December 27, 2011

Chicken Pie

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
olive oil and/or butter
4 spring onions
150g / 5oz of button mushrooms
1 heaped tablespoon plain / all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons English mustard
1 heaped tablespoon creme fraiche (or substitute cream or sour cream)
300ml (approx. 1 cup) chicken stock
Fresh thyme
1 sheet of puff pastry
1 egg

1.  Turn the oven on to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
2.  Cut the chicken breasts into small strips.
3.  Add olive oil and/or butter into a large, wide pan.  Heat and add the chicken and cook for 3 minutes.
4.  Trim the spring onions and clean the mushrooms.  Cut into slices.
5.  Add to the chicken with 1 heaped tablespoon of flour and stir.
6.  Add 2 teaspoons of mustard, 1 heaped tablespoon of creme fraiche and the chicken stock and stir well.
7.  Pick the thyme leaves (to taste - approx. 2 sprigs) and add to the pan.
8.  Grate nutmeg (to taste - approx. 1/3 of a nutmeg) into the pan.
9.  Season and leave to simmer.
10.  Lightly dust a clean surface with flour and unroll the sheet of puff pastry.
11.  Use a small knife to lightly score in a crisscross pattern.
12.  Take the pan of chicken off the heat and pour contents into an ovenproof baking dish (approx. 30 x 25 cm / 10 x 12 inches).
13.  Cover the filling with the pastry sheet, tucking it in at the edges.
14.  Beat the egg, then brush it over the top of the pie.
15.  Put into the oven and cook for around 15 - 20 minutes, until golden.

Recipe from Jamie Oliver's 30 Minute Meals

December 21, 2011

Gingerbread Cookies

I was browsing some of my favourite websites looking for inspiration for classmate gifts for Miss S. when I came across these cookies from the wonderful Bakerella.  Miss S. and I decided to make the snowman gingerbread cookies.  
Then we packaged them up ready to go.

We had leftover dough, so we decided to make some Christmas shapes.  We had gingerbread men, candy canes, holly, Christmas trees and circles for more snowmen.  

The girls had great fun decorating and eating their cookies!

December 18, 2011

Chai Spice Tea Mix

A good friend of mine is a huge chai tea lover.  I wanted to make her a special Christmas gift and thought that homemade chai tea mix would be perfect.  

Spice Mix
1 orange
1/2 cup cardamom pods
12 cinnamon sticks, crushed
2 tbsp. whole cloves
2 tbsp. black peppercorns
2 tbsp. allspice berries
1 tbsp. coriander seeds
1/4 cup whole star anise
1/2 cup loose Darjeeling tea

Dry the orange.  Preheat oven to 200F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Slice the orange into 1/8" thick rounds and place on the sheet.  Bake, turning occasionally, until dry.  Approximately two to three hours.  

Make spice mix.  Combine the dried orange and the rest of the ingredients in a bowl and toss to combine.  Store the spice mix and Darjeeling tea in separate airtight containers for up to six months.

Chai Tea
1 1/4 cup milk
2 tbsp. chai spice mix
3/4 cup water
1 tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 tbsp. Darjeeling tea

Make Chai tea.  Simmer 2 tbsp. of the chai spice mix with milk, water and sugar for 25 minutes.  Add Darjeeling tea and steep for 3 minutes.  Strain and serve immediately.   

December 12, 2011

Almond Tarts

Almond Tarts

12 shortcrust pastry cases
1 egg
100g (4 oz / approx. 1 cup) Ground Almonds
100g (4 oz / approx. 1/2 cup) Butter (at room temperature)
90g (3 1/4 oz / approx. 1/2 cup) Golden Caster Sugar
1 orange
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Raspberry jam

1.  Preheat your oven to 375F/190C/Gas Mark 5.

2.  Put the pastry cases on a baking tray.

2.  Crack the egg into a mixing bowl.  Add almonds, butter and golden caster sugar to the egg.  Grate over the zest of 1/2 an orange and add the vanilla extract.  Use a spoon to mix everything together.

3.  Spoon a teaspoon of jam into each pastry case.  Top with a heaped teaspoon of frangipane mixture. Put the tray into the oven on the middle shelf and cook for 18 - 20 minutes until golden.


December 11, 2011

Snow Fun

The girls had great fun in the snow today.

When they had finished playing, we came inside and enjoyed hot chocolate and marshmallows.

December 03, 2011

What's Your Address?

I was putting Miss S to bed and as part of our goodnight talk she asked me "What's your address?".  I told her our address and she said "that's the same as mine"!

She made me giggle!