Healthy chocolate, coconut overnight oats

This recipe comes from a food blog called ‘Back to her roots” and being a coconut fanatic, that is what first attracted me, then I read the ingredients and fell hook, line and sinker.
Make these in wide mouth mason jars, leave them in the fridge until you have one for breakfast or take one to work. If you want a snack size, make them in a smaller jar.

Screen Shot 2015-08-30 at 8.32.39 AMMakes one serving

½ cup rolled oats
1 cup Unsweetened Vanilla Almondmilk Coconutmilk Almond Breeze
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
⅛ tsp almond extract
1 tbsp chia seeds
2 tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut
2 tbsp maple syrup
Pinch of salt (important)
Shredded coconut, almonds, and dark chocolate chunks for garnish

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, stirring until well-mixed. The mixture will look liquidy.
Transfer to a serving bowl or jar, cover and refrigerate for at least four hours, or preferably, overnight.
Before serving, stir, and top with additional coconut, almonds, and dark chocolate.

Griddled polenta cakes with caramelized onions, goat cheese and honey

This is a real winner, especially as a starter. Crispy polenta topped with sweet caramelized onions, slightly tangy goat cheese, then the drizzle of good honey.
You can caramelize the onions ahead of time so there’s very little left to do before you serve it. I always caramelize more onion than the recipe says as I love it.

Serves 6

2 cups whole milk
1 tsp kosher salt
1 cup polenta
Extra virgin olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, halved and cut into 1/4 inch slices. ( I use 1 large onion at least)
kosher salt
2 oz goat cheese, crumbled  (I have been known to use 4 oz goat cheese, so buy more, just incase)
good honey to drizzle

In a medium saucepan over medium high heat, bring 2 cups water, the milk and the salt to a boil.
Slowly whisk in the polenta. Turn the heat down and continue to whisk for 5 minutes, or until the polenta is smooth and creamy. Spread the polenta into a 9” square baking dish and set aside to cool.

For the topping;
While the polenta is setting up, add the butter and olive oil to a heavy bottomed skillet set over medium low heat. Add the onion and a sprinkle of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, golden and caramelized, 25 to 30 minutes.

Pour 1 tbsp of olive oil into another skillet set over medium heat. Using a 3 inch round cookie cutter, cut out circles of the firm polenta and place in the hot skillet.
Cook until slightly browned and crusty on one side, about 2 to 3 minutes, then flip and cook the other side, another 3 minutes. Work in batches, adding more oil as needed.

To assemble the polenta cakes, arrange them on a plate, top with 1 tbsp (or more) of caramelized onions and about 1 tsp (or more) of crumbled goat cheese and drizzle with honey.

Chicken “Gloria"

There is something about this dish. I always hesitate before putting recipes on my blog with any form of tinned soup in them, but this is just way too good not to and it’s “gloriously” delicious and comforting.

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed and filleted in half lengthways
1/3 cup flour
2 tbsp butter
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 8oz container of fresh sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup sherry
1 small can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup whole milk
6 slices of Muenster cheese
3 tbsp chopped fresh italian parsley
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 F

Season the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides, dredge lightly in flour to coat both sisdes. Shake off the excess.
Add oil to a frying pan and brown the chicken in batches on both sides. You don’t need to cook the chicken completely. It will finish cooking in the oven.
Transfer the chicken to a 9 x 13 inch baking dish.

Add the butter to the frying pan and let it melt over medium high heat. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and brown them until golden. Then add the sherry and cook for another minutes or two.
Add the creamy mushroom soup and milk and mix well.

Pour the sauce over the chicken breasts, cover with foil and bake in the oven for about 30 minutes.
Remove from the oven and top each piece of chicken with one slice of Muenster cheese. You can fold the cheese in half if it is too wide for the breast.

Place the chicken back in the oven, uncovered and broil for 1 to 2 minutes to brown the cheese.
Remove from the oven, top with the chopped fresh parsley and serve.

Blueberry and brioche brunch bake

Another fab Holiday brunch dish prepared the night before. This one oozing with sweet blueberries then covered in a warm blueberry sauce for good measure.

Makes 6 servings

For the breakfast casserole

4 brioche (about 14 oz in all)  or 8 x 1” thick slices of brioche or other white bread, cubed
1/4 lb cream cheese, cut into cubes
3/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1 1/2 tbsp grated orange zest
6 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup pure maple syrup

For the blueberry sauce

3/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
2 tsp unsalted butter
3/4 tsp freshly squeezed orange juice

Lightly butter the bottom and sides of a 12 x 9 x 2 (approx) baking dish

Arrange half the brioche slices or cubes in the bottom. Scatter the cream cheese cubes, 3/4 of the blueberries and the orange zest over the brioche or bread. Top with the remaining brioche or bread cubes.

In a bowl, stir the eggs, milk and maple syrup to blend. Pour this egg mixture evenly over the entire casserole. Cover with aluminum foil and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350 F

Remove the casserole from the fridge 30 minutes before you cook it.
Bake, covered, for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and bake uncovered until puffed and golden, about another 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the blueberry sauce;

In a large saucepan, blend the sugar and cornstarch, then stir in the water. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture boils, thickens, and becomes clear, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the blueberries. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the blueberries burst, about 10 minutes.
Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and lemon juice and keep warm until the casserole is done.

Cut the baked casserole into 6 squares, and transfer to plates. Pour abut 1/4 cup blueberry sauce over each portion and serve hot.



Spicy, sticky baked Native Indian Pudding

Sticky, gooey, spicy and easy pudding. It’s a must!

Makes 12 servings   (you can halve the recipe if you like, but you won’t want to )

2 quarts milk
1 tsp nutmeg (freshly grated)
1 1/2 cups cornmeal
1/3 tsp ginger
2 cups molasses
2 1/2 cups milk
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups whole eggs
1 tsp cinnamon

Bring 2 quarts of milk to a boil in a heavy pan.
Add the cornmeal to the milk and blend with a wire whisk until it thickens.
Add the molasses, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger and bring to the boil, whisking.
In a separate container, blend the 2 1/2 cups of milk and eggs together and add the hot mixture to it and stir.
Place in a buttered and sugared casserole.
Bake in a 350 F oven for approximately 1 hour.
Test the pudding with a knife for doneness.
Let stand and then serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream

Creamy cauliflower garlic rice

This is delicious, unctious and creamy!

6 to 8 cups chopped cauliflower
4 cups vegetable or chicken broth plus 2 cups water
1/2 cup whole milk
1 1/2 cups brown rice
1 tsp salt, plus more to taste
2 tbsp butter
6 to 8 cloves minced garlic
1/2 to 3/4 cup Mozzarella cheese for topping (more to taste)

Cook the rice according to the package directions.

Bring the broth and water to a boil in a large pot. Add the cauliflower and boil for 10 minutes or until tender, then transfer the cauliflower to the blender or food processor.

Puree the cauliflower adding milk or broth to get a smooth, creamy consistency. Season with salt, pour over the cooked rice and stir to combine.

In a large nonstick skillet melt the butter over low heat and add the garlic, sauteing until the garlic is very frangrant. Watch it doesn’t burn!. Should take about 3 to 5 minutes.
Add the creamy rice mixture and stir until the butter/garlic mixture is well incorporated.
Add cheese on top or stir it through the rice to get it melted.
season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

Pancetta and Gruyere cheese breakfast casserole

I have a weakness for these “cold weather” Sunday family breakfasts! They are so comforting and tasty especially with our fire on in the kitchen, steaming hot coffee, laptops and newspapers strewn around.
This is great because you can prepare it the night before, refrigerate and throw in the oven when you get up in the morning. The family will awaken to the smell of baking cheese and pancetta!!
It’s important to mark a weekend with something different!

Serves 4 to 6

4 cups day-old egg enriched bread, cut into 3/4 inch cubes
2 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp sugar
1/2lb thickly sliced pancetta, diced
6 large eggs
1&1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 tsp dry mustard powder (I use Colmans)
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 heaped cup freshly grated gruyere cheese (about 6 ounces)

Grease an 8 inch square baking dish and spread the cubed bread in the bottom.
Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a skillet over medium to low heat.
Add the onions, salt and sugar.
Saute until they are lightly caramelized, a golden brown color, for about 15 to 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, in another heavy skillet, heat the other tbsp olive oil over medium heat saute the pancetta until the fat is almost all rendered and it begins to get crisp, about 8 to 10 minutes. Set on a paper towel to drain.

Whisk together the eggs, milk, dry mustard, thyme and nutmeg.
Season with about 1/4 tsp of the salt and a generous amount of black pepper.
Spread the pancetta over the bread cubes then layer the onions on top.
Sprinkle the grated gruyere cheese on next then pour the egg mixture over the entire thing.
Press down on the top gently so that all the bread cubes get soaked a bit with the egg mixture.
Cover and refrigerate overnight

In the morning, preheat the oven to 350 F and take the casserole out of the fridge while the oven is preheating.
Bake, uncovered for 30 to 50 minutes or until the edges are bubbling and the top begins to brown.

NB – The baking time will be greatly dependent on the depth of the dish you use.
Check the interior with a knife. if it comes out clean, the bread/custard is baked through.
Cover with foil near the end of cooking is the top is brown enough for your taste.

Mary Berry’s ultimate lemon tray bake

This is similar to the previous recipe I posted, but it’s what I call a “one bowl” cake.
Everything is done in one bowl with no whipping of the butter and sugar. If you don’t have much time and want a light, moist tray bake to serve with fresh berries and cream or ice cream, nothing beats this.
This also has the lemon/sugar syrup poured over at the end. It’s more of a tray bake than a cake.

This makes about 30 squares
225 grams butter, softened
225 grams caster (superfine) sugar
275 grams self raising flour
2 tsp baking powder
4 large free range, organic eggs
4 tbsp milk
2 lemons, grated zest only (save the juice for the syrup)
For the crunchy topping
175 grams granulated sugar
2 lemons, juice only
(You can also add the grated rind of 1 large orange to this as an extra touch)
Cut a rectangle of non stick baking parchment to fit the base and sides of a 11 by 9 by 1 1/2 inches roasting tin. (approximately, it doesn’t have to be those exact measurements)
Grease the tin with butter and line the tin.
Preheat the oven to 300F
Put all (except the crunchy topping ingredients) the ingredients for the tray bake in a large bowl and beat well for 2 minutes. An electric mixer is best for this.
Empty all the mixture into the prepared tin and level it off with the back of a spoon.
Bake in the middle of the oven for around 40 to 45 minutes until golden and the sponge springs back when lightly pressed.
Leave the cake to cool in the tin for about 15 minutes and remove from the tin using the parchment paper to help.
Carefully remove the paper and allow to cool on a rack.
For the crunchy topping, mix the ingredients together in a measuring jug or small bowl until the sugar dissolves and pour it evenly over the cake while it’s still just warm.
Cut into squares when completely cooled and serve.


Asparagus Bread Pudding

This is also from a fellow blogger and again, combines my favorite “bread pudding” with lots of asparagus and cheese!
Serves 4

1/2 loaf of rustic, preferably day old Ciabatta or other dense Italian loaf of bread, crusts removed cut into 1/2 inch cubes, about 3 – 4 cups
3/4 cup whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 large eggs
1/4 to 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1/2 lb asparagus, tough stems removed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 -2 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, peeled and minced
1/2 to 3/4 cup Gruyere, Fontina or Emmenthaler cheese, grated
1/2 to 3/4 Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated
1/4 cup chopped mixed herbs,  thyme, oregano, chives and flat leaf parsley

Place the bread cubes in a large bowl and pour the milk over.
Set aside for about 35 minutes in order for the milk to thoroughly soak into the bread
Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter a square baking dish and set aside.
Combine the cream, eggs, salt and pepper in a bowl. and whisk together. Set the custard aside.
Drop the asparagus into a small saucepan of boiling water and cook until just tender, 1 to 2 minutes.
Rinse under cold running water and drain. Toss together with the garlic, shallots and herbs.
In a small bowl combine the Fontina and Parmesan cheeses.
To the bowl with the soaked bread cubes, add the asparagus/herb mixture.
Mix lightly to combine.
Place half of the bread in the bottom of the prepared baking dish.
Sprinkle with half of the cheese mixture.
Top with the remaining bread mixture and top with the remaining cheese.
Pour the custard over the top.
Bake until golden, about 1 hour.
Check for doneness with a skewer or pairing knife.
The custard should be set and the tester should come out clean.

Breakfast Strata

Another gorgeous and easy breakfast/brunch dish.

Serves 4 to 6 people

6 slices of a good dense Italian loaf cut 3/4 inch thick
1lb Sweet (or spicy) Italian sausage meat
1 tsp Dijon mustard (or less of English Colmans if you can take the heat)
1 heaped cup grated or shredded strong cheddar cheese. it’s always better if you buy it whole and mature then do it yourself
4 extra large (or large)  eggs, slightly beaten
1 1/2 cups whole milk
3/4 cup half and half
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
dash of freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp Worcester sauce

Trim the crusts from the bread and fit it all into the bottom of a  10 by 16 inch baking pan.
Brown the sausage meat, using a fork and press down forcing the lumps to disappear until it’s crumbly and drain off any excess fat. Stir the mustard into the sausage meat.
Spoon the cooked sausage meat evenly over the bread and sprinkle evenly with the grated cheese.
Combine the remaining ingredients in a bowl (eggs, milk, half and half, salt, pepper, nutmeg and Worcester sauce) then pour the mixture over the cheese and sausage mixture.
Bake at 350F for 25 to 30 minutes until hot, bubbly and set.
 This can be made the day before and kept in the refrigerator. Allow extra time for bakiong if it’s been refrigerated