Author Archives: Donna

About Donna

I am a freelance games journalist who has been working in the games industry for the last 7 years. I currently write for several sites, both paid and unpaid. Oh and I love to cook...and eat.

Pistachio and Chocolate Chip Cookies

I love pistachios. By far they are my favourite nut and I’ll put them in anything I can. Of course pistachios and chocolate are a match made in heaven, so I made cookies.

Ingredients:

1 cup oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips
1 cup crushed pistachios

Preheat oven to 200 degrees C
Crush Pistachios. I like to just put them under a towel and take the rolling pin to them until they’re as crushed as I like.

In a large bowl, mix together the oil, butter, brown sugar and white sugar until you’ve got it well mixed and most of the brown sugar lumps are gone or small.

Add the eggs one at a time, beating well with each addition, then stir in the vanilla .

Mix in the chocolate chips and pistachios.

Add the flour, salt, and baking soda and mix well.

Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto cookie sheets.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, until light brown.

Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

 

~Kostika

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Filed under Cookies, Dessert, Difficulty - Dishwasher Easy

Lemon Chicken with Jerusalem Artichokes

Every 2 weeks I get a fresh veg box delivered. So on occasion I have the chance to get unusual veg that I’ve not tried before. My last box had Jerusalem Artichokes in it. That name though is a bit of a misnomer; they aren’t artichokes. They’re a root veg and have a similar texture when raw to radishes. They’re often also called Sunchokes.

So since I didn’t have a clue about using them I hit up the internet for a few ideas. In the end I came up with Lemon Chicken with Jerusalem Artichokes.

Ingredients:

  • 6 Chicken Thighs
  • 2 cups Chicken Broth
  • 1/8 cup Lemon Juice
  • Pinch Saffron (optional)
  • 4 Jerusalem artichokes (sunchokes), peeled and diced
  • 1 cup Double Cream
  • 1 Tbsp Herbes de Provence
  • Cooked white rice (enough for 3 people)

In a large deep skillet heat 1 tbps of oil. While this is heating, sprinkle the chicken thighs with a bit of salt and pepper on each side.  Once the oil is hot, place the thighs in skin side down and brown each side, turning only once. Once browned place on a plate and set aside.

Add the lemon juice and chicken stock to the pan. If you’re using the saffron, add it now also. Bring this to a boil and scrape off any stuck chicken bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the Jerusalem Artichokes and the Herbes de Provence to the mix and return the chicken to the pan with any accumulated juices.

Reduce the heat to a simmer and let cook for about 45 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and the Jerusalem Artichokes are tender.

Now stir in the cream. It may be easier to do this if you again remove the chicken from the pan so it is easier to stir and then put it back in. Taste and adjust any seasoning and simmer for another 15 minutes.

Serve over rice.

If you don’t have any Herbes de Provence, you can use basil and thyme as a substitute. Any herb that goes with chicken will work with this recipe.

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Filed under Chicken, Difficulty - Sous Chef, Dinner, Lunch

More Simple Things: Slow Cooker Tomato Sauce

When I was a kid my mom used to make tomato sauce that was heavenly. Every summer we’d can fresh tomatoes and she’d use them throughout the year in many thing. By far my favourite was her tomato sauce. She’d cook it for a day or two in the slow cooker using whatever leftover meat we had in the house or just normal ground beef.

I don’t have any freshly canned tomatoes, but I do have tinned tomatoes. These are just as good and turn out as lovely of a result.

The ingredients are simple and need only a little prep for a great result.

I put a lot of herbs in mine, but you really only need 3 herbs and some salt and pepper. Dried herbs are always a good option when slow cooking with plenty of liquid. As long as they aren’t too old they’ll give plenty of flavour to your cooking.

Ingredients:

  • 4x 400g Tinned Chopped Tomatoes (Plum or Romas suggested)
  • 2 Medium White Onions – Chopped
  • 1 Tbsp Basil
  • 1 Tbsp Oregano
  • 1 Tbsp Thyme
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Pepper
  • 250g Ground Beef (optional)

If you’re using ground beef, brown it in a pan now.

Combine the tomatoes, chopped onion and any meat you’re adding in your slow cooker. Using one of the tins from the tomatoes, fill it with water and add to the mix.

Add all of the herbs and spices and stir everything together.

That’s it. Just pop the lid on and turn the heat to medium. Let cook for 20-24 hours. Check on occasion to stir or maybe adjust seasoning, but remember that it will reduce and intensify, so the herbs and spices will also intensify.

This should make enough for 2 batches that will feed 2 adults. I like to make this up and freeze it for later use.

This is a good base recipe that can also be added to. Some suggestions would be mushrooms or even diced bell peppers. Substitute meat suggestions would be sausage or even Chorizo. And if you like things a bit spicier you could always add Cheyenne, Paprika or even finely chopped fresh chillis.

 

~Kostika

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Filed under Difficulty - Dishwasher Easy, Dinner, Italian, Long but worth it!, Vegan, Vegetarian, Winter

Bacon Shortbread Cookies

By popular demand and sheer love of bacon, I’m sharing this with all of you.

Know that this took several attempts and different methods were used. Like the first try had the bacon glazed in syrup prior to frying. That didn’t work very well. Sugar burns and my cast iron pan suffered.

Couple of things to explain before I give you the holy grail of bacon recipes. As I currently live in England I’ve used Golden Syrup. I’ve used this instead of Maple Syrup mainly because it’s what I have and works. You can use a light maple syrup instead.

Now what kind of bacon you use is very very important. Don’ t use English back bacon. It won’t crisp up like it’s needed. So make sure you use streaky bacon. For you Americans out there, that’s just normal bacon. Whether you decide on smoked or unsmoked is up to you, but I highly recommend you use smoked.

Now what you’ve been waiting for.

1 cup normal Butter – softened (not unsalted)
1/2 cup Powdered Sugar
2 cups Plain Flour
2 Tbsp Golden Syrup
250g Streaky Bacon

Preheat oven to 170 Celsius for a fan assisted oven and 180 Celsius for a normal oven..

First you need to prepare your bacon. Simply fry all of your bacon until very crisp. Let the bacon cool on a paper towel covered plate.

Once cooled separate in half. Roughly chop one half of the bacon. This should roughly be 1/2 a cup of bacon. Set aside, but don’t refrigerate.

The remaining bacon needs to be shopped very finely. You could use a grinder for this but I suggest doing it manually.  Chop this bacon up to a fine chop that resembles fine wet sand.It can be finer, but you don’t leave it rougher. It will interfere with the shortbread’s texture.

Put this bacon into a small bowl and stir in 1 Tbsp of the Golden Syrup. Set this aside, but don’t chill. If you put it in the fridge the Golden Syrup will make itself rather solid.

In a medium sized bowl whip the butter until it’s smooth.
Stir in the sugar until well mixed.
Stir in your bacon and Golden Syrup mixture until thoroughly incorporated.
Stir in the roughly chopped bacon.
Measure out your flour and mix it in gradually until it is all thoroughly incorporated.

Your dough will seem slightly squishy, but it should stay together without any problems. Flour a surface and lay out your dough. Using your hands press out your dough to about 1cm thick.

Cut out your cookies using a cutter or a glass and place on a cookie sheet. You can place the cookies pretty close, but not touching, as they shouldn’t spread and will only rise slightly.

Before putting them in the oven you need to put a light glaze on them. In a little bowl mix the other tablespoon Golden Syrup and a splash of warm water. Brush a this over the cookies just before they go into the oven.

Cook for 20 minutes, but check after 15 minutes to see how they are getting along. When done they will feel sightly dryer and solid and will have a very light brown colour.

Once done, place on rack until completely cooled.

Once cooled, try not to eat them all at once. Should make around 16-18 cookies.

~Kostika

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Filed under Bacon!!!, Cookies, Dessert, Difficulty - Dishwasher Easy