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Roast Potato & Fennel Salad with Warm Pancetta Vinaigrette

28 Mar

With the warmer weather coming our way, why don’t you try this lovely salad. Another recipe from my fabulous friend Jennifer who has allowed us some delicious recipes from her own private recipe book ‘Southern Belle’ she bakes and cooks for many events and I have been lucky enough to try her food! It’s Yum! Dont forget to try baking her apple and cinnamon muffins I have also posted.

Roast Potato & Fennel Salad with Warm Pancetta Vinaigrette

This recipe satisfies a winter craving for a warm, hearty salad when there’s very little in season except root vegetables and fennel! I love the combination of crisp roast potatoes with the sweet, caramelised fennel and salty pancetta. The dressing is whisked together in a sauté pan and the apple cider vinegar really makes these simple flavours sing.
The salad is ready in the time it takes for the potatoes to roast. I tend to chop them on the small side so they don’t take as long to cook. Serve this salad with crusty bread or a shop bought roast chicken for a satisfying week night dinner.

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Yield:

4 Servings

Ingredients:

500g charlotte or other variety small salad potatoes, chopped into small cubes
1 fennel bulb, core and stalk removed, thinly sliced cross wise
2 tbsp plus 2 tsp olive oil
Salt & pepper
2 small bags or 1 large bag mixed salad leaves (I prefer the watercress, rocket and spinach combo)
400g pancetta cubes
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, minced or grated on a microplane
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Parmesan cheese, for serving

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C.

Place the chopped potatoes and fennel slices on a roasting tray, drizzle with 2 tbsp olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss until the potatoes are well coated. Spread the vegetables into one single layer and roast for 30 – 40 minutes until tender, golden brown and crisp. Flip twice with a spatula during cooking to ensure even browning.

While the potatoes cook, place the salad leaves in a large serving bowl.

Heat the remaining 2 tsp olive oil in a medium sauté pan over medium high heat. Add the pancetta cubes and fry until crisp. Remove the cubes from the pan with a slotted spoon and place on some paper towels to drain.

Add the Dijon mustard, garlic and cider vinegar to the pan with the pancetta drippings, whisking thoroughly over low heat. Season with additional salt and pepper if desired.

Add the warm potatoes, fennel and cooked pancetta cubes to the salad leaves. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss thoroughly to combine. Garnish with parmesan cheese. I prefer thin shavings made with a vegetable peeler for this salad. Enjoy!

Apple and Cinnamon muffin recipe

13 Mar

One of my talented friends owns a baking company called ‘Southern Belle’ her cakes and muffins are to die for! As a special treat she has let us in on one of her special recipes that we can enjoy making and eating at home! Thank you Jennifer for this yummy recipe.

Apple Cinnamon Muffins
These muffins are seriously good!! And the best part is that they are super easy to make and are much better for you than the cakey alternatives available at the shop.
This recipe uses both plain flour and whole wheat flour for added fiber and protein. There is very little fat in this recipe – the muffins retain loads of moisture from buttermilk and applesauce, which also boosts the apple flavour. I adore cinnamon, so I’ve used a full two teaspoons here. Ground nutmeg adds extra warmth and some freshly grated lemon zest really brings out the flavour in both the spices and the apples. Added texture and crunch comes from the brown sugar pecan topping. The muffins will keep for at least 4 days if stored in an air tight container. Make them today, you won’t regret it!!

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Yield:

12 muffins

Ingredients:

Brown sugar pecan topping:

50g light brown muscovado sugar
50g pecans, chopped
½ tsp ground cinnamon

Muffin batter:

125g plain flour
125g whole wheat flour (a fine ground whole wheat flour produces lighter baked goods!)
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
130g light brown muscovado sugar
59 ml vegetable oil
2 large eggs
237 ml applesauce (look for an apple content of at least 70%)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
175 ml buttermilk, shaken
2 medium sized apples, peeled, cored and chopped into ¼ inch pieces (I love the combination of a tart Granny Smith with a sweet variety such as Pink Lady)

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. Line a standard 12 cup muffin pan with paper liners or coat empty cups with a non stick cooking spray.

In a small bowl, mix together the topping ingredients and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the flours, remaining 1 ½ tsp cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon zest, baking soda and salt. Whisk together for a full 30 seconds to ensure ingredients are thoroughly incorporated.

In a large bowl, whisk together the remaining 130g light brown sugar, oil and eggs until combined and smooth. Whisk in the applesauce and vanilla.

Whisk in the flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the buttermilk. Mix until just combined. Over mixing or beating the batter heavily at this stage will result in tough muffins! Fold in the apple pieces.

Fill the muffin cups ¾ full (I like to use an ice cream scoop to ensure the muffins are the same size) and top each cup with two teaspoons of the brown sugar pecan topping. Bake for approximately 17 – 20 minutes until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out mostly clean, but with a few moist crumbs.
Cool the muffins in the pans for 10 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.