I had the pleasure of discovering the blog “chef in disguise” when I was part of the now defunct *Secret Recipe Club* (a monthly *secret santa* style recipe swap club). From the SRC club – I made her cheese wreath bread and then later on, I was inspired by her apricot jam post.
During June, I saw her post (and instagram image) about fluffy pumpkin pancakes… and OMG did they look delicious. I actually roasted pumpkin one evening just so that I could make these for our breakfast one Sunday morning!
HIM declared them to be the *BEST* pancakes that I had ever made – which is truly high praise from the man who normally indicates that something tastes good with a “I don’t dislike it”.
A definite make again => and enough to feed 2 hungry adults, a hungry toddler & provide a container of leftover snacks for aforementioned toddler for the next day.
1.5 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1.5 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup milk
1 cup pumpkin puree
2 Tablespoons butter (softened)
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
- sift flour, baking powder, salt & cinnamon into a large mixing bowl
- in another bowl, whisk milk, pumpkin puree, egg, butter, sugar & vanilla
- add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until combined
- Grease & heat a nonstick frying pan
- add a scoop of batter (approx. 1/4 cup) to the frying pan (I found that I could do 3 at a time)
- cook on a medium heat until you see bubbles forming, then flip to cook the other side
Probably one of the simplest recipes that I have ever encountered and completely inspired by Marie Gourmandise – whose Instagram photos are always so beautiful, light and simple but utterly delectable! I was even lucky enough to sit next to her at a Smartmat blogger event 2years ago.
One of the upsides to Monkey growing up is that she can now help me a bit in the kitchen… or at least it is *helping* in her vocabulary, while in mine it is sometimes a case of her stealing & eating my props while I attempt to take a photo …. but those hands… aren’t they too cute??? (yes – I am biased!) But this might just become a trend …
In general – I have made this pastry wreath about 3 or 4 times already and each time, tweaking it a bit – which means that you too can adapt accordingly.
Courgette & Feta pastry wreath
1 pre-made pastry
1 medium courgette/zucchini/baby marrow – sliced (whatever you call it in your own country)
1 tub boursin – I used the herby version (but any cream cheese version will work)
1/2 block of feta – cubed
- lay the pastry on a greased piece of baking paper on your baking tray
- as the pre-made pastry that I had purchased was already round – I only had score the edges and make a star shape cuts in the centre. Be careful that you leave a ring around the centre uncut as this is where your filling will go
- spoon the cream cheese (boursin) around your uncut ring, top with slices of courgette & feta
- Fold the pastry over the filling starting with the outside first (see images above for direction)
- Egg wash if you like… I don’t as I find it browns/burns too quickly
- Bake for 20-25minutes at 200C
We hosted some friends for a little brunch in our new place at the beginning of January… when our apartment was still not 100% fully renovated (missing doors on kitchen cabinets & appliances; an empty living area as the couch will only be delivered tomorrow; a toilet in one bathroom and no basin, a basin in one bathroom with no toilet; half painted door frames… etc etc…)
But the oven works … as seen with the banana yoghurt loaf that I baked => so I decided to also try my hand at this herby scone bread recipe from the *Recipes from a Royal Kitchen* – a cookbook gift from my mommabear long time ago!
The secret with any scone mixture is not to work it too much, otherwise you don’t get a good rise. And normally I make mini individual scones, so I was eager to try leaving it as “one whole bread”
The Result? It had a crumbly scone texture but very tasty … and would be taken to the next level with the addition of some strong cheese in the mixture! Would I make it again. Most Probably.
Herby Scone Bread
2 cups cake flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
pinch of bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon caster sugar
4 teaspoons dried herbs (or 1/4 cup of chopped fresh herbs)
50g butter (melted)
1/2 cup milk
1 beaten egg with 1 Tablespoon milk for glazing
- Sift flour, baking powder, bicarb & salt
- Add caster sugar, herbs & melted butter
- Add milk & mix lightly to form a soft, sticky dough
- Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth
- press into a round shape approx. 3cm thick
- Place on a greased baking tray and brush with egg/milk mixture
- Mark into 8 wedges using a knife to cut lightly into the dough
- Bake at 180C for 20min
I love risotto and so does HIM, the only negative part of making it is that you need to be in the kitchen the entire time, stirring the pot regularly and adding ladle fulls of stock as you go. Time consuming indeed, but so worth it when you set down to eat a bowl full of this creamy heaven.
I found this recipe in the BBC Good Food Magazine (June 2014 issue) and adapted it by adding crispy bacon pieces (because… who doesn’t love bacon… right???) and wine. While omitting the toasted pine nuts, lemon & mascarpone – but the idea of adding grated courgettes right at the beginning truly does make for a creamy risotto!
would I make it again – yes!
This recipe fed 4 adults … because the courgettes help to bulk it out!
Creamy Courgette Risotto
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 courgettes, (grate 2 of them & dice the third)
210g risotto rice
150ml white wine
1l stock (I use chicken stock)
2 Tablespoons of butter
150g bacon pieces
- Melt the butter large pot and fry the onion until softened
- Add the grated courgettes & rice, stirring to coat all the pieces
- Add the white wine and sizzle for 1-2minutes
- Add a ladle (or two) of stock and stir
- Reduce heat to medium and stir regularly, adding a ladle of stock at a time as it gets absorbed during the cooking process (takes approx. 20-25minutes)
- Remove risotto from heat, add the remaining butter and a handful of parmesan cheese. Cover with a lid and leave for 5minutes.
- In the meantime, fry the bacon & diced courgette in a frying pan until both are cooked (and bacon is crispy)
I recently saw this recipe on Alida Ryder’s website (called Simply Delicious) – except hers didn’t have the coconut addition.
Breakfast in our house is a very standard affair – especially for HIM… who always has 2 slices of toast with cheese & ham – while mine can vary from time to time – but toast or porridge is pretty normal. However… on really special occasions… pancakes make an appearance.
And on Monkey’s 1st birthday – I decided to make a batch of these… mostly because they are sugar free and included banana & oats (all good things)… but also because I loved how gorgeous they looked on Alida’s blog!
I adapted her recipe by adding 1/4 cup of milk – as the mixture was too thick as well as the desiccated coconut. They aren’t particularly sweet which is why I added a good pour of golden syrup to mine 🙂
Chocolate Banana Coconut & Oat Pancakes
2 ripe banana’s
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
1/2 cup milk
- Place all ingredients into a bowl and using a hand blender – blend until mixture is smooth
- leave to rest for 10-20minutes
- Heat a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat
- Fry spoonfuls of the batter (1-2min on each side) until brown
When I was pregnant and lacking sufficient protein inspiration – my dietician suggested roasting chickpeas and enjoying these as a snack (instead of crisps). Although I didn’t do it at the time – I did find this recipe in the BBC Good Food Magazine (June 2016 issue supplement) and decided it was HIGH time to finally try them out!
These spicy snacks are more-ish (aka – you want to eat more…) but I probably should have left them in the oven for 5minutes more to get them super crunchy!
Would I make them again? yes… for a healthy snack, they are great – PLUS they are consider one of my 5-a-day and are vegan friendly.
Spicy Roasted Chickpeas
400g can chickpeas
1 teaspoon sunflower or canola oil
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
- Tip the drained & washed chickpeas into a bowl along with oil and spices
- Toss well until chickpeas are well coated
- Place on a baking tray
- Bake for 35min at 180C, moving them around the tray halfway to ensure they dry out evenly
I recently decided to eat less carbs at night… Now, don’t you worry… I am not going paleo on anyone… but rather eating my carbs in the morning for breakfast & at mid-day for lunch. This has meant some mindset changes – especially as I have had a tendency to have salads for lunch (because I am at work) and big hearty dinners (when I am at home).
Last week – I knew that I was going to make a pot of bolognese sauce… but instead of teaming it with conventional noodles or spaghetti – I decided to read up a bit about zoodles (zucchini noodles) or courgetti (courgette spaghetti).. which is when you make a “faux” noodle out of courgettes. I especially enjoyed reading Elana’s Pantry recipe and pretty much followed her cues for a bowl of warm courgette zoodles.
Essentially – using a spiralizer made the job super quick and easy.
Make again? Yes… in fact, I did it again the following evening too!
Courgetti Bolognese (feeds 4)
3-4 large courgettes (1 per person)
400g mince (pork/beef mix)
180g tomato paste
1 teaspoon sugar
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 grated carrots
- To make the bolognese sauce, I heat up some olive oil in a large saucepan and then add meat
- Once browned, I mix in the passatta, tomato paste, sugar, carrots, garlic and seasonings
- Reduce heat and leave to simmer for 20-30minutes
- For the courgetti, spiralize the courgette.
- Salt it and leave to sit for 20minutes
- Rinse & drain the courgetti, and pat dry with paper towels
- In a frying pan, heat a dash of olive oil and then ‘fry’ the courgetti for approx. 5minutes
As simple as that
Just before I was knocked down with a 2nd bout of tonsillitis (don’t even ask – but I was seriously not a happy camper) – I managed to whip up a batch of these delicious white chocolate chip cookies!
Firstly – I found the recipe in the Olive magazine (July issue) – but theirs called for caramelizing the white chocolate. Now, anyone with a mobile 9month old is not going to be working with hot chocolate for an hour while their Monkey is crawling around their feet … right? So I didn’t do this – but followed the rest of the recipe and they turned out great.
My only negative (and my own fault for not caramelizing the white chocolate) is the cookies looked a bit bland and colourless (even if they tasted great!)
Would I make it again? Yes – the recipe is easy and quick – but next time I would use milk chocolate chips OR colourful sprinkles – maybe nuts & cranberries… Hmmm! The opportunities are endless!
White chocolate chip cookies
100g white chocolate, roughly chopped
150g butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon milk
220g self-raising flour
- Beat butter & sugar until light & creamy
- Beat in egg
- Add vanilla extract & milk
- Mix the flour in
- Add chocolate chips & mix in
- Line & grease a baking tray (or 3)
- Place a teaspoon ball of dough on the tray (evenly spaced). Don’t worry about flattening out, as they will do this while baking
- Bake for 10min at 190C
- Rest for a few minutes before moving them to a wire rack to cool
Using up leftovers is a new recipe is always fulfilling – even more so when the meal turns out tasty. However, I must point out that HIM wasn’t a huge fan as he said the frittata was actually too sweet… owing to the fact that I used deliciously sweet roasted butternut – but I enjoyed it…
A frittata is essentially a crustless quiche… and because there are times when I don’t have store-bought ready-made pastry in my fridge (in fact… almost never) and because I was too lazy to whip up my own pastry on a week night – I figured that a frittata would be perfectly acceptable as a mid-week meal.
My inspiration came from Woolworths Taste Magazine (online) recipe for a roasted butternut quiche – but I didn’t use the puff pastry or the grana padano… but rather used up some leftover blue cheese (from my birthday afternoon tea).
Would I make it again? yes… but I might add some bacon or something really salty to balance the flavour combinations of sweet (the roasted butternut) and the creamy (the blue cheese). This recipe makes 3 decent sized portions.
Roasted Butternut and blue cheese frittata
1 peeled butternut, cubed (~500g)
150g blue cheese, crumbled (more or less depending on your own personal taste)
200g cream cheese (room temperature)
salt & pepper
- Place cubed butternut on a roasting tray sprinkled with olive oil and salt/pepper – and roast in a preheated oven (230C) for 15-20min, until cooked
- Remove from heat and allow to cool
- Place into an oven-proof baking dish with the blue cheese
- Beat eggs with the cream cheese & pour over the butternut & cheese
- Place in an pre-heated oven (180C) for 20-30minutes (slightly brown and set)
While my mommabear was visiting us in December – she helped me make up some plum jam and a quick berry jam… and it has been so satisfying to give some bottles away as gifts, but also to be able to slather some onto toast in the comfort and pride that *I made this*
While dad was visiting us earlier in the month, I spotted a wonderful selection of apricots at the Flagey market. And since I had recently seen this apricot jam recipe from Chef in Disguise (a fellow blogger in our Secret Recipe Club) – I knew that this was something that I wanted to try out!
Would I make it again? Good question… it smelt amazing, but the taste was a bit tart (not that I mind, but it is definitely different to the store bought variety) and I think I might have needed to let it cook for a tad bit longer to get it to set thicker. But all in all – a good effort, I think! 🙂
500g Apricots (cut in half & pip removed)
Tablespoon lemon Juice
- Place all the ingredients in a pot and over a medium heat bring to the boil
- Reduce heat and leave to simmer until 1/3 reduced (or more if you want it thicker)
- Ladle into jars and leave to cool