My apologies to all those trying to use this Spring time to get fit and slim for the Summer lol! These are sooooo good your really going to find it hard to just eat one…trust me I tried and failed lol. The kids loved them and they were a real treat for a weekend breakfast a few weeks back. I topped mine off with a maple cream cheese sauce. They were quite simply a piece of heaven in a skillet!Read More
This delicious smoked salmon salad platter served with an onion cream cheese spread would make the perfect centerpiece of a nibble spread for guests, a delicious Christmas day starter or even a late Christmas Day brunch.
It looks very impressive on the table but it is soooo simple to make and very quick to put together. The combination of ingredients and flavours really work well together and are delicious served on slices of warm crusty bread.
I have used high quality thinly sliced Scottish (of course!) smoked salmon for this dish. The quality is important if you want the flavours just right.
Sprinkled throughout the wreath are bite sized chunks of crunchy cucumbers, ripe avocado chunks, chopped cherry tomatoes, red onion and garnished with spring onions and dill.
I served the wreath up with lemon slices for squeezing on the top and my creamy onion flavoured cream cheese spread. It is absolutely delicious eaten with crusty bread spread with the cream cheese and topped with pieces of salmon and salad.
The ingredient quantities are variable so I’ve based it on what I used to serve my family a small starter portion. So this would feed roughly 4-5 as a nibble or starter. Simply increase if you are serving more.
Smoked salmon slices – about a 400g pack
Half cucumber – quartered length ways then sliced
Half an avocado – scooped whole, sliced then cut into similar sized pieces as the cucmber.
Half a red onion – sliced thinly, then cut into four again
Cherry tomatoes (about 200g) – quartered
2 Spring Onions – Slice thinly
2 tbsp of Dill – chop finely
1 small tub of cream cheese
Half a red onion, grated or finely chopped
A squeeze of lemon
Salt and pepper
Crusty bread slices
Split the smoked salmon slices into smaller pieces and display around the plate in a circular fashion. Add the cucumber, avocado, red onion, and cherry tomatoes spread out around the wreath to create a good balance of colour. Sprinkle over the chopped dill and spring onion and season lightly with salt and pepper. Remember it will be quite salty already due to the smoked salmon. Quarter the lemons and display in the middle around the bowl of cream cheese (recipe below).
Empty the cream cheese into a large bowl and add in the grated onion, chopped dill, a squeeze of lemon and season with salt and pepper. Mix well and transfer to a small bowl. Position this bowl in the center of the wreath and arrange the lemon pieces around it.
We spread some slices of the crusty bread with the cream cheese and topped off with pieces from the wreath.
This version of the traditional Christmas Stollen is absolutely delicious!
If you make just one thing this Christmas let it be this ‘Chocolate & Hazelnut Stollen’ bake filled with the colourful sweetness of cranberries, apricots, chocolate chips and the delicious blend of Christmas spices.
We enjoyed a slice of this warm with some delicious warmed spice apple juice. It’s so quick to pop on this delicious warming drink while you wait for the dough to rise and it makes the perfect accompaniment with a slice of Stollen by the fire. I have included the recipe below for you.
Spiced Apple Juice Recipe
4 liters of apple juice
1 sliced apple
1 handful of dried cranberries
2 cinnamon sticks or 4tsp of cinnamon
2 tsp of ground cloves
2 tsp of allspice
Pour all of the juice into a huge pot, I love my huge cast iron pot for this with the lid. Add all the spices, apples and cranberries and adjust to your tastes. Simmer for an hr or so and leave on a low heat to serve all evening.
This lasted us a few nights but you could also half the recipe. Its also important to use good quality pressed apple juice instead of concentrate which tends to be too sweet.
100g of dried cranberries
30g of chopped hazelnuts
50g of dried chopped apricots
200ml of warm apple juice (you can use the drink above too, it works really well just make sure its not too hot)
1tbsp of dried yeast
250g of strong white flour (an additional 50g when fruit is added)
2tsp of cinnamon
2tsp of allspice
1/2tsp of ground cloves
80g of chocolate chips
10g of coconut oil
2tbsp of icing sugar
100g of chocolate chips (for melting)
Soak the dried cranberries, hazelnuts and dried apricots in 100ml of hot water and set aside (you can increase the quantities of fruit if you prefer it sweeter).
Add the warm apple juice to a small jug and sprinkle in the dried yeast. Stir gently and set aside to bubble and activate for 15-20mins.
Add the flour, cinnamon, allspice, cloves and coconut oil and mix together. I use the dough hook on my kitchen aid for creating the dough but you can, as described in this recipe, knead by hand.
Once the yeast has been left to activate add it into the flour and spices in the bowl. Mix together to create a smooth dough, adjusting the flour or adding a little water if necessary. You should have a relatively non sticky dough which can be handled without feeling too sticky in your hands. If its too sticky add a little extra flour.
Remove the dough from the bowl for kneading. Add a little vegetable oil to your hands to reduce sticking whilst kneading. Knead for 10 minutes until completely smooth and pliable.
Place in a bowl which has been lightly oiled and cover with a clean dish towel and leave to rise somewhere warm for one hour.
Remove from the bowl again. Drain the soaked dried fruit, nuts and chocolate chips and add to the dough. You might need some additional flour at this point so that the dough doesn’t become sticky due to the extra moisture. Knead for a further 10mins.
Leave to rise again for another hour in the same warm place.
Shape into a rounded loaf shape and bake at 180oc for 30-40minutes or until lightly brown and when tapped on the bottom it should sound hollow.
Leave to cool on a wire cooling rack for around half an hour.
Add the icing sugar into a small bowl with a little water to create a thick but runny paste. You can either paste this onto the whole top of the loaf and finish with a dusting of icing sugar or you can drizzle it as I have in the image above.
Melt the chocolate and drizzle across the loaf. Sprinkle with some additional chopped hazelnuts and slice to serve.
Christmas nibbles…ah!…so many happy memories of our family nibble platters at Christmas time!
I’ve seen many a delicious plate of nibbles in my day, from the excitement of my Mum and Dad bringing out our faves at Christmas to visiting Grandma and Grandad at Hogmany and feasting on scrummy hot nibbles all night when we were wee and then to us as parents ourselves bringing out warm plates of nibbles to our own excited kids!
There’s been many a happy memory around food in our household at Christmas young and old.
I made this somewhat healthier version of a nibble platter to feed the kids the day we collected the Christmas tree, because who has time to prepare huge meals when your all singing Christmas songs and decorating the tree with twinkling lights.
I used fresh fruits, vegetables, homemade crumbly feta almond cheese, sticky mango and sweet chilli sausage bowls and mushroom based sausage rolls. Yummy!
It’s super easy to prepare and assemble and you can of course vary the ingredients loads.
Sliced fruit and vegetables of choice
Vegetarian/vegan sausage rolls
Crispbreads for spreading
Sweet Chilli sauce
Chopped Spring onions
Sun dried tomatoes
Almond Feta Ingredients
2 cups of whole almonds
1 shallot or half a red onion chopped
2 chopped garlic cloves
1-2tbsp of plain yogurt (I used coconut) (optional)
Salt & pepper
Almond Feta Recipe
Soak the almonds in boiling hot water in a bowl for a couple of hours and peel off the skins. Pop the peeled almonds into the blender. Add the chopped onion or shallot, garlic, the juice of 1 lemon, yogurt if using, salt and pepper.
Blend in a high powered blender until completely smooth and taste, adjusting the seasonings as necessary. Add a little water if necessary too. You should have a really thick ‘stick to the spoon’ paste texture.
Lay out a muslin flat on the counter and spoon out the almond mixture onto the muslin. Wrap up into a tight ball and squeeze out the excess liquid over the sink. Tie a knot and hang into a jug, place in the fridge over night. If you don’t have time just squeeze out as much liquid as possible and then shape into a ball. Place in a glass dish and bake at 160 for 30mins or until golden and crispy on the outside.
Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with chopped herbs, sun dried tomatoes or olives etc. Serve with thin crispbreads or oatcakes.
Sticky Sausages Recipe
Cook the vegetarian sausages on a medium heat in the oven. Split into two bowls, coat one batch in mango chutney and the other in sweet chilli sauce. Serve in two small bowls, sprinkle sesame seeds over the mango sausages and spring onions over the sweet chilli ones.
Lay the cheese and sausages out on a chopping board and display the sliced vegetables all around the bowls to make it all look pretty and edible.
These fluffy rolls are perfect served alongside the ‘Creamy mushroom & chestnut pate’. Serve them freshly baked, warm out of the oven and pour the drizzle over just as your about to eat them. Delicious!
2tbsp of dried yeast
750ml warm almond milk
50g of coconut oil
950g of wholemeal spelt flour
2tsp of salt
1/2 finely chopped red onion
2 finely chopped garlic
1/2 cup of olive oil
Finely chopped rosemary (or other chopped herbs)
Mix the yeast, warm almond milk and coconut oil together in a large bowl and leave for 15mins. Sift the flour and salt into the bowl. Stir together until a dough forms, adding a little extra flour or milk to create a non sticky dough. I love to use the dough hook on my kitchen aid to form the dough and for the kneading but hands work just as well.
Remove and knead the dough for 10 minutes on a floured surface. Return the dough to the bowl and cover with a clean tea towel. Leave to rise for one hour in a warm place.
Tip the dough back out onto the floured work surface and knead it again. Split the dough in half and keep splitting until you have around 26 small pieces.
Place some of them out onto a greased baking tray in the shape of your choice. I decided on a Christmas tree shape. Leave to rise again for 20minutes.
Bake at 200oc for 20-25mins. Meanwhile fry the onion and garlic in the olive oil on a gentle heat until soft. Set aside for drizzling.
Remove rolls and add the drizzle to serve. Best enjoyed immediately. Enjoy!
Creamy homemade pate and biscuits during the festive season is an absolute must in our family home. I’ve been craving a meaty alternative for a few years now and decided this year to create this recipe for a creamy meat free pate that we could enjoy as an alternative to our traditional choices.
I spread it thickly on my wholemeal spelt Christmas tree rolls and topped it off with some finely chopped apples, beetroots and red onion as a sweet garnish. It’s so simple but absolutely delicious and is enough to impress any pate loving guests this festive season.
The recipe for the wholemeal spelt rolls is linked below. The rolls are topped with a finely chopped red onion and garlic olive oil drizzle and a sprinkle of fresh herbs to finish. They are extra scrummy fresh out of the oven!
Recipe Link – Wholemeal Spelt Rolls
This pate hits the spot with all its earthy goodness and works really well with the sweetness of the finely chopped apple, beetroot and red onion. It can be eaten on its own with bread but I would recommend the topping as it is so delicious and pretty in colour too!
The pate is topped and sealed with melted coconut oil, coloured with a pinch of tumeric for that authentic pate look. It’s the perfect addition to any Christmas spread.
2 tbsp of coconut oil
1 tbsp of olive oil
300g of sliced chestnut mushrooms
3 chopped cloves of garlic
1/2 sliced red onion
100g of cooked chestnuts
Soy or oat cream (to thin to desired consistency)
Salt and pepper
1 finely chopped apple
2 cooked beetroots finely chopped
1 red onion finely chopped
Coconut Oil Seal
2-4tbsp of coconut oil
Melt the coconut oil and add the olive oil in a frying pan. I love using my large rustic cast iron frying pan for this. Add in the mushrooms, garlic, red onion and cook through for a few minutes until cooked and soft. Add the cooked chestnuts and warm through.
Add all of the cooked ingredients into a blender. Add a tbsp of soy or oat cream and blend. Add in more cream to blend to your desired consistency. I like a smooth pate but it can be eaten coarse also. Fill your pate dish with the smooth pate.
Melt an additional 2-4tbsp of coconut oil in a small pan (the quantity depends on the surface size of your dish). Add a pinch or two of tumeric powder to the melted oil and mix through. Pour over the pate in the dish to create a seal and refrigerate until it is solid on the top. I popped my dish in the freezer to speed up the process.
Serve chilled with a bowl of the finely chopped apple, beetroot and red onion on the side. Spread your rolls or other bread with the pate and top with the chopped apple, beetroot and red onion. Enjoy!
I made these delicious chocolate pancakes with the delicious Pacari (details below) hot chocolate and cinnamon blend which was kindly gifted to me earlier this year by them to experiment with in recipes. Its delicious and in my opinion is a very good quality cacao for baking and hot chocolate.
I topped off these pancakes with chopped pears, seeds and nuts but you could use a variety of toppings of your choice.
They are dairy and egg free and yet still delicious! I love making a batter or cake type recipe without eggs as it means I can lick all the spoons and thats the best bit. Right? Yum yum!
The recipe is super easy and great for a lazy Sunday brunch or breakfast with the kids! They loved it of course and enjoyed it with a drizzle of date syrup. It would also make a delicious Christmas breakfast!
1 1/2 cups of spelt flour
3tbsp of cacao powder (I used Pacari’s Cinnamon blend)
2tsp of baking powder
1/2tsp of salt
1 cup of almond milk
1tbsp of melted coconut oil
3 tbsp of agave or maple syrup
1tsp of vanilla
A small handful of chocolate chips (optional)
Fruit, nuts and seeds for the topping
Drizzle – agave, maple syrup etc.
Whisk all the ingredients together adding in more flour or milk to create a thick batter. Melt a tiny amount of coconut oil on a pancake pan and spoon on a tbsp or two to make the desired size of pancake. Sprinkle on a few chocolate chips if using.
Flip once tiny bubbles appear and cook for another minute or so on the other side. Drizzle with maple syrup or date syrup and top with chopped fruit, nuts and seeds of choice. Enjoy!
Check out Pacari’s top quality chocolate products at the link below. They are also fairly traded which is important to me. 🙂
Pacari website – https://home.pacarichocolates.uk/