Posted in American Cuisine, Barbecue, Beef Dishes, British Cuisine, Casseroles, Greek, Indian, Thai & Chinese Cuisine, Italian Cuisine, Mediterranean, Oven, Pasta, Quick and Easy, Turkish Cuisine

Basic Meatball / Burger Mixture

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This is a basic recipe that can be used to make all kinds of meatballs or burgers.  In Turkey we like our Köfte, which are meatballs flattened into small discs.  In Italian and Indian cooking I tend to roll the meatballs into small balls.  You can even put small cubes of cheese in the middle of the balls which are especially nice when cooked in a tomato sauce and served with spaghetti. This is my husband’s recipe which he learned from his mother.

Ingredients

500 g minced beef

1 1/2 cups of breadcrumbs (if using freshly ground – only use half a cup if using fine breadcrumbs bought in the shop or it will be too dry)

1 egg

1 onion (finely grated)

1 tsp cumin

A pinch of thyme

Salt & pepper

A pinch of hot chilli flakes (optional)

Method

Place all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well with your hand.  Knead it for a good few minutes then form into a ball.

Now you can pull off small amounts to form into meatballs which you can freeze for later or cook straight away.  You can also divide up larger amounts to make burgers too.

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Posted in American Cuisine, Cheese, Mexican, Oven, Quick and Easy, Side dishes, Snacks

Doritos / Nacho Cheesy Bake

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This is a quick and easy dish to prepare.  It can be a side for any Mexican meal, on its own with dips, you can build more layers around edges and fill centre with Chilli Con Carne… many possibilities.

Ingredients

1 packet of Doritos corn chips or Nachos

A load of grated cheese (as much as you like)

1 tsp hot pepper flakes (optional)

1 tsp mixed herbs (Thyme/Oregano)

Method

Preheat oven to 180°c.  In an oven-proof dish, put a layer of the crisps. Now sprinkle with grated cheese.  Repeat with another layer of crisps then cheese until whole packet of crisps has been used.  Finally cover with grated cheese.  Sprinke with herbs and chilli peppers as desired.

**If you plan to serve with Chilli Con Carne or a dip such as salsa in the centre, then after the first layer, place crisps around the edges to form a well in the centre.  You could also tower up in a pyramid shape too.

Place in the oven for 5 minutes or until cheese has melted and serve immediately.

 

 

Posted in British Cuisine, Cheese, Oven, Quick and Easy, Savoury Pastries, Snacks

Cheese Pastry Baskets

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This is a great idea for a quick snack.  They can be made in advance, can be frozen to be eaten later and you can even take them to work and zap in the microwave as a quick filling lunch.  I use frozen puff pastry as it is cheap, quick and easy, and here in Turkey comes pre-cut in perfect squares.

Ingredients

Puff Pastry (defrosted and cut into squares)

Tomato pureé

Grated cheese

Any other toppings as desired such as:

Sliced tomatoes or onions

chopped red or green peppers,

sliced sausages, pepperoni or ham etc…

1 egg beaten for glazing

Dried herbs for sprinkling

Method

Pre-heat oven at 180°c. Place a sheet of baking paper on an oven tray, then lay out your puff pastry leaving plenty of space between pieces.  Using the tip of a sharp knife, cut 2 ‘L’ shaped cuts on opposite corners (see photo below). Brush tomato pureé over the pastry (I water down my pureé so it is not so thick) and sprinkle on some herbs (I used oregano) then you are ready to decorate with the fillings.

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You can add as many fillings as you like, it is up to you. On this occasion, I used sliced cocktail sausages, spring onions and cream cheese, which I then covered with grated cheese.  Sometimes just plain cheese and tomato is lovely too.

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Now that you have loaded your baskets, you need to glaze the edges, then lift the handles from corner to corner and stick together.  Also do not forget to glaze the other side of the handles too.

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Then place in a pre-heated oven at approximately 180°c for 12 – 15 minutes or until golden.

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Posted in British Cuisine, Cheese, Oven, Potato Dishes, Quick and Easy, Side dishes, Vegetarian

Cheesy Potato Boat

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Jacket potatoes are an old favourite in most British homes. Traditionally they are baked in the oven for a couple of hours, then slit open and butter is added.  This cheesy boat has been prepared slightly differently, so if you are a cheese lover and have a creative streak then go ahead and give it a try.

Ingredients

A large baking potato (per person)

a knob of butter (about 1 tsp)

1-2 tbsps milk

1-2 handfuls of grated cheese (plus some for decorating)

Salt and pepper (as required)

Thyme and oregano

Tomato and cucumber slices (decoration)

Method

Wash and pat dry the baking potatoes.  Using either a fork or the tip of a sharp knife, pierce the potatoes on each side taking care not to make large cuts.  This is to allow the steam to be released as they cook.  Place in the oven on about 180°c for 2-3 hours, turning once halfway through.  The time really does depend on the size of the potatoes, but if a knife slips in easily then they should be done.

Once the potatoes are cooked, remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes to avoid burning your hands.

Using a knife with a sharp tip, run the knife down the centre of the potato on one side, lengthways.  Now make another smaller slit to form a cross.  Using a pair of kitchen scissors, cut away the top potato skin to form an oval opening, resembling a boat deck.

Using a metal spoon, carefully dig out the soft potato into a large bowl, being careful not to break the skin. (Even if cooking more than one potato you can use the same bowl).  Add the butter and milk and mash until creamy.  If it seems a bit dry you can add a tiny bit more milk. Salt and pepper according to your preferences then add the grated cheese.  You can add less cheese if on a diet, or more if like me you just love cheese.  Mix the cheese and potato together until well combined.**

Spoon the potato mixture back into the skin, pressing down to compact it.  Decorate the tops of the potatoes with the last of the grated cheese and sprinkle some thyme and oregano.

Using wooden kebab skewers or even toothpicks, push slices of cucumber and tomato on them to look like sails then press down into the potatoes.  Return to the oven for around 5-10 minutes, until cheese starts to bubble, or even place under the grill (be careful not to burn them).

Serve hot.

Suggestions

Goes well with coleslaw, and is quite tasty along side Chilli Con Carne… or just eat with a lovely crisp salad.  You can find the recipes for these on my blog.

**You can also add a variety of Ham or pepperoni in with the mix before re-stuffing the potatoes.

 

Posted in British Cuisine, Cakes, Oven, Quick and Easy

Carrot Cake with a twist

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I love carrot cake, and this is the best recipe I have found so far.  It’s very easy and quite quick to make.

Ingredients

For the cake

4 eggs

200 ml vegetable or sunflower oil

250 g carrots, grated

100 g raisins

100 g walnuts (broken into pieces), plus a few extra for decoration

50 g dried cranberries

Zest of 1 lemon

200 g  flour

1 pkt (5 ml) baking powder

2 tsp mixed spice

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

¼ tsp fine salt

200 g sugar

For the frosting

150 g unsalted butter (at room temperature)

45 g caster sugar

300 g full fat cream cheese

Zest of half a large orange

Method

For the cake, preheat the oven to 180°c. Grease and line a deep, 20 cm round cake tin with baking parchment or a loaf tin.

Break the eggs into a bowl, and lightly whisk using a fork. Add the vegetable oil and whisk again.

Add the grated carrots, raisins, walnut pieces, cranberries and lemon zest. Stir in the sugar.

In a separate bowl, sift the flour, mixed spice, bicarbonate of soda and salt.

Slowly add the flour (dry ingredients) mixture to the carrot (wet) mixture, stirring as you go until all are well combined.

Spoon the cake mixture into the lined tin (about 3 quarters of the way up – don’t over fill) and bake on the middle shelf for 1 – 1¼ hrs, until the cake has risen and is golden-brown all over, or until you can remove a toothpick/knife cleanly.

If using a loaf tin you may have extra cake mixture which can be put into individual, lined cupcake moulds.  (These small cupcake ones only need 20-25 minutes to cook).

Remove the cake from the oven and set aside in the tin to cool for 10-15 mins, then turn the cake out and leave to cool completely on a wire rack.

While waiting for the cake to cool, make the cream cheese frosting.

Place the butter in a large bowl with the caster sugar and cream together for 2-3 minutes until light and creamy, then beat in the cream cheese until smooth.  Add the orange zest.  It is best to put the cream frosting in the fridge for 10 – 15 minutes to stiffen up.

Place the cake on to a serving plate or cake stand. Use a palette knife, or wide flat bladed knife, to spread the frosting over the top and sides of the cake. Scatter more walnuts on the top. It’s now ready to serve.

Posted in Cakes, Cheese, Greek, Mediterranean, Oven, Vegetarian

Lemon Cheesecake

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I have tried many quick and easy no bake cheesecake recipes but was never really satisfied. Having been inspired by our good friend Deniz’s recipe, this is what we came up with and so far people are loving it.  So here is the recipe.

Stage 1

Ingredients for the base:

3 packets of digestive biscuits (finely crumbled) by using a colander.

60 grams melted butter

2-3 tbsps of milk

Method for the base:

Line a 24 cm spring release cake tin with greaseproof paper, on the base and the sides.

Mix the crumbled biscuits, butter and milk.

Press the mixture into the tin, pushing down firmly with the back of a spoon.

Place in the fridge for about half an hour while preparing the next stage.

Stage 2

Ingredients for the cream:

400 g Philadelphia Cheese

300 ml natural yoghurt

3 eggs

250 g sugar

2 tbsp flour

1 tbsp corn starch

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

Method for the cream:

Mix the Philadelphia cheese and yoghurt in a blender on the lowest speed.

Then add the eggs into it one by one. Add the sugar, zest then the starch and finally sift the flour.

Add the mixture onto the base and bake it for 40-45 minutes at 165°c. While it is cooking it will rise but do not worry as it will get flatter once it cools down.

Once it has completely cooled, cover with a cloth and refridgerate over night.

Stage 3

Ingredients for the topping:

100 ml milk

100 ml water

2 tbsps sugar

1 heaped tbsp corn starch

1 heaped tbsp corn flour

1 tsp honey

Juice of 1 lemon

Zest of 2 lemons

1 heaped tbsp turmeric powder

1 packet (5 g) vanilla

1 tsp butter

Method for the topping:

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl, then cook in a pan until it has some texture.  Allow to cool.

Pour the topping over the cream mixture in the cake tin. Allow to set for a few hours in the fridge.

Posted in American Cuisine, Cheese, Italian Cuisine, Mediterranean, Oven, spicy, Uncategorized, Vegetarian

Pizza

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My favourite cuisine is definitely Italian and No 1 is Pizza… Here is a recipe to make the pizza dough, which should be enough for 4 small or 2 medium sized pizzas if  you like thin and crispy bases as we do.

Ingredients for the pizza dough

1 pkt dried yeast

1 1/4 cups of warm water

4 cups of flour

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp of sugar or honey

1/4 cup of milk

pinch of salt

Method for the pizza dough

Put the warm water in a bowl and sprinkle the dried yeast in it, stir and wait for a few minutes.

Meanwhile, put the flour in large bowl, make a well in the centre, and add the olive oil, sugar or honey, milk and salt.

Add the yeast mixture to the bowl of flour and gently mix with a fork then form into a ball with your hands.

Flour a clean surface and place the ball of dough on top.

 **The dough will be very sticky, this is normal as more flour will be added during the kneading process.

Sprinkle more flour over the dough and start kneading, using your knuckles to push out as much air as possible.  I generally knead for about 5 minutes, adding more flour to the surface/dough as needed to stop it from sticking.

Form dough into a ball shape and place in a large glass bowl.  It needs to be large as the dough will rise while it is proofing. Brush some olive oil over the top, this stops it from drying out and cracking. Cover the bowl with cling film (stretch film) and leave for at least an hour to proof.

Remove from bowl onto a floured surface and knead for another minute.  Break into 2 or 4 even balls (depending on size of pizzas you are making. and using a rolling pin roll them out to desired thickness.

Place on grease-proof paper on a baking tray. Fold around the edges to form a rim. If desired you can egg-wash the rim and sprinkle sesame seeds around the edges.

Ingredients for the pizza sauce

2 or 3 heaped tbsps tomato pureé

1 tsp dried basil

1 tsp olive oil

A little water

1 tsp hot sauce (optional)

Method for the pizza sauce

Mix the tomato pureé, basil and olive oil in a small bowl.  Slowly add water until you have a smooth sauce, not too thin and runny.  There is nothing I hate more than tomato puree just being slapped straight on pizza dough.

Spread the sauce using the back of a spoon over the dough.

Decorate

Cover your pizza with grated cheese then decorate with desired toppings. Here are a few suggestions;

red and green peppers,

pepperoni,

tuna and sweetcorn,

ham and pineapple,

chicken…

…there are many more, it’s up to you.

Place in a pre-heated oven at 200 °c for 12 – 15 minutes or until cheese has melted and topping is golden.  You can switch to grill for last couple of minutes but be careful as the pizza can burn very quickly, and nobody likes burnt pizza!!

Suggestions

You can also make garlic bread, and a variety of dips too…