Sunday, January 27, 2013

Pressure Cooker Rustic Chili

My plate, his was bigger:)  Served with beef-infused rice and honey-oat bread.
Certain things have to be avoided in my RL house when I cook...  tree nuts, large amounts of dairy, and dried beans.  The man will NOT touch dried beans.  This means no black-eyed peas, no bean soups......and no "traditional" American chili.:(
So when he asked me about chili the other day, I quirked an eyebrow at him and went, "Umm, you do know that normally there are beans in it.  Most of the time, without beans, it just doesn't feel right to me. Too close to almost a  stew than a chili."  So, we did some research, and found this recipe on, and decided to change it.. just a little.  Because I am a brat like that;).
I changed the vegetable oil to a bit of olive oil, used regular chili powder instead of ancho chili powder because I couldn't find THAT in my store.  And who the heck uses only 3 garlic cloves in chili????  I always read that and add 2 more. And, I used beef broth instead of water. 
Everything else I left the same.  I am going to leave the directions as they are, though... because some might prefer the veggie oil and less garlic;)

Serves 6 people, according to the recipe.  They haven't seen my man when he likes a recipe....alot.  LOL
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 1/2 pounds beef chuck, cut into 1-inch
salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons ancho chile powder
2 teaspoons Spanish paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 (10 ounce) can diced tomatoes with
green chile peppers
1 1/4 cups water
1/8 cup ground corn chips (optional)
1/8 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/8 cup chopped green onions

1.Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Season beef generously with salt and black pepper; place meat in the skillet and cook until brown on all sides, 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer to plate and set aside.
2.Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil over medium-low heat in the pot of a pressure cooker. Stir onion and garlic into pot; cook until almost translucent, 4 to 6 minutes. Stir in ancho chile powder, paprika, cumin, black pepper, chipotle chile powder, cayenne pepper, and oregano; cook until fragrant, 2 minutes. Add diced tomatoes, beef, and water; stir to combine.
3.Lock the lid of your pressure cooker. Increase heat to high and bring to full pressure. Reduce heat to low to maintain pressure; cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let rest 10 minutes. Ensure that pressure is fully released and remove the lid.
4.Return uncovered pressure cooker to burner over high heat. Stir in corn chips and bring to a boil; cook for 5 minutes. Garnish with cilantro and green onion.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Parsley cream with fricassee of frog legs

Parsley cream with fricasse of frog legs.... mmmmm

This weekend was my 11th anniversary with my fiance... so I thought I'd make something special and share the receipe with you since he loved it! Enjoy!


For 4 persons :
- 24 frog legs
- 1dl of dry white wine
- 1.5dl of water or vegetable broth
- 2 bunches of parsley
- 2 small shallots
- 3dl of double cream
- 60g of butter
- Peanut Oil
- Flour
- Salt, Pepper


Bone the frog legs, simply by running a knife along the bone on both sides. Collect the flesh from thigh and calf.
Keep the bones.
De-stem parsley and weight 50g, wash it.
Peel the shallots and chop very finely.
Melt down 25g of butter in a big enough saucepan. Add the bones and half of the chopped shallots.
Allow to heat 3-5min, stirring and crushing the bones with a spatula. DO NOT let the bone or shallots get a brown color… just heat slowly.
Moisten with 1dl of white wine and 1.5dl of water or vegetable broth, let it boil and cook with medium heat 8 to 10 min. Crush the bones regularly to get their juices.
At the same time, cook the parsley in boiling water until it becomes soft (about 5min). Drain it and leave it in another saucepan.
Retrieve the bone juices and pass it through a chinois (sieve with a Chinese hat shape), push hard to make sure you keep all the juices. Pour over the cooked parsley.
Add in the saucepan the 3dl of cream (keep just about a small coffee spoon for the cooking of the legs). Boil, remove from heat and then mix with a mixer.
Pass it a second time through a very very small sieve and but the saucepan back on the heat with salt, pepper and 10g of butter. Heat until it boils.
Add salt and pepper to the frog flesh, moisten then with the tiny bit of cream you kept, add a good pinch of flour and mix well until you have the impression that the flesh is surrounded by a kind of sticky cream.
In the meantime, heat a pan (without oil). Add a drop of oil and add the frog legs, stir vigourously with a spatula, separating them.
When the frog start to get slightly brown, add the rest of chopped shallots and 25g of butter and keep cooking until they are nicely brown.
Presentation suggestion: 2 dippers of parlsey cream in each plate, and add the frog legs in the middle. Sprinkle with parsley and/or edible flowers… Since it was our anniversary I also added a shrimp because my fiancĂ© loves them… Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Chocolate Caramel Brownies

                                                    Chocolate Caramel Brownies

1 box Betty Crocker® Super Moist German Chocolate Cake Mix
3/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1 cup chopped pecans
1 bag (14 oz) caramels, unwrapped
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (6 oz)

Heat oven to 350°F.

Grease 13x9-inch pan with shortening or cooking spray.

2 In large bowl, stir together cake mix, butter, 1/3 cup of the milk and the pecans until well blended.
Press half of dough in bottom of pan.
Bake 6 minutes.
3 Meanwhile, in 2-quart saucepan, heat caramels and remaining 1/3 cup milk over low heat, stirring constantly, until smooth.
Sprinkle chocolate chips evenly over partially baked crust.
Spoon caramel mixture over chocolate chips.
Sprinkle remaining dough over caramel mixture.

4 Bake 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted 1 inch from side of pan comes out almost clean (brownies will not be completely set).
Cool on cooling rack 30 minutes.
Refrigerate 1 hour.
Cut into 6 rows by 4 rows

Monday, January 14, 2013

Spicy Garlic Shrimp and linguine

Today is a special day for me, as it's the anniversary of the day my RL mother gave birth to her last  It is also the anniversary of the day the docs asked if she would like a hysterectomy, and she said, "WHERE DO I SIGN?!?!?!"  Coincidence?  I think not.

Because of this, I always either go out for a special meal... or in the case of the last 10 years of my life, I cook something I love.  Since my RL doesn't like the taste or smell of seafood, I decided on shrimp for my "lunch".  The beauty of this recipe is that you CAN substitute the shrimp for chicken or sausage or whatever interests you (which I will be doing for HIS dinner when he gets home, so he gets something special too).  I love a good versatile recipe:)

((I was lazy again...  no SL pic on this one, but will start doing SL pics again soon))


Enough pasta (linguine in this case) for the amount of people eating, cooked per instructions on box/package
1 1/2 tablespoons (22 ml) olive oil
1 pound (.45 kg) shrimp, peeled and deveined
salt to taste
6 cloves garlic, minced (cut really small;) )
1/4 teaspoon (1.25 ml)red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons (45 ml) lemon juice (I juiced half a lemon)
1 1/2 teaspoons (7.5 ml) butter
1/3 cup (80 ml) fresh parsley (dried is okay, but the texture is going to be different)
1 1/2 tablespoons (22 ml) butter


1.Cook pasta per instructions. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a heavy skillet over high heat until it just begins to smoke. Place shrimp in an even layer on the bottom of the pan and cook for 1 minute without stirring.
2.Season shrimp with salt; cook and stir until shrimp begin to turn pink, about 1 minute.
3.Stir in garlic and red pepper flakes; cook and stir 1 minute. Stir in lemon juice, caper brine, 1 1/2 teaspoon cold butter, and half the parsley.
4.Cook until butter has melted, about 1 minute, then turn heat to low and stir in 1 1/2 tablespoon cold butter. Cook and stir until all butter has melted to form a thick sauce and shrimp are pink and opaque, about 2 to 3 minutes.
5.Remove shrimp with a slotted spoon and transfer to a bowl; continue to cook butter sauce, adding water 1 teaspoon at a time if too thick, about 2 minutes. Season with salt to taste.
6.Serve shrimp topped with the pan sauce. Garnish with remaining parsley.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Red Cabbage Casserole & Apple Crumble........please don't serve together lolololololololol

Hello Lovelies,

I had my Aunty, Uncle and Mum over for Sunday lunch today I did a proper Sunday Roast and then we had apple crumble for pud!

Whenever I can get hold of a red cabbage I serve it with a roast, because it is really yummy, really easy and I can make a massive batch of it and heat it up the next day. Apologies again for the lack of proper measurements.

I was in the kitchen all morning, so the soundtrack was fairly extensive today, we had:

White Zombie
Tori Amos (who hubby was foolish enough to mock while I was holding a butter knife - never EVER mock Tori to me, especially when I am armed, drunk, or both!)
The Gallows
Haim (I am still trying to decide if I want to listen to them everyday for the rest of my life, or punch them in the nose)
The Levellers

Tara's Red Cabbage Casserole


I red cabbage
I bramley Apple
I orange
I small onion
big spoonful of dark brown sugar
glug of red wine vinegar

1. Peel, core and slice the apple

2. thinly slice the onion

3. Cut the cabbage into quarters, cut out the tough stalky bit and then slice the cabbage so it looks kinda shredded.

4. Turn on your slow cooker to high (I think in America you call these crockpots) put 1/4 of the cabbage in and then 1/4 of the apple and the onion spread over it.

5. Repeat this until you have used it all up

6. Zest the orange and squeeze the juice over the casserole, pour in a fairly generous glug of the red wine vinegar.

7. Give it all a good stir and then leave in the slow cooker for between 2 and 4 hours, stirring when you remember.

If you don't have a slow cooker, you can do this in a casserole in the oven, just make sure you keep an eye on it, else you will end up with cremated cabbage stuck to your casserole dish.

Honestly it tastes waaaay better than it looks, my photography isn't the best at all

Apple Crumble


As many bramley apples as you think you need for your dish
handful of frozen mixed berries
8oz plain flour (200g)
4oz butter (100g)
3oz light brown sugar (75g)
splash of water
pinch cinnamon
plenty of caster sugar to sprinkle on the apples

1. Peel, Core and chop up your apples into about 1 inch cubes and throw them in a deep oven proof dish, add a handful of frozen mixed berries (I only do this because it makes the filling look pink and pretty)

2. Pour over a little water, maybe 1/2 teacup full

3. sprinkle over as much sugar as you think you need, this depends on the apples and your own sweet tooth. I use quite a lot.

4. Add a pinch of dried cinnamon

5. weigh out your flour and butter, dice your butter and put it all in a big bowl, making sure you have clean hands rub the flour into the butter until it looks like you have coarse breadcrumbs.

6. add the brown sugar and mix in with your hands

7. cover the apple mix with your crumble mix and then cook in the oven covered for 20 minutes and then uncovered for about 25 depending on how big your crumble is. The oven should be at about 200 degrees C, or 390 F.

8. Serve up to happy faces with custard, or vanilla ice cream or both.

Yum :)

Happy Cooking


Friday, January 11, 2013

Slow-roasted Pork Loin

Now, I have been planning this meal for a bit, and there were supposed to be mashed potatoes beside it.. but my back went out and said "You wanna walk to the WHERE?  Fuck you!"... so you are getting just the slow-roasted pork and the corn in this shot.  But OMFG, this was good.  I have to admit, I had a taste test (to make sure it was good enough to feed RL, of course!), and an extra helping more than my normal small plate.  Oh man, I am stuffed.  But, I got a pic of the plate for the RL before it was cleaned off;)

Nahm nahm nahm.....


3 to 3 1/2 pounds (1.4-1.6 kg) pork loin, loin of pork, or rack of meaty pork loin back ribs
1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce (approximately)
Garlic powder
freshly-ground black pepper
1/4 cup firmly-packed brown sugar (approximately)


If you have time, start the preparation of this dish in the morning and let sit. Seriously, give it at LEAST 3 hours marinate time.

Line a rimmed baking pan with two (2) layers of heavy-duty aluminum foil wrap (fold the edges over the edge of the pan) and carefully lay the rack of pork ribs, ribs facing up, on top of the foil.
Evenly sprinkle the ribs with some of the soy sauce, garlic powder, pepper, and 1/2 of the brown sugar. Then gently drizzle with additional soy sauce, letting the brown sugar absorb the soy sauce.
Carefully turn the ribs over (you do not want the bones to puncture the aluminum foil) and repeat the same procedure the some soy sauce, garlic powder, pepper, and brown sugar. Again add a drizzle of soy sauce to finish.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
If you started this dish early in the day, baste the ribs, using a spoon, with the soy sauce and accumulated juices from the ribs.
Place another piece of aluminum foil over the ribs and seal very tightly, folding over the edge of the pan. Place in the oven and cook for 2 hours. After 2 hours, remove the aluminum foil from the top of the ribs, baste with the accumulated juices and cook for another 30 minutes or until the ribs are browned.
Remove from oven and serve. Enjoy!
Makes 4 servings.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Birthday Lasagne

Hello Lovelies,

This was my little boy's request for his special birthday tea! (to clear up any confusion, I am from the North West of England, and we call our evening meal at home Tea). There is probably nothing even vaguely Authentically Italian about this, so I apologise in advance if I offend anyone.

Now I have come to type up this recipe, I realise that I didn't measure one single item when I was making it, so I will do my best not to be too vague about how much I used but really, it doesn't have to be all that precise so long as it tastes good in the end :)

I learned to cook from my Grandma, she was the BEST cook ever in my opinion, closely followed by my Aunty. It is my life's ambition for one day my shepherds pie to turn out like theirs. Most of the meals I cook regularly came straight from my Grandma's kitchen.

I'm a little nervous about this, mostly because I am blonde and pregnant, so I will probably miss out some vital ingredient or other. The dish I made here served 3 adults and 2 kids yesterday with side dishes and there is enough leftover for tonight's tea for the 4 of us with side dishes, so it works out really really cheap and saves on cooking the next day too. goes:


Faith No More
Imelda May
Billie Holliday


Dried Lasagne Sheets (enough to make about 3 layers in your dish if it is deep enough)

Bolognaise Sauce

1lb  extra lean mince beef (which I believe is about 450g)
2 tins chopped tomatoes
teaspoon of very lazy garlic (or if you want to chop it yourself 2 cloves)
big pinch of dried mixed herbs
big squeeze of concentrated tomato puree
1 decent sized onion
drop of olive oil
1 beef stock cube
generous splash of Worcester Sauce (this turns up in loads of stuff with me)

White Sauce

knob of best butter (about half the size of your fist)
about the same amount of plain flour
pint of skimmed milk (my husband reliably informs me this is 568ml on the nose!)

1. Check the instructions on your lasagne sheets, some need to be blanched before you use them, others can go in dry. The ones I use are gluten & wheat free, and have to be blanched.

2. heat up the olive oil in a nice big frying pan and add the mince, while this is browning chop up your onion however suits you and then add that and your garlic and  fry them off together. When they are pretty brown, crumble your beef stock cube over the top.

3. Pour over chopped tomoatoes, squeeze in puree, splash in worcester sauce give it all a good mix and bring to the boil, turn down the heat and allow to simmer while you make the white sauce.

4. Put your dollop of butter in a large saucepan and melt it slowly.

5. add your flour gradually to the melted butter, till it forms a roux (like a sticky paste) and then let it cook for a moment.

6. Make sure you have some decent music lined up, once you start pouring the milk in your can't step away from this for even a second

7. Start pouring in your milk slowly, stirring and stirring until it is all in the pan.

8. KEEP STIRRING TILL IT IS BOILING and sing and dance along to your chosen music. I'm not going to lie to you, this bit is really fucking boring (hence the need for music)

9. Let is boil for a minute and  then take it off the heat

10. Take the bolognaise sauce off the heat

11. layer it all up in your dish like this: Meat, pasta, white sauce, meat, pasta, white sauce, until you reach the top. Try not to overlap your pasta, else it ends up not cooking properly) when you get to the top, grate some  cheese on it (I use mature cheddar, you can use whatever tickles your pickle)

12. Pop it in the oven right away till the cheese is bubbling and golden, or if you are making it earlier in the day and heating it from cold for tea, I usually put it in for about 45 minutes to an hour. Please please make sure it is hot if you are reheating it though, I don't want any irate IM's from anyone who has poisoned themselves or their family.

13. Dish it up with whatever you like, last night I did some potato wedges (these are easy, I will show you another day) and a big bowl of salad and some beetroot. Tonight I am doing it with garlic bread and salad.

Here are some pictures of mine:

Hope you like it

Monday, January 7, 2013

Vodka Tomato Cream Sauce

Okay, this WAS going to be Ramen noodles in a Thai peanut sauce, but it came out looking like shit...  literally... so I canned the pics.  LOL!  I made this for when the RL hubby got home, because it's quick, easy, and I have everything IN the pantry and liquor cabinet..  yes, I said liquor cabinet.  Because I am gonna show you another way to enjoy vodka, IN FRONT OF YOUR FAMILY...  hells to the yeah, I hear some of you saying.  LOL!  Sadly, you don't get drunk from it... nonono, wipe the tears away, the flavor makes up for it, I promise;)

I learned how to make this a couple years back, and it is SOOOOO good that I now make it to impress people when I don't have hours to cook.  This only takes about 20 minutes to throw together, and most of the items you will have in your pantry already.  

The original recipe calls for 2 links (3.5 ounces) of sausage: cooked, set aside, the drippings used to sautee the onions and garlic in with the olive oil... and then the sausage added back in with the vodka and cream....but I was too lazy to defrost a pack of sausage.  Bad me...lollol.

Now some of you won't have the right kind of tomatoes, red pepper flakes, or whipping cream (35% cream for whipping, for those outside the US...  cooking cream works well too), so let me give you some substitutions I have used.  You can use diced or whole tomatoes in a can, but I would advise running them through a food processor or blender a bit, as the flavors don't seem to quite blend well when you have tomato chunks in it.  Also, a little red pepper flake REALLY brings out the flavors... but if you are not comfy with using this type of spice, consider a bit of paprika instead.  As for the whipping cream, if you don't have it, here's what I have done when the price was too freakin' much...  substitute 2/3 of the amount for milk, 1/3 the amount for butter (NOT MARGARINE, don't kill this with fake stuff..LOL), and about a teaspoon of flour.  Mix it VERY well into this, so the flour doesn't clump. This will help get the flavor and consistency you are looking for.

You can omit the vodka, but remember..  the alcohol cooks off.  You will NOT get drunk from it, nor will your kids.  In this recipe, it is used purely to add depth to the sauce.  If you have a certified alcoholic in the family though, don't add the vodka.  We want to support those who are fighting that disease, and they will taste the vodka and possibly crave it outside the sauce, if you get my meaning.  

One last thing.... yes, I know I have a total of three kinds of pasta in this dish (penne regate and 2 sizes of fusilli).  This is called "Suff found several boxes of almost-empty boxes of pasta and went 'WTF?', so interpasta pasta ftw".  If you do something like this, make sure to check the amount of cooking time for EACH pasta and start the longest-cooking-time one first.  I know, that seems common sense, but hey, I learned that from watching my mother just dump different pastas into boiling water and us eating some overcooked noodles along with under-cooked
Thankfully, SL hair doesn't end up in your food.

Finished product - Penne/Fusilli in Vodka Tomato Cream Sauce
makes about 4-6 regular servings

1 pound (455 g) uncooked penne pasta
1/4 cup (60 ml) extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced (or read this as "6 cloves for garlic lovers" as I do:D)
1/2 (1 g) teaspoon or more crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 (1 g) teaspoon parsley
1/2 (1 g) teaspoon sage
1/2 (1 g) teaspoon rosemary
1/2 (1 g)  teaspoon thyme
1 can (28 ounces or 796 ml) crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons ( 30 ml) (or more, depending on your taste) vodka
1/2 cup ( 120 ml) whipping cream
1/4 cup (15 gram) fresh parsley, or dried if that what you got


  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente (that's Italian for "almost squishy but still holds it's form"); drain.
  2. In large skillet, heat oil over moderate heat. Add garlic, red pepper, parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme (half of you are now singing Simon and Garfunkel) and cook, stirring until garlic is golden brown.
  3. Add tomatoes; bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes.
  4. Add vodka and cream and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and add pasta, toss for 1 minute. Stir in fresh parsley and serve!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Cheesy Meatloaf

I have been threatening to make this blog for months, but kept postponing it because I wanted to get some other people to join me in submitting posts for it.  Today, I decided to just go for it:)  I will fix up the blog with better background and header pic as soon as I can:)  For now, this will be a little "draft blog, mostly to save the name and URL for it:)


Today's recipe is actually one of our household favorites.  It's just my RL husband and I in this house, so I tend to cook enough for several meals at a time, and this meal actually makes enough for 6 -8 people.  It's pretty easy to make, especially if you are like me, and keep a bag of pre-crushed Ritz crackers in your pantry, and a container of "make your own" onion soup mix (I'll add a recipe for that at the end, because it's better than that store-bought crap, and easy to make).

We all know how much I love meat in my

Not the best pic, I was in a hurry since someone was starving..LOL!  Cheesy meatloaf with a side of homemade mashed potatoes (normally I serve a veggie, but he requested just this today)


for meatloaf:

1 1/2 pounds (680 g) lean ground beef (UK folks: mince)

1/2 cup (30 g) Ritz crackers (buttery round crackers...  in a pinch, you can use bread crumbs, but I like the Ritz)

3/4 cup (85 g) shredded Cheddar cheese

1 envelope or 1 ounce of dry onion soup mix

2 eggs

2 tablespoons (30 ml) ketchup

1/4 cup (60 ml) BBQ sauce or steak sauce

for glaze:

2 tablespoons (30 ml) BBQ sauce

2 tablespoons (30 ml) ketchup

1 tablespoon (15 ml) honey


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Stir the ground beef, crushed crackers, Cheddar cheese, and onion soup mix in a large bowl until well combined. Whisk the eggs, ketchup, and BBQ sauce in a separate bowl until smooth. Mix the eggs into the meat until evenly combined, if the mixture seems too dry, add a little water. Press into a 9x5 inch loaf pan.
  3. Mix together the glaze ingredients, spread over top of meatloaf
  4. Bake in preheated oven until the meatloaf reaches 160 degrees F (71 degrees C) and is no longer pink in the center, 45 to 60 minutes.

Recipe for my "make your own" Dry Onion Soup Mix

4 teaspoons (20 ml ) onion powder
1/4 teaspoon (1.25 ml ) crushed celery seed
1/4 teaspoon (1.25 ml ) sugar

3/4 cup (175 ml ) instant minced onion
1/3 cup (75 ml ) beef bouillon powder
1/8 teaspoon (.625 ml ) ground black pepper


Mix all ingredients in an airtight container, then give it a good shake.
Use 4 Tablespoons Onion Soup Mix in a recipe in place of 1 packet of onion soup mix.   Store this in a dry, cool place.