Blackberry Mocktail

Makes: 6

Prep: 15 minutes

Total: 15 minutes



INGREDIENTS

  • 450g frozen or fresh blackberries
  • Crushed ice
  • 7-Up Soda
  • Rosemary for garnish


INSTRUCTIONS

Muddle thawed blackberries at the bottom of each glass, until broken up and they release their juice.

Fill 3/4 of the glasses with crushed ice.

Pour 7-Up over the ice.


Garnish with a few blackberries and a sprig of rosemary.

NOTES

For an alcoholic version just add a splash of Malibu Coconut Rum. 

Amazing Soft Pretzel Rolls

Makes: 16

Prep: 20 minutes

Cook: 22 minutes

Additional Time: 1 Hour 18 Minutes


INGREDIENTS

DOUGH:

  •  1 tablespoon instant yeast
  •  2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
  •  2 cups warm milk (about 100-110 degrees F)
  •  1 1/2 cups warm water (about 100-110 degrees F)
  •  2 teaspoons salt
  •  6 1/2 - 8 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

WATER BATH AND EXTRAS:

  •  3 quarts water
  •  1 tablespoon sugar
  •  1/4 cup baking soda
  •  Coarse salt for sprinkling


INSTRUCTIONS

In the bowl of an electric mixer (or you can do this by hand in a large bowl), stir together the yeast, oil, milk and water. Add the salt and two cups of the flour. Add the rest of the flour gradually until a soft dough is formed and knead for 3-4 minutes. You may not need to use all the flour depending on many different factors (see the note) - add the flour until a soft dough is formed that clears the sides of the bowl. It is similar in texture to bagel dough and should be slightly more stiff and less sticky than, say, roll dough, but definitely still soft and not over floured.

Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover it with greased plastic wrap and let it rise until doubled in size (1-2 hours).

Portion the dough into 16 pieces and roll each piece of dough into a lovely little round ball. Here's a great tutorial on how to do that quickly and efficiently.

Lay out the rolls on lightly greased parchment or a lightly floured counter. Make sure the dough balls won't stick! Let them rest for 15-20 minutes.

While the dough rests, bring the water, sugar and baking soda to a boil in a large 5–6-quart saucepan.

Working with one piece of dough at a time, carefully take it off the parchment or counter, flip it over in your hand and pinch the bottom to form a little pucker and help the dough form a nice, taut ball. Take care not to deflate the dough; you should pinch just the very edge of the dough.

Place 3-4 dough balls in the boiling water and boil for 30 seconds to 1 minute on each side (the longer you boil, the chewier the baked pretzel roll will be).

With a spatula, remove the dough from the boiling water and let the excess water drip off into the pan. Place the boiled dough balls onto lined baking sheets.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Using a very sharp knife or razor, slice 2-3 cuts into the top of each unbaked roll about 1/4-inch deep or so. It's important to use a very sharp blade so that it cuts the dough without deflating it. It's ok if the dough looks wrinkly and kind of funny. It will work itself out during baking. Lightly sprinkle each dough ball with coarse salt.

Bake for 20-22 minutes until the rolls are deep golden brown. These rolls definitely taste best the same day they are made; however, slightly warmed in the microwave for a few seconds will do wonders for pretzel rolls 1-2 days old.

NOTES

As with all yeast doughs, I never use the flour amount called for in the recipe as a hard fast rule (unless a weight measure is given and then I pull out my kitchen scale). Because humidity, temperature, altitude and a multitude of other factors can impact how much flour you need in your yeast doughs, I always judge when to quit adding flour by the texture and look and feel of the dough rather than how much flour I've added compared to the recipe.

 This tutorial on yeast may help identify how a perfectly floured dough should be. For this pretzel dough, you are going for a slightly stiffer dough than regular roll dough (but it should still be soft and not over floured).

Swiss Chard Pesto Spaghetti with Halloumi

For this particular recipe though, I am using some freshly harvested Swiss Chard that I grew for the first time this year.

Chard is part of the beet family, although you won’t be pulling up any taproot as such. For this recipe we don’t need the stalks but after removing the leaves you can chop these up and freeze, ready to use in another recipe.


Serves: 4

Prep: 5min

Cook: 15min

Ingredients:

  • 400g Swish Chard
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 60g of Parmesan cheese
  •  2 Tablespoons of Rapeseed oil
  • 300g Spaghetti
  • 250g Haloumi
  • ½ Lemon
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

 

Method:

1. Bring a pan of salted water to a rolling boil and add the spaghetti

2. Peel the garlic and remove the green chard leaves away from their stalks. Chop the leaves up   and add both garlic cloves and leaves to the pan of spaghetti.

3. Prepare the halloumi by slicing lengthways and griddle on a high heat for around 2-3 minutes   per side.

4. Whilst the halloumi cooks, removed the chard leaves and garlic cloves from the pan and put   into a blender.

5. Add around 1 ½ tablespoons of the rapeseed oil to the blender, reserve some for dressing the   finished dish.

6. Grate in the parmesan cheese and blend the ingredients until you get a fairly smooth “pesto”   consistency.

7. Season to taste with salt and pepper

8. Remove the spaghetti from the heat and drain, it should be al dente (cooked but firm to the     bite) keep around 1 cup full of the cooking water as you may need it later.

9. Pour the chard pesto into the pan with the spaghetti, stirring and tossing until the pesto evenly   covers the spaghetti. If you find the pesto is too sticky or thick then add some of the cooking   water a little at a time to thin the pesto to a consistency you are happy with

10. Portion up the spaghetti onto your plates and tear up the griddled haloumi into bite sizes       chunks and add to the spaghetti.

11. Finally drizzle remaining oil over the top and add a squeeze of lemon juice.

 

Store:

You can make up a much larger batch of this pesto and freeze for up to 6 months. This recipe serves 4 so simply scale the ingredients up for a larger batch

Shakshuka

Shakshuka is a delicious and comforting Middle Eastern one pot dish that is healthy and very tasty. This dish can be enjoyed at any time of day, breakfast, noon or night. It is easily adaptable for your diet, for a completely vegan version simply remove the eggs. This can be enjoyed with a warm crusty slice of bread on the side to dip in and mop up that amazing tomato sauce.


Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 cans (14 oz. each) diced tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp mild chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper, or more to taste (careful, it's spicy!)
  • Pinch of sugar (optional, to taste)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4-6 eggs (1 per person)
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh chopped parsley, coriander or basil (optional, for garnish)


Method

  1. Warm the olive oil in a deep, large frying pan on medium. Add chopped onion, saute for a few minutes until the onion begins to soften. Add garlic and continue to saute until the mixture is fragrant
  2.  Add the diced bell pepper, cook for 5-7 minutes still on a medium heat until softened.
  3.  Add the tomatoes and tomato paste to the pan, stir well. Add spices and sugar, stir, and allow mixture to simmer over medium heat for 5-7 minutes until it starts to reduce.
  4.  At this point, you can taste the mixture and spice it according to your preferences. Add salt and pepper to taste, more sugar for a sweeter sauce, or more cayenne pepper for a spicier shakshuka (be careful with the cayenne... it is extremely spicy!).
  5.  Make little wells in the sauce as best you can, this can be difficult if the sauce has not reduced enough, but you just want to make a little cradle for the eggs to sit in by pushing the firmer ingredients away from the centre of your well.
  6.  Crack the eggs, one at a time, directly over the tomato mixture, making sure to space them evenly over the sauce. I usually place 5 eggs around the outer edge and 1 in the centre but this depends on how big your pan is. The eggs will cook "over easy" style on top of the tomato sauce.
  7.  Cover the pan. Allow mixture to simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the eggs are cooked and the sauce has slightly reduced. Keep an eye on the pan to make sure that the sauce doesn't reduce too much, which can lead to burning.
  8.  Some people prefer their shakshuka eggs more runny. If this is your preference, let the sauce reduce for a few minutes before cracking the eggs on top-- then, cover the pan and cook the eggs to taste.
  9.  Garnish with your chosen herb, chopped parsley, coriander or basil if desired.

Roast Dinner Hash

This dish has fast become a legendary Boxing day brunch in our house using leftover Christmas dinner. However, its perfect for any time of the year! It’s also a perfect way to use up any leftover Sunday roast and for those that like me that hate wasting food then you need this recipe in your favourites.

The recipe below is based on some typical roast dinner ingredients utilising the featured seasonal produce mentioned above. In reality you can use whatever you have left over and available to you at the time. There is no right or wrong way here. Top tip: I do find it easier to prep all your ingredients first though before you begin to cook.

Serves: 4

Prep: 5min

Cook: 15min


Ingredients:

·       2 Tablespoons of Rapeseed Oil

·       Mixture of around 200g of leftover veggies

-       Parsnips

-       Brussel Sprouts

-       Carrots

-       Peas

-       Onion

-       Broccoli

·       6-8 Leftover roast potatoes

·       3-4 Left over Yorkshire puddings

·       4 Tablespoons of stuffing

·       100-150g of leftover meat

·       1 Teaspoon of dried thyme

·       1 Teaspoon of dried rosemary

·       Salt and pepper to season

·       4 eggs (1 egg per person)

 

Method:

1.     Roughly chop all the root veg and potatoes

2.     Keep the smaller, softer veg separate (Peas, broccoli, Brussel sprouts)

3.     Break up the stuffing mix into bite size chunks.

4.     Roughly chop the Yorkshire puddings

5.     Shred the meat

Now that all your elements are prepared the cooking should take no time at all

1.     Heat the oil in a large frying pan or wok on a high heat.

2.     Add the root veg and potatoes, cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3.     Add in the stuffing and Yorkshire puddings, cook for a further 2 minutes and continue to stir

4.     Add the meat, cook for a further 1 minute.

5.     Turn heat down to medium and add the remaining veg. Cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally so all the scrummy scraps are mixed together.

6.     Add in the dried herbs and season with salt and pepper to taste.

7.     At this point I normally add the hash to a baking tray and keep warm in the oven whilst I fry off the eggs (the oven also creates a crisp edge to the potatoes and yorkies). If you have a spare frying pan then you don’t have to worry about using the oven.

8.     Fry off 1 egg per person.


Serving Suggestion:

Serve the hash piping hot in a bowl topped with a fried egg, pop the yolk so it oozes over the hash. A warm buttery crusty role never goes a miss either!

Chicken & Pumpkin Risotto

Winter squash refers to the type of squash that is grown through summer and harvested in late autumn. They are generally stored and used during the winter months, butternut and crown prince are just two common examples.

This risotto is a great dish to showcase winter squash, it’s a simple recipe to follow with few ingredients but it looks and tastes amazing.

Serves: 4

Prep: 30min

Cook: 45min

Ingredients:

  • 30g Butter
  • 250g of Shredded roast chicken
  • 400g Arborio rice
  • 350g Winter Squash (peeled / cubed)
  • 150g Peas
  • 1ltr Chicken stock (made from 1 low sodium stock cube)
  • 1 Clove of garlic
  • 1 large white onion (diced)
  • 1 Glass of white wine
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 150g Grated Parmesan

 

 

Method:

1. Peel & cube the squash. Coat with a little oil & place onto a backing try. Place into a pre-heated  oven at 200 C / Gas 6 for 15 minutes.

2. Melt the butter in a large frying pan. Finley dice the onion and garlic, add to the pan and gently  fry until soft but not browned.

3. Add the arborio rice to the pan and mix thoroughly with the onions ensuring the rice is evenly    coated with the butter. Cook for 2-3 minutes.

4. Add the glass of wine and stir until the rice absorbs the liquid.

5. Now add 250ml of the stock, continually stirring until the rice absorbs the liquid. Repeat this    process twice more until you are left with 250ml of stock.

6. Add in the roasted squash and peas along with the last 250ml of stock, again continue to stir   until the rice has absorbed more liquid and becomes tender.

7. Remove from the heat. Stir in the parmesan and juice from half a lemon, cover and leave for 5   minutes