Jamie Oliver's Party Squash Soup


5 cups chicken or vegetable broth
6-7 lime leaves
3 fresh red chilies, deseeded
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 large thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled
3 sticks of lemongrass, trimmed and squashed with the back of a knife
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
a small bunch of fresh coriander
olive oil
1 heaped teaspoon five-spice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 onion, peeled and finely sliced
1 large butternut or acorn squash, halved, deseeded and cut into 1-inch chunks
7 ounces basmati rice, washed
2 14 oz cans coconut milk
Juice of 3-4 limes
1 fresh red chili, finely sliced (garnish)


Get a high-sided pan or wok on a medium-high heat to get nice and hot, and pour your broth into a small pan on a low heat to get warm. To make your fragrant soup base, add the lime leaves, chilies, garlic, ginger, lemongrass and a pinch of salt to a food processor. Chop the top few leaves off your bunch of coriander and pop to one side, then add the rest to the processor and blitz for 30 seconds or so until fairly fine. With the processor still running, add a few good lugs of olive oil, the five-spice and ground cumin. Tip this mixture straight into your hot pan, you can add a splash of broth to loosen it if you want, and fry and stir for a couple of minutes so it starts smelling fantastic. Add your sliced onion, then cook gently for 8 to 10 minutes.

Add the squash to the pan and stir well, then pour in the broth. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes until the squash is lovely and soft. At this point, add the rice and give it a really good stir. If it looks a bit dry, you can add a splash of water here. Continue to simmer for about 8 minutes until the rice is almost cooked, then add the coconut milk and bring back to the boil. Simmer for a couple of minutes until hot through and thickened a little. I like to squash up some of the squash at this point too.

Take the pan off the heat, give it a good stir, then taste and season carefully with salt and pepper. To give it a bit of twang add the lime juice – the amount you need will depend on how juicy your limes are, so keep tasting it as you go. Scatter with more sliced fresh chili and your reserved coriander leaves before serving.

If you’re making this for a party, what I like to do is to hack the top off a massive pumpkin, scoop out the insides, then bake the shell in the oven for 40 minutes at 220˚F. You can then use this as a receptacle for your hot soup, and as long as it’s an inch or so thick, it should keep warm for a good hour or so. Have it sitting out at the party with a load of little cups and bowls lined up next to it and a bunch of lime wedges, and let everyone help themselves!

Shortbread Cookies


1 cup softened butter
2 Tbsp dark brown sugar
1 tsp good vanilla
1 egg white
1 cup sweet rice flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup icing sugar
2/3 cup cornstarch
1/3 cup tapioca starch
1/2 tsp xanthan gum


Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

In a stand mixer, mix butter, brown sugar, vanilla and egg white. Mix until nice and creamy.

In a medium bowl, combine the rice flour, salt, icing sugar, cornstarch, tapioca starch and xanthan gum. Make sure it is fully mixed.

Then, add dry ingredients to the creamed mixture, a little at a time, until it looks like a thick whipped cream.

Next, line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Roll batter into 1" balls and place on a cookie sheet with 2" between them. Dough will be soft but shouldn't stick to your hands because of the butter.

Flatten balls with a fork dipped in icing sugar.

Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes until lightly golden.

Let cool completely on baking sheet before moving them. Otherwise they might crumble.

Spiced Coffee Cookies


2 teaspoons instant coffee crystals
1 teaspoon hot water
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup chocolate decorator bits


Dissolve instant coffee in hot water. Beat shortening, brown sugar, egg, vanilla and coffee mixture in large bowl with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Mix in flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.

Divide dough into two equal parts. Shape each half into a roll 7-inches long x 1 1/2-inches in diameter. Roll in chocolate decorator bits, pressing lightly. Wrap tightly. Refrigerate at least 2 hours.

Heat oven to 375°F. Cut rolls into 1/4-inch slices. Place slices 1-inch apart on ungreased baking sheet.

Bake 6 to 8 minutes or until set. Cool on rack.

Chocolate Orange Truffles


1/2 cup (raw) cashews
1/4 cup creamy roasted almond butter
1/4 cup agave nectar
2 Tbsp cacao powder
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp orange zest
1/4 cup cacao powder


Place cashews in a food processor and pulse until the texture of coarse sand.

Add almond butter, agave, cacao powder, vanilla and orange zest and pulse until smooth.

Refrigerate for 2-3 hours, until firm.

Remove from fridge and roll into 1/2-inch balls.

Coat with cacao powder.


Liebster Blog Award - For Me?!

Everyone loves hearing that someone likes their blog, so I was psyched to receive this fun little award from Jennifer at Jenny's Cookbook. It was a nice surprise and much appreciated!

The Liebster award originated in Germany. The word “Liebster” is a term of endearment meaning "dearest", "beloved" or "favourite". The aim of the award is to bring attention to blogs with fewer than 200 followers.

Thank you, Jennifer, for including me in your 5!

Do you want to give a little Christmas present to some of your favourite bloggers too?

  1. Show your thanks to the blogger who gave you the award by linking back to them.
  2. Reveal your top 5 picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog. This part will be hard. I love so many!
  3. Post the award on your blog. Right click on the award image to save it to your computer and then upload to your blog!
  4. Bask in the love from the most supportive people on the Internet - other writers.
  5. And best of all – have fun and hope that followers will spread the love to other bloggers.

Here are the 5 fabulous blogs that I want to share with you today...

Creation Care Kids
Tessa the Domestic Diva: A Healthy, Allergy-Friendly Lifestyle Made Easier
The Inverted Cow
Farm Girl Gourmet
The Schmidt House

Lasagna Soup


2 tsp olive oil
1-1/2 lbs Italian sausage
3 cup chopped onions
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 28-oz. can fire roasted diced tomatoes
2 bay leaves
6 cups chicken stock
8 oz Mafalda or broken whole-wheat Lasagna noodles (about 8 noodles)
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil leaves
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
8 oz ricotta
1/2 sup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp salt
pinch of freshly ground pepper
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese


Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add sausage, breaking up into bite sized pieces, and brown for about 5 minutes. Add onions and cook until softened, about 6 minutes. Add garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Cook for 1 minute. Add tomato paste and stir well to incorporate. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the tomato paste turns a rusty brown color.

Add diced tomatoes, bay leaves, and chicken stock. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Add uncooked pasta and cook until al dente. Do not over cook or let soup simmer for a long period of time at this point, as the pasta will get mushy. Stir in basil and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

While the pasta is cooking, prepare the cheesy yumminess. In a small bowl, combine the ricotta, Parmesan, salt, and pepper.

To serve, ladle the hot soup into a bowl, place a dollop of the cheesy yumminess in each soup bowl and sprinkle some of the mozzarella on top.

This recipe is also linked to...

Sunday Night = Soup Night

Jamie Oliver's Hamilton Squash


1 small handful of dried porcini mushrooms
1 butternut squash, halved and seeds removed
olive oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon coriander seeds, pounded
a pinch or two of dried chilli, to taste
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary, leaves picked and finely chopped
5 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
100g basmati rice
1/2 a handful of pinenuts, lightly roasted


Soak your porcini for 5 minutes in 2/3 cup of boiling water.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Using a teaspoon, score and scoop out some extra flesh from the length of the squash. Finely chop this flesh and add to a frying pan with generous drizzle of olive oil.

Add the onion, garlic, coriander seeds, chilli, rosemary and sun-dried tomatoes. Fry for 4 minutes until softened. Add the porcini, their soaking water and the rice. Cook for a further 5 minutes before adding salt and pepper to taste.

Stir in the pinenuts, pack the mixture tightly into the 2 halves of the squash and then press the halves together. Rub the skin of the squash with a little olive oil, wrap in foil, and bake in the preheated oven for about 75 minutes.

Roasted Green Beans with Mushrooms


8 oz. mushrooms, sliced in 1/2 inch slices (I used brown Crimini mushrooms, but any mushrooms will work)
1 lb. fresh green beans, preferably thin French style beans
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
2 Tbsp finely grated Parmesan cheese


Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Wash mushrooms and let drain (or spin dry in salad spinner).

While mushrooms are drying, trim ends of beans and cut beans in half so you have bite-sized pieces. (An easy way to trim them is to gather a small handful of beans, stand them up on cutting board, holding loosely so they will fall down and have ends ends aligned, then trim. Repeat with other end.)

Cut mushrooms into slices 1/2 inch thick. Put cut beans and mushrooms into a Ziploc bag or plastic bowl.

Whisk together olive oil and balsamic vinegar and pour over, then squeeze bag or stir so all the beans and mushrooms are lightly coated with the mixture.

Arrange on large cookie sheet, spreading them out well so beans and mushrooms are not crowded. Roast 20-30 minutes, starting to check for doneness after 20 minutes. Cook until beans are tender-crisp, mushrooms are cooked, and all liquid on the pan from mushrooms has evaporated.

Season beans to taste with salt and fresh ground pepper, then sprinkle with finely grated Parmesan. Serve hot.

Bite-Sized Apple Pies


1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1 pkg refrigerated pie crust
3 Tbsp melted butter, divided
2 medium tart apples, each cut into 8 wedges


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon, set aside 1 tablespoon of the cinnamon sugar.

On a lightly floured surface, unroll the pastry. Brush with 2 tablespoons of the melted butter, sprinkle dough with the remaining sugar mixture.

Cut each sheet into 8 1-inch strips, about 8 inches long. Wrap one strip around each apple wedge, placing sugared side of pastry against apple.

Place on parchment paper lined baking sheet. Brush tops with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar mixture. Bake for 13-15 minutes or until pastry is golden brown. Serve warm.

Samoa Wanna-Be


2 cups grated coconut, toasted and cooled
1/3 cup coconut oil (or butter)
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup coconut milk (or milk)
1 Tbsp ground flax seeds
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp tapioca starch/flour
1/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp millet flour
1/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp brown rice flour
1/2 tsp xantham gum
(for those who can have gluten, sub the flours and the guar gum for 1 cup all-purpose flour or whole wheat pastry)
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup dark chocolate chips
2 Tbsp coconut oil (or butter)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Scatter the coconut in a thin layer on a cookie sheet. Toast in the oven for about 5-10 minutes. Watch it carefully, it should be golden and smell toasted but will burn quickly. Set aside to cool.

In a mixer, beat the coconut oil with the brown sugar until creamy. Beat in the milk, vanilla, and flax meal.

In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients and mix well. Mix in to the waiting mixer bowl along with the cooled toasted coconut. The batter should be quite thick.

Using about a tablespoon of dough, roll small balls and flatten slightly on a parchment or Silpat lined cookie sheet. Use your finger to make an indentation in the middle (for filling w/ chocolate at the end!).

Bake in the 350 oven for about 8-10 minutes until the edges are just golden. Do not over bake. Let cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

When cookies are fully cool, melt the chocolate and oil together in a microwave safe bowl, melt the chocolate and oil together. Start with about a minute. Stir, if the chips are melting at this point, continue stirring until the chips turn smooth and fully melt. If needed, microwave for additional 20 second increments and repeat stirring.

Dip the bottoms of the cooled cookies in the melted chocolate. Place on a piece of parchment, wax paper, or my favorite, a Silpat. to cool. When all the bottoms have been coated, use a spoon to fill the indentation and drizzle over the top. Cool to harden!

Stuffed Mushrooms with Goat Cheese and Herbs


1 pound of baby portabella mushrooms, stemmed
1/2 pound fresh goat cheese
2 Tbsp sour cream
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 cup mixed fresh herbs: basil, parsley, dill and chives
1 tsp thyme
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil, as needed.


Heat the oven to 400 degrees F and clean the mushrooms. Lightly grease a baking sheet.

Crumble the goat cheese and mix with the sour cream. Stir in the garlic and herbs. Taste and add salt and pepper.

Stuff the mushrooms with the cheese mixture and place on the baking sheet. Bake in a preheated oven until lightly browned on top, about 15 minutes. Let cool and serve hot or at room temperature.

Sun-Dried Tomato and Goat Cheese Skewers


1 8 oz log fresh goat cheese, chilled
1 cup pistachio nuts, finely chopped
20 sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil
20 fresh basil leaves
20 small skewers or cocktail toothpicks


Fill a pitcher with hot water. Dip a knife into the hot water to slice the goat cheese log in half lengthwise.

Slice each half into 10 pieces making sure to dip the knife into the hot water in between slicing to ensure a nice clean cut. Roll each piece of goat cheese into balls approximately 1/2-inch in diameter and put onto a cookie sheet lined with waxed paper.

Add the chopped pistachio nuts to a shallow bowl. Roll a goat cheese ball into the pistachio nuts and coat 1/2 of the ball. Return to the sheet pan and repeat with the remaining goat cheese balls.

Drain the oil from the tomatoes and put onto a plate lined with a paper towel.

Skewer a goat cheese ball onto the skewer. Lay a basil leaf on top a sun-dried tomato. Fold the tomato in half around the basil leaf and add to the skewer with the goat cheese. Repeat with remaining skewers. Arrange on a serving platter, cover and keep refrigerated until ready to serve

Gingerbread Truffles

Truffle Filling:
3/4 cup whipping cream
10 whole allspice
10 whole cloves
1 Tbs mild-flavored (light) molasses
1 1/2 tsp grated peeled fresh ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
7 ounces bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, chopped (divided)
7 ounces high-quality white chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup chopped crystallized ginger

Truffle Coating:
11 ounces bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
11 ounces high-quality white chocolate, chopped
chopped crystallized ginger for garnish, optional


Bring cream ingredients just to boil in heavy medium saucepan; remove from heat and let steep for 1 hour.

Combine both chocolates in a large metal bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water; stir until chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove bowl from over water. Strain cream mixture into chocolate; stir to blend. Stir in chopped ginger. Chill filling until firm, at least 3 hours.

Line baking sheet with parchment. Using 1-inch cookie scoop, scoop filling and roll between palms to form balls. Place on parchment. Chill truffles at least 2 hours.

Line another sheet with parchment. Place 11 ounces bittersweet chocolate in medium metal bowl set over saucepan of simmering water; stir until chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove bowl from over water. Cool until thermometer inserted into chocolate registers 115 degrees F. Quickly submerge 1 truffle in chocolate. Using fork, lift out truffle and tap fork against side of bowl so excess coating drips off. Using knife, slide truffle off fork and onto prepared sheet. Repeat with remaining truffles. Chill until set.

Line another baking sheet with parchment. Place 11 ounces white chocolate in another medium metal bowl set over saucepan of simmering water; stir until melted and smooth. Remove bowl from over water. Cool until thermometer inserted into chocolate registers 100°F. Hold 1 truffle between thumb and index finger; dip halfway into white chocolate. Place on prepared sheet. Repeat with remaining truffles. If desired, press small pieces of crystallized ginger atop truffles. Chill until firm, about 30 minutes.

Yield: About 2 dozen

**NOTE: This is a gluten-free recipe IF you're careful about the spices and chocolates.

This recipe is also linked to...

Crazy Sweet Tuesdays
Gluten-Free Wednesdays
Sweet Treats Thursdays
Full Plate Thursdays
Allergy Friendly Friday
Sweets for a Saturday

Pears with Goat Cheese and Pistachios


2 pears, cored and cut into two dozen slices
1/4 cup goat cheese
2 tablespoons pistachio pieces
2 tablespoons cranberries
1 tablespoon orange or lemon juice


Core pears and cut into slices. Toss in orange or lemon juice to keep from browning. Spread cheese on widest part of slice and then sprinkle cheese end with pistachio pieces and cranberries. Arrange on platter and serve.

Note: I also really like this with walnuts or pecans instead of pistachios.

This recipe is also linked to...

Gluten-Free Wednesdays
Food on Friday: Pears and Peaches

Baileys Vanilla Bean Fudge

I found this recipe at Not So Humble Pie


2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup heavy cream (40% milk fat)
1/2 cup plus one tablespoon Baileys Irish cream
2 cups good quality white chocolate chips
1/2 vanilla bean scraped, reserving seeds
7 ounce jar marshmallow creme


Line a 9x9 inch pan with foil and coat with a little butter or nonstick spray.

Combine sugar, butter, heavy cream and Irish creme into a heavy bottomed sauce pan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Once boiling, attach a candy thermometer and reduce the heat to a hair above medium low and cook for 7-10 minutes until your thermometer reads 234°F , stirring constantly.

Once your mixture hits the appropriate temperature, remove from heat and add the white chocolate chips, stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth. Add the vanilla bean and marshmallow creme and mix until well blended.

Pour the mixture into your prepared pan and allow to cool on a wire rack until room temperature. Cut, wrap, and you're good to go.

If you're in a rush you can also cool the fudge in the fridge without any ill effects.

This fudge freezes well and is best stored in an air tight container or wrapped, at room temperature.

This recipe is also linked to...


This month we're on the hunt for the MOST AMAZING FUDGE recipe. Check out the what we've come up with and place your votes...