'm just going to leave them out. I also used my favourite chocolate cake recipe instead of the one Annie used.

Chocolate Cake:
¾ cup plus 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
6 tbsp. valrhona cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 cup sugar
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 large egg
½ cup black coffee
½ cup buttermilk
1½ tsp. vanilla extract
Shortbread cookies

In a small bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt, whisk to blend and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the sugar, vegetable oil and egg. Beat on medium speed until smooth, about 1-2 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, blend in half of the dry ingredients, beating just until incorporated. Blend in the coffee, buttermilk and vanilla just until smooth. Beat in the remaining dry ingredients, mixing just until incorporated. Place a shortbread cookie in the bottom of each cupcake liner. Divide between baking cups and bake at 350 for 22-24 minutes.

8 oz bittersweet chocolate
1/2 cup caramel sauce
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp coconut extract

To make the ganache, place the chocolate into a small bowl and set aside, put the caramel sauce and cream in a medium saucepan.  Heat until simmering, then pour the hot caramel over the chocolate.  Let sit for a few minutes for the chocolate to melt, then stir together and add the coconut extract.

Spread a layer of ganache over each cooled cupcake.

15 oz caramels
3 tbsp milk
1/2 tsp coconut extract
pinch of salt
3 cups shredded coconut, toasted

To make the topping, place the caramels and milk into a medium pan, heat until the caramels have melted.  Add in the salt, coconut extract and toasted coconut.  Place a scoop on top of the ganache topped cupcake.  Drizzle with remaining ganache.

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Monday, September 30, 2013

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Coronation chicken sandwiches and potato salad

Tuesday: Cayenne cinnamon ribs with maple glaze, corn on the cob and potato salad

Wednesday: BLT's and soup

Thursday: Thai yellow chicken curry with jasmine rice

Friday: Eating out

See other menu plans over at Organizing Junkie

Monday, September 23, 2013

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Chicken curry and coconut rice

Tuesday:  Spanish hamburgers

Wednesday: Tacos

Thursday: Spag bol and salad

Friday: Eating out

See other menu plans over at Organizing Junkie

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Tamarind Chicken

Randal has been really wanted to try and make something with a tamarind marinade or sauce. I don't know if they still have it as we haven't been there for a long time, but the melting pot used to have a tamarind sauce that Randal just loves, so when we were at the British Isles store recently he actually found a jar of tamarind chutney, and immediately said we had to make something with it and decided that chicken thighs would be great and we really did both enjoy them.

8 bone in chicken thighs
1/2 cup tamarind chutney
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp five spice
1 tsp ginger

Mix the chutney, ketchup, sugar, five spice and ginger together.  Pour over the chicken thighs, refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

Preheat oven to 400

Remove chicken from the marinade, place on a baking tray and cook for 30 minutes, or until cooked through.

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