Catching Up On Some Recipes

baileys-creme-brulee.jpgOver the past few days I have been trying out some of the recipes that I have found on various food blogs on the internet.

The first was for Baileys Creme Brulee which I found at the Berry Simple blog. I love Creme Brulee at the best of times but when I saw that this one had Baileys Irish Cream in it I had to give it a go.

This was a really easy recipe to prepare. Basically whisk the eggs and sugar and then add the warmed cream and Baileys.

The result was a beautifully creamy dessert and since we had a blow torch we were able baileys-creme-brulee-torch.jpgto recreate the hard caramelized top that is characteristic of creme brulees. This is definitely a ‘must try’ so head over to Berry Simple for the full recipe.

While you are over there you may as well try their recipe for the Cauliflower Cheese which you will find in the same blog post.

We gave this a go as well since I love the taste of Dijon mustard which I thought was an interesting addition to this recipe.

cauliflower-cheese-with-dijon-mustard.jpgThe cook in the house had to end up making double the quantity of sauce since one big cauliflower was really way too much for the amount of sauce in the recipe.

This was good though and we will be making it again. You can get the full recipe here.

The last recipe I tried was the Pumpkin Pie. Now I am a big fan of Pumpkin Pie but I wanted a really simple recipe and I found one over at Cuisine Capers.

Since I am terrible at making pie crusts I just purchased a pre-made – which is why the pie crust in the photo looks so good. My pie crusts normally fall to bits and really I just couldn’t be bothered with the effort.pumpkin-pie.jpg

I actually made this recipe twice as the pies came out so well and it was so easy to do. The first time I made it I didn’t really have the right quantities of ingredients but I just mixed what I had together and just made sure it tasted good and surprisingly enough it came out great.

To view the full recipe head on over to Cuisine Capers.

Red Hot Chili Peppers and Other Bitey Delicacies

Adding spice to food has been done throughout the ages, either to cover up the taste of food that is long past it’s use by date or simply to enhance the flavor of a favorite dish.

Jalapeno

jalapeno-powder

The Jalapeno is probably the most popular chili in the US and it is well known for its warm burning sensation when eaten. The jalapeno is named after Jalapa, the capital of Veracruz in Mexico.

The smooth dark green chillies turn red if they are left on the vine and the taste ranges from hot to very hot (spicy but not searing).

Jalapeno’s are often dried and in this form they are known as chipotles.

Green Jalapeno Powder adds a great flavor when it is sprinkled on popcorn, used to spice up dull tortilla chips or used in salsas, sauces and marinades.

Check out Jalapeno Madness for great recipes using Jalapeno’s.


Guajillo

igourmet Dried Guajillo ChilesGuajillo peppers are a leathery, dark reddish brown chilli traditionally used in Mexican and Southwestern cuisine. Second to the ancho, this is the most commonly used chile in Mexico. The Guajillo Powder is made up of the whole dried pepper, including the seeds and stems.

It has a distinct, slightly fruity, berry taste and is sometimes called travieso (mischievous) chile in reference to its not so playful sting. It is considered to be of moderate heat having a heat factor of of 2-4 on a scale of 1-10 where 10 is the hottest.

Guajillo powder is great for sauces and salsas, stews, and chillies.


Habanero

Cayenne (Chili) Pepper Powder Habanero Cert. Organic 200,000 HU (Capsicum annum) 1 lb: CThe Habanero Chili is the hottest chili there is. This small lantern shaped, innocent looking pepper is native to the Caribbean, the Yucatan, and the north coast of South America.

Use sparingly to add a definite kick to sauces and marinades, or even to brighten up mashed potatoes.

A great thing about using the habanero chile in powder form is that you don’t have to endure the painful chopping and the searing pain the oil from the peppers can leave behind.

 

De Arbol

De Arbol means “tree-like” in Spanish, referring to the shape of the plant from which this fiery chile comes.

Common Mexican names for this chilli include : pico de parajo, or “bird’s beak,” and colo de rato or “rat’s tail,” referring to the long, curved shape of the pod and its graceful stem.

De Arbol Powder is used mostly in table salsas, or blended with other chiles in meat stews. Its seeds and veins are generally not removed.

*Please note that this is very hot

 

Bocconcini, Tomato and Basil Salad – Insalata Caprese Recipe

bocconcini-and-tomato.jpgBeing half Italian it’s obvious that I would have a love of Italian food. When I was a kid my mother would make a variety of Italian foods but because she also spent a good portion of her life after the war living in England we also had just as many English style meals like my favorite, Roast Lamb and Yorkshire Pudding.

One of her specialties was gnocchi which she would make from scratch on the kitchen table. My job was to run each little dumpling across a fork to make the ridges. This was always our favorite meal as kids although because it was made from scratch she didn’t make it that often. I guess it made it more appealing to us because of that.

Our diet was made even more varied by the fact that my father was Croatian and although I can’t remember eating too many Croatian meals, I do remember eating a variety of German cuisine since he spent some time in Germany and loved German food.

So what all this means is that I love European cuisine – give me some salami, a piece of cheese and a nice piece of Italian bread and I am happy.

Which brings me to tonights dinner. Every now and then we won’t cook a meal but instead we will just load the table up with a variety of foods to make up what you might call an antipasto but instead of having it before the meal, we have it as the meal.

Tonights meal included pate, Italian crusty bread, pickled onions, Gruyere cheese, brie, blue cheese (or stinky cheese as we call it), Danish salami and stuffed olives.

We also made up a plate of Insalata Caprese which is basically an Italian salad made up of tomatoes, basil and bocconcini.

This is such an easy salad to make and is fresh and tasty. You can make it in one of two ways – mixed in a bowl or arranged on a platter. As you can see from the photo we didn’t go to any trouble making it look pretty. If I had known before hand that I was going to put it on the blog I would have done a better job but if you had guests over you would be better arranging it in a circular pattern with alternating overlapping tomato and bocconcini.

Insalata Caprese

3 tomatoes, sliced
1/2 pound bocconcini ,sliced
bunch basil, chopped roughly
sea salt and pepper to taste
extra virgin olive oil
balsamic vinegar

Arrange the tomatoes in a circular pattern on a plate alternating with the slices of bocconcini. Sprinkle the basil, salt and pepper over the top. Drizzle the olive oil and balsamic vinegar over the top. Serve.

Shrimp with Brussels, Garlic and Sage Recipe

shrimp-brussels-and-sage.jpgTonight the cook in the house made a sage and garlic shrimp recipe which I found over at the marttikaarts blog. I love anything with shrimp in it so this was a must have for me.

I love the taste of sage in this and garlic always goes well with shrimp.

I really would like to try this again with fresh brussel sprouts. We had to use frozen as we couldn’t find any at our local farmers market.

This was a really simple recipe and well worth making.  To view the full recipe click here.

Delectable, Delightful Kiwifruit

KiwifruitKiwifruit consist of a hairy, brown outer layer which contains juicy green flesh with white pulp in the center that is surrounded by black, edible seeds. The fruit has a sweet taste, similar to a mixture of banana, pineapple and strawberry.

Now I am a real fan of Kiwifruit, firstly being a kiwi makes me biased to anything New Zealand related and secondly they taste great. There is nothing quite like slicing open a ripe Kiwifruit and spooning the juicy contents into your mouth. Some people are happy enough to eat the fruit whole, including the furry outer skin but that doesn’t appeal to me, I simply like to eat only the green fleshy part.

And don’t Kiwifruit look great on top of a white pavlova or chopped and added to fruit salad or a fruit comport.

The Kiwifruit didn’t actually originate in New Zealand, the seeds were taken there by missionaries from the Yangtze River Vally of Northern China and the Zhejiang Province on the Eastern China Coast where they were called “macaque peach’.

A number of plants were sent to California where the climate is very suitable to plant growth and the fruit is also grown commercially in Italy, South Africa and Chile.

The plants need a long growing season with at least 240 frost-free days. They can withstand temperatures to about 10° F. However they do not like sudden plunges in temperature which may eventually cause damage to the vine. Kiwifruit can be successfully grown in containers.

Kiwifruit contain potassium, vitamins A, E and C and the seeds can be crushed to make kiwi fruit oil.