Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Family flu remedies

I want to share this amazing family flu remedy with you all. It has been passed down to me by my beautiful grandmother and the great thing about it, it rely does work. You want to make a big batch in a bottle and keep it in the fridge.

What you will need 

4-5 large lemons juiced and seeded
2-3 tablespoons honey (you want good quality honey ie Manuka 15+ or a locally farmed honey)
3-4 cloves garlic (yes I know it sound yucky but garlic is very good for your immune system)
1 piece of ginger about the size of your thumb
2-3 tablespoons brandy or cognac (optional however the alcohol does help to break a fever)

Whiz all the above in a blender and bottle. 
Do not strain the bits cause as the mixture sits it becomes more concentrate. 

How to use this goodness

3-4 tablespoons of the above mixture in 1/2 mug hot water or if you brave enough take 1-2 tablespoons neat. Take this up to 4 times in the day.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tea time

I love me a cuppa cha (tea).. When the kids are driving me crazy and I need some me time a cuppa tea is the one for me lol..Lyons Irish tea with a dash of milk and a teaspoon of sugar to chase those worries away. 
Tea oh glorious tea.. English Tea, Irish Tea, Green Tea, Chai Tea, Pu-Erh Tea, Rooibos Tea its all one in the same TEA. Some are sweet some are pungent some denote fruit flavours and some are right down bitter and nasty in taste..

Recently I have been tea crazy, went out and bought a whole load of teas and this is what I think about them:-

Rooibos Ginger Peach by English Tea Shop :- I bought this tea particularly for my middle daughter who has allergies. I was attracted to the fact it was flavoured as she has dairy allergies and cant have milk in her tea. This tea is caffeine free and sugar free and it only has 3 ingredients listed :- Rooibos, ginger pieces and peach flavour

I was amazed at how pungent in fruit flavour this tea is once brewed. You instantly get a great whiff of peach when you add hot water. The taste is fantastic you get a hint of ginger followed by full notes of peach and then the sweet nutty flavour of the Rooibos. The kids absolutely loved this tea and there was no need to add sugar because the fruit and Rooibos gives it a natural sweet taste. I would recommend this tea any day.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Cream Cheese Frosting

200g real butter
300g philadelphia cream cheese
1 teaspoon good vanilla extract
4 cups sifted icing sugar/ confectioners sugar
In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until fluffy and creamy with an electric hand whisk for 3-4 mins. Add the sugar and on low speed, beat until incorporated. Increase the speed to high and mix until very light and fluffy. 

This frosting is great on Red Velvet cakes and cupcakes, carrot cakes, cinnabons.

Red Velvet Cupcakes

  • 2 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 1 1/2 cups caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon cocoa powder (Bournville or any good quality cocoa powder)
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 25ml red food colouring or 1 tablespoon red paste food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 180 degrees 

In a mixing bowl sift flour, caster sugar, baking soda, salt, cocoa. Make a well in the centre of you dry ingredients. 
In a measuring jug or a bowl measure out vegetable oil, buttermilk, eggs, food colouring, vinegar and vanilla.
Mix well until all ingredients are incorporated. 
The mixture at this stage should be a nice bright red colour.
Pour your wet ingredients into your dry and mix well with a hand blender or a wooden spoon for about 2 mins.
Spoon mixture out into cupcake cases and bake in oven for 25 mins. (be careful not to over fill your cases, they rise pretty well)
Prick the centres with a toothpick to ensure the cake is cooked through, set aside and allow to cool thoroughly before frosting. 
Frost with cream cheese frosting.

Spicy Turkey Burgers

This is a great healthy option. Turkey is lean and a great source of protein, low in fats and calories and great for watching that figure!!

Makes 5-6 burger patties

500g turkey mince
65g  natural yoghurt
1/2 medium onion finely chopped/grated
1 large handful of coriander finely chopped
3 cloves crushed garlic
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 chilli finely chopped (for less heat remove the seeds)
5g chopped chives
1 tsp ketchup
1 tsp reggae reggae relish (or any chutney relish you prefer)
Salt and pepper to season

In a medium bowl mix together all above ingredients until the mixture starts to pull together.

Using your hands shape the mixture into round patties. They might seem soft and flimsy to handle, I make balls and press them straight onto a lined baking pre-sprayed tray.This is so much easier.

Cover with cling film and chill in the freezer for 10 minutes to firm the patties slightly.

Cook in a preheated oven at 200 degrees for 20mins or under a full grill for  for 6-7 minutes, or in a George Forman grill. for the same amount of time. Baste your burger with the juices released this will keep them nice and moist.

Serve on a whole grain bun with light mayo and a tossed green salad in an oil-free dressing.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Hot Cross Buns

For the buns
1lb Strong White Flour (plus extra for dusting)
1 tsp salt
1 and ½ tablespoons ground mixed spice
2oz butter, cut into cubes, plus extra for greasing
3oz sugar
Rind of 1 lemon
1 sachet fast-action yeast (7g)
1 egg
10fl oz tepid milk
5oz Fruit Mix
2oz Glazed cherries
For the topping
2 tbsp Plain Flour
Vegetable Oil (for greasing)
1 tbsp golden syrup, gently heated, for glazing

For the buns

Sieve the flour, salt and ground mixed spice into a large mixing bowl, then rub in the butter using your fingertips. Make a well in the centre of the mixture then add the sugar and lemon zest.

Beat the egg and add to tepid milk with yeast.  Slowly pour egg mix into dry ingredients above and mix together to a form a soft, pliable dough.
Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Carefully work the mixed dried fruit into the dough until well combined. Knead lightly for 5 minutes, or until smooth and elastic.

Grease a large, mixing bowl with butter. Shape the dough into a ball and place it into the prepared bowl, then cover with a clean tea towel and set aside in a warm place for one hour to prove. (I normally place my bowl in my airing cupboard where the hot press is)

Turn out the proved dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knock back the dough. Shape it into a ball again and return it to the bowl, then cover again with the tea towel and set aside for a further 30 minutes to rise.

Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and divide it into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, then flatten slightly into a bun shape using the palms of your hands. Cover the buns again with a cling film or polythene bag  and set aside to rest for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, for the topping, mix the plain flour to a smooth paste with 2 tablespoons of cold water.
When the buns have risen, remove the polythene bag and the greaseproof paper. Spoon the flour mixture into a piping bag and pipe a cross on each bun.
Transfer the buns to the oven and bake for 8-12 minutes, or until pale golden-brown. As soon as you remove the buns from the oven, brush them with the hot golden syrup, then set aside to cool on a wire rack. ENJOY WITH A CUPA!!


  • 4 large egg whites at room temperature
  • 1 cup of Castor sugar, also known as "Berry sugar"
  • 1 tsp of white vinegar
  • 1/2 Tbsp of cornflour/ cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp of pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cups of whipping cream
  • Fresh fruit such as strawberries, raspberries, passionfruit, blueberries
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • Piece of tin foil to fit in oven tray


Preheat the oven to 275F (140C) and place the rack in middle of the oven. Line a baking tray with foil and draw a 7 inch circle on the foil with the blunt edge of a knife (don't tear the foil). Set aside.

In a  medium bowl, beat the egg whites with a clean electric mixer on medium speed. Beat until the whites form soft peaks.
Gently sprinkle the sugar into the egg whites,a little at a time. Continue beating the eggs until you finish the sugar. Your mixture should look nice and glossy with stiff peaks.
Sprinkle  cornflour and vinegar on the meringue and fold in gently with a plastic spatula. Add  vanilla and gently fold the mixture.

Now slowly spread the meringue in a circle on a piece of foil to make a circular base. Make sure the edges of the meringue are slightly higher then the center so you have a slight well in the middle.
Bake the meringue for about 1 hour and 15 minutes or until it goes a very pale.
Turn the oven off and leave the door slightly open to let the meringue cool completely. It will crack slightly as it cools

Just before serving, take the meringue out of the oven and remove it gently from the foil and place on a plate.
Whip the cream with the vanilla extract until it forms peaks. Prepare the fruit by washing and slicing.
Gently spread the cream to the top of the meringue with a spatula and arrange the fruit on top.

Joloff Rice

2 cups long grain easy cook rice (wash rice well and leave to soak in water until sauce is prepared)
2 medium onions
3 crushed garlic cloves
1 heaped teaspoon thyme
½ or 1 whole scotch bonnet pepper (depending on how brave you are)
1 whole red pepper (paprika pepper)
1 can peeled tomatoes
1 can water (use your tomato can for measure)
1 stock cube either chicken, beef or vegetable depending on your own preference
1 tbsp. salt
3 carrots diced
1 cup frozen peas
3 tbls vegetable oil
1 tbls butter

For the sauce

In a blender add 1 onion quartered, garlic, thyme, tomatoes, pepper, scotch bonnet, water, stock cube and salt. Whiz all ingredients until nicely pureed.

In a medium pot heat oil and add the other onion which should be finely chopped. Fry until sautéed well and the onions start to brown.
Add your puréed mixture and fry until all the water comes out of the mixture and it becomes thick in consistency and resembles pureed tomatoes.
Add your carrots and cook another 5 mins and then add you rice which must be drained well.
Mix your rice into the sauce well and add 3 ½ cups water ensuring to mix the rice every so often.
Once your water reduces, add your frozen peas, mix through, cover and simmer on a low heat until your rice is cooked through, place butter onto rice while it is steaming.
Just before serving give your rice a once off turn and serve with meats of choice or just salads as a vegetarian dish.

Key Lime Pie


300g Digestive biscuits 
5 tablespoons melted butter


200ml double fresh cream
200g Philadelphia cream cheese
397g/1 can condensed milk
8g gelatine
50ml boiling water
Juice of 3 limes
Rind of 1 Lime

For the Crust

Place digestive biscuits in a zip lock bag and crush the biscuits using a rolling pin.
Add melted butter to the biscuits and slowly press it down into your 8 inch flan pan with the back of a spoon, ensuring to even out the base.

The Filling

In a small container dissolve gelatine with hot water and set aside to cool, (if you put it into you mixture hot it will curdle)
In a bowl combine fresh cream, Philadelphia, condensed milk and juice of limes and mix well until all ingredients are incorporated. 
Add cooled gelatine and half the grated rind to the above mixture.
Slowly poor your pie filling into the crust, decorate with the rest of the rind and a slice or two of thinly sliced lime. 

Place pie in refrigerator for about 1hour or until the filling is nicely set and firm.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Classic Easy Vanilla Ice-Cream

I love this ice-cream recipe.. it is the base of all my flavoured ice-creams. You can blitz in a blender any fruit you would like to add, pass it through a sieve and mix it through your custard before freezing the ice cream delicious!!!

1 tablespoon vanilla extract (you want the good stuff here)
5 egg yolks
500ml/ ½ pint fresh milk
500ml/ ½ pint  double (heavy) fresh cream
75g/6tbsp caster sugar
5ml/1 tsp cornflour (cornstarch)

In a medium sauce pan add fresh milk and warm up slowly without boiling.
In a medium bowl add egg yolks, sugar and cornflour/cornstarch and mix well until sugar is dissolved.
Slowly add warmed up milk to bowl containing egg mixture, use about half the milk and whisk the egg mixture well.
Pour the egg milk mixture back into the pot with the rest of the milk and slowly bring the mixture to a just boiling point ensuring to mix continually.
The mixture should thicken slightly at this stage, a custard consistency.  To ensure you have the correct consistency, the back of your spoon should be coated and you should able to leave a line on the spoon when you run your finger along it.
Remove from heat, slowly add in your fresh cream and vanilla, mix well.
Pour mixture through a sieve and allow to cool.
Place mixture in an airtight container and freeze.
Half way through freezing icicles should have formed on the side, mix the ice-cream and place back in freezer until set.
Freezing times vary depending on your refrigerator, on average it takes 3-4hours to set.
Serve with waffles and a lovely chocolate sauce.

Shortbread Biscuits

150g Plain Flour
100g Pure butter (more than 85% fat)
50g sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla essence
Set oven to 180 degrees temperature
In a bowel sift flour sugar and add butter chopped into small pieces followed by vanilla.
Begin to rub in the flour butter sugar and vanilla you will need to keep rubbing it in with your four fingers until the dough begins to form. (use breadcrumb method) you do not need any liquid for these biscuits just keep rubbing and the dough will begin to come together.
Once dough is formed wrap in cling film and place in refrigerator for 20 mins.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or the reusable lining sheet from Aldi stores.
Roll out balls of dough the size of a walnut and press gently down on baking sheet with a fork.
You can make any shape you like but I prefer rolling them out in balls and pressing them sown with a fork.
Bake for 15-20mins keep an eye on them as they burn easily.
Serve with a lovely cup of tea or some nice Carte Noire Coffee
You can double up the quantities as this only makes approx. 16 biscuits

Peri Peri Chicken Livers/Gizzards

500g Chicken Livers / gizzards
2 tbls Vegetable/Olive oil
2 tbsps Real Butter
1 heaped tablespoon Paprika
1/2 teaspoon Cumin
1 Large Onion finely chopped
4 - 6 Cloves Garlic (finely crushed or mashed in a pestle and mortar)
1 Bay Leaf
8 tbls White Wine
2 - 3 tbls Nando's PERi-PERi Sauce (I love the extra extra hot sauce choose your own fire)
Salt to season to your own taste
Trim and wash livers or gizzards thoroughly. For the Gizzards I suggest boiling them for at least 1 hour until they are nice and tender, keep topping up the water and skim any scum formed as they boil.
Place butter and oil in a medium sized pot and heat.
Add livers or gizzards (which ever you are cooking) paprika and cumin spice. Fry all ingredients until just brown.
Add onions and garlic, and cook on a medium heat until onions are nice and soft and have changed slightly in colour.
Add bay leaves and wine, and simmer over low heat for 10mins
Adjust seasoning and add Nando's Sauce as required I add at least 3 tablespoons as I love the heat.
Finally season with salt to your own taste. Serve with nice french roll, Mediterranean salad yummy, great as a starter.

Nata's Peruvian Galinha Chicken

I love this chicken it is to die for LOL. Great for parties and Sunday dinners or anytime you want to treat yourself to something especially nice mmmmmh. I tasted galinha chicken on a trip to Miami and ever since I came back home I have tried so many recipes and reinvented them to suit everyone. I hope you enjoy it as much as my family did.

What you will need
1 whole chicken cut in half (along the breast not the back bone) to form a butterfly
1 tablespoon rosemary
1 bunch of Fresh mint with coriander and about 6-8 leave fresh basil.
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2  teaspoon Paprika
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon ginger paste
1 tablespoon red or orange chilli paste (for paste blend 3-4 red or orange chillies with 1 teaspoon vinegar and ½ teaspoon salt). I keep a stash in a container great for other recipes.
2 heaped tablespoons fresh garlic paste
1/4 cup beer (any ale will do)
Splash vinegar
Oil to sprinkle over chicken to get it going not too much as chicken has its own fat

Place all ingredients other than chicken into a blender ;) blend till you have a nice smooth marinade.
Wash butterflied chicken well drain score skin with deep enough slits for marinade to penetrate  
Place chicken and marinade in large zip lock bag or a sealable bowel big enough to fit chicken and begin to rub in the marinade into all the crooks and crannies of the chicken
Marinade for 6-8hours or for a better result overnight.
You can either place chicken on a bbq grill and cook till juices run clear or place in an oven and bake at 180degrees for 45mins – 1hour or until juices run clear.
Serve with chips (see recipes for chips) or salads and rolls

Chicken and Mushroom Pies

I love pies, they easy to make and don’t cost a whole lot.
This recipe makes at least 16 pies. You can make up all and freeze others for another day, I prefer to do this while I have energy and have the luxury of popping a pie in the oven when I want. Alternatively half the recipe. Sorry but some of us are used to cooking for an army LOL..

1 whole chicken (washed salted and roasted at 230 degrees for 40mins in a fan oven)
75g real butter
1 onion sliced in half moon slices
3 cloves garlic ground in a pestle and mortar to a smooth paste (or gigad)
2 punnets mushrooms (you can use button or oyster)
1 teaspoon salt (or season to your taste but be careful as pie does not need too much salt)
2 tablespoons plain flour
400ml fresh milk.
4 rolls of rolled puff pastry.
1 egg beaten for a eggwash or alternatively use milk 
Preheat oven to 200degrees once your pie filling is cooling down


Once Chicken has roasted allow to cool completely before handling. Rip chicken apart and remove all the meat from the carcase shredding the chicken meat into bite size pieces. Ensure all the bones are removed.

In a large pot melt butter add onions and fry slightly to soften the onions.
Add mushrooms and cook until mushrooms change in colour and are softened.
Add chicken and give it all a good mix.
Add flour to chicken and mushrooms at this stage the mixture will become stiff.
Finally add milk and stir well.
Season with salt and pepper and allow to simmer for 10 mins ensuring to stir from time to time.
Set filling aside and allow to cool completely.

Unpack pasty onto a large board and lay flat.
Fold pastry into 4 partitions so as to make 4 oblong pieces.
Fold each oblong into half so as to form a division.
Spoon about 2 large tablespoons onto each strip in the bottom part of the division of each oblong strip.
Egg wash sides and carefully fold the top half onto the bottom being careful to seal the pie around the edges.
Finally take a fork and press flat around the edges to create a ribbed edging 

Sage Onion and Sausage Stuffing with a twist

I love stuffing it is one of my all-time favourites. It reminds me of Christmas… the beauty is you don’t have to wait until Christmas to have a good stuffing in a roast.. This stuffing is great with roast chicken, or pork….

What you will need

1 cup fresh bread crumbs – you can make this yourself in a blender of with a grater
1 onion finely diced
1 clove of garlic (crushed)
4 large pork sausages, (I like to use Tesco’s finest herb pork sausages)
2 tbls extra virgin olive oil
1 tbl spoon fresh sage (removed from stems and lightly bruised with knife)
½ Apple peeled and diced
¼ cup sultanas
(there is no need to add salt to this recipe as there is enough salt in the sausages and your meat will also be well seasoned).

In a pot heat oil and add onions. Lightly sauté onions until soft add garlic, bread crumbs mix well and remove from heat. Remove sausage meat from casings and add to bread and onion mixture followed by remaining ingredients. Use your hands to work in all the ingredients until the mixture begins to bind together. Set stuffing aside until you are ready to use it.

Chilli, coriander (cilantro) and garlic burger patties

Makes 4-6 large patties

1kg mince beef (try and use lean mince)
1 large onion chopped finely
1 big handful of fresh coriander (cilantro) finely chopped (I love coriander and always add extra)
½ teaspoon dried crushed birds eye chilli
1 egg to bind the mixture (for egg allergy suffers use about 2 tablespoons vegetable oil this will help bind the mixture)
1 level tablespoon salt
1 level teaspoon pepper
2-3 tablespoons cooking oil (for fat free option use spray oil)

In a large mixing bowl combine all ingredients well.
Ensure to get your hands in there and work the mixture well, ensuring all the spices are evenly distributed through your mince.
Take handfuls of the mixture work into balls press down to the size you would like.
Fry in a little oil on a medium heat until golden brown and cooked through.
Serve on a nice fresh burger bun with loads of salad, relish of choice or mayo, and a few chips on the side.
Perfect TV dinner.

Baked Sea bass with lemon garlic and herbs

Serves 4

  • 4 medium fresh sea bass
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed
  • 100g  butter
  • 4 tablespoons mixed dry herbs (or fresh if you have)
  • Juice of one large lemon
  • 1 level tablespoon salt

Pre-heat oven 200 degrees celsius

  • Wash and clean fish well
  • Cut about 3 slits on each side of the fish
  • In a bowl mix garlic, butter, herbs and lemon until the mixture comes together.
  • Spread mixture into fish cavities and slits, wrap in tin foil and bake in preheated oven for 25mins.
  • Serve with salads and baked potatoes

Easy beany salad

1 tin kidney beans
1 tin chick peas
1 tin mixed beans
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
½ finely chopped medium onion
1 fresh firm tomato diced
Handful coriander (cilantro) finely chopped
1 green chilli finely diced (optional)

  • Drain and rinse beans and chickpeas in a colander
  • Wash and dice seed tomato
  • Finely dice onion, chilli and cilantro
  • Mix all above ingredients together season with salt and pepper to taste and pour over balsamic vinegar.
  • This salad taste extra good the longer it sits. Great for proteins and low in fat… enjoy with fish, chicken breast or on its own.