Tag Archives: Recipes

A promise is a promise! Mini-cakes for a friend’s birthday

I often post pictures of the food I make on my Facebook page. This has caused one of my friends to constantly ask me (jokingly) to cook something for him. I keep promising I will and despite seeing him every Tuesday for the last 3 years for rugby AND working in the same building as him I never did! Eeeeks. Till now. For his birthday I made mini cakes decorated with home-made vanilla buttercream frosting, blue glitter frosting, and mini m&ms. In other words… They looked like something a 2 year old would have done (as you can see from the one I made for myself on the left!)… BUT they tasted pretty darn good, were easy to make, and reasonably light (due to size NOT ingredients!)

So anyways… you ask mini-cakes… aren’t those just cupcakes? Well yes, but since I didn’t have wrappers and self-rising flour… they came out looking like mini-cakes rather than cupcakes… and so mini cakes it is! Sometimes a girl just gets lazy and makes do with what is already in the house…!  Besides…  I baked these things at 10 o clock at night AFTER work and football practice… going to the supermarket just to make traditional cupcakes might have taken things a bit far. lol.

To make 12 mini cakes / cupcakes you will need the following:

  • 1 and 1/3 cups flour
  • 110 grams butter
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • couple drops of vanilla extract

Butter Cream Frosting ingredients

  • 110 grams of softened butter
  • 3 to 4 cups of icing sugar
  • few drops of vanilla extract

Basically as always its pretty simple. In a bowl cream together the butter and sugar (helps if the butter is softened) – it should be nice fluffy. Then add in the eggs and stir. Then slowly add in the flour, and then a little of the milk, bits at a time. Finally add in the vanilla extract. Stir this all together until smooth.

Then pour into muffin holes, about three-quarters the way to the top, add bake for about 20 mins.

Let the the cakes cool – in the mean time get your frosting ready.

To make the frosting whip the butter a little and then slowly bit by bit add in the icing sugar until you have the right taste and texture. Finish with a little vanilla extract.

When the cakes are cooled decorate! I used mini m&ms and glitter frosting!

Enjoy x


Tofu Salad with Sesame Lime Dressing

Yesterday’s meals were delish but a little oil heavy! I also took it quite easy in the gym today (but hey at least I went!) so to make up for that tonight’s dinner is a light (but tasty!) one.

It’s also super quick which is ALWAYS a good thing.

To make the salad:

Combine: tofu pieces (I used ready to eat organic tofu cutlets – readily available in Waitrose, Spinneys, etc), sugar snap peas (blanched in boiling water for 1 minute), sliced red peppers, and ribbons of carrot into a bowl.

Drizzle with salad dressing and top with some chopped chives.

The Salad Dressing

Whisk together: a dash of sesame oil, some veggie oil, lime juice, sea salt, chopped green chilies, a teeny bit of smashed up garlic, soya sauce, and a little thai chili sauce. Combine to your tastes.

Super easy peasy, healthy, and tasty! A great dinner if you’ve “indulged” a bit before.

Enjoy! x


Spicy mayo prawns (inspired by wasabi prawns)

I think I’ve probably mentioned a couple of times now that I love wasabi prawns and all the variations of it. Caramel in Dubai does TNT Shrimp, Nobu does Spicy Creamy Prawns and this is a version that takes from all of them. I can’t actually explain how much I love these dishes (but having made it at home) I know now why its a restaurant dish… calories galore! I’ve tried to slim it down a little… so it’s not as bad as it could be.

Every time I eat any of these dishes I always marvel at how the restaurants can get a goopy, crispy texture (if you know what I mean?!) but now I know and its pretty simple.

The dish is made in two parts – a home-made mayo (which can be made in advance)  and then frying the prawns and bringing the dish together! Onto the recipes!

Home-made spicy, creamy, asian mayo (I’ll work on the name!)

Makes plenty!

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon sushi vinegar (or rice vinegar)
  • 100 ml veggie oil
  • sea salt
  • pepper
  • japanese chili spices
  • peri-peri sauce
Get your egg yolk in a bowl and add a pinch of salt, pepper, the japanese chili spice, and vinegar. Whisk it all together. Then start to slowly (at first drops at time) incorporate the oil. Whisk all the time. Do this slowly at first so the mayo doesn’t split. When all the oil is incorporated and you have the right texture + taste (the mayo should give resistance against the whisk). Add in a tablespoon or two of peri-peri sauce. Taste. Set aside in the fridge until required.
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The Prawns
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Really simple. Get 4 (or more) of the biggest and freshest prawns you can. Clean and remove all the shell, even tails. Then cut the prawns into thirds or fourths (depends on how big the prawns are). Dip the prawn pieces into egg white and then coat all over with corn flour. Deep fry the prawns until golden brown. I shallow fried mine – so did 2 mins on each side. Drain on kitchen towel.
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Once all the excess oil is absorbed, dunk your prawn pieces into the mayo mixture. To rid myself of excess calories (i.e. excess mayo) I kitchen toweled off the excess mayo from the prawns, so that it was only a thin coating. Arrange into a bowl and top with some chopped chives plus a squeeze or two of lemon juice.
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Enjoy! x
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Scallion pancakes

So next week my blog turns 1. Unfortunately I’m not at home pretty much all next weekend so no chance to cook something then. I decided instead to do something special now as an early celebration! I spent all day yesterday thinking what to make… the usual suspects came up: cakes, fairy cakes, pasta, etc. Then I thought… Chinese food! Why? Well my parents live in Beijing at the moment and I love Chinese food as well. Also I haven’t really featured much Chinese food on the blog, so I thought it was quite fitting.

I’ve made two of my favorites today: Scallion Pancakes and a version of Wasabi Prawns. I still remember the first time I had Scallion Pancakes – it was in the Philippines and one of my Mom’s friends gave us some pre-made dough to fry at home. Since then I’ve been hooked. But I’ve never made it at home before (pre-made or home-made) so today was the first time and it was super easy! Yummy too.

Ingredients (to make 2 big pancakes)

  • 3 cups all purpose flour (you’ll need extra for dusting)
  • 1.25 cups warm water
  • Big pinch sea salt
  • Spring onions
  • Green chilies
  • Vegetable oil
How to do it!
Sift the flour and salt into a big bowl. Mix it together. Then add in the warm water and use your hands to slowly form the dough. Knead it until a round ball is formed. Let the dough sit about for half an hour or so. It needs a rest after all that kneading!
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Once rested, split the dough ball into two roughly equal smaller balls of dough. Flour a large clean surface, because now you’re going to need to roll the balls out. Try to get it as thin as possible (don’t worry if there are a few holes) – the thinner the better because it creates more layers. Needless to say, work with one ball at at time.
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Once your dough ball is stretched out as much as possible, generously paint on some veggie oil. I did this by pouring about a tablespoon of oil into hands and spreading all over the dough. Use more if required. Then spread your chopped chilies and green onions (spring onions, scallions, whatever you want to call them) all over the dough. I used about 2 chilies and 2.5 spring onions. I only used the green bits for this.
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Now for the fun bits! Rolling the dough. Start with the edge closest to you and roll the dough into a long sausage shape. Pinch the ends together. Then take the sausage and make a snail shape. After which smoosh the snail down and roll the dough back into a circle.
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Then fry your pancake in a little oil. About 3-4 mins a side, or until golden. IF the pancake isn’t done yet then place it in the oven for a little while, as you don’t want to burn the pancake in the pan. Once finish slice and eat with a little sprinkle of salt and chili oil OR however you want. Enjoy! x
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Gruyere and scamorza flat bread pizza

This is another dish I threw together with what was already in the house. (To be fair though, usually when I go grocery shopping, if I see something interesting (like scamorza – smoked mozzarella) I’ll buy it with the intent to figure out what I will make later.)

For lunch I decided to make pizza. As I couldn’t be bothered to make pizza dough, I just used a large flat bread instead. I used a large pita bread… well more accurately a large white flour Lebanese bread that I bought at Waitrose (same one that can be bought EVERYWHERE).

Anyways I made it using: home-made tomato sauce, grated gruyere, scamorza, mushrooms, semi-dried tomatoes, and green olives.

 

Tomato sauce

Saute some chopped onions and garlic in a little butter. Then add in some chopped fresh tomatoes. Season with salt, pepper, and oregano. Put in a squeeze or two of tomato paste and a splash of red wine. Then pour in a little boiling water and let the sauce reduce until almost all the liquid is gone. Then finish with a little truffle oil.

Building the pizza

Spread a thin layer of the tomato sauce all over the bread. Then spread a thin layer of the grated gruyere all over the pizza. Add sliced mushrooms, sliced olives, and semi-dried tomatoes. Then add small pieces of the scamorza all over the pizza.

Bake in the oven until everything is melty and the base is a little crisp.

Slice up and eat (with a salad).

Enjoy x


Leek, mushroom and gruyere tarts

I had a few pieces of puff pastry squares leftover from before and thought about what I could do with them, with what’s in my fridge. In my fridge, I had some baby leeks, mushrooms, gruyere and olive and tomato chutney. So I decided to make a leek tart.

Another very very easy and quick recipe.

Spray a muffin tin and line your pastry squares into the holes. Place a tiny amount of the tomato and olive chutney on to the pastry square. Then fill 3/4 the way to the top with leek and mushroom mixture (more on that below), and then top with a little gruyere. Bake for about 10 minutes, until pastry is crisp and golden and cheese is melted. Finish with a tiny bit more tomato and olive chutney.

 

Leek and Mushroom mixture

Cut off the roots of the leeks and clean. Then chop finely – saute in butter with some sea salt over a medium heat. You want the leeks to be translucent. Also finely chop the mushrooms and then add to the leeks (you should have more leeks than mushrooms – roughly a 60:40 split), also add some red chilies. Cook down. Season with pepper and a little rosemary (add more salt, if needed). Taste. If you’re happy remove off the heat and add to the tarts.

Enjoy x


Truffled sweet potato mash and grilled scallops

This to me is one of the most perfect autumnal dishes. I love the sweetness of the potato  mash against slightly spicy grilled scallops. It’s also super yummy and easy to make.

The mash

Again really easy. Peel your sweet potato and cut into small cubes. Chuck the cubed sweet potato cubes into salted boiling water. When the potatoes are soft, drain and chuck into a blender. Season with salt and pepper, and pour in some melted hot butter (quantity depends on the amount of sweet potato used – but for 1/2 a medium sized sweet potato – I used 2 tblspoons of melted butter). Also add in a little truffle oil. Blend. Taste. Season again if required. The texture should be smooth (a little gloopy but still stiff) and the mash should be a little shiny (that’s what the melted butter does). When you’re happy. Set aside.

Grilled Scallops

To counter the sweetness of the scallops and potatoes, the marinade for the scallops is a little spicy. Marinade the scallops in the following:

Peri-peri sauce, salt, pepper, lemon zest, lemon juice, thyme, and a little bit of ancho chili powder. Taste. Then add in the scallops. Marinade for 20 minutes and then grill.

Serve atop the sweet potato mash and Enjoy x