Apple pie

Apple pie

Easy apple pie

Easy apple pie

Apple pie is realy so simple to make these days with frozen pastry available so freely in supermarkets. This is a really fantastic apple pie recipe with a caramel type sauce that cooks the apples. I’s sweet, like apple pie should be aitha nice cinnamon smell that will really mess with your senses.

What you need

500g frozen shortcrust pastry thawed
6 red apples
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup water
6 tablespoons soft butter
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch salt
Pie dish 23 cm

The process

Heat your oven to 220 Celsius

Take the pie dish and line it with a layer of pastry that reaches just over the edges of the pie dish. You should not need to roll it or anything.

Slice your apples into wedge shapes that are about 1cm at the base and fill the pie case.

Make 8 strips of pastry that are about 3 or 4cm wide with what is left over of the pastry and criss cross them over the top leaving spaces in between. Then fold over and squeeze the edges all the way round to seal the edge and join the strips to the edges.

In a pot on a high heat add the water, butter, sugars, salt and cinnamon and bring to the boil and remove from the heat.

Take a serving spoon or ladel and spoon the sauce over the pie, ensuring that the lattice you have created is well doused in the caramel sauce.

Place in the oven for 15 minutes at 220 Celsius then reduce the oven to 160 and bake for another 40 minutes.

Be sure to let it cool completely before cutting, the caramel sauce and apples are seriously hot and if you have ever had a hot sugar burn you will know what I am talking about.

Serve with ice cream are whipped cream and if you love pies, you must try the lemon meringue pie recipe

Fish in beer batter

Fish in beer batter

Fried fish in beer batter

Fried fish in beer batter

Fish and chips just like the take away makes it. This is a light and crunchy beer batter good for any white fish. Kingklip is my favorite. The Crispy beer batter is what makes fish and chip shops famous, so here you go, try this crispy fish batter. It is so much better eating it the moment it’s ready.

What you need

1 340ml can beer
1 1/2 cups of flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika

The process

In a glass bowl, pour the whole can of beer.

Sift in the flour, salt and paprika and give it avery good whisk.

You are looking for it to froth up and be well combined.

Place some plain flour on a plate and dust the pieces of fish before you dip them into the batter and then straight into hot oil. The oil should not be smoking but hot and it’s important to have enough oil to completely submerge the pieces of fish.

Remove when the batter is golden brown and crisp all over.

Drain in a colander or a wire rack and serve with chips. I must say that the McCains chips done in the oven are really fantastic, they need about 40 minutes or so in the oven so only start cooking the fish about 10 minutes before the chips are ready.

You could also try the potato wedges, which are just fantastic.

Haloumi and asparagus pasta salad

Haloumi and asparagus pasta salad

Summer pasta salad

Summer pasta salad

As the weather warms up pasta salad are really quick and tasty meals that are perfect for summer days. I love grilled haloumi and this combination of haloumi, asparagus and avocado is just fantastic. Use whatever shell or shaped pasta you have in your cupboard but using bow ties or twirly shaped pasta just makes it look so much better and feasting with your eyes before it goes into your mouth is half the pleasure… (4 people)

What you need

250g pasta shells
600-700g asparagus steamed until just tender
400g Haloumi cheese sliced thinly
1 avocado sliced into bte size pieces
Rind of 1 lemon finely grated
Juice of 1 large lemon about 50ml
Olive oil
1 teaspoon sugar
Palm of other fresh herb like chives or basil ripped.

The process

Put your pasta on the boil according to the instructions on the pack and cook until done. Drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process and cool down. leave it in a colander until you are ready.

Heat a pan to a medium heat with a little olive oil and cook the haloumi until browned on each side. Remove and set aside.

Now get a large bowl, add the pasta, haloumi, asparagus and avocado and toss with your hands.

In a separate bowl add 80ml of olive oil, the sugar, lemon rind, ripped chives and lemon juice and give it a whisk.

Pour over the pasta mixture and toss again to coat the mixture with the dressing.

Thats that, it’s really delicious and fresh, perfect for a summer lunch.

This smoked salmon pasta salad is a real winner as well.

Chicken and potato cakes

Chicken and potato cakes

chicken-cakesThese were really tasty and great to have in the fridge for a quick snack. We made these for lunch with a salad and a dipping sauce on the side. They are full of flavor and 2 cakes with a salad is just enough for a lite lunch. (4 people)

What you need

500g mashed potato
300g cooked chicken finely chopped
125g sandwich ham chopped
2 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs (parsley and tarragon are best)
2 eggs beaten
salt and pepper
Dry breadcrumbs

The process

In a mixing bowl add the chicken, mash, ham, chopped herbs and one of the eggs. Mix it all together well, distributing the ingredients evenly through the mixture.

Heat some oil in a pan on a medium heat and place breadcrumbs on a plate.

Make 8 burger size patties about 2cm thick, dip into the egg and then into the breadcrumbs, make sure they are really well coated with the breadcrumbs.

Fry them in the oil until they are golden brown on each side. Do 2 or 3 at a time and don’t overload the pan.

Place the cooked chicken cakes on some paper towel to drain off any oil.

Serve hot or cold with a salad and sweet chili sauce.

Orange marmalade

Orange marmalade

Ogange marmalade

Ogange marmalade

This marmalade recipe is my favorite and not just because of the flavor, but that the ingredients are measured cup for cup so you can use any available container to get it exactly right. Marmalade on fresh toast with a cuppa in the morning is not just for Grandad, although if you gave him a jar for Christmas with a personalized label.. well you will be his favorite for a very long time. Read the preparation guide first for bottle sterilizing methods. Makes about 4 jars.

What you need

10 oranges
2 lemons
2 liters water approx
sugar

The Process

Cut the oranges and lemons in half and squeeze the juice into a bowl for later use.

Now pop the skins, with the pulp still attached to the inside of the skins into a large pot,  cover them with water to the point that they are all just under the surface, put the lid on a leave to soak overnight.

Place the pot on the stove and bring to the boil for about 15 minutes. You should be able to very easily slide a toothpick into the skin.

Now remove the skins and slice them up fairly thin, about 2mm slices and then in half again to give you pieces that are about 4 or 5cm long.

Place the sliced oranges and lemons, the liquid from the pot and the juice that you squeezed out into a container or measuring jug, mark the volume and then return to the pot. Add the exact same amount of sugar to the pot.

Bring the liquid and sugar mixture, simmer stirring every few minutes until the sugar has completely dissolved. (very important)

Now bring it to the boil and cook until the you notice a colour change. This should be somewhere between 5 and 10 minutes. Test it for readiness by removing from the heat and placing a small amount onto a plate, then place into the fridge for 5 minutes, it is ready if it wrinkles up when you push it with your finger. if not boil for another 5 minutes.

Fill your sterilized jars and seal straight away. remember to read the sterilizing info first.

Hertzoggies

Hertzoggies

Hertzoggies

Hertzoggies

Hertzog cookies are just the best little tarts, everyone loves them. They are an apricot version of lemon meringue pie with a hint of coconut. these days you can buy frozen pastry which makes them so easy to make, you can have a dozen hertzoggies straight from the oven in about 1/2 an hour.

What you need

1 packet frozen short crust pastry

1 bottle/tin smooth apricot jam
2 egg whites
100g caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
4 tablespoons desiccated coconut

The process

heat your oven to 180 Celsius and spray your tart tray with spray and cook. Use a shallow tray not a muffin tray.

Flour a surface and your rolling pin lightly and roll out the pastry to about 3/4mm thick. Use a glass or round cutter to cut rounds to line the tray. use a fork to prick holes in the base and then put the tray into the oven for about 10 minutes or so until the bases are lightly browned.

You will be smelling that home baking smell and wondering why it has taken you so long to discover frozen pastry!

Remove the tray from the oven and allow them to cook in the tray while you make the meringue mixture.

Best the egg whites to stiff peaks and then add the caster sugar in 3 lots, beating well each time. Then add the vanilla essence and give it a last good beating. It should be glossy now. finally add the coconut and use a spoon or spatula to fold in the coconut, don’t beat it!

Fill each pastry case with the apricot jam to about 2/3 full and then place a nice dollop of the meringue mixture on top.

Pop the tray back into the oven for about 20 minutes until the meringue is crisp and slightly browned.

If you can… let them cool for a while before eating, the jam burns like hell and it allows the meringue to crisp up.

Chicken cottage pie

Chicken cottage pie

Chicken cottage pie

Chicken cottage pie

This chicken cottage pie is another one of those hearty home meals that will soon become a family favorite. Its quick and easy and you can flavor it with whatever vegetables and herbs you have on hand. Chicken mince make economical meals and it is just so easy to make. It keeps well in the fridge for a few days, so for those who need a few single meals, send it! (4 people easily)

What you need

500g chicken mince
1 large onion
2 finely chopped carrots
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon tomato puree
300ml chicken stock
salt and pepper
pinch thyme
1kg potatoes mashed with butter and milk(salt and pepper the mash well)
grated cheese for topping

The process

Prepare the mash by cutting the potatoes into small pieces, boil until soft, drain off the water, add a good knob of butter and a splash of milk, then mash well.

Fry the chicken mince, onion and carrots together for about 5 minutes.

sprinkle over the flour and stir for 2 minutes

mix in the tomato puree and chicken stock and simmer on a low heat for 15 minutes, then add the thyme and the salt and pepper.

Place the chicken mixture in an oven dish, spoon over the mash and top with the grated cheese.

Place it in a hot oven of 200C for 20 minutes, thats it, easy, hearty, tasty and economical.

Serve with a salad or add peas to the mixture for some greens.

Mediterranean chicken sausage

Mediterranean chicken sausage

Mediterranean chicken

Mediterranean chicken

Chicken sausages are really great when you only have a few minutes to prepare a tasty wholesome meal. This recipe is great for those on a no carb diet or simply add some nice creamy mashed potato and you have a tasty, filling meal meal for the whole family. This chicken sausage recipe is a Mediterranean style and fresh basil leaves make a huge difference so don’t leave them out. I like to use the thin wors style chicken sausage so if you are using thicker sausage just poach for a little while longer. (for 4 people but easy to adjust for single servings)

What you need

750g chicken sausage
1 large onion halved and sliced
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
3 small eggplants or about 250g thinly sliced, skin left on
8 baby marrows thinly sliced diagonally
Handful of cherry tomatoes halved
Handful of chopped fresh basil leaves
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

The process

Add about 3cm of water to a pan, pop in the sausage, bring to the boil and poach for about 3 minutes to cook through. If you are using the thicker sausage poach for about 5 minutes. Once cooked slice them into 1/2 cm diagonal strips.

While the sausage is poaching, add a little olive oil to a wok or pan on a medium to high heat and stir fry the onions and garlic until you get little browned bits on the edges. Add the sausage and toss it around until the sausage browns slightly on the edges, remove and set aside.

Add a little more oil, the eggplant slices, baby marrows and halved tomatoes and stir fry until the vegetables begin to soften. Don’t wait until they are pap or very soft, the recipe is a fresh wholesome recipe with the veg more heated than cooked with the veg still firm.

Now add the sausage mixture back to the pan, add the chopped basil, season with salt and pepper, toss around and that is that, you are done.

You should also serve it with a fine grating of parmesan cheese. Try the Chicken and potato hotpot for something really special.

Smoked haddock kedgeree

Smoked haddock kedgeree

Kedgeree

Kedgeree

Smoked haddock is so under rated I thought I’d give you an old fashioned tasty kedgeree recipe that you will love. It’s one of those I remeber from my childhood and dont make often enough. It’s brilliant for breakfast or lunch. (4/5 people)

What you need

500g frozen smoked haddock fillets
1 medium onion finely chopped
3 cups cooked rice
75ml cream
1 teaspoon tumeric or mild curry powder
3 boiled eggs
Salt and pepper

The process

Poach the haddock in a little milk for a few minutes until the fish easily flakes.

In a pan on a medium heat, cook the onion until soft and add the tumeric or curry powder and stir thoroughly until the rice has changed colour. Grind in a generous amount of black pepper and a pinch of salt.

Flake the haddock into the pan, add the rice and cream and mix until the fish is evenly distributed. Remove from the heat and serve straight away with the boiled eggs halved over the top.

It won’t take longer than 20 minutes to prepare and its really delicious.

Garlic prawns

Garlic prawns

Steamed garlic prawns

Steamed garlic prawns

This is the easiest garlic prawn recipe you will come across and is extremely tasty. I love to serve it with a simple vegetable stir fry that has a large handful of bean sprouts tossed into it instead of carrots. They are steamed and by far the best steamers are the bamboo steamers that you get at any oriental supermarket. (for 2 on their own or 4 with another Chinese dish, try the pineapple duck)

What you need

400 – 500g large prawns cleaned and without heads
2 heaped teaspoons crushed garlic
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon rice wine or sherry
1 teaspoon olive oil
good grinding of black pepper

The process

Get some water boiling furiously on the stove or your steamer really sending it.

On a plate that will fit inside your steamer you want to layer your prawns covering the entire plate.

Whisk together all of the rest of the ingredients in a small bowl to really combine the flavours and then pour the sauce over the prawns evenly, leaving nice little mounds of galic on the top.

Place the plate into your steamer carefully being careful not to burn yourself. You may want to remove the steamer first or take off the layer for the plate if you are using an electric steamer.

Steam them for 3/4 minutes or so until they are pink and firm.

The tricky part is removing the plate without burning yourself so be careful.

Thats it, fantastic fresh garlic prawns. You can also chop up a handful of coriander leaves to top it off if you are serving it with rice or yellow rice.

If you do burn yourself the best thing to do is to mix bicarb of soda with water from the tap into a thick paste and cover the burn. It’s amazing, it takes away the sting immediately.