Rosemary and pine nut brittle

Lovely crunchy, salty, rosemary scented pine nut brittle. Your guests will adore it as it’s so different, great for the holidays and easy to make.

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2 cups sugar
2 ½ cups pine nuts, toasted until light golden
8 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 tbsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 tbsp. finely ground sea salt

Heat the sugar in a 4-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until it becomes a liquid, golden caramel.
Add the pine nuts and then the butter and stir until the butter is fully absorbed by the caramel

Stir in half each of the rosemary and salt, and then pour onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, spreading to create an even layer; sprinkle with the remaining rosemary and salt while warm. Let cool completely and then break into bite-size pieces.
Store in an airtight container between sheets of wax paper.

Easy orange, rosemary and polenta cake

I love making cakes when you don’t have to “cream the butter and sugar” As soon as I see a recipe that asks for that, I’m out of there. This one is so easy and uses the whole orange, which gives it a very intense flavor that the fresh rosemary positively flirts with! And a great added bonus is that it is also gluten free.

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Serves 8

Butter, for greasing
2 large oranges
6 extra large free-range eggs
6 oz polenta
6 oz ground almonds
9 oz golden caster sugar
1 heaped tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 tsp demerara sugar

For the orange drizzle
4 oz caster sugar
3 tbsp orange liqueur, such as Grand Marnier, Cointreau or Triple Sec
1 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
Grated or shredded zest of 1 orange

Grease and base-line a 9 inch springform cake tin. Put the whole oranges in a large pan of water, bring to the boil and simmer for 1 hour, until soft. Remove, cool, then halve and remove the pips.
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Whizz the orange halves (with the skin) to a purée in a food processor. Beat in the eggs, polenta, almonds, sugar and rosemary.
Pour into the tin and sprinkle with the demerara sugar. Bake for 1 hour, until the cake is risen and golden.
For the drizzle, dissolve the sugar in 100ml hot water in a pan. Boil for 5 minutes but don’t let it color. Remove from the heat and cool briefly. Add the liqueur, rosemary and zest.
Cool the cake in the tin, then turn out and drizzle with the syrup.

Rosemary and ginger shortbread

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I adore any form of shortbread and the combination of the ginger and rosemary is a real winner. This is uber rich so you only need a small piece of heaven.

Serves at least 12
1 lb (2 cups) Butter, softened
1 3/4 cups Sugar
4 cups Flour
1 tsp Kosher Salt
2 large Eggs, beaten
1 cup Crystallized Ginger, chopped
3 tbsp Fresh Rosemary, chopped (may use 2-3 tsp dried rosemary for a milder flavor)

 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  In another bowl sift together the flour and salt to add some air. Add this mixture to the butter and sugar and mix just until combined. As always, do not over-mix. Add approximately 3/4 of the beaten eggs and reserve the remaining 1/4 for a glaze. Add the chopped ginger and rosemary and mix until well incorporated.
Spread the mixture into a 9″x13″ pan. No need to grease it; it has plenty of butter already in there! Mix that 1/4 egg mixture with 1 tablespoon of water until a pale yellow color. Brush this over the shortbread batter.
Bake at 350 F for 35 to 45 minutes, until glaze is a light golden color and a toothpick comes out clean. Cut into 2″ bars when cool!
You might think 2″ is really tiny when you look at it, but these are super flavorsome



Simple roast chicken with rosemary, garlic and lemon

A great weekday meal, full of flavor and all you need is a simple salad and some good bread to mop up those juices.
A good tip- Never buy a chicken over 3.5 lbs in weight , as you will lose the flavor and texture in the bigger ones. If necessary, buy 2 chickens if you are feeding a crowd.

Serves 4
1 (3.5 lb) chicken, cut into pieces
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup fresh rosemary leaves
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
10 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 lemon, peel removed, pith and pulp chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Toss the chicken pieces with oil, rosemary, lemon juice, garlic, lemon and salt and pepper in bowl.
Marinate for 1 hour.
Heat the oven to 475 F.
Arrange the chicken in a 9″ by 13″ baking dish; add remaining marinade.
Roast, flipping once, until cooked through, 30 to 40 minutes.


Rosemary and white bean spread

I really adore this spread. It’s so easy to make and goes down very well with everyone.

This recipe is better if it sits overnight as the rosemary flavor strengthens quite a lot.
Serve this with pitta wedges, cucumber slices or toasted baguette slices.

2 x 19 oz cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp fresh rosemary leaves
2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped

In a food processor, combine the beans, oil, vinegar, rosemary, salt and pepper and process until smooth.
At this point, cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 3 days to let the flavors develop. Bring to room temperature before serving.
When you are ready to serve, stir the dip, taste and season if necessary, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with the parsley.

Tip.  What is also great is roasting whole garlic heads with the top 1/3 sliced off, olive oil poured over the garlic, fresh thyme, salt and pepper, then wrapped individually in foil then roasted at 300 F for at least 1 1/2 hours.
Squeeze some of this garlic into the food processor with the bean spread and puree.
It adds another dimension to the spread.


Easy garlic roast chicken pieces with rosemary and lemon

This is a really lovely dish to serve with my lemon-dill rice and the combination of flavors complement each other very well.

Serves 4 and takes about 30 minutes to cook

2 1/2lbs boneless chicken pieces, whether thigh or breast, cut into large chunks
6 to 8 cloves garlic, crushed
3 tbsp fresh rosemary leaves, stripped from the stems and coarsely chopped   (You can also use fresh oregano instead of rosemary)
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 tbsp grill seasoning blend  (I use Montreal Seasoning, but you can just use coarse salt and pepper)
1/2 cup dry white wine or chicken broth

Preheat the oven to 450 F

Arrange the chicken in a shallow baking dish, about 9” by 13”.
Add the garlic, oil, lemon zest and grill seasoning or salt and pepper to the dish.
Toss and coat the chicken with all these ingredients, then place in the oven.
Roast for about 20 minutes.
Add the wine and lemon juice to the dish and combine with the pan juices.
Return to the oven and turn the oven off and leaving the chicken in the oven for another 10 minutes or so before removing from the oven and serving.

Serve with my lemon-dill rice, spooning the pan juices over the chicken.

Crispy bacon-wrapped rosemary butternut squash

A simple gem slightly adapted from a recipe of the great Australian chef, Donna Hay

3lb butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed and quartered
12 bacon slices
8 rosemary stalks, leaves removed and finely chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
sea salt and cracked black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 F
Brush a little olive oil over each quarter, sprinkle with some chopped rosemary, season and wrap 3 slices of bacon around each quarter.
Add the oil, salt and pepper and toss to coat.
Roast for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until tender by testing with a skewer.