Nutella Cookies

The OH thinks I have a problem…I can’t stop looking at pictures of food. Every spare minute I have he catches me looking at Pinterest, other food blogs, my food blog.

That's right dear, I only made four...

That’s right dear, I only made four…

So, yeh. I’m obsessed, so shoot me (ah, please don’t! At least not until you’ve tried these cookies?)

Nutella, flour, egg

Nutella, flour, egg

Three ingredients. That’s it. And one of them is Nutella. The other two are flour and an egg. That is it! As with the salted caramels I made for Christmas, this recipe has been floating about on Pinterest for ages and as I had a spare like, two minutes I decided to give it a whirl.

Nutella Cookies

1 cup flour, 1 cup nutella, 1 egg (that really is it…)

Mix it all together in a bowl. Make little balls about an inch across and press them flat-ish on a lined baking sheet. Even if you turn your oven on before you start it won’t be hot before these are ready to go in. They are so easy peasy!! Bake at 180 C for 7-8 minutes. They burn quick, don’t let your oven get too hot or leave them too long. Eat all of them, before the OH gets home so as to hide the evidence of your addiction…or share them, up to you.

p.s. I’m trying it with peanut butter tomorrow!

 

 

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Gnocchi with Garlic Brown Butter and Shredded Spinach

This is my its two weeks til Christmas, I can’t spend more than two minutes on my feet, I’ve been shopping all day dinner.

Get you cloves off!

Get your cloves off!

Today I spent hours traipsing round toy shops trying to find a mechanical cat that didn’t look like it might malfunction and tear my little sister’s face off, and Peppa Pig slippers. Parents seem to have an innate sense of where to find these things. I had no clue where to even start. Thank goodness we have Bhs in Malta…

I also need to eat something other than candied peel for dinner. Yes, I am eating everyone’s Christmas presents for them, yes I will have to make more….

I like to make my own gnocchi and if you haven’t spent all day on your feet, or you have someone lovely that will make it for you, here‘s the recipe. However, there are some pretty good pre-made types that you can buy in places that do fresh pasta. I was just going to eat the gnocchi on its own with the garlic butter but threw in a handful of spinach at the last minute and boy am I glad I did!

Gnocchi with Garlic Butter and Shredded Spinach

Gnocchi, garlic, butter, rock salt, big handful of spinach (or kale would work equally well)

Cook the gnocchi as per the instructions on the packet, most need just a few minutes in salted, boiling water. Slice the garlic then fry in a big knob of butter until the butter is brown and sizzly. Add the gnocchi, tossing well so they are coated in the butter and allow them to fry a little to give them a bit of crisp and colour. Stir in the spinach, leave for thirty seconds then serve. I could eat buckets of this stuff, it makes super supper or a lovely lunch, perfect for the drop dead shopping diva (with a large glass of wine…of course).

FlapJacks (and Toms)

Possibly the most popular of the elevenses snacks I’ve made in the last few weeks has been the flapjacks, particularly with the crew (Jack and Tom). Served on getting into port with a hot cup of tea after a rather wet and windy sail, they went down a storm (sorry). Here’s the recipe so that you’ve got something nice to snack on after a cold and blustery dog walk, or Sunday stroll to the pub.

Flap Jacks and Toms

Flap Jacks and Toms

Flapjacks

350g rolled oats, 175g sugar, 175g butter, 175g golden syrup, two handfuls chopped, dried apricots

Heat the oven to 150 C, line and grease a baking tray. Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the sugar and the syrup and stir until dissolved. Turn off the heat and then stir in the oats and apricots (or other dried fruit, cranberries would be a nice Christmassy addition). Pour into the baking tin and squish it down well. Bake for 40 minutes, allow to cool for 15 minutes before turning it out and slicing, then a further ten minutes (if at all possible) before serving.

*So when I looked at the recipe for these I didn’t notice that you do in fact need twice as many oats as any other ingredient…so on pouring a very sloppy mix into tins, checking to see how long they needed and noticing my error, I had to pour it all out and start again….Note: Read recipes carefully

Tasty soup soup!

A long time ago there was a song about soup by the Mighty Boosh…

“Soup Soup
Tasty Soup Soup
Spicy carrot and corriander
Chilli chowder
Crouton Crouton
Crunch friends in a liquid broth
I am gespatchio Oh!
I am a summer soup Mmmm!
Miso Miso
Fighting in the dojo
Miso Miso
Oriental Prince in the land of soup”

Along with salad, soup is another favourite among the crew and is rapidly becoming a quick and easy go to lunch for me if I’m rushed with other bits and pieces. It is so easy just to prep some veg, stick it in a pot, boil and then blend. Ta da! Soup. However, there are a few tricks which can turn what is really just vegetable pureé into a tasty soup.

I always put heaps of garlic in everything, this is no different for soup. First I like to fry off some garlic and onion with a little leek too. Add a liter of stock (flavour depending on what vegetables/meat you are using) to the pan, bring to the boil and then add your prepared veg.

And by prepared I don’t just mean chopped. For some recipes I like to pre-cook the veg, for example, Roasted Butternut Squash and Red Pepper soup gets a wonderful dimension of flavour added by roasting the veg in olive oil, rock salt and a little rosemary before adding them to the stock.

Adding herbs can make a real difference too. Fresh is best though dried is fine if that’s all you’ve got to hand. If you aren’t growing some on the windowsill and are buying cut herbs from the local grocers (please not the supermarkets…), pop them in a glass of water just like you would with cut flowers. Not something I had ever thought of before seeing it in a kitchen in Italy, it might just be me, apologies for perhaps pointing out the obvious. Anyway, a good bunch of parsley in a Broccoli soup does wonders to balance out the sometimes bitter vegetable, especially if you’re going for the iron super-boost and add a bunch of cavolo nero like I did this evening (they grow cabbages in their floral road verges here in Antibes…not sure if that counts as foraging???).

Top with sesame seeds and a drizzle of sesame oil

Top with sesame seeds and a drizzle of sesame oil

I am also a fan of cheese in soup, one of my favourite allotment recipes before I moved to Italy was Pea and Potato soup; a great way of using up excesses of both crops when you forget to stagger planting (oops). Lashings of mint and a ton of goat cheese make this soup really luxurious, and probably not as healthy as soup ought to be…

Leftovers, great for soup. Got some roast chicken left over from Sunday lunch, wack it in a soup with potatoes and sweetcorn, one of my favourites from childhood!

Croutons. I love croutons. Well actually I like fried bread but it amounts to the same thing. Putting things on top of your soup is all about adding texture. I also like to sprinkle sesame seeds or toasted nuts over the top and a drizzle of something oily or creamy doesn’t go amiss either.

And finally, seasoning. Salt and pepper are really important. If a dish is a little flat it could be that adjusting the seasoning can make all the difference. Salt is not bad for you as long as you don’t overdo it, in fact you need it in your diet to keep you healthy so don’t worry about adding a good pinch to lift the flavour.

Don’t forget, loads of fresh crusty bread to serve it with. So

anytime you need a quick lunch, or have lots of vegetables or leftovers to use up, wizz up a batch of ‘Soup, soup. Tasty soup soup!’