Cinnamon Shortbread

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A little twist on the traditional Scottish shortbread!

We always had a tin of homemade shortbread in the cupboard when I was growing up in Edinburgh and with our current wintery weather here in Australia I thought a little warming cinnamon might make a pleasant change.

What can I say ……….. there’s none left! It must be good!

Makes 20 biscuits. You can also freeze the unbaked dough and the baked shortbread.

Ingredients

220g butter

120g caster sugar plus a little extra

300g plain flour

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Method

Process the butter and sugar.

Add the flour and process until coming together as a dough.

Spread out a large piece of plastic wrap on your work surface.

Tip the dough onto it and form into a long sausage, around 5-6cm diameter.

Pop in to the fridge for 30mins at least.

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees Centigrade. Line two baking sheets with baking parchment.

Take the dough out of the fridge and unwrap, keeping the plastic wrap under it.

Sprinkle a little sugar along the sausage and roll around until completely covered.

Slice the dough into discs, around 1cm thick.

Place the biscuit dough onto the prepared sheets and place them in the oven.

Bake for 25 mins and then allow to cool on a wire rack.

 

 

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Pork Belly With Star Anise and Orange

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The crunchest of crackling and most spoonable meat make this a brilliant way to cook a humble pork belly!

This size of piece feeds 4-6 depending on sides, I like something green to go with this, stir fried broccoli with pine nuts is nice!

Ingredients

1.6 kg piece of pork belly, scored finely

75mls gluten free soy sauce

400mls water

4 star anise

2 cloves garlic, sliced roughly

1 thumb sized piece of fresh ginger, sliced

2 large spring onions, topped, tailed and cut roughly

zest of one orange

1-2 teaspoons salt

Method

Combine the soy sauce, 100mls water, star anise, garlic, ginger, onion and zest in a shallow oven proof dish.

Add the meat skin side down and marinade for 1 hour.

Turn the right way up and marinade for 4hrs at room temperature if cool enough.

Preheat the oven to 220 degrees Centigrade.

Wipe the skin of the pork with kitchen towel roll and rub in the salt, try not to let it fall in the marinade as it is already salty!

Pop the meat in the oven for 30mins.

Remove, turn the heat down to 150degrees Centigrade, add the remaining water and cover well with tin foil.

Bake for 3 hours.

Turn the oven back up to 220 degrees centigrade.

Drain all of the pan juice and set aside.

Return the meat to the oven, turning regularly until the skin is crisp.

Allow to sit for 20-30 mins.

While the meat rests, skim the fat from the pan juices and sieve out any lumps. Pour into a pan, reheat gently and check for seasoning.

Serve the meat with rice and pan juices over the top.

Lemon, Garlic and Parsley Chicken Wings

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An all time classic marinade that just screams fresh to me.

Our lemon tree is laden at the moment and I suspect that lemons will be featuring a lot more in the coming weeks.

I have cooked these in the oven, it is winter here, but, they taste even better on the BBQ with crispy skin and garlic, yum!

Serves 4-6.

Ingredients

1.4kg chicken wings, tips removed and cut in two

4 cloves garlic, chopped

2 lemons juiced

large handful parsley leaves, chopped

50mls olive oil

salt and pepper

Method

In a large bowl combine the garlic, lemon, parsley, oil, salt and a good grinding of pepper.

Add the chicken wings, mix well and allow to marinade for 2-6 hours.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Centigrade. Line two baking sheets with baking parchment.

Lay the chicken pieces on the prepared tins. Brush over any extra marinade.

Pop into the oven and bake for 35-40 mins, basting every 10mins with the pan juices.

Allow to cool a little before serving.

 

Chocolate Brazilian Coconut Kisses

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We seem to be going through a South American phase in the kitchen just now and I’m not complaining!

I have made Brazilian coconut kisses or Beijinhos de coco before and they were lovely but I just wondered if a wee bit of chocolate might improve them even more.

Don’t  be tempted to use regular chocolate, due to the sweetness of the condensed milk you need dark chocolate to balance it!

Makes 26-28. Do not store them in the fridge, you won’t be able to bit them!

Ingredients

395mls condensed milk

30g butter

100g dark chocolate, 70% cocoa solids

150g desiccated coconut

Method

In a heavy based pan, warm condensed milk and butter to just below simmering.

Stir continuously until the milk thickens to the point where you can draw a spoon through it and it doesn’t immediately run back in on itself. It will probably take 15-20 mins.

Add the chocolate and beat vigorously until the chocolate is completely melted and combined.

Add 100g coconut and beat to combine.

Set aside to cool.

Once cool enough to handle, pour the remaining 50g of coconut onto a plate.

Take small quantities of mix and roll into balls, around 2cm diameter.

Roll the balls in the coconut and then set aside, repeat with the remaining mixture.

Broccoli Soup With Gorgonzola Cheese

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I remember as a child my parents having lots of dinner parties and for a while Broccoli and Stilton soup was regularly on the menu.

Jump forward a few years, or decades, and I’ve got some leftover Gorgonzola loitering in my fridge and two enormous heads of broccoli, well, it had to be done!

The Gorgonzola has a much milder and creamier flavour so my boys manage the blue cheese flavour very well and as they all love broccoli this soup cannot go wrong!

This soup freezes well, hence the large quantity as I always freeze half.

Serves 8-10

Ingredients

60g butter

1 onion, diced

1 medium potato, peeled and diced

1.4kg broccoli, stems roughly diced and florets

1.2l chicken or vegetable stock

600mls full cream milk

200g Gorgonzola cheese, roughly diced

salt and pepper

Method

In a large pan, melt the butter over a medium heat and add the onion, diced potato and diced broccoli stem. Cook until the onion is soft.

Add the stock and milk, bring up to a gentle simmer and cook until the broccoli and potato are cooked through.

Add the broccoli florets and simmer gently until cooked through.

Remove the pan from the heat and add the Gorgonzola, stir well to let the cheese melt completely.

Using a stick blender, blend the soup to a smooth consistency. Season well.

Reheat gently and serve.

Simple Roast Chicken With Chimichurri Sauce

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The boys and I recently went out for dinner to a Brazilian BBQ restaurant which was a huge success with my carnivores, I have never seen them eat so much!

One of the side sauces served with the barbecued meat was  Argentinian Chimichurri and it was a massive hit, so, home again we have been experimenting with our own version which lifts the most humble of chickens to stellar levels of taste!

This chicken can also be barbecued, just remember to let it rest after cooking.

Roast the carcass at the same time as the joints and then add the meat bones and pan juices after dinner to form the base of a simple stock.

Ingredients

1 x 1.8kg chicken, jointed into 10 pieces

2 tablespoons olive oil

salt and pepper

25g  fresh parsley leaves, chopped finely

25g fresh coriander leaves and stalks, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon very finely diced fresh green chilli

140mls olive oil

2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

Method

Preheat the oven to 200degrees Centigrade.

Combine the chicken, olive oil and a really good dose of seasoning in a bowl.

Place the chicken joints, skin side up on a baking sheet and bake for 35-45mins, basting every 10mins until golden and the skin is crisp.

While the chicken cooks, combine the parsley, coriander, garlic, chilli, oil and vinegar. Set aside.

Once the chicken is cooked, let it rest for 15-20mins, serve with a little sauce spooned over the top with extra on the table for people to help themselves.

Baked Eggs in Mushrooms With Parmesan

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These make a lovely alternative for breakfast, lunch or a light supper.  Add a salad to make them go a little further.

When choosing mushrooms for this you need a very large mushroom that is thick and it’s sides are intact, any cracks and your egg will disappear through them!

I cooked these mushrooms in the oven but they will happily cook on a BBQ flat plate at a medium heat so you don’t burn the base.

Serves 2-4.

Ingredients

4 large portobello mushrooms

4 eggs

4 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, finely grated

4 tablespoons fresh gluten free breadcrumbs

1 tablespoon freshly chopped parsley

Salt and pepper

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Centigrade.

Take a mushroom, remove the stalk and scoop out a little of the flesh, making enough space for the cracked egg.

Repeat with the remaining mushrooms and place on a baking sheet.

Crack an egg into each mushroom.

Combine the Parmesan, breadcrumbs, parsley, salt and pepper in a bowl.

Sprinkle the cheese crumbs over each egg.

Bake in the oven for 15-20 mins, I like to bake them until the white is cooked but the yolk is still a little runny.