Food

Recipes I try and love and that above all are easy and not time consuming – great for family meals.

Bacon and sun dried tomatoes

Did you know that Real Bread Week has just passed us by? Who doesn’t love a freshly made loaf of bread? They even tell you to make some if you’re trying to sell your house!

We have been having so much fun in the kitchen recently because, to celebrate Real Bread Week, Sage sent us a Custom Loaf Pro breadmaker to see if we could come up with a novel recipe to make in it.

Intrigued by the recipe book ‘Flour power’ that Heston has put together and is full of really cool bread ideas, I noticed we could also make pizza dough in it so I declared Saturday night Pizza Party night and rolled out a piece of dough made in our Custom Loaf Pro for each member of the family, I set out lots of bowls with different toppings and let them create their own pizzas.

It was a huge success and the pizzas were delicious too. It was such a success that we shall definitely be doing this again sometime soon.

Bacon and sun dried tomato bread

As I mentioned, Heston has come up with loads of really fantastic ideas in the Flour Power book so I needed to adapt one or come up with something entirely different. Having just returned from a quick trip to Sorrento in Italy, a country that is renowned for it’s delicious breads, I was inspired by a bread bought to our table that had tiny bits of ham and crushed walnuts in it. I also had my eye on Heston’s sun dried tomato bread. I decided to go with sun dried tomatoes, tiny cubes of bacon and some dried herbs too.

It worked really well. I am pleased with how the breadmaker adds the extras at the right time and then mixes it in such a way that the extra ingredients are well distributed amongst the dough. I chose the biggest size – 1.25k and the loaf has kept dad in sandwiches all week for work. We all had a Sunday night supper of bread with cream cheese and a platter of salamis and cheeses to choose from too.

bread dough

5.0 from 1 reviews
Bacon and sun dried tomato bread - Custom Loaf Pro by Sage
 
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A flavoured bread with sun dried tomatoes and bacon bites to serve with as an appetiser or as a savoury snack
Author:
Recipe type: Bread
Cuisine: British
Serves: 1.25k
Ingredients
  • Makes a 1.25k loaf
  • Water 420ml
  • Oil from the sun dried tomatoes - 3 tbs
  • Salt 2 tsp
  • Sugar 2 tbs
  • Bread Flour 750g
  • Bread improver (optional) 1 tsp
  • Milk powder 3 tbs
  • Dried mixed herbs 3 tsp
  • Yeast: dry active 1+ ¾ tsp
  • Sun dried tomatoes and bacon lardons 75g to be added to the automatic fruit and nut dispenser
Instructions
  1. It's very important to add the ingredients in the order they are written above.
  2. Make sure the paddle is in the upright position to start.
  3. Add all of the ingredients to the removable bread pan.
  4. Place the bread pan in the Custom Loaf Pro and shut the lid.
  5. Add the sun dried tomatoes to the automatic draw.
  6. Set to Basic setting.
  7. Choose your colour of crust
  8. Start
 

 

 

double chocolate ice creamSo the scary birthday came and went in a blink of an eye but not so fast that I didn’t put on half a stone in the process of celebrating! There was cake, dinners out and prosecco, lots of prosecco. I can truly say I smashed 50 and the hangover I had on Bank Holiday Monday was proof of the pudding.

Talking about puddings, it was high time to get my lovely Smart Scoop back in to action and with all my indulgence recently I decided to top the lot and go for a double chocolate ice cream this time. In all honesty I would have gone for a triple chocolate but I forgot to buy white chocolate chips to add! What I did find was a tube of smarties and so I added all of those, needless to say I should have kept a few back for decorating the top but what the heck, it was hot, the sun was shining properly for the first time this year and decorating my ice cream slipped my mind in all the excitement.

Sage smart scoop

I followed Heston’s chocolate ice cream recipe which comes in the book that comes with the Smart Scoop and I pimped it a bit to include a second chocolate. I like his custard mixture, the only difference is I used semi skimmed milk as someone had finished off the whole milk!

I must admit the Saturday I made my double chocolate ice cream with smarties was the perfect day as the sun was shining brightly, we were in shorts for the first time this year, all the windows were open and everyone was hot but not complaining. Thank goodness I had made the mixture the day before as all I had to do was pop it into the Smart Scoop and wait for the churning to be complete.

I made my mixture the day before as it requires simmering to melt the chocolate and again to thicken the mixture ready for use. The Smart Scoop has to work doubly hard with hot mixtures so it pays to put them in the fridge to cool down and use them fridge cold for the best outcome.

double chocolate ice cream

Double chocolate ice cream with smarties
 
A double chocolate ice cream recipe that has been pimped with smarties.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: British
Ingredients
  • 500 ml whipping cream
  • 125ml whole milk
  • 90g dark chocolate
  • 90g milk chocolate
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 1 tube of smarties
Instructions
  1. Place the cream, milk and chocolate into a heavy based saucepan, cook stirring until the mixture starts to simmer.
  2. Meanwhile beat the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl until pale and thick.Add the chocolate mixture slowly and whisk the two together.
  3. Return to the saucepan over a low heat and stir continuously with a wooden spoon until the mixture has thickened and coats the back of the spoon.
  4. Pour the mixture into a bowl and cover. Refrigerate until well chilled.
  5. Once chilled pour into the ice cream maker and set to desired setting to churn.
  6. On hearing the beep for the mix-ins, add the Smarties.
  7. Once the mixture is frozen transfer to a suitable container to freeze. Keeps for up to 1 week.
 

Macaroni cheese recipe

Growing up in our house focused heavily around meal times and when mum replied to the daily, ‘What’s for tea, mum?’ with ‘Macaroni Cheese’ I’m sure the whole street could hear the cheers that went up. It was the 80’s and pasta was already a family favourite, I can remember sitting at the table in the kitchen waiting for mum to finish grilling the top to a crispy cheesy for us and wishing she would hurry up.

Once on the table I would happily squirt some tomato ketchup on top because that’s what we did back then. If any Italians are reading this I can feel your shock and only after spending years in your country and learning how you cook and eat can I see now the error of my ways, however, it was so good!

Funnily enough when I lived in Italy no one had heard of Macaroni Cheese, they had Pasta ai Quattro Formaggi which everyone agreed was most likely where our Macaroni Cheese came from. A quick check on Wikipedia has it that Macaroni Cheese is an English dish made of short pasta and a cheese sauce.

I wanted to make it for the girls and see if they had the same reaction to me all those years ago. They did. The success of macaroni cheese continues!

If you are introducing no meat nights into the family diet then this one is very popular and will fill them up. It’s a very simple recipe that requires baking in the oven and of course, it can be pimped in so many ways. You could add fried bacon lardons, or a mixture of vegetables cut up small.

I served it up in it’s 1980’s glory but I did not offer the squirt of ketchup on top even if dad and I did have a good sprinkling of freshly ground black pepper though ;)

Macaroni Cheese | a family favourite revisited
 
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A quick and easy pasta to make that is perfect for lunches or evening meals.
Author:
Recipe type: pasta
Cuisine: British
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 300g macaroni
  • 25g butter
  • 25g plain flour
  • 600 full fat milk
  • 1 tbsp English mustard (optional)
  • 225g Cheddar cheese grated
Instructions
  1. Heat the oven to 200C Gas mark 6
  2. Cook the pasta in boiling salted water.
  3. Melt 25g of the butter in a pan and add the flour, stir for 1 minute. Gradually add the milk whisk gently to remove any lumps that may form.
  4. Cook over a medium heat stirring continuously until thickened, season with salt and pepper. Stir in the mustard if using and two thirds of the grated Cheddar cheese, mix well together.
  5. Add the pasta and combine well, pour into a baking dish and scatter the remaining cheese on top.
  6. Bake for about 30 minutes until golden
  7. Spice it up with chopped chilli peppers added to the mix.
  8. Mix up the cheeses and go for a quattro (4) formaggi (cheese)
Please also see my Macaroni cheese with bacon and chives recipe

macaroni cheese recipe

roast lamb

Easter is here! Hot Cross buns, chocolate eggs and of course Easter roast lamb.

We’ve only been home a couple of days from school and work but we’ve had so much fun! Our first day started with a cooked breakfast, that was then walked off down at the beach and now we are waiting for our lamb to roast but this is no ordinary lamb as it’s a one pot meal. The vegetables are roasting in the same pan so once the meat is ready we are ready to sit and eat. Which is just as well as a day in the fresh air has made us all ravenous.

Pudding of course can be hot cross buns and our latest Cadbury Creme Egg ice cream, yum!

As the days are getting longer and the temperatures warmer we love getting outside and spending our time walking, scooting or playing on the beach, however food still plays a huge role in our family time and a roast dinner cannot be beaten.

This recipe here, sent through by New Zealand lamb cooks alongside the vegetables and makes it’s own sauce, it is the perfect one pot meal that once prepared you put in the oven and pull out once cooked to serve.

Easter Roast Lamb recipe - one pot meal
 
A typical Easter Roast lamb recipe using New Zealand lamb
Author:
Recipe type: Lunch
Cuisine: British
Ingredients
  • a half shoulder or half leg of New Zealand Lamb
  • 450g potatoes, roughly chopped
  • 250g chantenay carrots
  • 350g squash, peeled, seeds removed and cut into chunks
  • 2 red onions, peeled and cut into wedges
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic bulb , cloves separated but still in their skin
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds
  • a few sprigs of rosemary
  • 150ml white wine
  • 1 tbsp warm water
  • foil
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 200C, 400F Gas 6
  2. Blanch the potatoes for 5 minutes
  3. Place the lamb in a roasting tin, scatter around the carrots, squash, potatoes and red onions. Drizzle over the olive oil and season well.
  4. Add a small glass of wine and a splash of water.
  5. Place the roasting tin in the oven for 10 minutes and then turn the oven down to 180C.
  6. After another 30 minutes add the garlic and rosemary sprigs to the pan, scatter the fennel seeds and lemon over the lamb.
  7. Continue roasting until the vegetables are soft and beginning to caramelise and the lamb is cooked to your liking. For medium allow 20 - 30 minutes more.
  8. If the pan is looking dry add a splash more of wine or water, once out of the oven, cover with foil and rest for 15 minutes before carving.
Roast lamb and not just for Easter!

Have a wonderful break and here’s to the Spring!

Cadbury creme egg ice cream

Hello and welcome back to the ice cream takeover here at Mari’s World.

Having kicked off with the wonderfully popular rose, pistachio and mixed berry ice cream for Mother’s Day we’ve been putting our heads together to come up with an equally appealing Easter suggestion. A Cadbury Creme Egg ice cream!

We had the most delicious ice cream yet this weekend when we had a go at making this scrumptious Easter inspired gelato. We decided that Cadbury’s Creme Eggs are possibly our favourite Easter treat and so that was our starting point.

We found a great base using egg yolks this time and they also give a wonderful light yellow colour to the cream mixture too. We found some chocolate caramel shavings that we added in as well because, why not? Our Easter ice cream was to be about indulgence. The spring has almost made it and we are stepping in to the fun season with a skip in our step and a song in our heart.

There is a bit of preparation for this ice cream which then has to cool down to room temperature or even better fridge temperature to make life easy for your ice cream maker so do bear that in mind when it comes to allowing time.

We served it up to our guests at the weekend and everyone agreed it was delicious so let’s not waste any more time and get writing the recipe.

Cadbury Creme Egg ice cream

Mari’s World catch up

Just a quick catch up on the Mari’s World household, we have had a recent Parent’s Evening and Mr Harris mentioned that both twins are doing very well indeed, exceeding in their literacy and reaching expected levels in maths. He said one of the twins is showing great potential with her writing using words that are unexpected for year 3 and in the right context too but she needed to put more effort into her handwriting which, in all fairness was very scruffy. So, we’ve been practising that and also I signed them both up to Mathletics as they are both ‘afraid’ of maths and will cry ‘I can’t do that! rather than have a go.

Dad is itching to get his caravan out of hibernation and dreams of taking us all off somewhere very soon. We heard our favourite local camping park down in Thanet has been bought by new people who have decided that dogs can come too, this is great news as we had to stop going once Baxter joined our family.

Talking of Baxter, he’s had a haircut and is looking very dapper indeed after an initial bodge job which broke my heart. I shan’t be returning there again! Fortunately a lovely local lady came to the rescue, a trained dog groomer she has trimmed him up to perfection. He is a very smart boy now and also looks as if he’s lost a few pounds too! Shame that method won’t work for me.

I seem to be on a constant steady gain since the beginning of the year which is quite depressing. I’m putting it down to age as next month I turn 50 (eek!) but more about that in another email as I am trying not to think about it. I’m still loving my new job and have clocked up 5 months now!

Things to look forward to include: My birthday at the end of April, a trip to Sorrento in Italy to watch our friends getting married and an All Inclusive holiday to Lanzarote over May half term, dad’s excited about the buffet whereas I can’t wait to see Lanzarote.

Enjoy this delicious Cadbury Creme Egg Ice cream.

5.0 from 3 reviews
Cadbury's Creme Egg ice cream
 
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It's here, the best ice cream in the world. Our Easter special is Cadbury Creme Egg ice cream and it is so good you'll need to make some more.
Author:
Recipe type: ice cream
Cuisine: British
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 250 ml milk
  • 125g sugar
  • 500 ml double cream
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 12 mini Cadbury Creme Eggs chopped
  • 100g chocolate caramel shavings (used for cake decorations)
  • a handful of Cadbury Mini Eggs for garnish
Instructions
  1. Warm the milk, sugar, half of the cream and salt in a saucepan. Add the vanilla extract and then take off the heat allowing it to come back down to room temperature.
  2. In a small bowl beat the egg yolks, add a dash of the room temperature milk mixture and whisk. Add the rest of the milk mixture and return to the saucepan.
  3. Stir the milk mixture over a medium heat until thickened. Add the remaining double cream and stir well. Place in the fridge to cool down.
  4. Once cooled pour into the ice cream maker and start to churn. When the time is signalled for add ins, pop in your chopped Cadbury Creme Eggs and the chocolate shavings.
  5. Once completed, transfer to a tub and place in the freezer until time to serve.
  6. If you are freezing by hand, place the custard in the fridge to cool then in the freezer and every 30 - 45 minutes bring the mixture out and whisk it. When almost frozen add the chopped mini eggs and stir.
  7. Garnish with shopped Cadbury Creme Eggs and Cadbury mini eggs plus a few shavings.