Thursday, May 31, 2012

Diamond Jubilee Special: Yorkshire Pudding

Continuing with Queen Elizabeth's favourite foods!

The Queen is reported to love her Roast beef with potatoes and Yorkshire pudding... that's what makes her so wise!!  These are certainly staples of the great British menus!  I lived for a short time in the North of England and really fell in love with not only the people, history, literature and places...but the cuisine!

I was lucky enough to learn this recipe from my land lady Mrs Stott when I was staying in Thornton in Craven and I truly think it would be worthy of Her Majesty's dinner table! I hope you all enjoy it as much as I have!

Yorkshire Pudding


  • 175g plain flour
  • 175ml full cream milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 110ml water
  • 2 tablespoons of beef dripping
Pre-heat the oven to high (220c)

Sift the flour into a bowl and make a well in the centre/  Add the eggs and salt and pepper to taste.

Beat the eggs with an electric beater and add the milk and water slowly to form a smooth batter.

If you are cooking a roast when making your yorkshire pud, take two tablespoons of the beef fat that is at the bottom of the roasting tin and place in a smaller tin (you can use yorkshire pudding tins, muffin tins or a longer baking tin - no rules - just how you like it presented!)  If you are just making the pudds on their own or for a separate meal - then add some store bought beef dripping instead.

Place this tin in the oven until the fat starts to gurgle and smoke a little.  Then when ready add the batter.  Cook the yorkshire pudding for 40minutes or until golden and crispy.  Serve in cut squares or individual portions, or as I like to do - on a big serving dish so people can help themselves!


Cocinar, comer y ser feliz!


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Diamond Jubilee Celebrations - Shepherds Pie

I am unapologetically a monarchist :)  I do have a wonderful respect and admiration for Queen Elizabeth II and as a historian I have spent years collecting Windsor family memorabilia from Queen Victoria onwards! So to be living through a Jubilee is very exciting times!

I had the pleasure of seeing Her Majesty in Brisbane in 2011 with my good friend Maria and her little girl Nina (we learnt how to curtsy and were front row when she walked by!!!)  It was very exciting and thrilling to see one of my heroines and our Queen!

To celebrate her Diamond Jubilee I looked up some of my old books and found a passage which noted some of Queen Elizabeth II favourite foods...and I was happily surprised to find one of them is Shepherd's Pie!  I also found out a giggly fact - the royal chefs sieve tomatoes and or cut out seeds for the Queen and this is something I do which causes much humour amongst friends and the man as I patiently cut out seeds when making salads or sieve tomatoes to make my sauces :)  I was glad to see I was unintentionally upholding a royal tradition!!

Happy Diamond Jubilee and enjoy some of the basic British favourites in the coming days!

Shepherd's Pie


  • 700g potatoes
  • 55ml milk
  • 75g butter
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 50g dripping
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 900g minced lamb
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 small tins chopped tomatoes (sieve the seeds!)
  • 4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 450ml beef stock
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to high (around 200c)

In a large non-stick dish heat the dripping (you can buy this from the supermarket). Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes or so until the onions have a light colour to them. Take them off the heat.

Grab a separate frying pan, heat some oil  and cook the mince.

Stir the onions and add the flour and stir (this should create a thick juice). Mix well and add the thyme and bay leaves and mix through.

To the onion mix add the chopped tomatoes and beef stock and Worcestershire sauce. (Keep a little bit of the stock for later (around 3/4 cup).

Grab an empty mince pan and put in the cooked mince.  With the pan that you cooked the mince in pour the stock mixture into the pan, scraping off any bits of mince left in the pan. Pour the remaining stock into the pan containing the sauce mixture.

Bring the mixture to the boil, adding a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper and let it simmer for about 45 minutes.

For the mash, boil the potatoes, drain them and place into a  bowl.  Add the milk, butter and egg yolk, and mash together. Season as you like, with some salt and pepper.

Place the the meat into an dish and spread the mash on top of the mince.  For a little extra flavour you can put a small sprinkling of tasty cheese - but I like to stick the classic recipe.

Place in the oven and cook until the surface is bubbling and golden-brown.  Serve with a nice salad or some Yorkshire pudding (recipe to come!!)

Cocinar, comer y ser feliz!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Cream Puffs

I'm having a bit of a love affair with cream might be the wintery days calling for warm heaters or wood fires and delicious morsels with limitless cups of tea...


  • 1 cup water
  • 75g butter
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • Pinch salt
  • 4 eggs
  • Whipped cream, sweetened and flavoured with strong back coffee or Tia Maria
  • Coffee-flavored icing
  • Icing sugar
  • Black coffee

Put water and butter in a pan, slowly bring to the boil (butter must be completely melted when boiling point is reached). 

Sift together flour and salt and add.  Beat well over a low heat with a wooden spoon until ingredients are well combined and mixture forms a ball and comes away from sides of pan.

Remove from heat and cool for about 5mins.  Beat in the eggs, one ata  time, beating each until completely mixed in before adding the next.  (The mixture should be thick, smooth and glossy.)

Spoon mounds on to a lightly greased oven tray or tray lined with greased grease-proof paper and bake in a hot oven (200 degrees)  for 12 mins. Reduce to a medium heat (180 degrees) and bake for another 15-25mins or until golden brown.  If the pastry is showing signs of burning place a piece of foil over the top.

Remove from the oven and make a slit in each of them to let the steam escape. Return to the turned off oven for a few minutes.

When cold, split and scrape out any soft dough and spoon or pipe in the whipped cream.  Make a thin icing by mixing together sifted icing sugar and black coffee.  Spoon on top of the cream puff for some extra yumminess!

Don't forget to watch all your favourite recipes on Cocina de Mama's YouTube Channel.

Cocinar, comer y ser feliz!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Irish Coffee Pie

I love spending my Saturday's looking through my mum's old cook books and scraps of secret folded papers filled with delicious recipes!  This Irish coffee pie brought back memories of those wonderful Sunday treats that would always end the week off in a wondrous moment of deliciousness!!


  • 250g chocolate biscuits
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant coffee powder
  • 100g unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 cups milk
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa
  • 2 tablespoons instant coffee powder
  • 2/3 cup of sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons gelatine
  • 6 tablespoons Irish whiskey
  • 300ml pure cream
  • Chocolate leaves 
  • Fresh raspberries or strawberries

Crust: Mix ingredients together.  Press into a greased 23cm spring form pan.  Bake in a moderate oven 180 degrees celcius for 10 minutes.  Leave to cool.

Filling: Scald the milk.  In a medium saucepan place yolks, coca, coffee and sugar and stir until blended.  Dissolve gelatine in the whiskey. Slowly pour hot milk into the egg yolks, stirring all the time. Place saucepan over low heat add gelatine and stir until it dissolves.  Strain mixture into a bowl, cool, then chill until mixture thickens, stirring frequently.  Whip cream and fold through custard.  Pour into earlier prepared pie shell.  Decorate with chocolate leaves and fruit.

To make chocolate leaves
  • 100g of cooking chocolate
  • Clean dry flat leaves

Melt chocolate over hot water.  Using a paint brush work chocolate thickly over the back of the leaf to just within the edges.  Place on waxed/baking paper on a plate.  Refrigerate (don't put in the freezer - just the fridge).  When set, gently ease the chocolate from leaves.

Don't forget to watch Cocina de Mama's YouTube channel for all the new weekly recipes.

Cocinar, comer y ser feliz,

Friday, May 11, 2012

Mother's Day Special: Greek Mama's Truly Greek Salad

Deb from San Francisco wrote in with the truest of true Greek salad recipes!  So delicious, I'm glad I now have an authentic recipe from a Greek Mama!

Deb writes:

So, my mom was really not much of a cook (that was all Nona territory...and my dad's, but only about once/year). But the one thing she made that was always in high demand for every soiree was a totally kick-ass truly Greek salad.

Greek Mama's Truly Greek Salad

Public Service Announcement: Greek salad DOES NOT contain lettuce. Any greek salad presented with lettuce is fakin' it for the good of the tourists and should be mentally rejected as not being truly Greek.

    • sharp knife
    • cutting board
    • big honkin' bowl
    • a jar with a good tight lid to shake dressing in
PREP TIME: 2 hours (it is a LOT of chopping)


    • 8 tomatoes
    • 3 cucumbers
    • 1/2 red onion
    • 1 bunch green onions (white and bright green parts only)
    • 4 bell peppers (2 green, 2 red -- or 1 red 1 yellow)
    • 1 bunch radishes (hella optional! I usually skip this, but my mom doesn't)
    • 1 jar Kalamata olives (lightly rinsed from their brine)
      • You must use Kalamata olives. Regular black olives do not have the same flavor.
      • You can buy them pitted or with pits intact. I prefer pits intact, because machine-pitted olives often have little bits o' pit left in them, which can hurt your guests' teeth. Just be sure to tell folks that the olives have pits in them!
    • 1 small block of real feta cheese (do not buy pre-crumbled, that stuff has weird anti-caking agents in it!)

    • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
    • 1/2 cup olive oil
    • Half a bunch of fresh parsley, leaves only!
    • Salt, black pepper, oregano, & thyme to taste

    • Chop everything except olives and feta into small bits. It's time consuming but it's what makes greek salad have the right texture. 
      • For the tomatoes, cucumbers, and bell peppers, you're aiming for bits between 1/4 and 1/2 inch. 
      • For the oniony things and radishes, go for rather finely chopped, but not all the way to minced/food-processor'd. 
    • Once everything is chopped and mixed in a big bowl, add the (rinsed and drained) olives and hand-crumble the feta cheese on top. 
    • Right before you serve the salad, add the dressing and toss toss toss!

    • Chop up the parsley leaves very very finely. I use a Ninja (cheap Target knockoff of the Slap Chop) to do this part, because nothing is worse to me than a big pokey leaf o' parsley in my salad. 
    • Put all the dressing ingredients in a jar, screw the lid on tightly, and shakeshakeshake! Sorry to say, I never measure the salt/pepper/thyme/oregano, I just put 'em in and shake until it tastes "right." 
    • Make sure you really shake it up right before you put it on the salad!

Cocinar, comer y ser feliz!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Mother's Day Special: Ghormeh Sabzi

Anousheh from Sydney has sent us a beautiful Persian recipe from her Aunts in Iran. Sounds just delicious, I will definitely be giving this a whirl...


Anousheh says:
Anousheh and her Aunts in Iran
I grew up in Iran, when I was young, I remember my dear aunts who are all fine cooks made me my favourite Persian food. Ghormeh Sabzi is a delicious and balanced meal, I'm salivating as I write this. To this
day I haven't tasted anything like it. The last time I visited Iran I had Ghormeh Sabzi every second day, I had to make up for 25 years.....It is very easy to make and good for you.  The dish is a herb stew cooked with lamb. Enjoy!

Ghormeh Sabzi (from

  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 boneless chuck roast* or 1.5 lbs of lamb stew
  • 1 c. green onions, green parts only, finely chopped
  • 1.5 c. spinach, finely chopped
  • 1/2 c. italian flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/4 c. cilantro leaves, finely chopped
  • 1/4 c. chives or scallion tops, finely chopped
  • 1/4 c. fenugreek leaves, finely chopped
  • juice from one lemon
  • 4-5 dried persian limes, leemoo-amonee
  • 1 can red kidney beans

Saute the onion over medium-high heat in a couple of tablespoons of
canola oil until it is a deep golden brown. We call this piaz-daagh.
Add the turmeric, frying another minute or two, then add the stew
meat. Toss well to coat in turmeric, and cook until the meat is
browned well on all sides.

Meanwhile, fry the herbs in a health splash of canola oil until they
are fragrant and deepening in color. Watch them carefully as they will
go bitter if burned. You want them to be a deep, dark green without

Add the fried greens to the meat & onion mixture, stirring well. Add
1.5 - 2 cups of water (you want a "slurry", but not "soupy" mixture).
Season with salt & pepper to taste (easy on the pepper). Add the lemon
juice, turn the heat down, and let the whole thing simmer, covered,
for 1.5-2 hours, or until the greens are mostly softened. (Note: if
you are using dried beans, you will want to add them at this point)

About an hour into the simmer, add the leemoo-amonee (any sooner and
they will turn the stew bitter), pushing them down into the liquid.
They will want to pop back up, so try to cover them with a few pieces
of meat to keep them submerged.

Finally, add the drained kidney beans, and cook another 30 minutes.
Check your seasoning level, adding more lemon juice if needed (before
you do, though, press down on the dried limes to get them to release
the liquid they've absorbed)


Cocinar, comer y ser feliz!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Mother's Day Special: Blitz Torte

Kate, from Sydney, wrote in to share a wonderful recipe that has been handed down from her grandmother, to mother and now she makes it herself! Thanks Kate for sharing a wonderful memory and a delicious recipe!

Kate writes:
My grandma and my Mum both used to make this cake a lot and recently, I made it for Mum's birthday. It was always a special, birthday-only treat, as it's a little finnicky. When I first made it recently, I was so in awe of Mum spending hours making this for me as a 6 year old - I definitely didn't appreciate the effort at the time!

Warm meringue, cinnamon, almonds and filling cake - this 5 layer concoction is so definitely worth it. Enjoy xxx

Blitz Torte

  • 4oz butter (120g)
  • 1/2 cup castor sugar
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 tspn baking powder
  • 3 tspn milk
  • 1 tspn vanilla
  • 3/4 cup castor sugar
  • Blanched almonds
  • Cinnamon and extra castor sugar

Custard filling:
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup castor sugar
  • 3 tbsp custard powder
  • Vanilla

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks one at a time. 
Add sifted flour, baking powder, milk and vanilla. Spread onto base of 9 inch square buttered and floured tins (try glad bake). Beat egg whites until stiff and gradually add castor sugar. 

Place meringue onto cake mixture and sprinkle with castor sugar, cinnamon and blanched almonds. 
Bake at 160-170 degrees Celsius for 25-30 min or until golden brown.
Turn out and leave to cool.

Custard filling: add the first 4 ingredients into saucepan and cook until thick. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Allow to cool. Beat butter in Kenwood (mixer) until creamy and gradually add custard mixture.


Cocinar, comer y ser feliz!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Mother's Day Special: BBQ Chicken with Red Cabbage and Mangoes

Jason from Singapore sent in a special recipe his wife Aleetza makes for their daughter Harper who just loves her Mum's delicious BBQ Chicken and Red cabbage with Mangoes recipe!  Harper loves her 'Mama' and is often heard to ask for 'more pease'!


Jason says:

This is very good.  Hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

BBQ Chicken with Red Cabbage and Mangoes

Red Cabbage with Mangoes
  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 4 Tablespoons plain Greek Yogurt
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • I head of red cabbage shredded
  • 2-3 mangoes peeled and shredded

Place mayo, yogurt, honey, vinegar, salt and pepper in a bowl and whisk until well combined.  Add red cabbage and mangoes.  Toss to coat.

Barbecue Chicken

  • Place 2 chicken breasts in water and cook until cooked through. 
  • Remove chicken, cool  and shred with a fork.
  • In a large pot place 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 onion diced.
  • Saute for a few minutes then add the shredded chicken, 2 Tablespoon honey, 2 Tablespoons butter and your favorite barbecue sauce.  About a cup of sauce.  Heat until thoroughly warmed.

We put the red cabbage and chicken on flat bread or you can use a bun or tortillas.  


Cocinar, comer y ser feliz!
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