Archive for the ‘Snacks’ Category

Roasted Artichokes with Mustard-Mayo Dip

In Garden, Snacks on December 8, 2012 at 8:04 pm


This year was the first year that my artichoke plant decided to actually produce artichokes and boy did it produce! It’s unfortunate it decided to do this the year I had to leave my flat, but at least I was able enjoy some before I left. The three artichokes I used for this dish were the last of the lot; a wee bit smaller the first ones harvested but no less delicious! I had no previous experience of cooking artichokes – they aren’t something we see a lot of in New Zealand – though they seem to grow very well. Like any good 21st century girl, I looked to google for some answers.

I found this site as well as this site very helpful. All I did was trim the bottom of the artichokes, cut off the tips of the leaves (an optional step, but it does look nicer) and sliced off the very top of the centers. Then I peeled a few cloves of garlic and stuffed them in between a few of the leaves. Finally, I seasoned them with a bit of olive oil and wrapped them in foil, cooking them in a preheated oven of about 200 degrees for about an hour. How long you leave the artichokes in the oven will depend on their size (and your tastebuds, I suppose – the leaves can be quite tough!) The first time I tried roasting artichokes they were still pretty touch after an hour, but this time they were smaller and an hour seemed to work quite well. 

To serve, I simply mixed a few tablespoons of mayonnaise with approximately a tablespoon of mustard (about a 1:4 ratio). The first time I used Dijon mustard (which is probably a more classic choice) but this time I used wholegrain and it worked fine. I still think I have a long way to go before I can confidently say I can cook with artichokes, but for the moment – I’m still keen to try!


Banana Bread

In Baking, Bread, Cake, Snacks on July 4, 2012 at 7:53 am

A little while ago, I managed to resist scoffing my entire bunch of bananas before they became ripe enough to use for baking – and trust me, this is NOT a frequent occurence. I was pretty torn between making banana and cinnamon muffins or banana bread, but in the end the banana bread won. It also fit in quite well with a bunch of leftover ingredients I had lying around, so I figured this was a good opportunity for a bit of improvisation! The great thing about banana bread is that it is so easy to adapt with what you have on hand and you can be pretty sure it will still be delicious.

From memory, here is more or less the recipe I used:

baking spray, to grease loaf tin

250g plain flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 cup walnuts, roughly chopped (you could substitute with other nuts, such as pecans)

1 egg, beaten

175 ml milk

100 g leftover over cinnamon sugar + 50 g dark cane sugar ( use whatever sugar you want)

60-100 g melted butter

2 very ripe bananas, mashed

Grease the loaf tin with cooking spray, or oil and butter if you prefer. Sift the flour, baking powder and baking soda together in a bowl. Stir in the chopped walnuts (you could also roast these, perhaps?) and make a well in the centre. Combine the remaining ingredients in a separate bowl and then pour into the well, stirring to combine  with a spatula. This should produce a wet batter. Overmixing can make the bread heavy, so be gentle. Pour batter in prepared tin. Bake in preheated oven (180 degrees) for about an hour – it should be golden and risen. You can tell it is ready when the bread shrinks away from the sides of the tin. An inserted skewer should come out clean. Leave to stand 10 mins, then turn onto a wire rack to cool before slicing. Serve with olivani…or pumpkin butter!

Devilled Eggs

In Egg, Entertaining, Snacks on April 27, 2012 at 9:23 pm

Dressed Devilled Egg close up - apologies for fuzzy photo! Good morning photography is hard...

Yesterday evening I had a deep craving for devilled eggs, but by the time my I’d hardboiled the eggs, all motivation disappeared. However, this morning when I saw the hard boiled eggs waiting there for me, I decided I might as well go ahead. Devilled eggs for breakfast? Why not! A bit unconventional perhaps, but there you go. I’d had devilled eggs on the brain for a while, as we had intended to make them for Theresa’s tea party. However, the hardboiling of the eggs on that occasion didn’t quite work out, so we ended up making eggs sandwiches instead.

As usual, I looked to Smitten Kitchen for a recipe. I was relatively faithful to it, except that I only used 6 eggs and simplified the topping. It was a surprisingly quick process, and I would really recommend these as an easy appetizer for a dinner party or when entertaining. However, I would definitely advise hard boiling the eggs the night before – that way if the eggs don’t peel well you have time to whip something else up in its place!

My photos can’t quite compete with Smitten Kitchens, but I was pretty happy with the result. I think for presentation purposes, using a piping bag really helps! (As opposed to trying to spoon the mixture in)

Eggs ready for dressing!

Undressed Devilled Egg

Dressed egg on lettuce leaf from the garden

Tea Party for Theresa

In Baking, Cheese, Entertaining, Pasta, Snacks on April 14, 2012 at 4:35 am

Part I: Chocolate Whiskey and Beer Cupcakes

Today we celebrated our lovely friend Theresa’s 23rd birthday with a tea party! We made all sorts of goodies, but one of the main features were these cupcakes. The recipe is courtesy of the wonderful Smitten Kitchen website. It is an AMAZING recipe – I highly recommend it. However,  you could probably make the alcohol portions a bit stronger, as despite the three different kinds of alcohol in these cupcakes, the taste of it isn’t strong at all! (Possibly that is a good thing, as far as the Guinness is concerned)

Seeing as it is a Smitten Kitchen recipe, there’s no point in reposting it – you can find it here.

I also made some marzipan roses to decorate the cupcakes – I don’t want to go into detail how I made them right now, though I might post about that later.

Below are a few pics of the cupcakes in various stages of their creation:

Plain Cupcake, without ganache filling or icing

Cupcake with ganache filling and icing

Cupcakes with Baileys frosting, filled with ganache and topped with marzipan roses

Cupcakes on tier

More cupcakes

Dissected to show ganache filling

Part II: Other Goodies!

Here’s a selection of some of the other goodies we served. Leave me a comment if you want the recipe for any of them as I can’t be bothered copying them all out for the sake of it! Other things we also ate (but I didn’t photograph) were pesto filled cherry tomatoes, mini BLT sandwiches as well as egg sandwiches. There was also sparkling punch made with orange juice, pineapple juice, gingerale and cider.

Stuffed Giant Pasta Shells - filled with soft buffalo feta and spinach

Potato, Apple and Camembert Terrine

Spiced Pumpkin Mini-Scones

Spongey/Butter Cream and Jam Sandwich Cake

All together, it was a great team effort from all of us – Theresa, Emma and I – so well done us!