Wednesday, June 15, 2011

                                                   Penne a la Betsy
This recipe is incredibly comforting, it's a recipe from The Pioneer Women Cooks book.
By far my most treasured book in a vast cook book collection. I could go on and on about this incredible book, it's gorgeous step by step photos, mouthwatering recipes and of course it's stunning author and photographer Ree Drummond. I've followed her blog daily over the last couple of years, her warm honest writing style and full flavoured recipes make any foodie fall in love with her. This particular recipe was made up by her sister Betsy, the minute I lay eyes on it I was desperate to make it. Warm pasta, sweet juicy prawn pieces drenched in rich creamy tomato sauce. I changed the recipe slightly by using curly fettuccine pasta and adding 3 handfuls of shredded Parmesan and used  a 4 tablespoon of tomato puree instead of 1 can of tomato sauce. I also mixed in 1 table spoon of corn flour which I first dissolved in 3 tablespoons of water, this was to thicken the sauce . I couldn't find fresh basil in Coles or Woolies so I settled for minced  basil in a tube. So give it a go, you won't be disappointed. Here is  Penne a la Betsy!

Love Jem

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Roasted Hazelnut and Milk Chocolate Dipped Pretzels

I thought of making these after eating Cadbury Hazelnut Milk Chocolate and pretzels at the same time. The flavour combination was delicious. I googled my idea for chocolate covered pretzels and found 380,000 images learning immediately that my idea was nothing new. Still I wasn't deterred and decided to go ahead anyway. The results we not pretty but they tasted fantastic! They are a perfect combination of salty and sweet. The creamy sweet milk chocolate combined with the crunchy salty savoury flavour is incredible tasty as well as being a pinch to make. Go ahead and give it a go!

1 block of Cadbury Dairy Milk Chocolate. I would recommend 2 blocks as one didn't seem enough to me. You could also use Cadbury Hazelnut Milk Chocolate.
1 packet of salted pretzels. I used Parker's Pretzels.
1 packet of unsalted raw hazelnuts. 1 packet was equal to 1 cup of hazelnuts.
To roast the hazelnuts place them on a tray covered with baking paper and pop them into a preheated oven at 180 degrees Celsius for a fan forced oven or 356 degrees Fahrenheit or gas mark 4. Bake for 7- 10 minutes keeping a close eye on them. If they are over cooked they will have an incredibly bitter taste so watch out. Lay out a clean tea towel and place the hazelnuts onto half the towel. Fold it over, place your hands on top and rub vigorously all over, this will remove most of the outer skins. Next chop the nuts with a knife until fine or place the nuts into a blender as I did.

Simmer some water in a small saucepan and pop a glass or metal bowl on top, making sure the water doesn't touch the bowl. Break the chocolate into pieces and place into the bowl. Keep an eye on the chocolate and once half melted move the saucepan off the heat and leave it to rest. The chocolate should continue to melt. If not, just pop it back on the heat and stir with a metal spoon. Once melted place half the chopped nuts into the chocolate and mix through and leave to cool. I didn't do this and learnt the hard way.

One by one dip the pretzels into the chocolate then hold it up and give a shake so the excess drips off. I made half a batch dipped in chocolate, and half a batch dipped in chocolate and then sprinkled heavily with extra finely chopped hazelnuts. Place each chocolate covered pretzel onto a tray covered with baking paper and pop the trays in the fridge for an hour or two until they are set. Enjoy!

Love Jem