Pickled herring, sour cream, apple and onion salad

This is a really super recipe from a neighbor in London many years ago. We used to adore it, and I only found it again recently.
Make sure you serve it very chilled.

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Serves 4 to 6

1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup full fat plain yoghurt
pinch of sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
2 tart apples, (Granny Smith) cut into thin slices
1 tbsp chopped fresh dill or 1 tsp dried dill weed
2 x 8 oz jars pickled herring, drained and cut into bite-sized pieces

Combine the sour cream, yoghurt, lemon juice, sugar, sliced onions that have been separated into rings, apple and dill.
Alternate the herring and sour cream mixture in layers in a dish.
Cover and refrigerate for 5 hours at least.
Serve very chilled.

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Slow cooker spinach and artichoke dip

This couldn’t be easier and I highly recommend you go out and get a slow cooker, especially for around the Holiday times. I use it throughout the year. From the food blog called “Damn Delicious”

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Yield 8 servings

Simply throw everything in the crockpot (slow cooker) for the easiest, most effortless spinach and artichoke dip.

2 (14-ounce) cans artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 (10-ounce) package frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
8 oz sour cream
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
8 oz cream cheese, cubed

Place the artichoke hearts, spinach, sour cream, onion, garlic, Parmesan, milk, feta, mayonnaise, vinegar and pepper into a slow cooker. Stir until well combined. Top with cream cheese.
Cover and cook on low heat for 2 hours.
Uncover and stir until cream cheese is well combined. Cover and cook on high heat for an additional 15 minutes.

Salami chips with sour cream and basil

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Last night we had close friends for dinner and I made these as an hors d’oeuvres with drinks. They were super.
The recipe comes from Giada de Laurentiis.

Our starter was “Papaya,avocado and prawn salad with a Raratongan curry mayonnaise” followed by “Garlic studded beef pot roast”, both of these recipes being on my blog. I highly recommend them as they are always highly successful and foolproof for a casual dinner party.

Salami chips with sour cream and basil

The crispy salami slices turn into a bacony bite and the cool sour cream and fragrant basil is a lovely contrast.
Makes 24, but beware they go fast.

24 thin slices Italian dry Genoa salami (about 4 ounces)  Pre-sliced is okay.
1/3 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil leaves

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Line 2 heavy large baking sheets with aluminum foil. Arrange the salami in a single layer over the baking sheets.
Bake until the salami slices are amber brown, watching closely to ensure they brown evenly, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Transfer the salami crisps to a paper towel-lined baking sheet to absorb the excess oil. Set aside to cool.
Spoon a dollop of sour cream on top of each salami crisp. Sprinkle the basil over and serve.

Do-Ahead Tip: The salami crisps can be made 8 hours ahead. Store in airtight containers and keep at room temperature. How easy its that!

Mexican chicken bake


This is a super family-friendly meal, popular with everyone. All you need is a nice salad.

Serves 4
3/4 cup short or medium grain rice
1 1/2 cups canned red kidney beans, drained and thoroughly rinsed.
4 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro (coriander)
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
12-oz jar spicy taco sauce (I use the brand “La Victoria Red Taco Sauce – medium)
1/2 cup sliced black olives, optional
3 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
6 scallions, green part chopped for a garnish
1/2 cup sour cream

Preheat the oven to 350 F
Lightly grease a deep, 9 inch ceramic baking dish.
Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil, add the rice and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain.
In the prepared dish, combine the beans, 2 tbsp of the cilantro and some salt and pepper, then add the rice and toss together.
Lightly press the mixture into the rice and the mixture is flat.
Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper, heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat and saute the chicken thighs for 5 minutes, then turn over.
Add the spicy taco sauce and cook for another 4 minutes.

To assemble, spread half the cheese over the rice.
Arrange the thighs and sauce on top in a star shape, sprinkle with sliced black olives and 2 tbsp chopped cilantro, then sprinkle with cheese.
Cover with aluminum foil.
Bake for 35 – 40 minutes or until the mixture is bubbling and the cheese is melted and slightly browned – remove the foil for the last 10 minutes.
Cut into four servings with a knife and scoop out carefully, keeping the layers intact.
Serve sprinkled with the remaining cilantro, chopped scallions and a dollop of sour cream.

 

Easy baked penne

Everyone needs one of these meaty, creamy, cheesy dishes that are universally adored, easy to make and can be made as much for large crowds as for 4 people.

 

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Serves 4 to 6
8 oz penne pasta
1/2 lb ground beef, lamb, sweet Italian sausage or even chorizo
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 (24 oz) jar of good quality Marinara sauce or similar spaghetti sauce
1/2 cup sour cream
6 oz Provolone cheese
6 oz shredded or sliced Mozzarella
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
chopped parsley

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, brown the ground beef or other meat.
Add the onion and cook until softened.
Add the spaghetti sauce and allow to simmer for 15 minutes.
Stir in the sour cream.
Add the drained pasta and stir to coat

Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Spray a 2 quart baking dish with non stick cooking spray.
Pour half of the pasta into the baking dish.
Top with half of the Provolone and half of the Mozzarella.
Pour the remaining pasta on top and top it with the remaining Provolone and Mozzarella and sprinkle the Parmesan on top.
Bake until the cheese is melted and bubbly, about 30 minutes.
Sprinkle with chopped parsley before serving.

Loaded supreme nachos

 

This is such fun to serve at a party and completely over the top in all ways.

1 bag tortilla chips
1 x 16 oz can refried beans
1lb ground beef, browned and drained on paper towels
1/2 lb chorizo sausage, browned and drained on paper towels
1 cup cooked chicken (optional)
1 x 8 oz can tomato sauce
3 tbsp taco sauce
1 cup Monterey jack cheese, shredded
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup sliced ripe olives
1/4 cup scallions
1/2 cup shredded lettuce
1 can jalapenos, sliced (to your taste)
1/2 cup guacamole
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup spicy salsa

Heat the oven to 350 F
Combine the refried beans, browned beef, chorizo, chicken, tomato sauce and taco sauce and set aside.
Layer the chips out on an oven safe pan (use a cookie sheet). Layer the meat mixture on the chips.
Layer the cheeses, olives and green onions.
Heat in the oven until the cheese melts
Then top with the remaining ingredients and serve

 

Sweet herring salad with apple and dill

This is so refreshing and tangy and a lovely way to start a meal.

Serves 4 to 6

1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup plain yoghurt
pinch of sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
2 tart apples, like Granny Smith, cut into thin slices, or bite sized cubes
1 tbsp chopped fresh dill or 1 tsp dried dill weed
2 x 8oz jars pickled herring, drained and cut into bite sized pieces
chopped chives for garnish, if you fancy

Combine the sour cream, yoghurt, lemon juice, sugar, sliced onions that have been separated into rings, apple and dill.

Alternate herring and sour cream mixture in layers in a dish.

Cover and refrigerate for 5 hours or more.

Serve very cold