Nuts About Brownies!

Hello, have I baked up something delicious for you? If you love Chocolate and Brazil Nuts then you will be Nuts About Brownies!

Brazil Nut studded, fudgey Chocolate - you will love Nuts About Brownies!
Brazil Nut studded, fudgey Chocolate – you will love Nuts About Brownies!

 

This Brownie recipe is so easy as it’s all made in one saucepan. Come on we so love a recipe that doesn’t involve a mountain of washing up? Not only that, you line your baking dish/tin with foil – so even that stays clean! Anything to make life easier is very welcome around here!

Go big or stay small, each bite is chocca full of nuts!
Go big or stay small, each bite is chocca full of nuts!

 

Nigella is the inspiration behind this recipe. I’ve tinkered with it a little bit and I’d like to think she would approve. I’ve used Brazil nuts in these Nuts About Brownies, but Walnuts and Pecans work very well too. Whatever nuts I add, these Brownies disappear very quickly in our house!!!

I'm Nuts About Brownies - are you?
I’m Nuts About Brownies – are you?

 

Recipe : Makes 9 – 15 Brownies

150g/5oz Unsalted Butter

300g/10oz Dark Brown Muscavado Sugar

75g/2.5oz Cocoa Powder

150g/5oz Plain White Flour

1tsp Sodium Bicarbonate

1/4tsp Salt

4 Large Eggs – pref free range

2tsp Vanilla Extract

150g/5oz Brazil Nuts

150g/Dark Chocolate (70%)

Method :

Preheat oven to 175C/160C fan.

Line a 30cm x 20cm (12″ x 8″) baking tin with aluminium foil. Ensure the dish is at least 5cm (2″) deep.

Place the butter and sugar into a large, heavy bottomed pan...
Place the butter and sugar into a large, heavy bottomed pan…

Melt the butter and sugar gently over a low heat.

Add the cocoa to the melted butter/sugar, off the heat.
Add the cocoa to the melted butter/sugar, off the heat.
Stir in the cocoa until thoroughly combined.
Stir in the cocoa until thoroughly combined.
Now add the flour, bicarb. and salt.
Now add the flour, bicarb. and salt.
Mix thoroughly - the mixture will be quite dry and claggy at this point - don't worry!!
Mix thoroughly – the mixture will be quite dry and claggy at this point – don’t worry!!

Crack the eggs into a jug. Add the vanilla extract and mix – don’t whisk as you don’t want to incorporate air.

Add the egg/vanilla mixture to the cooled contents of the pan.
Add the egg/vanilla mixture to the cooled contents of the pan.
Mix thoroughly, until you have a smooth, silky, brownie batter.
Mix thoroughly, until you have a smooth, silky, brownie batter.
Pour the brownie mixture into the foil lined tin.
Pour the brownie mixture into the foil lined tin.
Chop the nuts and chocolate into large chunks.
Chop the nuts and chocolate into large chunks.
Sprinkle the chopped nuts and chocolate evenly over the top of the brownie batter.
Sprinkle the chopped nuts and chocolate evenly over the top of the brownie batter.

 

Now the next step is important but might sound a bit odd – rap the baking tin hard against the worktop 3-4 times. This brings any bubbles to the surface, we want our brownies to be dense and fudgey, not light and airy like cake! Rapping the tin also settles the chocolate chunks and nuts into the batter.

Place the brownies in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. The brownies are cooked when the top is set, but there should still be a little bit of wobble in the middle. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 30 minutes.

Your Nuts About Brownies are nearly ready to eat!! Remember it's always better to slightly undercook them, that ensures fudgey, gooey, yumminess!!
Your Nuts About Brownies are nearly ready to eat!! Remember it’s always better to slightly undercook them, that ensures fudgey, gooey, yumminess!!

 

Remove the brownies from the tin by simply lifting out the foil. Place on a cooling rack, pulling the foil away from the sides of the cooked brownie. Congratulate yourself on one less item to wash up!!!!!

Once cooled cut into squares. 9 big ones or 15 smaller ones. Pour yourself a large glass of milk and get ready to taste Nuts About Brownies!

These brownies are so simple to make and bake. 30 minutes from start to taking them out of the oven – perfect for when you have a chocolate brownie craving! Or is it just me that gets those???

Brownies are perfect for sharing.
Brownies are perfect for sharing.

Would you share your brownie?

What foods are off limits when it comes to sharing?

Sammie x

 

 

 

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Zesty Lemon Lime Cake

Hello there, I have the perfect cake to celebrate the sunshine, Zesty Lemon Lime Cake. Perfect for picnics, packed lunches or pausing for a cuppa in the garden!

Zesty Lemon Lime Cake - perfect with lemon tea!
Zesty Lemon Lime Cake – perfect with lemon tea!

 

The combination of lime with lemon results in a deliciously moist, tangy cake. Using the zest of the fruits gives a delightful depth of flavour to this delicious cake.

Zesty Lemon Lime Cake - sunshine in cake form!
Zesty Lemon Lime Cake – sunshine in cake form!

 

A gorgeous glaze made with both fresh lemon and lime juice is the perfect topping. Not too sweet, with a lovely zing!

I probably should have opted for an all over glaze instead of criss-cross!!
I probably should have opted for an all over glaze instead of criss-cross!!

 

I love cake, especially in the summer. There’s nothing quite like opening up a tin at a picnic, with friends and family, to find a pre-cut, delicious, home made cake to tuck into. That’s when tray bakes or square cakes really come into their own – perfectly portable pudding!!

Recipe :

225g/8oz Caster Sugar

225g/8oz Unsalted Butter – room temp

1/4tsp Salt

1 x Lime

1 x Lemon

1tsp Vanilla extract

4 Large Eggs – pref. free range

150ml/5fl oz Sour Cream

225g/8oz Self Raising White Flour

225g/8oz Icing Sugar

Method : Preheat Oven to 175C/160C fan

In a large bowl whisk together the butter, sugar and salt until light and fluffy.

Add the vanilla extract, eggs, sour cream and zest of the lemon and lime and mix thoroughly – if the mixture starts to curdle add a couple of tablespoons of the flour.

You can finely grate the zest or use a zester to get long strips of zest as I have done.
You can finely grate the zest or use a zester to get long strips of zest as I have done.

Next add the flour and mix until just combined. Stir through the juice of half the lime.

Pour the mixture into a greased and line (I only line the bottom of the tin) 21cm x 21cm (8″ x 8″) square cake tin.

 

Smooth over the cake top for an even finish.
Smooth over the cake top for an even finish.

 

Place in the oven and bake for 45-50 mins until the cake spring back when lightly pressed – or a cocktail stick comes out cleanly, when inserted into the centre of the cake.

Cooling in it's tin for 10 minutes - Zesty Lemon Lime Cake
Cooling in it’s tin for 10 minutes – Zesty Lemon Lime Cake

 

Once cooked remove the cake from the oven. Leave to cool for 10 minutes in the tin, then turn out onto a cooling rack.

Tip – once the cake is turned out onto the cooling rack I remove the parchment paper and the use a second rack placed over the bottom of the cake and flip it. Now my cake is the right way up!! Very handy when you want the top of the cake to be on show.

Once the cake is cooled, transfer to a serving plate, as the icing drips down the sides of the cake.

To make the icing, add the juice of half a lime and enough lemon juice to the icing sugar, in a bowl, mixing until you reach a nice smooth consistency.

Lemon lime flavoured icing, perfect for drizzling over your cake.
Lemon lime flavoured icing, perfect for drizzling over your cake.
Drizzle the icing over the cake, encouraging some icing to drip over the sides!
Drizzle the icing over the cake, encouraging some icing to drip over the sides!
I may have slightly overdone the drizzling???!!!
I may have slightly overdone the drizzling???!!!

Allow the icing to set and then cut into squares – I made 12, but if you want larger pieces that’s fine

This Zesty Lemon Lime Cake has a lovely soft crumb texture and delicious citrus flavour. Perfect with a cup of lemon tea!

Do you have a favourite drink/cake flavour combination?

Enjoy feasting on this cake!

Sammie x

 

 

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Perfect Panini Pizza

Hi, I’ve just made the easiest, tastiest, lunch ever: Perfect Panini Pizza. It’s so simple, yet so delicious.

Perfect Panini Pizza
Perfect Panini Pizza

 

Our daughter is at home, working hard on study leave. It’s exam time people! That means lots of study and lots of brain fuel – FOOD!! So in an effort to make lunchtime fun I decided to turn 2 panini rolls (ciabatta rolls would work fine too) into something other than a sandwich! Not that sandwiches aren’t good, but I wanted to change things up a bit and treat Star to a fabulous lunch. Perfect Panini Pizza totally hit the mark!

Perfect Panini Pizza - fuel for studying!
Perfect Panini Pizza – fuel for studying!

 

I’ve made pizza using baguette before, but I’ve always found it really, really hard to stop the curved edges of the baguette from toppling the whole pizza over, dumping the topping as it rolls. Now I’ve found a solution – Ciabatta bread. It’s flat!! I know right!! Takes me a while to catch on sometimes (always!!!!). But I got there in the end and ooh what a delicious result.

Perfect Panini Pizza - totally scrummy!
Perfect Panini Pizza – totally scrummy!

 

The best thing about this recipe is that you can top your pizza with whatever you have in the fridge. I’ve used Salami, but ham, peppers, olives, sweetcorn, really the list is endless. If you try this please let me know what toppings you try?

Recipe :

1 Panini roll/1/2 ciabatta loaf per person

Olive Oil

Tomato Salsa – or tomato pasta sauce (in a jar!)

Mozzerella Cheese – or any other good melting cheese

Salami – or any topping of your choice!

Method : Preheat oven to 200C/185C fan

I specifically haven’t given quantities for the ingredients above as it really depends on how many pizzas you are making and how hungry the people you are making them for are!!

Here is how I made our Perfect Panini Pizzas :

Take two panini rolls....
Take two panini rolls….
Slice in half, place on a baking sheet and lightly drizzle with Olive oil.
Slice in half, place on a baking sheet and lightly drizzle with Olive oil.
Spoon over some bought tomato salsa/pasta sauce, so it just covers the bread. Don't overdo it or your pizza will be soggy.
Spoon over some bought tomato salsa/pasta sauce, so it just covers the bread. Don’t overdo it or your pizza will be soggy.
Lay slices of mozzarella over the top......
Lay slices of mozzarella over the top……
Then top with slices of salami.
Then top with slices of salami.

 

Bake in the oven for 20 mins until the base and edges are all crispy and the cheese is gooey and melting over the sides!

Remove the pizzas from the oven and get ready for the best lunch ever!!!!
Remove the pizzas from the oven and get ready for the best lunch ever!!!!

 

Star and I thoroughly enjoyed our Perfect Panini Pizzas and had fun deciding what other toppings we’d like to try.  The perfect break from studying. Rested and refuelled.

I’m sending lots of love to all students and school children ( it’s SATS week ) who are studying and taking exams at the moment.

What is your favourite refuel food?

Sammie x

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Baked Garlic Herb Potato Wedges

Hello there people! The sun is shining and that makes me smile. It’s amazing how a little sunshine can improve our mood, as can the right food! Ooh that rhymed!! I have another fabulously easy side dish recipe for you today Baked Garlic Herb Potato Wedges.

Yummy Baked Garlic Herb Potato Wedges
Yummy Baked Garlic Herb Potato Wedges.

 

Perfect on their own or as a side dish these Baked Garlic Herb Potato Wedges are a tasty alternative to oven chips. They are quick to prepare, need no attention whilst they bake in the oven and have a finger licking garlicky flavour.

Why is it food tastes better when eaten with our hands???

Sorry I’ll get back to the point – which is – these baked beauties go with just about anything: Roast Chicken, Fish, Quiche, Steak, Sausages…. The list is endless. Try them and let me know what you had them with?

Delicious just on their own, or dunked in a dip of your choice!
Delicious just on their own, or dunked in a dip of your choice!

 

Recipe : Serves 4-6 as a side.

1.5kg/3lb Baking Potatoes – scrubbed and dried

2-3 tbsp Olive Oil

4 Garlic Bulbs – crushed/finely minced

1 tbsp Fresh Thyme

Salt and Pepper to taste

Method :

Preheat oven to 200C/185C fan.

Cut each baking potato in half lengthways. Cut each half into wedges, approx 1/2 inch wide – try to keep all the potato wedges a similar size, this will ensure even cooking. Place all the potato wedges onto a large baking sheet/roasting pan.

Drizzle over the Olive Oil.
Drizzle over the Olive Oil.
I bought this pot of fresh Thyme from the supermarket and keep it on the kitchen window!
I bought this pot of fresh Thyme from the supermarket and keep it on the kitchen window!
Sprinkle over the Thyme and minced Garlic and then mix thoroughly so that each wedge is coated in oil, garlic and thyme.
Sprinkle over the Thyme and minced Garlic and then mix thoroughly so that each wedge is coated in oil, garlic and thyme.

 

Ensure the wedges are spread out evenly and then place in the oven.

Bake for 40 – 50 minutes until golden and cooked through (I usually test larger wedges with a knife).

Note : I give the tin a good shake halfway through cooking, to ensure they don’t stick.

Hot Baked Garlic Herb Potato Wedges - straight from the oven.
Hot Baked Garlic Herb Potato Wedges – straight from the oven.

 

Serve immediately with a sprinkle of crunchy sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Baked Garlic Herb Potato Wedges - delish!
Baked Garlic Herb Potato Wedges – delish!

 

I also make these using fresh, minced Rosemary in place of the Thyme. I honestly couldn’t pick a favourite – both versions are equally delicious!

I hope you enjoy trying and feasting on this dish.

Sammie x

 

 

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Strawberries And Cream Cake!

Hi, thank you for stopping by to look at this scrumptious Strawberries And Cream Cake! I hope the sight of it puts a smile on your face? Strawberries in Spring remind me of the promise of sunshine, picnics in the park and days at the beach. Do Strawberries hold any treasured memories for you?

Strawberries And Cream Cake!
Strawberries And Cream Cake!

This is such a simple cake to make and yet looks so beautiful, it could easily turn any occasion into a Feast! I baked it simply because strawberries were on special offer. They were so sumptuous they deserved celebrating!

The Strawberries really were THIS red in this Strawberries And Cream Cake!
The Strawberries really were THIS red in this Strawberries And Cream Cake!

 

Normally in Summer, when it is hot, too hot for cake (yes there is such a thing in my world!!), Strawberries are eaten just as they are, warm from the sun, or churned into the most delicious ice cream. Spring allows for the indulgence of cake – and vanilla whipped cream – and Strawberries. Totally and utterly delicious!

Strawberries And Cream Cake - so pretty!
Strawberries And Cream Cake – so pretty!

 

Recipe : Strawberries And Cream Cake!

For the cake:

225g/8oz Caster Sugar

225g/8oz Unsalted Butter – room temp

225g/8oz Self raising Flour

4 Large Eggs – pref. Free Range

1tsp Vanilla Extract

For the filling:

450g/1lb Strawberries – hulled and sliced, save 1 pretty strawberry for the top

400ml/3/4 pint Double Cream

1 tsp Vanilla Bean Extract

1 tbsp Sugar

 

Method : Preheat the oven to 175C/160C fan

I’ve used the All in One Method for this cake. It’s so simple and quick, you simply place all the ingredients for the cake into a bowl and then beat together, with an electric whisk until just combined.

The All-In-One-Method is a whizz
The All-In-One-Method is a whizz.

 

Divide the mixture in half and place into 2 buttered and lined 7″ sandwich tins.

Place the tins into the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes.
Place the tins into the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes.

The sponges are cooked when they are golden and spring back when lightly pressed in the centre. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes in their tins before turning out, onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Cooling cakes, waiting to be transformed....
Cooling cakes, waiting to be transformed….

Once the cakes have cooled, whisk together the cream, sugar and vanilla bean paste (sub 1 tsp of vanilla extract if you don’t have the paste). Whisk until the cream holds a soft peak.

Spread half of the cream onto the bottom cake layer, flat side up.
Spread half of the cream onto the bottom cake layer, flat side up.
Arrange the sliced strawberries over the cream.
Arrange the sliced strawberries over the cream.

Place the other cake on top, rounded side up. Cover with the rest of the cream and decorate with sliced strawberries, placing the whole strawberry in the middle.

Your finished Strawberries And Cream Cake!
Your finished Strawberries And Cream Cake!

Now take a photo!! Seriously if you look at this cake in the deepest, darkest, depths of icy winter, it will remind you that sunny days are ahead. Hope is powerful – even if it is in the form of cake!!!!

Now it’s time to get the family together and enjoy a slice of this Strawberries And Cream Cake! I know I’ve said it before – food really does taste better when it’s shared.

What’s your favourite food to share?

Sammie x

Please note this is NOT a sponsored or affiliated post. 

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Sausage Plait With A Twist

Hi there everybody. I have another easy, dish for you today Sausage Plait With A Twist! What’s the twist??? Sundried tomatoes and thyme!!

Stunning, scrumptious and so easy - Sausage Plait With A Twist!
Stunning, scrumptious and so easy – Sausage Plait With A Twist!

 

The addition of sundried tomatoes and thyme to pork sausage meat gives this sausage plait a deep savoury flavour. Ideal for a mid week meal, perfect for a buffet and portable for picnics!!

No ordinary sausage roll! This Sausage Plait With A Twist is perfect for buffets and picnics!
No ordinary sausage roll! This Sausage Plait With A Twist is perfect for buffets and picnics!

 

Now I have used a special roller, to create the lattice pattern on the top of the Sausage Plait. I bought it 20+ years ago. I’ve just had a quick peek on Amazon and they sell them for about £5. Which is probably about what I paid all those years ago!!!

Pastry Lattice Cutter
Pastry Lattice Cutter

 

If you bake a lot of pies and tarts then I would say this is a good buy. However the diamond effect on the pastry below was achieved by lightly scoring the uncooked pastry, on a slant, one way and then the other. When baked it produced a pretty, diamond effect pattern and I didn’t need a Lattice Roller. This technique would work for the Sausage Plait.

Sausage Plait with a diamond pattern - just as effective.
Sausage Plait with a diamond pattern – just as effective.

 

Whichever method you use, your Sausage Plait With A Twist is sure to go down well with everyone who tries it. Served hot or cold, it is completely scrummy!!!

Recipe : Makes 1 Sausage Plait With A Twist.

500g/1lb Block Puff Pastry – defrosted if frozen – I used Just Rol, not the all butter version.

500g/1lb Pork Sausage meat

15 Sundried Tomatoes (drained if in oil)

1 tbsp Fresh Thyme Leaves

1/2 tsp Black Pepper – freshly ground

1 Egg – for egg wash

Method :

Chop the sundried tomatoes, roughly, so there are no big pieces. Place into a bowl and add the Thyme, Sausage meat and black pepper. Using your hand, squish (technical term!!) all the ingredients together until well combined.

 

Dark red pieces of sundried tomato and flecks of green thyme are spread throughout the sausagemeat.
Dark red pieces of sundried tomato and flecks of green thyme are spread throughout the sausagemeat.

 

On a floured worktop roll out the puff pastry so that it measures 30cm x 35cm (10″x12″). Trim to neaten the edges. Now place the pastry onto a piece of parchment paper – the same size as your baking sheet. This will make transferring the sausage plait MUCH easier. MUCH!!!! I speak from experience!!

Place the sausagemeat mixture evenly down one side of the pastry, leaving a 1 inch (2.5cm) border.

Pat the sausage mixture so that it is spread evenly. Then get ready to roll.....
Pat the sausage mixture so that it is spread evenly. Then get ready to roll…..
Place the Lattice Roller just inside the bottom edge of the pastry and roll to the top!
Place the Lattice Roller just inside the bottom edge of the pastry and roll to the top!
Brush the beaten egg around the border of the sausage mixture.
Brush the beaten egg around the border of the sausage mixture.
Fold the lattice cut side over the sausage meat, so the edges meet.
Fold the lattice cut side over the sausage meat, so the edges meet.
I have crimped the pastry edges by twisting them together, then brushed egg wash over the top of the Sausage Plait.
I have crimped the pastry edges by twisting them together, then brushed egg wash over the top of the Sausage Plait.

 

Yep I know!! Bet you’re glad you don’t have to transfer this to a baking sheet now??? My mistakes are your gain – sometimes it takes me a while to catch on!!!!

Bake for 40 – 50 minutes, in a preheated oven 190C/175C fan, until golden brown.

Sausage Plait With A Twist - delicious served hot, warm or cold.
Sausage Plait With A Twist – delicious served hot, warm or cold.

 

Such an easy dish to make, yet super impressive to look at and eat!

I hope you give this recipe a try and let me know what twists you put on your version?

Sammie x

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Lemon Shortbread Cookies

Hi, I’ve done it!! I’ve managed to make  Lemon Shortbread Cookies that are light, lemony and crumbly, but still taste of shortbread!

Lemon Shortbread Cookies - perfect on their own, or with a cup of tea!
Lemon Shortbread Cookies – perfect on their own, or with a cup of tea!

I can’t tell you how good it feels to get back to baking since my recent stay in hospital. I’m not out of the woods yet, but at least I’m on the right path! Baking relaxes me, allows my creative juices to get flowing and produces something scrummy to eat afterwards. Not bad eh???

These are so delicious, my favourite Lemon Shortbread Cookies!
These are so delicious, my favourite Lemon Shortbread Cookies!

 

Buttery, lemony, light Lemon Shortbread Cookies. The perfect biscuit, in my book anyway. I encourage you to try this recipe if you are a fan of lemon and shortbread. I think you get the picture – I LOVE THESE COOKIES!

Lemon Shortbread Cookies - my favourite!
Lemon Shortbread Cookies – my favourite!

 

Recipe : Makes 20-24 Lemon Shortbread Cookies

150g/5oz Caster Sugar

225g/8oz Unsalted Butter – room temp

1 Large Egg Yolk – free range

1tsp Vanilla Extract

1tbsp Lemon Zest – finely grated (approx 1 medium lemon)

1/4 tsp Salt

300g/10oz Plain White Flour

Extra Sugar for sprinkling

Method :

Whisk the sugar and butter together until light and fluffy.

Add the room temp egg yolk, vanilla, lemon zest and salt. Whisk until thoroughly combined.

Add the flour and mix (I do this by hand) until all the ingredients are just incorporated and the cookie dough comes together.

Place half of the cookie dough onto a piece of cling film.
Place half of the cookie dough onto a piece of cling film.

Using your hands shape the dough into a log. Wrap tightly in the cling and repeat with the other half of the dough.

Tip: if you wipe your worktop/board with a damp, clean cloth, the cling film will lay flat and stay in place!

 

These cookie dough logs need to be refrigerated until firm - approx 1 hour.
These cookie dough logs need to be refrigerated until firm – approx 1 hour

 

When firm, slice the log into individual rounds.
When firm, slice the log into individual rounds.

When ready to bake preheat the oven to 175C/160C fan.

Place the uncooked Lemon Shortbread Cookies onto a non stick baking tray and sprinkle with sugar.
Place the uncooked Lemon Shortbread Cookies onto a non stick baking tray and sprinkle with sugar.

 

Bake the Lemon Shortbread Cookies for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown and set (cooking time will be slightly longer, if you’ve cut the dough rounds thicker – my first batch took 18 mins!).

Remove from the oven, when cooked and then sprinkle a little more sugar over the cookies (I use granulated sugar for sprinkling).

Leave to cool on the tray for 10 mins then transfer to a cooling rack.

These Lemon Shortbread Cookies actually improve on keeping, in an airtight container, if you can wait???

Now think of someone you know, who loves lemon, pop some cooled cookies in a cellophane bag, tied with pretty ribbon and make their day!

An unexpected gift is a wonderful way to show someone that you care and food ALWAYS tastes better when it’s shared.

Do you like to bake and share? I’d love to hear your stories.

Keep smiling, Sammie x.

 

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Lemon Garlic Vegetable Orzo

Hi, have I got the easiest, tastiest, make ahead side dish for you?? Oh yes I have! Lemon Garlic Vegetable Orzo – this dish does not disappoint – it is delicious.

Soooo delicious - Lemon Garlic Vegetable Orzo - the perfect Pasta side dish.
Soooo delicious – Lemon Garlic Vegetable Orzo – the perfect Pasta side dish.

 

Although I’ve said this is a side dish (& vegetarian), it also makes a fab light lunch. A few shavings of Parmesan would add extra oomph for lunch, served alongside some crusty, crunchy bread.

I’m getting hungry!!!!

Lemon Garlic Vegetable Orzo - perfect served at room temp!
Lemon Garlic Vegetable Orzo – perfect served at room temp!

I’ve used red onion, peas, sweetcorn and red bell pepper in this dish – but feel free to switch up the veggies (celery is good) with whatever you have on hand. All I would say is the Lemon Garlic Vegetable Orzo is best served at room temp, or even warmed – BUT NOT COLD!!! No matter how much lemon/oil you add, when served fridge cold the Orzo clumps together and not in a good way!!!! So there you go, an easy recipe that doesn’t take up any room in your fridge, or require any last minute fiddling. Yay!! We like easy!

Sooo easy, sooo delish - what's not to love - Lemon Garlic Vegetable Orzo
Sooo easy, sooo delish – what’s not to love – Lemon Garlic Vegetable Orzo

 

Recipe : Lemon Garlic Vegetable Orzo serves 6-8 as a side dish.

500g/1lb Packet Dried Orzo

Juice of 1 Large Lemon

1 x Small Red Onion

150ml/5fl oz Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 x Garlic Cloves – crushed

200g/7oz Frozen Peas

Medium Can Sweetcorn

Fresh Basil

Salt and Pepper to taste

Method :

Put a large pan of water on to heat up for the Orzo.

Place the lemon juice and finely diced red onion into a large bowl. Add a pinch of salt and mix together. Leaving the onion in the lemon juice will remove the acrid taste!

Once the water in the pan is boiling add salt and then the Orzo. Cook according to the packet instructions – taking care not to overcook or the Orzo will simply clump together!!

Whilst the Orzo is cooking gently heat the Olive Oil and garlic together, for approx 2 minutes on a medium heat so the garlic infuses the oil and is lightly cooked. Pour the garlicky oil over the onions and lemon juice.

Lemon Garlic Onions and Oil - add salt and pepper.
Lemon Garlic Onions and Oil – add salt and pepper.

 

Drain the Orzo as soon as it is cooked and pour straight into the bowl. Using a large slotted spoon immediately toss the Orzo in the oil/lemon juice – this will stop the Orzo from sticking together.

Place the frozen peas (I used petit pois) in the bowl and mix in with the hot Orzo.

Add the sweetcorn (drained) and the diced, red, bell pepper. Mix together and taste for seasoning – add salt/freshly ground pepper as necessary.

Take a handful of Basil leaves, roughly chop and sprinkle over.

Cover with cling film and serve at room temp.

Voila!!! 10 minute side dish - Lemon Garlic Vegetable Orzo - delish xx
Voila!!! 10 minute side dish – Lemon Garlic Vegetable Orzo – delish xx

 

This side goes fabulously with fish – Salmon especially, Chicken and Pork. It makes a fab alternative to roast potatoes and hot veggies for a Summer roast and completely seals the deal as part of a buffet. With very little effort. Gotta love that?!

Enjoy feasting on this scrumptious dish and may we have many sunny days ahead to spend with friends and family, having fun round the BBQ!

With hidden ‘Super-Soakers’ primed for action if it gets too hot – or boring!!!!

What do you look forward to now the days are longer and the sunshine is out??

Sammie x

 

 

 

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Easy Tex Mex Chicken

 

Hi, have I got the easiest, quickest meal for you? Yep, I have – Easy Tex Mex Chicken!

Easy Tex Mex Chicken tipped into a pan, ready for the oven.
Easy Tex Mex Chicken tipped into a pan, ready for the oven.

I am talking 5 minutes prep in the morning. Leave in the fridge all day and then throw in the oven for 45 mins before you want to eat. I told you it was Easy!! This delicious dish is fab served in Tortilla Wraps Fajita style, or alternatively, as I have, with potato wedges – well if you’ve got the oven already on…..

Oh my, this Easy Tex Mex Chicken served with wedges - delish!
Oh my, this Easy Tex Mex Chicken served with wedges – delish!

 

Recipe : Easy Tex Mex Chicken serves 5-6

750g/1.5lb Boned Chicken Breasts (approx 5)

1 Large Spanish Onion

3 Peppers – the colours are up to you!

1 Packet Fajita Seasoning

2 tbs Olive Oil

Method :

Pat dry the chicken breasts using kitchen paper.

Drying the chicken makes a real difference to the cooked dish.
Drying the chicken makes a real difference to the cooked dish.

 

Cut up the chicken into bite sized chunks (I used scissors) and place in a large, freezer bag.

With these 3 ingredients Easy Tex Mex Chicken is just that, EASY!
With these 3 ingredients Easy Tex Mex Chicken is just that, EASY!

 

Pour a couple of glugs of Olive Oil over the diced chicken then tip in the contents of a Fajita mix.

Massage the seasoning into the chicken.
Massage the seasoning into the chicken.

Next it’s time to get chopping!

Ooh so pretty. Choose whichever colour peppers are your favourite and...
Ooh so pretty. Choose whichever colour peppers are your favourite and…

 

Chop the Peppers and Onion so they are about the same size.
Chop the Peppers and Onion so they are about the same size.

Pop the chopped veggies into the freezer bag with the seasoned chicken and smoosh about a bit so they are covered in the spicy oil.

Easy Tex Mex Chicken in a bag!!
Easy Tex Mex Chicken in a bag!!

 

I prepared the Easy Tex Mex Chicken in the morning and then stashed it in the fridge until dinner time.

To cook, tip the contents of the freezer bag into a shallow oven proof dish. Place in a preheated oven 200C/185C fan and cook for 45 minutes.

Easy Tex Mex Chicken with softened peppers and caramelised onions - delish!
Easy Tex Mex Chicken with softened peppers and caramelised onions – delish!

 

To serve either warm some soft tortillas and load up fajita style, or, as I did tonight homemade potato wedges – simply cut 1 jacket potato per person, in half and then into long wedges, toss in Olive oil and season with salt and pepper, place on a baking sheet, put in the oven 15 mins before the Easy Tex Mex Chicken.

Well that’s dinner sorted!!

Enjoy how easy this feast is!

Sammie x

 

 

 

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Extreme Chocolate Cookies

Hi, have I got a treat for you today – Extreme Chocolate Cookies. Ooh if you love cookies and need a chocolate fix then these babies are definitely for you!

These Extreme Chocolate Cookies - perfect with a cup of tea!
These Extreme Chocolate Cookies – perfect with a cup of tea!

 

I’ve been unwell lately, including a 2 week stay in hospital (I’ll save that for another post). Having been home for 2-3 weeks now, today was the first day I really had the energy to bake. So, unashamedly I decided to make these Extreme Chocolate Cookies for our gorgeous children and my wonderful hubby, who has taken THE BEST care of me. I really do love that man.

Rows of Extreme Chocolate Cookies. Is there a better sight??
Rows of Extreme Chocolate Cookies. Is there a better sight??

 

I know that I’ve said it before, but baking or cooking for others, especially my family, is one of the ways I like to show my love for them. Chocolate is not my go-to favourite Cookie, I favour nutty, fruity, oat cookies, BUT, I obviously had to try one of these and they are my favourite chocolate cookies to date!

Extreme Chocolate Cookies - my favourite chocolate cookie ever!!
Extreme Chocolate Cookies – my favourite chocolate cookie ever!!

 

Recipe : Makes 18 Extreme Chocolate Cookies

225g/8oz Unsalted Butter softened

150g/5oz Dark Soft Brown Sugar

1 Large Egg at room temp.

1 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract

1/8 tsp Sal

225g/8oz Plain White Flour

50g/2oz Cocoa Powder

1/4 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda

100g/4oz White Chocolate Chunks

150g/5oz Milk Chocolate Chunks

Method : Preheat oven to 170C/155C fan

In a large bowl add the butter, sugar and salt. Whisk until well combined and fluffy.

Add in the egg and vanilla extract to the whisked butter/sugar.
Add in the egg and vanilla extract to the whisked butter/sugar.

 

Whisk in the whole egg and vanilla extract.

Now chop up the white and milk chocolate into chunks.

These chocolate chunks are what make the cookies EXTREME!!!
These chocolate chunks are what make the cookies EXTREME!!!

 

Add the flour, cocoa, bicarb and chocolate chunks to the bowl.

Once combined these ingredients make Extreme Chocolate Cookies!
Once combined these ingredients make Extreme Chocolate Cookies!

 

Mix all of the ingredients together until just combined. Take about a tablespoon of mixture, roll into a ball shape and place onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat until all the mixture is used.

These cookie dough balls are about to be squished!!!
These cookie dough balls are about to be squished!!!

 

Wash your hands, they WILL look like you’ve been making mud pies!!!! Now using your fingers squish the cookie balls, they will still spread a bit whilst cooking.

The finger marks leave a pretty pattern even once baked!
The finger marks leave a pretty pattern even once baked!

 

Place the baking sheets in the oven and bake for 15-20 mins. I rotated my baking sheets halfway through the cooking process so that the cookies baked evenly. This is fine with cookies NOT cupcakes!!!

Once baked remove from the oven and allow the Extreme Chocolate Cookies to cool on the trays for 5 mins, then transfer the cookies to a cooling rack.

Inhale deeply. The smell of baked Extreme Chocolate Cookies is gorgeous!
Inhale deeply. The smell of baked Extreme Chocolate Cookies is gorgeous!

 

Whilst cooling I sent the children a text (at school – rebel mummy!!!) and put the kettle on for a lovely cuppa!!

I can’t tell you how good it feels knowing I’m getting back to being me. Sooo good.

Am I alone? Why do you bake? I’d love to hear what motivates you?

Until next time have fun, feasting, sharing and smiling.

Sammie x

 

 

 

 

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