into the blue

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      Well its been a while again hasn't it?  Aren't I getting bad at this.   I really should change that.... really I should but at least today I do have something a little different to share with you.  I was so kindly asked to review Castello's blue cheese. Castello is probably best know for their selection of blue cheeses ranging from traditional with bite to mellow and creamy.  Now, I was asked to try out a recipe they sent (Fig and Blue Salad) and gave me the option to create something I might like as well (Blue Cheese and Prosciutto Baked Figs).  I was excited when I saw the ingredients for the salad since I feel like there's nothing more classic then blue cheese and figs.  Its that whole salty sweet thing, am I right? I think so.
     Firstly this is probably one of the prettiest salads I've made in a while and just think for this winter season adding little pomegranate capsules would bring it right into a cheery holiday salad, which I might really need to do.
   So how did the salad taste then you ask?  Well, pretty much just as good as it looks.  The only thing I might change with it was that I found the crumbled blue cheese and blue cheese dressing combo a bit too overwhelming for my taste buds.  I'd probably either take out the crumbled blue or swap out the dressing for something more sweet to really make the crumbled blue bits shine.

  For my dish I decided to do something baked with the cheese and having left over figs I figured I'd give it a try and now I think I have a new found love for baked figs.  This combination of the blue cheese, prosciutto and honey in all its baked form was just too good. My mom even liked it and she's an  especially hard one to please.

What's your favorite way to eat blue cheese?


Fig and Blue Salad

6 fresh figs
selection of red coloured lettuce leaves (I used some green too as I liked the contrast)
50-75g fresh raspberries
1 pack (125g) Castello traditional blue cheese
4 tbsp olive or sunflower oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

1. Make cuts in the figs from the top down as if you were going to quarter them but leave the base intact so they remain whole. In  a dish arrange the figs over the salad leaves, scatter the raspberries and half to three quarters of the cheese crumbled over the salad.
2.  Place the oil, remaining cheese, lemon juice and seasonings in a blender and blitz until smooth and creamy.
Serves 2-4.

Blue Cheese and Prosciutto Baked Figs

6-8 fresh figs
30g blue cheese crumbled
3 sprigs fresh thyme chopped
6-8 slices of prosciutto 
honey & balsamic vinegar to drizzle

Preheat the oven to 325 c. Cut the figs in quarters but not cutting all the way down as to leave the bases intact. Add a good nob of blue cheese to each opening of the figs and sprinkle over the thyme in each. Wrap the prosciutto around each fig to keep them together and drizzle with the honey and balsamic vinegar. Bake for 10-15 minutes until the cheese is nicely melted and the honey and vinegar have caramelized a bit
Serves 4-8.

falling into fall


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      I was told one of my aunts used to eat her apples with salt. Weird? Ya I thought so too.  But here with the caramel it works. Who doesn't love salted caramel things at the moment anyway? I figured what better way to start fall while cozying up in comfy sweaters and scarves is make something so in tune for the season and caramel apples is something I've been wanting to make for sometime now.
So here it is. I took the easy route.

salted caramel apples

8 medium size apples
8 sticks washed and dried
1 14 oz (appox 400g) pkg of caramels
2 tbsp water
flaked salt for sprinkling

       Wash apples and insert twigs in each (remove any stems before hand). Have a piece of parchment paper ready on a baking sheet to place apples once they've been dipped.
In a medium size sauce pan on medium to low heat add all the caramels and water and stir constantly.  Once melted and perfect for dipping take off the heat and you're ready to start dipping the apples. Let excess drip off then place on the parchment sheet and store in the fridge for a couple of hours to set.  Then you're ready to eat!

strawberry pickin' and a pie

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        Wanna know something? As a child I hated pies. Maybe it was the warm fruit thing or possibly that most didn't contain chocolate. Either way I think my fondness for pies as an adult developed from the same thing as my ever growing love for veggies as an adult.  I remember despising red peppers and mushrooms and now these two things are almost eaten daily, especially when in grilled form.

      I do have to say this post is coming something of late. I planned to post it right in the midst of strawberry season but unfortunately I'm just getting to it now and I thought you all might still like a little bit of pie peeping.

       Oh and by the way, that guy in the first picture? Thats my friend Scott. He wanted to part-take in some strawberry picking fun although I'm pretty sure he had more fun riding back and forth from the field to the farm on the tractor.   He also hates this picture of himself.  I thought he looked cute.  I just might not tell him its here.

For the recipe: I used this pie crust and the filling is my very unmeasured erratic pretty much pure strawberry concoction, which I will not post since it wasn't quite perfect although tasty.

summer days

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cheese cake ice-cream
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     So, I really really wanted to make ice-cream. Good ice-cream and considering I don't have a ice-cream maker it was gonna pose a bit of a challenge and we all know that the business of this creamy cold treat is in that maker and without it the ice-cream tends to fall a little flat or hard in this case.
 It's really all about the churning capabilities of said machine isn't it?  I think so.
While my ever-so addicted eyes were browsing pinterest I found a pretty awesome recipe for no-churn cheese cake ice-cream.  The cheesecake part pretty much had me but even more so was the no-churn process of course and the outcome? Pretty tasty and I think my mom loved it even more.

Head on over here for the recipe and check out the chocolate sorbet I did a while back. Which I think I must make again soon!

baked chocolate donuts

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         So at about seven-thirty last night I found out it was international donut day.  Yep... I had to make them. Just had to, plus it gave me a chance to use my donut pan again.  After stinking up the house for three-plus days with the smell of fried donuts I vowed never to make the fried version again... or at least do it when its seasonally appropriate to open all the windows in the house. Blistering cold winter and open windows = not fun.


I found this recipe for the donuts and adapted the glaze for a chocolate ganache.


chocolate ganache
1 cup chocolate chopped (60% or higher)
4 tbsp table cream
1 tsp vanilla or flavoring of choice.
1/4 tsp salt


In a small sauce pan over medium heat add the cream and chocolate. Stir until the chocolate has melted then add the vanilla and salt until incorporated. It should be slightly thick.  Now your donuts are ready for dipping and a sprinkling of your topping of choice. Here I chose chopped chocolate chips, chopped mini peanut butter cups, chopped peanuts, tropical coconut and powered sugar.
Makes more then enough for 12 donuts.
    

simple and sweet

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         I have to say that strawberry syrup with strawberry slices is one of my favorite things right now and with the strawberry season pretty much in the picking it's the perfect time to make your own.
 Plain yogurt with the syrup and digestive biscuit crumbs is a absolute fave right now and a healthier dessert alternative. Substitute the biscuit crumbs for granola and you've got a morning meal or even spoon some over pancakes (which my guy is quite keen on) instead of maple syrup or even both. Believe me that's good too.  I even have plans to use it to make strawberry cheese cake ice-cream very very soon... like possibly even later tonight.

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strawberry syrup with slices

2-3 cups strawberries sliced
1 1/2 cups caster sugar
juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp vanilla extract with beans
2 tsp cornstarch


In a sauce pan over medium heat add the sliced strawberries, lemon juice, vanilla and sugar and cook stirring occasionally for 5-10 minutes. Add the cornstarch and cook for a further two minutes. The syrup should coat the back of a wooden spoon. Let cool and place in an air tight jar in the fridge where it will last up to two weeks.

happy easter

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sandwich

I hope everyone is having an amazing easter long weekend! What is everyone up to? Yesterday was a cleaning out the garage day which was sorely needed. You could not even see the floor kind of mess (not cool) and tonight I cooked a little feast of cornish hens with bacon and onion stuffing, roasted carrots and garlic dill mashed potatoes followed by homemade ice cream sandwiches, which I need to make again and post here, promptly. Sadly I don't have a picture of said feast but it was so oh delicious and tomorrow I have yet another at my grandma's with family.
I did however make a pretty amazing sandwich just over a week ago and thought I'd share. This was part of my attempt to make more homemade lunches for work which I'm failing to do more then I wish... eek! But trying.

grilled chicken on a bun
makes 2-3

2x bbq glazed chicken breasts
guacamole
cucumber slices
spinach
goat cheese
fresh dill
salt and pepper to taste

coat chicken in bbq sauce and cook in the oven or grill until cooked though. Let cool then cut into slices. I made my own guacamole, however it could just be as easy to buy a little tub, and spread on the bottom half of your bread of choice. Add spinach then cucumber slices and top with the chicken. crumble goat cheese and sprinkle on dill. enjoy.

granola love

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I love granola. It's got just the right amount of toasted nuttiness and sweetness one looks for a morning meal. The one good thing about making your own granola is? Well, you can add just about whatever you love AND control the amount of sugar since we all know how unhealthy this 'meaning to be healthy' cereal can get.
So I've been meaning to post this for quite some time now. I actually forgot the recipe/can't find it so sadly I won't be posting the exact one. I was going to wait until I made it again and go from there but I figured my blog just maybe needed a new post. I did however find a pretty amazing recipe that's quite similar here.

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individual shepherd's pie

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I do fear it's been quite a while and neglecting this little space is something I'd rather not do. So back for the new year my one resolution is to post more, much more, and there is rather a few things that I've been dying to try out. This shepherds pie recipe has been a long awaited one and completely well worth it. Delicious to be exact.

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Head on over here for the recipe (I just added carrots and corn to the dish since I've been trying to get some more veg in).

Wishing you all a happy weekend!