Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Chicken & Black Bean Enchiladas with Cumin and Jalapeño Sauce

I woke craving Enchiladas yesterday.
When I have a hankering like that it generally becomes dinner.
I'm not good at letting cravings go by unnoticed.
I need to sate them.

When I mentioned it to my kids at the breakfast table they replied with "What are Enchiladas?'
I was kind of gobsmacked.
How was it that all these years have gone by and I haven't made them Enchys?!

As I set about sating my craving by heading out with the kids to get the ingredients, I felt like mixing it up a little.
I didn't really want a tomato based sauce so I made up a sauce that I felt would work.
It worked really well and I am pretty sure that I will be making this again- my kids LOVED it.

I am not one to stick to the rules and this dish shows that- I use recipes and flavours as a base and then let what I have in the pantry or what flavours I crave be my guide from there. Although having said that, there is a time to follow rules in the kitchen, and even I do it sometimes!
I think it is one of the reasons I love cooking so much.
Once you get a few good skills and the knowledge of flavours under your belt you can be free to experiment.
Although I do get into trouble for it here (my Cornish Pasties was one of those......soooo many emails about how they were not actually proper Cornish pasties).
The internet can be a strange strange place.
Let it be known that I never said I was a traditionalist.......And I never said that my way is the only way OR the right way.
It is just my way.
Take it or leave it.
I only know how to be me after all.
And me is what you will get here.

Chicken & Black Bean Enchiladas with Cumin and Jalapeño sauce.
This recipe uses Black Turtle beans which are a very common ingredient in Mexican food. If you are vegetarian these Enchiladas would be equally delicious just using the Black beans- I have added instructions for the Vego version in the recipe also.
I find them easiest to find in Asian grocery stores- I know this seems a little strange but they are used a bit on Vietnamese cuisine also and so can be found there (usually amongst the lentils etc)


  • 500g Chicken things, sliced finely
  • 200g black Turtle beans soaked (or boiled until soft)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 cob of corn, charred over gas flame and kernels sliced off
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 2 heaped tablespoons cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons sliced jalapeño
  • 4 soft tortillas (we used organic Quinoa wraps as that was what I had in the cupboard- they were delicious)
  • oil
  • 50g butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • S & P
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 cup grated cheese (or more if you like it super cheesy!)
  • 1 cup chicken/vegie stock.
  • large bunch fresh coriander, rinsed well and chopped (set stems aside separately, chopped finely)
  • lime

Pre-Heat oven to 175C.

Place the Jalapeños and garlic and a few salt flakes into a Mortar and Pestle and grind to a paste.
Set aside one heaped tablespoon of this paste for the sauce- the rest will be used in the chicken & Black bean mix.

In a large saucepan, heat a good glug of oil to medium high and add the onion.
Fry gently til translucent.
Now add the sliced chicken and turn up heat to high (omit this step if making vego version).
Cook till brown.
Add the cumin & jalapeño paste. Stir well. Add the Paprika and Oregano & fresh Coriander stems.
Stir to coat all of the chicken.
Now add the black beans and the corn & finally the stock.
Bring to boil. Turn heat down to low and simmer for 10- 15 minutes.

While the bean mix is cooking, make the Cumin & Jalapeño sauce by melting butter in a separate saucepan.
Once butter is melted add flour and stir for a minute to cook flour. Add the reserved tablespoon of cumin & jalapeño paste (add a few more slices of jalapeño if you wish- I added lots as we love it spicy!)
Add milk and bring heat to high. Stir the entire time with a whisk, to prevent lumps, until the mix has thickened nicely.

Take a large rectangular oven dish and lay the tortilla flat. Spread some of the chicken bean mix across the middle, roll the sides over and lay so folds are at the bottom (this prevents the enchiladas opening as they cook).

Repeat for all enchiladas.
Now pour over the Cumin & Jalapeño sauce and sprinkle with grated cheese.

Place into oven for 20 minutes or until the top looks deliciously brown and the cheese is gooey and scrumptious!

I served ours with lots of cubed avocadoes, red onion, coriander, sour cream, extra jalapeños, and lime juice and also with a delicious Slaw.
Sooooooo good!

Friday, 18 September 2015

Gingersnap Biscuits

At the end of today I will have two whole weeks holiday.
Well it will be holidays in so far as the alarms will be turned off.
What does holidays mean for me?
Well it means having to manage a business while having 5 kids at home.
That bit is hard. And not much of a holiday.
But - the not being woken by alarms is just about my favourite thing ever!
Now THAT is a holiday.

This holidays I am going to get a cooking roster on the go and allocate a day to each of the kids to cook dinner.
Well actually that was Mr Girlfriend's idea. He suggested they all use my recipe cards- WIN.
We'll see how that pans out.....

The other thing I am hoping to do more of is my Ceramics making.  I am hoping that my online store, so that you can purchase my wares, is not too far away. I have another batch of wares in the kiln today.
If you want to have a little peek at the kinds of things that I am making you can look here at my GG Clay adventures.
Watch this space!

I have already had the bigs home for this week- they have an a extra weeks holidays this term and oh boy do they need it. We/They have never been so busy in our whole life.
Taking a breather is oh so necessary.
So during the week there has been a lot of extra baking going on to cater for their ridiculously large appetites.
The lads love a good Choc Chip cookie- who doesn't?
But for me the winning biscuit is a good ol fashioned GINGERSNAP.
I love the tins of thin crunchy ones from Ikea but nothing beats a homemade one with a big chunk of real ginger dolloped in the centre.
I had a hankering yesterday and so it had to be.......

These are rich and delicious and with the addition of the big chunk of real ginger on top they are the ultimate Ginger biscuit.
Perfect with a large bowl of coffee. These are dangerously easy & delicious.


  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 170g butter (melted)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup treacle
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon powdered ginger
  • 1 tspn cinnamon
  • 2 tspns baking soda
  • chunks of candied ginger

Preheat oven to 175C.
Line a baking tray with baking paper.

Add all ingredients into a large mixing bowl and combine well.

Roll in your palm into ping pong size balls.
Place on baking tray and place a chunk of ginger into the centre.
Bake for 12 mins. 

Remove and let sit on tray for 5 minutes before moving to a cooling tray.

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Rosemary & Orange Syrup cake

Who doesn't love a syrup cake?

And I am a big fan of Rosemary and orange together.
Both Oranges and Rosemary are abundant in Winter.
I have made recipes with this marriage before.

Savoury & Sweet.
Heady with perfume and a little zing from the citrus. To me it is one of the perfect kitchen marriages.

The rosemary is in flower and it's fragrant lavender coloured blossom looks so beautiful against the deep Green.
Nature at it's best.

This cake is sticky, fragrant & absolutely delectable.

I make this cake in a slab so it can be cut into slice pieces.  You can easily substitute it into a regular cake tin if you like.
I like it as a slab so I can cut it into slice style pieces and wrap it nicely to give as little gifts.

What you will need:
  • 225g butter
  • zest of 2 large oranges
  • 230g caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 155g SR flour
  • 250g plain Greek style yoghurt
for the syrup:
  • juice of 2 oranges
  • 125ml water
  • 230g caster sugar
  • 2 large sprigs rosemary
  • zest of 2 oranges


Preheat oven to 180C.

Grease and line a 16x26cm baking tin.

Beat butter, orange zest & sugar until pale & creamy.
Add the eggs one at a time until combined.

Gently add the flour and yoghurt half at a time and beat until just combined.
Spread into the tin. Use a spatula to evenly spread it across the tin.
Place into oven for 30-35 minutes or until skewer comes out clean.

Meanwhile add all syrup ingredients into a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer, reduce and cook until thickened. Remove from heat and set aside.

Remove cake from oven and skewer small holes evenly across the top.  Pour syrup evenly across the cake and allow to sit for 20 minutes.
Remove cake from tin & slice into evenly sized rectangles.

Serve with a dollop of yoghurt - or wrap nicely to give as a gift to a friend you love.

Monday, 7 September 2015

Ham Hock & Chicken Terrine

Terrines are for me one of the most delightful things in the world.

What looks like a rectangular block of 'not much' when it first arrives at the table, is sliced to reveal the most glorious array of colours and textures within.
And oh my - the flavours!

A perfect picnic food. And one of those things that gets better after a day or two when the flavours are able to develop.

I love using Ham Hocks and often have at least one on my fridge.
I think most people use them only for soups but I like to use them in a few ways.
Slow roasting is a fave- leaving melt in your mouth chunks of delicious ham.

You may remember this recipe for Slow Braised Ham Hocks that became Ham Hock Hash.

Mmmmm porky goodness.

This is a SUPER EASY recipe but requires a little planning ahead.
This terrine needs to be started the day ahead as it needs to set in the fridge overnight otherwise a very easy recipe.
I grind my own chicken (thigh meat) into mince by pulsing it-  I like to do this so the texture is not all the same, however using pre-minced  chicken is ok too.


  • 1 braised ham hock, bone & skin removed & meat pulled off in chunks (follow this recipe to slow braise)
  • 500g chicken mince (see recipe notes above)
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 whole allspice
  • 1 heaped teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped parsley
  • 1 egg
    S & P
  • bacon rashers

Preheat oven to 180C.

Line a terrine dish with bacon rashers - leave some over hanging to fold over the top of your terrine.

Grind the allspice, fennel seeds & garlic in a mortar and pestle to a paste.
In a large bowl add the chicken mince, garlic paste, chopped parsley, peas, egg and the chunks of ham hock. Add a generous amount of S & P.
Mix together very well.

Now press down the meat mix into the terrine dish firmly and fold the rashers over the top and neatly tuck in.
Pop the lid on the terrine dish.
(If you don't have a terrine dish- a loaf tin will suffice and cover with alfoil )

Place the terrine dish into a deep roasting dish and pour enough boiling water in so that it comes about half way up the side of the Terrine dish.
Place into oven and bake for an hour.
Remove from oven and allow to cool in the dish.

Remove and pour out excess liquid.
Leave Terrine in the dish and cover with kitchen wrap.
Put some weight on to the terrine (I use a well wrapped brick as it fits perfectly!) and place into the refrigerator overnight.

Now unwrap and slice heartily!
Serve alongside some really good Sourdough, some zingy pickles and some extra tasty crumbly cheese.
Will keep for up to 4 days in the fridge- but ours never lasts that long!

Monday, 17 August 2015

Best Ever Chocolate Bundt Cake

I have always LOVED Bundt cakes.
There is something super special and exotic about them.
There is definitely something majestic in the shapes- which are many and varied!

Recently, Mr Girlfriend had a weeks leave and we spent the entire week filling our day time with trips to cafes, galleries, a bit of shopping & junk shop scavenging and lots of getting little jobs done that we never find the time to do.
It was one of the best weeks ever and felt so much more indulgent as the kids were all at school and WE. WERE. ALONE.
It was the actual BEST.

On one of these outings I found the most exquisite new Bundt tin at this shop.
I ummed and aaahed as to whether I should buy it.
But I am SOOOO glad I did. I have already had so much joy out of it!

I don't think Bundt cakes will ever lose their WOW factor for me.

My understanding of these cakes is that they originated in Europe- Austria, Germany & Poland. In Austria the cakes are known as Guglhupf- but are also known in other places as BundKuchen. The Bund in this word referring to Community. These cakes were cooked in cast iron or ceramic shaped baking vessels.
The name Bundt was actually coined by an American kitchenware company in the 50's. The owner invented a lightweight aluminium version of these shaped cake tins, added a 'T' to Bund and trademarked the name & that is what most of us know them to be now.
No doubt the internet will jump to the opportunity of sharing it's knowledge about Bundt cakes here also.

Have you ever made one or perhaps you have been too scared?
I'm here to teach you Bundt Success! Oh yes siree!

There is a trick to getting a Bundt cake to turn out of it's tin without the tear-inducing disaster of it sticking.
Spray oil carefully around all of the tin and dust with flour (or cocoa powder if a chocolate cake).
Tap out any excess and then pour batter in as usual.

Make sure you also leave the cake in the tin for at least 15 minutes once it has come out of the oven before turning on to a cooling rack.

This recipe is SUPER EASY and is deliciously moist & chocolatey.
It would make a super great SPECIAL OCCASION cake- for like......Sunday Breakfast for instance.
Well that may just be us but I really encourage you to be naughty and do the very same.
It will fill your heart with joy- i PROMISE!
Imagine having this made for your birthday! You would totally feel like a Queen, or a King, or just like you were totally LOVED at the very least!


This recipe will also go into a regular 30cm cake tin (bake 35-40 mins) or make great cupcakes (about 20-25mins)- but please always check with a skewer as all ovens vary dramatically.

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups plain flour
  • 3/4 cup Cocoa powder (best quality you can afford)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons bi-carb soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup rice bran oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water
for the glaze 
  • 3 tablespoons Cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 3 tablespoons boiling water
Heat oven to 175C.

In a large bowl stir together sifted flour, cocoa, baking powder, bi-carb, sugar & salt.
Add eggs, milk, vanilla & oil.
Mix together well for 2 minutes.
Now stir in the boiling water.
The batter will be runnier than you are used to- this is ok.
Pour the batter into the oiled & dusted Bundt tin (as described in the post above).
Place into oven for 50-55 minutes or until skewer comes out clean.
Cool in the tin for at least 15 minutes before turning out on to a cake rack to let completely cool before applying the glaze.
For the glaze: Melt butter completely, stir in cocoa and icing sugar.
Mix well to remove all lumps before adding the boiling water.
Stir & then drizzle over the top of the cool Bundt cake.