Sunday, 13 February 2011

Gnocchi & Bacon Bake

This is just a quick & easy recipe I put together myself. It's a winner with kids, and very filling. I served it alongside some bread rolls, but no-one could manage those!

1 pack fresh gnocchi
1 tin 400g chopped tomatoes
Half red onion diced
4 slices of bacon chopped
Splash balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Italian herbs (oregano, basil or whatever you have)
Cheese for topping
(I also added crispy onions & Panko breadcrumbs to the topping, but these are optional)

Fry the bacon until coloured in a little oil. Add the onion & soften. Tip in the tomatoes, balsamic & herbs, and simmer until sauce thickens. Meanwhile, cook the gnocchi as per packet instructions. Drain the gnocchi, and add to a casserole/lasagne dish. Add teh sauce & stir through. Sprinkle on your toppings & cook in the oven at 200 c for about 25 minutes.

Chicken Cacciatore

I stumbled across this fabulous cookery blog,, which is full of great sounding recipes. First on my list to try was this chicken cacciatore - her pictures of the dish are stunning and make it look so tasty! You can see the photos and recipe here ... pioneer woman blog . Scroll right down past the photos to findthe recipe. I'm afariad mine is nowhere near as good! The dish though, was very very tasty. My husband thought it tasted a little bit like chicken bolognaise, I just enjoyed it. I served mine with spaghetti.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011


I always thought bagels would be "difficult" to make. How wrong I was! I had a quick google for a recipe, just to see how tricky it was going to be. The very first recipe that came up looked far too simple, I didnt think it coudl work. Of course, I managed to mess up even this simple recipe teh first time hee hee. I forgot to add sugar, so there was absolutely no rise in the yeast/dough. I quickly started a 2nd batch though, as soon as I realised. When they came out of the oven, I couldnt believe they looked like real bagels! I  ate one for lunch, topped with scrambled egg and it was delicious! I am going to try & adapt the recipe to make cinnamon & raisin bagels - my favourite!

4 cups bread flour
1 Tbls sugar
1 1/2 tsps salt
1 Tbls vegetable oil
2 tsps instant yeast
1-1/4- 1-1/2 cups of warm water.

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. You don't have to worry about soaking the yeast when you use instant yeast (most yeast sold these days is instant yeast). The dough should feel stiff, but add the extra water if it's really stiff, or you can't get all the dry flour incorporated.
Plop the dough down onto the counter, and knead for about ten minutes, or until the dough is uniform and smooth.
Cut the dough into 8 equal sized balls, and let rest for 10-20 minutes.
Pre heat your oven to 425.
Now, take each of the dough balls and using two hands, roll it into a little snake on the counter. When the snake is longer than the width of your two hands, wrap it around your dominant roiling hand. The dough rope should be wrapped so the overlapping ends are together at your palm, near the start of your fingers. Now take the two overlapping ends, and use your palm to squish/roll these two ends together. Once the dough is fused, you should have a perfectly circular bagel-to-be! This is the only part of the process that can take a little practice before your bagels will look really professional. Don't get discouraged if they don't look perfect, it just takes practice!
Let your bagels rest on the counter for about 20 minutes, and meanwhile, bring a pot of water to boil, and grease a large baking tray lightly. You can just rub a splash of vegetable oil and rub it around.
After the 20 minute wait, your bagels will start to look puffy, and it's time to get them boiling! Add them as many at a time as you can to your boiling water without crowding them. Boil for about a minute, turn them over, and boil for another minute. Take them out a let dry for a minute and then place them on your oiled baking tray. Repeat until all the bagels are boiled.

Add the tray to the oven, and after 10 minutes, flip the bagels over, bake for another ten minutes; and they're done!
Let them cool for at least 20 minutes.

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Meatloaf with tomato butter sauce

Tonight, I combined 2 recipes that I have found in the last few days. I'm a secret watcher of the show Teen Mom, and a girl on there was raving about meatloaf from the US restuarant chain Cracker Barrel. Curious, I googled the recipe and found it very easily. I didnt fancy just plain ketchup as a sauce for it though, so I decided to try the tomato & butter sauce recipe I found via the Smitten Kitchen blog. Together, they made a pretty tasty meal! The tomato sauce is also great on cooked pasta.

Meatloaf recipe

1 pound mince
½ medium onion, diced
½ green pepper, diced
1 egg
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
4 tablespoons breadcrumbs
¼ cup ketchup (I left this out & replaced with another sauce)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place all ingredients, except ketchup, in a large bowl. Mix well with hands. Place in loaf pan and press down gently. Bake at 350 f  for 1 hour. Remove from oven and let rest 5 minutes. Spread ¼ cup ketchup over top of loaf and serve.
Serves 4.

Tomato & butter sauce recipe (this makes quite a lot, you will probably only need half for the meatloaf)

2 400g tins chopped tomatoes
70g butter
1 onion, sliced in half & peeled.

Put all the ingredients in a pan, and slowly bring to the boil. Simmer gently for 45 mins. Remove the onion, and spoon over the sliced meatloaf.

Friday, 4 February 2011

Chicken Pakoras

This week, I bought myself a few bags of herbs that I needed to try out some new recipes. One of the herbs I bought was fenugreek leaves. I love the smell of them! I stuck my nose in the bag and took a deep breath - mmmm! It's such a deep wonderful smell, the aroma that hits you as you walk into an Indian supermarket.

I bought the fenugreek leaves  to add to my pakora batter. I've made pakora's before, but used fenugreek seeds instead (by accident) and they did not taste right. This time, they were perfect! I have eaten loads, and I am suitably stuffed now :)

Serves 2

2 chicken breasts
1 tsp veg oil
1 teaspoon garlic & ginger paste
2 tsps tomato puree
2 tsps lemon juice
pinch of salt

125g gram flour
1 tsp dried fenugreek leaves
1 large hadfull fresh chopped coriander
2 tsps cumin powder
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp salt
120 ml water

Oil for deep frying

Chop the chicken into bitesize pieces. Add the veg oil, garlic/ginger paste, tomato puree, lemon juice & pinch of salt, and mix thoroughly. Put aside.

Combine the gram flour, fenugreek, spices, salt & caoriander in a large bowl. Slowly add the water until the mixture is thick like double cream. Add the chicken, and allow to rest for 30 minutes.

Cook the pakoras in batches, for 5-6 minutes each. Try not to over crowd the pan. Remove from the oil & drain on kitchen towel.