Sunday, 26 July 2009

Grilled Goats Cheese with Balsamic Leaves and Strawberries

Goats cheese, grilled then finished with a cooks blow torch. A few leaves in a balsamic dressing and strawberries. So simple to make.



First make a quick balsamic dressing for your salad leaves.

Balsamic Dressing:

3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon of Balsamic vinegar
a teaspoon of runny honey
a teaspoon of wholegrain mustard
salt and black pepper

Whisk the lot together, then give it a taste and adjust the seasoning, you might want to add a pinch of caster sugar.
If you don't have a whisk put it all in a clean jar with the lid on and give it a good shake which will do the same trick.

You can have your salad leaves at the ready in a bowl but only when you're ready to serve can you put the dressing on them - if you do it in advance the leaves will go soggy and taste oily.

So, when you are ready, pour a little of the dressing over the leaves and carefully mix together with your hands.

The Goats Cheese:

Put your goats cheese onto a shallow tray and put them under the grill for a couple of minutes (don't try turning them) there is no need to.
Grill until they just start to bubble.
Finish the top with a cooks blow torch.



Add some slices strawberries - job done.

I tried to be fancy and do a squiggle with Balsamic glaze, which is a reduction of balsamic vinegar.
No I didn't make it - I cheated and brought it ready made in a squeezy bottle from Asda at £2.00 for 250ml it was a bargain!

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Elderflower and Prosecco Jelly with Berries

This is a Jamie Oliver recipe, which is absolutely fantastic!
You can make one big jelly or as I did 4 individual ones.
To give you some idea, my glasses each hold 200ml of water and as I said I made four jellies.
Not the best picture in the world but you get the idea.
You will need:
Enough mixed soft fruit (blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries) to fill your glasses.
4 leaves of gelatine - although I say 5 leaves
2 heaped tablespoons caster sugar
425ml Prosecco (sparkling Italian wine), chilled
How to do it:
Put your ripe fruit, glasses and the wine into your fridge to get everything nice and cold.
Now, put the gelatine leaves into a dish with a little cold water to soak for a minute, then drain and add the gelatine back to a bowl with the cordial.
Rest above a pan of water over a medium heat and stir constantly until the gelatine and cordial become a syrup.
At this point you can add your sugar, stir till dissolved, then remove the bowl from the heat and let it sit at room temperature for a minute or so.
Time to get your fruit and Prosecco out of the fridge.
Pour the Prosecco into your cordial mix, and then pour this over your fruit.
Some of the fruit might rise to the top, so using your finger, just push the fruit down into the jelly mix so that it is sealed and will then keep well in the fridge.

My fruit still came to the top so I gave up! The jellies were going to be eaten later that day anyway so it didn't matter too much if they were covered in jelly.
**Now at this point, Jamie says 'Put back into the fridge for an hour to set'.
My jellies didn't set that quickly! I'd say a good few hours is needed.
Also, when I make these again I will use another leaf of gelatine as the jelly wasn't set as good as it should have - don't get me wrong it wasn't that bad just could have been better. Mine were in the fridge from morning till night too.
Anyway, whatever they were good!

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Peppers and Tomatoes Stuffed with Rice

In my fridge I had 12 bell peppers - they were a bargain!
So, on seeing this recipe in a book called Greek Cooking. I felt the need to make it. I have altered the original recipe quite a bit though.
So here is my version.



Preheat your oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4

You will need:

4 bell peppers plus another half of one
2 beef tomatoes (I only used one as Mr Bennett doesn't like them - more for me ha ha)
plus 2 ordinary tomatoes
1 large onion - chopped finely
2 medium potatoes - sliced into 1/4 slices
300ml hot chicken stock made from 1 Knorr stock cube
1 tablespoon of freshly chopped parsley
pinch of dried mint
pinch of oregano
a pinch or two of sugar
1 and a half cups of rice
4 plus 1 tablespoons of good quality olive oil
salt and pepper

How to do it:

Slice the bottom of the tomatoes to create a lid and put the lids to one side. Now scoop out the pulp and reserve.

Cut the tops off the tops of the peppers, put the lids to one side. Remove the seeds and discard them.

In a frying pan heat a tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the onions and sliced potatoes. Cook until the onions are tender. The potatoes wont be cooked at this point - but don't worry. Remove the potatoes and put to one side.

Now stir in the rice and cook for a minute and the reserved tomato pulp from the beef tomato.
Stir in a little of the hot chicken stock. Keep stirring and adding more stock a little at a time until the rice is almost cooked. You may not need all of the stock - if you need more then it should only be a small amount so you can just add a little water. The Knorr stock cube is meant to be dissolved in 440ml of water so the taste will still be fine.

When the rice is almost cooked.
Now stir in the parsley, oregano and mint.
Put the peppers and the tomatoes into an oven proof dish - choose one so they sit nice and snug and hold each other up. Put the slices of potato around the edge.
Sprinkle a little sugar in the bottom of each tomato and a little salt and pepper in each pepper. Now fill each of them with the rice mixture.
Put the lids back on. Sprinkle the potatoes with a little salt.

Chop the half a bell pepper and the two other tomatoes into small dice. In a small bowl mix these together with the rest of the olive oil.

Drizzle the peppers and tomatoes with the olive oil and tomato and pepper mixture. Put into your preheated oven and cook for about 35 to 40 minutes.



Serve with nice crusty bread.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

In the Post Today - Galler Chocolates!!

Today, the postman knocked the door and delivered this amazing box of chocolates from Galler for me to try!

Each stick in a brush. Each inkpot is an aromatic flavor.....
These luxury chocolates are simply the best. I really love the idea of dipping the chocolate 'brush' into the little pots to try a different flavour.
mine was the 'orange and nibs'.
By using their advance gift service, you will never forget that anniversary or special occasion.
Pre-order now to guarantee your gift will be delivered in time for that special day, and ensure that you are not in trouble for forgetting that important date!
Luxury Belgian Chocolate;Jean Galler and the chocolate development team at Galler chocolates are continually developing new blends of chocolate, experimenting with taste and flavours to concoct chocolate miracles and lead in the evolution of new and exciting ranges of chocolate gifts. The exquisite range of chocolate gifts created by Galler chocolates includes the subtle and enticing Les Florales, the unique and original Les Marines, the sumptuous Les Volcaniques, as well as an extensive range of luxury Belgian chocolate bars.
Each new Galler chocolate gift sensation represents Jean Galler’s ideologies about chocolate.
You can see the full range of fantastic chocolate products and gifts over at

An Award and a Thank You to Kenny!

A big thank you to Kenny from 'Chic Eats' for awarding me with The Kreativ Blogger Award!

Not too sure I deserve it but thank you again Kenny.

The Kreativ Blogger award com
es with some rules:


  1. You must thank the person who has given you the award.
  2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog.
  3. Link to the person who has nominated you for the award.
  4. Name 7 things about yourself that people might find interesting.
  5. Nominate 7 other Kreativ Bloggers.
  6. Post links to the 7 blogs you nominate.
  7. Leave a comment on which of the blogs to let them know they have been nominated.
I'm finding it really difficult to come up with 7 things that people might find interesting about me as there aren't any!
So with that in mind, do please try to stay awake reading the following.


Here I go:
  1. I worry about worrying, and if I have nothing to worry about, I worry about that too - keeps me from getting too fat I suppose!
  2. I love animals, especially rabbits and have a bunny called Brian (mad name I know), we also have a cat and two guinea pigs.
  3. I'm always, always hungry!
  4. I do like a drop (or two) of red wine. I can drink white (I mean I wouldn't say no if that was all there was) lol
  5. I love watching anything to do with cooking and travel on TV but only seem to get time when I'm ironing!
  6. This year I started growing my own herbs - I don't really know why I haven't done it before now. I'm growing tomatoes too, but I seem to have brought too many plants (they were a bargain and I got carried away) but now it's a bit like a wilderness and I have no idea how to get to them to pick them when they're ready!
  7. I'm always laughing - best thing to do I say! No point in being fed up all the time. I'm the 'same' every day, I mean I don't get up with a mood on me.
Okay, time to wake up! It’s my turn to pass on the Kreativ Blogger Award to 7 blogger friends (in no particular order):

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Ultimate Cheesy Mash - Great Dinner Party Side Dish

Jan's ultimate cheesy mash - a great match for so many dishes.  Fantastic for a dinner party too, as you can make it up to the point of putting the mashed potato in a dish, then just cover in cling film till you're ready to cook.  
When you are ready, simply remove the cling film and fluff it up with a fork.  It will now be ready to go in the oven when you need it to!  

There isn't really a recipe for this - just start by making as little or as much mashed potato as you fancy.

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Chicken Saltimbocca

Chicken saltimbocca is just so, so nice. Imagine the sweetness of the Marsala wine and the slight saltiness of the Parma ham along with chicken fillets that have been cooked just right so the chicken is really tender. In a word - yum.

This lovely sauce seeping into the cheesy mash - not just any cheesy mash potato but Jan's ultimate cheesy mash! Recipe for that will follow tomorrow.

To serve 2 you will need:
2 chicken breast fillets - skinless
2 slices of Parma ham
2 tablespoons of olive oil
50g salted butter
6 small sage leaves
a handful of freshly chopped flat leaf parsley
100ml Marsala wine
salt and pepper to taste

How to do it:
Put the chicken breasts on a chopping board and cover with cling film. Using something flat and 'bashable' bash out until they are flattened. Don't go too mad as you don't want to tear them.

Season with a little salt and pepper. Place 3 sage leaves on each breast and lay a piece of Parma ham on top. Secure with a wooden skewer.

In a large frying pan, heat the oil and half of the butter on a medium heat. Once it's nice and hot, place the chicken in the pan, ham side down. Cook for 2 minutes until browned. Turn and cook for a further 3 minutes until just cooked through.
When that's done, remove and put the chicken onto a plate and cover with foil.


Pour the Marsala wine in the hot frying pan and with the help of a wooden spoon, start to deglaze by scraping up the lovely gooey bits on the bottom. Over a high heat simmer for 2 minutes until slightly reduced.
Now, stir in the remaining butter then season with salt and pepper.
Return the chicken and any juice to the pan, throw in the chopped parsley.
Spoon over the sauce and cook for just one minute.
Remove the pan from the heat and remove the skewer from the chicken and serve immediately.

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