Sweetcorn fritters with couscous and cottage cheese.

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Sweet, juicy, golden sweetcorn. It not only tastes great but it’s full of nutrients including fibre and protein as well as being a great source of vitamin C. It also contains thiamin which helps to produce energy for the heart, muscles and nervous system! So it’s not a bad thing having this little whole grain in your diet.These fritters are more like little pancakes, light and delicious without the grease. Perfect for a weekday dinner as they are relatively easy to make and you can mix it up by adding other veg and spices, whatever takes your fancy.

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Serves 4

Ingredients

FOR THE FRITTERS:

300g tin sweetcorn
2 medium free range eggs
75g flour
50g feta cheese, cubed
2 spring onions, Finley sliced
1 tbsp Piri Piri seasoning or chilli flakes to taste.
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste
Cottage cheese, to serve

FOR THE COUSCOUS:

200g couscous
A large handful or rocket
50g feta cheese, cubed
1 large tomato, de-seeded and diced
Zest of 1/2 lemon
1 tbsp hemp oil
Salt & pepper

Method

Drain the sweetcorn and place 3/4 of it in a large bowl with the flour, baking soda, eggs, feta, spring onions and piri piri seasoning. Mix until thoroughly combined then place half of the mixture in a food processor and blend until relatively smooth.

Put a kettle on to boil and heat a large non stick sauce pan on a medium heat with 1 tbsp olive oil.

Empty the contents of the food processor back into the bowl with the other batter then add the remaining sweetcorn and combine.

Add the dried couscous to a clean, empty bowl and cover with boiling water so it’s roughly an inch above the surface then cover with cling film.

Now spoon the batter onto the pan to make the fritters. Two tbsp of batter each is enough the lightly fry for 1-2 minutes on each side.

Once your on your last batch take the cling film off the couscous and fluff it with a fork. Add the feta, tomatoes,rocket and lemon zest the season to taste.

Serve the sweetcorn fritters with the couscous with a dollop of cottage cheese on top and a drizzle of hemp oil. Enjoy!

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Repost: salted peanut and marshmallow rocky road


This time of year always calls for some indulgence and what better than some salty sweet rocky road. It’s ridiculously easy to make and even more easier to devour, I just had to repost this one from last year. To get the recipe Click here.

Smoked swordfish patè

imageThis is absolutely divine! I love how indulgent this seems…or maybe is. It is always a favourite of mine at this time of year and it goes perfectly at any Christmas party. I see this everywhere in Italy at Christmas time and decided to use it instead of smoked salmon. The results were just amazing and I munched my way through it on a cold Christmas afternoon. It also only took about 2 seconds to make, perfect!

Ingredients:

100g smoked swordfish

1 tbsp lemon juice

6 tbsp single cream

1 big pinch of pepper
Method:

Put all ingredients except the cream in a bowl. Add 3 tbsp of cream and whizz with a hand mixer until combined. Add the rest of the cream until it is a smooth consistency. If you feel it is too thick you can continue to add a little cream a tbsp at a time. Serve on a small serving dish with some crackers.

Smoked salmon patè with black pepper crackers.

 

 
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I absolutely love smoked salmon and especially at Christmas time. This recipe is perfect for parties, entertaining, new year or even on Christmas Day as finger food. After craving smoked salmon for a few days, this really hit the spot and it’s so easy to make.

Ingredients

For the patè:
100g Scottish smoked salmon
125g good quality soft cream cheese
Lemon, squeeze
Salt and pepper, to season

For the crackers:
200g plain flour
50g cold butter, cubed
5 tbsp water
Salt and pepper

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degreesC. To make the patè, put the smoked salmon and cream cheese in a bowl and blend together with a hand blender until it is a nice, smooth consistency. Add a squeeze of lemon and a pinch of salt and pepper, set aside. Now to make the crackers, place the flour,butter, pinch of salt and large grating of pepper in a bowl. Using your fingers mix the butter through the flour. Now add 3-4tbsp of water and bring the dough together. It’s important not to get it too wet. Once you’ve formed it in a ball add another tbsp of water so it all comes together nicely but not wet or sticky. Now roll out on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle as thin as possible. Pick all over with a fork and lightly brush with water. Cut into squares and place on a baking tray lined with baking parchment. Bake for 10-15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack and serve with patè.
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Simple artichokes and peas

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I hadn’t tried this pasta before and I now love it. It’s very dense and has such a lovely texture to eat, it would be great with a rich tomato sauce or a ragù. I decided to go for a nice fresh tasting pasta last night which was again so easy. I used my artichoke dip and added peas to it for the sauce and that was it, simple. I thought about warming it up with a little mascarpone or ricotta but I wanted a lighter pasta so if you want to add any of those in your version please let me know how it goes.

1 quantity of my artichoke dip + a little extra artichoke oil
50g frozen peas
200g fusilli lunghi bucati

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and a little pot for the peas. Add the pasta to the large pot and peas to the small pot. After 1-2 minutes, remove the peas and add to your artichoke dip and mix. Add more of the artichoke oil to your dip than normal so it’s not as thick. Once the pasta is al dente, drain and place back in the pot. Add your artichoke and peas on top and coat the pasta thoroughly. Serve in large bowls with a grating of parmesan. Easy peasy!

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Salted peanut & marshmallow rocky road.

imageThis really does taste as good as it looks. Salty chocolate and soft marshmallow..mmm just what I need after the week from hell I’ve had. Let’s just say there’s some serious Italian sickness bugs going around and I’ve managed to catch them all!! So after not being able to even think of food for the past week ( not exactly the Xmas diet I was looking for ) I suddenly got all festive again. The Christmas songs went on and my little reindeer came out to play. This honestly takes two minutes to make, it’s ridiculously easy and the reward is well worth making….well not much effort at all.

Ingredients Makes 12

300g good quality dark chocolate
1tbsp runny honey
125g butter
200g salted peanuts
100g mini marshmallows
1 tbsp icing sugar
17 x 22 cm foil tray

Method

Add the butter,chocolate and honey in a saucepan and melt slowly over a low heat. Add the peanuts into a freezer or sandwich bag and bash with a rolling pin ( you want some little pieces and some larger ). Once melted turn the heat off and add the peanuts and marshmallows. Spoon the mixture into a foil tray and leave to cool slightly before placing in the fridge for 2-3 hours or over night. Cut into little squares and sprinkle with a little icing sugar if desired.

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White chocolate, candied orange and amaretto trees.

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Well it’s officially December ( so no one can moan at me for talking about Christmas anymore ) and I have to apologise for our lack of posts recently, but December will be jam packed with lovely little recipes. This is my most absolute favourite time of the year. My apartment is filled with Christmas fragrance so every time I get a whiff or walk in the door I get a whoosh of happiness. Little glass bowls of chocolate coins and reindeers are dotted around, the fruit bowl is filled with clementines, the banister is wrapped in garlands and little red berry fairy lights and I am armed with mince meat, Christmas pudding, spices and indulgent liqueurs ( Baileys being my number one ) to make beautifully decorated and simply devine treats all dusted in glitter of course!

These little trees are so fun to make and are perfect with a cup of tea or a little shot of amaretto to sip in the evening when your all wrapped up and cosy. You can of course choose any shape you prefer and you always change the candied orange to cranberries, dried apricot or anything that takes your fancy.

Ingredients

225g butter, softened
140g caster sugar
1 egg yolk
2 tbsp amaretto liqueur + a little one to sip whilst baking
280g plain flour
Pinch of salt
100g white chocolate chips
50g candied orange bits

Method

Place the butter and sugar in a bowl and beat together until light and fluffy, then beat in the egg yolk and amaretto. Sift the flour and salt into the mixture and add the chocolate and orange and combine. Shape into a ball and cut in half and shape into two separate balls. Cover in cling film and place in the fridge for 30-60 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 190 degreesC and line a baking tray with baking parchment. Roll each ball out separately between two sheets of baking parchment and cut out the trees with your cookie cutter. Place on the baking tray and bake for 12 minutes or until golden. Let them cool for 5 minutes before placing on a wire rack to cool completely. Decorate as desired. I mixed 3 tbsp of icing sugar with a little amaretto and drizzled with a teaspoon over the cookies then added edible glitter. Enjoy and Merry Christmas!

Smoked pancetta & Blue-Sticks Blue Mac n’ Cheese

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This is the ultimate comfort food. There’s many times I get that craving for mac and cheese. Especially when it’s been a cold or hectic day and you just want to chill on the couch with a nice big bowl of something comforting, delicious and of course cheesy! There has been times when the thought of a lovely, oozing, cheesy bowl of this gorgeous pasta has been rather exaggerated in my head and I’m then let down by the lack of cheesiness but not this one! This dish was a last minute, use up things I have in the fridge kind of dinner and I’m so glad I had that tangy, strong blue cheese to use up in the fridge, Blue-sticks Blue. It really made this mac and cheese unbelievably delicious…you really need to try it!

350g lumaconi pasta or any shape you prefer
100g smoked pancetta
1 tsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
50g blue stick blue cheese
60g strong cheddar cheese
500ml milk
1 pinch of grated nutmeg
2 tbsp breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper, to season

Firstly put a large pot on water on and bring to the boil. Meanwhile in a small saucepan add a tsp olive oil and then the pancetta and brown slightly. When it’s starting to brown add the garlic and continue to fry for a minute before placing on a plate and set aside. Now add your pasta to the water. In the same saucepan you cooked the pancetta in add a knob of butter on a low heat. Once melted add your flour and stir together until it becomes a thick paste. Cook for a minute before adding the milk, stirring with a whisk constantly to avoid any lumps. Continue to stir until it has thickened then add a little salt, pepper, nutmeg, 3/4 pancetta and garlic, cheddar and 3/4 blue cheese. Once the pasta is al dente, drain and add back into the pot. Now pour over the cheese sauce and mix together thoroughly before transferring into a baking tray. Top the cheesy pasta with the remaining pancetta and blue cheese then sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top. Place under a high grill for a few seconds until the cheese has melted and the breadcrumbs had browned. Serve and enjoy!
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Tuna and provolone loaded potato skins

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This is very easy and definitely comforting. Who doesn’t love fluffy baked potato with melted cheese? Perfect for the colder weather coming and absolutely delicious. You can even bake the potatoes in advance and load them up when your ready to eat and it will only take you 10 minutes. Perfect!

Serves 4
Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

4 medium baking potatoes
240g tuna in olive oil, drained
120g Provolone picante cheese, grated
1/4 large red onion, diced
1 free range egg, lightly beaten
Handful or basil leaves, finely chopped
Salt and pepper, to season

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees C. Place your potatoes on a baking tray and drizzle with a little olive oil, give them a rub so they are fully covered and add a sprinkling of salt. Make a little incision in the centre of the potato ( we don’t want any potato explosions ) and place in the oven for around 45 minutes to 1 hour, check them half way through and turn them around. When a knife can be inserted into the potatoes with ease, they’re ready. Cut each potato in half and leave to cool for 10 minutes. Now, in a bowl, place the scooped out potato from the skins, tuna, onion, 3/4 of the provolone cheese, egg, basil and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Mix together thoroughly and load your potato skins back up with the mixture. Top with the remaining provolone cheese sprinkled on top. Place back in the oven for 10 minutes until the cheese if crispy, gooey and golden. Leave them to cool for 5 minutes and get stuck in. We served ours with some pea shoot and radicchio salad. Yum!

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Breaded chicken cutlets with squash mash and pesto dressed spinach.

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This is such a comforting dinner whilst still being relatively healthy. Pesto again…have you noticed we love pesto? Sorry we seem to go through fazes of eating it a lot then not for a while. But this is a blog about what we love to eat, so there you are. It’s especially nice coated on spinach, just lovely raw spinach, so flavoursome and so healthy! I also love squash and it’s coming into season for it, so why not. It’s funny back in Scotland we were used to seeing most things in the supermarkets all year long whereas here in Italy if it’s not in season, it won’t be in the supermarkets. It’s a good thing I suppose, your eating what you should be at the right time of year and it’s going to taste the best it can be too.

Serves 2-3

2 free range chicken breasts
300g squash, cut into cubes
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
2 large handfuls or spinach, washed
60g plain flour, on a plate
1 egg, beaten in a bowl
80g fine breadcrumbs, on a plate
Knob of butter

For the pesto:
25g Basil
1/2 garlic clove
Small handful of pine nuts
Squeeze lemon juice
30g finely grated parmesan
4 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Place your chicken breasts one at a time in between two sheets of cling film and beat with a rolling pin until they are roughly 1/4 inch thick. Cut them into decent sized strips then dip them into the flour. After they are covered in flour, give them a shake so they are just dusted in flour and dip them into the egg then the breadcrumbs. Make sure they are thoroughly covered in breadcrumbs and set aside. Now put a large pot of water under a high heat and bring to the boil. Meanwhile make your pesto by adding all ingredients into a bowl and blitz with a hand blender, set aside. Add your potato and squash to the water and boil for 20 minutes until soft. Meanwhile fry your chicken cutlets in a little olive oil until crispy and golden on each side, because they are so thin they don’t need very long to cook through. Around 2-3 minutes on each side. Once your potato and squash is ready, drain and then place back into the pot. Add a knob of butter, salt and pepper to taste and roughly mash with a fork. Place your spinach in a large bowl and add the pesto, toss until totally covered. Serve a couple chicken cutlets on a plate with a large spoon of mash and your spinach, Enjoy.