Do check out my new blog "Claire's Party Supplies". From now on all party supplies and current offers and discounts will be featured here.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Cherry Pie (made from scratch)

This is a pie we made a while back and I just had to share it with you. A couple of months ago, when cherries were in season, I bought a couple of kilos from the farmers market. Ofcourse, just the two of us found it hard to eat them all up. I decided to try making some cherry pie filling. I've never had cherry pie before, so I figured it was a good time to try it out. 

After looking around at a few recipes, I decided to use this one. It looked simple and that is exactly what I was looking for. It turned out that the recipe was so simple, the most time consuming part is pitting the cherries. I did buy a brand new pitter for the occasion, not that I need a reason to add something to my kitchen ;)

I didn't can this filling. I just put it in a clean, dry, glass jar in the fridge and it is still intact a couple of months later. So if cherries are plentiful in your part of the world, I hope you try this out. 



Homemade Cherry Pie Filling - 

5 cups cherries, pitted
3/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup water
4 tbsp corn starch / corn flour

Place the pitted cherries in a large pot with the sugar and lemon juice. 



On medium heat, allow the cherries to warm up and start cooking down. Stir frequently.

Mix the cornstarch and water in a small bowl till dissolved.

After the cherries have started releasing their juices and have heated up, add the cornstarch solution and bring it to a boil.

Stirring well, cook till the mixture gets nice and thick.

Cool and store.


After I came back home from work the next day, I found this in the kitchen waiting for me - 


I had previously mentioned to my darling husband that I wanted to use this for a galette or a pie, but I didn't have the time to do it on the day I made the filling. This sweet, sweet man who was home the next day when I was at work, whipped up a beautiful light, buttery and short shortcrust dough and made the pie all by himself. He used our trusty recipe for the crust.

The crust was fantastic. Infact the dough was so short, I couldn't get a clean slice for a picture, but it was so very delicious. The simple and unassuming pie filling that was so easy to put together simply blew me away. It was tasty and worked so well with the pastry, without being cloyingly sweet. If you're feeling a little indulgent, serve this up with some vanilla ice cream and sit back and enjoy!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

SRC: Twice Baked Potatoes

Today's post is a double yippie kind of post.
Yippie no.1- its SRC reveal day
Yippie no.2 - I only just realised that this post will be no.301

I can't believe that I have 300 blog posts done so far. I still remember back when I was contemplating starting this blog, I was concerned I'd run out of things to say. Well, thanks to every single one of you, 300 posts and over four and a half years later (Yikes!!!) I still have a lot more to say and things to share. Thank you for your ongoing support and love, its what keeps me going. I've meet so many wonderful people online and have learned so much, I'm eager to see where we go from here and hope you will continue to share this journey with me :)

This months SRC assignment took me to Sarah's blog, Things I Make (for Dinner). Sarah is from Ontario, Canada and loves cooking, travel, baking and trying new things. I do too. We have another thing in common - we both enjoy a good nap .... good to know (I thought I was the only one).

Sarah and her husband J enjoy comfort food just like my husband and I do, so when I saw her recipe for Twice Baked Potatoes I knew I found the recipe I wanted to try. Choosing just this one recipe wasn't easy. I can't wait to try her Buffalo Chicken Wontons, Chicken Taco Calzones and every single sandwich she has listed on her site; there are some super yummy options.   

Back to the Twice Baked Potatoes. Its just what the name suggests - potatoes that are baked twice and has a few special add-ins to make everything taste even more incredible. It has a little back, a little spring onions and a little cheese in the mix, and honestly, how can you go wrong with an ingredient list like that. I knew I was onto a delicious recipe and I wasn't wrong. I love potatoes in any form, but I haven't tried potatoes in this form before. They look adorable and would make a lovely addition to a family meal table alongside a nice Sunday roast.




Twice Baked Potaoes

2 potatoes, washed and baked (skin-on)
2 rashers of bacon
2 spring onions, finely chopped
1/3 cup sour cream
1/2 cheddar cheese, grated
1 tsp oil
Salt, to taste

Bake the potatoes whole and skin on till done. (I usually wrap the potatoes in foil and bake them when I've got the oven on for anything else as well)

Heat the oil and fry the bacon till it has lightly browned.

Add the spring onions and cook till the onions have softened.

Cut the potato in half lengthwise and carefully scoop out the flesh, keeping the skin and a little layer of potato under it intact.

Add the scooped out flesh to a bowl and put in the bacon and onion mix. Add the sour cream and cheese and mix well. Taste and add salt if needed.

Carefully spoon the mix back into the potato halves.

Place the stuffed potatoes under the broiler to lightly brown off.

Serve hot.







Sunday, April 26, 2015

Quick n Easy Buffalo Chicken Drumsticks

.... I'm back home after a 3-week long trip to India and it feels great to be back. I can't wait to try out some yummy Indian treats at home and share it with you. It may take a little while for that to happen. In the meanwhile, as I unpack, get through piles of laundry and dig my way out from under a mountain of emails and such, here's a quick, no-fuss recipe thats perfect for a weeknight or whenever you dont have much time.

You know I'm all for cooking and baking from scratch as far as possible. But, I like having a few cheats on hand for the days when I can't spend too much time in the kitchen or am too tired to. So a while ago, on two separate trips to my local Aldi store, I picked up these bad boys - 


I'd picked up the Barbecue sauce a while back and loved it, so when I saw the Buffalo Wing sauce, I just had to try it out. 

This chicken is super easy to put together, literally 3 easy steps - I use my trusty basic chicken marinade and let the drumsticks soak in all the flavour. Fry them in a pan with a little oil and toss with the sauce. Serve up with some salad and enjoy :) I used 8 drumsticks, but you could easily reduce or increase quantities. This time around I used drumsticks with the skin on. You could use skinless drumsticks if you prefer. 




Buffalo Chicken Drumsticks

8 chicken drumsticks
Salt, to taste
Black pepper, freshly crushed to taste
Lime / lemon juice, to taste
1 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp garlic paste
1 tbsp oil
Buffalo / Barbecue sauce, to taste

Mix the salt, pepper, lime juice, ginger and garlic paste.

Add the chicken to this and toss well.

Leave to marinade for about half and hour.

Heat oil in a pan.

Fry the chicken pieces till done.



Add the buffalo / barbecue sauce and toss well. I leave it on the heat for about another minute to heat through.

Serve up.

**NOTE** - The picture above shows just the Buffalo Chicken version, but I have tried this with the barbecue sauce and it turns out fantastic.


Sunday, April 5, 2015

SRC: Mini Banana Peanut Butter Yogurt Popsicles

For this month's SRC assignment, I had a real treat. I was assigned Marie's beautiful blog Not Enough Cinnamon. I feel like we're kindred spirits of sorts. Apart from our love for food, like me Marie moved to Australia a year and a half ago and loves her new home. "Hi Marie, it's nice to meet you!"

 Her blog is chock full of gorgeous pictures and awesome recipes. I can wait to try out her Pea and Mint Soup and her homemade Nut butters. But those endeavours will have to wait till I get back home.

This months post comes to you from Mumbai. We're visiting for a short while and are trying to cope with moving from what was a beautiful autumn to a scorching hot summer here. I needed something to cool down. So I opted for her Banana Peanut Butter Yogurt Popsicles. I loved the idea and I was very sure my mother had a set of popsicle moulds, so I went ahead and made it. As luck would have it, I couldn't find those moulds I was so sure I knew were around, so I did the next best thing. I decided to make some mini pops :) I set these in an ice cube tray and used little toothpicks for sticks. They turned out to be really cute miniature portions. Just between you and me, I tried it out as a smoothie with a splash of milk added to the blender with the rest of the mix and it was yum. You can taste the peanut butter and the banana and to me that it a wonderful pairing.

I know a lot of you are headed into summer soon, so go ahead and cool off with this lovely popsicles that could serve as a little snack too since all it has is banana, yogurt and peanut butter.




Mini Banana Peanut Butter Yogurt Popsicles

5 large bananas
2/3 cups peanut butter
1 1/4 cup Greek yogurt

Blitz all the ingredients together in a food processor and set in popsicle moulds.

If you'd like to try it out as a smoothie, add a splash of milk to loosen it to a smoothie consistency.

Enjoy!!!



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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Chocolate Cheesecake

Today's post is a special one. Camilla, one of my blogging friends is celebrating her 15th wedding anniversary today and in keeping with the fact that they had a cheesecake instead of a traditional wedding cake, invited us to celebrate with her by making a cheesecake. I jumped at the opportunity because I love cheesecake, but haven't made too many myself, apart from this Japanese Cheesecake, a yummy no-bake Strawberry Cheesecake and this Blackcurrant Cheesecake. I've always wanted to try out a Chocolate Cheesecake and this seemed like the perfect time.

I initially intended using a Nigella Lawson recipe, but saw that she used custard powder. I didn't have any and didn't want to buy something I'd use for just one recipe. So I looked for another recipe and I found this one. I pretty much stuck to the recipe with the exception of the base. I used some Digestive biscuits instead of the Oreo cookies. The recipe was simple to put together and full of chocolaty goodness. If you know a chocolate lover, they'd love this treat. I used a combination of milk and 70% dark chocolate and it was divine. If you prefer Milk chocolate, just use that instead. It had a beautiful silky texture and wasn't too sweet as a result of the mix of chocolate I'd used. I'm happy I tried this recipe out; it sure is a keeper.

So this one is for you and your husband, Camilla - Happy Anniversary!!!



Chocolate Cheesecake
Adapted from: Kraft

8-10 Digestive biscuits (1 1/2 cups), finely crushed
2 tbsp butter, melted
3 boxes Philadelphia Cream Cheese (each one is 8oz.), at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
4 oz. Semi sweet chocolate, chopped into small  pieces, melted and cooled
3 eggs

Heat the oven to 160ºC.

Mix the biscuit crumbs and melted butter till the mixture resembles wet sand.

Press the mix down into the base of a 9" springform pan. (I used a 7" one and made a couple of individual portions)

Bake for 10 minutes.

Beat the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla till combined.

Add the chocolate and mix well.

Add eggs one at a time and beat between each addition till incorporated.

Pour over the baked crust.

Bake for 45-55 minutes or until the centre is almost set.

Refrigerate for about 4 hours.

Serve with some strawberries.




Berry Cheesecake Bars by Baking and Creating with Avril
Cherry Cheesecake Bites by Cookaholic Wife
Chocolate Caramel Cheesecake by Dancing Veggies
Chocolate Cheesecake by My Hobbie Lobbie
Chocolate Topped Peppermint Cheesecake by Amy's Cooking Adventures
Creme Brulee Cheesecake Bars by Tara's Multicultural Table
Easter Basket Mini Cheesecakes by Little Bit of Everything
Everyday Cheesecake by Things I Make (for Dinner)
Irish Cream Cheesecake by A Day in the Life on the Farm
Layered Cinnamon Streusel Cheesecake Cake by Famished Fish, Finicky Shark
Lowfat Blackberry Cheesecake by A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures
Matcha-YuzuCheesecake with a Meyer Lemon Gelée by Culinary Adventures with Camilla
Mini Churro Caramel Cheesecake by Cheese Curd In Paradise
Mini Maple Pecan Cheesecakes by Join Us, Pull up a Chair
Mom's New York Cheesecake by Taste Cook Sip
Mudslide Cheesecake by Sew You Think You Can Cook
{No Bake} Marshmallow Cheesecake by An Affair from the Heart
No-Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake by Angels Homestead
Samoa's cheesecake by Goodie Godmother
Sopapilla Cheesecake Bars by The Savvy Kitchen
Sopapilla Puff Pastry Cheesecake by Pink Cake Plate
SkinnyVanilla Bean Cheesecake by Renee's Kitchen Adventures
Twix Cheesecake Brownie Torte by Making Memories With Your Kids

Sunday, March 1, 2015

SRC: Deep Fried Zucchini with Garlic Aioli and Gummy Bear Popsicles

This month's SRC assignment was an absolute doozy. I was assigned Erin's blog, Making Memories with Your Kids. I was really happy with this assignment, not to mention excited. I've known and admired Erin's blog since 2010. That was when I first came across her blog; we were both participating in the "12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies" bake along. Go over and have a look at all the fun she's got going there. Not only does she have some awesome recipes, but she's also got heaps of fun foods for kids, craft activities and some really amazing gift ideas for pretty much any occasion. I love looking at all the ideas she comes up with.

For this month's SRC reveal, I decided to try out her Deep Fried Zucchini with Garlic Aioli Sauce. Mainly, because that Garlic Aioli sounds so amazing I had to try it out and I needed something to have it with. Enter - Deep Fried Zucchini. Both really simple recipes, but oh so very good. I know I will be making these time and again :)

The Aioli is nice and flavorful, but the real star, to my utter surprise was the zucchini. I expected the aioli to be my favorite. The zucchini was so good, it didn't need a dipping sauce. I have some more zucchini in the fridge and I'm going to make another batch for dinner this evening. That's how good it is. Don't take my word for it, go ahead and try it. Erin, thank you so much for this recipe. I LOVE it.




Deep Fried Zucchini

Zuchinni
2 eggs
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste
Oil, for deep frying

Heat the oil for deep frying.

Cut the zucchini into slices about 1/4 of an inch thick.

In a bowl, beat the eggs and the buttermilk.

In another bowl mix the breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.

When the oil is hot, dip the zucchini in the egg dip and then in the crumb mixture and then carefully place in the oil.

Fry for a couple of minutes on both sides on a medium flame, till golden brown.

Using a slotted spoon, remove the slices from the oil and place on some kitchen paper to drain any excess oil.

Serve hot.


Garlic Aioli

1 cup mayonnaise
1 tbsp lemon juice
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced / crushed.

Mix it all together and serve.


Here's something I haven't done before - I made dessert too. Nothing fussy but an absolute treat. When I saw this post on Erin's site, I couldn't go past it. I've seen this ages ago and always wanted to try it out. They just look like so much fun. I had absolutely no excuse to not make it. The next time I make these, I will have to leave the soda out a lot longer. I did it this time but evidently it needed to sit out longer. So when you try these out, if you think your soda has been out long enough to cut down the carbonated effect, keep it out a little longer ;)




Gummy Bear Popsicles

Sprite
Gummy Bears

Let the soda sit out for a while to let some of the fizz die out.

Drop some gummy bears into your popsicle mould. You can use as many or as few as you like. I went for about the half way mark.

Top up with the Sprite.

Freeze.

Enjoy on a hot summer's day or as it turns out on the first day of autumn here :)

The kids will love it and so will the adults.

There are no kids in our household and I still made it and we loved it.


Do stop by and check out what the rest of Group A whipped up this month.


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Torta di Ricotta

After spending a year and a half in a new land, that we now call home, I still have so many ingredients to try and am trying for the first time ever. As a food blogger, you've gotta love having so many new options to play with. Today's post talks about one such ingredient. A while ago I decided to buy a tub of Ricotta cheese. I had no clue how I was going to use it. I know a lot of folks have a dish / menu in mind and then go grocery shopping, but as you can tell, I'm not that organised. I usually go to the store and wait for the ingredients to call out to me ;)  I knew I would eventually find something online that I'd love to try. So after a while of looking around, I saw a recipe for a Ricotta cake. I knew I had to try it out. It looked simple and sounded delicious. I also learned that making ricotta at home would actually have been easier than buying some from the store. As a process, its just like making paneer with a little salt thrown in. That is something I will do the next time I make this cake.

Yes, back to the cake. It is super simple to make. You don't need to break out the equipment. A bowl and a whisk will do the trick. I love such no-fuss bakes, sometimes you need to be able to bake without having to deal with a fussy process. The resulting cake was delicious, very much like a coffee cake and not too sweet. One thing that I will do differently next time, is sprinkle a little more brown sugar over the top. Apart from that, this recipe is a keeper. I love that its not too sweet. My husband would have loved it a tad sweeter though. Try it out for yourself and see which side of the fence you fall on.


Torta di Ricotta
Recipe from: The Hungry Mouse

Butter, to grease the pan
2 1/4 cups flour
4 eggs
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, plus more for sprinkling over
1 3/4 cups ricotta
Zest of 1 lemon
5 tbsp Olive oil
3/4 cup milk
1 tbsp baking powder

Preheat the oven to 180ºC.

Grease the baking dish with the butter.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs.


Add the brown sugar.


Whisk the sugar and the eggs till frothy.


Add the ricotta and lemon zest.


Add the olive oil and milk and whisk well to combine.


In a separate bowl combine the flour and baking powder. Then add it to the mix.


Fold in the flour until the batter just comes together.


Spoon the batter into the greased pan and lightly smooth the surface with a spatula.


Sprinkle the top with brown sugar. (Remember to be generous with the brown sugar.)


Bake for 35-40 minutes until the top is nicely browned and a toothpick pierced through the centre of the cake comes out clean.

Let it cool in the pan for about 20 minutes.

Unmould and let it cool completely.

Enjoy!!!

NOTES:
1) Be generous with sprinkling the brown sugar on the top.
2) This recipe yields a 9 1/2 inch cake.
3) Preferably, use a loose bottomed, springform cake pan. I made this cake back when I didn't have one, so I just used a glass baking dish. I would have liked to use a proper pan though.