Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Tear and Share Brie & Onion Jam Bread

Summer certainly feels like it's here, (location dependant) and few things say summer more than having friends or family around and sharing some great food. This tear and share bread is perfect for that occasion. With garlicky pins wheels surrounding a flavourful spiced onion jam infused Brie, it's quite the treat. Brie is well known for it's mild and creamy taste. This recipe works to that uplifting this household favourite.

Layering with chilli and onion jam, gives this cheese a great flavour profile to work with. Going from creamy Brie to a rounded body of warm chilli and onion jam is quite the treat. Not to mention the garlic bread surrounding, making the cheese the perfect dip. Look how gooey and stringy it is. Perfection!

Feel free to use an alternative cheese. I'd recommend sticking to a mild soft cheese, however, as long as it's soft it should work perfectly. When using Brie or any other cheese, try and find a whole small cheese. Using a wedge will likely result in the cheese bleeding everywhere, not to mention the struggle trying to layer.

Recipe

Ingredients:

Bread:
175g strong bread flour
4g salt
10g butter
1 x 7g sachet quick rise dried yeast
100ml lukewarm water (37°c)

Butter:
2 cloves garlic
20g softened salted butter

Cheese:
2-3 tbsp chilli & onion jam
1 x 125g whole brie

Method:
  • Whisk the dried yeast with the warm water until fully dissolved. 
  • In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, the salt and the butter. Add the yeast mix and combine until you can form a ball. Continue to knead for at least 5 minutes. 
  • Cover with cling film and leave in a warm place to prove.
  • For the butter, mince the garlic and gently cook without colour in a small saucepan, add the butter and beat the garlic through the butter. Leave off the heat to infuse.
  • Once the dough has doubled in size, knock the dough back and knead for 5 minutes. 
  • On a lightly floured surface roll the dough out into a rectangle. Approx 35cm x 20cm.
  • Spread the garlic butter over the dough. Roll the dough now as you would if you're making a Swiss roll.
  • Cut into 8 even sized pieces. Flatten one in the middle of a lined tray with baking paper. Place the remaining seven around the flatted one standing up, looking a little like pinwheels. Press them a down little so they all touch. 
  • Leave to prove once again until doubled in size.
  • For the cheese, remove the top of the cheese, scoop out the cheese from the outer shell and leave to one side. Place a spoonful of onion jam inside followed by some cheese. Do this repeatedly till layered and full. Top off with the lid.
  • Place the cheese in the centre on top of the flattened dough once they've proved again. Brush with some egg wash if the have some. (Gives a better finish, I didn't as ... well I forgot.)
  • Bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees for 20 minutes. This is oven dependant.
  • Once cooked remove from the oven, leave to cool for a minute or two before enjoying. 
  • If you have any spare garlic butter, wipe over the rolls for even more garlicky goodness.

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Friday, 26 May 2017

Sticky Pineapple Upside Down Cake


Pineapple upside down cake is an old favourite that everyones had at some point. This one is a little different with it being super sticky on the top and it's perfect for a dessert. With a hint of cinnamon giving the pineapple a mellow spiciness, it makes it that much more enjoyable. Not to mention the lovely light sponge with a hint of vanilla - it all works so well together.

This recipe comes out really well with fresh pineapple, however, if you're struggling to find one, tinned pineapple also works. I've found fresh comes out stickier hence the preference.

Recipe

Ingredients:                                                                                                             (Makes 6-8 portions)

(Topping)
1/2 fresh pineapple, cored and cut into 1cm thick slices / 1 tin
45g dark brown sugar
45g softened butter
Pinch of cinnamon

(Cake )
100g softened butter
80g caster sugar
100g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 eggs

Method:
  • Cream the dark brown sugar and the softened butter together. Spread into a lined 18-20cm tin. 
  • Place the cut pineapple onto the mixture, keeping all the slices evenly apart. Sprinkle with a little cinnamon.
  • For the cake, cream together the caster sugar and the softened butter. 
  • Slowly add the eggs little at a time. Sift in the flour and baking powder, followed by the vanilla and cinnamon. Beat the cake mix until light.
  • Pour over the pineapple and smooth over. 
  • Bake in a preheated oven at 170 degrees for 35-40 minutes. Time will vary depending on oven.
  • Check if cooked using a knife or cake tester, seeing if it comes out clean.
  • Leave to cool slightly before removing from tin and leaving upside down. 
  • I like to enjoy mine whilst still warm, however, it's still incredible once cooled.

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Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Sweet Chilli Prawn Skewers & Asian Caramelised Pineapple


This bank holiday is the perfect excuse to fire up your barbeque and enjoy the weather. This recipe is packed full of flavour and fast enough to leave you with plenty of time to have your feet up. You can even whip the prawns up before hand and marinade them overnight.When you have a barbeque, you also need a good side game. This Asian caramelised pineapple brings just that. It's succulent, packed full of flavour and is light enough to help keep that food coma at bay.

With pineapple season at its peak here in Taiwan. I'm spoilt for choice. There's a huge variety on the market with each having their own flavour traits. Thanks to a co-worker of mine, I was given one from Kaohsiung with thanks to her mother. It was arguably the best I've tasted.

Check out my blog on Friday for another great recipe for pineapple, this time in a dessert - and I can assure you, it's delicious!

Recipe

Ingredients:                                                                                                              (makes 6 skewers)

Skewers:
18 king prawns
5 tbsp sweet chilli sauce

Pineapple side:
1/2 fresh pineapple, cored and diced
1/2 onion, finely diced
1 small red chilli, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
20g brown sugar
10g soy sauce
2cm piece fresh ginger, grated
1/2 small bunch coriander, chopped

Method:

For the sweet chilli skewers:
  • Make the sweet chilli sauce.
  • If the prawns have the shell and head on, remove and vein. 
  • In a mixing bowl add the sweet chilli sauce to the prawns. Mix well before wrapping in cling film and marinating overnight. Or for as long as you can spare.
  • Skewer 3 prawns per skewer and pour the remaining sauce over the skewers.
  • Heat either a non-stick pan over a medium-high heat or a barbeque.
  • Cook well on one side till golden and caramelised before turning over and repeating.
  • Once removed from the pan or grill, smother with extra sweet chilli sauce. 
For the Asian caramelised pineapple:
  • In a medium sized pan, sauté the onion with the garlic and the chilli over a medium heat. 
  • Once the onions are translucent add the brown sugar. Stir till dissolved then add the pineapple. 
  • Cook the pineapple over a medium-high heat it starts to colour and caramelise. 
  • Pour in the soy sauce and add the ginger. Continue to cook for another couple of minutes. If using coriander add now and remove from the pan.
  • Serve this juicy and flavorful pineapple with the sweet chilli prawn skewers or your favourite barbequed meats. 

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Friday, 19 May 2017

Sweet Potato Brownies


Finding some healthy recipes that you actually want to eat is a real struggle. Quite possibly as hard as actually making them once finding! This recipe, however, you will definitely want to. These brownies will always turn out amazingly soft and gooey. They taste really good, despite tricking you into eating a vegetable for them and they still have that brownie smell from when you open oven that fills your kitchen.

With most convenience stores here in Taiwan stocking hot cooked sweet potatoes 24/7, this recipe takes very little time. If you cook your own, baking skin on in the oven and weigh the flesh once cooked and scraped from the skin. With this recipe also having few of the usual ingredients, it's gluten free, vegan and dairy free too so everyone can enjoy these.

Recipe

Ingredients:                                                                                                           (Makes 6 portions)

250g sweet potato, mashed
125g nut butter (I recommend using peanut, hazelnut or almond)
20g honey/ maple syrup
4 tbsp good quality cocoa powder
50g chopped nuts (hazelnuts or walnuts)
50g chocolate chips

Method:
  • Start by cooking the sweet potato. They work out best by baking then removing the flesh from the skin. Remember you need 250g after cooking, so cook some extra.
  • Melt the nut butter and honey together in a saucepan over a low heat.
  • Mix the sweet potato with the cocoa powder. Add the melted nut butter mixture until fully combined.
  • Mix through the chocolate chips and chopped nuts. 
  • Once all mixed press into a lined tin or tray. 
  • Bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees for 20 minutes. 
  • You're looking for the top of the brownies to lose their shine and become dull.
  • Remove from oven and leave to cool. 
  • I like to enjoy my brownies whilst they're cooling. If you can't polish them all off in one sitting, store them in the fridge (but wait for them to cool down first!).

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Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Smoked Bacon & Spring Onion Cloud Eggs


Cloud eggs have recently egg-sploded all over the internet. I didn't initially think much of it. I though it was a bit gimmick-icky. I soon cracked though... Cloud eggs get their name, quite rightly, from their light and fluffy whites like clouds. However, after seeing a few posts they looked a little plain, why not add bacon? Bacon makes anything and everything better! Oh, I also added spring onion, but it's all about the bacon. Perfect for breakfast or as an addition to a great brunch.

If you think they're nothing special, you will be mistaken. I thought exactly the same, for me you can't beat poached eggs, they're perfect. I do now feel conflicted though. These are much more versatile. You can add your favourite flavours and get creative. They're good hand food too - seriously, no need for utensils to eat and just how photogenic they are for a simple egg.

Try this recipe on the weekend for an egg-cellent treat. They are wonderfully light with a beautifully runny yolk.

Recipe

Ingredients:                                                                                                                              (Makes 4)

4 eggs
1 spring onion, finely chopped
1 rasher smoked streaky bacon

Method:
  • Chop the bacon into very fine lardons. Fry off in a pan on a medium heat. Once cooked drain on some paper towel. 
  • Separate the eggs, keeping the yolks in a small container unbroken.
  • In a separate mixing bowl whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt. Once there are stiff peaks fold the bacon lardons and the sliced spring onion through. Don't over mix or you'll remove all the air.
  • Spoon onto parchment paper on a baking tray making 4 portions. Ensure to shape a little dip in the centre for the yolk later on. 
  • Bake the egg whites in a preheated oven at 180 degrees for 4-5 minutes. 
  • Remove from the oven and gently slide the egg yolk into the dip. Return to the oven for an additional 2-3 minutes. 
  • Once the yolks cooked to your liking, remove from the oven and serve.
  • I enjoy mine on toast with an extra rasher of bacon. Don't stop there, though, add your favourite flavours. From cheese to smoked salmon they are delicious.

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Friday, 12 May 2017

No Bake Key Lime Pie

Need a little zing in your desserts this summer? This recipe is for you. Key lime pie is a great classic American dessert. Using key limes, it's historically cooked with egg yolks, before being topped with meringue. This recipe, however, doesn't call for that. It's no bake, no hassle.

Using just your standard limes, condensed milk and cream you can make this citrusy heaven of a filling. The recipe doesn't call for a full can of condensed milk, leaving you with some to make an iced coffee, tea or blitz with an avocado for a delicious shake.

For readers based in Taiwan, check your fruit before you buy. As both lemons and limes look the same, it's important to make sure you're getting the right fruit. Simply have a scratch at the skin and take a good sniff.

Recipe

Ingredients:                                                                                                             (Makes 8 portions)

(Biscuit base)

50g melted butter
100g digestive biscuits

(Filling)

270ml condensed milk
3 1/2 limes, zest and juice
200g double cream

(Topping)

1/2 lime
50g whipped cream

Method:
  • For the base, crush the digestive biscuits or pulse in a blender till fine. Add the melted butter and fully mix. Press into a lined 10 x 18cm tray with baking paper.
  • Leave the tray in a fridge to chill whilst you make the filling.
  • For the filling, whisk together the cream and the condensed milk. 
  • Add the lime zest and juice, the mixture will instantly start to thicken. 
  • Pour onto the biscuit base, flatten and chill in a fridge until set. (2-3 hours)
  • Once set remove from the tray and decorate with the whipped cream and remaining lime.

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Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Prawn & Clam Spaghetti

When it comes to having a quick dinner or lunch, pasta is always a great option. Whether you're using fresh or dried pasta, this recipe shouldn't take you any longer than 20 minutes. Prawns and clams are readily available almost everywhere, so you're able to enjoy this tasty recipe in the comfort of your own home. I used small prawns but king prawns work great with that meatier texture of theirs.

If cooking the shellfish is a daunting for you don't panic. It' just a case of tossing in the pan and letting the pan do the work. The fresh shellfish tastes incredible in this recipe. The warmth from the chilli, the fresh lemon zest cutting through the creamy pasta and the succulent clams and prawns make this a perfect summer dish.

Recipe

Ingredients:                                                                                                                      (Serves 2)

200g cooked spaghetti
100g fresh shelled prawns
16 fresh clams
1 tomato, concassed
1/2 onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic, finely chopped or pureed
1/4 large red chilli, finely chopped
Pinch of chopped parsley
Pinch of saffron or 1/4 tsp turmeric
50ml white wine
60ml stock, vegetable or fish
50ml double cream
20g butter
1/2 lemon, zested

Method:
  • Cook the spaghetti till al dente, then drain and toss with a little oil to stop it sticking together.
  • Heat the butter in a saucepan pan, over a medium heat and sweat off the onion, the chilli and the garlic (if using turmeric add now).
  • Once sweated down, add the prawns and clams. Turn the heat up and pour in the white wine, cover with a lid. 
  • Shake the pan occasionally until the clams open. Once they've opened add the stock and saffron if using. 
  • Pour in the cream and reduce a little until the sauce starts to thicken. Add the spaghetti and the tomato concasse.
  • Once the spaghetti is fully heated through again, add the chopped parsley and serve.
  • Add a little shaving of lemon zest for that clean fragrant taste to go with your shellfish.

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Friday, 5 May 2017

Oreo & Nutella Pie


There are few treats out there quite as addictive as Nutella and Oreos. With the addition of a couple of ingredients, you can have this dessert in your fridge in minutes. This recipe could possibly be one of the easiest out there. There's no baking, no cooking, no fuss.

I'm aware that getting you to part with your Nutella and turn it into a pie may leave you on edge. But trust me, you will definitely be making this recipe again. It's been tried and tested on a fellow Nutella lover and all round fussy eater.

It would be a shame to use a whole pack of Oreos in this recipe. With 11 in the base and a couple for topping, it leaves you with one or two for snacking whilst making.

Recipe

Ingredients:                                                                                                        (Makes 8 portions)

(Biscuit Base)

35g melted butter
11 Oreos

(Filling)

350g mascarpone
280g Nutella

(Topping)

Handful toasted hazelnuts
2 crushed Oreos
50g chantilly cream

Method:
  • For the base, crush the Oreos and mix in the melted butter. 
  • Press into the base of a lined 17cm tin/ tray, then leave to set in a fridge. 
  • For the filling, whisk the mascarpone and the Nutella together till fully combined and light.
  • Spoon the mixture over the base, smooth over and leave in a fridge to set.
  • Once set decorate with a little chantilly cream, a sprinkle of toasted hazelnuts and of course a couple of Oreos.
  • Keep refrigerated till finished. I can assure you it won't be long!

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Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Sweet Chilli Sauce


Whether it's for dipping, marinating or adding to a stir-fry, there are numerous uses for sweet chilli sauce. Without a doubt, you'll have a bottle in your cupboard of the store bought stuff that lacks in flavour, spice and has a weird texture.

Instead, why not make your own? It will take about 15-20 minutes, tastes insanely good and has an aroma that fills your kitchen. Not only does this recipe have much more flavour than any store bought but you can make it to how you like. If you're a spiceaholic, keep all the seeds in or add extra chilli. If mild is your preference, simply take some chilli away. Same goes for the thickness, if you like thicker, cook for longer. Cooking out for less time results in a thinner sauce. Bare in mind that upon cooling the sauce thickens.

Remember to keep checking back each week as over the months I will put together some great recipes highlighting this delicious homemade sweet chilli sauce that'll make your mouth water - not just your eyes from the spice.

Recipe

Ingredients:

5 garlic cloves
15g fresh ginger
1 small bunch coriander leaves
3 red chilli's
2 limes
20g soy sauce
60g white wine vinegar
150g caster sugar
25g water

Method:
  • Either blitz to a paste or very finely chop 1 red chilli whole 2 without seeds, the ginger, the coriander, the garlic and the lime zest. 
  • Once blitzed, add the juice of 1 lime, the soy sauce and the vinegar.
  • In a saucepan, mix the sugar and water over a medium-high.heat till the sugar dissolves.
  • Once dissolved, continue to cook without stirring till the sugar turns to a caramel. 
  • Stir in the first mixture. Be careful as the caramel will start to spit and steam.
  • Simmer gently for a couple of minutes before pouring into a clean jar.
  • Leave to cool before refrigerating.


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