Posts Tagged ‘Easy’

Lazy raspberry and strawberry cheese cake (without the cheese)

June 3, 2010

Lazy berry cheesecake

I love cheese cake but there really does seem to be a lot of mucking around for something creamy with a bit of crumbly biscuit. Soooo I decided to make my own version the easy way with no baking, chilling and waiting. The eat straight away version!!

Ingredients: (serves 4)

Digestive biscuits
Butter
Double cream (400 ml)
1 punnet of fresh raspberries 200 grams (or some thawed frozen ones)
1 small punnet of really good strawberries (if you can’t find good ones just add more rasps)
Caster sugar
White chocolate (ideally Green and Blacks)
Flaked almonds (approx 100 grams)

Finely slice strawberries and leave to macerate in a bowl with a dessert spoon of caster sugar mixed through.

Crush approx 10 digestive biscuits. Melt 50 grams of butter and add the digestive biscuits. Stir until biscuits are coated. Leave to cool.

Toast the flaked almonds in a frying pan ensuring they do not burn (they burn easily so do not take your eye off them). Leave to cool.

Grate 100 grams of white chocolate.

Whisk cream with 1 dessert spoon of caster sugar until the cream forms soft peaks. Do not over whisk. Fold through raspberries (do not add any of the juice if there is any) and also fold through a 1/3 of the strawberries.

Find some nice sundae glasses or similar and layer up the ingredients as follows.

Layer of biscuit crumb (approx table-spoon), sprinkle of toasted almonds, teaspoon of grated chocolate, 2 tablespoons of cream and fruit mix, table-spoon of strawberries. Then layer again and top with cream mix and some flaked almonds.

I would recommend that these are made layered just before you serve so that the biscuit and almonds stay crunchy.

I topped mine with grated white chocolate…..not a good idea as it looked like Parmesan (tasted good though). Tee hee.

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Quick and easy spinach, tomato and Parmesan omelette

May 27, 2010

Spinach tomato and Parmesan omelette

Omelette is one of those things that vegetarians get for dinner when people don’t know what to cook for a vegetarian. Flooded in cheese and resembling a big greasy rubbery frisbee – delicious (note heavy sarcasm).

It just doesn’t have to be that way.

A good omelette is fabulous. It’s quick and tasty.

I don’t make them very often and when I do it is usually for breakfast – it kind of feels like a bit of a cop-out to make it for dinner.

The success of a good omelette, I believe, lies in the pan. It has to be a good non stick frying pan or omelette pan.

Another essential is not to over cook the omelette. It will keep cooking when it is on the plate so make sure that you remove it from the heat before it is “ready”.

Anyway I cooked a cracking omelette the other day and thought I would share it with you, I had it for breakfast but I won’t judge you if you want to cook it for dinner – honestly.

Ingredients

3 free range eggs
Approx 100 grams of baby spinach
1/2 medium red onion
1 ripe tomato
Parmesan (Reggiano or Padano)
Olive oil and/or butter
Salt and pepper

Finely dice onion and saute in frying pan with a little olive oil, a little knob of butter and a pinch of salt.

Sauted onion

When cooked through and soft add tomato diced.

Add tomato

Crack eggs into a bowl and lightly whisk with a fork. Add a pinch of salt and some freshly ground black pepper.

Add roughly chopped spinach

Roughly chop spinach and add to the frying pan with the onion and tomato, cook until wilted then remove from the pan.

Wipe out frying pan and add a little more butter and olive oil.

Pour eggs into pan and stir a little

Pour egg into pan and stir a little bit.

Sprinkle Parmesan on omelette

Sprinkle about a tablespoon of finely grated Parmesan onto the omelette and place the spinach down the middle and then fold over.

Add spinach

Pop onto a plate and eat immediately.

My most favourite pasta sauce ever

May 20, 2010

Tomato Caper and Anchovy Linguini

I really do think that it is important to have a good selection of “stuff” in your store cupboard for those “I can’t be bothered to shop for dinner” moments. You know the times when you arrive home after a full on day at work, it’s 8pm, and the last thing you want to do is get a dodgy Chinese take away. There is also absolutely no chance you can be bothered to go to the supermarket. All you want is a home cooked meal.

With a few bits and pieces you can easily throw together something fabulous best of all it is easy and quick.

Woo Hoo!

This recipe is my fail safe. I ended up making it yesterday because I was given 1 1/2 kilos of lovely vine ripened tomatoes and they needed used up ASAP. Now normally I would use the tinned variety so don’t worry I am not going to expect you to conveniently have 1 kilo of vine ripened tomatoes on hand.

There is one ingredient in the sauce that is a little controversial. Anchovies.

I am sure many of you are already tuning out at the sheer mention of anchovies however I promise you that it is worth giving this a go even if you absolutely HATE anchovies. Honestly they are only used to enhance the flavour of the sauce and they do not overpower – I promise.

1 kg of fresh ripe tomatoes or 2 tins of good quality peeled tomatoes
4 large cloves of garlic
1 red medium red onion
1 table spoon of salted capers (do not use the ones in vinegar – you can use the ones in brine but I prefer the salted ones)
1 teaspoon of chili flakes
3 or 4 anchovy fillets
Fresh herbs (Parsley or Basil) if you have it
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and Pepper
1 packet of Linguine (you could use Spaghetti, Penne etc)
Fresh Parmesan (Reggiano or Padano)

Finely chopped onion and garlic

Finely chop the onions and garlic, add to a heavy based pan with a small pinch of salt and a good glug of oil.

Chili being added to sauted onions and garlic

Saute until sweet and soft, add anchovy fillets (mine were massive so I only used 2), teaspoon of chili and rinsed capers. It is really important to rinse the capers well as it can make the sauce too salty if you do not.

Anchovies and capers being added

You can adjust the chili amount to your taste – 1 teaspoon will give the sauce a bit of a kick but will definitely not burn your head off.

Cook anchovies until they have melted.

Tomatoes being added

Peel the tomatoes by cutting a cross in the bottom of the tomato and popping into boiling water (I put the tomatoes into bowl and poured boiled water over them). Leave them in the hot water for a minute of two then peel – the skins should come off easily – if not pop them back into the boiling water for a minute of so longer.

Once peeled roughly chop them and add to the pot, bring to the boil and then simmer.

Cook sauce until all the tomatoes have disintegrated and the sauce has thickened and become lovely and “saucy”. This should take about 25 – 35 mins.

Sauce reduced and ready to mix into cooked pasta

Cook pasta (500 grams) using the recommended cooking time on the packet, make sure you always cook pasta in a big pot with lots of water with a large pinch of salt. You do not need to add oil.

Pasta added to pot of boiling water

Once pasta is cooked drain well and put back into the pot, add sauce to pot and mix through.

Add a handful of chopped herbs in you have some at hand – it is always worthwhile having some parsley or basil in the garden for these occasions. Season to taste – you probably won’t need salt.

Pasta with tomato anchovy and caper sauce

Serve immediately with a drizzle of good extra virgin oil and a sprinkling of freshly grated Parmesan.

A total winner when you are needing an easy quick dish to fill your empty tummy.

Tiramisu Jamie style with a few tweaks

May 12, 2010

Tiramisu

My sis, her hubby and a few mates rented a lovely wee house in the middle of nowhere for New Year. It was really rather snowy and was touch and go there for a while whether or not they were actually going to make it. On there first night Euan woke up in the wee hours of the morning to a faint hissing noise and knew immediately that there was a “problem”.

The pipes had burst and there was water pouring everywhere – yes it was that cold!

Euan (who happens to be a plumber) came to the rescue and with a torch and a shovel managed to dig his way through the snow and ice to the decking where the water shut off valve was.

Well done Euan. The next day he wove his magic and repaired the pipes.

Anyway the whole point in this story is that due to the water dramas the owners offered the crew a free weekend, how lovely.

The free weekend was last weekend and I was invited.

What an excellent excuse to cook. There were a few likes and dislikes to attend to so we settled for a simple Italian menu.

Tomato and basil Bruschetta

Mushroom and Asparagus Risotto
Watercress, Rocket, Fennel and Apple Salad

Tiramisu

I have only made Tiramisu once before and that was for my 30th and was for 80 people….what a laugh.

My sister and I had watched Jamie Oliver’s “Venice” show during the week where he made Tiramisu so this recipe is inspired by Jamie.

Ingredients

1 1/2 x packets Savoiardi biscuits (sponge fingers)
500 grams Mascarpone
6 free range eggs
Approx 5 – 6 table spoons caster sugar
150 ml double cream (make sure it is not thickened cream)
Pinch of salt
Madeira wine (Pedro Ximenez sherry would also be nice)
1 cup of strong coffee (ideally freshly ground)
300 grams of good quality dark chocolate 70% cocoa solid (I like to use Green and Blacks but Lindt will do)

Finely chop 200 grams of dark chocolate, gently warm cream in a small pot – when hot but not boiling take off the heat and stir in chocolate. The chocolate should melt and create a beautiful smooth chocolate sauce. Leave off the heat to cool.

Separate eggs, yokes into one mixing bowl and whites into another. It is VERY important to make sure that the bowl for the whites is spotlessly clean – if the bowl has a hint of oil the whites will not whisk.

Egg yolks whisked with caster sugar

Add sugar slowly to egg yolks while whisking, whisk until pale yellow and creamy – this should take about 5 – 8 mins. I have said 5 – 6 table spoons of sugar because it really depends on how sweet you want this dessert to be. I like it to be sweet but not sickly. Taste as you go, you can always add more sugar but you can’t take it away. Remember the biscuits, chocolate and Madeira are all quite sweet.

In a separate bowl beat the Mascarpone with a wooden spoon until it is smooth, add in the egg yolk mix and gently stir through.

Whisking egg whites with pinch of salt

Add pinch of salt to egg whites and whisk until forms stiff peaks. Stir egg whites through egg yolk and Mascarpone mix. Taste for sweetness.

Egg yolk and Mascarpone mix being added to egg whites

Choose a low dish ideally glass but not essential, layer 1/2 the biscuits on the base. Sprinkle the 1/2 the coffee over this layer followed by a healthy slosh of the Madeira wine. Once the chocolate sauce is cooled (can be warm but not hot) pour 1/2 over the biscuits. Top with the Mascarpone/egg mix then follow with another layer.

Layering sponge fingers

Dollop the creamy Mascarpone mix on the top and then shave chocolate all over the top.

Dolloping the Mascarpone mix as a topping

Pop in the fridge and leave overnight for best results.

Eat in large quantities and try not to feel sick (like I did).

Tip: I honestly recommend that you do leave it in the fridge overnight – I know it is tempting to eat it straight away but it is so much better when it has been left for the biscuits to soften and the flavours to develop.