Sunday, 7 February 2021

Turkish Eggs

Turkish Eggs is a really lovely brunch or breakfast dish which is especially good after a night of over indulgence as it has a fiery kick to it. 

The below serves 2:

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1 tsp pul biber
  • 1 tbsp tatli (red pepper paste) - you can use tomato puree here if you're unable to find Tatli
  • 4 tbsp fat free yoghurt
  • 3-4 eggs
  • 1 lemon
  • Handful dill fronds
Boil a full kettle of water for the eggs and yoghurt. 

To make the sauce, finely dice the onion, garlic and tomato and saute in the olive oil on a medium heat until beginning to soften, then add the pul biber and tatli and season well with a pinch of salt and a generous amount of black pepper and allow to cook down for 15 minutes. 

Place the yoghurt into a bowl and place over a small pan of just boiled water to warm through, and stir. 

For perfectly poached eggs, I use the same method every time which results in a runny yolk - although not perfect rounds, we don't mind it rustic around here. Place just boiled water in a saucepan, add a pinch of salt and a drop of white wine vinegar and use a spoon to make the water swirl a little before cracking in each egg and cooking for exactly 3.5 minutes. 

To gently remove the eggs once cooked, I use a slotted spoon and place onto a plate with some kitchen towel or a clean tea towel to remove any excess moisture. 

Now spread the sauce over a plate or a bowl, add half of the yoghurt to each, right in the centre, then the poached eggs. Scatter over some dill fronds and squeeze over the lemon juice. 

Finish with a few more pul biber flakes and serve with some crusty bread or a slice of toast. Enjoy!

For some more brunch inspo I've included some favourites below:

Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Chicken Shish Stuffed Peppers

These delicious stuffed peppers are a hearty and healthy family meal especially when served with a big salad and if you wish some flatbreads and dip, such as Cacik, Tzatziki and Spicy Salsa.

If you are looking for a vegetarian alternative you could replace the marinated chicken with cubed courgette and aubergine and reduce the cooking time a little too. 

The below serves a family of 4 with a salad, breads and dip.

Chicken Shish Stuffed Peppers

Here's how:

  • 3 chicken breasts
  • 4 bell peppers (any colour)
  • 1 red onion
  • 100g green olives
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Olive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pul biber 
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 tbsp tatli (you can use harissa here or tomato puree if you can't source)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tin of tomatoes 
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 packet of microwave rice 
  • Handful dill 
  • 1 ball of mozarella
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees.

Firstly cube the chicken, place into a large bowl with 1/2 tbsp olive oil and add the cumin, pul biber, cinnamon and paprika, the juice of one lemon and 1 tbsp of the tatli (or harissa or tomato puree). Give it a mix and allow it to marinate while you prepare everything else.

Now finely dice the red onion and mince the garlic and add to a pan with a 1 tbsp of olive oil.

Roughly chop the green olives and add to the pan - this with the garlic and onions will provide the base for your sauce. 

Whilst that is softening, cut the peppers in half and remove any seeds or membrane and place into a baking tin, cavity side up and set aside.

Once the onions, garlic and olives have softened, add the marinated chicken to the mix and allow to sear on all sides. 

Once you can no longer see pink flesh, add the chopped tomatoes, the additional tbsp of tatli (or alternative), the honey and season generously. 

Leave on a low-to medium heat for fifteen minutes or until the sauce has begun to thicken. 

Now remove from the heat and add in the microwave (or other cooked) rice and the dill and give it a good stir.

Now spoon the mixture generously into the halved peppers, they should be just overflowing. 

Cover the dish with the peppers in foil and place into the oven for 35 minutes. 

Take the baking dish out of the oven, remove the foil and pull the mozarella into slices and add a little to each pepper. Return to the oven for five minutes or until the cheese has melted. 

Remove from the oven and allow to stand for a few minutes then dish up. Enjoy!

If you love Turkish-inspired recipes, you will love the below:

Monday, 23 November 2020

Forrero Rocher Slow Cooker Fudge

This is a delicious and super easy fudge recipe perfect for a festive treat. 

I recently discovered the lovely Donna of What The Redhead Said's incredible collection of Slow Cooker Fudge recipes which have been frankly addictive. 

Donna is the Queen of fudge and I implore you to check out her wide range of recipes; my favourites so far from her have been the Terry's Chocolate Orange Fudge (winning festive combo) and the Mint Aero Fudge (although I used the cheaper Lidl Aero imitation and it was fab). She has a list of at least 30 different recipes and I will be working my through but in the meantime I wanted to share this Forrero Rocher Slow Cooker Fudge recipe which has taken full inspiration from Donna in basis and method and was made for my good friend Steph who loves the gold wrapped chocolates. 

It was an experiment with a very happy ending and I can admit that the entire portion was devoured this weekend and a request for more has been put in. 

Forrero Rocher Cooker Fudge

Here's how:
  • 300g Forrero Rocher
  • 200g milk chocolate (I used Dairy Milk)
  • 1 tin condensed Milk
Break up the milk chocolate and add to your slow cooker. 

Open the tin of condensed milk and add to the slow cooker, scraping out everything. 

Take 200g of the Forrero Rocher and cut in half and add to the slow cooker. Leave the other 100g set aside, you can cut these in half too. 

Keep the lid off of the slow cooker and put onto the highest heat and set a timer for ten minutes, at which point you should give a good stir, then repeat until the fudge has been cooking for 40 minutes. 

Line a baking tin with some greaseproof paper or clingfilm, then spoon the fudge into the dish until it's covered and fairly even. 

Add the remaining Forrero Rocher and dot all about the tin to decorate. Allow to cool then place into the fridge for at least a couple of hours. 

Remove from the fridge and use a sharp knife to cut into cubes and portion up. Enjoy! 

Wednesday, 18 November 2020

Arrabiata Soup

This is a really simple lift from my tried and tested Roasted Tomato and Basil Soup which is made embarrassingly often in our house.

The 'arrabiata' or angry element is the addition of fantastic fiery red chilli which makes for a warming, delicious soup ideal for a winter's day. You can remove the seeds of the chilli to reduce the heat but we prefer it hot!

The below makes enough for x2 large portions. 

Arrabiata Soup

Here's how:

  • 500g tomatoes (can also use x1 tin chopped tomatoes)
  • 1 red onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 large carrot
  • 2 celery sticks
  • 1 large red jalopeno chilli
  • 800ml vegetable stock
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Basil stalks

To garnish:

  • Grana Padana (or any other hard cheese)
  • Basil leaves
  • Black pepper
To begin whack the oven on at it's highest temperature. 

Halve the tomatoes and the red onion, peel the garlic cloves and place all on a baking sheet. Season and drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil then place into the oven on the high heat for 20 minutes or until everything is just charred (blackened) a little.

In the meantime, drizzle a little olive oil into a saucepan and place on a low heat.

Dice the carrot, slice the celery and the red chilli and add to the saucepan and allow to gently soften down - this is the base for your soup.

Once the tomatoes, onion and garlic are softened, add to the saucepan with a few basil stalks and pour over the vegetable stock. Season well and allow to cook for twenty minutes.

Remove from the heat, allow to cool right down then blitz until smooth. 

When wanting to serve, return to the heat and bring up to temperature slowly. 

Ladle into bowls and then if you like to, garnish with slithers of Grana Padana (I use a vegetable peeler for this) and a few basil leaves and season with a final flourish of black pepper. Enjoy!

Chocolate Dipped Peanut Butter Cookies

I have been making these for over 10 years and they are absolutely moreish as they are but I think they are greatly improved by dipping into milk or dark chocolate for a final delicious flavour hit that makes them an unbeatable biscuit. 

I vary between milk and dark chocolate depending on the audience. These ones have been made specifically for my girls, Bridget and Beatrice who love the creamy milk chocolate but if I was making for me, I'd be sure to dip in a good quality dark chocolate and then would sprinkle over some sea salt flakes too.

This makes about 25-28 biscuits and they keep for up to a week in a sealed container, but I bet they don't last that long.

Chocolate Dipped Peanut Butter Cookies

Here's how:

  • 85g crunchy peanut butter
  • 130g salted butter (room temperature)
  • 165g demerara sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 225g plain flour, sifted
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 75g peanuts (you want the plain ones not salted or dry roasted)
  • 100g milk chocolate

Firstly pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees and line two large baking trays with greaseproof paper.

On a chopping board, take the peanuts and use a large knife to roughly chop then set aside.

In a mixing bowl, add the peanut butter and place into the microwave for 20-30 seconds, until it has softened a little. 

Now add to the mixing bowl, the demerara sugar, butter and egg and cream together. 

Now add the plain flour and baking powder and mix together until you have a good biscuit dough.

Finally add the chopped nuts and mix through.

With clean hands, take a small section of the dough, about a teaspoon fall, and roll into a small ball in your hands, then place onto the baking sheet and repeat. Leave a few cm between each ball. 

Place into the hot oven for exactly 12 minutes, or until golden brown then remove from the oven and carefully transfer each biscuit or cookie onto a wire rack to cool fully. 

You will have to do two batches to get them all cooked but please note you can of course freeze half the mixture until next time once rolled into the balls - they will take a little extra cooking time from frozen though. 

Once the biscuits are cooled, melt the 100g milk chocolate, or dark if you prefer. 

Gently dip each biscuit into the chocolate, covering one half of the top of the biscuit then return to the wire rack to allow the biscuits to cool. Enjoy!

If like me, you love a cookie or a biscuit, here are a few more of our favourites:

Monday, 16 November 2020

Mincemeat Sticky Buns

If you love a festive Mince Pie as well as a Sticky Cinnamon Bun, this is the baking recipe for you. Whilst these are cooking the house smells incredible and the addition of sweet vanilla icing makes these a treat you won't be able to resist.

It does take a little patience for proving time etc. but the results are really delicious as an afternoon treat or a breakfast delight with a festive twist. 

Mincemeat Sticky Buns with Vanilla Icing

The below makes 8-10. 

Here's how:

For the dough:

  • 250ml full fat milk
  • 1 egg
  • 60g butter (room temperature)
  • 450g plain white bread flour
  • 65g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 1.5 tsp cinnamon
  • 7g sachet instant yeast
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • Olive oil

For the filling:

  • 450g mincemeat (I used the Lidl Deluxe one which is delicious
  • 30g caster sugar
  • 60g butter
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar (to be scattered over the buns pre-bake0
For the glaze:
  • 2 tbsp apricot jam
  • 1/2 tbsp water
For the icing and topping:
  • 250g icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp softened butter
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3-4 tbsp milk 
  • Handful dried cranberries
  • Handful walnuts

Firstly you will need to prove the dough for 1-2 hours depending on how warm your home is, so find a suitable warm spot for this to happen, or purposefully warm up a room ready. Also lightly oil a large roasting tin, bottoms and sides ready for the buns, and do the same to a mixing bowl for the dough to prove in.

Pop the milk on a medium heat in a small saucepan until almost boiling, then take off the heat and add the butter and stir through then leave to cool down for ten minutes.

In the meantime, in a large bowl measure out the plain flour, caster sugar, mixed spice, cinnamon, yeast and a pinch of salt and give a gentle mix. Make a well or a hole in the middle of the mixture, and once cooled pour the butter and milk mixture in as well as cracking in the egg. 

Use at first, a wooden spoon to bring the dough together - by mixing the liquid and the dry ingredients together. Then ensure to flour a clean working surface, and your (clean) hands and bring the dough here to knead, which you will need to do for at least 10 minutes. 

The dough should end up being a smooth ball that springs back a little if you press down into it. When you're satisfied it's ready, pop into the oiled mixing bowl and cover with some cling film. This now needs to prove which can take between 1-2 hours; you'll know it's ready once it has doubled in size. 

Now on a floured surface turn out the dough and roll out to a large oblong shape with the longest side in front of you and should be about 1.5cm thick. 

Cream together the butter and sugar from the 'filling' ingredients until combined then spread all over the dough. 

Now spoon the mincemeat all over too, ensuring every area get's a good covering. 

Now take the long side closest to you and begin to roll up away from you until the dough's completely rolled up. You may want to cut off the ends to neaten up - but we don't mind the rustic ends so you then cut into 8-10 buns using a sharp knife and placing them neat-side upwards in the oiled roasting tin. Then cover this with clingfilm and allow the buns to prove in a warm spot for a further 30-40 minutes or until they have almost doubled in size. 

Scatter over the brown sugar before baking in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees for 22-25 minutes. 

Once golden brown and cooked through remove from the oven, and carefully transfer each sticky bun to a wire cooling rack to cool - you should need to pull them apart slightly, so go gently.

For the glaze, pop 2 tbsp apricot jam into a small saucepan with 1/2 tbsp water and wait for it to melt right down then brush it al over the tops of the sticky buns then leave to cool for 20 minutes.

Mincemeat Sticky Buns

For the icing, mix together the icing sugar, vanilla and butter and then add the milk 1 tbsp at a time and mixing the whole time until you're happy with the consistency, I love a fairly thick icing, but some are more partial to a thinner icing for sticky buns - so go with you preference. 

Finally roughly chop the dried cranberries and walnuts and scatter over the Mincemeat Sticky Buns - I did a combination purely as one of my daughters doesn't like walnuts, but you could do a mixture of both across all. I think crushed pistachios with cranberries would look really festive too but I didn't have any of those to hand today.

You can keep these for 3-4 days in an air tight container, but I doubt they'd last that long. Enjoy! 

Mincemeat Sticky Buns

Thursday, 12 November 2020

Chickpea and Chorizo Slow Cooker Stew

This is a favourite winter warmer dish of ours that's hearty, wholesome and delicious and very welcome on a cold night. 

You can have as a standalone dish, served over rice or a jacket potato or just with crusty bread to mop up the delicious juices. 

I've used cavelo nero to stir through in the last 10 minutes or cooking but you can use kale, cabbage or spinach if you prefer. 

The below serves x2 adults.

Chickpea and Chorizo Slow Cooker Stew

Here's how:
  • 120g chorizo
  • 1 white onion
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 red chilli
  • Some cubed squash or sweet potato (I used frozen squash here)
  • 1 tin of chickpeas, drained
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • Pinch of saffron
  • 1 tsp hot paprika
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 chicken stock cube made up with 250ml water
  • 100g cavelo nero (or your choice of green)
  • Black pepper
  • Parsley

Finely slice the onion, garlic, pepper and chilli and add to the slow cooker. 

Add the drained chickpeas, squash and chopped tomatoes to the slow cooker. 

Cut the chorizo sausage in half and then cut into semi circle discs and add to the slow cooker. 

Make up the chicken stock and add to the dish with the pinch of saffron threads, cinnamon stick, the cayenne pepper, paprika and some black pepper. 

Give it a stir to combine then place onto the lowest heat setting and cook for up to 4 hours, stirring every hour.

Roughly chop the cavelo nero and set aside until the last 10 minutes of cooking, then add to the slow cooker and mix through and return the lid on for ten minutes until dishing up.

Roughly chop some fresh parsley and scatter over the final dish. Enjoy!