the recipe sharer

Archive: Feb 2014

Easy baked penne

Everyone needs one of these meaty, creamy, cheesy dishes that are universally adored, easy to make and can be made as much for large crowds as for 4 people.


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Serves 4 to 6
8 oz penne pasta
1/2 lb ground beef, lamb, sweet Italian sausage or even chorizo
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 (24 oz) jar of good quality Marinara sauce or similar spaghetti sauce
1/2 cup sour cream
6 oz Provolone cheese
6 oz shredded or sliced Mozzarella
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
chopped parsley

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, brown the ground beef or other meat.
Add the onion and cook until softened.
Add the spaghetti sauce and allow to simmer for 15 minutes.
Stir in the sour cream.
Add the drained pasta and stir to coat

Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Spray a 2 quart baking dish with non stick cooking spray.
Pour half of the pasta into the baking dish.
Top with half of the Provolone and half of the Mozzarella.
Pour the remaining pasta on top and top it with the remaining Provolone and Mozzarella and sprinkle the Parmesan on top.
Bake until the cheese is melted and bubbly, about 30 minutes.
Sprinkle with chopped parsley before serving.

Tom Kha Gai. The world’s best soup!

This is one of my “desert island” foods. I am absolutely addicted to this soup and these flavors. The bright, clean taste of lime, ginger and cilantro and the exotic coconut milk and red curry paste is divine.
Red curry paste is available online on Amazon and this particular brand is the best and will keep in the fridge for months. They also have green and yellow pastes. I have all three on the go all the time.
If you don’t have the Keffir lime leaves, then use lime zest, but I highly recommend you go out and buy a Keffir lime tree and keep it in a pot. There is nothing like the flavor of those leaves.

1 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 stalk lemon grass (pound the white ends to release the flavor)
2 tsp or more, of red curry paste
4 cups chicken broth
3 tbsp Thai fish sauce (Asian section in supermarket)
1 tbsp coconut or palm sugar. (optional)
3 (13.5 oz ) cans coconut milk
1lb chicken breast sliced thin
1/2 lb fresh shitake mushrooms, sliced
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
2 Keffir lime leaves, very finely chopped, or the zest of 1 lime
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
salt, to taste

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat.
Saute the chicken pieces till done, add the ginger, lemongrass and curry paste and cook, stirring for 1 minute.
Stop,    inhale,    the aroma!
Slowly pour the chicken broth over the mixture, stirring cnstantly.
Stir in the fish sauce and coconut sugar and simmer for 15 minutes.
Stir in the coconut milk and mushrooms and cook and stir until the mushrooms are soft, abut 5 mins.
Stir in the lime juice, and zest or finely sliced (julienned) Keffir lime leaves.
Season with salt, garnish with cilantro.


An easy chicken curry


I made this for dinner tonight and it was very successful. So flavorsome and yet not too complicated, as long as you have the spices on hand. I roast my own cumin, then grind it, but you don’t have to.

Serves 6
2 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
2 cups chopped onion
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp minced ginger root
1 heaped tbsp curry powder
1 heaped tsp ground cumin
1 heaped tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper ( or more if you like heat)
1 tbsp chicken stock or water
1 (15 oz) can crushed tomatoes
1 cup full fat plain yoghurt
2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
1 tsp salt
1 heaped tsp garam masala
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

Cut the chicken into large cubes and sprinkle it with 2 tsp salt .
Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat and brown the chicken pieces well, in several batches.
Transfer the browned chicken to a plate and set aside.
Reduce the heat to medium high and add the onion, garlic and ginger. Cook, stirring until the onion is translucent, about 5 to 8 mins.
Stir in the curry powder, cumin, coriander, turmeric, cayenne and 1 tbsp chicken stock into the onion mixture. Stir well so that any brown chicken bits come off the bottom of the pan and add to the flavor and the spices are well mixed in with the onions.
Mix in the tomatoes, yoghurt, 1 tbsp chopped cilantro and 1 tsp salt into the mixture.
Return the chicken to the pan, along with any juices from the chicken.
If it looks as if it needs some more liquid, you can pour in about 1/4 cup chicken stock, but I didn’t need to.
Sprinkle the chicken with the garam masala and 1 more tbsp chopped cilantro. Mix in and cover the skillet, simmering for about 20 minutes.
Sprinkle the dish with the fresh lemon juice before serving with hot rice


Heavenly one bowl apple cake


This is a dark, dense, gooey apple cake. The one extra step in this recipe is for soaking the dates in Apple Brandy or Calvados.

Serves 12 to 16
3/4 cup chopped dates
3/4 cup Calvados or apple brandy
2 cups unbleached, all purpose flour
2 cups white sugar
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
3/4 tsp salt
4 cups slightly tart apples; peeled, cored and roughly chopped
1/2 cup melted butter
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
icing sugar for decorations

About 1 hour before starting to bake, place the dates in a small bowl and cover with the Calvados or apple brandy. Stir from time to time and if they get too “tight” just add more brandy.
Preheat the oven to 325 F.
Using butter, grease a baking pan. (approx 13″ x 9″ x 2″)
Into a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
Add the chopped apples, dates, melted butter and the eggs. This will be a heavy, thick batter, but don’t worry, just make sure you mix it well together.
Spread in the prepared pan, place on a rack in the center of the oven and bake for 1 hour.
Test with a skewer, if it comes out a bit gooey, then bake for another 5 to 10 mins.
It will be a nice dark color  and should spring back to a light touch.
Serve with some icing sugar (powdered sugar) sprinkled over the top. This is delicious hot, warm or cold.


Loaded supreme nachos


This is such fun to serve at a party and completely over the top in all ways.

1 bag tortilla chips
1 x 16 oz can refried beans
1lb ground beef, browned and drained on paper towels
1/2 lb chorizo sausage, browned and drained on paper towels
1 cup cooked chicken (optional)
1 x 8 oz can tomato sauce
3 tbsp taco sauce
1 cup Monterey jack cheese, shredded
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup sliced ripe olives
1/4 cup scallions
1/2 cup shredded lettuce
1 can jalapenos, sliced (to your taste)
1/2 cup guacamole
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup spicy salsa

Heat the oven to 350 F
Combine the refried beans, browned beef, chorizo, chicken, tomato sauce and taco sauce and set aside.
Layer the chips out on an oven safe pan (use a cookie sheet). Layer the meat mixture on the chips.
Layer the cheeses, olives and green onions.
Heat in the oven until the cheese melts
Then top with the remaining ingredients and serve


Curried tuna salad to put in sandwiches or pita pockets


Such a divine  filling for sandwiches or even just wrapped in a lettuce leaf.

2 cans (about 6 oz each) solid light tuna packed in olive oil, well drained and broken into large chunks
1/4 cup drained sliced pickled jalapeno peppers, chopped
1/2 cup good mayonnaise
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
2 tsp best quality curry powder
1/4 cup diced celery heart
1/4 cup diced red onion
1/2 cup dark raisins
1/2 cup coarsely chopped Granny Smith apple, unpeeled
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Gently combine the tuna, jalapenos, mayonnaise, lime juice, curry powder, celery heart, red onion, raisins, apple, basil and salt and pepper to taste, in a medium bowl.
Serve with bread or pita pockets.

One-bowl easy banana cake


This is the easiest one-bowl banana cake recipe. Use a flat rectangular baking tin for this, as it will cook  more evenly.

4 bananas
11 oz superfine sugar (caster sugar)
4 large eggs
8 fl oz sunflower oil
15 oz plain flour
2 tsp baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2  tsp salt
5 oz walnut pieces
4 oz raisins

Preheat the oven to 350 F
Mash the bananas until they are smooth. A potato masher is good for this.
In a large bowl, put the mashed bananas, and add all the other ingredients, one by one, stirring with each addition. It doesn’t matter in what order you put them in, except I recommend putting the raisins and walnuts in at the end.
Lightly grease your baking tin and pour the cake mixture in.
Bake for 1 hour.


One-bowl golden raisin (sultana) cake


Another one-bowl gem and this is packed with golden raisins, or, as they say in New Zealand, sultanas. This is terrific with a cup of tea, midday, and it lasts for 2 weeks!

4 1/2 oz melted butter
1 1/2 lbs golden raisins
3/4 cup plain flour
2 tbsp marmalade
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup self-raising flour
1/4 cup sweet sherry

Preheat the oven to 300 F.
Grease a cake tin or loaf tin, line the base with parchment paper.
Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl, beat with a wooden spoon until the ingredients are combined well.
Spread  into the prepared tin. ( You can decorate the top with blanched almonds if you like.)
Bake in the oven for 1.5 to 2 hours.
Remove from the oven when firm to the touch and a skewer comes out clean when pushed into the cake.
Cover with foil and leave to cool in the tin.

One-bowl sticky lime and coconut drizzle loaf


This is an incredibly easy recipe as you throw everything into one bowl. The flavors send you straight to the Caribbean and it’s very moist and sticky. You will love this one!

4 oz butter, softened
6 oz self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
6 oz golden caster sugar, or superfine sugar
2 large eggs
Half a 400g can of coconut milk (use the other half for the icing)
finely grated zest of 2 limes (use the juice for the icing)

For the icing and decoration
 Remaining coconut milk
8 oz golden caster sugar or superfine sugar
finely grated zest 1 lime plus the juice of all three limes

Heat the oven to 350 F
Line a 2lb loaf tin with baking parchment.
Tip all the cake ingredients into a large mixing bowl, then beat until completely combined and the mixture drops off the spoon.
Tip the mixture into the loaf tin, then smooth the top with the back of a spoon.
Bake for 40 mins until golden and firm to the touch.
While the loaf is baking, make the icing and sugar.

To make the icing;
Tip the coconut milk and 6 oz sugar into a saucepan. Boil for 5 mins until syrupy and you see the bottom of the saucepan when you stir.  Stir in the lime juice and set aside.
Meanwhile, crush the remaining sugar with the lime zest until you have a damp green paste and set aside.
When the loaf is cooked, remove from the oven and pour the icing a little at a time, waiting for the cake to absorb it before adding more.
By the time all the icing is used, it will be coming up the sides of the tin.
Leave everything to cool.
To serve, carefully remove the loaf from the tin, sprinkle with the lime sugar and cut into pieces

Eggs poached in kale and tomato sauce

Such a tasty, healthy dish for brunch or Sunday supper.
Serves 4 to 6
 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, peeled and minced
1 small carrot, scrubbed and minced
1 celery stalk, minced
3 tbsp Italian parsley, minced
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 small sprig fresh rosemary
1 to 2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bunch kale, washed and finely chopped
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 x 28 oz can whole San Marzano tomatoes
Salt and pepper
4 to 6 large eggs (depending on how many each person wants to eat)
3 oz crumbled goat cheese, for serving (optional)
In a large, deep frying pan, heat your olive oil over medium heat until shimmering, then add the onion, carrot, celery and parsley.
Cook, stirring frequently, until deeply browned, about 10 mins.
Add the garlic, rosemary, thyme and cook for 1 minutes, then add the kale.
Cook, stirring, until the kale has softened somewhat, about 5 mins.
Add the tomato paste and canned tomatoes, plus their juice.
Smash up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon and add a few pinches of salt and pepper, cover the sauce and simmer for 8 to 10 mins . taste and add more salt and pepper to taste.
 Use your wooden spoon to make wells in the sauce for your eggs.
Crack each of the eggs into it’s well and sprinkle them with a little more salt and pepper.
Cover the pan and cook over low heat until the egg whites have set but the yolks  are still runny, about 5 mins.
Crumble the goat cheese over the eggs, if using, and serve warm.
Crusty bread for mopping up the sauce is a great idea too.