Polenta pie with vegetables

This takes under an hour to make and is impressive for a bbq lunch, or just nice as a week night side dish for the family. With the vegetables giving such beautiful colours, your eyes eat this first! I hope you enjoy this beautiful polenta pie!

Ingredients for the base

2/3 cup polenta

3 cups water

1 tsp salt

½ cup grated parmesan

Some olive oil

 

Ingredients for the vegetable topping

60 g butter

1 packet of swiss brown mushrooms

3 pieces of grilled capsicum marinated in olive oil and garlic (can be homemade or store bought)

1 bunch of asparagus

3 cloves of garlic, chopped or crushed

125 g feta cheese

Fresh herbs of your choice – I used basil.

 

Method

Rub olive oil around your pie dish before you forget! I follow packet directions for my instant polenta which means bringing the 3 cups of water to the boil, then adding the polenta, turning down the heat and stirring until it is thick. Now add your salt and parmesan cheese, stirring until all melted through. Spoon the polenta into your pie dish. Bake at 200bdegrees Celsius for about 20 minutes until the top is crisp.

For the veges, just think of it as making a side of veg; melt the butter in a pan, add the garlic and mushrooms sautéing for about 10 minutes. Now add your asparagus and turn up the heat a little. Finally, add your capsicum and if your marinade doesn’t have herbs, add a few fresh herbs to boost the flavours!

Spoon the veges on to the top of your pie and sprinkle with feta cheese. I chopped my feta, but you can purchase a crumbly one that’ll go down nicely too. Pop a slight sprinkle of herb on top (I used basil this time) and serve with love!

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Polenta pie with vegetables

Ricotta gnocchi bake

This dish is a lot of effort, but you can do it within about 90 minutes, so it isn’t the most time consuming thing you’ll ever make. It is however one of the yummiest things you’ll ever make! So have a go, and serve it to people who will appreciate the effort of homemade pasta… that is seriously all of my family and friends!!

 

Ingredients for the gnocchi

250g pecorino or other Italian cheese

250g ricotta cheese

1 egg

3/4 cup plain flour

2 shakes of ground nutmeg

 

Ingredients for the sauce

1 onion finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, crushed/finely chopped

Splash olive oil

100 g butter

300 ml cream

½ cup grated parmesan cheese

A bunch of thyme

Salt and pepper

 

 Other ingredients

A little more thyme

A handful of your favourite cheese

 

Making the gnocchi

Combine the ricotta, cheese, the egg, nutmeg and flour. Stir with a metal knife and then knead into a soft dough. Divide the mix into three portions and roll into sausage shape logs. If the dough is too sticky add a little extra flour when rolling/kneading. Cut the logs up into small 1 cm pieces and flatten a little in the palms of your hand.

Have a large saucepan of boiling salt water on the go and cook the gnocchi in a few batches in the water. I stir the water to create a swirl just before plonking in the gnocchi. It is cooked when it has been floating for a few minutes. Scoop out and set aside to drain.

Making the sauce

Sauté the onion and garlic in a little olive oil. Add the butter and cream. Now slide the leaves from the thyme sprigs and add. Season as you like with salt and pepper. Once butter is melted through add the cheese and take off heat. The cheese should melt nicely into the hot sauce. Place back on low heat for a few minutes, stirring constantly. Take off and set aside.

Putting it all together

Gently place your gnocchi in an oven proof dish. Pour your sauce on top. Now sprinkle with your favourite cheese. I used mozzarella! Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for about 20 minutes. Sprinkle with a little thyme and serve with love!!

Ricotta gnocchi bake

Gingerbread biscuits with royal egg white icing

These biscuits make fantastic gifts in little boxes, and are wonderful to bring your loved ones together making beautiful memories in the kitchen! Furthermore, they are delectable! I hope you enjoy these lovely treats!

 

Ingredients
250 g butter
1 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup treacle
2 egg yolks – and keep the whites for the icing
5 cups plain flour
3 tbs ground ginger
2 tsp bi carb soda
2 egg whites – from above for icing
3 cups icing sugar for icing

Hundreds and thousands sprinkles!

 

Method
Cream the butter, sugar, treacle and yolk. Then add sifted flour little by little. Add the ginger and bi-carb too. Divide the mixture and knead well. Add more flour if it is too sticky. Roll your dough out onto bake paper until about 5-7mm thick. Lay your patterns you’ve cut on top and use a knife to cut the edges off. You can also use cookie cutters. I did a combination this year! Lay on a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake for around 15 minutes on 170 degrees Celsius, but check after 10 minutes – it all depends on the thickness of your dough!

Royal icing aka glue
Mix egg whites with an electric mixer, gradually adding the icing sugar. Mix on high until the icing is at a consistency of being able to have some on a spoon and it not slip off. Once the cookies have cooled down, use the royal icing to spread on the cookies to decorate. Some we leave just like that, and others we sprinkle with hundreds and thousands for a pop of colour – the kids love them!! These really are a beautiful gift for people, and a lovely way to make memories with your family or helpers!

Gingerbread biscuits with royal egg white icing

Simple pavlova topping

This really is a simple and scrumptious creation! Choose whatever fruit you like that is in season and I promise your pavlova will be amazing!

 

Ingredients

250ml thickened cream

1 cup icing powder

2 tsp vanilla pod scrapings

Fruit of your choice (here I have 3 nectarines sliced and 250 g blueberries).

Maple syrup

 

Method

Combine the cream, icing powder and vanilla in a bowl and blend with an electric mixer on medium speed until thick and lovely. Taste your cream, and if you’d like a little more vanilla do add it!

Spoon the cream onto your pavlova and spread it until about an inch thick. Top with your fruits. Now drizzle excessively with your maple syrup! That’s all there is too it, and it is a crowd pleaser! Enjoy your creation!

Simple pavlova topping

Brown sugar dotties

This recipe is based off my cookie base, and is a winner with kid’s parties and afternoon tea treats. They look so fun and playful, and are very tasty! Good luck keeping these around, they go quick!

 

Ingredients

125 g butter

3/4 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

2 cups self-raising flour

A pinch of salt

Large chocolate buttons

 

Method

Have the butter at room temperature and then stir in your sugar. Add the eggs one at a time and stir for a while. Now add the salt and flour. Stir until combined. It should be hard to stir with your spoon, and still pliable . Using a tablespoon to measure, section out portions and roll into balls using the palm of your hand. Place on a lined baking tray. Press the chocolate buttons a little bit into the middle of your balls.

Bake your cookies in a 180 degree Celsius oven for about 20 minutes. This recipe makes about 24 cookies. For a variation have a go with a little crushed almond on top!

[LM1]

Brown sugar dotties

naughty but nice

Sweet potatoes are natures super food, and cinnamon sugar is sinful, so that’s why I call this ‘naughty but nice’. I first had it years ago at a restaurant and I make it a couple of times a year for the family. This really is simple but brings your plate and taste buds to life! Have a go!

 

Ingredients

Sweet potatoes

Butter

Cinnamon sugar

 

Method

Wrap your sweet spud in baking paper and twist at both ends like a bon bon or Christmas cracker. Roast in a 180 degree Celsius oven for about an hour, depending on the size of your spud. Cut in half and pop a dollop of butter on top. Now sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. That is it, and that is all it needs to be. Now to wipe the drool from the keyboard…..

naughty but nice

Jam drops

It is quite remiss of me that jam drops are not here yet! We love our jam drops! This recipe is a little different to others as I use rice flour and self-raising flour. These little morsels make fabulous gifts too! And really, who wouldn’t want a bag of buttery goodness?!

 Ingredients

250 g butter

1 cup caster sugar

½ cup brown sugar

4 eggs

1 ½ cups self-raising flour

1 cup rice flour

A pinch of salt

Strawberry jam

 

Method

Have the butter at room temperature and then stir in your sugars. Add the eggs one at a time and stir for a while. Now add the salt and rice flour. Stir until combined. Finally, add the self-raising flour. It should be hard to stir with your spoon, and still pliable . Using a tablespoon to measure, section out portions and roll into balls using the palm of your hand. Place on a lined baking tray. Press into the middle of the balls with your finger, being careful not to touch the bottom, just making a small indent. Add a little jam into the cavity you’ve created. Mine usually take ¼ to ½ a teaspoon.

Bake your cookies in a 180 degree Celsius oven for about 20 minutes until golden brown on the top. This recipe makes lots of cookies!! Approximately 40. For a variation have a go at some little chocolate bits instead of jam, plain or with a little crushed almond on top!

[LM1]

Jam drops