Stellar Stick Blender Giveaway!

Stellar Stick BlenderAs you will have seen in my Tomato Soup with a Hint of Basil post the other week, I tried out a Stellar stick blender for the first time and was very pleased with the results! It literally pulverized everything, including almost all the teeny tiny tomato seeds! Very impressed. Very impressed indeed…

Stellar Stick Blender GiveawayIt attaches & detaches using a simple & stable twist lock system. This makes for easy washing (always a big thumbs up with me!) and is even dishwasher safe.

It has a really comfortable & weighty grip – giving you complete control over the movements of the machine.

The LED lit end allows you to adjust the power, and as if that’s not enough – there’s an extra turbo button for when you need a bit more oomph!Stellar Stick BlenderOnce again, the incredibly generous folks over at Stellar have been kind enough to supply one to give away to one of you lucky blighters, worth a whopping £72!

So, what do you have to do to be in with a chance? It’s simple – just one of the following 3 things:

 

1. Like the KitchenMason Facebook Page & share the photo pinned to the top of the timeline

2. Follow @KitchenMason & @StellarCookware on Twitter and retweet the competition tweet on KitchenMason’s Twitter feed with the hashtag #WinKMStellar

Not on social media? No problem!

3. Subscribe to my blog via e-mail or WordPress  (on the right hand side of the page) and leave a comment on this post to say you’ve done so.

 

It really is that easy!

Competition is open to UK residents only and closes on Saturday 4th October at 1pm.

The winner will be announced on both Facebook & Twitter afterwards.

Good luck lovelies!

Crushed Baby Potatoes

Crushed Baby PotatoesI always seem to run out of ideas for sides to have with meals.  But I definitely get bored with the usual pasta, rice & salads. This side dish is quick, easy and something a little bit different to the regular mashed, boiled, roast or baked. A really tasty and satisfying dish that appears to be creeping into my meals more & more often!

Here is what you will need to serve 2 as a side dish. (Easily doubled)

  • 450g Baby Potatoes
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 tbsp Butter
  • Salt & Pepper

Bring a large pan of generously salted water to the boil.

Add in the potatoes – being careful not to splash yourself. Bring back up to the boil then cook for 15mins until starting to soften.

Crushed Baby PotatoesDrain the potatoes well then gently crush with a fork. You want a good mix of large & small chunks.

Crushed Baby PotatoesSwap that fork for a spoon so you don’t crush the potatoes any further. Drizzle in the olive oil,  dot in the butter and add a fairly generous helping of salt & pepper to season. Give it a mix and that’s it!

Crushed Baby PotatoesAnd there you have it, a simple yet temptingly inviting side dish that’s ready in less than 30mins! Perfect for midweek meals or easy entertaining. You can even play about with the flavours. Got some fresh herbs to use up? Chop ‘em up and mix ‘em in. Mustard in the fridge? Add a teaspoon or 2 for an extra kick. You could just about chuck anything in to give it a flavourful boost or simply enjoy it as it is.

I hope you enjoyed the post lovelies!

Until next time.

Miss KitchenMason

 

 

Croque Monsieur

Croque MonsieurMost Sunday mornings, I make the Mr a bacon sarnie. Me? I quite often desire something a little more… ‘fancy.’

This week I had some spare ham and cheese so thought I would use the opportunity to make myself a Croque Monsieur for breakfast. For those of you that haven’t heard of this french delight, it’s basically a glorified cheese & ham toastie. Though I can confirm – it’s WELL worth the extra effort!

Here is what you will need to make 1 sandwich.

Making for more? Simply times the ingredients by the amount of people you are feeding.

  • 2 Slices of Thick White Bread
  • 60g Cheddar Cheese, Grated
  • 1 Slice Ham
  • 1/2 tbsp (8g) Butter
  • 1/2 tbsp (4g) Plain Flour
  • 100ml Semi Skimmed Milk
  • Ground or Freshly Grated Nutmeg
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 15g Parmesan, Grated
  • Honey Mustard (or Dijon Mustard)

Preheat your oven to 200°C/Fan 180°C.

In a toaster or under the grill, lightly toast the bread until just golden on both sides.

To make the sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan over a low heat then throw in the flour.

Stir constantly over the low heat for 2 minutes. It should look a little something like this…

Croque MonsieurGradually add in the milk bit by bit, stirring constantly and fairly vigorously to smooth out any lumps.

When the milk is all used up, you should end up with a slightly thick white sauce.

Croque MonsieurAdd in a little nutmeg & season well with salt and pepper. Then stir through the parmesan cheese. If the sauce is still a little runny, turn the heat up to medium and cook, stirring constantly, until it thickens.

You want it thick enough to be able to spoon on the top of the sandwich without it running off the sides.

Croque MonsieurNow you are ready for assembly!

Spread a thin layer of honey (or dijon) mustard onto one slice of bread…

Croque MonsieurNow top both slices with grated cheddar cheese, reserving a little for the top.

Croque MonsieurThen place the ham on top of the slice with mustard on it…

Croque MonsieurNext, place the bread with just cheddar cheese on top of the slice with ham on it.

Pour over the sauce and spread around evenly. Then top with the remaining cheddar cheese and place onto a baking tray.

Croque MonsieurBake in the oven for 5 minutes then turn on the grill.

Grill until the topping is all golden, bubbly and oh so sexy…

Croque Monsieur

Croque MonsieurAnd that is what you need to do to create one of the most incredible breakfast/brunch dishes in the entire world. I told you it was better than a ham and cheese toastie!

I mean, literally, as soon as you cast your eyes over that sultry, golden, bubbly topping – you won’t be able to resist it’s charm. I implore you not to skip on the honey mustard & nutmeg either. I swear to the gods – they make this sing like a celestial being sent from heaven to implement world peace! Genuinely… absolutely… divine. You NEED to make this!

The Mr was a little jealous when I sat down next to him with this vs. his humble bacon sarnie. I think I might be making two next time…

And on that note, I hope you enjoyed the post my lovelies!

Miss KitchenMason

 

 

 

Tomato Soup with a Hint of Basil

Tomato Soup with a Hint of BasilNow, it may seem a little early for a soup recipe but in actual fact, it’s the perfect time of year to get started! With all the beautiful late summer veg in the gardens, it’s exactly the right time to start stocking your freezer ready for Autumn & Winter.

My lovely Gran is a very keen gardener. Every year she surprises me with how much she gets out of her garden! Recently, she’s had a lot of tomatoes ripening very quickly that she needs to get eaten. I thought I would help her out and turn all those beauties into a delicious soup for the both of us to enjoy.

Here is what you will need to make approx 6 portions.

  • 1kg – 1.25kg Ripe Tomatoes
  • 1 Medium Onion
  • 1 Carrot
  • 1 Celery Stick
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 tsp Tomato Purée
  • Generous pinch of Sugar
  • 2 Bay Leaves, each torn in half
  • 3 tsp Dried Basil
  • 1.2 litres Vegetable Stock *
  • 1 Bunch Fresh Basil

*I used 4 x Knorr Vegetable Stock Pots dissolved in 1.2 litres of boiling water.

Essential Equipment

  • Large pot with a Lid
  • Stick Blender or Food Processor

First thing’s first, you need to prepare your veg.

I removed the skins from my tomatoes. It’s totally optional but actually quite simple to do.

Simply fill a jug or bowl with boiling water and submerge your tomatoes for 30 secs or so. You should actually start to see some of the skins splitting.

Then, using a spoon – remove the tomatoes from the water and simply peel the skins straight off.

Tomato Soup

Tomato SoupBeing very careful, as they will be a little slippy, quarter the tomatoes and remove any hard bits of core.

Tomato SoupNow, peel & chop the onion, carrot & celery stick so they are all approx the same size.

Place the large pot over a low heat & add in the olive oil.

When you can feel the pan getting hot, add in the onion, carrot & celery. Give it a mix then cook over the low heat for about 10 mins until just starting to colour and soften.

Tomato Soup

Tomato SoupAdd in the tomato purée, the sugar, bay leaves & the dried basil. Give it all a good mix to ensure it’s all blended well.

Tomato Soup with a Hint of BasilTip in the tomatoes and mix it all together.

Tomato Soup with a Hint of BasilPop the lid on the pan and allow to simmer for 10 mins. Once or twice, give the pan a little shake to keep it all well mixed.

 

Tomato Soup with a Hint of BasilNext up, add in the vegetable stock and give it a really good stir.

Tomato Soup with a Hint of BasilThen pop that lid back on and simmer over the low heat for 25 mins. Give the pan a good shake a couple of times during cooking.

Tomato Soup with a Hint of BasilGive it a nice mix then find and remove the bay leaves.

Pull all the leaves from the bunch of basil and add them into the pot.

Then, whether it’s using a stick blender or a food processor, get blitzing until it’s all nice and smooth.

WARNING do take care if the soup is still very hot and never over fill your food processor as it has a tendency to explode!

I’ve recently obtained the new Stellar Cookware Stick Blender and  it’s absolutely fabulous!

Stellar Stick Blender

It breaks down into 2 parts for easy washing and storage and has a very comfortable & ergonomic grip. It’s also incredibly versatile with it’s settings – having a dial at the top to adjust the power and a turbo button when you need a little extra oomph.

Stellar Stick Blender

And it made mincemeat of this soup! Definitely a lot easier than making a huge mess trying to pour it all into a food processor. My days of that are now well and truly over!

Tomato Soup with a Hint of Basil - Stellar Stick Blender

Tomato Soup with a Hint of BasilLast thing to do is give the soup another stir and have a taste. Add more salt & pepper if you think it needs it.

Then either, eat it now or store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Alternatively you could allow to cool completely then pour into ‘pour and store’ bags and place in the freezer ready for those colder nights.

Tomato Soup with a Hint of BasilThere’s just something about tomato soup. It’s always been my favourite, ever since I was a little girl. I have tried to be more adventurous and try different soup flavours but I always come back to tomato! A definite winner in my book.

What would be lovely is if you served this with a little cream swirled through to add a bit of richness. And a good chunk of crusty bread with lashings of butter smeared all over it! Aaaahh, I can foresee nights by the fire with a bowl of this deliciousness in the near future. Autumn is coming… get your freezer prepared!

I hope you enjoyed the post my lovelies.

Miss KitchenMason

Thyme Baked Eggs

Thyme Baked EggsAs I promised on Facebook a couple of weeks ago, I finally got round to writing up the recipe for this tasty little creature. It’s honestly one of the nicest breakfasts I’ve had in a long time. (and I go out of my way to eat a lot of nice weekend breakfasts!) The best bit is you can use whatever herb you like. Whether it’s fresh or dry, thyme, basil or chives – it’s bound to be an incredibly simple yet fantastically delicious breakfast!

Here is what you will need to make 1 portion. Obviously you can make as many as you like.

  • 2 tsp Butter
  • 1 tsp Dried Thyme *
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 2 Eggs

Essential Equipment

  • Ramekin

* If you use a dried herb, use 1 tsp. If you are using fresh herbs, use 2 tsp.

Preheat your oven to 200°C/Fan 180°C.

Add the butter to the ramekin and, whilst the oven is preheating, pop it in and allow the butter to melt.

Thyme Baked EggsWhen it’s completely melted, remove from the oven and add in the herbs along with some salt & pepper. Mix it together.

Thyme Baked EggsCrack in both eggs, then top with a little more salt & pepper if you like.

Thyme Baked EggsPlace the ramekin onto a baking tray and place into the preheated oven for approx 12 – 15 mins until the white is cooked but the yolks are still a little runny.

If you like, you can serve with buttered ‘soldiers’ (toast cut into slices) or simply have on it’s own for a gluten free option.

Thyme Baked Eggs

Thyme Baked EggsIt really is that easy! There are so many reasons to make this breakfast. It’s no fuss, it’s cheap and uses whatever you have in your cupboards, the butter stops the ramekin from becoming a cleaning nightmare (as we all know egg can be) and it’s down right bloomin’ delicious! Do I honestly need to give you anymore excuses to try it?

Give it a go next weekend, go on, you know you want to :P

And on that note, I hope you all enjoyed the post my lovelies! Until next week.

Miss KitchenMason

Spicy Rosemary Thins

Spicy Rosemary ThinsOk, I’ve been hammering the sweet tooth a little hard recently. Figured I’d change it up a little bit this week with these scrummy, savoury sensations! For me, rosemary always tastes so homely. Ok, that may sound a little strange but I feel it’s almost like the herb equivalent of that winter ‘sitting in front of the fire with a mug of soup’ feeling. I don’t know what it is but I just love it. Like a herby hug!

Anyway, they’re blooming amazing and obviously you’re gonna have a go at making them because they’re super duper easy & quick!

Here is what you will need to make approx 25 – 30.

(Recipe from the lovely I Bake He Shoots.)

  • 1 tbsp Fresh Rosemary
  • 1/4 tsp Chilli Flakes
  • 100g Plain Flour
  • 100g Unsalted Butter, Room Temp
  • 100g Extra Mature Cheddar Cheese, Finely Grated
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Salt

Finely chop together the rosemary and chilli flakes.

Spicy Rosemary ThinsIn a food processor, add in the flour, butter, cheese, baking powder, salt & herbs.

Spicy Rosemary ThinsPulse until it just comes together to form a dough.

Spicy Rosemary ThinsTip the dough out onto a sheet of grease proof or baking paper and knead gently into a log shape.

Spicy Rosemary ThinsUsing the paper as an aid – roll it up into a round log then press the ends in to fill any gaps.

Place this in the freezer for 25 minutes to chill.

Spicy Rosemary ThinsMeanwhile, preheat your oven to 180°C/Fan 160°C & line a baking tray with baking paper or a silicone baking sheet.

When the 25 mins are up – remove the dough from the freezer and slice discs approx 3-4mm thick.

Spicy Rosemary ThinsPlace the chilled discs onto the baking tray, slightly spaced apart to allow for spreading.

Put into the centre of the preheated oven and bake for 10 – 12 mins or until just turning golden on the edges.

Spicy Rosemary Thins

Spicy Rosemary ThinsLeave on the tray for a minute or two to harden then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. (That should only take about 15 mins.)

Spicy Rosemary Thins

Spicy Rosemary ThinsThese would make great nibbles if you’re having friends over for a few drinks, or the perfect accompaniment to any cheese board! Far better than most crackers you can buy in the shops that’s for sure.

And if you’re worried about the heat of the chilli flakes, it’s not hot I promise. It’s more like a pleasant, gentle warmth in the back of the throat as an after taste. They’re just… well, blinkin’ gorgeous!

I hope you all enjoyed this weeks post my lovelies, until next week.

Miss KitchenMason

Orange Choc Chip Cookies

Orange Choc Chip CookiesChocolate orange, hands down, has to be one of my all time favourite flavour combinations! There’s just something so special about it, I don’t know what it is but it’s just incredible. And I love it. So there!

So I’m still making my Ultimate Chocolate Cookies but I fancied a change., and I was in the mood for chocolate orange. So! Here is what you will need to make some incredibly addictive, sensationally divine orange choc chip cookies.

  • 160g Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 250g Plain Flour
  • 1/2 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 2 x 100g Bars of Milk Chocolate
  • 1x 100g Bag of Milk Chocolate Chips
  • 220g Soft Light Brown Sugar
  • 110g Caster Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 Egg Yolk
  • Zest of 2 Oranges

Put the butter in a small saucepan and heat until melted. (Or melt in the microwave.) Leave to one side.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda & salt. Mix together and leave to one side.

Chop the milk chocolate bars into chunks & set to one side with the chocolate chips.

Either in a stand mixer or a large bowl with an electric hand whisk – mix together the brown sugar, caster sugar & melted butter until it looks a little something like this…

Ultimate Chocolate Chip CookiesAdd in the egg, the egg yolk & the orange zest and mix until it’s all smooth and blended well. (And by the way, now smells incredible!)

Ultimate Chocolate Chip CookiesNext, in thirds, add the flour to the dough until there are only a couple of spoonfuls left. (Reserve this remaining flour.) Mix until no more flour is visible.

Ultimate Chocolate Chip CookiesThen toss the chocolate chips/chunks through the remaining flour until they are all coated.

Ultimate Chocolate Chip CookiesAdd the chocolate and mix until evenly distributed throughout the dough.

This next step is very important – place the dough into a glass bowl, cover with cling film and put in the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours. Overnight is better if you have the time. Chilling the dough completely stops each cookie from spreading too much during baking, giving you a beautiful chunky cookie as opposed to a flat greasy cookie.

Ultimate Chocolate Chip CookiesWhen the dough is ready – preheat your oven to 180°C/Fan 160°C.

Using an ice cream scoop, (mine measures approx 5cm diameter x 2.5cm deep) place level scoopfuls of the dough onto a baking tray. I line mine with a silicone baking sheet but you don’t really need to. Make sure to leave room in between each dough ball for spreading.

Ultimate Chocolate Chip CookiesBake in the preheated oven for 10 – 12 minutes. If necessary, turn the tray halfway to ensure an even bake.

Ultimate Chocolate Chip CookiesLeave on the tray for a few minutes to harden slightly then transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Orange Choc Chip CookiesAnd that’s how you make the most awesome cookies in all the land! Seriously, they are almost unbearably delicious and so very dangerously addictive. I warn you… make these at your own risk!

I hope you enjoyed the post my lovelies, until next time.

Miss KitchenMason