Saturday, 26 July 2014

Mushroom Madness

Caramelized Onion, Mushroom & Goat Cheese Quiche


1 9-inch pie crust (your favorite recipe or store bought)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
5 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
1-2 tablespoons marsala wine
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 oz Vermont Creamery Classic Chevre
1 teaspoon chopped, fresh dill
4 eggs
3/4 cup half and half
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground yellow mustard


Preheat oven to 375F degrees.
Roll out pie crust and line a 9-inch pie pan. Return to fridge to chill while you prepare the quiche ingredients.
In a large saute pan, heat olive oil and butter over medium to medium-low heat. Add mushrooms and onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are golden and mushrooms have a nice sear on them about 15 minutes. Turn heat up to medium-high and add marsala wine. Stir until the wine evaporates. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
In a medium size bowl, beat eggs, half and half, salt, pepper and yellow mustard; set aside.
Take pie shell from fridge. Scatter onion and mushroom mixture evenly over the base of the dish. Sprinkle with chunks of the goat cheese and sprinkle with fresh dill. Pour egg mixture over the vegetables and cheese.
Bake in a preheated 375F degree oven for 40-45 minutes until golden brown and cooked through. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before cutting into. Serve warm or at room temperature.



2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
2 large yellow onions, thinly sliced
1 dried bay leaf
3-4 sprigs fresh thyme
16 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup dry sherry
32 oz beef broth
1 cup cooked barley
salt and pepper


1. Melt the olive oil and butter in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add sliced onions and cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring often, until they start to soften. Add day leaf, thyme sprigs, mushrooms and a pinch of salt and pepper. Saute, stirring often for another 20-25 minutes until mushrooms and onions start to caramelize. Take note that you might need to adjust the temperature on your stove while cooking. If the heat is too high, the mushrooms and onions will burn. If the heat is too low, the onions and mushrooms will become soggy as they release their liquid. You want the temperature just right so that the liquid evaporates and the onions and mushrooms caramelize.
2. When the mushrooms start to brown, turn the heat to medium-high add the sherry. Scrape up the yummy brown bits at the bottom of the pan and stir just until the sherry has evaporated. Add the beef stock and bring to a boil. Return heat to low and let the sop simmer for 30 minutes.
3. Add the cooked barley and season with salt and pepper to taste.
4. If desired, top soup with some freshly grated parmesan.

Bacon and Cream Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms


8 oz bacon
1/2 cup finely minced sweet onion
1 clove garlic, minced
16 oz white button mushrooms
4 oz cream cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Using scissors or a sharp knife, cut raw bacon into small pieces. In a large saute pan, over medium heat, cook bacon until nice and crispy. While bacon is cooking, remove mushroom stems from caps and chop stems into small pieces. When bacon is done, remove from pan and set aside; reserve 2 tablespoons of bacon grease and pour the rest from pan. Saute onion until soft about 5 minutes, scraping up any brown bits on bottom of pan. Add chopped mushrooms stems and garlic and cook a few minutes longer. Reduce heat to low. Add cream cheese and parmesan cheese and stir until cheeses are melted. Add reserved chopped bacon and season to taste with salt and pepper. (Mixture can be made, cooled, and stored, covered, in the fridge for up to two days.) Remove mixture from heat and stuff each mushroom cap generously with mixture. Bake at 350F for about 20 minutes or until mushrooms are soft and filling is nice and hot.

See more from Mountain Mama Cooks

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Flowery Food

Ricotta-Stuffed Squash Blossoms

I like to use a drier ricotta in this recipe as it seems to hold together better while cooking. If yours is more liquid, perhaps strain it for a few minutes before mixing in the other ingredients. I also like to use only one egg, but if you want a smoother texture, you may want to use two eggs. Many people use a tempura batter for these as well, but although tasty, it seems to overpower the filling, This little "breading" treatment results in a nice crispy exterior without all the hassle of true deep frying.
Serves 3-4 as an appetizer, 2 as a meal

8 large squash blossoms
1 cup ricotta cheese (dry and slightly crumbly texture is good)
1 large whole egg + 1 egg white
1/4 cup grated parmesan
1/4 cup minced herbs (parsley and basil are nice)
ground pepper, to taste
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
olive oil

1. Gently ease open the blossoms and remove stamen, trying not to damage petals (although it is sure to happen, so don't worry too much!)
2. Heat an inch or two of oil in a cast iron pan or pot over medium heat.
3. Combine ricotta, 1 whole egg, parmesan, herbs and pepper in a small bowl until smooth.
4. Opening blossoms, place approximately 2 tbsp of filling into each blossom. Twist end of blossom to keep it closed. Repeat with remainging blossoms.
5. In a small bowl, whisk together egg white and 1 tbsp water until foamy. In another small bowl, combine flour, salt and pepper. 
6. Dip each blossom into the egg mixture and turn to coat entire blossom. Gently roll in flour mixture. Repeat.
7. When oil is shimmering and hot (drop a small piece of flour into oil or end of wooden spoon in to see if it sizzles), gently ease blossoms into the hot oil. If it begins to burn, reduce heat before adding more blossoms. Working in a batch of 3 or 4, cook until golden and turn to cook other side for a total of approximately 2-3 minutes. Repeat with remaining. Hold in low oven if desired for a few minutes. Sprinkle with just a hint of sea salt before serving.

Friday, 11 July 2014

Savoury and Sweet Snacks

Spiced butternut squash whoopie pies with maple cream cheese filling

Makes about 16 small pies


For the sponges:

- 1 butternut squash (recipe requires 200ml squash purée)
- 120ml sunflower oil
- 200g soft dark brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 large egg (free-range please)
- 250g plain flour, sifted
- 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the maple cream cheese filling:

- 60g unsalted butter
- 200g icing sugar
- 120g full-fat cream cheese (I used Philadelphia)
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence


Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Cut the butternut squash in half, scoop out the seeds and bake, flesh-side up, for 45 minutes to an hour, until soft. Tip: If a fork goes in easily, it’s good to go.

When the squash is cooked, set aside to cool and turn the oven down to 170°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper.

Roughly cut the squash into chunks and blend until you have a smooth purée. Tip: There is no need to peel the squash as the skin goes really soft and is full of goodness but you can if you don’t fancy it!

Using the beater attachment of your food mixer, beat together the oil, sugar, vanilla and maple syrup. Beat in the egg and then 200ml squash purée, scraping down the sides of the bowl to ensure all the ingredients are incorporated.

Fold in the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, spices and salt and mix until any lumps have disappeared.

Drop blobs of the batter onto your baking tray (you’ll probably have enough for three batches), about 3cm apart. Tip: I used a heaped teaspoon per blob but you could go bigger and increase the cooking time.

Bake for about 12 minutes, until slightly springy when gently poked. Cool on a wire rack.

For the filling, beat together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in the cream cheese and maple syrup until you have a smooth mixture. Chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes (this will set it a bit).

To make the whoopie pies, sandwich spoonfuls of the maple cream cheese filling between pairs of sponge biscuits. Tip: Depending on how much filling you like in your pies, you may have some filling leftover – what can I say? There are worse leftovers!

Dust with icing sugar before serving.

Feta, courgette & chilli savoury muffins

Makes about 16 muffins


- 300g plain flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- seasoning
- 2 large eggs (free range please)
- 250ml milk
- 70g unsalted butter, melted
- 200g courgette, coarsely grated
- 1/2 – 1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes (do you want a hint or a kick?)
- 150g feta, crumbled
- 20g pine nuts
- generous bunch basil leaves, chopped


Preheat the oven to 190°C and pop your muffin cases into the tin. Tip: If you’re using a silicone muffin tray, you can do away with the paper cases if you like.

Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, a generous pinch of salt and a good few grinds of black pepper into a bowl.

Beat the eggs and milk together in a jug. Add to the dry mixture, a little at a time, whilst mixing all the ingredients together (I use the paddle attachment on my food mixer on a low setting).

Add the melted butter and mix until smooth (I increase the speed of my mixer here), scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula to make sure nothing escapes. Stir in the courgette, chilli flakes, 4/5th of the feta (that’s 120g if you’re retentive), pine nuts and basil and stir briefly to combine.

Spoon into the muffin cases and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Tip: Only fill your cases to about 2/3 full otherwise you’ll end up with conjoined muffins…Bake for 25-30 minutes until the muffins are set and golden brown on top.

Cool on a wire rack and store in an airtight container.

Sticky lemon thyme cakes

Makes 8 mini 10cm cakes (or one large 18cm round cake / loaf)


For the sponge:

- zest 1 unwaxed lemon
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon thyme (or normal thyme) leaves
- 175g caster sugar
- 175g unsalted butter, softened and cubed
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
- 3 large eggs (free-range please)
- 175g self-raising flour, sifted

For the syrup:

- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon thyme (or thyme) leaves, plus extra sprigs to decorate
- 80g caster sugar
- 50ml water
- juice 1 lemon


Preheat the oven to 180°C and grease and line the base of your tins.

Bash the lemon zest, thyme leaves and a tablespoon of sugar about with a pestle and mortar to release the oils. Using a food processor with the paddle attachment (or mixing bowl and wooden spoon…), cream the butter, (rest of the) sugar and lemon and thyme mixture until pale and fluffy.

Whisk in the vanilla essence and eggs (one at a time), scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula to ensure everything is incorporated. Tip: If you’re worried about the mixture curdling, add a spoonful of flour with the addition of each egg.

Fold in the (rest of the) flour and divide the batter between the tins. Level the top and bake for about 20 minutes, or until light golden on top and a skewer comes out clean. Tip: If you’ve opted to make one large cake, it will take longer to bake – about 35 minutes.

To make the syrup, bash the thyme and a tablespoon of sugar about with a pestle and mortar. Add to the rest of the ingredients and stir over a medium heat, simmering gently until it has reduced by about half. Tip: If the syrup is getting too gloopy, add a splash of water or turn the heat down.

Discard the thyme (you can sieve the mixture and feel like Martha Stewart or fish the leaves out with a spoon / finger like me…), poke a few holes in the top of the warm cakes with a skewer and feed the cakes with the syrup.

Allow to cool fully in the tins and top with the remaining sprigs of thyme.

Recipes from Pip and Little Blue

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Bruschetta - Beginning to End

Quick and Easy Breakfast Bruschetta

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 10 min


8 (1-inch-thick) slices French bread
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
4 large eggs
1/4 cup whole milk
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh chives
1/8 teaspoon fresh black pepper
3/4 cup mashed avocado
1 cup diced tomatoes


Preheat oven to 400ºF.

Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter and brush it on both cut sides of each slice of French bread. Arrange the bread slices on a baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes, then flip them and bake an additional 3 to 5 minutes until toasted. Remove the bread from the oven and set it aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, chives and pepper.

Heat a medium nonstick sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of the butter to the pan, and once it has melted, pour in the eggs. Cook the eggs, stirring as needed, until they’re scrambled to your desired consistency.

Spread a portion of the mashed avocado on one side of each slice of toasted bread. Top the avocado with the scrambled eggs and garnish with the diced tomatoes.

See the recipe and more pics at Just a Taste

Friday, 27 June 2014

Fourth of July Fete

Raspberry Lemonade


1 cup rinsed fresh raspberries (6 oz.)
2/3 cup sugar
1 cup lemon juice
2 cups water


In a small bowl, with a potato masher or spoon, mash 1 cup rinsed fresh raspberries (6 oz.) with 2/3 cup sugar. Let stand 10 minutes. Press through a fine strainer into a pitcher (at least 1 1/2 qt.); discard seeds. Stir in 1 cup lemon juice and 2 cups water. Taste and add more sugar if desired. Pour into tall, ice-filled glasses.

Root Beer Baked Beans


3 bacon slices
1 small onion, diced
2 (16-ounce) cans pork and beans
1/2 cup root beer (not diet)
1/4 cup hickory-smoked barbecue sauce
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/8 teaspoon hot sauce


Cook bacon in a skillet over medium heat until crisp; remove and drain on paper towels, reserving 2 tablespoons drippings in skillet. Crumble bacon.
Sauté diced onion in hot bacon drippings in skillet over high heat 5 minutes or until tender. Stir together onion, crumbled bacon, beans, and remaining ingredients in a lightly greased 1-quart baking dish.
Bake beans, uncovered, at 400° for 55 minutes or until sauce is thickened.

Frogmore Stew


5 quarts water
1/4 cup Old Bay seasoning
4 pounds small red potatoes
2 pounds kielbasa or hot smoked link sausage, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
6 ears fresh corn, halved
4 pounds unpeeled, large fresh shrimp
Old Bay seasoning
Cocktail sauce

Bring 5 quarts water and 1/4 cup Old Bay seasoning to a rolling boil in a large covered stockpot.
Add potatoes; return to a boil, and cook, uncovered, 10 minutes.
Add sausage and corn, and return to a boil. Cook 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
Add shrimp to stockpot; cook 3 to 4 minutes or until shrimp turn pink. Drain. Serve with Old Bay seasoning and cocktail sauce.

Peach-Cinnamon Ice Cream


4 cups peeled, diced fresh peaches (about 3 pounds)
1 cup peach nectar
1/2 cup sugar
3 egg yolks
4 cups milk
1 cup half-and-half
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Garnish: sliced fresh peaches 


Combine first 3 ingredients in a medium bowl.
Process peach mixture, in batches, in a food processor until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides. Set aside.
Whisk together yolks and milk in a heavy saucepan over medium heat; cook, stirring constantly, 20 minutes or until mixture thickens and coats a spoon. Do not boil.
Remove from heat; whisk in peach mixture, half-and-half, lemon juice, and ground cinnamon. Cover and chill 4 hours.
Pour mixture into freezer container of a 6-quart electric ice-cream maker. Freeze according to manufacturer's instructions. (Instructions and times will vary.) Garnish, if desired.
Note: For testing purposes only, we used a White Mountain 6-Quart Electric Ice Cream Freezer.