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

Truffle Mac ‘n’ Cheese

When we were back home in August for The Domestic Prince’s Granny’s 100th (!) birthday, we spent some time in London.  Now, for me, no trip to London is complete without a trip to my spiritual home, aka Harrods!  Since our visits to this shopping mecca are now few and far between, they tend to be quite lengthy visits.  Obviously, a long day of shopping needs sustenance, and to appease the lovely Domestic Prince, we opted for the newly renovated Pizzeria & Canti Prosecco Bar.  Anybody who knows The Domestic Prince will know how much he loves pizza!  Me, not so much.  What I do love, however, are truffles.  I’m not talking about the chocolate variety in this instance, although, you’ve probably guessed that I am rather partial to a yummy praline truffle now and again.  No, I’m talking about the pungent underground fungus variety.  I just adore them – the more truffles in a dish, the better in my opinion.  So, I was thrilled to see truffle mac ‘n’ cheese on the menu!  It was absolutely delicious and I devoured every mouthful!  Ever since, I’ve been reminiscing about it.  I’ve been playing around with my version and thanks to my new Nigellisima cookbook and my trusty Heston Blumenthal’s At Home cookbook, I think I’ve come-up with a pretty good dish!  This is not a traditional mac ‘n’ cheese made with a roux sauce.  This one is thickened with cornflour, thus making it gluten-free and much smoother and tastier!  Truffles are quite rich, so make sure you’re super hungry before eating this!  Enjoy with a crisp glass of white wine!

Truffle mac n cheese

Serves 4 as a main dish, or 6 to 8 as a side

Ingredients

  • Butter for greasing the dishes
  • 400g macaroni
  • 200g Gruyere cheese, grated
  • 250g Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 30g cornflour
  • 300ml white wine
  • 400ml chicken stock
  • 50g mascarpone cheese
  • 15 – 30ml of truffle oil (depending upon how truffley you like it!)
  • Salt & pepper for seasoning

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C
  2. Butter your individual ovenproof dishes that you’re going to serve the mac ‘n’ cheese in.
  3. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil and cook the pasta so it’s al dente (around 7 to 8 minutes).  Once it’s cooked, drain and set aside.
  4. Toss all the grated Gruyere and 200g of the grated Parmesan cheeses with the cornflour in a bowl.
  5. Pour the wine into a large saucepan and bring to the boil.  Simmer for 1 to 2 minutes.
  6. Add in the chicken stock and the Gruyere and Parmesan cheeses and whisk.  It should form a gooey, stringy mixture.
  7. Simmer for 3 to 5 minutes.
  8. Add in the mascarpone and truffle oil and give a quick whisk.
  9. Pour the pasta into the cheese sauce and warm through.
  10. Taste and season if required.
  11. Ladle into the prepared butter dishes and sprinkle over the remaining 50g of Parmesan cheese and pop in the oven until golden brown on top.

Domestic Princess tips

  1. Don’t overcook the pasta.  There’s nothing worse than a soft mac ‘n’ cheese.
  2. If you’re not a truffle fan, then just omit it from the recipe.
  3. If you’re making this for children, substitute the wine for the same amount of chicken stock.
  4. Truffle oil goes rancid quite quickly, so I only buy small bottles of it.
  5. Swap any of the cheeses for your favourite ones.
  6. Obviously any pasta can be used as well – penne would be a good one.
  7. If you want a crunchier topping, mix 50g of breadcrumbs with the grated Parmesan cheese.
  8. Bangaloreans, you can find truffle oil, mascarpone, Gruyere and Parmesan in Nature’s Basket in Whitefield.

Have you tried truffles?  Are you a lover like me?

Have a wonderful weekend!

With much love
The Domestic Princess
xoxo

Roasted tomato soup

Homemade soup is hard to beat.  I think I’ve extolled the virtues of homemade soup in my Pumpkin Soup recipe.  Once you’ve made homemade soup, you’ll find it hard to go back to the tinned stuff.  One of my favourite soups, has to be tomato soup.  I love sprinkling some strong cheddar cheese on top and when not low-carbing, there is nothing nicer than dipping big hunks of french bread, slathered in salty butter in.  I’m salivating just typing about it!  There’s approximately 200 calories per serving, so is perfect if you’re watching your calorie intake, or like me following the intermittent fasting way of living.

Ingredients

  • 1.6kg of fresh tomatoes, I prefer plum ones for this recipe
  • 400g of tinned chopped tomatoes
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 medium carrot, finely chopped
  • 1tbsp of tomato puree
  • 3tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 litre of chicken stock (or vegetable)
  • 1tbsp of white wine or balsamic vinegar

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C.
  2. Put the fresh tomatoes, whole, into a roasting tin and drizzle with 2 of the tablespoons of olive oil and a grind of salt and pepper.  Put in the oven for around 30 to 45 minutes.
  3. In a large pan, sauté the onion in the rest of the olive oil for around 5 minutes, or until they are no longer translucent.
  4. Next, add in the crushed garlic and chopped carrots and sauté for 8 to 10 minutes.
  5. Add the tablespoon of tomato puree and give the vegetables a good stir, ensuring that they’ve all got a coating of the tomato puree.
  6. Once cooked, remove the tomatoes (including the skins) from the oven and put in a large saucepan on a low-heat
  7. Add the sautéed vegetables and tinned tomatoes to the roasted tomatoes and pour in the chicken stock and vinegar.
  8. Bring the tomato mixture to the boil and simmer for around 10 minutes.
  9. Remove from the heat and whizz with a hand blender until smooth.
  10. Taste and season if necessary.

Domestic Princess tips:

  1. If you want to make this a cream of tomato soup, substitute 200ml of the stock for 200ml of cream.
  2. As well as being a tasty soup, this can be used as a quick sauce for pasta dishes.
  3. Add a handful of chopped basil, to make this either a tomato & basil soup, or a tomato & basil pasta sauce.
  4. If I’m looking to bump up our protein intake, I quite often add in the meat from a small roasted chicken at stage 7.
  5. If you’re in the UK, September is the perfect month for delicious, ripe tomatoes that are bursting with flavour, so get making!
  6. Instead of sautéing the garlic, I sometimes put them in the roasting tin with the tomatoes, as roasted garlic has a totally different taste; it takes on a creamy, mellow taste.  They typically only need around 15 to 20 minutes, so make sure you time it properly.
  7. For a smoother soup, sieve before serving.
  8. This soup freezes really well and can be frozen for up to 3 months.

Do you prefer homemade soup to shop bought?  What’s your favourite soup to make?

With much love
The Domestic Princess
xoxo

Lemon, Pinenut & Parsley Pasta

This has to be one of the quickest and tastiest dishes ever!  I timed myself making it the other day and from start to finish it was 15 minutes flat.  I love the fresh, clean flavours that make this dish so scrummy!  Perfect for a summer’s day.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 300g pasta
  • 100ml double cream
  • 50ml white wine
  • Juice and zest of 1 to 2 lemons, depending on how lemony you want it!
  • 100g finely grated fresh Parmesan cheese
  • 3 egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 50g pinenuts, toasted
  • Salt & pepper to season
  • Handful of chopped fresh parsley, leave some extra for garnish

Method

  1. Boil a large pan of water, add some salt and pop your pasta in, taking note of how long it’ll take, as each type of pasta is different.
  2. Whilst the pasta is boiling, pour the cream, white wine, juice, zest, Parmesan cheese and egg yolks into a bowl and give a good mix, until all combined
  3. When the pasta is ready, drain and pour back into the saucepan,
  4. Add the cream mixture to the pasta and give a good stir, making sure all the pasta is coated.
  5. Add in the pinenuts and stir again.
  6. Taste and adjust the seasoning as required.
  7. If the sauce is not as thick as you’d like it, pop it on the heat for a few minutes, whilst stirring constantly.
  8. Just before you’re ready to serve, gently stir in the chopped parsley.

Domestic Princess tips:

  1. Any pasta will work well in this dish.  I think a short pasta like fusili or farfalle (which is what I used for the photo) is my favourite, as there’s lots of gaps for the sauce to get into.
  2. If you’re making this for children, you can omit the wine and it’ll still be delicious.
  3. I never find the instructions on pasta to be very accurate, so I always test it about 2 minutes before the suggested cooking time is up, and then keep checking it until it’s al dente.
  4. Fresh pasta would be delicious in this recipe and would make it an even quicker dish!
  5. Bangaloreans, you can buy pinenuts in Hypercity and Nature’s Basket.
  6. If you’re a low-carber, then you can try this zucchini “pasta” instead of the traditional kind.

Please give this recipe a go, it really is so quick and easy!

With much love
The Domestic Princess
xoxo

Creamy Tomato & Rosemary Risotto….without any cream!

There is something extremely comforting about eating risotto; it’s probably my favourite comfort food.  Many people find risotto fiddly to make and are put-off by the need to constantly stir the rice.  This is actually why I like making risotto.  Standing at the stove pouring and stirring for around 20 minutes, is actually my idea of bliss.  I find it extremely relaxing and gives me time to just “be”.  I wholeheartedly recommend it.

Even though the title of this recipe might suggest there’s cream in it, there’s actually not, the creamy texture comes from the starch molecules that are released through the constant stirring, together with the addition of the cold cubes of butter and grated parmesan cheese that are stirred in vigorously at the end, just before serving.

Serves: 4 as main, or 6 as a starter

Ingredients

  • 100g of unsalted butter
  • 1tbsp of olive oil
  • 3 shallots or 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 500g of Carnaroli, Arborio or Vialone Nano rice
  • 300ml of white wine
  • 1.2l of chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 x 400g of tinned chopped plum tomatoes
  • 1 ½tsp of rosemary (fresh preferably), finely chopped
  • 100g of Parmesan cheese, finely grated and extra for serving
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Method

  1. Melt half of the butter and olive oil in a heavy, wide saucepan that has a lid.
  2. Add the shallots or onion and gently fry for around 5 minutes until softened.
  3. Add the rice and give it a good stir to ensure all the grains are covered with the oil and butter.  After about a minute, the rice will start to look translucent.
  4. Add the wine to the rice and keep stirring until the rice has absorbed the flavour of the wine and the harsh alcohol flavours have evaporated.
  5. In a separate saucepan, heat up the stock and keep it at a low simmer.
  6. Add a ladle of the stock to the rice.
  7. Turn the heat down and keep stirring the rice until the rice has absorbed all the stock.
  8. Add another ladle of stock and stir again.  Add the tinned tomatoes and chopped rosemary.
  9. Continue adding the stock until the rice is al dente.
  10. Once the rice is al dente, take it off the heat and add the remaining butter and Parmesan cheese.  Stir well.
  11. Have a taste and season if required.
  12. Pop the lid on the saucepan and let sit for 2 minutes.
  13. Sprinkle some more grated or shaved Parmesan on the top of the risotto and serve immediately.

Domestic Princess tips:

  1. Do not wash the rice.  The starch in the rice is essential to make your risotto creamy.
  2. Don’t be tempted to leave your post of chief stirrer – this is probably the most critical part of making a delicious risotto.  Stir, stir stir!
  3. Don’t rush the adding of the stock.  Each ladle needs to be absorbed before the next one is added.
  4. The stock must be hot when adding it to the rice.  Cold stock will result in hard, uncooked rice.
  5. As you come towards the end of the cooking process, add smaller quantities of the stock, as adding too much will mean an overcooked risotto.
  6. Start tasting the risotto around 15 to 17 minutes after adding the first ladle of stock
  7. You may not need to use all the stock; equally, you might use all of it with the rice still not cooked.  If this happens, add hot water instead of stock.
  8. Risotto should be eaten as soon as it has finished cooking, as otherwise it clumps together and can dry out as it carries on cooking.
  9. If you want to make this a vegetarian dish, choose a vegetarian Parmesan cheese.
  10. Bangaloreans, you can buy fresh Rosemary in most Namdharis and also the new supermarket in 1MG.

Please don’t be put-off by the constant stirring, it really is easy and is so satisfying to make.  Oh and did I mention absolutely delicious?  What’s your favourite comfort food?  Please share it with me in the comments box.

With much love

The Domestic Princess

xoxo

Moreish Couscous Salad

This couscous salad has become a staple summer recipe in my repertoire.  It’s quick and simple to rustle-up, but most importantly tastes delicious!  We tend to eat this as a meal on its own, but it can easily be served as a side dish with a main meal.  Like pasta, couscous is extremely bland, so you need to add in lots of flavours to make it tasty.  This salad is delicious either warm or cold, and is great to take on picnics!  If you don’t want to have this as a main meal, it can accompany pretty much anything from lamb chops, roast chicken or a lovely steamed piece of salmon.  This dish is really quite versatile.  Oh, and did I mention moreish?

Serves 4 as a main meal

Ingredients

  • 400g of couscous
  • 50g of butter
  • 425ml of chicken or vegetable stock (I prefer chicken)
  • 2 red peppers, de-seeded and chopped into small squares
  • 2 yellow peppers, de-seeded and chopped into small squares
  • 300g of feta cheese, cut into small cubes
  • 100g of toasted pinenuts
  • Handful of chopped mint
  • Handful of chopped parsley
  • Olive oil
  • Sprinkle of sea salt
  • Salt & pepper to season

Method

  1. Put the chopped red and yellow peppers in a roasting tin, drizzle with olive oil and a sprinkling of sea salt.  Toss the peppers around to ensure the peppers are pretty evenly coated in the oil and salt, and pop in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes.
  2. Make-up your stock.
  3. Melt 30g of the butter (I prefer to use salted for this recipe), in a heavy-based pan that has a lid.  Once the butter is melted, add the couscous and gently coat all the grains with the butter, frying it for around 3 to 4 minutes.  Do not stop stirring!
  4. Pour over the hot stock, stirring constantly.  When you pour the stock in, it will bubble up quite ferociously and create a lot of steam, so be careful.  Turn the heat down to it’s lowest point and gently stir until all the stock is absorbed.
  5. Once the stock has been absorbed, turn the heat off, put the lid on the pan and let the grains steam for around 10 minutes.
  6. After 10 minutes, take the lid off the pan, add the remaining 20g of butter, and fork through the couscous, separating the grains to ensure that there aren’t any clumps and that it’s light and fluffy.
  7. Add in the roasted peppers, cubed feta cheese, toasted pine nuts, chopped mint and parsley and gently combine with the couscous.  Have a quick taste to see if it needs any seasoning.
Domestic Princess tips:
  1. If you can’t find feta cheese, then a soft goats cheese is a great alternative.
  2. If you want a stronger herb flavour, you can substitute the mint and parsley for basil.
  3. For even fluffier couscous, you can make it the traditional way by soaking and steaming it.  Although, the method above creates pretty fluffy couscous in my opinion!
  4. An alternative way to cook the couscous, is to put the couscous into a bowl, pour over the hot stock, cover with cling-film and stand for around 8 minutes.
  5. Bangaloreans, you can find couscous in the deli at Toscanos, the Supermarket on Brigade Road and sometimes in the Waitrose section of Hypercity.
If you try this recipe, I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!  What’s your favourite summer recipes?
With much love
The Domestic Princes
xoxo

Creamy Roasted Pumpkin & Sage Soup

This post was originally intended for Friday, however, for logistical reasons beyond my control, I’m posting it today and the post I had planned for today will appear on Friday.

It doesn’t matter what time of year it is, I always enjoy eating soup – even when it’s 100F outside!  One of my favourite soups when I’m back in the UK is the Daylesford Organic Butternut, Sage & Honey Soup.  Not having access to a shop to buy this delicious soup prompted me to try and recreate it.  Butternut squash isn’t available in India, but pumpkin is, so I gave it a whirl to see how it would turn out with pumpkin and whilst not exactly the same, it is extremely tasty.  This soup is filling, nutritious and once made, provides a quick and easy lunch or supper, or a starter / appetiser ahead of the main event.  The Domestic Prince was a complete skeptic when I told him what was for supper one evening….but having had seconds, I think I can safely assume he likes it, and as we say in our house, it’s a keeper!

 

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 750g chopped pumpkin (approximately 2cm cubes)
  • 3tbsp of olive oil
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 2 – 3 crushed garlic cloves
  • 500ml of vegetable stock
  • 500ml of chicken stock
  • 200ml cream (single or double)
  • 30g of grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 heaped tsp of finely chopped fresh sage
  • Salt & pepper to season
  • 3 rashers of bacon, cooked and chopped into small pieces (to garnish)

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C.
  2. Put the chopped pumpkin into a roasting tin and drizzle 2tbsp of the olive oil over the top and grind some salt and pepper for seasoning.  Toss the pumpkin around, making sure it’s all evenly covered in the olive oil.  Put in the oven and roast for 25 – 35 minutes, or until the outside of the pumpkin is just starting to char.
  3. Heat the remaining 1tbsp of olive oil in a large saucepan and add the chopped onions and crushed garlic and cook for around 5 minutes, until the onion is just starting to brown in colour.
  4. Once the roasted pumpkin is ready, add it into the saucepan with the onion and garlic, and with the heat on, mix them all together.
  5. Add in the vegetable and chicken stock and simmer for 5 minutes.
  6. Using either a hand blender or an upright blender, puree the pumpkin, onions, garlic and stock until there are no lumps of pumpkin or onions.
  7. Take the pureed ingredients and sieve them into a clean saucepan.  This will ensure your soup is velvety smooth.
  8. Add in the sage, cream and parmesan and simmer for 10 minutes.
  9. If needed, add salt and pepper to season.
  10. To serve, sprinkle on the small pieces of bacon on top of each portion.

Domestic Princess tips:

  1. If you prefer butternut squash to pumpkin, simply swap the 750g of pumpkin for 750g of butternut squash.
  2. Dried sage can be used instead of fresh sage.
  3. The cream can be substituted for the same quantity of milk.
  4. If using an upright blender for pureeing the soup, let the mixture cool down a bit, as otherwise you run the risk of the lid exploding off and getting scalded by the soup (I’m speaking from experience here!)
  5. If you prefer a chunkier soup, omit the sieving stage at step 7.
  6. Double the ingredients up to make a larger batch for freezing.
  7. If you’re living in Bangalore, fresh sage can be bought from Namdharis.

I hope you enjoy this as much as we do!  What’s your favourite soup?  And unlike me, do you only eat soup in the colder months?

With much love

The Domestic Princess

xoxo

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