Welcome to our Top Ten Recipes of 2018!
Hello everyone, and a very Happy New Year!
Here is to a happy, safe and enjoyable 2019.
A new year often brings about a lot of reflection. It is a time for new beginnings and resolutions. In reflecting on 2018, I selected my Top Ten Recipes.
Starting the blog in the middle of 2018 really was a life-changing experience. It has been a huge learning curve! I have met some wonderful people, made some fabulous new friends and eaten a lot of delicious food.
And the best part? That was only just the beginning! We are so excited for what is to come in 2019 and have so many wonderful delights to share with you.
I also wanted to share some of my favourite recipes of 2018 from a few of my fellow food bloggers! Be sure to check these blogs out for more food inspiration!
Crispy Smashed Potatoes by Sweet Caramel Sunday
Pineapple Glazed Wings by Another Food Blogger
Chocolate Brioche Bread by The Foodie Journey
Keto Sichuan Beef and Broccoli by Mad Creations Hub
My resolution for 2018 was to start a Food Blog – and it was truly one of the best things I have ever done!
Along with my Mum, Faye, we would love to extend a huge thank you for all of your support. We read and appreciate every comment and feedback, and honestly, get so excited when we see someone has made one of our recipes!
So, as we look back on our Top Ten Recipes of 2018, please remember that you, dear reader, are very much appreciated!
Enjoy our Top Ten Recipes of 2018 –
And get excited for what is to come this year!
Cheers and very best wishes,
Easy Almond Croissants
Jazz up a shop bought croissant and turn it into something utterly delicious!
- 75 g butter at room temperature
- 1 cup almond meal
- 1/4 cup icing sugar
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
- 1/2 tsp almond extract use a little extra if you want a heightened almond flavour
- 1/2 cup flaked almonds
- 4 large croissants I use Woolworths or Coles brand usually
- icing sugar for dusting
Preheat oven to 180 Degrees C. (350 F)
Split the croissants length ways.
Line a baking tray with baking paper. Place the croissants on the baking tray and bake for 5 mins.
Meanwhile, place butter, almond meal, icing sugar, flour and essences in a food processor. Process until a smooth paste forms.
Open each croissant out flat. Spread 1 tablespoon of the mixture over the centre of each warmed croissant. Close to sandwich together.
Spread about 1 teaspoon of paste over the top of each croissant and sprinkle with flaked almonds.
Bake for another 10 minutes approximately, until golden.
Dust with icing sugar to serve.
*If you buy smaller croissants you may find that you have enough almond cream to make 6.
*If you don’t like the flavour of almond essence use an additional ½ teaspoon of vanilla.
Bright and tangy, this gluten free and vegan version of tabouli is perfect as a side dish or an even more nutritious main with the addition of feta or chickpeas.
- 1 cup quinoa rinsed well *
- 2 cups water
- 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice or to taste
- 1/2 cup olive oil extra virgin
- 3 spring onions finely sliced – the white and a little of the green part
- 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves chopped
- 2 cups flat-leaf parsley loosely packed very finely sliced *
- 250 gm cherry tomatoes quartered
- salt and pepper to taste
Put the quinoa in a fine meshed sieve and rinse well under cold running water, swishing the quinoa with your hand. Drain the quinoa well.
Pour 2 cups of water into a medium saucepan, add the quinoa, bring to the boil then lower the heat and simmer, covered, for about 10 minutes, until the seeds are tender. When they’re cooked you will notice they have little curly “tails”.
Remove from the heat, place a clean tea towel or 3 layers of paper towel over the saucepan, place the lid back on and stand 5 minutes. The tea towel/paper towel will absorb excess moisture.
Place in a bowl and leave to cool.
Mix well and check the seasoning, adding lemon juice, salt and freshly ground black pepper as needed. Serve either at room temperature or refrigerate and serve cold.
This salad is even better the next day as the flavours have developed.
*Cooking the quinoa by the absorption method just means that the quinoa will absorb the amount of water used. Make sure the quinoa is well drained after rinsing.
*It is important to thoroughly rinse the quinoa. Rinsing helps remove the outside coating of the grain, called saponin, which can cause a slightly bitter taste. The saponin is a naturally occurring chemical which is there to deter insects.
*The amount of lemon juice is determined by personal taste and the strength of flavour of the variety of lemon. I use 3 tablespoons of lemon juice as I like it to have a bright, lemony tang.
*Commercial parsley has sometimes been standing in water so I cut off the lower part of the stem. I also remove very coarse stems but leave the rest on. You need a sharp knife to very finely slice the parsley. Don’t chop too vigorously, you will bruise the leaves.
Please don’t use a food processor to chop the herbs, it will bruise them.
Almond Cookies – Gluten and Dairy Free
Containing just 5 ingredients and mixed by hand, these delicious biscuits are crunchy and chewy with a sweet nutty flavour and are made in 30 minutes.
- 3 cups almond meal spooned into the cup, loosely packed*
- 1 cup caster sugar superfine
- 8 drops almond essence or to taste
- 3 egg whites
- 1 cup flaked almonds
Preheat oven to 180 Degrees C (360 F).
Place non-stick baking paper onto oven trays.
Put almond flakes into a flat bowl or onto a plate.
Combine almond meal, sugar and almond essence in a large bowl. Add the lightly beaten egg whites and stir until the mixture forms a firm paste.
Roll small balls of the mixture, about 3 cm (or 1 1/4 inch) in diameter in the flaked almonds.
Place the balls onto baking paper-lined oven trays and gently flatten them a little.
Bake for about 12-15 minutes or until the biscuits are lightly browned.
Cool on racks.
Store in an airtight container for up to a week.
To measure the almond meal, spoon it into the cup. You will get a different measure if you push the cup down into the almond meal.
You can sprinkle sifted icing sugar over these biscuits if you wish.
Pea and Mint Fritters
Wonderfully simple but deliciously satisfying, these pea and mint fritters will delight.
- 2/3 cup self raising flour I used Orgran Gluten Free
- 2 eggs beaten
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 cups frozen peas thawed
- 200 gm feta cheese crumbled
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh mint
- 4 spring/green onions thinly sliced
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp olive oil slightly more if necessary
Make a batter by sifting flour into a bowl. Make a well in the centre. Whisk milk and eggs together in a small bowl. Add egg mixture to flour and whisk until smooth.
Place the peas in a bowl and mash about half of them. Add peas, feta, mint and onion to the batter. Add sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium heat.
Dollop 4 heaped tablespoons of the mixture into the frying pan and flatten slightly with the back of the spoon. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side until they are golden-brown.
Drain on paper towel. *
Repeat with the remaining batter, adding extra oil if required.
If you’re not cooking gluten free, wheaten flour can also be used.
When cooking in batches, transfer those that are cooked to a plate lined with paper towel while cooking the remaining fritters.
Easy Peanut Butter Pie
This pie is one of the most impressive desserts I’ve made and I’m sure you will add it to your list of favourites. Desserts don’t come much easier, or more delicious, than this. Your family and friends will love it. All you require is the patience waiting for it to set. As a bonus, it’s easy to make a gluten-free version.
- 250 g Granita biscuits * or other sweet, plain biscuit
- 80 g butter melted
- 1 cup whipping cream heavy cream *
- 250 g cream cheese at room temperature *
- 315 g peanut butter smooth/creamy
- 145 g light brown sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
- Whipped cream/chocolate shavings to serve optional
Preheat the oven to 180 Degrees C (350F).
Place the biscuits in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Add the melted butter to the biscuit crumbs and process until well combined.
Tip the biscuit and butter mixture into the pie plate. Using the back of a dessert spoon, or the base of a flat-bottomed glass, press the mixture over the base and side of the pie plate.
Place the pie crust into the pre-heated oven and bake until golden, about 8-10 minutes.
Remove the crust from the oven and set aside to cool completely.
In a medium-sized bowl, using hand-held electric beaters, beat the cream until it holds soft peaks.
Fit a stand mixer with the whisk attachment. Add the cream cheese, peanut butter, brown sugar and vanilla and beat at high speed until the mixture is smooth.
Gently fold the cream into the peanut butter mixture. See the notes below for detailed instructions.*
Fill the pie case with the mixture, and smooth over with a palette knife or spatula.
Place the pie in the freezer for 1 hour to quickly chill. Do not attempt to cover the pie with cling wrap before chilling. I give this advice based on experience. The soft filling will stick to the cling wrap. The filling is far too delicious to waste in this way.
After 1 hour, remove the pie from the freezer, cover with cling wrap and place in the refrigerator.*
Prior to serving, top the pie with whipped cream and shaved chocolate if desired. Or, serve cream on the side.
* As alternatives, you could use Graham Crackers or gluten free biscuits.
*In Australia, whipping cream/heavy cream has 35% milk fat.
*The Australian cup size is 250ml.
* The most important requirement of this recipe is to have the ingredients at room temperature, otherwise the cream cheese will not blend smoothly.
*When folding one ingredient into another, we want to avoid knocking out too much air. I like to use a large rubber spatula but a large metal spoon is also ideal. The lighter mixture, in this case cream, is added to the heavier mixture. I start by adding 1/3 of the cream to slacken the peanut butter mixture. Run the spatula, or spoon, around the side of the bowl and then along the base. Fold the mixture over onto itself. Give the bowl a quarter turn and repeat the technique until the cream is folded in. Fold in the remaining 2/3 of the cream, repeating the method for folding, until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
* I recommend that you keep the pie in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve. At room temperature the filling will become very soft and it will be impossible to cut neat and clean slices.
*Do not leave the pie uncovered in the freezer for any length of time as it will suffer freezer burn.
Onion Patties – Vegan and Gluten Free
You will love these easily made, flavourful, Onion Patties that have a light, crisp batter. Using ingredients you will likely have on hand, I am confident these patties will be popular with family and friends. (Oh, and they’re Vegan and Gluten Free!)
- 3/4 cup plain flour I use Orgran gluten-free
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1 tbsp cornmeal or polenta *
- 2 tsp baking powder gluten-free
- 2 tsp coarse cooking salt *
- 1 tsp black pepper freshly ground, or more to taste
- 3/4 cup soy milk
- 2 1/2 cups onions finely chopped, approximately 3 medium onions
- 2 green/Spring onions finely sliced, white and some of the green part
- 1/2 cup oil (for frying, approximately) grapeseed or vegetable *
- Sweet Chilli Sauce to serve
Finely chop your onions and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients to evenly distribute them.
Add the milk and stir well. You will have a thick batter.
Add the finely chopped onions and mix until well blended.
Add the oil to a large frying pan, and heat the oil over medium heat. I check that the oil is ready by using a simple method. I stick the end of a wooden spoon into the oil. If the oil is ready, it will bubble around the spoon.*
Drop batter by tablespoons into the hot oil. To ensure that the patties are cooked in the centre it is important to flatten the batter with the back of a spatula or spoon.
Cook for 2-3 minutes before turning and cooking the other side. Both sides should be golden brown and crispy.*
Drain for a minute on paper towels and continue cooking the remainder.
Serve with Sweet Chilli Sauce.
*I used finely ground polenta.
*The teaspoons of salt are flat, not rounded
*The oil should be about ½” deep.
*It is important that the oil not be too hot or the patties will brown before the centre is cooked. It is also important that the oil not be too cool or the patties will absorb the oil, leaving them soggy and greasy.
*The patties must be a rich brown shade to ensure the filling is properly cooked.
Vegan Chocolate Mousse
Vegans and non-vegans will love this quickly and easily prepared Chocolate Mousse. Being gluten and dairy free it is ideal for many people with dietary restrictions.
- 170 g good-quality dark chocolate with 70% cocoa finely chopped
- 120 ml soy milk*
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp orange zest finely grated
- 1 cup coconut yoghurt*
Place the finely chopped chocolate into a medium heatproof bowl.
Over medium heat, in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring the milk just to a boil.
Pour the almost boiling milk over the chocolate and leave it to sit for 1 to 2 minutes.
Stir with a spatula until you have a smooth, glossy ganache.
Using a spatula, fold the maple syrup, orange zest and yoghurt into the chocolate mixture until thoroughly combined.
Spoon the mousse into four glasses or small serving cups and chill for about one hour until firm.
The mousse can be made a day ahead and refrigerated, covered with cling wrap.
Refrigerating the mousse produces a firm set. I like to remove the mousse from the refrigerator about a half hour before serving to soften the texture.
Serve with some berries or coconut yoghurt sprinkled with shaved chocolate if desired.
*If you’re vegan, check that the chocolate is suitable. I have used Lindt 70%.
*You can use alternative milk, including dairy if you don’t adhere to a vegan diet.
*Greek yoghurt is suitable for non-vegans.
Piedmontese Roasted Peppers
A large platter of these colourful, delicious Piedmontese Peppers will add sunshine to even the dullest day. They are easily prepared and full of delicious Mediterranean flavours.
- 4 small red or yellow peppers or a combination (1)
- 120 g cherry tomatoes halved if small, quartered if large
- 4 cloves garlic peeled and thinly sliced
- 12 basil leaves (2)
- 16 Kalamata olives pitted and halved
- 4 medium bocconcini about 130g, sliced (3)
- 4 anchovies halved lengthways – use good quality (4)
- 1/2 cup olive oil extra virgin (5)
- salt and pepper to taste
- chilli flakes – optional
Preheat the oven to 180 Degrees C (350F)
Halve the peppers lengthways, remove the core, seeds and white pith.
Lay the peppers, skin side down, in a shallow baking dish that will comfortably hold them.
Divide the pieces of cherry tomatoes amongst the peppers.
Tuck 3 or 4 slices of garlic between the tomatoes.
Tuck basil leaves and olives between the tomatoes.
Cut, or tear the bocconcini into pieces with your hands, and scatter on top. Use some crumbled feta if you prefer.
Add an anchovy, halved lengthways or chopped if you prefer.
Grind some black pepper over the top.
If you are using anchovies omit the salt.
Drizzle over the olive oil. Don’t skimp, it is essential for the wonderful juices.
Bake in the oven approximately 35 minutes until they are slightly blackened around the edges but still holding their shape.
Transfer the cooked peppers to a serving dish, with all the delicious juices poured over, and garnish with a few basil leaves.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
- I prefer to use red and yellow peppers for this recipe. Orange works well too if they’re available, and I prefer them to be on the small side. If large they can be cut into quarters but you will need to increase the quantities of the fillings. I generally don’t buy green peppers. Green peppers are harvested before they are completely ripe and I find there is a mildly bitter edge to their flavour.
- I sometimes whiz a handful of basil leaves with some olive oil in a small food processor and drizzle this over in lieu of adding the basil leaves and olive oil separately. Or use some basil pesto if you have some on hand.
- I have used medium sized bocconcini balls. You could use a large bocconcino ball or use some crumbled feta if you prefer. You could take the dish to new heights by using Buffalo Mozzarella – it’s delicious.
- Simply omit the anchovies to make a vegetarian dish. Use a few sea salt flakes instead.
- It is essential that good quality olive oil is used as you will be mopping up the delicious juices with crusty bread.
Quick and Easy Lemon Ice Cream
A show stopper dessert – homemade ice cream!
- 2 tsp grated lemon zest * very fine
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice strained
- 1 cup caster sugar or superfine
- 600 ml whipping cream
- 3 drops yellow food colouring * optional
Add the lemon zest, juice and caster/superfine sugar to a food processor and whiz them together.
With the motor running, gradually add, through the feed tube, the cream and the food colouring if using.
Process just until the mixture thickens to a texture similar to whipped cream. Spoon the ice cream into an airtight freezer container or spoon into a decorative mould and cover with two layers of cling wrap.
Freeze for approximately 4 hours. The length of time will vary, depending on the temperature of your freezer and the size of the container.
If you have used a decorative mould, carefully dip the mould into a bowl of hot water for a few seconds. Dry the mould with a tea towel, place a serving plate on top and carefully upturn the mould.
Remove from the fridge about 15 minutes before serving to allow the ice cream to soften a little.
I needed 2 lemons to get the required amount of zest. The natural oils in the zest impart more flavour than the juice. Just remove the thin, coloured skin; do not use any of the white pith as it has a bitter flavour. I find a very fine microplane is best.
I added 3 drops of yellow food colouring; the hint of colour visually enhances the ice cream and emphasises that it has a lemon flavour. It is, of course, not essential.
Char-grilled Zucchini Salad with Yoghurt and Mint
This flavour-filled salad of Char-Grilled Zucchini With Yoghurt And Mint evokes the bright, sunny flavours of summer.
- 400 gm zucchini approximately 3 medium
- 2 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
- 3 tbsp slivered almonds toasted
- extra mint leaves to garnish
- 1 cup plain Greek yoghurt
- 2 tsp finely grated lemon zest divided
- 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
- sea salt and black pepper to taste
Slice the zucchini on the diagonal about 1 cm/1/4” thick.
Toss the zucchini slices in a bowl with the olive oil.
Pre-heat a char-grill pan over medium-high heat.
Working in batches, cook the zucchini about 2 minutes each side or until slightly charred.
Transfer the cooked zucchini to a bowl or platter and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Repeat until all the zucchini is cooked.
Meanwhile, prepare the yoghurt dressing.
Place the yoghurt into a medium-sized bowl.
Add 1 ½ teaspoons of lemon zest and the freshly squeezed lemon juice.
Add the chopped mint and season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Spread the yoghurt dressing on a serving platter.
When all the zucchini is cooked and have cooled a little, arrange the zucchini on the yoghurt dressing.
Sprinkle with a few mint leaves and the reserved ½ teaspoon of lemon zest.
Add the toasted slivered almonds.
Drizzle over the top the zucchini juices which have accumulated in the bowl.
Serve as soon as possible after assembling.
*To toast the slivered almonds, place into a small, dry frying pan over medium heat. Stir occasionally to ensure they are evenly coloured. Be vigilant, they will burn easily.