Friday, 10 September 2010

Tasty Cheddar Crackers And Italian Dip

These tasty little crackers make a perfect snack for an afternoon tea party, mums meeting, appetisers or even as part of a buffet. The rich and spicy flavours of the crackers match effortlessly with the zingy, fresh flavours of the Italian dip.

(For the crackers)
  • 250g Plain flour
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 60 Twists of ground black pepper
  • 1 heaped tsp of English mustard powder
  • 170g Butter (Chilled)
  • 70g Cheddar
  • 6 tablespoons of cold water (but add only as needed)
(For the dip)
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 Large red onion
  • Oregano and Basil to taste
  • 1/2 a Red bell pepper
  • 1 heaped tbsp of tomato puree
  • 3 tbsp water
  1. In a large mixing bowl bowl, stir together the flour, salt, pepper and mustard. Using your finger tips (not palms) rub together the flour and butter (cubed) until it resembles breadcrumbs.
  2.  Stir in the cheese, then water one tablespoon at a time, until the dough is able to hold together. Press the mixture into a ball, wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Pre-heat your oven to 170 degrees.
  4. Grease a baking tray well with vegetable oil and set aside.
  5. Dice your red onion and pepper, then add to a pan with your olive oil, basil, oregano and season to taste, fry gently until softened.
  6. Add the pepper, water and pepper and cook gently until soft and well mixed, if the sauce is too runny, turn up the heat and reduce until thickened.
  7. Once cooked set aside to cool.
  8. Take out the dough ball from the fridge - by now it should be fairly firm.
  9. Flour a surface and a rolling pin, and gently roll out the dough until about 2- 3 mm thick, then using a square cutter cut the dough out, repeat this process until all the dough is used.
  10. Lay the squares on your baking tray, gently poke with a fork to create a quilted effect when cooked, then brush lightly with milk to help the crackers brown.
  11. Bake for 10 - 12 minutes until crisp and golden brown.
Once your crackers have cooled (though they are lovely to have a cheeky nibble when they are fresh from the oven and the cheese is gooey) serve with the dip. Easy :)

Let me know any variations you have tried on this recipe or simply what you think :)

Thanks for stopping by
Siobhan xoxo

Sunday, 5 September 2010

The best back to school cookies!

Thick, gooey, chocolaty and down right naughty!! Nothing will brighten you kids day more than one of these babies in their lunch box during a monotonous first week back at school! It's taken me about a year to get this recipe tweaked right, so I'm pretty confident that by this point, this is as good as its going to get :)

  • 250g Plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 170g Salted butter
  • 170g Light brown sugar
  • 100 g Caster sugar
  • 1 Capful of vanilla essence
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 Egg yolk
  • 150g White chocolate - cut into small chunks
  • 200g Milk chocolate at least 45% coco solids - cut into small chunks
  1. Pre-heat oven to 170 degrees, and grease a baking sheet or two well with vegetable or sunflower oil.
  2. Sieve the flour, salt and bicarb into a large mixing bowl and stir together.
  3. In a saucepan, gently melt the butter, once melted mix in the sugar until smooth and creamy, then mix in the vanilla, egg and yolk until creamy and smooth.
  4. Carefully mix in the flour and stir until the mixture has softened, then add the chocolate chunks (Don't worry if there looks like too much chocolate, its supposed to be that way), set aside to stand for about half an hour.
  5. Spoon lumps onto your baking tray and gently press with thumb slightly, bear in mind when deciding cookie sizes that your lumps will spread in the oven, for the same reason do not place the lumps too close together.
  6. Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden, them remove from the oven and allow to stand for two minutes, then using a spatula carefully lift the cookies and place on a plate to cool for about 5 minutes.
I love to eat these cookies when they are fresh from the oven when they are at their gooiest, but they do stay gooey when cooled :) plus if this mixture makes too many for you, these cookies freeze down really well so you can keep some for another day :)

Thanks for stopping by
Siobhan xoxo

Blushed Nectarines In Light Syrup

I love this dessert as its delicious, simple and you don't feel guilty after eating it! Great as a light yet luxurious dessert, perfect if you are dieting!

  • 2 fairly ripe nectarines
  • 200 ml of boiling water
  • 4 tbsp Caster sugar
  • Lemon zest
  1. Put the boiling water in a sauce pan and dissolve the sugar into it, and reduce very slightly.
  2. Add the nectarines and place the lid on the pan, lightly poach the nectarines for 2 -3 three minutes, turning over once to allow both sides to cook. Do not poach for longer than three minutes, as the fruits will loose their firmness.
  3. Using a spoon with holes in it, remove the nectarines from the syrup (which should have turned a pink colour from the fruit skins) and place on a plate top side down.
  4. Turn up the heat on the syrup, add the lemon zest and reduce until fairly thick in consistency.
  5. Carefully peel the skins from the nectarines, place topside down again, and pop to cool in the fridge for about an hour.
  6. Remove the syrup from the heat and set aside.
  7. When the nectarines are chilled, carefully spoon the syrup over them, and serve with either a curl of whipped cream or luxury vanilla ice cream/gellato.
This recipe is so simple, yet has a classy feel about it making it a perfect choice for a dinner party :) Let me know your opinions :)

Thanks For Stopping By
Siobhan xoxo

Crunchy chicken ceasar salad (No anchovies, serves 2)

I adore Caesar salad, but I despise it when you can really taste anchovies in the sauce, so when I make it myself I always make my sauce without the anchovies, but with the same kick in flavour.

  • Half a Romain lettuce
  • 6 Cherry tomatoes
  • 2 Bread crumbed chicken breast
  • 1 - 2 Slices of thick bread
  • 8 Medium cloves of garlic
  • 4 tbsp Olive oil
  • 3 heaped tbsp Mayonnaise
  • 1 slightly heaped table spoon of English or Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper grinder
  • A slosh of vinegar
  • 1 tbsp of fresh grated (finely) Parmesan
  • 2 table spoons of Parmesan shavings

  1. Par bake the chicken breasts in an oven at 170 degrees.

  2. Remove from the oven and cut into strips, then place in a pan flesh side down, with some olive oil, 2 of the cloves of garlic (crushed), and grind in some salt and pepper to taste, fry until golden on both sides of the exposed flesh, then set aside to cool.

  3. Cut the pieces of bread into little cubes and mix with three cloves of garlic (Crushed) and the olive oil until evenly covered, then gently fry off the bread until golden ad crispy. Set aside to cool.

  4. Place the mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, 3 cloves of crushed garlic and grated Parmesan into a bowl, season well with freshly ground salt and pepper and mix together well, blend until smooth if preferred.

  5. Loosen the mixture with a table spoon of two of cold water, until the mixture runs easily from a spoon, the chill.

  6. Wash the lettuce leaves and tear in half then cut down the center, and cut the tomatoes in half.

  7. Toss the lettuce leaves in the mayo dressing, then arrange in two pasta bowls and season to taste.

  8. Sprinkle croutons over the leaves, and arrange the chicken strips in the center, and place the tomato halves around the edge of the bowls.

  9. Garnish the salads with a table spoon of Parmesan shavings each.
Quick, easy, healthy and flavoursome, how all salads should be :)

Comment and let me know how this recipe worked for you :)

Thanks for stopping by :)
Siobhan xoxo

Rich rum, white chocolate and berry cream cake

This is a lovely recipe that's perfect for afternoon get togethers as it goes perfectly with coffee, or as a super indulgent dessert. They best bit about this recipe is though the cake is only the size of a cheesecake, it is much more filling so it goes further :)

  • 150g Butter
  • 250g Short bread fingers (crushed)
  • 250g White chocolate
  • 300ml Sour cream
  • 2 tbsp Dark rum (You could always leave this out)
  • 300ml Double cream
  • 250g Summer berries (preferably strawberries, blueberries and raspberries)
  1. Line a spring release cheese cake tin (20cm) with greaseproof paper.
  2. Melt 90g of the butter in a pan, once melted remove from the heat and add the crushed shortbread.
  3. Press the shortbread mix into the base of the tin and place in the fridge to chill.
  4. Break up the white chocolate into pieces and place in a small heat proof bowl with the left over butter, then place into a pan of simmering water and gently melt.
  5. Once melted, removed from the pan and mix in the sour cream and rum.
  6. Whip the double cream and carefully and evenly fold into the chocolate mix.
  7. Spoon this evenly over the biscuit base and smooth out the top.
  8. Place back in the fridge for at least 6 hours, but  I always find leaving it overnight creates a lovely thick and creamy texture.
  9. Finally, when ready to serve top the cake with the summer berries.
You can always serve this recipe with single cream or a berry coulis, but I personally find the recipe rich enough to serve alone. If I were you I would make the cake a day in advanced, so that it really gets time to set well and become very thick and creamy in texture. :)

Let me know your opinions or even variations on this recipe :)

Thanks for stopping by
Siobhan xoxo

Home :)

Hay guys,
Sorry I have been on holiday for a few weeks and unfortunately the wifi in west wales isn't as good as that back here in the south so I haven't been able to upload any posts due to not having net access. I will make sure that by the end of the evening I am up to date :)
Thanks for stopping by
Siobhan xoxo