Showing posts with label recipe. Show all posts
Showing posts with label recipe. Show all posts

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Chorizo and Date Skewers - Brochetas de Chorizo y Datiles

Chorizo and date skewers or brochetas de chorizo y datiles are a fabulous combination of sweet and salty, rich and chewy. Best of all, they are simple and quick to put together.

A couple of months back we were in Atlanta for our nephew’s wedding. We arrived a couple of days early, thinking it would give us time to recover from the trip and also to spend some time with the relatives.

That first night we dropped our bags off at our hotel before heading to dinner at Eclipse de Luna, a tapas restaurant and one of their favorite places. My sister-in-law insisted upon ordering two plates of these little beauties because she wanted a whole skewer to herself. They are that good. The best part is that they are so simple to make at home.

This weekend I am in Orlando attending the fifth annual Food Wine Conference. I’m looking forward to all of the delicious food and the informative sessions but the best part is always the company of my colleagues at the Sunday Supper Movement and my fellow bloggers.

Just like last year, on Sunday evening we will gather for the last time at Tapa Toro, a lovely Spanish tapas restaurant for our live Twitter chat. For those of you who won’t be joining us, we thought it would be a good idea to share some tapas recipes, like these chorizo and date skewers. Scroll down to the bottom for more details.

Chorizo and Date Skewers or Brochetas de Chorizo y Datiles

9 3/4 oz or 275g Spanish chorizo, skin removed -  I like the extra picante.
12 Medjool dates, pitted
6 slices smoked bacon
1 3/4 oz or 50g blue cheese

Also needed:
6 wooden or metal skewers
6 toothpicks

Preheat your oven to 375°F or 190°C.

Cut the chorizo into 18 pieces and line them up chorizo/date/chorizo/date/chorizo.

Poke the pointy end of the skewer through one end of the bacon and through one group of dates and chorizo.

Wrap the bacon around the end and secure it with a toothpick. Lay the chorizo and date skewers in a baking pan.

Bake in your preheated hot oven for about 10-12 minutes or until the bacon is cooked.

Remove from the oven and arrange two per plate on small saucers. Sprinkle with blue cheese crumbles.


Many thanks to our event manager, Em, and this week's host, Christie of A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures for all of their hard work behind the scenes.

Small Starters

Pint-sized Protein


Pin these chorizo date skewers! 


Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Easy Mixed Paella #FoodieExtravaganza

This easy mixed paella takes the guesswork out of cooking rice on the stovetop by moving it to the oven in a covered pan. Add in chicken, chorizo and shrimp for flavor, plus saffron and peas for color and flavor. 

Spanish purists may recoil in horror at 1. cooking paella in the oven instead over a wood fire, 2. covering the pan and 3. the lack of the traditional semi-burned crusty rice at the bottom of the paella, but I’m not even a little bit apologetic. My easy mixed paella tastes delicious. And that’s more than good enough for most of us.

I’ve heard paella called Spanish jambalaya and jambalaya called Cajun paella. Whichever side you hail from, it’s all about the rice on center stage with the other ingredients varying from household to household, recipe to recipe, cook to cook. Even in Spain, there are as many differences of opinion about what must be - or cannot be - in paella as there are for jambalaya in southern Louisiana.

What that tells me is that these are dishes you can feel free to make your own. Whenever I think of paella, I imagine three ingredients. Chicken, shrimp and, of course, chorizo. For that gorgeous saffron-hue, only the best saffron will do. In my case, I was lucky enough to be invited to a cooking class by the Spanish saffron, Taj Mahal, which is sold here in Dubai. It puts the saffron I’ve bought before to shame with its vibrant, brilliant yellow. I used to think that Iranian saffron was the best but I am now a convert to the Spanish stuff.

This was right after I poured in the hot water. Check out the image below where I add this to the pan. So much darker! 

Note: I just checked and you can buy it on Amazon! Here's the affiliate link for anyone who is interested. This is not a sponsored post, by the way. I just mention the brand because I love it.

1/2 teaspoon Spanish saffron
1/4 cup or 60ml hot water
6 small chicken thighs (about 1.1 lbs or 500g)
Black pepper
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
250g pack chorizo sausage
1 1/2 cups or 300g paella rice (Good sub: Arborio rice)
1 onion, sliced
1 large ripe tomato, chopped
3 3/4 cups or 890ml hot chicken stock
1 cup or 130g freshly podded or frozen peas
12 medium shrimp, peeled and cleaned (about 5 1/3 oz or 150g)

Pour the hot water over the saffron and leave to steep. Preheat your oven to 325°F or 165°C.

Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a skillet that has a tight-fitting lid and can go from stovetop to oven.

Brown the chicken on both sides in the hot oil – this takes just a few minutes. You’ll know it’s ready to turn when it releases easily. Remove the chicken from the pan to a deep plate that will catch any juices that run off.

While the chicken is browning, use the tip of a sharp knife to cut open the casing on the chorizo and peel it off. Slice the chorizo into circles.

Once the chicken has been removed from the pan, add the chorizo and fry until it releases its oils. Scoop the chorizo out and add it to the chicken plate.

Stir in the rice to coat it with the oils, then add the onions. Cook a few more minutes, until the onions soften.

Pour in the saffron water and stir.

See what I mean about the color?!

Add the chopped tomato. Tip the peas in along with the chorizo and any juices that have accumulated on the chicken/chorizo plate. Give the whole thing a good stir.

Now put the chicken in the pan, gently pushing it down into the mixture a little bit. Pour in the stock and raise the heat a little bit under the pan.

Bring to a boil, cover tightly and put in preheated oven for 25 minutes.

Remove from the oven, add the shrimp and put the lid back on the pan. Do not stir.

Turn the oven off and return the covered pan to the oven for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave covered until ready to serve.


Many thanks to our Foodie Extravaganza host, Sue of Palatable Pastime. Check out the other creative paella dishes we have for you today:

Foodie Extravaganza celebrates obscure food holidays or shares recipes with the same ingredient or theme every month.

Posting day is always the first Wednesday of each month. If you are a blogger and would like to join our group and blog along with us, come join our Facebook group Foodie Extravaganza. We would love to have you!

If you're a reader looking for delicious recipes, check out our Foodie Extravaganza Pinterest Board! Looking for our previous parties? Check them out here.

Pin it!


Monday, February 27, 2017

Strawberry Yogurt Muffins #MuffinMonday

Just the right sweetness and oh, so tender, these strawberry yogurt muffins are a great breakfast or snack. Decorate them with sliced strawberries for an extra pretty touch, especially if you bake them on National Strawberry Day.

Happy National Strawberry Day and Muffin Monday to you all! In honor of convergence of these two special days, I've baked you some delicious golden muffins. And while these are perfect with strawberry yogurt, I should point out that you can easily substitute your favorite yogurt flavor.

Make sure you scroll down to see what my fellow Muffin Monday bakers are sharing! After you make these strawberry yogurt muffins, of course.

Ingredients - 12 muffins
2 cups or 250g all purpose flour
1/2 cup or 100g sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup or 60ml milk
3/4 cup or 185g strawberry yogurt
1/2 cup or 113g butter, melted and cooled
1 large egg

Optional, for decoration: 3 red strawberries, cut into four slices each

Food Lust People Love - Just the right sweetness and oh, so tender, these strawberry yogurt muffins are a great breakfast or snack. Decorate them with sliced strawberries for an extra pretty touch.

Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C and prepare your 12-cup muffin pan by greasing it or lining it paper muffin cups.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, the sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In another bowl, whisk together the milk, yogurt, butter and egg.

Pour your wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and fold them together until just mixed.

Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups and top each with strawberry slice, cut side up, if using.

Bake in the preheated oven about 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Cool on a rack for a few minutes and then remove the muffins to cool completely.


Check out all the other delicious muffins my Muffin Monday bakers are sharing today:

#MuffinMonday is a group of muffin loving bakers who get together once a month to bake muffins. You can see all our of lovely muffins by following our Pinterest board.

Updated links for all of our past events and more information about Muffin Monday, can be found on our home page.

Pin it! 


Sunday, February 26, 2017

Piquant Shrimp Balls

Made with spicy seasoned shrimp and no fillers, piquant shrimp balls are the perfect Mardi Gras or party appetizer. A little dipping sauce with pickled okra completes the dish.

I feel sorry for folks who don’t grow up near an ocean. It’s not just that they seldom, or sometimes never, felt the sand between their toes or built dribble castles as children, but they also often missed out on seafood as a normal, typical dinner option. It’s saved for special occasions and restaurant meals. Which is a shame.

At our house, we eat a lot of seafood! Everything from fancy-ish main course recipes like Trout en Croute, Fennel Orange Cod en Papillote and Meyer Lemon Butter Sauce Prawns to appetizers like Mini Party Crab Cakes and Squid with Garlic Chili Oil, to down home favorites like Pan-Fried Fresh Sardines, Ceviche and Spicy Salmon Shrimp Burgers. Oh, and since it's Mardi Gras time, I should mention my Louisiana Barbecued Shrimp and Shrimp Creole! Those are just a drop in the bucket. I could go on but I think you get the point. These piquant shrimp balls are one of my favorites.

Making piquant shrimp balls is super easy! The secret to making balls with no fillers or egg is to use a food processor on half of the shrimp, then stir in the remaining shrimp, roughly chopped. Pan-fry the balls with a little olive oil for a golden exterior and your family and friends will be asking you to double the recipe next time. I promise.

Ingredients - for 2 dozen piquant shrimp balls
Good handful flat leaf parsley leaves and tender stems (pinch off hard stems and discard)
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1-2 red hot chili peppers
2 medium cloves garlic
1 lb 2oz or 510g peeled, cleaned fresh shrimp
Olive oil for pan frying

For the dipping sauce:
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 teaspoon whole grained mustard
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne
1 small clove garlic, finely minced
1 hot pickled okra, stem end removed, finely minced (sub small cornichons or capers, if desired)

Make the dipping sauce by combining all ingredients. Store covered in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Cut the peppers and garlic into pieces then process with the parsley and salt until finely minced.

Add in half of the shrimp and process until chopped fairly finely. You are looking for a chunky paste.

Use a sharp knife to cut the rest of the shrimp into four or five pieces, depending on size.

Tip the seasoned mixture out into a mixing bowl. Mix the cut shrimp well with the seasoned chunky shrimp paste.

Cover a plate snugly with cling film (this makes it easier to get the shrimp balls off the plate) and use a tablespoon to divide the mixture into about 24 pieces.

Dampen your hands with water and roll the pieces into balls and place them in a non-stick pan with a drizzle of olive oil.

Cook over a medium high heat with a splatter guard on top. Once the shrimp balls are cooked enough to be firm, turn them over and keep cooking, shaking the pan occasionally, until all sides are golden and the shrimp balls are cooked through. This takes just a few minutes.

Serve hot with toothpicks and the dipping sauce. Sprinkle on a little extra chopped parsley for color, if desired.


This week my Sunday Supper tastemakers are sharing their favorite easy Mardi Gras recipes. Whether you are hosting or attending a potluck, we’ve got you covered!

Sunday Supper Easy Mardi Gras Recipes


Main Dishes



Pin these Piquant Shrimp Balls!


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Keralan Yeast Appam #BreadBakers

Keralan appam are easy to make, blending soaked rice with coconut milk to make a rich, thick batter. These delicious lacy pancakes taste fragrantly, inexplicably, of butter.

Appam is popular in certain regions of India, particularly the south and the state of Kerala. It’s made with raw and cooked rice, often fermented with toddy or kallu, an alcoholic drink made from palm or coconut sap. If you don’t have toddy, you can let the batter ferment naturally or add some yeast. Fresh grated coconut and/or coconut milk are frequently present in the ingredient list, as is flattened rice – a sort of rice flake.

This month our Bread Bakers are making pancakes. Our host Mayuri of Mayuri’s Jikon assured us that there were pancakes of all sorts and from every part of the world. I had never really thought about it but she is absolutely right. If you search “pancakes” the list is so loooooong and varied! Who knew?

Even if you just search for “appam,” the name I chose out of the main list, you will find countless recipes for naturally fermented, toddy fermented and yeast fermented versions. Everybody seems to think their family recipe is The One. Isn’t that always the way? I must confess to the same conceit about some of my Cajun dishes, even when my mom informs me later than my grandmother never made something the way I do. Clearly one of us remembering wrong. Yeah, I know it’s probably me, but here we are.

Some links to check out - these are just a drop in the immense Keralan appam bucket!

Anyway, I’ve taken several of those recipes and come up with this one. First of all, I didn’t have toddy. Secondly, I couldn’t find flattened rice. But some recipes called for neither one or the other so I figured I could mix and match. I do have freshly grated coconut but I know many of my readers will not, so I went with a coconut milk version. I used the stuff from the can.

Before we get started cooking appam, let me tell you how good these were. I served them with a Keralan pork chop recipe seasoned with cinnamon, cloves, coriander powder and cardamom. It had lots of onions and tomatoes that made a rich gravy for the pork chops and potatoes. Perfect for eating with appam! Even after my husband and I were full, we were picking up pieces of the appam and nibbling on them.

How is it that something that contains no butter at all, indeed were cooked on a non-stick skillet with just a little canola oil, can taste so buttery? It made no sense. But buttery they are. We both declared them delicious and worthy of the make-again-soon list.

Note: Start one day ahead of when you want to serve the appam.

1 cup or 190g raw rice – I used extra long grained basmati.
1/2 cup or 60g cooked rice
1 cup or 240ml thick coconut milk
½ teaspoon dry active yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
oil as required

Rinse the raw rice in cool water until the water runs almost clear. Cover the rice with ample cool water and set aside to soak for 5 hours.

Drain the water off of the rice in a sieve or colander. Put it in the jug of your blender with the cooked rice, the coconut milk, the salt and all but 1 teaspoon of the sugar.

Mix that teaspoon of sugar with a couple of tablespoons of warm water in a small bowl. Add the yeast and set aside to proof. You are looking for foam to start forming. If it doesn’t, start again with new yeast.

Blend the rice and coconut milk on high until you have a smooth batter. Add in the yeast mixture and mix again briefly. The batter will have the consistency of crepe batter or thick cream.

Pour the batter into a large bowl and cover loosely with cling film.

Leave overnight to ferment. In the morning, if you are not cooking your appam immediately, you can put it in the refrigerator.

You can see that the fermented batter really thickens up.

At this point, I thinned mine with a little water because it wouldn’t spread out at all. You want to be able to pour it in the pan with a measuring cup or ladle, not just spoon it into the pan.

Heat your non-stick skillet over a medium flame and add just a drizzle of canola or other light oil.

Pour in about 1/4 cup or 60ml of the batter and shake the pan so it spreads around. Cover the pan with a lid and cook until the bottom is brown and the top is completely cooked. Do not flip the appam.

Continue until all the appam are cooked. These are traditionally served as a breakfast or snack with vegetable stew.


Many thanks to this month’s host, Mayuri of Mayuri’s Jikoni. Check out the pancakes from different parts of the world that our fellow Bread Bakers have baked this month:
#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all our of lovely bread by following our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated after each event on the #BreadBakers home page. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.

Pin it! 


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

ANZAC Biscuits #CreativeCookieExchange

ANZAC biscuits are a traditional cookie Down Under made with oats, coconut and golden syrup. These biscuits – always biscuits and never cookies – can be baked chewy or crispy and that’s a point that divides families.

This month our Creative Cookie Exchange group theme is Healthy Cookies. My younger daughter and I were brainstorming ideas – I was pushing for a homemade Hobnob (a crispy oat cookie) when she suggested ANZAC biscuits. When we lived in Kuala Lumpur the first time, we enjoyed home baked ANZAC biscuits at least once a year, when one of our Australian friends made them for ANZAC Day. Happily, she also shared her recipe.

ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, a joint outfit that fought together during World War I. ANZAC Day, which falls on April 25th every year, is a national holiday in Australia that has grown from its original intent in 1916 to honor the more than 8,000 Australians who died in the campaign to take Gallipoli, to a day to honor all who have fallen in military and peacekeeping missions.

There are several stories about the origin of ANZAC biscuits. One says that they were baked to send overseas in care packages to soldiers. More likely, say historians, they were created and baked to sell at fundraisers to collect money for the war effort. Original ANZAC biscuits were made only of flour, oats, and butter with syrup as the binding agent. They had a long shelf life and were full of energy and nutrition. Coconut has become a popular, later addition.

First, a word about the units of measure. Australian cups and tablespoons are not the same volume as American cups and tablespoons.

1 Australian cup = 8.45 fl oz
1 US cup = 8 fl oz
1 Australian tablespoon = 4 teaspoons
1 US tablespoon = 3 teaspoons

Mercifully, the teaspoons are equal. To make this the least complicated as possible, I’m going to leave the cups the same, since they are 1:1 anyway, but add the gram measurements of an Australian cup of rolled oats, flour, sugar and butter, if you want to use a scale.

1 cup or 120g rolled oats (Don’t use the quick cook oats.)
1 cup or 132g plain flour
1 cup or 237g caster sugar
3/4 cup or 75g coconut
1/2 cup or 125g butter
8 teaspoons golden syrup
1/2 teaspoon bi-carbonate of soda (baking soda, not baking powder)
8 teaspoons boiling water

Preheat your oven to 300°F or 150°C and line two cookie sheets with baking parchment or silicone liners.

Combine oats, flour, sugar and coconut in a large bowl.

Combine butter and golden syrup in a saucepan (or microwaveable bowl) and use your heat source to warm them gently until the butter is melted.

Mix the soda with the boiling water and add it to the butter mixture (it should froth up) and then add the whole lot to the oat mixture. Stir well.

Use a cookie dough scoop or a couple of spoons to divide the dough into about 24 pieces, placing them on your prepared pans.

Bake in your preheated oven for about 18-20 minutes or until golden brown. Rotate the pans mid way through baking time so they will brown evenly. If they are undercooked, they will be soft in the middle. If they’ve run together a little bit, just use a knife to gently separate them.

Remove the biscuits from the pan while warm and transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Store in an airtight container for up to a week. If they last that long.


Many thanks to my dear friend Glenys, for being the kind of friend who not only shares her recipes, but one whose friendship over the years has helped me stop questioning my sanity. Knowing she chose this same nomadic life means I must not be nuts, but if I’m crazy at least we are both crazy together. Everyone should be blessed with a friend like Glenys.

A big thank you also to Karen from Karen’s Kitchen Stories and Holly of A Baker’s House for stepping up to create and update the link list. Want to see the rest of our healthy cookies? Check out the list below.

Creative Cookie Exchange is hosted by Laura of The Spiced Life. We get together once a month to bake cookies with a common theme or ingredient so Creative Cookie Exchange is a great resource for cookie recipes. Be sure to check out our Pinterest Board and our monthly posts at The Spiced Life. We post the first Tuesday after the 15th of each month!

Pin it!