Thursday, July 17

No bake chocolate splodge slice

This is a chocoholic slice.  If you are a chocoholic or you are catering for chocoholics - read on.  I made a double batch that makes easily 20 pieces so if you are catering for a crowd, you may like to do that too.  If not just keep to the ingredients listed here. 

It's very simple to put together - and you can mix it up a bit - I used Reeses pieces and hob-nobs but use choc-ripple biscuits or choc wheatens and M&Ms or smarties or whatever you like :)  Colour-co-ordinating it to party colours, or your special cause or whatever!  Be creative!

150grams hob-nobs (or biscuits of your choice)
145grams butter
145 grams of 50% dark chocolate
150ml condensed milk
100g milk chocolate
150g reeses pieces (or smarties/m&ms of your choice)

Line a loaf pan with baking paper ensuring it reaches all sides.

In a bowl, break up your hobnobs/biscuits.

Add half your Reese's pieces.

In a jug or microwave proof bowl add butter and chocolate and heat on 50% for 1 minute, remove and stir and then repeat for another minute.  If not completely melted keep microwaving in bursts of 20 seconds on 50% power. Stir well between each burst.


Add your condensed milk and stir well.

Add to the biscut mix.

Pour into your tin and then put in the fridge for 20 minutes until it sets.

Repeat the process with melting the milk chocolate, 50% power for 1 minute, then stir and repeat until melted.  Pour over the top of the chilled slice.

Now add the other half of your Reese's pieces to the top, or get a special assistant to help ;)

Be as creative or random as you like.

Chill for another 20 minutes.

Slice with a hot knife into slices and store individually in strips of baking paper.

These would be fabulous with icecream I think!  

Tuesday, July 15

Cosy baked potato and prosciutto soup and my sister and my cookbook addiction story...

Every year for my birthday I can expect at least one cookbook.  If no one buys me one, inevitably, I receive money with which I buy one.   One of my sisters and I are the bakers of our family and regularly buy each other cookbooks - and many times over the years we've found a cookbook we'd really like to buy ourselves. We tell each other how close we came to keeping it for ourselves, and then promise to buy it for the other one for their next birthday or Christmas. This is what happened this year when my sister bought this book for me!  That makes one less present I have to search for this year - hoorah!
And I can see why she loves it  - It's called '3 sisters bake' the title is enough to draw both of us in - we are 2 of three sisters (our other sister isn't really a baker but she's a very good cook!) and both of us have three daughters.   So apart from the title, there's some fabulous recipes in there which this one is adapted from.

The original recipe calls for bacon, but I only had short-cut bacon which wouldn't have done the job as it does need that crispy-rind/rendered fat taste and I also substituted leek for onion to balance out the strength of the prosciutto

The real difference between this and most potato soups is that there's no cream but it has a creamy consistency - the taste is distinct also because the potatoes are baked and not boiled, it's a deeper flavour and that's also what helps give that creamy consistency..

1 kg potatoes
3 tb olive oil
Sea salt
3 inches of leek, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic
2 tsp white pepper
2 litres milk
6 rashers streaky bacon or prosciutto

Preheat oven to 200 degrees

Place potatoes on tray and prick a few times with a fork (will help the steam escape whilst they cook) and then sprinkle with olive oil and sea salt

Bake for one hour, but 20 minutes before the end, place your prosciutto into a baking dish and place in the oven for that last 20 minutes.

Then bring them all out to cool Whilst you get started on the other bits..

 Like heating oil in your large pot, add leeks and garlic and cook until soft.  then add your milk and turn down to a simmer...

Cut your potatoes in half and peel the skins off.  If you leave the skins on you'll get a gritty soup and no one likes that!

Chop up half your prosciutto and add it to the pot with the white pepper.  Then add your potatoes.

Pop the lid on and leave to simmer for about 20-30 minutes.

Then either put it through a food process or use a stick blender to mix it through.

Simmer until you're ready the serve!

 Serve with the other half of your prosciutto sprinkled on top

Whilst I was eating this I realised the perfect accompaniment would be my sweet onion Turkish bread, you could whip that up in the time it takes to make this too!

Sunday, July 13

Happy Bastille Day with Double-decker Croque Madames

These are little pieces of heaven and I must thank the French wholeheartedly for inventing the croque Madame (or Monsieur - if you want to omit the egg).  It's the perfect thing for a cold day and takes about 30-40 minutes to make from start to table and are great for breakfast, lunch or dinner. You can make one or six (or more!) it doesn't really add a lot of time to the overall timeline.   You can pick up every ingredient at a deli - and if you're like me you could spend a good hour just looking at the fabulous things in the deli.

When we were in Paris in January you can imagine, after a long day of walking these were just the ticket and my Olivia has asked me a few times for the 'Fancy cheese toasties we had in France'.  I like using unsliced bread and have the toast nice and thick, but you can use regular bread too.

Give them a try because it's cold or because it's Bastille Day today or just because you damned-well-feel-like it!

Ingredients: (makes 6)
1 loaf rye sour dough bread (or any uncut loaf you like)
Bechamel sauce - I made mine in the thermomix but use this recipe if you don't have one
100g gruyere cheese, grated (you can find this in supermarkets or delicatessens) - it's about 1.5 cups grated
60g parmesan cheese (1/2 cup grated)
100g leg ham
4 tb dijon mustard
50g butter
2 tsp olive oil
6 eggs

Make your bechamel and then add 1 cup of your gruyere and all your parmesan and mix well

When melted though, set aside.

Put your oven on grill.

Cut your bread in thick slices - I cut mine about an inch thick.

Put 1/2 of your bread on a baking tray and grill on one side until golden brown.  Butter it.

Then turn it over to have the uncooked side up and .add your mustard

On top of your mustard add ham and couple of spoonfuls of your bechamel, then sprinkle with little more gruyere. (about 1/2 what you have left), Then give it a good pepper.

Put your other bread on top and then grill again, take it out then pour the rest of your bechamel on top.   Try to stop salivating.

Lastly sprinkle the last of your gruyere and pop under the grill again.

Whilst that's grilling add your butter and oil and heat up on your frypan until sizzling.  Add your eggs and fry them sunny side up.

Keep an eye on your griller, you should take them out when they are starting to gold-up on top.

Get a egg flip and transfer on to your plate, and top with egg.. devour!

Can you believe she ate all of this!?  I was kind of hoping she would leave me some leftovers!.. Que sera sera!

Sunday, July 6

10 curries for you to try - Kid friendly, mild, hot, slowcooker, pressure cooker or stove, vegetarian and not - have a peek!

Not everyone is a fan of a curry and others go mad for a curry but only a certain type.  Some think they could never make a curry unless they had a pre-made paste - some others think they take too long...

Here I'm making it easy for you - here's something if you like something mild, spicy, quick, vegetarian or put that pressure cooker or slow cooker to good use!  I'll also identify if it's kid-friendly or not...

Green chicken curry (and paste)

How easy?  Quite easy!
Kid friendly? Not exactly, but I think you could tone it down with more coconut milk and less chili
Cooking method:  Wok or frypan
Adaptable?  Absolutely!  Make it with beef, chicken or even tofu!

Quickie pressure cooker curry

How easy?  Ridiculously easy!
Kid friendly? Yes, it's peanut-butter based though so not allergy friendly
Cooking method:  Pressure cooker
Adaptable?  Absolutely!  Make it with lamb, chicken or as this recipe, beef!  You could also cook it on the stove-top but you'll need to cook it for at least 3 hours.

Slowcooker massaman curry

How easy?  Ridiculously easy!
Kid friendly? Yes, my kids love this one!
Cooking method:  Slow cooker
Adaptable?  Absolutely!  Make it with lamb, chicken or as this recipe, beef!  You could also cook it on the stove-top too or the oven, just at a low temperature..

Dum Aloo (Potato curry) made in the slowcooker!

How easy?  Ridiculously easy!
Kid friendly? Kind of, depends on your kids, might be a bit spicy if they don't like spice.
Cooking method:  Slow cooker
Adaptable?  Absolutely!  Make it with carrot, but wouldn't use sweet potato or pumpkin - or if you did drastically reduce the cooking time.

Fragrant Chicken Curry

How easy?  Pretty easy!
Kid friendly? Yes!
Cooking method:  Slow cooker
Adaptable?  I think this is perfect for chicken, but try it with turkey if you like!

Dahl (lentil curry) made on the stovetop

How easy?  Pretty easy!
Kid friendly? Yes!
Cooking method:  Stove-top
Adaptable? Never tried!  But you could try it with chick-peas!

Slowcooker lamb biryani

How easy?  Pretty easy!
Kid friendly? It's a bit on the spicy side, so perhaps not
Cooking method:  Slowcooker
Adaptable? Yes, could use beef or chicken!

Balti Lamb Pot Pies (and make your own paste)

How easy?  Pretty easy!
Kid friendly? It's a bit on the spicy side, so perhaps not
Cooking method:  Stovetop
Adaptable? Yes, could use beef or chicken!

Slowcooker Dhal (in bulk!)

How easy?  Ridiculously easy!
Kid friendly? Yes!
Cooking method:  Slowcooker
Adaptable? Yes, you could add some chicken to this recipe!

Quick chicken biryani

How easy?  Pretty easy!
Kid friendly? Absolutely!
Cooking method:  Stovetop
Adaptable? Yes, could use beef or lamb also!


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