Posh Chilli

It’s been quite awhile since I put up a savoury recipe, so what better one to share with you than a classic:  chilli con carne.  This isn’t your regular chilli, oh no, it’s a posh one!  Well, that’s what we call it in the Domestic Abode.  And why is it posh?  Instead of using minced beef, I’ve switched it for braising /stewing steak, or if you’re in India, it’s truly posh, as you’ll need to use beef fillet.
This is one of the Domestic Prince’s favourite dishes in my repertoire, which he wolfs down in double quick time.

Posh Chilli

Serves 4 to 6 (depending how greedy you are)

Ingredients

  • 3tbsp olive oil
  • 1 kg braising / stewing steak, cut into chunks
  • 250g chorizo, cut into chunks
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp ground allspice
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne chilli pepper
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 fresh red chillies, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp tomato puree
  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • 300ml beef stock
  • 1 x 400g tin kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • salt and pepper

To serve

  • Tortilla chips
  • Sour cream
  • Grated cheese

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 140C/gas mark 1.
  2. Heat the oil in a frying pan or a large casserole dish that has a lid. Fry the beef until it’s nicely coloured. Remove the meat from the pan and set aside.
  3. Pop the chorizo into the pan, fry until it just starts to release its juices and starts to brown. Take out the chorizo and set aside with the beef.
  4. Fry the onion and garlic in the chorizo oil until the onions just start to colour.  Add the spices, chillies and tomato puree and cook for 2 to 3 mins.  Add the balsamic vinegar and chopped tomatoes.
  5. Put the beef and chorizo back in the pan along with the stock. Bring up to a simmer and cover with the lid. Transfer to the preheated oven and cook for 2 hours.
  6. Remove from the oven, add the kidney beans and pop back in for another 50 to 60 minutes.

Domestic Princess tips

  1. The chunks of steak can obviously be swapped for regular minced beef.
  2. If you want to lessen the heat of this dish, scrape out the seeds from the chillies before adding them in.
  3. If you can’t get hold of smoked paprika, use ground chilli powder instead.
  4. Check after about an hour, as you might need to add more liquid.  I either add plain boiled water, or a drop of stock.
  5. This recipe freezes really well.

What’s your favourite classic dish?

Have a lovely weekend!

With much love
The Domestic Princess
xoxo

Nutella Cheesecake

Well, today’s post couldn’t be more of a contrast from the one on Wednesday about my 30-day squat challenge! If you’re joining in, how are you getting on?  I’ve just completed day 2 – I WILL pass the pencil test!

If you’ve been following the blog for awhile, you’ll know that I truly adore chocolate, which of course includes the delicious Nutella.  Such is my love for Nutella is that I could easily put a Nutella recipe on these pretty pink pages every Friday, but that wouldn’t help us get our bootylicious bottoms, now would it?!

I would love to take credit for this recipe, but alas, I can’t.  If you love Nigella Lawson as much as I do, then you’re probably already aware of the original fabulous pudding.  I made it for some friends last weekend and it went down a storm!  Just as I can’t order straight off a menu, I seem incapable of following a recipe to the letter.  Some of the people I made this for last weekend were little people, so I made the decision to leave out the hazlenuts.  Yes, I know Nutella is made from hazlenuts, but I find seeing nuts in a pudding is sometimes off putting for children.  I also added 50g more digestive biscuits to compensate for the omission of the hazlenuts in the base, and adjusted the butter accordingly.  And being such a fan of Nutella, I added a good couple of extra tablespoons of Nutella!  This is a super easy and quick recipe to make; the hardest part is waiting for it to set in the fridge.

Nutella cheesecake

Ingredients

  • 300g digestive biscuits
  • 90g unsalted butter, melted
  • 400g Nutella, room temperature (I used more than this)
  • 500 grams cream cheese (at room temperature)
  • 60 grams icing sugar (sifted)

Method

  1. Break the digestives into the bowl of a processor and blitz.  Once the biscuits resemble sand, add in the melted butter a tablespoon of Nutella, and blitz again until it looks like damp sand.
  2. Tip into a 22cm/8inch round springform and press into the base either using the back of a spoon. Place in the fridge to chill.
  3. Beat the cream cheese and icing sugar until smooth and then add the remaining Nutella to the cream cheese mixture, and continue beating until combined.
  4. Take the springform tin out of the fridge and  smooth the Nutella mixture over the base. Place the tin in the fridge for at least four hours or overnight. Serve straight from the fridge for best results.

Domestic Princess tips:

  1. Make sure the cream cheese is at room temperature, as otherwise you’ll end up with a lumpy cheesecake.
  2. If you don’t have a food processor to whizz up the biscuits, pop them in a zip lock bag and bash them with a rolling pin, then just pop the biscuits in a bowl and mix the butter and Nutella in by hand.
  3. I like a thicker base cheesecake than Nigella’s recipe makes, so next time, I’ll probably double the quantity for the biscuit base and use 1.5 the quantity for the chocolate topping.
  4. This is a perfect pudding to make ahead of time if you’re having people over for supper.

What is everybody up to this weekend?  We’re off to say goodbye to some very special friends this evening 😦 . That’s the downside of being an expat, you meet wonderful people that you would never have met had you not embarked on this crazy journey.

With much love
The Domestic Princess
xoxo

Dining: JW Steakhouse

I’ve been meaning to write this post for such a looooong time, and feel awful that I haven’t, as I’ve been keeping it a secret from you lovely lot!  Anyway, I’ve finally written it, and even if you’re not a carnivore, then I urge you to hotfoot it here anyway so you can sample the most incredible cheesecake I have ever tasted…and believe me, I’ve tried A LOT!  I might* have even sneaked a few mouthfuls for breakfast…..

You can find this gem of a restaurant in The Grosvenor House Hotel on Park Lane.  Being in situ on Park Lane, this place obviously isn’t cheap, but it’s worth every penny in my opinion.

We’ve been here twice for lunch and twice for supper, and never have we been disappointed.  (The only other restaurant I’m this loyal to, when our time in the UK is so precious, is Nobu.) The lunch and dinner menus differ, and whilst neither is extensive, whatever we’ve chosen has always been cooked to perfection.  The lunch menu offers lighter fare:  salads, sandwiches etc.  Whilst the dinner one has more substantial dishes available.  Our most recent visit was for lunch for my father-in-law’s birthday.  When I made the booking, JW Steakhouse asked if it was a special occasion and I said it was a birthday celebration, and didn’t think anything of it.

When we arrived, they had sweetly decorated the table with balloons and birthday confetti on the table.  A small touch that most definitely started our lunch off on the right foot.  The service is impeccable.  Nothing is too much trouble for the staff, who have the knack of making you feel as if you’re the only diners in the restaurant.  The Restaurant Manager came over to welcome us, and Giovanni our waiter for the day, was fabulous!  He was ebullient and chatty, yet managed to strike the balance between being friendly and professional, yet not being over-bearing, intrusive or too familiar.  He should set-up a waiter training school!

The restaurant is a large and spacious room – very like many American steakhouses we’ve visited – with floor to ceiling windows looking out onto a terrace that has views of Park Lane and in the distance, Hyde Park.  One of the Domestic Prince’s bugbears when eating out is the proximity of tables – thankfully, this isn’t an issue in JW Steakhouse.  The tables are close enough to each other to feel busy and bustling, but far enough apart that you don’t feel the next table is part of your conversation.  The perfect balance.

Image credit: JW Steakhouse

For some silly reason that morning we’d had a late breakfast (I know, what were we thinking?!), so in light of this, we didn’t have any starters, plus I was saving space for the cheesecake!

There were so many dishes I fancied as my main that unusually for me, I struggled to choose. I ended up opting for the Steak and Bourbon pie (another pie, I know!) and mash.  It was delicious.  Packed with chunks of tender steak and a rich-gravy with a hint of bourbon.  I’m a bit fussy when it comes to mash, so the mash is probably perfect to normal beings, but for this princess, I felt it needed some more butter, a dollop of cream and a good shake of the salt cellar. The Domestic Prince ordered  some grilled asparagus to go with his 6oz fillet, which was divine.  The Prince’s steak was cooked to perfection and could only be described as “melt in the mouth”.  My mother-in-law went for the Fish and Chips that was probably the best fish and chips I’ve ever tasted (yes, I had to taste everybody else’s!) outside a fish and chip shop.  Quite often restaurant fish and chips leave a lot to be desired; not the case at JW Steakhouse.  My father-in-law chose one of the specials of the day – the Shepherd’s Pie, which again was just delicious.  In keeping with an American-style steak house, the portions are massive.  Come super hungry!

Image credit: JW Steakhouse

When it came time for dessert, we didn’t even look at the menu, as The Domestic Prince and I were insistent that his parents absolutely had to try the cheesecake.  JW bill the cheesecake as “the best this side of the pond” – a bold claim, but one which they actually surpass!  I wouldn’t be lying to say that back in Bangalore, I often lament about this superlative cheesecake.  The crumb (a Graham Cracker one I believe) encases the vanilla bean middle and it’s finished with a sour cream topping that cuts through the sweetness of the middle.  The first time I had this cheesecake, I thought it would be rich and heavy, but it’s not – it’s incredibly light.  And there’s a massive 6 inches of it to enjoy!  Most people probably share this over-sized pudding – not us though.  We have one each and box-up what we don’t finish at the restaurant (there is sometimes!) to takeaway to enjoy back at our apartment.  I can’t tell you about any of the other puddings I’m sorry, as I only ever want the cheesecake…it’s THAT good.  Not even chocolate makes me cheat on this beauty.

Image credit: JW Steakhouse

Whilst choosing what we were going to eat we had a bottle of Champagne, and then The Prince and his Dad had a glass of red wine and I had a glass of Cloudy Bay with our main courses.

Domestic Princess tips:

  • If having a starter, I’d choose either the Maryland crab cakes, the tortillas with spinach & artichoke dip or the super-size calamari.
  • In the evening whilst waiting for your first course to arrive, they bring scrumptious hot buttered salt-and-pepper popcorn for you to munch on.
  • If bourbon is your thing, then JW have an impressive collection.
  • Diners with big appetites, should give the mahoosive 32oz “Tomahawk” ribeye steak a whirl.  I’ve heard incredible things about it!
  • If you’re visiting on a nice day /evening – ask for a table outside on the terrace.

*I did!!

If you’re after excellent steaks, a good atmosphere and impeccable service, then I really can’t recommend JW Steakhouse highly enough.

What’s your favourite steak restaurant?

With much love
The Domestic Princess
xoxo

Mini Egg Blondies

Hello everyone!

Is it just me that thinks this year is flying by?  I cannot believe that it is Easter this weekend!  It’ll probably come as no surprise to you that I love Easter.  Chocolate, hot cross buns, roast lamb and the promise of 4 days free of work?  What’s not to love!  I think my favourite Easter chocolate has to be Cadbury’s Mini Eggs.  The matte, pastel shell covered chocolate eggs are just so moreish.  Surprisingly, I have never added these delicious little gems to any of my recipes, so when I came across a recipe on Twitter for Mini Egg Blondies, I practically squealed.  Mini Eggs, encased in a scrumptious, chewy blondie…what was stopping me?!  If you’re wondering what a blondie is, the best way I can describe it would be to liken the taste to a bar version of a cookie, and the texture to that of a brownie – gooey and chewy.  In fact, you might think of a blondie as the brownie’s cousin.  What they’re most definitely not, are brownies made with white chocolate instead of dark or milk.  The only chocolate element to a blondie, are the chips you add in.  No melted chocolate here!

Obviously, I couldn’t just follow somebody else’s recipe, I had to tinker and fiddle until I’d made it my own, and here’s the result.

Mini egg blondies

Ingredients

  • 200g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing 
  • 225g light brown sugar
  • 1/4tsp of salt
  • 1 1/2tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 250g plain flour
  • 1/4tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 200g Mini Eggs (or more if you’re feeling generous!)

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C/Fan 160C/Gas mark 4.  Butter an 8 or 9″ square cake tin and then line with greaseproof paper.
  2. In a saucepan, melt the butter and whisk in the sugar and salt.  The more you whisk it, the lighter and fluffier your blondies will be.
  3. Add in the vanilla extract and whisk again.  Take off the heat and leave to cool to room temperature.
  4. Once the sugar/butter mixture has cooled, add the eggs and give a good whisk.
  5. Into a large bowl sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder.  Then into the flour, whisk small amounts of the the egg and butter mixture until it’s all been combined. Don’t pour all the egg and butter mixture in at once, as you’ll end up with a lumpy mixture.
  6. Fold in the Mini Eggs.
  7. Pour the mixture into your prepared cake tin and spread out evenly.
  8. Pop the tin in the oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the top is slightly cracking, the outer edges are firm and the middle still slightly gooey.
  9. Leave to cool on a wire rack for at least 10 to 15 minutes (this bit is SO hard!), then cut into squares ready to serve.

Domestic Princess tips:

  1. Make sure to let the melted butter and sugar mixture cool to room temperature before adding in the eggs, otherwise you’ll risk them scrambling.
  2. By melting the butter with the sugar, instead of creaming them, you’ll end up with a chewier blondie.
  3. Don’t worry if you can’t get your sticky mits on Mini Eggs, just substitute them for roughly chopped milk chocolate, or white or dark for that matter!
  4. A metal pan tends to work better with blondies than silicone or glass.
  5. These blondies lend themselves to many different things being added:  nuts, raspberries, fudge pieces, peanut butter, cranberries…the list is endless.
  6. The “butterscotch” taste of blondies comes from the brown sugar and melted butter combo, so don’t be tempted to switch the brown sugar for white, as they’ll taste quite different.
  7. Over-cooking the blondie mixture will give you a dry and hard bar.  As you near the end of the cooking time, check every 1 to 2 minutes until the skewer comes out with just a little bit of the mixture on it.  Remember, it’ll carry on cooking for awhile when it’s out of the oven.
  8. If you’re watching your sugar intake, you can reduce the sugar in this recipe by a third. The texture will still be the same, but it’ll be slightly less sweet.

I can’t think of anything more perfect to have on Easter Sunday afternoon!  Please send me some pictures if you make a batch of these!

Happy Easter!

With much love

The Domestic Princess

xoxo

Found: The Prodigious Remoska

Hello readers, I hope you’ve all had a good weekend.  Today we are hearing from the lovely Domestic King on one of his recent finds and if that wasn’t enough, he’s sharing with us one of his favourite recipes as well!  Thank you Domestic King.

“What on earth is a Remoska?” I hear you say! If you’re guessing it’s a Russian song or dance you’d be wrong; if you’re thinking it’s something Eastern European, you’re on the right track. It is in fact, an electric cooker with a difference, and quite frankly an amazing piece of kit! What it’s not, is a slow cooker. I think once you’ve read this post you’ll be tempted to buy one. It’s certainly added a degree of magic to my very ordinary culinary skills! Image

The Remoska is available exclusively to Lakeland , in the UK, one of the most popular and respected brands in the country. Its website describes it like this:

“Cooking better than an oven, the Remoska is positively miserly with electricity – in fact, they’re so versatile your oven will hardly ever need to be switched on.

It’s the Czech Republic’s best-kept secret…

The Remoska has been around since before the Second World War, surviving 40 years of nationalisation until being rescued in 1990 by two Czechs, who scraped together all they had to buy the machinery.

Each Remoska is individually made and tested by skilled workers in a small Czech factory; there’s no production line. The stainless steel lid, which houses the element, does all the work, controlling the venting of steam developed during cooking. You can see what’s going on through the glass window and you’ll be impressed by how clean it is in use, with virtually no cooking smells either.

The pan is coated with Teflon® Classic for easy release. Being so compact, it is frequently packed up and taken anywhere there’s a 240V electricity supply, which makes it just the thing when cooking away from home. Pans are dishwasher safe. Recipes included.”

Versatility

The claim that it’s compactness enables it to be taken anywhere is absolutely true. On a walking holiday in the Lake District last September with a couple of friends, we stayed at Underscar Manor, a luxury self-catering complex in the shadow of Skiddaw. The Remoska did us proud and it traveled extremely well! Grilled sausages, caramelised onions and jacket potatoes was a particularly memorable dinner devoured at the end of a strenuous walk up Grisedale Pike! You can increase its versatility by plugging an electric timer into the power socket and setting the Remoska’s start and end cooking times. Great if you’re out at work all day and would like to come home to a meal ready to eat. And of course, the range of meals you can cook is endless; everything you can cook in an oven, the Remoska can handle with ease. I don’t know of any other cooking device that is as useful and versatile as the Remoska!

Healthy eating

I mostly eat a low carb, low sugar foods (Domestic Princess:  look out for a future post about this) following the excellent advice and guidance of Dr Briffa, a qualified doctor and nutritionist. In this respect, the Remoska is an unrivalled asset in helping me to cook meals that fit my eating regime.

Accessories

There are some accessories that the dedicated Remoska cook will want to acquire.

  • A stainless steel rack, which raises food closer to the lid’s heat source for faster cooking.
  • A pan separator that fits inside the Remoska allowing different foods to be cooked separately.
  • Shallow pans are available to replace the deep pan that comes with the Remoska enabling the cook to warm up foods and snacks very quickly.
  • An essential buy for me was the cookbook, “Remoska Cooking”, which has 200 recipes, tips on using the Remoska, and suggested cooking times. After trying some of the recipes my confidence grew as a home cook. And the great thing about the Remoska is that you don’t have to watch it slavishly in the way that one has to when using a conventional oven or stovetop cooking. Just pop on the lid and relax!

Miserliness

According to Lakeland, the standard Remoska uses 80% less energy than an average electric oven. When you consider that many people use the oven simply to heat up supermarket ready-made meals, or grill three or four rashers of bacon, or bake a couple of jacket potatoes, they are using excessive quantities of electricity compared to that consumed by a Remoska. Lakeland says that an average oven uses around 2500W of energy versus the Remoska’s 470W of energy.

Here is one of my favourite recipes when using the Remoska.

Country Lamb Casserole – adapted from “Remoska Cooking

The lamb in this dish is absolutely delicious and so tender, resulting in a tasty, filling and full flavoured casserole!

Ingredients

Serves 4 using a standard Remoska

  • 500g boneless lamb chops
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 500g potato, cut into cubes
  • 8 small onions, finely chopped
  • 175g French beans, chopped
  • 1tsp ground cloves, or to taste
  • 1 x 320g tin of condensed mushroom soup
  • 150ml lamb stock
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Sweet paprika to serve  

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan, add the garlic and onions, and fry until golden brown and then put in the Remoska.
  2. In the same pan, seal the lamb on both sides and pop in the Remoska.
  3. Add the cubed potatoes, beans, cloves, mushroom soup, stock and seasoning.
  4. Cook for approximately 1 hr and 15 minutes in the Standard Remoska, or 1hr 45 minutes in the Grand, until the lamb is tender. Sprinkle with a little paprika before serving.

Domestic Princess:  If you’re not lucky enough to own a Remoska, use a casserole dish instead, double the quantity of stock and pop in the oven for 2 to 2 1/2 hours on 150C.  This can also be made in a slow-cooker as well.  

Final word ….

I can confirm I’ve also grilled incredible sausages with mouthwatering caramelised onions, roasted succulent whole chicken, roasted Mediterranean vegetables, baked sweet potatoes to perfection, and roasted belly pork to die for! At the end of the process, washing up is not a big chore because the non-stick surfaces are extremely effective. The pan is dishwasher friendly for anyone preferring this cleaning option, and the lid only requires to be wiped down with a damp cloth. Anyone keen on pursuing a healthy eating regime based on fresh ingredients and wishing to do so as effortlessly and economically as possible, should invest in a little Czech magic and get yourself the Prodigious Remoska from Lakeland!

Thanks Pappy!  And if you’re carb conscious too, then swap the potato for a sweet potato, or leave out completely.

I’ll be back on Friday with a new recipe.

With much love
The Domestic Princess
xoxo

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Caramelised Pecans

Hello lovely readers, today’s post is my last until the New Year and it’s another festive themed one to help you with the big day.  I think I might be in the minority in loving Brussels sprouts.  I believe the problem many might have when it comes to this vegetable is that they quite often end up overcooked, owing to the many layers.  And when they’re overcooked it results in that nasty drain-type smell.  I’ve played around with a few recipes and have found that there are a few different ways to cook Brussels which will make them super tasty.  Peeling all the leaves off and sautéing in some butter and a drop of water is divine.  Or the more common: Brussels with pancetta.  However, the one that really struck a chord with my taste buds was this one:  Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Caramelised Pecans.  I’d be surprised if even the fussiest eaters didn’t love this version!

BrussellSprouts

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 300g Brussel sprouts
  • 2tbsp olive oil
  • 100g pecans
  • 50g light soft brown sugar
  • Salt & pepper

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 190C.
  2. Trim and quarter the Brussels sprouts.
  3. Put the Brussels in a roasting tin and toss in the olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper and put in the oven for 30 to 35 minutes.  Stir once or twice during cooking.  When ready they’ll be a deep, golden brown – crisp on the outside and tender on the inside.
  4. Whilst the Brussels are in the oven, put the pecans and sugar in a frying pan and let the sugar melt and coat the pecans.
  5. Once the pecans are all coated, tip them out onto a sheet of greaseproof paper and leave to cool.  When cooled, break into smaller pieces and add to the Brussels sprouts when they’re ready.
  6. Serve immediately.

Domestic Princess tips

  1. The light brown sugar can be substituted for any sugar.
  2. Hazelnuts would work well instead of pecans.
  3. For a salty / sweet dish, add in either lardons of bacon or some pancetta.
  4. Bangaloreans, you can buy pecans in Nature’s Basket in Indiranagar.

Well, this is nearly it for another year!  I wanted to wish you all a wonderful Christmas and to thank you for all of your support for The Domestic Princess.  I am so looking forward to bringing you lots more posts in 2013.

With much love
The Domestic Princess
xoxo

Five easy recipes for a drinks party

Before I moved to India, if we were having a drinks party or people over for supper, I would raid the party selection at my beloved Marks & Spencer and Waitrose.  However, in my new life, unfortunately there isn’t a branch of M&S or Waitrose for me to pop to when we’re having people over, so I’ve had to come-up with my own nibbles / canapés.  They may not look as fabulous as shop bought ones, but I think they’re just as tasty.

Spiced nuts

spiced nuts

Ingredients

  • 350g unsalted and unroasted nuts of your choice – I used pecans, cashews & almonds
  • 70g honey – runny honey is preferable
  • 1/2tsp mixed spice
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2tsp all spice
  • 1/2tsp smoked paprika
  • 60g sugar – I used light brown sugar, but caster sugar would work just as well
  • 2tsp finely ground sea salt

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 170C.
  2. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
  3. Put the nuts in a bowl and set aside.
  4. In a small saucepan put the honey, mixed spice, cinnamon, all spice and smoked paprika.
  5. Gently warm the honey and mixed spices together, until the honey is less viscous.
  6. Pour the honey and spice mixture over the nuts, making sure they’re evenly coated.
  7. Tip them out onto the greaseproof paper and spread evenly.
  8. Put the nuts in the oven for between 8 to 12 minutes.
  9. Check the nuts after about 4 to 6 minutes and give them a toss.
  10. Once roasted, leave to cool.
  11. In a bowl, mix together the sugar and sea salt.  Toss the nuts in the salt and sugar mixture and they’re ready to serve.

Sticky cocktail sausages

Sausages

Ingredients

  • 30 cocktail sausages
  • 3tbsp orange marmalade, with or without peel – I opted for a peel one
  • 1tbsp runny honey
  • 1tbsp lime juice
  • 1tbsp soy sauce

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 190C.
  2. Snip the sausages if needed and put in a bowl.
  3. Put the marmalade, honey, lime juice and soy sauce in a saucepan over a low heat until the marmalade and honey have melted.
  4. Pour the sauce over the sausages, making sure they’re all coated.
  5. Tip the sticky sausages and the sauce into a roasting tin and pop in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes.
  6. Give the sausages a toss and another coating after 10 to 12 minutes.
  7. Once they’re golden brown they’re ready to serve.

Smoked salmon with lemon creme fraiche blinis

Bilini 1

These have to be one of the simplest, yet one of the scrummiest nibbles / canapés to serve at a drinks party or before supper.

Ingredients

  • Smoked salmon
  • Creme fraiche
  • Lemon juice
  • Black pepper
  • Mini or regular blinis

Method

  1. In a bowl whisk the creme fraiche, lemon juice and a good grind of black pepper.
  2. Place the blinis on the serving plate / platter and place a small dollop on top of each one.
  3. Shred the salmon into small pieces and twist and place on the creme fraiche.

As I said, easy peasy!!

Brie and cranberry crostini

CranberryBrieToastini

Ingredients

  • French baguette – I opted for mini ones, so they’re more of a two bite canapé
  • Olive oil
  • Brie
  • Cranberry sauce

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 190C.
  2. Cut the french bread into thin slices and using a pastry brush, brush each side of the french bread slices with the olive oil and place on a baking tray.
  3. Put in the oven for approximately 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden brown.
  4. Remove from the oven and let cool.
  5. When cooled, place thin slices of the brie on top of french bread slices
  6. Top with half around half a teaspoon of cranberry sauce.

Triple cheesey straws

CheeseStraws

Ingredients

  • 300g ready-rolled puff pastry
  • 50g Parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 50g Gruyere cheese, finely grated
  • 50g Emmenthal cheese, finely grated
  • Flour for rolling out pastry

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 190C and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
  2. Mix all the cheeses together in a bowl.
  3. Unroll the pastry and on half of the pastry, sprinkle most of the cheese on one half, leaving enough to sprinkle over the top.
  4. Fold over and seal the cheese in.
  5. Lightly flour your worktop and roll out the pastry until it’s around 3-4mm thick.
  6. Cut into 1/2 inch strips and twist.
  7. Pop onto the baking tray and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
  8. Put in the oven for 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden.  Leave to cool.  These will keep for 2 to 3 days.

They’ll be just one more post before I take a little break over the holidays.  I’m off to be reunited with one of my besties!

I hope all your festive planning is coming along nicely!

With much love
The Domestic Princess
xoxo

PS apologies for the quality (or I should say lack of) of the photographs, I’ve been taking them myself and as you can see, I’m nowhere near as talented as The Domestic Prince who’s my normal ‘tog!

Malted chocolate cheesecake….with a surprise!

Whilst I adore Christmas pudding, especially my Granny Phyll’s Christmas pudding recipe (I’ll share it with you next year), I’m well aware that there are many of you who don’t share my love for it! So, for the non-pudding lovers out there, I’ve created this pudding just for you!

Cheesecake

Ingredients

  • 300g malted milk biscuits
  • 110g, unsalted butter
  • 30g golden syrup
  • 7tbsp of malted powder, e.g. Horlicks
  • 50g popping candy (optional, but this is the surprise bit!)
  • 600g cream cheese, room temperature
  • 150ml double cream
  • 150ml sour cream, room temperature
  • 300g milk chocolate
  • 300g white chocolate
  • Chocolate malt balls, such as Maltesers

Method

  1. Grease the bottom and sides of an 8″ to 9″ (22 – 23cm) springform tin.
  2. Crush the biscuits into crumbs.  I normally whizz them up in my food processor, but not being in my own kitchen, I gave them a good bash in a zip lock with a bottle of wine! Improvisation at its best.
  3. In a saucepan over a low heat, put the golden syrup and butter and leave to gently melt.
  4. Once the butter and golden syrup have melted, give them a quick stir to combine it all and in a bowl put the crushed biscuits, the melted butter mixture and 3tbsp of the Horlicks.  Stir until it’s all combined and resembles damp sand.  Quickly add in the popping candy, if adding it, and press down firmly into the springform tin.  Cover with clingfilm and put in the fridge to set.
  5. Melt the milk chocolate and white chocolate in separate bowls over saucepans of simmering water.
  6. Divide the cream cheese, double cream and sour cream evenly between the two bowls of melted chocolate.  In the milk chocolate one, add the remaining 4tbsp of Horlicks.
  7. Using an electric whisk, beat both sets of mixtures until they’re smooth and lump free.
  8. Pour the milk chocolate mixture evenly over the biscuit base.  Clean up any splashes.
  9. Carefully spoon the white chocolate mix on the top of the milk chocolate one.
  10. Pop in the fridge and after about an hour decorate with Maltesers and put back in the fridge for another 4 hours.

Domestic Princess tips:

  1. Bangaloreans, you can find malted milk biscuits in the Waitrose section at Hypercity.  If they’re out of stock, just use regular digestive biscuits and add 2 extra tablespoons of Horlicks.
  2. For a more Christmassy look, use white chocolate Maltesers.
  3. If you can’t find Maltesers, grate some chocolate and mix with some Horlicks powder and sprinkle evenly over the top.

Children will love the popping candy element of this pudding!

And the best bit of this cheesecake, you can make it a few days ahead and just keep it covered in clingfilm in the fridge.

I hope all your Christmas preparations are coming along nicely.  I have to confess, I have never been this disorganised!  So on that note, I’m off to play catch-up.

With much love
The Domestic Princess
xoxo

Sweet treats: Baileys & praline truffles

Yesterday I promised you a recipe for some sweet treats that you could give as gifts and here they are:  Bailey truffles and praline truffles.  Anybody who receives these will not be disappointed, I promise.

If giving as a gift – just pop them in a plain white dish, wrap in brown paper, tie with some ribbon and attach a tag – it’ll look very chic and will be hugely appreciated!

Truffles

Baileys truffles

Ingredients

  • 125g 70% cocoa dark chocolate, chopped
  • 125g milk chocolate, chopped
  • 125g unsalted butter
  • 1/2tsp sea salt
  • 125ml double cream
  • 125ml Baileys or Irish cream
  • Enough crushed Cadbury’s Flakes, grated milk chocolate or cocoa powder for coating

Method

  1. In a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, put both chocolates, the salt and butter, and leave to melt.
  2. Once melted, whisk in the cream, followed by the Baileys.
  3. Put in the fridge for a minimum of 3 hours to allow the ganache to set.
  4. Once set you’re ready to get making the truffles!  Take a teaspoon and scoop out enough of the ganache to form small, one bite truffles (ours got bigger and bigger as we went along!)
  5. Immediately roll the truffle in whichever coating you’ve opted for, and pop in the freezer for about an hour.

Praline Truffles

Ingredients

For the praline

  • 60g nuts of your choice, skinned and roasted (my fav are hazelnuts). Most praline is made from hazelnuts or almonds, however, any nut will work.  Different nuts will give the praline a different flavour.
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 45ml water

For the ganache

  • 180g milk chocolate, chopped
  • 70g 70% cocoa dark chocolate, chopped
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 120ml double cream
  • 1/2tsp sea salt

For the coating

  • Finely chopped hazelnuts or cocoa powder

Method

To make the praline

  1. Line a baking tray or tin with greaseproof paper.
  2. Chop the skinned and roasted nuts and put to one side.
  3. Put the sugar and water in a heavy-based saucepan, and gently heat over a low-heat, shaking the pan occasionally until all the sugar has dissolved.  DO NOT STIR THE MIXTURE DURING THIS STAGE.
  4. Once all the sugar has dissolved, turn up the heat, so the mixture comes to a boil.  When it’s turned a golden brown colour it’s ready.  If you’re using a sugar thermometer, the mixture is ready when the temperature reaches around 160-177ºC (320-350ºF).
  5. Take off the heat and quickly stir in the chopped nuts.  Pour onto the lined baking tray or tin, and leave to completely cool.
  6. Once it’s completely cooled, break into pieces, put into a food processor and whizz as finely as possible.  If you don’t have a food processor or grinder, then with a bit of elbow grease, this can be done with a pestle and mortar.  And if you don’t have one of those, put the praline in a zip lock bag and bash hard with a rolling pin or other similar tool.
  7. Put in an airtight container until ready to use.

Making the ganache

  1. In a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, put both chocolates, the salt and butter, and leave to melt.
  2. Once melted, whisk in the double cream and fold in the praline you made earlier.
  3. Put in the fridge for a minimum of 3 hours to let the ganache set.
  4. Once set, roll into small, bite-sized balls and cover in either chopped hazelnuts or cocoa powder.
  5. Put in the freezer to harden for around an hour or so.

Domestic Princess tips

  1. When melting the chocolate, be very careful not to let any water drip into the chocolate, as this will cause the mixture to seize.
  2. In the case of both truffles, for a richer flavour, use all dark chocolate.
  3. The Baileys can be substituted for any liquer:  Cointreau, Grand Marnier and rum would all work really well.
  4. When rolling the truffles, speed is your friend.
  5. Keep half the mixture in the freezer whilst you roll them.
  6. These taste best straight from the fridge.

Remember to save a few for you to enjoy!

With much truffley love
The Domestic Princess
xoxo

Spiced Apple Chutney

Whenever we go to somebody’s house for supper I always like to take a gift for the hosts to say thank you.  Sometimes a bottle of Champagne, sometimes wine, occasionally flowers (it’s tough to get decent flowers here), now and again chocolates, or a small gift that I think they would love.  Sometimes though, I like to take a homemade gift, as it somehow feels a bit more special.  Homemade gifts are especially good if you’re on a tight budget, which can so often be the case at this time of year.

I’m not particularly a chutney fan, although two of the most important people in my life, The Domestic Prince & King are, so I thought I would create a chutney that would be perfect with cold meats, cheeses and crackers or crusty bread, or could be popped into a stylish Kilner jar and given as a gift.

Spiced Apple Chutney

Makes approximately 1.2kg

Ingredients

  • 1kg apples (I used Jazz apples, but any eating apples would work), peeled, cored and chopped into small pieces
  • 200g finely chopped shallots
  • 300g sultanas, raisins, chopped dates or figs
  • 200g demerara sugar
  • 200g dark muscovado sugar
  • 250ml white wine vinegar
  • 250ml apple cider vinegar
  • 5g smoked or regular paprika
  • 15g freshly grated ginger
  • 10g ground all spice
  • 5g ground cloves
  • 15g mixed spice
  • 2tsp of sea salt or 1tsp of table salt
  • A good grind of freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. Put all the ingredients into a large heavy-based saucepan or casserole dish (I used my 28cm Le Creuset) and slowly bring to the boil.
  2. Simmer for 2 to 2.5 hours, stirring every so often to make sure the chutney doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
  3. As it simmers away, the liquid will reduce until it becomes very thick and has a glossy look.  You’ll know it’s ready when you can drag a wooden spoon through the chutney and it reveals the base of the pan that doesn’t immediately rush back together.
  4. Pour the hot chutney into sterilised jars (either put them through a full cycle in the dishwasher, or in a low oven at 110C for 10 to 15 minutes), seal and leave to cool.

Domestic Princess tips:

  1. This is a piquant, sweet chutney that would be perfect with a baked brie or camembert and hunks of crusty french bread.
  2. If you wanted to give this a bit more fire, then add a finely chopped birds eye chilli.
  3. You can swap the shallots for regular onions, or red ones would work well too.
  4. If you don’t have any muscovado sugar in the house, any brown sugar will work, or all demerara.
  5. For a more mature chutney, store in a cool dark cupboard for a week or two before consuming.

As I said, I’m not a chutney fan, having confessed that, I must admit that I did enjoy this with some cheese for my lunch today.  I continually surprise myself!

Tomorrow’s post, will be all about sweet treats that make perfect gifts.

With much love
The Domestic Princess
xoxo

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