31 December 2007

Moroccan Parcels




My friend Andrew, made a Moroccan Filo Pie for Christmas dinner with his family. It was essentially a recipe for a vegetable nut roast with Moroccan flavourings.

I got a text from Andrew on Christmas Day to say they had made enough to feed 5000 and so I got lucky! His mum had an eureka moment and used up the left-over nut roast, by making pasties.

These were so yummy that I had mostly eaten mine by the time I thought to take a photo and Graham's pasty was long gone!

Moroccan Parcels

10 shallots
1 butternut squash
2 red peppers
1 medium aubergine
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 cloves garlic, crushed
5cm piece of ginger
400g can chickpeas, drained
handful of fresh coriander, chopped
125g peeled almonds, toasted
125g shelled pistachios
75g butter, melted
salt & pepper
1 pack of shortcrust pastry


Heat the oven to Gas Mark 4/180c/350f. Line baking trays with parchment.

Cut the shallots into wedges, deseed and dice the squash, cut the red peppers into strips and dice the aubergine. Mix together with the olive oil, spices and garlic, toss well, then place in the oven in a roasting tin for 20 mins.

Peel and finely dice the ginger and mix in a bowl with the chickpeas, chopped coriander, toasted almonds and pistachios. Stir this mixture into the roasted vegetables, season with salt & pepper.

Cut shortcrust pastry into squares, spoon a little filling onto one side and fold over into a triangle, seal with a little water or milk. Pierce a couple of slits in top, as air vents. Then brush the triangle with a little milk or beaten egg. Place the triangles onto baking trays and cook for about 30 minutes, until golden.

These would be gorgeous served hot with all the Christmas trimmings, but are equally delicious cold with some hot mango chutney.

Thanks Andrew and Andrew's mum!

What a great recipe for my 100th post!

29 December 2007

Chocolate Milk with Pear & Ginger







































The vote was clear, everyone wanted me to try this Chocolate Milk with Pear & Ginger Smoothie.

Innocent call this one, Posh Stuff!

Chocolate Milk with Pear & Ginger

200ml semi-skimmed milk
40g bar 70% dark chocolate
1 ripe pear
1/2 piece of crystallised stem ginger (I used, 1 heaped teaspoon of ground ginger)


Break the chocolate into a small pan, add the milk and heat gently until the chocolate has melted.

Peel and core the pear, then cut into quarters.

Add the pear, chocolate milk and ginger to a blender. Whizz until smooth.

You can drink this warm or cold.

Serves two or one very greedy person!



















A lovely, velvet smooth chocolate drink, that tastes luxurious!

We enjoyed this smoothie on Christmas morning, as we were opening our Christmas presents. Christmas music was playing and the lights on the tree were twinkling, while the cats bounded about in the rustling wrapping paper.



24 December 2007

20 December 2007

White Chocolate Truffles with Peppermint






























Winter wonderland on a plate!

These gorgeous snowballs of chocolate heaven got the thumbs up from everyone. They didn't last 5 minutes!

White Chocolate Truffles with Peppermint

125ml double cream (1 small pot)
150g white chocolate (1 large bar), broken into pieces
25g strong hard white peppermints (5 mint fondant creams)


Melt the cream and chocolate gently for 4-5 mins until the chocolate has melted. Leave to cool.

Whisk the cream mixture until thick and then put in the fridge for 3-4 hours.

Put the mints into a plastic bag and crush, using a rolling pin. Scatter pieces into the cream mixture. If the mixture is firm enough, roll spoonfuls of the mixture into balls in some icing sugar. If a little soft, chill in fridge or freezer for a while before rolling.

Chill for at least 2 hours before serving.

Store in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Makes 20 truffles






























These truffles are soft to bite into, through the powdery, white icing sugar. It is lovely when you discover a little bite of mint in the sweet white chocolate!

I used Bassett's Mint Creams for these truffles.

Easy peasy, lemon squeezy!

16 December 2007

Blueberry, Maple Syrup and Oat Smoothie

I dipped into the Innocent Smoothie Recipe Book again. I have made this one 3 times, so far!



Blueberry, Maple Syrup and Oat Smoothie

1/2 an apple or 25ml fresh apple juice
a punnet of blueberries
2 dessertspoons of maple syrup
250ml of bio-yoghurt
a small handful of oats
pecan nuts to serve


Cut the apple into wedges and put them through the juicer. Add the apple juice, blueberries and the maple syrup to the bender and whizz until smooth. Add the yoghurt and oats and pulse twice. Serve sprinkled with chopped pecan nuts.

One generous serving

Well I think there is enough for two, but maybe that's because I added a banana to the smoothie.



















Innocent call this one a thickie, a breakfast thickie and indeed it is! The longer it sits, the thicker it becomes, probably because of the oats swelling up. It will last you right through until lunchtime!

I am buying lots of blueberries just now while they are half price and popping the whole punnets in the freezer. I was hoping to have a nice little stockpile for over the winter, but I just keep using them up. Blueberries are so delicious!

13 December 2007

Red Pepper Hummus





























I switched over channels on TV, just in time to catch the lovely Nigella Lawson, making some scrumptious red pepper hummus for a party. It took her just a few minutes, so I thought that is the recipe for me and it seems it may just be the one for Charlotte over at the Great Big Vegetable Challenge. Charlotte has issued a challenge for some quick vegetable recipes in her Q for Quick Veg Quest!


Red Pepper Hummus

1 jar red peppers, drained
2 tins of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 tbsp soft cheese
2 cloves garlic
1/2 red chilli, deseeded
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp paprika
freshly ground black pepper


Whizz up all the ingredients and top with some reserved chickpeas and sprinkle with paprika.

Serve with fingers of carrot, cucumber, red pepper and tortilla chips

Makes lots!

Takes about 5 minutes!

I didn't take down the ingredients at the time, so the measurements may be different from Nigella's, but boy, is it good! Graham and his friend Paul have scoffed most of it already. Graham with tortilla chips and Paul with Chicken, so there, it is versatile too!

11 December 2007

14 Days to Christmas

Here are some more ideas for Christmas gifts. It is nearly upon us!




















How about a duct tape wallet! I kid you not, these adorable wallets are made from duct tape! There are several designs to choose from. They are $22 each over at Adorkable Crafts .






















What about these cute nesting bird magnets. A snip at $7.50 over at Modishoppe.















Why not make some Summer Fruit Jam. Put it in a jar, add a pretty label and some ribbon. Voila, a homemade gift that is ready to give and it doesn't need to mature, like chutney. You can use frozen fruit for this jam, which makes it an affordable gift, made with love!
























How about a limited edition linocut print for £45, by our very own Celia Hart, over at Purple Podded Peas blog.


















Or a flip book of happiness. Simple animation at it's best and a great stocking filler. £3.95 from Muji.

I hope you have fun preparing for Christmas.

Disclosure: I did not recieve any of these products for review or recieve any payment. These are merely my suggestions.

08 December 2007

Vanilla Bean Smoothie

I really need to perk myself up during the winter, so I have decided that my juicer needs a bit more action!

























Yoghurt, Vanilla Bean & Honey Smoothie

4 large apples
2 tsp honey
8 tbsp bio-yoghurt
1/2 vanilla pod


Cut the apple into wedges and put through a juicer. Put the apple juice, honey and yoghurt into a blender. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod into the blender and pulse twice. Don't overblend, as this makes the yoghurt thin down.

I like to grate some nutmeg over the top of the smoothie, but this is optional.

Serves 2

This recipe is from the Innocent Smoothie Recipe Book. I borrowed a copy from the library yesterday. There are so many yummy recipes to help top up your daily portions of fruit and veg.

I am looking forward to trying:

Chocolate Milk with Pear & Ginger
Mango & Basil
Strawberry, Meringue & Creme Fraiche (this one sounds really sinful!)
Ginger Beer & Mango
Blueberry, Maple Syrup & Oats (a breakfast smoothie)
Pineapple, Blueberry & Ginger


Fruit Heaven!

Disclosure Statement: I did not receive this book from the publisher to review, this is my own copy. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

06 December 2007

Middle Eastern Stew

This Middle Eastern Stew of Chickpeas, Potatoes and Carrots is from World Vegetarian by Madhur Jaffrey.

A good friend of mine, very kindly, gave me a copy as a gift. It has been great bedtime reading so far, but it was time to try out some of the recipes and time to stop drooling over them.


Middle Eastern Stew

3/4 cup dried chickpeas, picked over, washed and drained (I used 1 can of chickpeas)
2-3 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp finely chopped onions
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3/4 lb potatoes, cut into chunks
(I used 3 medium potatoes)
1 medium carrot, cut into slices (I used 2 medium carrots)
4 canned plum tomatoes + 1 cup liquid from the can
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp sugar
3 tbsp finely chopped parsley
(I used coriander for more flavour)

Soak the chickpeas overnight in cold water to cover by about 3 inches.

In a medium pot, bring the chickpeas and 2 1/2 cups of water to the boil. Cover, lower the heat and simmer for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, or until the chickpeas are very tender.

Heat the oil in a medium pan over a medium-high heat. Add the onions and stir and fry until the onions are brown around the edges. Add the garlic and stir for 30 seconds. Put in the potatoes, carrot, chickpeas with their cooking liquid, tomatoes, tomato liquid, salt, thyme and 1/2 cup of water. If the tomatoes are very tart, add the sugar to taste. Bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to low, cover and cook gently for 45 minutes. Sprinkle parsley over the top before serving. Serve hot.

Serves 4 - 6

I left it to the last minute to decide I was going to make this recipe. I didn't have time to soak the chickpeas, so I used a can of chickpeas instead. Therefor, I didn't have cooking liquid, so I just added a little extra water. It worked fine.

This was a lovely stew, I liked the fact that the carrots and potatoes were in large chunks and the chickpeas held their shape. I only cooked the stew for about 50 minutes and this worked because I used canned chickpeas. I think I would like to add a little turmeric and chilli powder next time, to spice it up a little, but I will definitely make it again!

01 December 2007

Vegetable Soup to Warm the Old Cockles



































This is a great winter soup, I make it thick, so it is more like a vegetable stew. It's is lovely with a chunk of crusty, buttered bread!

Vegetable Soup

I onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
4 large carrots, chopped
4 stalks of celery, chopped
3 potatoes, chopped
2 leeks, sliced,
1 turnip, chopped
2 pints vegetable stock
fresh herbs
salt and pepper



Fry the onion and garlic in a little olive oil until softened. Add the chopped vegetables and cook on low for 10 minutes, stir frequently. Add the vegetable stock and leave to simmer on a low heat for 30 minutes. Add fresh herbs and season with salt and pepper.

Serves 4-6

And it does warm the cockles of your heart! Especially if you sprinkle too much cayenne pepper on top!

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