Category Archives: Holidays

Super simple Pastry Dough

Super simple Pastry Dough!


And when I say simple, I mean really simple and pretty much fool proof and no fail. This flaky pastry dough keeps amazing in the fridge for a few days and also in the freezer for about a month. We always have some in the freezer.
Sometimes I prepare various tins filled with dough, pop them in the freezer so I can make a pie or mini tarts at a moments notice.
What I love about this recipe is that you can use it for both sweet or savoury pies.
The most important thing with pastry is that it has to be, and stay as cold as possible at all times until it goes into the oven. When using ice water use as little as possible, a high fat content is essential in the butter you use, 80% preferably. Cut the butter in small cubes and place it in the freezer for 5 minutes while you set up your food processor and get everything ready.
After that it’s five minutes work and your done.


INGREDIENTS:

– 200 gr / 7 oz. cold butter
– 300 gr / 10 1/2 oz all purpose flour
– a pinch of salt
– about two tablespoon of ice cold water (maybe three)

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Fill a glas with ice cubes and add water.
2. Cut your butter into small cubes, place them in a bowl a place this in the freezer while you get out your flour and food processor.
Measure the flour and place in the bowl of the food processor. Add all the butter, divided evenly over the flour. You want to process as little as possible and as quickly as possible.
Add the pinch of salt.
Pulse the food processor a few times until the mixture resembles sand, add the ice water one tablespoon at a time. Pulse again. To test, grab some pastry between your fingers and press together, as soon as it holds , it’s ready. Tip out on to a work surface and shape into a ball. Wrap in cling film and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before shaping.
When ready to use, roll out the pastry to desired shape, place in tin that has been oiled slightly, pierce the pastry with a fork and place a piece of parchment paper on top. Add some baking beans. Return to the refrigerator for another 30 minutes to cool completely before baking.
Bake for 15 minutes, then remove the parchment paper and baking beans and bake for for 5 more minutes.
Now they are ready to be filled with your favourite filling, sweet or savoury.
Enjoy!

Mediterranean Roast Lamb with Mint Chimichurri

Mediterranean Roast Lamb with Mint Chimichurri, what’s not to love?

This recipe is simple, fuss-free and turns out perfect every time, lamb is very forgiving since it’s quit a fatty cut of meat so it will not dry out easily. However I do put a small baking dish at the bottom of the oven filled with water to humidify the oven.
If you can, buy a piece of lamb with the bone still in, and although carving without the bone may be easier, the bone adds a lot of flavour to the meat during cooking.
Also it adds so much flavour to the potatoes and onions on the bottom, they are basically being cooked in all the lamb juices and drippings.

Personal I prefer the lamb medium done with a hint of pink. But you may cook it longer if you prefer.
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Serves : 4-6
Total cooking time : ca. 2 hours
Roasting Temperature: First 20 minutes 200° C / 395° F.
Remaining time : 160° C / 320° F
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General cooking times:
Rare: about 15 minutes per pound
Medium-Rare: about 20 minutes per pound
Medium: about 25 minutes per pound
Well-Done: about 30 minutes per pound
These times are only guidelines. It is best to check with a thermometer since not all cuts cook the same.

INGREDIENTS:


• 1 (4 pound) bone-in leg of lamb
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 3 tablespoons olive oil
• 2 large cloves garlic, minced or grated
• 1 tbsp. chopped parsley
• 2 tsp. chopped fine fresh rosemary
• 1 tsp. thyme leafs
• 1 tsp. mustard
• 1 glass of dry white wine
• 1/2 cup of stock
• 3 medium onions peeled and sliced in 1/4 inch / 1/2 cm.
• 5 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced in 1/2 inch / 1 cm
• 1 x Chimichurri sauce recipe

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

Take the leg of lamb out of the refrigerator about an hour before cooking to let it get to room temperature.
Pre heat the oven to 200° C / 395° F.
Remove any excess skin from the leg of lamb and discard. Pat dry with kitchen paper.
Cut incisions with a sharp knife all over the leg of lamb, just a few times to make cooking more even and so the herbs and flavouring can penetrate into the lamb.
Season the lamb liberally with salt and pepper all over.
In a small bowl mix the olive oil, mustard, chopped herbs and grated garlic.
Rub the lamb with the olive oil and herb mixture.
Cover your baking tray with parchment paper and drizzle with a little olive oil.
Prepare your onions and potatoes.
Place the slices of onion on the bottom and then top with the potato slices.
Place the lamb on top. Pour the remaining herb and olive oil mix over the potatoes.
Add the wine and stock and place the lamb in the middle of the oven.
Roast for 20 minutes then lower the heat to 160° C / 320° F and cook for another 100 minutes (1 hr and 40 min) .
If the lamb gets to dark cover loosely with foil. Make sure to baste the lamb with the juices every 30 minutes.
Uncover the lamb for the last 15 to 20 minutes for a crispy outside, if you used foil.
Depending on how you like your lamb done; Continue cooking the lamb until it has reaches your desired internal temperature, (if using a thermometer) , checking the temperature every 20 minutes. The other way to test is by pulling/cutting off a piece of meat.
Let the lamb rest for at least 15 minutes before carving.
To carve the lamb. Place the lamb on a cutting board. Turn it so the bone is parallel to the cutting board.
Cut the lamb off the bone by slicing with your knife parallel to the bone. Serve with the potatoes and onions.
Serve the Mint Chimichurri sauce along side.

Enjoy!

Myra XO

Cherry Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake

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First of all I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas!

This year we decided to do the food celebration in our home on Christmas Eve, since we won’t be home on Christmas Day.

I am kind of looking forward to having my food prepared for me on Christmas day, I think it might actually be the first time in my life (as an adult) that I am not cooking.

So, on Christmas Eve we are going to have a buffet style dinner  with lots of bites and appetizers and goodies, no real cooking involved and lots of desserts. Of course, lots of desserts.

I am going to put this cake on the table too and I’m kinda hoping there will some left for Christmas morning. Fingers crossed…

It’s a pretty straight forward cake with just some glacé cherries and chocolate chips since kids don’t like to many “things” in their cake.

And the good part is you can make it a day or two in advance.

Ingredients;

  • 1 C. butter, at room temperature and cut into cubes
  • 1 1/4 C. Caster Sugar , packed
  • 3 large eggs at room  temperature
  • 2 C. Self Rising Cake Flour
  • 4 tbsp. Whole Milk
  • 1 tbsp. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 25 red   Glace Cherries cut in half
  • 1/2 C. Semi-Sweet Chocolate chips
  • 1 tbsp. flour

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INSTRUCTIONS:

Pre heat oven to 160° C  / 320° F

Butter your Bundt pan very well and dust with flour. Tap of excess flour.

Beat the butter until light and creamy in the bowl of your mixer.

Add the sugar and beat until pale and fluffy.

Add the eggs one at a time, waiting until fully incorporated before adding the next.

Add the vanilla.

Now add the cake flour in two times alternating with the milk.

Toss the chocolate chips and cherries with the tablespoon of flour, add to the batter. Mix it in with a spatula.

Divide the batter over the Bundt pan and even out with a spatula. Place on a rack, just below the middle in the oven.

Bake for about 60 to 70 minutes,  until a wooden skewer comes out dry.

Remove from oven and let cool on rack for at least 20 minutes before turning over the cake.

Decorate with icing or frosting.

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If you try this recipe let me know! Leave a comment below and don’t forget to snap a pic and tag it #thecookingspoonblog on instagram! You’ll make my day.

Not quite what you’re looking for? How about Brownie Cookie Squares with Chocolate Fudge Layer brownie-cookies-squares-43

Oven Baked Churros with thick Spanish Mocha hot Chocolate

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Churros bring back great childhood memories for me, we used to get them at the weekly market in my village in Spain, they’d be deep fried and sprinkled with lots of cinnamon sugar. Served in a paper cone. Crunchy and warm, and oh so good.

My version is baked instead of fried. Just because it can get a little heavy otherwise and it’s also less calories this way.

Traditionally these are served with hot thick Spanish chocolate but since I love Coffee, I have made us a Mocha Hot Chocolate. Basically the best of both worlds.

I have sprinkled the Churros with a cookie spice mix (pumpkin spice) .

Some people have this even for breakfast but they are great any time of day and even as a dessert .

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Serves 4

Ingredients Churros;

  • ½ cup unsalted butter or cooking margarine
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tbsp. sugar of choice (I use coconut)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 3 eggs at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tsp. mixed spice (like pumpkin spice
  • 1/4 C. powdered sugar of choice
  • cooking spray

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400° F / 200° C

In a medium saucepan combine the butter, salt, sugar and water. Bring to a boil over medium high heat.
Remove from heat add the flour and stir with a spoon to combine. Mixture will thicken…add the vanilla.

Leave dough in the saucepan, but beat it on low with a hand mixer, adding one egg at a time, mixing well before adding another. After adding each egg, the mixture will become wet and glossy, but after mixing on high for a few seconds it will thicken again.

Spoon the dough into a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip. Lightly spray a cookie sheet and pipe 8-inch rows of the dough with at least 1 inch between each Churro.
Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown*, and when a toothpick comes out clean.
Mix spice and sugar in a shallow dish.
Spray Churros lightly with cooking spray, and one at a time, transfer them to the dish and sprinkle with spiced sugar. Serve immediately with Spanish hot Chocolate

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Ingredients Spanish Mocha Hot Chocolate;

  • 1/2 C. hot freshly brewed coffee
  • 3 tbsp. cocoa
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 5 tbsp. coconut sugar or of choice
  • 2 c. full fat milk (or of choice)
  • 2 tbsp. corn starch mixed with a little water
  • Whipped cream to serves
  • golden mini starts to decorate (optional)

Instructions:

Make the cup of coffee and mix in a saucepan with the cocoa, sugar and vanilla. Mix to dissolve sugar and cocoa completely. Add the milk and stir to combine. Heat until just begins to bubble. Add the corn starch slurry and combine well. Keep stirring frequently and heat thru until thickened, for about 5 more minutes.

Pour into cups and serve with whipped cream and dip the Churros in the hot mocha chocolate.

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If you try this recipe let me know! Leave a comment below and don’t forget to snap a pic and tag it #thecookingspoonblog on instagram! You’ll make my day.

Not quite what you’re looking for? How about Cream Cheese Cranberry Chocolate Chip stuffed Cinnamon Rolls or Triple Chocolate Donuts

Duck Breast with Cherry Sauce for two

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I kind of feel like I am having tiny Christmas dinners all throughout the month of December. And I gotta say, I’m lovin’ it.

This is one of those dinners. Simple as can be and festive as can be.

Duck goes really well with any kind of fruit and is usually paired with citrus, but it goes equally well with berries and darker fruits like plums or cherries.

The Duck breast has been treated in a different way because I really dislike the skin. I do like the skin when it’s crispy, but how long does the crispiness last , really? By the time dinner gets to the table and you actually start eating the crispyness is almost gone.
So, what I do and what may seem as a shocker to some of you, but I remove the skin and treat the breast more like a steak. Simply seasoned with salt and pepper and pan fried. I use a cast iron pan for this because it works best in my opinion.

Then I cut up the skin in tiny bits and render the fat, where I then pan roast the potatoes and finish them of in the oven. This gives you the best roast potatoes you can ever imagine, and you’ll be surprised to see how the skin disappears in the pan almost completely.

The cherry sauce goes so well with the duck, it’s a little bit sweet and a little bit sour, perfect against the intense duck flavour, and such a festive dish.

      

Serves 2 – 3

Ingredients Duck Breasts;

2 Duck breasts

salt and pepper

Thyme

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Method;

Remove the Duck from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes prior to cooking.

Remove the skin and chop fine. Place in a cast iron skillet and render the fat over low heat, until all the skin has almost disappeared. You will end up with about 4 to 6 tbsp. fat.

Season the duck breast on both sides, heat a cast iron frying pan over high heat with three tablespoons of the duck fat.
Place both duck breasts in the pan and don’t move them for about 3 minutes then turn the over. Cook for another 3 minutes.
Remove to a plate and let sit covered with foil for about five minutes.
This is medium cooked, if you like it less done cook it for 5 minutes total. For completely done 7 to 8  minutes, it depends a little bit on the size of the duck breast and the thickness.

Slice and serve with the pan roast potatoes and cherry sauce.

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Ingredients Cherry Sauce;

1/2 C. brown Sugar or sugar of choice

1/2 C. Red wine Vinegar

2 whole Star Anise

1 Cinnamon Sticks

3 C. frozen Cherries (no stones)

1 tsp. corn starch

1 tbsp water

Method;

Place the sugar, vinegar, star anise and cinnamon in a medium non-stick frying pan over high heat and bring to a simmer. Add the cherries and cook, turning occasionally, for 8–10 minutes or until just soft and the sauce has reduced a little. Make a slurry with the corn starch and water, add to the sauce and let thicken.

Ingredients Roast Potatoes;
1/2 Lb., potatoes, peeled
2 tbsp. fat rendered from duck breasts.
salt

Method;

Pre heat oven to 220° C  / 428° F
Par boil the potatoes for about ten minutes, drain, and let them steam off.
Heat the (oven proof) pan with rendered duck fat and roast the potatoes until they start ro turn golden brown. Place the pan in the oven and roast for an other 20 25 minutes until crispy and golden all over, turning ocasionally. Season with salt.

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If you try this recipe let me know! Leave a comment below and don’t forget to snap a pic and tag it #thecookingspoonblog  on instagram! You’ll make my day.

Not quite what you’re looking for? How about Clementine Cranberry Roast Pork

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