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Moroccan Chicken Recipe
Morrocan chicken is perfect for any occasion

Moroccan Chicken RecipeSo far this winter has been so incredibly mild that it reminds me of the Mediterranean climate which is one of hot…

Moroccan Chicken RecipeMoroccan chicken shares very similar spices to Indian curry – cumin, turmeric, ground ginger, coriander, paprika, cayenne pepper and cinnamon. It’s mildly spicy with a tangy Mediterranean flavor. You can add just about anything to the dish and of course depending on what ingredients you choose will produce an entirely unique taste. Some of the variations include chick peas, olives, apricots, almonds and eggplant. Well, for this recipe you can use a red pepper to give it sweetness and also to form a nice red paste for the sauce.


8 chicken thighs with no skin or bones
1 red onion – chopped
1 red pepper – chopped
1 small can chopped tomato
2 tbsp tomato puree
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp dried oregano or italian seasoning
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp ground ginger
juice of half a lemon
2 chicken stock cubes
Salt and pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cups water

1. Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil

2. Sauté the chopped red onions

3. Cut the chicken thighs into small pieces

4. Add the chicken pieces and spices to the onions and gently fry for 3 to 4 minutes

5. Add tomato puree and chicken stock cubes

6. Add water

7. Bring to boil and lower the heat to simmer for 30 minutes

8. Add the red pepper and and half a lemon juice

9. Continue to simmer for another 15 minutes or so until the sauce is thickened and the chicken completely cooked through

10. Serve with white rice and garnish with a few lemon wedges, sprigs of cilantro or parsley

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A rather unusual delivery A rather unusual delivery for the kitchen… —- Video available in HD mode —–

Christmas eve surprise

Posted by KitchenBean on Thursday, August 13, 2015

On August 13, 2015, a package arrived in the mail from eBay. My daughter had ordered two dwarf seahorses. Unfortunately, one of them didn’t live for very long and died. So we ordered four more but sadly the remaining seahorse from the original batch also died. It could have been injured during the journey.

Looking after seahorses isn’t easy. From what I observe, the tank has to be topped with filtered water frequently to maintain the right salinity. On top of that, my daughter has to hatch shrimps from eggs to feed the seahorses. Before she can hatch the shrimps she has to bleach the eggs to strip the shells and place them in an aerated container which she devised herself with some plastic tubes, an air pump and a cut out soft drink bottle. The aerated pump goes on 24/7. For a while, the kitchen looked a bit like a mad scientist’s lab and it was very noisy with the pump, so eventually, she moved all the equipment to the laundry room which was a great move. I just had to make sure not to drop any of the laundry into the brine water filled with thousands of microscopic shrimps!

What a delight when we found seven baby seahorses on Christmas eve.

A Christmas Eve Surprise. Read the rest of the story on

Posted by KitchenBean on Friday, January 1, 2016

I’m pleased to say today is New Year’s day and the babies we found on Christmas Eve are still thriving. One did die but we found another baby seahorse the next day. The survival rate for baby seahorses is known to be extremely low but hopefully, in good hands, we’ll be able to see them mature into adults. We hope to keep you posted in a month’s time so do come back and check us out. Thank you for reading our blog.

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How to send apple pies in the mail
An apple pie kit

How to send a homemade apple pie in the mail - college kids

Have you ever thought of making a pie kit and sending it in the mail? We tried it and it worked very well! We made an apple pie when the apples were still abundant and mailed it to our college kids a thousand miles away. Everything arrived in one piece as expected. Not only was it great fun packaging the ingredients, we also told our kids they were getting a pie in the mail. However, what they were not anticipating was getting just the ingredients and they had to get their hands dirty to make the pies themselves which added twice the fun!


Sending your apple pie kit in the mail

Find a good jam jar.
Make apple filling and put in jam jar.
Measure out the right ingredients for the pastry and send it in a ziploc bag as a dry mix.
Remember to print the instructions for making the pie. Use the mail box from the post office for the packaging.


First of all, obtain really good jam jars with seals to put the cooked apple filling in.
We recommend Ball Jar Mouth Pint Jars with Lids and Bands.

Ball jars are robust and high quality. You can obtain these jars from your local supermarket or you can shop at Amazon and get them delivered to your house.

Disclaimer: I am a small time blogger. By purchasing any products through my affiliate links, I will get a small commision. Thank you for using my link.

Take a look at the Amazon reviews from customers about the product. They provide some very useful tips how to use the jars.
Make sure you wash and rinse the jars thoroughly.

Put them in a dishwasher or you can hand wash them with plenty of washing up liquid and warm water. I gave them a final rinse with hot boiling water before using but take great caution not to scald yourself.



Print out the instructions for making the pastry and the apple pie, so that they can use them with the kit.

Cook the apple filling using your favorite apple pie recipe. To enable your jar to seal properly, you must pour your hot apple filling ingredients immediately after cooking.

Be very careful as sugar burns hotter. Kids should avoid this. We used a long handled ladle to pour the hot apple filling into the jar. As the jar opening is small, to avoid having to hold the jar with your bare hands, you can stand the jar in a small cooking pot so it doesn’t matter if some jam spills over the side.

Close the lid of the jar and do not open it after that. Once the jar has popped, it is sealed tightly

Let the apple filling cool overnight. Then, before packing, make sure to wrap it in a bubble wrap for protecting the jar.



Prepare the dry ingredients – the pastry mix. Measure the amount that would make for 1 pie and do not include the butter. Put the flour mix in a ziploc bag. You can then label it.



Avoid sending perishables over the weekend because your mail can get stuck in the mailroom not going anywhere.

Prepare your ingredients on a Sunday and have them shipped on a Monday.It took 3 days for our delivery to travel 1,000 miles.

Here’s a picture of the pie that our college kids made using the homemade apple pie kit that we prepared.

apple pie kit

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Lasagna Spinach Rolls

There are many versions for lasagna rolls but we like this one for its versatility and simplicity. You can vary the ingredients and cheeses, it is quick and easy to make and I believe there are less calories in it too which is a bonus.

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1 packet lasagna pasta
1 small packet chicken breast tenderloin –about 2 lbs but you can vary the amount depending if you want more chicken or more spinach and cheese, however you desire!
1 jar of your favorite marinara sauce. We used Italian Seasoning for this dish.
1½ to 2 cups Ricotta cheese
½ cup Cheddar cheese or Mexican blend
1 cup chopped spinach (fresh or frozen doesn’t matter)
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoon butter (you can use vegetable oil instead)
Pinch of salt
½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
¼ teaspoon garlic powder

Frying chicken breast

1. Cut the chicken into small cubes

2. Fry gently with a little butter for about ten minutes until cooked


Filling for Lasagna Roll

3. Put the cooked chicken pieces in a bowl and mix with the cream, cheese and spinach

4. Meantime cook the lasagna skin in boiling water until soft

5. Take the lasagna skin out, drain and let the steam dissipate

6. Pour a cup or two of the marinara sauce in the pyrex dish (you can put more if you like)

7. Lay a piece of wax paper on the kitchen counter top

8. Lay out the each lasagna skin carefully and spread a layer of the ingredients you just prepared

9. Make the rolls and place in a pyrex dish with the marinara sauce


Making lasagna spinach rolls

10. When finished, pour a layer of the marinara sauce over the top of the rolls carefully
Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top.

11. Bake in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes at 355°F until the cheese is golden brown



13. Enjoy!

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Vanilla Birthday Cake


vanilla sponge

I really like the fluffiness of this cake and also I made it with my favorite Madagascar vanilla extract.

In my opinion, I think Madagascar vanilla tastes the best. However, you can use any type of vanilla – I don’t think it matters too much. I ended up making a birthday cake to send 1000 miles away to Nashville, TN, to my older sister in college. We needed something to put the cake in so we combed the supermarket aisle for a plastic tub but all the tubs we found were either too big or too small. Also, the way the flat rate postage system works, if we went for the larger container it meant we would have to pay around $45 to mail the little cake  – which I admit was far too expensive. So, the only option left was to get a smaller tub and sadly I had to re-bake the cake! In the end, the postage came up to only $16 and there was even room to fit a small packet of chocolate chip cookies!

I guess the moral of the story is – don’t put the cart before the horse!

Anyway, in the end my sister got the cake in the mail. It took two days to arrive and she said it tasted great. I’m glad it didn’t go stale as I had no idea what room temperature or condition the cake was stored during shipment. 

Makes 24 cupcakes, 36 mini cupcakes or a large 16 inch tin cake
1 1/2 cups (2 sticks) butter, softened
3 cups granulated sugar
5 eggs, room temperature
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup whole milk
½ cup buttermilk (1/2 whole milk plus 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice, stirred and set aside)
2 teaspoons Madagascar vanilla extract
To make the cake:

1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF convection bake

2. In a large bowl cream the butter whilst gradually adding the sugar

3. Add the eggs in one at a time and mix thoroughly before adding the next egg

4. In a separate bowl combine the dry ingredients

5. In another bowl combine the milks and vanilla extract

6. Add 1/3 of the milk mixture to the butter, sugar and egg mixture and mix well

7. Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients and mix well

8. Add the next 1/3 of the milk and mix well, occasionally scraping down the side of the bowl

9. Add the next 1/3 of the dry ingredients and mix well

10. Mix in the last 1/3 of the milk mixture

11. Mix in the last 1/3 of the dry ingredients

12. Pour into a greased pan about 11×9 inch pan

13. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes

Decorating The Birthday Cake


I baked the cake in a rectangular tin

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Then cut equal size round cakes with a sharp knife and paper templates I made


I then stacked the cake rounds with chocolate buttercream to stick the layers together


I used my favourite chocolate buttercream for the icing but you can use Nutella chocolate for that


I covered the cake with a thin layer of chocolate frosting

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I made white modelling chocolate but you can buy ready made modelling chocolate

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I wrapped the entire cake with white modelling chocolate

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Decorating the cake was really fun! I didn’t plan anything on paper but it did have an idea of what I wanted it to look like!

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Ready for shipping
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Blackforest Cupcakes

Blackforest Cupcakes
ORIGINALLY a Cake, I decided to change it up a bit and make cupcakes!
Blackforest Cupcakes

Blackforest cake was traditionally a dessert for the holidays but I couldn’t resist having this beautiful cake in the summer. It’s time to satisfy my longing.

Makes 24 cupcakes and 36 mini cupcakes
For the cupcakes:
1 cup of water
1 tablespoon instant coffee granules
1/3 cup of milk
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted or salted butter, softened at room temperature
2 cups of granulated sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
2-1/4 cups of all – purpose flour
3/4 of a cup of Cocoa Powder
1 tsp of salt
1 teaspoon of baking powder
2 teaspoon of baking soda
For the cherry syrup:
2 -3 tablespoons of the juice from a jar of maraschino (glacé) cherries
1-1/2 teaspoons sugar (optional if cherry juice is not sweet enough)

For the frosting:

2-1/2 cups whipping cream
optional, 1-3 tablespoons confectioners (powdered) sugar
To make the cupcakes

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F convection bake

2. Bring the instant coffee, milk and water to a simmer and then take off the heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes
3. In a large bowl cream the softened butter and the sugar with an electric mixer

4. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat in

5. Combine the dry ingredients

6. Add half of the coffee, milk and water mixture to the egg mixture, it might look separated or curdled but that’s okay, mix

7. Mix in half of the dry ingredients, then scrape the sides of the bowl

8. Mix in the remaining coffee mixture and scrape the sides of the bowl

9. Add in the remaining dry ingredients and mix well, scraping down the sides of the bowl

10. In a lined muffin pan fill each cupcake case about 2/3 full

11. Bake the cupcakes on the middle oven rack for 12-15 minutes

12. Let the cupcakes cool

13. Whip the whipping cream and powdered sugar

14. Brush some cherry juice onto the top of each cupcake

15. Using a piping bag and decorating mall round decorating tip, fill each cupcake with a small amount of whipped cream

16. Make a swirl of whipped cream on the top

17. Finish each cupcake with any decorations you like such as the maraschino (glacé) cherries and chocolate decorations

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Peanut Butter Blossoms

Mmmm… peanut butter is very tasty and what a great idea to put it in a chewy cookie!

chocolTEPEANUTBUTTERBLOSSOMSDPP0001 copyI first learnt of this recipe from a very nice lady when we were looking at a house to buy, she left some amazing cookies on the kitchen counter top for us to sample. It filled the whole kitchen up with the lovely smell of baking. So I got this recipe from her. This recipe does make a tonne and they are very rich and sweet so feel free to reduce the ingredients in half.

Makes 5 – 7 dozen
For the biscuit mix (makes 6 cups):
5 cups all – purpose flour
1/4 cup baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter or margerine, chilled and cubed
For the peanut butter blossoms:
1, 14 oz can Condensed milk (sweetened)
3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
2 cups biscuit mix (see recipe below)
1 teaspoon vanilla extractgranulated sugar (for rolling the cookies in)
5 to 7 dozen hershey kisses (to put in each cookie after baking)
To make the biscuit mix

1. Put all of the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl or food processor

2. Add the cubed butter and mix (or pulse if using a food processor) until like fine bread crumbs


To make the peanut butter blossoms

1. In a large bowl mix the peanut butter and sweetened condensed milk

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2. Add biscuit mix and vanilla; mix well

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3. Preheat the oven to 375°F convection bake

4. Roll the dough into 1 inch balls and then roll in the granulated sugar

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5. Place 2 inches apart on parchment paper – lined baking trays

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6. Bake for 6-8 minutes or until lightly browned (they are not supposed to flatten out so don’t worry)

7. Press a hershey kiss into the center of each cookie immediately after baking

8. Let the hershey kisses melt a little and then eat them!



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Mary Berry’s Chocolate Mousse

Originally from a chocolate mousse enticements recipe.


Mary Berry is my inspiration for baking, I love all of her recipes and thought I should share with you one of her recipes that I recently found. Chocolate mousse! This is the chocolate mousse from her double chocolate entremets. The sponge cake I made for the stripey coating was a disaster as every time I made this dessert, I forgot the butter. Well, the chocolate mousse I made for them couldn’t go to waste, so I ATE IT! Yum yum yum, it was delicious. You might want to double this recipe (even though it’s enough to serve 6 people). The chocolate entremets are filled half way with dark chocolate mousse and then filled with white chocolate mousse. Here is the recipe I followed and there’s a bonus, there is no added sugar apart from the semi – sweet chocolate! Serve this with fresh fruit or for a variation try adding orange extract when you add the butter.

Serves 3 – 6
150 grams semi – sweet chocolate chips
A knob of butter, about 1 teaspoon
2 free – range eggs, separated (you will need to wash them with a little soap and hot water as salmonella lives on the outside of eggs and these won’t be cooked for the mousse)
100 ml heavy whipping cream


To make the Chocolate Mousse

1. Melt the chocolate in a bain – marie

  • See video how to do this

2. Add the butter, dont stir yet

3. When the butter has melted stir it in, the mixture will begin to thicken up but keep stirring until well combined

4. Mix in the egg yolks to the chocolate mixture, again it will go kind of runny and then thicken up

5. Remove from the heat

6. Whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks, past when you think you are done whisking

7. Take 1/3 of the whisked egg whites and beat it into the chocolaty mixture to make it easier to fold in the rest

8. Fold in the rest of the egg whites in thirds

9. Whisk the whipping cream until stiff peaks but don’t over whisk, and fold into chocolate – egg white mixture

10. Refrigerate and Enjoy!


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Gyoza – Japanese Steamed Dumplings

Gyoza - Japanese steamed then fried pork dumplings
Gyoza is one of my favourite dumplings

Gyoza - Japanese steamed then fried pork dumplings

I discovered this when my family and I ate out at a very nice Japanese resturaunt in Florida. They are fairly easy to make but they do require a little bit of patience. There aren’t too many ingredients, most of which you will have on hand or be able to get at your local supermarket.

Makes 30 – 40 dumplings
For the wrappers:
I got this lovely recipe from this website at
2 cups (240 g) all-purpose flour
½ tsp. salt
½ cup (120 ml – 150ml) just-boiled water, add more if necessary
corn starch for dusting
For the filling:
240 grams boneless pork rib or ground pork
200 grams green cabbage, minced
100 grams onion, minced
100 grams spring onions (also known as green onions), minced
1 teaspoon grated ginger
2 teaspoons grated garlicto make the wrappers
2 tablespoons corn starch
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil (plus more for frying, you can also use vegetable oil)
1 tablespoon oyster sauce


To make the wrappers:

You can do this in a mixer or by hand but I was lazy and used a mixer

1. Mix the salt in the flour

2. Add the boiling water

3. Knead the dough until smooth, about 5 – 10 minutes

4. Wrap in plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes


Time to make the filling!

1. Cut each roll in half

2. Dust surface and dough with cornstarch

3. Lightly flatten each half and roll out using a pasta machine on the lowest setting

4. Fold the dough over and put through the pasta machine again, repeat one more time after this if needed

5. Roll out to about 1 – 2 mm thick and cut out with a 3 inch round cutter or mug

6. Dust each wrapper with cornstarch to stop them from sticking together pork


To make the filling

1. If you are using rib pork put it in the food processor and pulse it until you have ground pork

2. Mix the pork with everything except the cabbage, spring onions and onions

3. Mix in the cabbage, spring onions and onions

4. Finish making the wrappers!



Phew! Okay now to make the gyozas

1. Fill each wrapper with about 1/2 tablespoon of filling

2. Brush water around the edges

3. Seal the gyoza as shown in the picture unfortunately we don’t have a video of the process so you might have to go on youtube

4. Fry in oil on medium heat until the bottoms are golden brown (don’t fry the sides, just the bottom)

5. Boiling in already boiling water at a roll for 4 – 6 minutes

6. At this point you can eat them or if you really want that crispy wrapper you can re – fry them if they even make it there!

7. Make a simple sauce with soy sauce and white vinegar and Enjoy!

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Shepherd Pie with Snow Peas Simple Recipe

Shepherd’s pie is a traditional dish from England made with lamb mince meat. But if you cannot get lamb, mince steak or turkey are good choices too.IMG_9520


This dish is very easy to prepare – since it’s my daughter who always cooks it – lol! The ingredients are fairly simple. However, if you want a nice finish and professional touch, you would need a cake decoration piping bag with a large nozzle for the mash potatoes on top.


Shephard's pie with snow peas recipe

  • 1 and 1/2 pounds of minced meat – beef or a combination of beef and turkey
    2 — 3  chicken, beef or vegetable stock cubes to 3 cups water
    1 small packet snow peas
    3 to 4 large baking potatoes
    2 large onions
    2- 3 garlic cloves
    1 – 2 tbsp butter
    fresh cream – light or heavy
    1 tsp corn starch


stick of butter

This is what American butter looks like. It is conveniently labelled so if you want to use cup, tbsp or oz you can easily cut the butter into the right quantity. So clever!


1. Chop onions into small cubes. Remove the skin of the garlic.

2. Sauté the onions and garlic in a little oil for five minutes on very gentle heat.

3. Put in the meat and continue to lightly fry for 10 minutes.

4. Dissolve the stock cube in hot water.

5. Dissolve the corn starch in a small amount of cold water. The corn starch will help to thicken the casserole.

6. Pour the stock and corn starch into the meat and let it gently simmer till the meat is cooked through and the liquid is slightly reduced.

7. Meanwhile, boil the peeled potatoes.

8. When potatoes are soft, discard the water and simply make mash potatoes with a little cream and butter.

9. Now, remove meat from the pot and put the meat in a casserole dish.

10. Add a layer of snow peas on top. You can part cook the snow peas if you want them really soft for the pie.

11. Now, add a layer of mash potato.

12. To finish off, my daughter laced the edge of the pie with mash potatoes and sprinkle chess in the middle.

13. The pie is cooked at 380°F for 20 minutes until the cheese is melted and then broil (or grill) for 5 minutes until cheese is lightly brown.

14. Serve hot!












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Mini Apple Pies



We made these with the apples that we picked because it was the perfect time of the year! Each mini pie that I made was about 4 inches in diameter and served 2 people.



Choosing the right cooking apples is important for making pies. Cooking apples need to have the right tart-sweetness balance and also, the flesh need to have a certain degree of robustness – it mustn’t break down during cooking.



Using the Pillsbury “Perfect Apple Pie” recipe for the sauce, we adjusted the method to part cook the apples first. We recommend this because if you’re making mini pies, the cooking time is considerably less and may result in undercook apples. If you’re not into making your own pastry, Pillsbury pastry does a great job.



Roll out shortcrust pastry to about a 1/8 inch thickness and line each mini pie pan.

When lining a pie pan you want to leave extra dough around the edges, as when blind-baking* the pastry will shrink.

*blind-baking – a term used when baking the pastry before adding the filling, done to prevent the pastry from becoming soggy and making sure that the pastry is done baking when the filling is.

Blind-bake the pastry for about 5 minutes at 400 degrees farenheit.


To prevent the apple pies from splitting during baking, it is important to slit the top of the pies to make openings for steam to escape. From our experience, make bigger holes or more slits if you can and don’t overpack with apples. We did have a few pies burst open though, however when people can see the filling it looks even more exciting!




Apple filling Ingredients
6 cups thinly sliced, peeled apples
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Instructions for Charis’ Shortcrust Pastry or 1 box Pillsbury pie crust


to make the Apple filling

1. Put chopped apples, sugar and cinnamon in a pot

2. Cook the apples for 5 to 10 minutes over gentle heat

3. Remove and drain any liquid left in the pot, into another pot and continue to simmer vigorously till the liquid is very thick

4. Pour the thicken syrup (almost caramelized) over the cooked apples and mix wellAllow the mixture to cool

to make the Pastry shells

1. Use little pastry dishes

2. Grease each of the individual pie dishes with some vegetable oil

3. Roll out the pastry to a thin layer of about 1/16 inches

4. Cut into appropriate size and fill each pie crust and pressing against the sides

5. Leave the overhanging bits of the pie over the edge of the mini pie dish as pastry will shrink when baked

6. Blind bake the pie cases for 8 minutes

7. When they are baked, let them cool down a little and trim off the excess

8. With the remaining pastry prepare the lids for the pies bye cutting them slightly bigger than the pie dish

Baking the pies

1. Fill the pies with the cooked apple

2. Brush beaten egg on the edge of the blind baked pastry

3. Put the lids on top of the pies, press down slightly and trim off excess

4. When the pies are ready to go in the oven, brush over with beaten egg

5. Bake in the oven at 425°F for 20 minutes

6. Remember half way through brush the pies with beaten egg again

7. When baked, remove and allow to cool on a wire rack

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Spicy Pickled Cucumbers in Red Wine Vinegar

There are many different flavors you can try, be adventurous!

Spicy Pickled Cumcumbers</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> <p>I’m not a great fan of pickles. For me, they were a food generally connected with pregnancy and strange cravings. However, once in a while I feel like having a pickle because it’s a reminiscence of my childhood.  My grandmother used to make amazing Penang Achar – a unique Asian pickle that is spicy, containing ground peanuts and tastes out of this world.

Every jar of pickles has its own personality depending on the type of vinegar and pickling method used. There are various methods you can use but for this recipe, it’s going to be a very simple approach. You just pour vinegar into a jar of pickling cucumbers and infuse the solution with spices and salt. It’s a quick method that produces great result. And you don’t have to wait long before you can enjoy the fruit of your labor.

Spicy Pickled Cumcumbers</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> <p>You can buy pickling jars in a supermarket but we used an old jam jar. We sterilized it with hot boiling water before using.


IMG_7679aWe prepared all the ingredients and stuffed the jar full. For best results, wait for at least 24 hours for the flavours to soak in before eating.

There are many ways to eat pickles but I love eating them with steamed white rice and a sunny side up fried egg.


Spicy Pickled Cumcumbers</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> <p>Enjoy these spicy pickled cucumbers!


Makes about 3 jars
1 to 2 large pickling cucumbers – thinly sliced and seeds and core discarded
1/2 cup salt
3 cups red wine vinegar
1 3/4 cups brown sugar
1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
3 clove garlic
2 – 3 chillies sliced or while (optional)



1. Wash and pat dry the cucumber

2. Slice the cucumber into little sticks and remove the core

3. Remove the skin of the garlic cloves

4. Put all the ingredients in a jar

5. Pour the vinegar in to the top

6. Close the lid and let it stand at room temperature overnight

7. Store the pickles in the refrigerator




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Creamy Squash Pasta Sauce

creamy squash pasta sauce
Perfect for pasta dishes

creamy squash pasta sauceI learnt that squash can keep for months if stored in the right conditions – usually in a dark cool place like the cellar in the basement. But before you can store them away you have to harden or cure the rinds to create impervious barrier against moisture, insects, mold and bacteria. To cure the rinds, some websites say you have to leave the vegetable in high humidity and temperatures of 80°F for about ten days. Strange that won’t cause the vegetable to rot.


creamy squash pasta saucecreamy squash pasta sauce

Squash is surprisingly delicious when cooked in a creamy sauce.  For this particular recipe, you can bulk it up with cured meat such as ham or chorizo. You can also add cooked chicken to make a substantial main course.


1 Squash –  butternut or summer squash
2 tablespoons butter
2 – 4 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 teaspoon oregano
1 onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic, grated
1 cup double cream (heavy cream)
2 cups whole milk
Parmesan cheese, grated
Salt and pepper to taste
Basil, for garnishing

1. Take the skin of the squash and cut the flesh into little cubes.

2. Chop one spanish onions.

3. Finely chop 1 glove of garlic.

4. In a medium heated pan, gently sauté the onions and garlic with a little bit of butter and olive oil. Approximately 5 minutes.

5. Add  the squash. Gently sauté for 10 – 15 minutes till squash is soft.

6. Add cream and milk.

7. Turn the heat down and let it simmer for 10 – 15 minutes.

8. If you need to cook it longer and liquid is considerably reduced, add a little water.

9. Add the oregano.

10. Add salt and pepper and to taste.

11. Serve on a hot plate of pasta or spagetthi.

12. Sprinkle lots of parmesan cheese over.

13. Finish with a few fresh basil leaves.

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The Secret to Good Blueberry Jam

A perfect way to preserve fresh summer fruits

Do you know that old fruits don’t make good jams?  The fruit’s pectin ought to be at the highest level when the fruit is just slightly under ripe in order to produce the right jam consistency. Below are some tips for making blueberry jam.

Making blueberry jam
1) Use 60% sugar.

Sometimes I like cutting down on sugar but when it comes to jam making, it’s important to get the proportion of sugar right. An interesting fact about British standard of jam making, anything less than 60% cannot be classified as jams; they have to be labelled as conserves. This is what set the British jams apart from the rest of the world. Generally you can make jam with 50:50 fruit to sugar ratio but in my experience, I get a more consistent result and higher chance of avoiding runny jams if I use more sugar than fruits.

When we made our last jam, we used 5 cups of blueberries to 3 cups of sugar and it worked! What’s interesting about American cooking is most things are measured in “cups”.  Cups are very convenient but strictly, they are not accurate and cannot be used for sensitive recipes.

Blueberries_coated_with_sugar copy

2) For perfect jam – add lemon juice.

Lemon juice provides an acidic environment that helps the jam to set. In this particular recipe, we added just 2 tablespoons of lemon juice to 5 cups of berries boiled with 3 cups of sugar.




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Chicken Chorizo Paella with Cockles

Easy Home Cooking Paella
Watch how we cooked our paella

Paella is a fun party dish – everyone can lend you a helping hand or cheer you on. This One Pan Wonder can accommodate everything – even your left over. Having said that, it won’t tolerate the wrong type of rice. You cannot use your normal American Long Grain or Thai Jasmine Rice because it will turn into congee. You’d need short grain, arborio or risotto rice. Seafood isn’t necessary though it’d give a more authentic taste and you definitely wouldn’t need saffron. You may be surprised to know that an ounce of saffron is more expensive than gold, hence save your money for a nice bottle of wine instead. I would definitely recommend Rioja for this occasion.



Total cooking time – about 1 and 1/2 hours

Serves about 15 people
1 Spanish chorizo sausage
4 spicy Italian sausages – substitute for chorizo if you cannot get chorizo
3-4 tablespoons Olive oil
3-4 tablespoons Butter
1 Green bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
1 large can of chopped tomatoes
2, 4 pound packages Short grain rice or risotto rice
4 Chicken thighs
10 Little necks, cockles or mussels
24 large Uncooked shrimp in their shells
4 fluid ounces White wine
boiling water
Herbs & Spices
3 Spanish onions, diced finely
2 Cloves garlic, crushed
1 small bunch Parsley, chopped finely
2 spanish chillies, sliced
Juice of 2 Lemons
1 teaspoon Paprika
A small packet of saffron (optional)
1 teaspoon Garlic powder
5 cups Chicken stock (no msg)

1. First, sauté the onions and some pieces of sausages in a large paella pan for about 10 minutes

2. Add the chopped red and green peppers and gently fry everything for about another 10 minutes.

3. Add the rice and give the whole thing a good stir, making sure the ingredients are well mixed.

4. Spread the rice out evenly on the pan.

5. Meantime, barbecue the chicken thighs rubbed in paprika, salt and oil.

6. Grill the remainder of the sausages on the barbecue.

7. Barbecue the shrimps with some butter.

8. After the rice has been fried for a minute or two, pour in the chicken stock, a tin of chopped tomatoes and add the paprika and salt.

9. At this point, you can add your saffron.Let the rice simmer, uncovered on low heat.

10. Throughout the process, add a little water at a time until the rice is cooked through.

11. Add the barbecued meat about three quarters way through the cooking. I don’t think it matters too much when you add them

12. Towards the end, pour in some white wine.You can serve the rice with fresh lemon or lime wedges and chopped parsley.

13. Voila — your paella is now done!