Marinated Grilled Aubergines

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I’m not normally one to be publically mushy, but here it is.

 Almost one short year ago, I had quite honestly the best date of my life. All I did that evening with Charlotte was laugh and laugh until my face hurt! I have continued to laugh with her since, and have no plans to stop.

That fateful night we also spontaneously enjoyed a selection of tapas and a friendly serving of wine. What better way to celebrate a happy year, this Thursday, than with the same such delights!

 At Charlotte’s suggestion, we will be preparing a number of tapas to share, but one had to be prepared a little early. Grilled Marinated Aubergines! A delicious snack and something I’ve always wanted to try my hand to. What a great excuse!

 I’ve left it just a little later than I had intended- but then time really has shot by me this year. But, with two days to go I’d say I’m right in the nick of time! Here’s what I used…

Ingredients

  • 1 Aubergine
  • 6 teaspoons of dried oregano
  • A big pinch of salt
  • A few sprankles of crushed black pepper, plus about a teaspoon more
  • A sprinkle of chilli flakes
  • A sprinkle of Garlic Powder
  • A sprinkle of Onion Salt
  • 1 Fresh Red Chilli
  • Half a bulb of Garlic
  • Sprig of Thyme
  • About 500ml of Olive Oil

 

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Have your cake and eat it too…

If your Christmas and New Year were anything like mine, you’ve pushed your body to the max and now every inch of you is crying out for something beneficial. So, why not get to the kitchen and mix yourself up a nice, healthy, kale infused smoothie.

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Or? Why not have a
DELICIOUS CHEESECAKE!

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With a life-lengthening porridge base, creamy Greek yoghurt centre, and a surprisingly irresistible “super food” blueberry, raspberry and kale topping.

This is the recipe that caters more towards my own dietary needs, but you can tweak it to make it lower in fat if you wish, which I will included notes on!

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BOXING DAY EXTRAVAGANZA!

A tradition has grown in this family in recent years, for ANOTHER delicious meal to be cooked on Boxing Day. It’s the opportunity to indulge in more scrumptious food that, unlike Christmas day, moves away from traditional recipes and this year I have to say my Mum truly out did herself.

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ALASKAN SNOW CRAB LEGS!!

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DIPPED IN ZESTY GARLIC BUTTER!!

Snow Crab is my all time favourite, but a treat you’ll struggle to find here in England and, if you do find it, it won’t be cooked with the same love and devotion as the crab I inhaled 26th December! “Thank you” doesn’t cut it on this one… I’m still in awe! What a feast!

Christmas Dinner and Kitchen Promotions!

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This has been, I think, the best Christmas of my life. The family all together on the 25th, the gifts I gave seem very much appreciated (particularly a cardigan to my Grandfather), the gifts I received were just WONDERFUL (such as a number of useful books and equipment for my travelling!) … And my Mum cooked a terrific lamb Christmas dinner with a prawny starter!

Every Christmas for years now, my Grandmother and I have played happy helpers to my Mother in the preparation for Christmas dinner. My Grandma is responsible for the peeling and chopping of veg and the ever important carving of the meat. She’s notoriously good at it, while I’m yet to learn how to slice anything thinner than a dictionary. My role is to provide assistance with the afore mentioned veg as appropriate, but THIS YEAR I’m so proud to say I was promoted! This year I was IN CHARGE of Roast Potatoes and Yorkshire Puddings!

This decision was made by my Mum after she tried the spuds and puds I cooked alongside the Mulled Beef for us a couple of weeks ago! They went down a treat with her, and I’m pleased to say they received a similar response with Christmas Dinner!

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Mulled Beef Christmas Dinner

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Yesterday, my Mum and I put up and decorated the magnificent Maitland Family Christmas Tree! It’s a lot of fun, very exciting but also damn exhausting, which is why I prepared a dinner worthy of The Three Kings to reward us after!

The Mulled Beef is effectively Roast Beef but with a 24 hour marinade based on- you guessed it- mulled wine! The flavours permeate and complement the beef beautifully and make an unforgettably festive gravy to accompany the dish. The marinade keeps it a fairly straight-forward dish to put together. For anyone struggling to think of something new to cook 25th December that moves away from the traditional turkey, but still has overtones of Christmas with every bite then this is certainly a recipe for you to consider!

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THE SPANISH HAVE INVADED!!

My TASTEBUDS, that is!!

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Recently, a Spanish influence has stepped into my life and introduced me to a whole new world of flavour.

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This weekend, Diana gave me the perfect gift of a book to record my favourite (and some more secret) recipes. I immediately knew what the first recipe in this book was going to be.

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Salmorejo!

There aren’t the words to express how much I love this dish. Even looking at that picture now makes me go crazy for not having it in front of me. The combination of tomato, garlic, oil and bread may seem simple enough, and frankly I don’t understand all the magic behind the deliciousness. I also know the concept of raw garlic in anything will be enough to make my fellow Brits VERY nervous, but please PLEASE I beg you to put what you think you know to one side and try this dish. When I eat this, I feel absolutely invincible and satisfied beyond belief. I’ve never actually made this myself, but the last time Diana whipped it up, I monitored her activity with a tediously close proximity. Here’s how to do it…

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Geeking Out for Operation: Cake Quest

The Monday just gone was my friend Diana’s birthday. Knowing carrot cake is her favourite, and knowing she was unfortunate enough for her birthday to land on a Monday, I couldn’t resist surprising her with a tasty treat! I’d never made a carrot cake before, and the prospect was a tad daunting, so Sunday morning I set out to find an easy recipe to build from!

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I would just like to side step, and take a moment to geek out about a free food app I’ve recently discovered that goes by the name of Yummly! Anyone who enjoys cooking and wants a world of recipes at their finger tips should download it and use it immediately! Simply search for a recipe (you can search by ingredient, country or even be specific like I have been here, or browse through the thousands they have on the home screen) and select. Want to hold onto it for future reference? Add it to your Yum List! Look through the ingredients and add anything you don’t have in the house to your built-in Shopping List. When you get to the supermarket, you have right in your pocket the exact items and measurements you require so there’s no longer the risk of finding yourself short of something halfway through cooking!

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Anyway, now I’ve got that out of my system, back to the carrot cake recipe.

I found a super easy to follow recipe via Yummly, that from the looks of it can also be found on the All Recipes UK website. I made a few tweaks, such as thickening the icing, adding a teaspoon of nutmeg, and making the vanilla a little more special, not to mention a few other tricks! So, with no further ado, here’s my Carrot Cake Recipe!

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Chocolate Bombe

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After the recent development of an obsession with Rick Stein and Thailand, my parents bought a recipe book called “J. Sheekey Fish”, based on the London restaurant by the same name which has received oodles of praise from Rick Stein himself. One day when my father was thumbing through the dessert section, he was blown away by the idea of this “Chocolate Bombe”. I knew at that moment I had to make it for him on his birthday.

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Gooseberry Duck

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My Dad loves gooseberries. He always has. My Aunt Kris, his sister, recalls him stealing them from the neighbour’s gooseberry bush when they were kids. In fact, he very rarely shuts up nagging for a gooseberry pie or a gooseberry crumble or some kind of gooseberry treat. Nag as he might, it never happens. That’s why gooseberry duck seemed like the perfect main course for his birthday!

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