Tuxedo Cheese & Crackers!

Tuxedo Cheese & CrackersAs many of you will know I am currently heavily pregnant and, as a result, very lazy! This means I don’t have the energy or stamina to be spending forever standing up in the kitchen preparing food. I’m not too happy about this because, as you may have gathered by now, I love being in the kitchen!

So this presented me with a bit of a challenge. I wanted a simple recipe that would look great on your party buffet tables this New Years Eve, but didn’t want to be stood up for ages. Then I saw these over at Cute Food For Kids and knew it was just what I was looking for!

What you will need

  • Pitted Black Olives
  • Any Crackers of your choice
  • Any Soft Cheese Triangles AND/OR Hard Cheese of your choice

Essential Equipment

  • Drinking straw or Small round piping nozzle
  • a Cocktail Stick
  • A small sharp knife or scissors

Firstly, cut the hard cheese into triangles or peel the wrappers off the soft cheese triangles.

Then you just need to sit down at a table with a chopping board, the olives, the items listed in ‘Essential Equipment’ and start carving!

Use either a drinking straw or a small round piping nozzle to cut out little olive ‘buttons,’ (The cocktail stick will be helpful to remove the olive from the straw/nozzle.)

Either using a sharp knife (I used a vegetable carving knife) or some scissors, cut out little triangles to use for the bow ties. I found it easiest to cut each olive into quarters and flatten them first.

Then place the bow ties and buttons on each piece of cheese and serve on crackers to your happy guests!

Tuxedo Cheese & CrackersOk, so they may be a bit fiddly & time consuming but look how cute they are!! At least you can sit down at a table and do the fiddly bit so you’re not on your feet for ages – definitely a winning point for me in my whale like state!

It’s worth the effort just to get great comments from your guests I think. And let’s be honest – you are definitely going to get great comments about these! They really stand out and look super smart for a celebration or party buffet table. A spectacular addition to help see in the new year.

And on that note, I hope you enjoyed the post you fabulous fabulous people!

I wish you all a very happy & prosperous New Year.

See you in 2015!

Miss KitchenMason

A Nutella Lovers Dream!

Nutella Truffles & Nutella Hot ChocolateNo one wants to be slaving away in the kitchen for hours making Christmas gifts or treats. Want to know a little secret? These incredibly simple, 3 ingredient Nutella truffles will only take you about 10 minutes to make AND they make gorgeous little Christmas gifts!

And how do you reward yourself for your 10 minutes of “back breaking hard work”? A wonderfully indulgent mug of Nutella hot chocolate of course! Oh, and did I mention that both of these sensational delights are naturally vegetarian and gluten free? I know, they’re the gifts that just keep on giving!

Without further ado, here is what you will need to make these beautiful, chocolatey pleasures.

Nutella Truffles

(Makes approx 18-20 – recipe adapted from Urban Bakes.)

  • 180g Nutella
  • 60g Icing Sugar
  • 50g Chopped Roast Hazelnuts

In an electric stand mixer with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl with a spatula – beat together the Nutella and icing sugar until you can’t see any more white powder.

Nutella Truffles & Nutella Hot ChocolateRoll into small balls between your palms then roll in chopped hazelnuts to cover. Imagine a spherical 10p coin – that’s the kind of size I went for.

(I honestly wouldn’t make these big as they will be far too sickly – even for the most dedicated Nutella fan!)

Nutella Truffles & Nutella Hot ChocolatePlace the truffles on a lined baking sheet, then the next bit is up to you. You can either eat them as they are at room temperature, or you can pop them in the fridge to firm up. My preference is chilled but it’s entirely up to you.

Nutella Truffles & Nutella Hot ChocolateThen store in an airtight container and consume within a week.

Nutella Truffles & Nutella Hot ChocolateNutella Hot Chocolate

(Serves 2, easily doubled – recipe adapted from Cafe Delites)

  • 600ml Semi Skimmed Milk
  • 1 generous tbsp Nutella
  • 1 tbsp Cocoa Powder *
  • 1 tbsp Honey

* Don’t use chocolate drinking powder as this is already sweetened.

Pour the milk into a saucepan and place over a medium heat. Warm through.

Nutella Truffles & Nutella Hot ChocolateOnce it starts to steam – add in the Nutella, cocoa powder & honey.

Nutella Truffles & Nutella Hot ChocolateBring the mixture to the boil, stirring frequently with a whisk to ensure all the ingredients blend together nicely.

Nutella Truffles & Nutella Hot ChocolateDivide between two mugs and, if you like, top with whipped cream, marshmallows, chocolate chips or anything that takes your fancy!

(Bear in mind that marshmallows are typically gluten free but not vegetarian.)

Nutella Truffles & Nutella Hot ChocolateI told you they were easy!

Even I was surprised with how simple & quick they both are to make. I will remember these truffles the next time I have zero time to sort a gift! Even if the receiver doesn’t like Nutella – you can get tons of different flavoured chocolate spreads now and you could roll them in anything! Grated chocolate, cocoa powder or even desiccated coconut.

Another surprise for me is how easy it is to make your own home made hot chocolate. I mean – wow. It’s SO much nicer than the stuff you buy at the supermarkets! The flavour possibilities are endless too. So long as it will melt, is a liquid or removable (i.e. a bouquet garni) – you can pretty much put it in hot chocolate. I can’t wait to experiment with this!

I hope you all enjoyed this week’s post my lovelies.

From me, the Mr & the bump – I wish you a very Merry Christmas!

All my love, Miss KitchenMason x

Oreo Truffles

Oreo TrufflesI don’t know about you but I always like to make edible gifts for Christmas. I think they’re much more personal & really show that you care. The trouble is, I always seem to spend much longer in the kitchen than I anticipated and most recipes I’ve tried are faffy, fiddly and far too much effort. NOT what you need in the run up to Christmas! As if there’s not enough to do already right?

These gorgeous Oreo Truffles are an absolute godsend! Not only are they really simple, they only take about an hour to make. It’s exactly what you’ve been looking for!

Here is what you will need to make approx 20 – 30 truffles. (Dependent on how large you make them.)

  • 1 x 154g Pack of Oreos
  • 225g Philadelphia Cream Cheese
  • 300g White Chocolate
  • Any decoration of your choice (I used sprinkles)

In a food processor, blitz the whole pack of Oreo biscuits (cream filling too) until you’re left with fine crumbs.

Oreo TrufflesThen, preferably in an electric stand mixer, (but you can also just do it by hand in a large bowl) mix together the cream cheese & oreo biscuit crumbs until just combined.

Oreo TrufflesLine a baking sheet with cling film or foil and set to one side.

Roll teaspoon sized chunks of the mixture into balls and place onto the prepared tray. Yes it’s messy but for 10 minutes of dirty hands – it’s totally worth it!

Place the tray into the freezer for 30 minutes for the truffles to harden. This will make it much easier to cover later.

Oreo TrufflesWhen the truffles are chilled, break the white chocolate into a large bowl. Melt gently either in a microwave or set over a pan of barely simmering water.

Now you’re ready for the fun bit!

Get your decorations ready. I used some red and green sprinkles – you could use hundreds and thousands or whatever takes your fancy. Whatever you use, get it ready before you start coating the truffles with chocolate. Because they are so cold having come out the freezer – the chocolate will set pretty quickly so you need to decorate straight away.

Line a baking tray with non stick paper or a silicone baking mat.

Dump a truffle into the melted chocolate and, using a fork, cover in white chocolate before lifting (don’t stab it) & allowing any excess to drain away.

Oreo TrufflesPlace onto the baking tray, then straight away – sprinkle on your decoration. Repeat the process for each truffle until everything is used up.

Oreo TrufflesPop into the fridge to set for 20-30 minutes (it won’t take long) and that is it!

Place into cellophane bags tied with a pretty ribbon or into mini cupcake cases in a Christmas box and (reluctantly) give away to your loved ones.

Store in the fridge & eat within 5 days.

Oreo TrufflesYou could really mix these up if you wanted to. You could use milk chocolate instead of white or you could use golden Oreos instead of original chocolate. You could even melt milk chocolate and decorate over the white chocolate with zig zags instead of using sprinkles. You really can personalise these to whoever you’re planning on giving them to.

They’re delightfully delicious, sensationally moreish, insanely easy to make and you’re totally gona’ make them right? Of course you are!!

Hope you enjoyed the post my lovelies.

Miss KitchenMason

Ultimate Roast Veg & Scanpan Giveaway!

Ultimate Roast Veg & Scanpan GiveawayWe’re into December now and there’s only one thing on everyone’s mind – Christmas. I’m here to help make it a little easier on you with my super simple & intensely delicious ultimate roast veg recipe. Not only that, but you could bag yourself literally the greatest roasting pan I have ever used! Competition details at the end of the post.

Here is what you will need to serve 3-4 as a side dish.

  • 350g Baby Potatoes, quartered
  • 2 – 3 Large Carrots, peeled & sliced
  • 2 – 3 Large Parsnips, peeled & sliced
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Oregano
  • 1 tsp Thyme
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Fresh Parsley, to garnish (Optional)

Preheat your oven to 200°C/Fan 180°C.

Quarter the baby potatoes (they should be roughly 3cm in diameter) then peel the carrots & parsnips.

Slice the carrots & parsnips to approx the same size as the potatoes – this will ensure it all cooks evenly.

Then throw it all into a good quality roasting pan along with the garlic powder, oregano, thyme, olive oil & a generous helping of salt & pepper.

Get your hands in and mix it all together so everything is evenly coated.

Ultimate Roast Veg & Scanpan GiveawayPop it into the centre of the preheated oven and cook for 35-40 minutes until golden & soft.

I gave mine a mix half way through the cooking time.

Ultimate Roast Veg & Scanpan GiveawayI told you it was simple! No mess, no fuss recipes are exactly what you need on Christmas Day to eliminate all that unnecessary stress. This is literally – chop it, mix it, cook it . Job done! And only one pan to wash after?? You’re welcome.

Now, onto the more important business at hand. The Scanpan roasting pan. Wowsers this is a great piece of kit! I’ll be honest, I had never actually heard of the brand until now. But honestly? This really is a kitchen must have and completely obliterates all the other roasting pans I have ever used!

Ultimate Roast Veg & Scanpan Giveaway

What you need to know: Scanpan is a Danish company that not only strive for unrivaled quality with their patented ceramic titanium coating but they also care deeply about the environment. Despite the added cost, the Scanpan Classic range is made using 100% recycled aluminium and even the packaging they come in is 100% recycled material too.

Ultimate Roast Veg & Scanpan GiveawayAs for the roasting pans, I have honestly never come across quality like it. It has a fantastic weight to it and you know they’re not lying when they say it comes with a ‘no warp’ guarantee.

The ceramic titanium non stick coating is really something to shout about too. I mean, nothing is going to stick to this baby – NOTHING! Every time I’ve roasted veg in a roasting pan, something has always stuck to the bottom and it’s a nightmare to clean. With this? No chance! Everything wiped straight off. It was like you hadn’t cooked anything in it in the first place.

Another thing I noticed when making this recipe was how evenly everything cooked. They claim the roasting pans have fast & even heat distribution and I totally agree! Fantastic stuff.

Ultimate Roast Veg & Scanpan GiveawayAn additional feature that I think is also worth noting, is the fact that the bottom allows it to be used both on the hob & in the oven. So you could sear some chicken or beef on the hob and finish it off in the oven – all in one pan. It literally does it all!

 

So, to be in with a chance of winning your very own Scanpan Roasting pan – just do one or all of the following 3 things:

 

1. Like the KitchenMason & Scanpan UK pages on Facebook then share the photo pinned to the top of my timeline

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

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 20th December at 1pm.

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

I hope you enjoyed the post lovelies, and good luck!

Miss KitchenMason

Mango & White Chocolate Cheesecake!

Mango & White Chocolate CheesecakeMy folks came round for Sunday dinner and I wanted to make a refreshing & light dessert to finish. This stunning cheesecake was just the ticket! It’s beautifully light & the perfect end to, what is usually, quite a heavy meal.

So! Here is what you will need to make about 8 fairly generous portions.

(Recipe adapted from Here.)

  • 150g Digestive Biscuits
  • 50g Unsalted Butter
  • 425g Tin Mango Slices
  • Zest & Juice of 1 Lime
  • 300g White Chocolate
  • 280g Philadelphia Original *
  • 150ml Double Cream

Essential Equipment

  • 22cm (8 1/2″) Springform Pan
  • Food Processor

* Do NOT substitute the full fat original cheese for a lighter version or it will not set.

Lightly grease and line the base of your tin, set to one side until needed.

Roughly break the biscuits into a food processor and pulse until fine crumbs.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over a low/medium heat.

Pour the butter into the biscuit crumbs and mix well, then press firmly into the base of the prepared tin. Place into the fridge whilst we make the filling.

Mango & White Chocolate Cheesecake

Mango & White Chocolate CheesecakeDrain the mangoes and place the slices into a food processor along with the zest & juice of the lime.

Blitz until you get a nice smooth purée.

Mango & White Chocolate CheesecakeGently melt the chocolate either in the microwave or in a glass bowl over a pan of barely simmering water.

In another bowl, lightly whip the double cream until soft peaks form.

Now to bring it all together!

In a large bowl, whisk the Philadelphia cream cheese until soft & smooth.

Mango & White Chocolate CheesecakeCarefully beat in the melted white chocolate and the whipped cream until it’s all blended together.

Mango & White Chocolate CheesecakePour in half the mango purée and stir together. Then pour the mixture over the biscuit base.

Mango & White Chocolate CheesecakeDot the remaining mango purée on the surface and, using a skewer, swirl it around to create a hap-hazard pattern.

Mango & White Chocolate Cheesecake

Mango & White Chocolate CheesecakePlace in the fridge to set for a minimum of 3 hours, preferably overnight before removing from the tin & serving.

Mango & White Chocolate Cheesecake

Mango & White Chocolate CheesecakeThis was a HUGE hit with both me and the parents! Logic says that with all that white chocolate, it’s going to be really sweet but the mango & lime purée cuts through it beautifully. It’s so refreshing and gorgeously light, definitely a recipe I will be making again in the future! Also helps that it’s a really easy, make ahead recipe. So perfect for dinner parties too.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s post my lovelies, until next time!

Miss KitchenMason

 

 

 

 

Chocolate Cinder Toffee

Chocolate Cinder ToffeeSo Halloween is over. Up next? Bonfire Night!

I know what you’re thinking… you want a super quick, super easy, naturally vegetarian AND gluten free recipe right? Give this chocolate cinder toffee a go and I promise, you won’t regret it! Alternatively referred to as hokey pokey or honeycomb, it’s like making your very own, home made Crunchie bars. Awesome right?

In other news this week, I’ve also tried something a little different for you lovely lot. It’s the first ever KitchenMason step by step video! I hope you like it.

Alternatively, here’s the usual guide you’ve come to know and love.

What you need:

  • 2 tbsp Honey
  • 2 tbsp Golden Syrup
  • 100g Caster Sugar
  • 2 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
  • 150 – 200g Milk Chocolate*

* for Gluten Free, check the wrapper as some are/some aren’t.

Line a 25cm square tin with baking paper and grease lightly with oil. Or, like me, just use a silicone tin as it won’t stick.

In a large pan, add the honey, golden syrup and sugar. Mix it all together now as it’s not wise to do so when over the heat.

Chocolate Cinder ToffeePlace the pan over a high heat and bring to the boil.

Bring the mixture to 145°C (it will take approx 2-3 minutes from boiling point – if you don’t have a thermometer, watch the video to see what it should look like.)

Now for the magic. Immediately turn off the heat, chuck in the bicarbonate of soda and give it a good whisk until you can’t see any more bicarb.

Quickly pour it into your prepared tin and leave to cool & set for 30 minutes.

When it’s hard, cut into large chunks.

Chocolate Cinder ToffeeEither in a microwave or a glass bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water, gradually melt the chocolate until smooth.

Place a sheet of greaseproof paper onto a baking sheet. Then dip each piece of cinder toffee into the chocolate, and allow to set on the sheet.

Store in an airtight container.

Chocolate Cinder ToffeeSee, I told you it was quick and easy!

It’s gorgeous stuff, I absolutely love it. Like glistening gold dust smothered in a smooth, silky chocolate coat… drool. Yeah, they ain’t gonna last long that’s for sure!

I hope you enjoyed this week’s post, until next time my lovelies.

Miss KitchenMason

 

 

Spaghetti Bolognese & SORTEDfood Giveaway!

Spaghetti BologneseSpaghetti bolognese. We all love it but lets be honest, 9 times out of 10 – it comes out of a jar. And I must confess, I’m guilty too. So I went on a mission to find an easy solution, and there was only one place to look, SORTED food!

Over the years they have built up a HUGE recipe archive, a fantastically funny yet informative, step-by-step YouTube channel and even have their own kitchenware! So there was no question they would have an easy peasy & super delicious recipe for spag bol.

Without further ado, here is what you will need to serve 4.

  • 500g Minced Beef
  • Olive Oil, for frying
  • 1 Onion
  • 1 Stick Celery
  • 1 Carrot
  • Handful of Mushrooms
  • 2 Garlic Cloves
  • 1 tsp Dried Oregano
  • Squeeze of Tomato Puree
  • 1 Glass of Red Wine
  • 1 x 400g Tin of Chopped Tomatoes
  • 400ml Beef Stock
  • Splash of Milk
  • Splash of Worcester Sauce
  • 400g Spaghetti
  • 80g Parmesan Cheese to serve, Grated

Firstly, prepare your vegetables. Finely dice the onion, celery & carrot. Chop the mushrooms and crush the garlic.

Next, heat a large frying pan over a medium heat and  season the beef with salt and pepper. (Before it goes in the pan.)

Add a little olive oil to the pan then fry the mince until browned. Transfer to a bowl and set to one side.

Spaghetti BologneseAdd the onion, celery, carrot & mushrooms to the same pan and fry for a few minutes.

Spaghetti BologneseThen add in the garlic, oregano, tomato puree and red wine. Stir to mix well and simmer for a few minutes to reduce.

Spaghetti Bolognese

Spaghetti BologneseNext, add in the chopped tomatoes, beef stock, milk and worcester sauce. Return the mince to the pan, season generously with salt & pepper and simmer over a low heat for a minimum of 1 hour – a few is better.

Spaghetti Bolognese

Spaghetti BologneseWhen you are ready, cook the pasta in generously salted water according to the packet instructions.

Spaghetti BologneseDrain, toss with a little olive oil and season with salt & pepper.

Spaghetti BologneseServe with a big dollop of bolognese and some grated parmesan.

Spaghetti BologneseAnd there you have it! Time, it would seem, does most of the hard work for you in this recipe. It’s not demanding in any way, in fact other than 10 minutes to get it going and cooking pasta at the end, it’s really not that taxing at all! And as for the taste? It’s gorgeous. The red wine adds a deep rich flavour to it and all that (now hidden) veg is great for you and your family! It’s a really good way to get some of the good stuff into those fussy eaters. (Trust me, I was one for years.)

Now, how do you fancy winning yourself some Sorted Food goodies?

I’ve teamed up with Premier Housewares who, alongside the great guys at Sorted Food, have developed a stylish, good quality range of cookware for the aspiring chef!

With everything from aprons to chopping boards, these guys have got all the basics you need for your kitchen.

Among them is a fabulous set of weighing scales…

Sorted FoodAfter using them, the first thing I noticed were that they react much quicker than other digital scales I have used, allowing you to be speedy AND accurate in your kitchen. Also, I like that it doesn’t come with the stereotypical bowl on top. I never use mine as I always just place the bowl or pan I’m using within a recipe on them, creating less pots for me to wash. This way, it also takes up less of your precious cupboard space too, bonus!

Also, a large lidded pan…

Sorted Food

These pans are great. Ceramic coated, aluminium pans that aren’t too heavy or too light – they’re just right. They can be used on all types of hob and have silicone coated handles giving you a good grip!

And lastly, a ‘pop up’ colander & steamer…

Sorted Food

This really is good! It goes completely flat for easy storage & simply pops up when you need to use it. It is great for draining pasta, potatoes or rice & works perfectly as an easy vegetable steamer by simply placing it into a pan, filling with water up to the base of the steamer and hey presto! Pop the lid on the pan – vegetable steamer.

Want to get your greedy mits on all 3 items? Well here’s your chance! The fabulous folks over at Premier Housewares have given me a set worth over £75 for one of you lucky blighters to win!

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 & Premier Housewares pages on Facebook then share the photo pinned to the top of my timeline

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

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 8th November at 1pm.

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

Good luck lovelies!