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    72 Reviews
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      11.04.2013 15:20
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      Ideal course to start a dinner party

      This is a dish that I cooked for my girlfriend as part of a three course meal. I think it's a really impressive course - scallops are amazing but actually really easy to cook. I was a bit worried at first that there would be too many ingredients but when we tasted it I thought the balance worked well. There are lots of different flavours and textures - I hope you give it a go and like it too.

      Ingredients:
      - Scallops
      - Bacon
      - Peas
      - Shallots
      - Chicken stock
      - Garlic
      - Mint
      - Parsley
      - Limes
      - Carrots
      - Apples (sweet apples like Pink Lady work well)
      - Hazelnuts
      - Rocket/ Watercress
      - Cumin

      Method:
      1. For the puree, boil 200g peas until cooked and then drain. Fry two garlic cloves and a few diced shallots gently in a pan with some butter and then add 150ml chicken stock. Add some salt, pepper and cumin and some chopped fresh parsley and mint (they add flavour and help give it a bright green colour). Blend in a food processor or with a stick blender until smooth.
      2. For the bacon, place some rashers between two sheets of baking paper then place in a baking tray. Top with another baking tray then weigh it down with anything heavy and ovenproof (I use a casserole pan). Bake at 200C until the bacon is crispy.
      3. Meanwhile, for the salad, cut the apple and carrot into thin strips (julienne) and mix with rocket/ watercress. Dress with the juice of a lime, two tablespoons of olive oil, one tablespoon of honey and salt and pepper to taste.
      4. Fry the scallops in butter for 1-2 mins per side basting with the butter as they cook.
      5. To serve, place a small handful of the salad in the centre of the plate. Space 5 spoonfuls of the pea puree equally around the outside of the salad. Top each spoonful with a scallop and a piece of crispy bacon. Top the salad with some chopped hazelnuts.

      If you are cooking this for a dinner party, a lot of it could be prepared in advance. The pea puree and bacon could both be prepared the day before and simply heated up when needed. However, the salad and scallops would be much better if prepared just before serving.

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        06.04.2012 01:34
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        Delicious tarts that you will make time and time again!!

        I made these for a dinner party and they went down unbelievably well (people were almost licking their plates clean)! Enjoy.

        To make 6:

        Caramelised Onions:
        70g butter
        1 ¼ tbsp olive oil
        2 large red onions, cut into thin wedges
        3 tsp sugar

        Roasted Tomatoes
        31g butter
        1 ¼ tbsp olive oil
        1 ¼ tsp sugar
        1 fat garlic clove , thinly sliced
        8 plum tomatoes , halved lengthways
        several sprigs of thyme
        450g cherry tomatoes

        Goats' Cheese
        Pre bought short crust pastry
        Pesto mixed with a little olive oil and rocket to serve

        1. Heat the butter and oil in a frying pan until the butter has melted. Cook the onion over a medium heat for about 10 minutes until beautifully golden, stirring often. Stir in the sugar and cook for another couple of minutes. Tip the onion and juices into a bowl and set aside.

        2. For the tomatoes, heat the butter and oil on the hob until quite hot. Stir in the sugar and garlic, then put in the plum tomatoes cut-side down with a few thyme sprigs, and sizzle for no more than 1 minute. Scatter in the whole cherry tomatoes and tuck in a bit more thyme. Season them with salt and pepper. Continue to cook for a couple of minutes then transfer to the oven with cut sides up for about an hour.

        3. Roll out pastry on a lightly floured work surface (about 4mm thick), and press lightly in to tart tins. Prick the bases with a fork and leave in the fridge to rest for 30 minutes. Trim excess pastry from the edges.

        4. Place sheet of baking paper over the pastry and three-quarters fill with raw rice or beans. Bake blind for 10 minutes or until edges are light golden, then remove the beans and bake for a further 5 minutes until the pastry is dried out and cooked.

        5. When ready, layer in onion, tomatoes and goats' cheese and put in the oven to melt the cheese (5-10 mins).

        6. Garnish with rocket and pesto oil.

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        23.09.2010 11:11
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        A new way of using beetroot - try it!

        As a child, I didn't have a very good introduction to beetroot, being brought up on that revolting stuff in jars tasting of nothing by vinegar! I think it's very under-used and seems to only appear in salads or in soup. It works very well with the goats cheese, but make sure you add plenty of seasoning otherwise it can be a little bland (sincere apologies once again to the salt police who always seem to be out in such force these days...)

        **Beetroot and Goats' Cheese Tartlets**

        Serves 4 as a starter or light lunch

        For the pastry:

        4oz plain flour
        1oz butter
        1oz lard
        1 tbsp freshly grated parmesan
        Cold water

        For the filling:

        4 cooked beetroot
        Soft goat's cheese
        2 large eggs
        ¼ pint single cream
        Chives

        1. Sift the flour with some salt and pepper, and rub in the butter and lard until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the parmesan and bind together with a small amount of cold water. Chill for ½ an hour.

        2. Roll out the pastry to line four small flan dishes, and then chill again for 30 minutes. Cover with foil, fill with baking beans, then bake blind in a preheated oven at 200ºC / 400ºF / Gas 6 for 15 minutes, removing the foil and baking beans for the last 5 minutes. Allow to cool a little.

        3. Cut the beetroot into small cubes, and place in the baked flan cases. Crumble the goat's cheese over, and snip chives over the top. Whisk the eggs with the cream and plenty of seasoning, and pour into the flan cases.

        4. Bake in a preheated oven at 200ºC / 400ºF / Gas 6 for 15-20 minutes. Serve hot or cold (best somewhere between) with a rocket salad.

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          26.04.2010 18:45
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          Quick and easy to make, yet tasty starters.

          Garlic and Butter Prawns

          This first starter can also be served as a main course - just give everyone a bit more and serve with lots of warm crusty bread and butter. It's a good alternative prawn starter to just sticking with a prawn cocktail, or breaded prawns with a dip.

          INGREDIENTS~~~

          250g - butter
          2 tbsp - Dijon mustard
          Juice of ½ lemon
          2 cloves - garlic
          ½ bunch - chopped parsley
          1/2kg - medium fresh prawns (deveined with shells taken off)

          METHOD~~~

          1) Preheat your oven to 230C

          2) In a small pan combine the butter, mustard, lemon juice, finely chopped garlic and parsley, over a medium heat.

          3) Heat until the butter melts completely and then remove from the heat.

          4) Arrange the prawns in a shallow oven proof dish.

          5) Pour the melted butter mixture over the prawns.

          6) Bake in the preheated oven for around 15 minutes, or until the prawns are pink.

          7) Serve with crusty, warmed bread with butter.

          It's quick, easy to prepare and cook and looks and tastes pretty fine too!

          Baked Camembert

          This next started recipe is even easier than the last one and tastes really yummy. A friend gave me the recipe a couple of years ago and is apparently one that she saw on a James Martin programme.

          INGREDIENTS~~~

          1 - boxed camembert
          2-3 - sprigs thyme, leaves only
          1 tbsp - olive oil
          baguettes, to serve

          METHOD~~~

          1) Preheat the oven to 220C.

          2) Take the cheese out of the box, unwrap and slice the rind off the top. Return the cheese to its box, cut-side up, and place the box on a baking sheet.

          3) Season the camembert with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Sprinkle over the thyme leaves and drizzle with the olive oil.

          4) Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the cheese is browned on top and melted inside. Allow to cool slightly, then serve with crusty bread or baguettes.

          ...and it's as simple as that! The cheese goes all gooey and sticky and you can smear it on the bread. Yum!

          Fried Brie with Warm Cranberry Sauce

          This is another tasty and simple cheese starter that just tastes a little bit different. People will think you've really tried and have come up with something special, but with minimum effort.

          INGREDIENTS~~~

          2 - eggs, beaten
          50g - flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
          150g - Brie
          50g - breadcrumbs
          Vegetable oil for deep frying
          250g - cranberry sauce
          Salt and pepper

          METHOD~~~

          1) Place the flour, breadcrumbs and eggs in 3 small bowls.

          2) Dredge the Brie in the flour then dip it in the egg. Then dip it into the breadcrumbs. Repeat the coatings of egg and breadcrumbs until you have a thick coating.

          3) Heat the oil in a deep fat fryer or saucepan to 180 degrees C. Fry the Brie for 3 minutes until golden and crisp.

          4) Remove the Brie with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.

          5) Warm the cranberry sauce in a small pan over a medium heat. Season with salt and pepper.

          6) Pour the warm cranberry sauce on to a serving platter and put the Brie on top.

          Again, the cheese goes gooey inside, but the outside stays crispy, providing a nice contrast of textures. It looks really good and tastes even better.

          I hope you have a go at making these simple starters and enjoy eating them as much as we do. With all of them, you can even make them into a light main course with the addition of a salad or some more bread.

          ...enjoy! ...and, let me know what you think if you try them out yourself.

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            07.03.2010 11:35
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            So easy to make but looks and tastes fabulous

            Smoked Salmon Pate

            I adore salmon, absolutely love it. When choosing from a menu, I look no further as soon as I spot salmon.
            Last Christmas was the first time I've been in charge of Christmas dinner on my own, it was exciting but rather frightening, what if I messed it up?! I knew what I'd be cooking for the main meal, the full traditional Christmas dinner, but what about a starter? I looked through lots of recipe books until I found this one. I made it to practice first and it was so tasty that I then made it as the starter on Christmas day. I, of course, loved it but so did my husband and toddler. My son only had a little bit as it is very rich but he did enjoy what he had.


            *Ingredients*

            *Serves 8 as a starter or 4 as a lunch*
            400g (14 oz) thinly sliced smoked salmon
            150ml (5 fl oz) double (heavy/whipping) cream or cup crème fraîche
            Finely grated rind of 1 lemon
            45ml (3 tbsp) fresh lemon juice
            Salt and ground black pepper
            Optional - fresh dill sprigs, to garnish


            *Method*

            1. Use cling film to line 4 small ramekins, leaving plenty overhanging the sides.

            2. Cut the salmon into long strips. Line the ramekins with the salmon and allow some to overhang the sides.

            3. Put the remaining smoked salmon into a food processor and add the cream, lemon rind and lemon juice. Blend the salmon in short bursts until it is just smooth. Be careful not to over-process the pâté or it will thicken too much and it loses some taste. I found it best to blend for 10 seconds at a time and then take a look at the salmon, as soon as I couldn't see big pieces of salmon anymore I stopped.

            4. Taste the mixture and add salt and ground black pepper if required. If the salmon is quite oily, it may be necessary to add a little more lemon juice.

            5. Fill the ramekin dishes with the salmon mixture. Use the overhanging salmon stripes to cover the pate as much as possible.

            6. Cover the ramekins with the extra cling film. Put into the fridge and chill for at least 30 minutes. I always leave mine for around 45 minutes.

            7. Remove from fridge. Turn ramekins upside down on a plate and the salmon pate should come out easily. Remove the cling film.

            8. Garnish with dill sprigs if wanted.


            *Serving Suggestions*

            If using as a starter (as I did), cut each portion in half. The pate is delicious but very rich. Half a portion is definitely enough.

            Serve with normal toast, melba toast, baguette slices or anything else you fancy.


            *Final words*

            This starter looks very effective and people will think it was much more difficult to make than it really is. I recommend making this when you want to impress someone!

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              05.02.2010 11:01
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              A few Starters

              As I do like cooking for friends and family on special events I like to go that extra mile with 3 course meals. Here are some of the starters I've done more recently that my guests and I very much enjoyed.

              Prawn Parcels

              Ingredients
              (Serves Four)

              10z Canned water chestnuts
              4 Spring Onions
              8oz Peeled cooked prawns
              2 tsp Hoisin sauce
              1 tsp Caster Sugar
              2 tsp Dry Sherry
              2 tsp Cornflour
              1 Egg white
              8 Chinese rice paper wrappers (wonton wrappers if unable to get rice paper)
              Vegetable oil for deep-frying
              Plum or Hoisin sauce to serve


              1 - Beat your egg white, mix in the cornflour, dry sherry, hoisin sauce and the sugar. Also adding the spring onions, drain the water chestnuts and chop adding them to the mixture add your prawns and mix well.

              2 - You will need to soften the rice paper by dipping them in a bowl of water this is best done one at a time. Spread them over your clean work surface or board.

              3 - Spoon a little of your mixture into the centre of each parcel and wrap the paper filling anyway you like just make sure it's very secure.

              4 - Heat oil in a wok until smoking, then reduce the heat slightly added in the parcels slowly for about 4 -5 minutes, until crispy with a holed large spoon remove your parcels and drain on some kitchen towel. Serve straight away with your sauce.

              I find this is a great little starter, easy and quick to make the aromas you get from this dish are really to die for, and you'll sure be the hostess with the mostess!

              Smoked Mackerel & Chive Pate
              (Serves 8)

              Ingredients
              7oz Smoked mackerel, skinned, boned and flaked
              4oz Low-fat cheese
              1 tsp Lemon Juice
              1 tsp Fat-free vinaigrette
              1 Bunch of Chives

              1 - Add the mackerel and cheese into a large bowl and mix well, add in the other ingredients then mix well (I tend to put it all in a food processor)

              2 - Spoon your mix into 8 small serving dishes or 1 large serving dish or even a mould. Cover and place in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

              3 - Serve with wholemeal toast or low fat crackers.

              I used this starter just the other week as I was cooking a meal for my parents; mom now has to be on healthy and good foods for the heart eating-plan. Mackerel is an oily fish with a rich source of omega-3 heart friendly fatty acids so was a good choice to pick.

              Red Pepper & Spring Onion Dip with Vegetable Batons
              (Serves 4)

              Ingredients
              1 Large red pepper, deseeded and cored
              2 Garlic cloves
              8oz Soya yogurt
              2 Spring onions, finely chopped
              Ground black pepper
              Selection of raw vegetables
              Carrots, Cucumber, Peppers, Fennel, Tomatoes, Baby Corn, Mangetout, Celery and Courgettes cut in to batons (You can always pick what veg you more prefer though)

              1 - Flatter the pepper quarters and place on a baking sheet, wrap the garlic in foil and place on the same sheet. Place in a preheated oven at 210c for 30 - 35 minutes until the pepper is slightly charred and the garlic is soft.

              2 - When the peppers have cooled enough to handle, remove the skin from the pepper and discard, transfer to a bowl. Squeeze the roasted garlic flesh from the cloves into the bowl. Using a fork mash the pepper and garlic together.

              3 - Stir in the soya yogurt and spring onions then season to taste with ground black pepper. Serve with your vegetable batons and enjoy!

              This starter I did along side the mackerel, which all worked well together again sticking to the healthy theme for my mom. The soya dip above will provide you 2g soya protein and shown that a daily intake of 25g soya protein per day will significantly reduce the total of bad cholesterol.

              Cheese & Broccoli Tart
              (Serves six)

              Ingredients

              9oz Short crust pastry (I use frozen, unless I feel in the mood to make my own)
              1 Large onion
              1 tbsp Olive oil
              12oz Broccoli florets
              4oz Goats cheese, sliced
              4 Eggs
              ¼ pint skimmed milk or single cream (better taste with single cream though)
              Sea salt and ground black pepper to season

              1 - Roll your pastry dough and line a 9 - 10 inch lose bottom flan tin (this will make it easier to remove later). Bake blind at 190c until part cooked round 10 minutes fork the bottom of the pastry a little to stop it rising too much. After 10 minutes remove from over, but carry on with the other steps while waiting.

              (Baking blind means to bake a pastry case before its filled, often using a sheet of baking paper topped with baking beans to stop the raising in the middle of the pastry)

              2 - Soften the onions in the oil and cover with a lid for 5 to 6 minutes, while that's cooking steam the broccoli for 5 to 6 minutes until your florets are tender. Add the broccoli to the onions and season well.

              3 - Spread the broccoli and onion mix on the bottom of the pastry with the sliced cheese spaced on top. Beat the eggs in a mixing bowel adding the milk or cream, season and pour over your tart.

              4 - Bake in the oven 190c for 25 minutes or until lightly browned and set.

              I think this is best served warm after a few minutes cooling from the oven serve. I do tend to cheat a little here and buy a packet of salad and serve a little with each slice of tart. As this can be served cold its also great for a picnic, you can use ricotta or cheddar if you prefer a softer taste.

              Do hope you liked the starters I've picked out for you. That they come in handy for you at some point!

              Thanks for reading.

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                25.01.2010 18:54
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                This makes a great present and is a good alternative to a meat pate.

                At Christmas, being on a budget, I decided to make food related gifts for my family and friends. I made them in little ramekins and wrapped these in cellophane with some crackers and they make pretty, simple presents.

                I found this recipe on a website, I cannot remember which one, but it worked absolutely perfectly and was much enjoyed by everyone.

                Pate is usually ground meat and fat, minced together to form a paste. Added to this is often fruit, vegetables and spices.

                I like to spread my pate on nice crusty bread or on crackers and think it is brilliant at Christmas when there is usually a wide range of chutneys and cheeses on the table.

                This pate, however, has no meat in it which means it is suitable for vegetarians. I have tried to buy vegetarian pates before, but have always found that they lack in flavour.

                --------Ingredients--------

                2oz butter or a vegetarian margarine
                1 bunch of spring onions (these need to be finely chopped)
                2fl oz port
                The zest of ½ a lemon
                4oz of a vegetarian Stilton (this needs to be crumbled)
                1 small bunch of parsley (finely chop this)
                Ground black pepper

                --------Method--------


                --- Melt the butter in a saucepan and gently sweat the spring onions until they are soft.

                --- Add the port (and have a sneaky drink!) and simmer this gently for 3 minutes.

                --- Add the remaining ingredients and stir this well.

                --- You will then need a blender to process the entire mixture until it is bound together.

                --- At this point, you should check the seasoning and add extra as you see fit.

                --- Decide how you want to present the pate. It can either be put in to a dish altogether, or it can be divided in to ramekin dishes as I did.

                --- Put these in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

                The recipe did not mention it but I actually added a few cranberries to the top of the pate as a decoration. It goes nicely with the port and stilton and adds a colourful touch.

                Ideally, the pate should be eaten within a week and should be used within a few days once it has been started - I have never had a problem with this!

                The pate can be frozen too, which is fantastic as there is always an extra bit available!

                The port and pate are such a great flavour combination, and extras can be added. I added chopped up cranberries to the pate which added a whole new depth of flavour.

                I really think pate is a great present to give, it is attractive, tasty, and this vegetarian option is a great alternative to all of the meat options.

                Let me know what you think!

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                16.01.2010 22:00
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                Do not over-indulge!

                SPRING ROLLS


                These are traditionally known as Ha Khians.

                I know, they are chock full of calories and oil. But when we went to this cosy little restaurant in Thailand, I just couldn't resist sampling these fantastic Spring Rolls. Being an avid collector of recipes from around the world, I managed to trace this recipe from my friend's grandmother who's from China.


                Serves 5

                Ingredients:
                * 2 tablespoons sesame oil
                * 500g chicken (or pork)
                * 400g prawns OR 250g crab
                * 50g black mushrooms
                * 2 teaspoon soy sauce
                * York of one egg
                * Two tablespoons chopped onion
                * Salt and Pepper to taste


                For the sauce:
                * 1 teaspoon crushed ginger paste
                * 3 tablespoons soy sauce
                * 1 tablespoons fish sauce
                * ½ teaspoon lime juice
                * 1 teaspoon sugar
                * Flour
                * Water


                Preparation:
                1. Broil the chicken (or pork) and the prawns.
                2. Rinse the mushrooms and leave them to soak until they grow twice in size.
                3. Chop them up in thick strips.
                4. Heat a saucepan with two tablespoons oil and add the soy sauce, pepper, salt and crushed ginger and onions.
                5. Cook and stir for five minutes. Add some water if mixture becomes too dry.
                6. Remove from stove.
                7. Add the egg york (raw) and mix well until it completely disappears in the mixture. Put the mixture aside.
                8. To make the rolls, mix some water and flour and roll out. Cut the large flour sheet in strips until you have several sheets.
                9. Put two spoonfuls of the mixture in the flour sheet and roll. Make sure to seal the two ends with oil.
                10. Do the same until mixture is over.
                11. Fry the rolls in extremely hot oil until golden brown and crisp.
                12. Serve with salad and any spicy sauce.



                The difference between this homemade spring roll and the commercial ones you get in Chinese restaurants is that with this one, you can monitor the amount of oil you use. In addition, the rolls contain more fillings than the commercial, nearly-empty ones.


                I would describe the taste as being spicy, crispy and extremely savory. I am particularly fond of the soy sauce combined with chicken and onion in the spring rolls. They certainly add this "different" taste to the rolls in general. I served it up on some crispy iceberg lettuce with no dressing and it was quite the hit with my boyfriend.


                Just please do not over-indulge with this delicacy. The oil and fat content is extremely high and loaded with calories.






                LOBSTER WITH ORANGE HONEY SAUCE


                This is a recipe that my friend from Memphis taught me. I am sadly not overly fond of lobsters- I just can't get past their physical appearance- but when she vacationed at my place one day, we tried this gourmet recipe out and it was quite delicious. The interesting blend of flavors, colors even tempted me to take a couple of bites out of this particular food that I usually do my best to avoid.


                This is guaranteed to add the elegant touch to impress family and friends!


                Serves 10
                * Ingredients:
                * 4kg lobster
                * 5 tablespoons honey
                * 10 cl vinegar
                * 10 oranges
                * 250g butter
                * 1 red pepper
                * Salt and pepper to taste


                Preparation:
                1. Boil the lobsters for 15 minutes and store in a cool place.
                2. Heat the honey and vinegar in a saucepan.
                3. Juice the 10 oranges and add the juice to the honey-vinegar mixture.
                4. Leave on stove until mixture diminishes to just ¾ of its initial quantity.
                5. Add chopped peppers and 250 grams butter to the mixture.
                6. Shell the lobsters and cut into small pieces
                7. Simmer the pieces in the sauce for a few minutes
                8. Serve on thin crackers



                I really love this preparation and even if I don't eat much of it, it is something that I usually serve when we have large family get-togethers. In fact, it was quite a success at last year's New Year dinner. It really is a highly-elegant starter in any party, especially when spread over the thin crackers.


                The taste can be described as a zesty blend of spicy and fruity that contrast surprisingly well with the soft buttery taste of the lobster. I personally save the orange peel and grate it over the lobster before serving. In addition, I also like to slice some tomatoes to decorate the edge of the plates. But I have found that the lobsters work much better without the orange peel, even if those among you who are partial to fruity tastes might prefer that.


                Thanks for reading!

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                15.06.2009 23:08
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                Eat as appetisers or just as a snack with tea.

                Corn Cheese Pakora is one of my favourite starters and tastes great with sweet chilli dip or even tomato ketchup. Pakora is a fried snack consumed mainly in India and other Asian countries. It is similar to bhajis or fritters.

                Preparation Time : 10 minutes
                Cooking Time : 10 minutes
                Serves : 4

                Ingredients
                #150 gms sweet corn
                #200 gms grated cheese
                #200 gms potatoes boiled and mashed
                #100 gms capsicum cut into small pieces
                #salt to taste
                #1 tsp white pepper powder
                #½ tsp. cornflour
                #1 tsp. plain flour
                #oil for frying,
                #4 tbsp. vermicilli or bread crumbs
                #2 tsp tinned chick peas or kidney beans
                #1 tsp chopped coriander

                For the batter:
                # 4 tsp. plain flour,
                # 1 tsp. cornflour,
                # water as required.

                Method-
                1. In a bowl, combine the cheese, potato, chick peas, corn and capsicum.
                2. Add salt, white pepper, cornflour and the plain flour. Mix thoroughly.
                3. Divide and shape the mixture into tiny balls. Set aside.

                To prepare the batter:
                Mix the plain flour and cornflour with sufficient water to make a thick consistency.

                To make the corn cheese balls:
                1. Dip the corn cheese balls in the batter and roll them in the vermicelli.
                2. Heat the oil in a deep pan and deep fry the corn cheese balls.
                3. Serve hot with sweet chilli dip.

                Vermicelli makes the starter crispy. It is a type of pasta but very thin and is made from semolina.

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                21.05.2009 17:19
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                A great simple starter/side dish.

                My husband has a rather 'large' sweet tooth, so when we are out for dinner, he would always opt for a main course and dessert, whilst I would nearly always opt for a starter and main course, being keener on the savoury snacks. If however, we are having friends over, I often like to have a starter, main course and a dessert, to please everyone.

                One of the starters that I usually make can also be doubled up as a side order, and therefore even if it hasn't all been eaten as a starter, it is usually finished off during the main course.

                This starter of 'spicy potato wedges with chilli dip' is actually one of my favourite starters when out at restaurants, and even hubby can't resist this homemade version.

                Ingredients for potato wedges

                2 baking potatoes, washed and cut into wedges (approx 8 from each potato)
                2 garlic cloves crushed
                1 tsp coriander (I usually opt for the jar)
                1 tbsp paprika (from the spice jar again!)
                2 tbsp olive oil
                1 tsp Allspice


                Indregients for the dip
                1 tbsp olive oil
                1 tbsp coriander
                1 garlic clove crushed
                1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
                1 small onion finely chopped
                1 fresh red chilli, de seeded and finely chopped
                7 oz can chopped tomatoes

                1. Preheat oven to 200C.
                2. Place the wedges ina saucepan and bring to boil.
                3. Let the potatoes simmer gentlly for 10 minutes, or until they have softenened slightly.
                4. Drain the potatoes and pat dry with kichen paper.
                5. Mix the oil, garlic, allspice, coriander and paprika ina roasting tin. Season with salt and pepper (I often omit the salt)
                6. Add the potatoes, shake to coat throughly, then roast for 20 minutes, turning occasionally.
                7. Meanwhile, make the dip. Heat the oil in the saucepan, add the onion and garlic and cook for 5 -10 minutes until soft and golden.
                8. Add the tomatoes with their juice and stir in the chilli and vinegar. Simmer until reduced and thickened.
                9. Stir in the coriander and serve hot, with the potato wedges.

                As a starter these ingredients will serve four, but as a side dish to a mian course, you would need to double up the number of potatoes.

                The main thing I like about this starter, apart from tasting delicious, and very like what you get out and about in restaurants, most of the ingredients are usually in your storecupboard, with the exception of the red chilli. So you don't have to run around the supermarket on the hunt for some obscure ingredients that will never be of use again.

                A tasty starter will can be doubled up as a side dish to a main course.

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                  16.04.2009 23:22
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                  mouth wateringly tasty treat that just shouts for a glass of wine

                  FETA AND CHERRY TOMATO BRUSCHETTA

                  You will need

                  A ciabatta loaf
                  pk Feta cheese
                  cherry tomatos
                  garlic clove
                  olive oil
                  balsamic vinegar
                  salt
                  finely chopped basil (garnish only not necessary)

                  As this is just a starter Id say a slice of bread per person is adequate.
                  Lightly toast the bread, I do this on an oven tray in the oven so that they are all ready together and usually the oven is on anyway!
                  In the meantime dice the feta, halve the cherry tomatoes and pop into a bowl. Dress with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and salt (remember that the feta is already salty though).
                  When the bread is ready cut the garlic clove in half to release the flavour and simply run the clove over the bread.
                  Place the bread on the serving dish that youre going to use (they are messy to move from plate to plate) and spoon over the feta and tomato.
                  Because the balsamic obviously makes everything dark in colour I think that sprinkled basil looks striking on this easy starter but obviously this is not to everyones taste!

                  This is so easy to make, makes the mouth water and really gets your guests drinking and the party started!
                  If you prefer less salt you can substitute the feta for mozzarella (the little balls look good halved against the halved cherry tomatos.
                  If youre not a herb fan and the basil doesnt appeal but youd still like some green on the plate then serve with a couple of olives on the side.

                  Be careful not to over-serve on this starter as it is bread and has been known to fill your guests up before you serve the main!

                  These are great to serve at a party too as well as a starter.

                  Buon Appetito!

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                    28.01.2009 21:52
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                    fruit strater is for kiddies and other one is for cheese lovers

                    well today im going to share two appetizers with you.One for you and one for your kiddies.If you are cheese lover then you would love to have it.

                    well this appetizer is for cheese lovers and i love cheese.I hope that you will find it very delicious and good starter.Check it out.

                    Ingredients that you would be needing are ;6 slices white bread ,3 ounces cream cheese ,1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese,1/2 cup butter ,2 egg whites and thats it nowwe will move towards the procedure to see how actually we wil work out on these ingredients.

                    First you need to do is cut crusts off the bread slices. Cut into 1-inch squares in a saucepan. Combine cheeses and butter. Heat over low heat until melted. Stir to mix thoroughly.Now beat egg whites until stiff. Slowly pour cheese mixture into beaten egg whites and fold gently.

                    Dip bread cubes in cheese mixture and coat well. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet, and refrigerate for 1 hour or freeze for 15 minutes.
                    Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake for 15 minutes or until light golden brown.

                    The other strater is for kiddies.

                    AS well all know that fruits are really good for our health so we should try to take as much fruits as we can..The recipie which i ma going to share with you is an appetizer and yea its best for your kiddies belive me they would love to have this and it would increase their crave for food..try it...

                    ingredients that would be used are;1 (16 ounce) package soft style cream cheese with pineapple ,3/4 pound shredded Swiss cheese ,2 cups dried cranberries ,2 tablespoons orange juice ,1/4 cup apple juice...

                    Lets move towards the making of this fruit strater..Heat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).In a medium bowl, blend the cream cheese, Swiss cheese, cranberries, orange juice and apple juice. Scoop into a 9-inch pie pan.Bake 15 minutes, until bubbly and lightly browned.

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                      28.01.2009 13:55
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                      Enjoy!

                      Three cheese soufflés

                      Everyone thinks that making souffles is really difficult, but in reality as long as your eggs are well whisked, and you have your proportions right, there is no reason why they should turn out great and surprise all of your skeptics.

                      Rather than a boring one cheese soufflé, this is a three cheese version that is VERY cheesy but tastes lovely with a side salad as a starter.

                      Ingredients:

                      6 egg whites
                      3 egg yolks
                      50g Mature Cheddar
                      100g Parmesan
                      100g Stilton
                      1oz of butter (but keep some to butter your ramekins too)
                      1oz plain flour
                      250ml of milk (semi skimmed is probably best)
                      1tsp of a smooth mustard such as dijon
                      A tiny amount of cayenne pepper
                      Salt and Pepper

                      Before you start you need to butter your ramekins well and coat the inside with grated parmesan. Put these in the fridge to set for a while so that you can concentrate on making the soufflé.

                      Warm the milk in a saucepan so that it's hot but NOT boiling. Add the butter so that it melts in, then add the flour and mustard and stir until it's all smooth. It's now important to let this cool for a while.

                      Once it's down to room temperature, add the egg YOLKS only, and the rest of the parmesan along with the mature cheddar while should be well grated. You can also add a good pinch of cayenne pepper so give the soufflé a certain something extra. Also don't forget to season with some pepper and salt.

                      In a different bowl whisk up your egg WHITES until they are stiff and peaky. Then you need to fold them into your sauce ensuring that you don't lose too much air. Once that is completed you can share the mixture evenly between your ramekins and put them in the oven for approximately 10 minutes at 200 degrees (conventional oven, 180 for fan).

                      Now you are thinking, what about the stilton!? Well... once these beauties come out nice and tall, you simply push in a small piece of stilton so that it melts into the top of the soufflé. Serve with salad!

                      Enjoy :)

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                        28.12.2008 21:44
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                        Its never let me down

                        We love a prawn cocktail in our family and for as long as I can remember I have used the same recipe to make my homemade prawn cocktail passed down to me by my mum. In an attempt to make the humble prawn cocktail a bit more glamorous I have developed the following recipe for a fishy starter which is not only delicious but also looks really impressive and has the addition of smoked salmon meaning you can serve it at dinner parties and impress but its not really that expensive because the quantities of salmon and prawn you use are actually quite small. I call it "salmon and prawn rings".

                        The essential piece of equipment for serving the dish is a metal ring which looks a bit like a napkin ring only its wider and higher. You can buy them from any cookware shop, cant remember what I paid but they last you for ever and in terms of presentation of a dish they are great.

                        You need a pack of good smoked salmon. The amounts depend on how many you are catering for but for 4 persons you need a medium size pack which costs around £5. You then need a pack of medium sized prawns, not the really little ones because they are horrible but equally not king prawns as they are too big in terms of presentation. You also need some iceberg lettuce and some different coloured peppers and spring onions.

                        The most complicated bit is making the marie rose sauce and thats not hard. Take good quality mayonnaise and put about 5 heaped table spoons of it into a bowl. I have to say I dont measure things as I go on taste. To the mayo add a good squeeze of fresh lemon, a tablespoon of tomato puree and about a heaped tablespoon of tomato ketchup. Then add a shake of paprika, but not too much to start with as you need to taste and you dont want the sauce in any way to be spicy. Mix all of this together and you should have the light pink colour required. Taste the sauce. You are looking for a tangy sauce but not too tangy or cloying and there should be a fresh hint of lemon in the background. You need to experiment and if its too ketchuppy add more mayonnaise. If its a bit bland add more paprika. Ive always had lots of really positive comments on this sauce and its so easy and better than shop bought.

                        Next you need to make up the rings. Place a ring on the serving plate and in the botton place a thin, one slice layer of smoked salmon. Squeeze a very small amount of lemon onto the salmon. Then a thin layer of iceberg lettuce, then a layer of prawns and pour a little of the marie rose sauce over them then a layer of salmon and so on until you are at the top of the ring. You should have about two layers of prawns and salmon. Then chill the ring in the fridge and when you are ready to serve gently pull the ring up off the starter and it should keep its shape and look really attractive with all its layers. Garnesh the plate with sprinkles of finely chopped different coloured peppers and spring onion and a wedge of lemon.

                        The beauty of this starter is it can be made earlier on in the day so no work to do on the evening of your meal. Its really delicious and a light start to any meal. Its worth a try

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                          16.12.2008 01:48
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                          An easy starter that looks good when decorated and serves well.

                          Individual Stilton & spinach tarts for 4 people .

                          This is an easy starter that will have people thinking your a whizz in the kitchen .

                          Ingredients.

                          1 Slice thick wholemeal bread for each person.
                          2-3 oz Butter.
                          4oz carton double cream.
                          4 oz good quality Stilton cheese.
                          4 oz milk.
                          1 large egg.
                          Either a bag of frozen finely chopped spinach OR a bag of fresh spinach which you have washed , finely chopped and cook lightly.
                          freshly ground sea salt & black pepper.
                          Assorted salad items of your choice for serving.

                          Cooking Utensils / items needed:
                          You can buy individual ramekin dishes or small metal quiche dishes(4) large jug. cooking Bowl,. fork. knife. Baking beads.
                          ( if you dont have these you can put some greaseproof paper on top of the bread and add some old dry pasta or rice instead)
                          A small saucepan. wooden spoon. A fine sieve for straining the egg + cream mixture.

                          Method:

                          1: Put oven on gas 4-5 or 180.

                          2: Butter inside all 4 of the ramekin dishes well .

                          3: Butter all 4 slices of bread then press one into each dish , butter side upwards cutting off any excess bread around the top of the dish with a knife to save your hands getting covered in butter put a clean plastic sandwich bag on the hand you use to press the bread in with , then just bin the bag )

                          4: place the baking beans ( or pasta etc) onto the bread and then cook these in the oven for around 10 minutes , until bread is crisp, let it cool and then take out the beans leaving the bread base in the dish still.( sometime the bread takes a little longer depending on the thickness so just keep testing it until you think its ready )

                          5: While the base is cooling put all of the finely chopped spinach into a saucepan and dry fry it with some butter , salt & pepper and a teaspoon of cream. When the spinach is dry ( no liquid running out of it when the wooden spoon is pressed to the side of the saucepan ) divide it between the 4 crispy bread dishes ,with a spoon press lightly on top of the bread .........across the base and up the sides to the top of the dish until the bread its covered well with a light or thick ( depends on how much you like spinach ) layer of spinach.

                          6: In the jug place the cream, the egg ,salt & pepper and really beat well , put to one side.

                          7: Take the Stilton and divide this into 4 pieces, then crumble each portion into the bottom of the spinach lined dishes.

                          8: I like to strain my egg + cream mixture next right onto the top of the cheese, but thats up to you .
                          Carefully and slowly divide the egg + cream mixture between the 4 dishes to about 1/2 inch from the top of each dish.
                          Place all 4 dishes onto a baking sheet and place in the middle of your oven for around 15-20 minutes .You will know when they are done as the mixture will have risen be soft and springy yet will not have any liquid moving around in the dishes at all , they will also feel quite firm to the touch when pressed lightly .

                          These little flans can be eaten hot or cold and the bread base will look and taste like wholemeal pastry but much lighter .

                          Serve:
                          I like to place mine on a plain white plate sitting on a small bed of three /4 young lettuce leaves.
                          Add to this a few slivers of de-seeded baby tomatoes ( plum sort) made into windmill shapes around the plate and tiny wisps of spring onions , then drizzle some Raspberry vinaigrette around the plate and on to the lettuce leaves.

                          Hope you like this , you can change the cheese to one that you really love like : Gorgonzola, smoked , goats cheese etc.
                          And you can use this recipe to make 100's of small canapes for a party over the christmas season as they freeze well , but make sure you re-heat them to serve to stop there bottoms going soggy ..........no one wants a soggy bottom do they !!!!!!

                          Bon appetit.

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