Thursday, 28 June 2012

Caramelised onion and goat's cheese tart

I think I found this recipe a magazine somewhere recently and really wanted to try them.  I love simple easy dinners and ready rolled puff pastry is my new best friend! 

Here's what you need:-

Sheet of ready rolled puff pastry
Onion - sliced
Tomato - sliced
Goat's cheese
Parmesan or Cheddar cheese
Splash of wine (I didn't have any so I used red wine vinegar instead!)
Thyme - fresh is good  - I didn't have any so I used dried and it still tasted yum
Chilli Flakes (optional)


1.  Get your rolled puff pastry out from the fridge.  Cut into squares.  Rounds look better but squares make less wastage and I don't like wasting food!  With a knife scour a 1 cm line around the edges and prick the centre with a fork.  Return pastry to fridge.

2. In a tiny bit of oil, saute the onions until nice and browned.  Add a splash of wine (or wine vinegar) to deglaze the pan and let it reduce.  Add dried thyme.  I put in some red chilli flakes too - this is optional.  Remove from heat. Season with salt.

3. Get your pastry out of the fridge.  Place some grated parmesan or cheddar on the pastry making sure to leave that 1 cm edge which you scoured the knife on. This will allow your pastry to puff up nicely around the edges.  Place the caramelised onion mixture, sliced tomato and some pieces of goats cheese.  Bake at 180 degrees for about 15 minutes until the pastry is done!

4.  Dish up with some salad greens.  

For a healthier version, I grilled some aubergine and courgettes and turned this into Lil Miss J's dinner.  She loved doing it all herself.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Father's Day albeit a bit late

I wanted to share what Lil Miss J made for daddy on Father's Day but never got around to posting it, so although its now a tad bit late, here it is anyway.  She wanted to make him a card and post it to him. I didn't have loads of crafty bits on hand, so a few buttons and some stickers had to do!  But it turned out pretty nice :)

And she was most thrilled to put it into an envelope, stamp it and we went off hand in hand to the post office! Oh the simple pleasures of childhood! :)

Monday, 18 June 2012

Honey nougat & Orange brownie cake

That title certainly sounds like a mouthful! This is one of the best brownie cake recipes you will ever make and trust me, one mouthful won't be enough! Undoubtedly! Even if it sounds like I'm tooting my own horn! 

I was given the original recipe for it by my friend's Mum.  The version below is my tweaked one as the original does not call for the addition of orange.

185 g caster sugar
125 g unsalted butter
125 g margarine
300 g toblerone
125 g self raising flour
30 g plain flour
30 g dark cocoa
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Rind of 1 orange
3 tbsp orange juice


1. Line a 20 cm x 30 cm shallow tin with baking paper.  Preheat oven to 160 degrees celsius.

2. Place sugar, butter, a third of the toblerone and 125 ml of hot water in a bowl.  Place the bowl over a pan with boiling water until the contents have melted. Take it off the heat and cool. 

3. Sift together the dry ingredients and add them to the melted chocolate mixture.  

4. Stir in the two beaten eggs. Do not overbeat. 

5. Add the orange rind and orange juice.  Pour into the prepared tin and sprinkle over the remaining toblerone which has been chopped into pieces.  Bake for 40 - 50 minutes until done.  Do not overbake, once the top starts cracking, insert a skewer in the center and if it comes out clean, take your cake out of the oven and let it cool in the tin.

The margarine gives it a very moist, melt in the mouth texture. If you prefer a firmer texture, use 250 g butter instead. 

This is one dessert that will not disappoint - a guaranteed hit if you have friends around :)

Sunday, 17 June 2012

White chocolate basil cream with sticky balsamic strawberries

I am very much a cake person and not so much a dessert person! When it comes to making them, I mean - when it comes to eating, I'll eat it all :)

I found this recipe on BBC Good Food and was very intrigued by it as I've never used white chocolate and basil together.  The only change I made was to use just two or three sprigs of basil as opposed to a whole bunch.  This allowed for a subtle flavour of basil to come through.  I think a whole bunch would have been very overpowering .

The tang of the balsamic counteracts the sweetness of the white chocolate.  This dessert is very easy to do and I really liked it.  It received mixed reactions from the people I served it one of my friends said "once you get used to the strangeness of it, its very nice".   I'm taking that as a compliment!!! :)

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

So long Farewell!

Ever so often, I find my mind swimming with thoughts and constantly running in overdrive and the only way to get it to slow down is to pour those thoughts out on paper (or in this case, virtually on a screen!).  Life has been in a state of flux for the last month as hubby took up a new job role and of course, hot on its heels came the decision to move to a new part of the country. Whilst this is something to look forward to, bringing with it both excitement and apprehension, to me it is also a time to reflect on what Plymouth has given us in the past five years.

We moved to Plymouth in May 2007 when hubby was offered a job here. We made the decision to move on a train journey back to London after he'd had an interview.  We didn't research whether the city was a good place to live or not - we just took a gamble - I'd prefer to call it a calculated risk but in truth it was still a gamble.  One that paid off nevertheless.  Plymouth has been good to us.  This is where hubby climbed his career ladder.  This is where we bought our first car.  This is where Lil Miss J was born.   This is where we were so close the sea, so close to the mountains and so close to nature - something we had never experienced, having lived in big cities most of our adult life.  This is the place we took Lil Miss J to the beach for the first time.   This is where I changed my career path. Plymouth has been a city of many firsts.

We have met some wonderful people here and made some great friends.  We have shared lots of good times together and I will always be thankful that we got a chance to meet all these lovely people and that our paths had a chance to cross.  Whilst it makes me sad to think that I don't know when I will see some of them again, perhaps their purpose in our lives and our in theirs has been fulfilled and the time has come to move on.   And perhaps we will see them again - never say never.  But whether we do or not, we will always cherish the memories that have been created in the time we have lived here. 

Five years is a long time and I've come to call this home.  Now whilst I get to grips with the idea of having to call someplace else home, I know that Plymouth will always be a close friend along with the many friends that it has given us.

So long, farewell - be welll!
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