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Blue Cheese and Avocado Dip

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First time I laid eyes on blue cheese, I must say that it wasn’t love at first sight. The blue veins and the strong smell was a bit overwhelming for me at the time. But who would have guessed that I would come to enjoy the taste of blue cheese. Lesson learnt…do not judge a book by its cover. I don’t blame some folks who just cannot stand the look, taste or smell of these blue, veined cheese (does that sound terrible?) but before you say “No”, why not give it a try. If you have not done so, taste it and then decide.

I was watching Nigella Kitchen one night and Nigella’s Roquamole recipe caught my attention. So happened I had blue cheese and avocados in my fridge. Well, why not give it a try. I must say that it’s tasty and I think if you are planning to entertain friends, be it weeknight or weekends why not add this dip onto your list. Its quick and easy, prepare it fresh just as you are ready to serve.

In her recipe, she uses 125g Roquefort or St Agur. When I made this dip, I used Castello Blue Cheese and only a 100gm. If you have an all-time favourite blue cheese, by all means use the one that you prefer. Also, I used Spanish onions instead of spring onions, fresh jalapeño and freshly squeezed lime juice.

Blue Cheese and Avocado Dip

(Adapted from Nigella’s Roquamole)

Ingredient

100gm Castello Danish Blue Cheese
60ml sour cream
2 ripe avocados
35g sliced jalapeño
2 tablespoon spanish onions, finely diced
1/4 teaspoon paprika
Lime juice to taste

Method

1. Roughly combine blue cheese with the sour cream.
2. Using a fork, mash in the avocados.
3. Add sliced jalapeños and diced spanish onion into the mixture. Squeeze in lime juice, a bit at a time to the taste of your liking.
4. Spoon the dip into a bowl, dust with the paprika and serve it with chips, vegetable sticks or even meat.

I chose to serve this with oven baked sweet potatoes and chicken goujons. It was very nice!

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‘Beurre Bosc’ Pear Yoghurt Muffins

On my recent visit to our local Fyshwick Fresh Food Markets, I can’t help but noticed an abundance of good-looking ‘Beurre Bosc’ brown pears. I’ve eaten them before and they are good to snack on. With their soft and buttery texture, they taste so sweet and juicy. It has always been on my mind to try something different with these pears but I never get around to doing it. What a timing…with a tub of yoghurt sitting in my fridge, I thought let’s try baking some Muffins!

I must admit that I cannot remember when was the last time I used yoghurt in baking muffins and as I was searching for some recipes, I came across this recipe on Taste.com.au , I thought, well, with some tweaking I could use this recipe.

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‘Beurre Bosc’ Pear Muffins
(Makes 12)

Ingredients

1 3/4 cups self-raising flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup plain natural yoghurt
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
2/3 cup grape seed oil
3 ‘Beurre Bosc’ Pears, roughly diced
Cinnamon, to sprinkle on the top of muffins (optional)

Method

1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Prepare 12 muffin cups in a 1/3 cup-capacity muffin pan. Sift flour and sugar into a bowl.
2. Combine yoghurt, egg, vanilla essence, oil and chopped pears in a large bowl. Gradually add dry ingredients, stirring until just combined.
3. Spoon mixture into muffin holes (do not fill it up to the top as the muffin will rise) and sprinkle with some cinnamon powder. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
4. Stand muffins in pan for a few minutes and then turn them onto a wire rack to cool completely.
5. Serve them warm or at room temperature.

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I was very pleased as how they turn out. The pears hold its shaped quite well, overall the muffins were soft and fluffy as the clouds!

Have you cooked or baked something using these brown pears? I would love to try out different recipes using pears.

We Love Nuts!

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Almonds, hazelnuts, brazil nuts, pistachios…the list goes on. We all love nuts and we know the nutritions that comes with it. But that is not what this post is all about, lets leave that discussion to the health experts.

I feel nuts should be in everyone’s pantry, except those who are allergic to them of course. Not just using them for when you are baking but it is convenient for when you feel like a quick snack be it at home, at the office or when you’re on the go.

We use to buy nuts from the local supermarket and I find some of them have too much salt or too sweet and there were occasions where I just couldn’t eat them because they have gone stale. Mind you, there are good quality ones out there, but we thought why don’t we just roast them ourselves, it can’t be that hard. Guess what, it is easy and we have been doing that ever since. We would buy a pack of raw mixed nuts from the local grocer and roast it however we like.

List of flavour is endless. They are easily roasted in the oven or even in a pan, with or without oil. For this badge, I chose to make just an easy one and I hope to share different other flavours in future posts. So, let’s go nuts!

Ingredients

500 grams raw mixed nuts
Salt

Method

1. Preheat oven at 180°C.
2. On a baking pan, spread the nuts evenly. Place them in the oven and stir occasionally. Roast for about 5 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Do not leave the nuts in the oven for too long, nuts still continue to cook even after you have remove them from the oven.
3. Sprinkle some salt and let it cool. Store the nuts in an airtight container.

The fragrant of freshly roasted nuts will linger in your kitchen and there is nothing better than a handful of warm roasted nuts.

Enjoy!

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Fruit and Nut Loaf

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As beneficial as it is to have carrot sticks for morning tea, if I am given a choice between carrots and raisin toast, I would choose the latter. Don’t get me wrong, I love carrots but I think most people would agree that a slice of warm raisin toast with butter makes a great accompaniment to your favourite cup of tea or coffee.

Just so happen that I didn’t have much planned for the day, what better to way to spend time in the kitchen making bread! We do have a bread machine but at times I enjoy kneading the bread myself. I didn’t have much raisins in the pantry but with other ingredients available I am sure I can make something else. So, Fruit and Nut loaf it is…

Fruit and Nut Loaf
(Adapted from The Australian Women’s Weekly)

Ingredients

2 teaspoon dry yeast
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoon warm water
160 ml warm milk
1 cup plain flour, sifted
1 egg, beaten lightly
2 teaspoon finely grated lemon rind
1 cup plain flour, sifted (extra)
1 cup wholemeal flour (extra)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
100 gram butter,softened
1/4 cup sultanas
1/4 cup dried fruit mix
1/4 cup dried figs, chopped
1/4 cup slivered almonds, roasted

For topping
A bit of milk for brushing
Mix 1 tablespoon sugar with 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Method

1. Combine yeast, 2 teaspoon of the sugar and water in a large bowl, whisk until yeast has dissolved. Whisk in milk and the first cup of sifted plain flour. Cover and leave it to stand in a warm place about 30 minutes or until mixture is frothy.
2. Stir in egg and rind, then the extra cup of plain and wholemeal flour, salt, cinnamon and remaining sugar. Stir in butter, fruit and nuts. Knead dough on floured surface until smooth. Place dough into greased bowl; cover and leave it to stand in a warm place until dough has doubled in size.
3. Preheat oven to 220°C/200°C fan-forced oven. Oil 14cm x 21cm loaf pan, line base with baking paper.
4. Turn dough onto floured surface, knead until smooth and place it into the pan. Cover loosely with greased plastic wrap and leave it to stand again in a warm place for about 30 minutes or until the dough has risen slightly. Remove plastic wrap.
5. Brush dough with milk, sprinkle with combined sugar and cinnamon. Bake for 10 minutes and then reduce oven temperature to 180°C/160°C fan-forced; bake further 35 minutes. Turn baked loaf onto a wire rack to cool.

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That’s it. Toast sliced bread under a hot grill and serve it with butter or cream cheese. Also good for afternoon snack!

If you are not rushing to go anywhere, I would suggest you try this recipe. If there is any left, it keeps well in the freezer too. Just slice and wrap them in pairs before freezing.

Good luck!

What is your favourite morning or afternoon snack?

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