Category Archives: American

Strawberries & Cream Frappe

 

Frappe

 

 

I only recently realised that Frappuccino is a trade mark of Starbucks! I didn’t realise that unless it was theirs its just a Frappe.. I don’t really like the word Frappe as I’m not sure how to pronounce it!

I have a Vitamix blender & recently I have started making my own Frappuccino or Frappe whatever you want to call it! It better making them yourself as you can control the sweetness and not waste money, plus there is no Starbucks here!

Strawberry Puree

  • Punnet of fresh Strawberries (or I’m sure frozen would be fine)
  • 2 Tsp Caster Sugar

Blend in mini blender, set aside

 

Strawberry Puree

 

 

Frappe Ingredients

  • 12 Ice Cubes
  • 1 Cup of Milk
  • 1/4 Cup Strawberry Puree
  • 2 Tbs Heavy Cream
  • Spray Cream to garnish (I can’t find any in Kyrenia of course..)
  • Strawberry Syrup (from a squeezy bottle or make your own- I didn’t have enough Strawberries- boo!)

Method

  1. Place all ingredients in Vita Mix blender-
  2. Put the blender on Variable, Speed 1
  3. Quickly change to Speed 10 for a few seconds
  4. Put blender on High
  5. Blend until you can see the mixture thicken (if you leave it too long you will have Ice Cream!)
  6. Garnish with Spray Cream & Strawberry Syrup

NB

The Strawberry Syrup they squeeze over the top of the Frappuccino is what gives it some sweetness- if like me you don’t have any normal shops where you can buy things like that or if like me you run out of Strawberries & can’t make your own syrup I would recommend dissolving 2 tsp of Sugar in a little Water & adding this to the blender also ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

I also like to make Mocha Frappuccino/ Frappe- I use our Nespresso machine to make a Lungo coffee which is like a double measure, then I add the same amount of Milk & Ice as for the Strawberry version plus 2 tsp of Sugar & 2 tsp Cocoa Powder.. Again you really need one of those Coffee syrups if you want it sweet! But not everyone has a sweet tooth ๐Ÿ™‚

I can’t rave about the Vita Mix more- its actually strange the things it does.. You can take some Mango, Ice Cubes, Lime Juice & maybe some Bacardi and in less than a minute create a sorbet.. Its brilliant! Its expensive but I don’t know that other blenders can freeze or heat things.. I haven’t tried making a soup in it yet but that fascinates me!

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Festive Sugar Cookies

 

Christmas Cookies!

 

 

This year I have struggled to find a Christmas Tree, I’m used to seeing them everywhere in London, even Cost Cutter Supermarket! But clearly in Northern Cyprus they aren’t so popular and as I really don’t like faux Christmas Trees I ended up buying an actual tree– it is in a big pot & it isn’t very symmetrical (especially after I snapped two branches squishing it into the car!) but after Christmas I can plant the tree in the garden, smug in the knowledge I am not chopping down trees for my own frivolity (ha!) and in future it can be used with outdoor lights to make the garden look pretty!

Anyway the tree is a bit spindly and it is sitting on a Granite table over a Marble floor so I am a little concerned about putting glass decorations on it (they make up the bulk of my decorations) so I thought I would make a batch of cookies to fill in the gaps and hopefully look a bit prettier than the Lebkuchen I made last year (although my friend still has one saved for her tree this year- what a loyal friend, it really is quite bad but at least I can make up for it with one of these ones!)

I was actually a bit stupid & baked a couple of trays full before I realised I hadn’t pierced a hole in any of them! So now I have some for hanging and some for eating (although they are a bit sweet for me!)

Ingredients

  • 190g Butter, room temperature, cubed
  • 270g Caster Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla Essence or Almond Essence (use 1/4 tsp if you have Extract)
  • 1 Medium Egg
  • 390g Plain White Flour, sifted
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder

 

Method

  1. Preheat oven to gas mark 3, 170 oc
  2. Beat Butter, Sugar & Vanilla until light & fluffy
  3. Add Egg & mix well till everything is incorporated
  4. Add Flour, Salt & Baking powder, mix till well combined
  5. Dust work surface with flour & roll out dough using a rolling pin
  6. Use cutters to make your desired shapes
  7. If they are for hanging use a skewer to make a hole near the top of each cookie
  8. Arrange on foil or grease proof paper lined trays
  9. Bake for 10- 12 mins or until golden around the edges
  10. When slightly cool transfer to a wire rack

If you want to ice them Royal Icing looks good, especially if you dye it pink!

Ingredients

Royal Icing

  • 1 Medium Egg White
  • 1/2 tsp Lemon Juice
  • 250 g Icing Sugar, Sifted
  • *1/4 tsp Glycerine Syrup *
  • Food colouring, I used Red for some pink cookies

Method

  • Whisk Lemon Juice & Egg White in a large bowl
  • Gradually begin adding Icing Sugar, whisking well to combine each time you add more
  • Whisk until you can form soft peaks
  • Add food colour if desired
  • If it is too runny add some more sugar!
  • * Add Glycerine*- this stops the icing drying if you are working slowly (like me)

NB

I used a knife to smear on some icing- think I need a bit of practice but once I tie on some nice ribbon they will make a nice edition to the tree ๐Ÿ™‚


Chicken Stock, Chicken Soup & Chicken Sandwich Recipes

Soup & Crusty Bread

Last week I was feeling a bit under the weather so I decided to make a nice Chicken Soup, including my own Chicken Stock

Ingredients

For Chicken Stock

  • 900g Raw Chicken Necks (or you could use any other cheap parts- Wing Tips etc)
  • 1 Onion, quartered
  • 1 Carrot, Snapped in half
  • 2 Celery Sticks, Snapped in half
  • A few sprigs of fresh Parsley
  • 8 Black Peppercorns
  • Pinch of Rock Salt (Kosher Salt)
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1 Garlic Clove
  • Water
  • 2 Tbs Butter
  • 1 Tbs Olive Oil

Method

  1. Heat Butter & Olive Oil in a large pan
  2. Add Chicken Pieces & fry until golden
  3. Add Vegetables, Herbs, Salt & Pepper
  4. Add enough Hot Water to just cover ingredients
  5. Bring to the Boil & skim off any ‘scum’ that rises to the surface
  6. Reduce heat & Simmer for approx 1.5 hrs with the lid on
  7. Taste & add more Salt if necessary
  8. Allow to cool & pour through a sieve (discard veg & chicken bones)
  9. This can be used immediately, frozen or stored in the fridge for 3 days (once cool you can scrape off any fat that solidifies on the surface)

Chicken Necks

Bubble Bubble

Skim Skim Skim

Ingredients (serves 4)

For Chicken Chowder Soup

  • 2 Chicken Breasts, Cooked & Shredded (I poached mine in the same pan I was making the Stock in)
  • 25 Grams Butter
  • 25 Grams Corn Flour (or Plain White Flour)
  • 2 Bacon Rashers, diced
  • 1 Potato, diced
  • 1 Onion, diced
  • 1 Cup Milk
  • 2 Cups Chicken Stock
  • 1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
  • 1/2 Cup Water
  • 1 Tbs Fresh Parsley
  • 1 Tbs Fresh Chervil
  • 1 Small Tin Sweet Corn Kernels, drained (I didn’t have any but I wanted to add them!)
  • Salt & Pepper

Method

  1. Melt Butter in a heavy based saucepan
  2. Fry Bacon till brown
  3. Add Potatoes & Onions, fry gently for 2 mins (do not allow to colour)
  4. Add Flour & mix well to coat ingredients in the pan
  5. Add Stock slowly, mixing well to avoid lumps
  6. Add Milk & Cream
  7. Bring to the boil stirring well until thickened
  8. Reduce heat to low & cook until Potatoes are done
  9. Add Chicken & Sweet Corn, stir well
  10. Season to taste
  11. Garnish with Parsley & Chervil or Chives if you have some!
  12. Serve with Crusty Bread

Chicken Breasts (for soup)

Potatoes

Close Up

NB

After cooking I used my Stick Blender to roughly blend my soup- the blended Chicken & Potatoes made it quite thick so I added a little extra Water

Sandwich

I had some leftover Chicken as my 2 Chicken Breasts were HUGE and I didn’t want to put it all in the Soup so I used this to make my sandwich filling for the next day- Chicken, Bacon & Avocado.

Ingredients

For Chicken Sandwich

  • Shredded Chicken Breast (leftover from Soup Making)
  • Crispy Bacon, diced (also leftover from Soup Making)
  • 1/2 Ripe Avocado, diced
  • 3 Basil Leaves, Torn
  • Mayonnaise, to bind mixture
  • Salt & Pepper, to Taste
  • Iceberg Lettuce, Shredded
  • Toasted Crusty Bread

Method

  1. Mix all ingredients well
  2. Fill Toasted Bread slices
  3. Enjoy ๐Ÿ™‚

Friendly Creature ๐Ÿ™‚


Breakfast Oven Casserole

Ready

Or Strata if you want to sound classy

This will be Breakfast for 2 people in the morning which I think is quite greedy- I tried to use just 4 Eggs but it didn’t fill the dish well enough, detox Monday! If you had more guests you could add extra ingredients but I think 6 eggs is sufficient for 4 people ๐Ÿ™‚

Ingredients

6 Eggs

5 Slices of Crusty Bread, Sliced (I used a stale seeded loaf)

1 Cup Milk OR 1/2 Cup Milk & 1/2 Cup Double Cream

2 Breakfast Sausages, Sliced into bite sized pieces (I used Chicken Frankfurters as that’s all I have but would have rather Pork Breakfast Sausage)

2 Streaky Bacon Rashers, Chopped up OR Pancetta Cubes

2 Tomatoes, Chopped into wedges

4 Mushrooms, Sliced

1 Tbs Fresh Parsley, Chopped

1 Tbs Fresh Chives, Chopped

1 Cup Gouda Cheese, Grated

Salt & Pepper

Grated Gouda

Method

  1. Grease an oven proof dish (I will check the size of mine & add this later)
  2. Cover the base of the dish with Sliced Bread
  3. Fry Bacon till crisp- tip over the Bread
  4. Fry Sausage pieces till cooked- tip over the Bacon
  5. Fry Mushrooms till brown- tip over the Sausages
  6. Fry Tomatoes till starting to brown at the edges- tip over the Mushrooms
  7. Sprinkle Chopped Herbs over
  8. Sprinkle Grated Cheese over
  9. Lightly beat Eggs in a jug
  10. Add the Milk & Season well with Salt & Pepper
  11. Pour this over everything in the casserole dish
  12. Refrigerate over night
  13. Pre heat oven to 180 oc/ 350 f
  14. Bake for 30 mins (until Egg mixture is cooked through)

Bread Layer

Sprinkle Herbs

Pour Eggs Over

Brunch

NB

I enjoyed this for Brunch, just a shame the grill isn’t working as i would have liked the top to go crispy!

Try to arrange the ingredients so they are equally spread out as you will be dividing it up and you want a bit of each ingredient in your piece!

You can substitute other kind of Sausage & Cheese, you can use Bread Cubes instead of Slices, you could add other Herbs, Spring Onions, Bell Peppers– whatever you like! I wanted to add Potato but didn’t have any ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Next I will try this in the slow cooker!



Nando’s (Not) Peri Peri Sauce

Corn & Sauce

I bought some Fresh Sweetcorn yesterday in the supermarket, I really do need some pointers on choosing good Corn because despite checking the colour of the silk (still golden) and piercing a kernel (milky stuff came out) when I cooked this last night the Corn was still a bit strange, I boiled it for a few minutes & then dry fried it in a really hot griddle pan for another couple of minutes to get it slightly blackened so it wasn’t over cooked or under cooked. I am yet to purchase a good Sweet Corn here ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Never the less I ate it simply because the sauce I made to go with it was delicious & I felt like eating something spicy!

I have a fridge drawer full of Lemons (Green ones!) and nothing to do with them, they were a present freshly picked off a tree so I don’t want them to go to waste. I started to think maybe I could make some Lemon Puree and save it in freezer cubes for adding to things when needed. Do you think there are any recipes on-line for Lemon Puree? The answer is NO but there are lots of people asking for one.. So here is mine

Lemon Puree

  • Using a Micro Plane grater remove zest from Lemons & save for another recipe- I personally recommend you make Limoncello! (I will post my recipe for this later)
  • Peel what is left off the skins from the Lemons & discard (or throw on the compost heap)
  • Quarter Lemons & remove seeds
  • Put Lemons into your blender & pulverise!
  • You now have Lemon Puree which can be sweetened if necessary or used in savoury dishes or cocktails!

Lemon Puree

NB I blended my Lemons with their skin on as I am lazy- its fine but next time I would remove the skin ๐Ÿ™‚

Anyway whilst browsing for Lemon Puree recipes I happened upon Nando’s Peri Peri Extra Hot Sauce ingredients list and one of these happened to be Lemon Puree (strange I know) so with my Fresh Corn I thought it would be nice to make some of their hot sauce!

They list the following ingredients:ย Water, Vinegar, Lemon Puree, Salt, Onion Puree, Serrano Chillies, African Birds Eye Chillies, Sunflower Oil, Cayenne Pepper, Paprika, Stabiliser, Garlic. Unfortunately I only had one type of fresh Chilli Pepper and it has no name on the packet but I used these and they worked well, surely only a Chilli connoisseurย can pick out the flavours of ‘Serrano’ and ‘African Birds Eye’ Chillies.. Nando’s use Xanthan Gum to keep their sauce both fluid & stable but I didn’t think I needed to go to quite that extreme.

Ingredients Line Up

Not Peri Peri Hot Sauce (or Not Piri Piri)

Ingredients:

1/4 Lemon (remove pips but leave the skin on)
1/4 Onion
6 Tbs Olive Oil
3 Tbs Vinegar (I used Apple Cider)
7 Fresh Red Chillies
1 Garlic Clove
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Paprika
1 tsp Cayenne
Water

Blend Lemon, Onion & Garlic till they are a puree- add a few tsp of Water if the mixture gets stuck
Add Red Chillies, Salt, Spices & Oil, blend
Add Vinegar, blend
If the sauce seems too thick add a few Tbs of Water to make it pourable (I added 3 Tbs)

Mix & Blend

Finished Sauce

Realistically its more the colour of their Medium sauce (I know this as I have Medium ๐Ÿ™‚ ) if you wanted to get that dark red/brown colour & super hot heat I think you would need to use some Dried Red Chillies- I have dried Red Birds Eye chillies in the kitchen (the ones needed for TRUE Peri Peri) so I think I’ll have a little experiment with them this weekend!

If you don’t want to taste any Lemon in the sauce I recommend halving the amount I used as it has quite a Lemony kick

If you are using this as a marinade (as I am tonight) but don’t use it all up you can save the rest in the fridge for a few weeks

You can mix it with Mayonnaise and make Not Peri Peri Mayonnaise A la Nando’s!

Chicken Marinade

 


Pizza Express at Home

 

Pizza, Done

 

 

I decided earlier I’d like to try and make Dough Balls, the kind you get at Pizza Express with the Garlic Butter. Then I decided I may as well go the whole hog & try to make some Pizza as well. I say try as my previous attempts at making Pizza or Bread haven’t gone very well. I think I am impatient and I suppose this isn’t a good trait when you are kneading dough!

Got a Dough Ball in the Oven

The last (and first) thing I tried to bake here was Hot Cross Buns, as they don’t seem to be available here. They turned out like rocks, you could have smashed a whole green house with the tray of them, I think my Yeast was past its use by date!

The plan was to take the Dogs out for an afternoon walk & then start making the dough but we now have to do an airport run so I am leaving the whole dough experiment till tomorrow.

One thing has annoyed me, I found this link (below) ‘Exclusive Pizza Express Recipe’. I am going to use their dough recipe, maybe with a couple of tweaks and also the advice for shaping the pizza sounds useful, however, their Tomato Sauce recipe is totally wrong.. You only have to compare it to the ingredients you can find online for one of their Pizza Express At Home Pizzas and you can see for yourself! I don’t know why they bother to give a recipe and call it exclusive, as though they are telling you a secret and then deliberately give you a recipe that isn’t like what they use on their own pizza..

The Times Sauce- After the blender- No Thanks

Rant over! I have made their Tomato Sauce just to be fair, and I won’t be using it on my Pizza, I will be saving it to put on a pasta one day for lunch and using my own recipe for the Tomato Base Sauce.. PS They don’t tell you to blend it, but since when did their sauce have huge chunks of onion, tomato & garlic in? Hmmm..

Ingredients (Serves 2)

For Pizza Dough

See link below

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/food_and_drink/recipes/article7017727.ece

For Tomato Pizza Base Sauce

My Pizza Base Sauce

 

  • 250g Tomato Passata (Sieved Tomatoes)
  • 1 Plum Tomato (From a Can) plus 2 Tbs of its Juice
  • 2 Tbs Tomato Puree
  • 5 Fresh Basil Leaves, Chopped Finely or 1 tsp Dried Basil
  • 1 Tsp Sugar
  • Salt & Pepper to Taste

Method

For Tomato Base Sauce

  1. Place all ingredients in a pan
  2. Mash up the Plum Tomato & stir well
  3. Bring to the boil and then simmer for approx 25 mins until you have a very thick sauce
  4. Leave to one side to cool

Beginning

End

Kitchen Helper

 

So assuming you have your dough ready after following the recipe link- you can now get it ready for baking! Personally I turned my oven up as high as it would go (gas Mark 9) and left it to preheat for over 30 minutes.. I actually found it quite easy to roll the dough out & to keep it thin. I have noticed a lot of people saying on line that their Pizza Base springs back and won’t stay stretched out, if this happens you should leave the dough to rest again for 20 minutes and then have another go! One thing I could NOT do was get the edge to curl in the way the Pizza Express ones do, annoying but I suppose practise makes perfect..

 

Roll up Roll up

 

 

  • Then you need to spoon some Tomato Sauce on, you need to put a decent amount on as some will dry out during cooking, but not so much that it will be soggy.
  • Then you need to put your cubes of Mozarella Cheese over the top. What toppings you choose is up to you! I used a Pepperoni, Jalapeno (from a jar), some White Onion and some Green Bell Pepper.
  • Finally a sprinkle of Oregano, Black Pepper & a drizzle of Olive Oil.
  • Place it directly onto your oven rack & cook for 10 minutes (or until it looks nice & brown!)

 

Pizza Ready for Oven

 

 

 

Pizza after Oven

 

 

For the Dough Balls

  • The Pizza Dough recipe makes 2 Pizzas or 1 Pizza & 6 Dough Balls..
  • Follow the recipe for Pizza Dough but instead of shaping into two balls which will become Pizza, shape into 6 balls which become Dough Balls!
  • Once again I put my oven at its highest setting & baked the Dough Balls on a tray for just over 5 minutes (until turning golden)
  • Serve with Garlic Bread

 

Dough Balls

 

 

 

Garlic Butter for Dough Balls

 

 

NB

Problems I had!

I have now made this dough 3 times- the first time I started making it when I noticed the Flour looked a bit off colour, it wasn’t PURE white so I made that batch but also opened some other Flour (remember I am in a foreign country and I tend to go by the pictures for purchases!) this was Snow White so I made a second batch with that. The first batch barely rose at all, the second (really white) batch rose lots. So I think if you are a novice baker use a White Flour, don’t try to experiment with other flours until you understand the dough a bit better. I used the White dough to make the Pizza & the Off ย White (pictured top Dough Ball) to make Dough Balls and they both turned out well- if anything the Pizza was too thin! I don’t have pictures as I was otherwise occupied (having a strop).

So third time lucky & I used my White Flour to make up a batch today, it didn’t rise as well as last time I don’t know why (any suggestions?) I think maybe I didn’t knead it long enough, despite doing it for the same length of time (2 songs on my IPod) somehow it didn’t feel the same (hindsight, a great thing). The rolling went just as well, the dough didn’t shrink back etc, my issue is the Oven.. The racks in my oven have huge gaps in between, so I had to start the Pizza off on a tray till it firmed up a bit & then place it directly onto the rack (for some reason this pizza was smaller than the last one which was fine on the rack!) This meant it wasn’t AS crispy as last time but it was thin & crispy so I can’t complain.

I need work on getting the edge bit right.. But overall it went well & if nothing else I think I will make Dough Balls quite often ๐Ÿ™‚


Banana & Chocolate Cupcakes

HUGE Cupcake

It was a friend of ours Birthday yesterday and as Northern Cyprus tends to be short of gift shops (or any nice ladies shops) I opted to make some cakes for her present using my The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook.

I had 4 very brown Bananas on the kitchen side (why do we buy them when no one eats them, I do wonder!) so I chose Banana & Chocolate Cupcakes as these would look prettier than a slice of Banana Loaf!

The Recipe!

Silver Dragees

NB

  • The recipe says it makes 12 Large Cupcakes (American Size, Muffin Case) or 18 Small Cupcakes- I made 16 Small & 1 Large out of my mix
  • The Frosting recipe is very generous I had quite a bit left over
  • Once I realised my Frosting was too warm (it IS Cyprus) I put it in the fridge & then it was so much easier to use with a palette knife!
  • I will be posting some of my own Cupcake recipes shortly
  • Its a really good book!