Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Black Eye Pea's and Happy Hogmanay!

photo: Edinburgh Tourist Board

In the South it is a tradition to eat Back Eyed Pea’s on New Years day, it is believed to bring prosperity. In Italy they eat 12 grapes at midnight to signify the 12 months of the year and in Japan the Soba noodle is eaten. In Scotland New Year is called Hogmanay and first footing is custom.

After midnight, the person to cross over the threshold of friends and neighbors houses gives gifts of salt, coal, shortbread and whiskey. That person is to bring luck for the rest of the year. Edinburgh is the best place in the world for me at new year, be it cold, the streets are closed of and you have live music in Princess Street gardens and fireworks on the stroke of midnight visible all over the beautiful city. If you get the chance GO!

Tasty Trix did a guest post with Ghanaian red red so when I found out about black eyed pea's being a Traditional Southern food, I knew this was the dish!

Ghanaian inspired dish based on Red Red.

  • 2 cups of pre soaked black eye pea’s
  • 1/2 onion
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup wild shrimp
  • chili pepper flakes
  • 2 cups of vegetable stock
  • red palm oil or vegetable oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. heat oil and saute onion until translucent then add tomato and reduce down to a paste.
  2. add the vegetable stock, shrimp and black eye peas and simmer for 30 minutes.
Heres a wonderful article on New Year's Food History from Slash

Happy New Year may God richly bless you in 2010,

love and new years hugs!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Asparagus with Sesame and Peanut Sauce

I just wanted to share this easy and delicious way of cooking asparagus. We had it tonight with roast chicken and mashed potato. Asparagus is a nutritional powerhouse being a good source of Iron, Magnesium and Zinc, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), Vitamin K, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Folate, Phosphorus, Potassium, Copper, Manganese and Selenium.

  • one bunch of asparagus
  • 1/2 a chopped tomato or 4 small cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoon of Thai Peanut Sauce
  • olive oil
  • teaspoon of sesame seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ginger/garlic paste

  1. heat the oil then add the ginger/garlic paste
  2. add the tomato and sesame seeds saute for a minute
  3. then add the asparagus and peanut sauce saute for 5 minutes.

What's your favorite way of cooking asparagus?

oh and the lovely Chaya of Sweet Savory Says it all gave me this award, she is a wonderful person full of wisdom and warmth and is great cook thanks so much.


Monday, December 28, 2009

Oat and Raisin Biscuits

Oat and Raisin Biscuits - this recipe is from a cookbook my Mum got me for Christmas its a British one, I really liked these biscuits or cookies in the US. Hubby wasn't so keen as said less sugar and tasted like his morning oatmeal! but heres the recipe anyways. I must confess though when it comes to cookies American's rock at them!

  • 4 tablespoon butter
  • 4 1/2 oz sugar
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1 3/4 oz plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 6 oz rolled oats
  • m and m's well everything needs a bit of chocolate!
  • 4 1/2 oz raisins
  • 2 tablespoon sesame seeds
  1. cream the butter and sugar
  2. add in the egg, flour, salt, baking powder, m and m's, sesame seeds, raisins
  3. add small spoonfuls to a greased baking sheet and bake at 350 for 15 minutes.

Jasmine and I have been enjoying them with our milk!, for amazing cookies be sure to see Amanda's blog, Amanda's Cookin, she's a pro!


Sunday, December 27, 2009

My First Meatloaf: Columbian Inspired

I got some minced beef/hamburger meat from the store the other day and wondered what to make with it the only things I make are spaghetti bolognese or picadillo (thats a new addition!) I love the use of cumin in Cuban and Columbian meats. So I headed over to Erica's blog My Columbian Recipes I am a big fan and found a recipe for a Columbian meatloaf.

It looked fabulous, I made a few changes and cooked it in a covered casserole dish with a can of tomatoes to make a sauce. But this is for you Erica.

Also this was my first time making a meatloaf!, I ate it with the mac and cheese I made last week, great combo and very American (smiles!).

You will love this!

  • one pack of lean beef
  • 1/2 red onion
  • one tablespoon cumin powder
  • one tablespoon dried parsley
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 boiled eggs
  • one beaten egg
  • 1/2 cup of bread crumbs
  • 1/4 green pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • A little Italian herbs
  • one teaspoon of mustard
  1. Mix the beef with the herbs, beaten egg, salt and pepper, bread crumbs and then roll out over some cling wrap
  2. place the sliced boiled eggs and green pepper in the middle then roll up the sides to cover with the eggs inside
  3. gently remove the plastic wrap and place in a casserole dish with a can of tomato
  4. bake for 30-45 minutes at 350 degree's.

We all loved this, my hubby told me today to keep blogging as my cooking is getting better and I intend to ☺!

What is your favorite way to cook beef?

Ron's Christmas Pudding

I was on twitter chatting to Fran of @DelmarvaDrives and she was telling me that her hubby made a Christmas pudding I got so excited as its a typical British Christmas dessert. I asked them for a snap and the recipe for Chow and Chatter so here it is......

Ron’s Christmas Pudding

  • 1 lb dark brown sugar
  • 1 lb candied fruit (fruit cake mix)
  • 1 lb raisins
  • ½ lb Chopped nuts
  • 1 lb bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 eggs (beaten)
  • ¼ lb butter (one stick, just barely melted)
  • 1 bottle stout
  • ½ cup brandy or rum

Mix together the candied fruit, raisins, nuts, butter, and brown sugar. Whisk together the bread

crumbs, spices, baking powder, and salt. Mix together the eggs, and stout. Blend the dry

ingredients into the fruit mixture. Blend the liquid into the mixture. Turn the mixture into a

greased pudding basin or bowl. Tightly cover the bowl with waxed paper and aluminum foil.

Steam for 8 hours, ensuring no water gets into the covered bowl. Remove from heat, and turn

out to cool. Serve when still quite warm.

To serve, pour brandy/rum over warm pudding, turn out the lights, and ignite. Warning: The

alcohol may still be burning after the flames are no longer visible, so BE CAREFUL! Serve

warm with Rum Sauce.

May be prepared ahead of time by steaming 6 hours, turning out to cool, wrapping tightly in

waxed paper and plastic bag, and refrigerating. Finish by returning to basin/bowl, steaming 2

hours, then turning out, cooling, and serving as above.

Rum Sauce for Christmas Pudding

  • ¼ lb (one stick) unsalted butter
  • 1½ cup powdered sugar
  • ½ cup cream
  • ½ cup rum
  • 1 tsp vanilla

In a sauce pan, melt the butter. Over medium-low heat, gradually whisk in the sugar, then the

cream, then the vanilla, then the rum. Bring just barely to bubbling, immediately remove heat,

and spoon over servings of pudding.

Thanks Ron, wish we were all there to have a slice!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Smoked Trout and Penne

So I had some smoked trout to use and got my thinking cap on and thought why not mix with some pasta for lunch. So me and my little helper got to work, well not work it is so easy and very tasty. This is a great thing to have for lunch or take to work.


  • one smoked trout the other one I used to make fried rice recipe to follow!
  • 1 cup pasta and mixed frozen vegetables
  • mayonnaise one tablespoon
  1. boil the pasta until its al dente with vegetables
  2. mix all the ingredients together and eat!

Let me know what you think its easy and healthy, I am making it with smoked salmon next!


Friday, December 25, 2009

Easy Peasy Roast Spuds

After all the cooking of Christmas dinner some easy recipes are in order, this is a simple way to roast potatoes with minimal effort and maximal flavor!!


  • 7 quartered red potatoes
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • one- two tablespoon of Italian seasoning

  1. Simply combine the ingredients and bake at 350 for 45 minutes!
What's your favorite way to fix potatoes?

Me and Jasmine opening Christmas Presents with my little Dog at the side! What fun, she got some great gifts and we spent the day with our lovely American friends.

Hope your day was filled with happy memories have a great weekend


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Lemon and Clementine Tarts and Merry Christmas!

Here's a fun little festive tart, lemon and clementine.


  • 8oz flour
  • 3-4 0z butter
  • cold water
  • a pinch of salt
  • lemon curd
  • slice of clementine orange
  1. mix the flour and the salt together then add butter and cut with a knife mix in cold water to make the pastry
  2. roll out then cut into round cut outs
  3. add to the bottom of a muffin baking pan then fill with lemon curd and garnish with a slice of clementine
  4. bake for 15 min on 400 degrees

Merry Christmas Love and Hugs

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Fun Christmas Facts

  • Christmas means Christ Mass and is about celebrating the birth of Jesus
  • Christmas stockings were first used in 1870
  • An old wives tale says that bread baked on Christmas eve doesn't get moldy!
  • At midnight it is said that a special rose opens and closes its petals to salut Jesus' Birth
  • All the sheep in the fields face East at midnight, well maybe!
  • In the UK certain towns have Christmas day swims in ice cold water in costumes!
  • The First Christmas stamp was issued in Austria in 1937
  • The first Christmas tree dates back to 1510 in Latvia
  • The first candy cane was given in Cologne in 1670 when the Choir master of the Cathedral bent the candy to look like a shepherds staff!
  • The first recording of Christmas being celebrated on Dec 25th was in Rome in 336AD although we don't really know the exact day Jesus was born.
  • The turkey was introduced to the UK by William Strickland in Bristol in 1526 when he imported 6 birds from America, the Indians were particularly fond of this bird. King Henry XIII was the first king to have it at christmas. After the meal a long y shaped bone of the turkey will be pulled apart and the person who gets the biggest part can make a wish!

Whatever you are eating or doing this Christmas, make it a tradition of good food, family time and laughter, a time to be thankful and to remember Christs birth and love for us.



Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Chicken Stew

I made a wonderful chicken stew/soup the other day fantastic for winter, loaded with veggies and great flavors with the leeks, garlic and herbs and so good for you....

  • 6 boneless and skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 cups of chicken stock and 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 2 sticks of chopped celery
  • 2 sliced leeks
  • one zucchini and one yellow squash
  • 2 chopped tomatoes
  • one pack of chopped mushrooms
  • one spoon Italian herbs
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 frozen green beans
  • olive oil

  1. saute the onions, leeks and garlic in olive oil for 5 minutes add the celery, mushrooms and squash and saute another few minutes
  2. then add the tomatoes, and herbs salt and pepper to taste and saute on low for 3 minutes
  3. then add the chicken stock and vegetable stock and the chicken cover and simmer on a low heat for 45 minutes to one hour
Garnish with fresh cilantro. I ate this with crusty whole grain bread.

So go on warm yourself up and take a bowl!

What's your favorite winter food?


Monday, December 21, 2009

Mac and Cheese with Ham, Peas and Onion

Just for fun I made a clip of making Macaroni and Cheese with ham, peas and spring onion.

I took out a lot of the stirring so it wasn't as long as not too bore you all too much. Was fun to do but a lot of work!

But now you can get to know me better he he he, have a good laugh watching!!

Also Malar of Kitchen Mantra kindly gave me this award, be sure to check out her blog she has a great yogurt dessert today - yummy

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Banana and Chocolate Brownie Cake

So I was in the mood for a cake/brownies today he he well, ever since coming back from France and my Grandma's house in England I was determined to be a better baker. I found a recipe for brownies, tweaked it a little and added ripe banana and voila this baby was born. It was so good hubby had two slices straight after each other and he's a health nut, so he liked it!

I am in the Food Bloggers group started by the lovely Amanda of Amanda's Cookin and recently they were talking about using props so I found this tea towel and couldn't resist!

Banana and Chocolate Brownie cake


  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • one cup of sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • one teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1/3 cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 very ripe banana's mashed
  • one teaspoon baking powder

  1. let butter melt a little
  2. cream butter and sugar for a few minutes
  3. then add in the eggs, flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa and banana
  4. add to a cake tin and bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes


Friday, December 18, 2009

Homemade Hummus

So I made the Tahini for the Baba Ganoush then decided to make hummus. It is actually really easy to make and so good for you loaded with protein, folate, magnesium, and fiber.
It makes a great light meal or snack, its healthy and satisfying.

  • 1 cup of cooked chick pea's (we soaked them over night then pressure cooked them, hubby was making channa dal so I took half!) or a can would also work fine.
  • 3 -4 cloves of garlic
  • olive oil
  • one tablespoon tahini
  • lemon juice
  • salt

  1. simply grind the chick peas, olive oil, salt, lemon juice, garlic and tahini together.
Its that simple, great for dipping and sharing!

Have a great weekend everyone


oh and I also got a Lovely Blog from Art Food and Travel Chronicles from Sheba a great cook and artist from Goa, India, be sure to check out her blog

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Guest Post: Orrechiette with Italian Sausage

This recipe was emailed to me by Lisa from The Kitchen of Queen La La she is a great cook and lovely blogging buddy, I first got hooked on her blog with her homemade pita LOL
We have been twittering and commenting on the chow and chatter facebook page and blogger for age's. She inspired me with this recipe for the first time I made gnocchi and I have been waiting for a picture to share with you all!

She actually made it with Orrechiette which I had to Google, they are a special ear shaped pasta from Northern Italy, she also added some crushed tomato, like I would do per Lisa!

So here's Lisa:

It is with great pleasure that I submit my recipe for Pasta with Broccoli Rabe. My original recipe was just fine as it was, humming along nicely, with no changes over the years; however, Rebecca made her own version and I blatantly lifted the idea of adding tomatoes to my dish and voila! a much better version was born. So, in the picture, you will see some lovely tomato along with the sausage and broccoli rabe and I am very pleased with the new, updated version. I hope you all enjoy it as much as I do, and a big thank you to my blogging buddy, Rebecca, for letting me play a little in her world.

So here you go this one is a winner:

  1. Clean and chop one pound of broccoli rabe into bite-sized pieces. Steam until tender and set aside.
  2. Saute four finely chopped cloves of garlic in about 2 tbsp really good extra virgin olive oil.
  3. To that add 1/2lb crumbled raw hot (or sweet) Italian sausage (just squeeze out from the casing). I really like turkey sausage for this but pork is fine, too.
  4. Break up into small pieces and cook until no longer pink.
  5. Add the broccoli rabe and cook for another 5 minutes or so, to really blend the flavors.
  6. Toss with freshly cooked Orrechiette or gnocchii and top with grated parmagiano or pecorino romano cheese.

Depending on the sausage, you may need to add an additional tbsp or more of olive oil to the pan to make a nice, slippery consistency to coat the pasta. I can get by with an additional tbsp and have been able to toss this with a full pound of pasta, no problem.
As that serves 8 people, I don't think the additional oil poses any problem as 1) it's the really good stuff, and 2) half a tbsp or so per person is not at all a bad thing.

This recipe is great especially in the cooler weather, as the rich flavors play very well together. :-)


Has anyone else heard of this pasta it looks so cool, I am on the look out for it!


Harissa Marinated Salmon Over Cous Cous

I was in the mood for salmon, well I always am, but wanted to make something different, I wondered what would go with cous cous so got on line and stumbled on Harissa. A North African chili sauce and I thought wow this is it.

As I was making it I was on twitter and was tweeting with the very talented Michelle from Big Black Dogs, I checked with her how to do it and she suggested baking the salmon after two hours of marination. She was telling me about a Soy lacquered salmon she had cooked and why not post our recipes on the same day so here they are!

So here is my version:

Harissa (my version)

  • 2 red dried chili's
  • 1/4 of a green pepper
  • salt to taste
  • one tablespoon cumin seeds (the recipes called for caraway I didn't have any so used cumin)
  • one tablespoon coriander seeds
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 chopped tomato
  • 2 wild Alaskan Salmon steaks
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • little lemon juice
  • tablespoon tomato puree

  1. toast the coriander and cumin seeds in a pan, then add the green pepper
  2. add the garlic and red chili's
  3. grind with tomato, olive oil, a little tomato puree and lemon juice to make a paste
  4. cover salmon with marinate and let it sit for 2 hours
  5. then bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes
I served it over a bed of cous cous, this was really delicious and definitely something I will make again.

Stating that the
Salmon was delicious and the mushrooms sauteed in butter with just a little sprinkling of fresh Thyme were so good.

Be sure to go and see her blog, its wonderful and she is an excellent cook, maybe one day you will be lucky enough to pick her brain on twitter like I did!

What's your favorite salmon recipe?


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