Apple Pie

Here is a yummy subtle Apple Pie! Not too sweet, not too hard.

1/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
225g cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes approx 1cm (good from the freezer!)
1/2 teaspoon salt
About 1/3 cup ice-cold water

Apple Filling:
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3 tablespoons plain flour
1/4 cup of cold water
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
8 granny smith apples (peeled, cored, sliced into 5mm slices)

Preheat oven to 170 degrees C.

For the pasty:
Combine flour and baking powder thoroughly in a bowl, add the butter cubes and allow processor to pummel until its a flakey, sandy crumble.

Dissolve 1/2 teaspoon salt into 1/3 cup of ice water then slowly poor into the flour butter mix in the processor. Allow it to beat until it ONLY JUST pulls together into dough. Don't over mix. This should just take a minute max.

Dump onto glad wrap and tighten into ball. Leave in fridge.

Apple filling:
Melt butter in a saucepan, add flour until paste. Add water, both sugars and bring to boil. Lower temperature to a gentle simmer and leave while you sort the pastry and apples.

Remove pastry from fridge and cut into thirds. Roll 2/3s out by dropping onto lunch wrap, over laying another sheet of lunch wrap. Squash with rolling pin a couple of times until its a bit flat before rolling out into a thin sheet, about 3mm. Lay into a greased 9 inch pie dish.

Place sliced apples into pastry-lined pie dish, so its piled up. Use remainder of dough to lattice the top of the pie (criss-cross with strips of pastry).

Pour the hot sugar butter slowly over the lattice work so that it butters the pastry and sinks between the gaps into the apple.

Bake for 55 minutes at 170 at the bottom of a fan bake oven, Be careful not to scorch the top (put tin foil over it if its looking a little tanned).

Serve with vanilla bean whipped cream (Split and deseed a vanilla pod into a bowl, add 2 heaped tablespoons of icing sugar, add 300ml heavy cream, whip.)

Blair's Brussels Sprouts

This is a pretty popular dish around town at the moment, with most of the Glowbal Group restaurants offering some variant of it, and the Flying Pig (one of the founders of which is a Glowbal alumni) doing their own version. Glowbal deepfries their dish which makes it awesome, but not so healthy. FP seems to bake theirs, which is almost as good and better for you. Personally I'm too lazy for either so mine are faster, which is good because I'm hungry now. Also, there's butter involved. Lots and lots of delicious butter. 

Even if you never liked these little guys, you should still try this recipe. You Emirates folks can just delegate to one of the maids and then have a beer.

To do the trick you need:

  • Brussels sprouts (yes, the extra 's' is technically correct). These are delicious, so buy roughly one million of them. Alternatively, if you are not feeding the entire army, about a half dozen per person will do
  • Butter (lots of it)
  • Brown sugar (a little bit)
  • Apple cider vinegar (a splash)
  • Red chilli flakes (a pinch)
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • A lemon
  • Capers
  • Parmesan cheese
Exact amounts aren't critical - just man up and do things to taste.

1. Prep sprouts. Trim the stems and remove any dead leaves. Then make a cross-shaped cut about 10mm into each stem, and finish by slicing it in half. If healthy leaves fall off, keep 'em.

2. Parboil (or 'leach') - a few minutes will do. Include the stray leaves. Not too much, if they go mushy then fun times are over and we'll have to order in a pizza. While this is happening, let's get a pan rolling on medium or so with a generous knob of butter - a couple of tablespoons at least - and a bit of brown sugar. We don't want the butter to burn, but if it simmers for a few minutes it'll start to go brown as the sugar caramelizes. Brown butter makes stuff delicious.

3. Add sprouts. Drain and into the pan. Toss them all around to coat them in butter. Season with a big pinch of rock salt and some pepper, squeeze in some lemon juice and add a couple tablespoons of capers - the more the merrier. A splash of apple cider vinegar is good, and some chilli flakes if you like a little bite. Shuffle everything around occasionally but not too much - we want the sprouts to brown up real nice. They'll be in there a while - 10 or 15 minutes at least. Add more butter if they seem thirsty. When they're all nice and browned, they're done.

4. Serve. This is for sharing so just throw it all in a big dish and distribute forks. Grate a metric ass-load of fresh parmesan cheese all over, and maybe a little more lemon juice. Cracked black pepper finishes it off.

Bonus: Balsamic reduction - this extra step is unnecessary but awesome. Heat equal parts balsamic vinegar and orange juice in a pan until it reduces to a syrup - add a pinch of brown sugar if it's too tart - and drizzle all over. Fab!

Remember: I stole this recipe fair and square, so if you make it you need to pay me royalties. I take Big Macs as payment.

White Chocolate Macadamia Brownie

  • 200gm fine-quality or premium white chocolate, chopped
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup macadamia nuts, toasted lightly and chopped coarse
  • 100gm white chocolate chunks for mixing through

  • Preheat oven to 175°. and butter and flour a 9-inch square baking pan, knocking out excess flour.

    In a double boiler or metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water melt white chocolate and butter, stirring, until smooth and remove top of double boiler or bowl from heat. Cool chocolate mixture to room temperature.

    In a large bowl with an electric mixer beat eggs, sugar, and vanilla until thickened and pale and beat in white chocolate mixture. Into a bowl sift together flour, baking powder, and salt and beat into chocolate mixture just until batter is combined well. Stir in nuts and chocolate chunks and spread batter evenly in pan.

    Bake brownies in middle of oven 30 to 35 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. Cool brownies completely in pan on a rack before cutting into 16 squares. Brownies keep, layered between sheets of wax paper in an airtight container at cool room temperature, 5 days.

    Chicken Laksa

    (serves 2, so I would double as a minimum)

    2 tablespoons peanut oil
    2 spring onions, white and green parts sliced and separated
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    1 teaspoon turmeric
    2 teaspoons red curry paste
    2½ cups chicken or vegetable stock
    1½ cups low fat coconut milk
    1 teaspoon brown sugar
    ½ teaspoon sea salt
    2 tablespoons fish sauce
    10 button mushrooms, wiped clean and quartered
    2 chicken breasts
    100 g dried Laksa noodles
    1 tablespoon lemon juice
    2 tablespoons coriander leaves

    1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat.
    2. Add the white part of the spring onions and saute for 1 minute. Add garlic, turmeric,
    curry paste and cook for 1 minute, stirring.
    3. Add stock, coconut milk, sugar, salt and fish sauce and bring to the boil. Reduce heat, add chicken and simmer for 5 minutes, uncovered.
    4. While the soup is simmering, soak the noodles in boiling water for 10 minutes.
    5. Add the mushrooms to the soup, return to boil and cook for 2 minutes.
    6. Stir in the lemon juice.
    7. Drain the noodles under cold water, place in the bottom of the soup bowls, sprinkle with
    green spring onions and fresh coriander leaves and ladle the laksa soup on top.

    Cream Cheese Blueberry Pound Cake

     225gm butter, softened
    1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
    2 cups fresh blueberries
    3 cups sugar
    6 large eggs
    1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract
    3 cups plain flour
    1/8 teaspoon salt
    • Preheat over to 150 degrees.
    • Beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer for 2 minutes or until creamy.  Gradually add sugar, beating 5 to 7 minutes.  Add eggs one at a time, beating until yellow disappears.  Add vanilla and mix well.
    • Dredge blueberries with 1/2 cup of flour (from the original 3 cups) and set aside.
    • Combine remaining flour and salt and gradually add to butter mixture, beating at low speed just until blended after each addition.  Gently stir in berries.
    • Pour batter into a greased and floured 10-inch tube pan.
    • Fill a 2-cup, ovenproof measuring cup with water and place in oven with tube pan.
    • Bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.  Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 to 15 minutes and remove from pan.  Cool completely on wire rack

    My Fav Thai Steamed Fish

    One fillet of fish (any really, trout, salmon, cod, etc.)
    One clove of garlic
    One red chilli
    A good sq. cm. of fresh ginger
    One lime
    Pak Choi

    Place the fillet on a square of tinfoil. Crush garlic, ginger, chilli over fillet. Zest lime and squeeze over the top. Halve 2-3 pack choi and place on top of fillet, pour 2tbsp soy over the top. Steam for 15 minutes.

    Smoked Chicken Pesto Pasta - Nailed

    Chicken pesto pasta is a classic, first made for Si and I by G - who used to whip up and serve an amazing casserole dish of this delicious pasta for parties in Abu Dhabi. I believe over the past little while, the whole KC household in AD are on the bandwagon and Dad has started making his own pesto for the dish. I had a play today and officially nailed my 'personal best' chicken pesto pasta. It sound a bit complex but its really not...

    I smoked my own chicken while I was doing the dishes (no dishwasher!), literally took 20 minutes. 3 of work, 17 of doing dishes.

    The Smoked Chicken

    Make a wee bowl out of tinfoil, double layers is best, just the right size to fit into the bottom of a pot. Inside the bowl add
    • 50gm brown sugar 
    • 25gm loose leaf jasmine tea 
    • 75gm jasmine rice (uncooked) and mix. 
    Place the bowl in the bottom of an empty put and put over medium heat until the tea starts to smoke. Turn the heat right down, place a rack over the tin-bowl (our microwave oven rack fits perfectly into our pot, luckily - you might need to improvise to make this work), place two raw chicken breasts on the rack and cover with the lid. Leave for 15 minutes. Remove and allow to cool.

    The Pesto

    'Pesto' is a derivation of the italian word for 'pounded'. Seriously, like all herbs, pesto gets its amazing flavour when you POUND the herb, not cut it. So unless you are going to mortar and pestle this - you're going to bastardise the recipe as much as the dudes to put it in a jar the supie. Don't blend, process or anything with a blade as you won't get the amazing 'bruised' fragrance and flavour.
    • a handful of finely grated parmesan cheese 
    • about 30gm pine nuts 
    • 2 small cloves of garlic 
    • as many basil leaves as you can fit into the mortar (a few cups) 
    • A big drizzle of olive oil 
    • A pinch of course salt 
    Take to it with a pestle until it becomes a broken down paste - you know how it should look. I like to throw in more and more basil leaves as I go to bulk it up. It should go quite creamy too with the olive oil and nuts. When I made it today, the whole house smelled of basil - devine! It keeps in the fridge for up to 2 weeks but be aware that the garlic taste will get stronger with time.

    The Pasta dough recipe is here but today we just used bought fresh pappardelle from the supermarket - couldn't be bothered!

    The Dish

    You need:
    • 1 large onion, chopped 
    • 2 red chillies, chopped 
    • Cup - (+1/2) white wine (chardonnay is good) 
    • 10-15 mushrooms 
    • 1 knorrs chicken stock pot 
    • 2 tablespoons sour cream 
    • Pasta 
    • Toasted pinenuts
    • Pesto (about 4 tablespoons) 
    • Smoked chicken (thinly sliced) 
    • Fresh rocket
    Fry the onion, chilli and mushrooms in a pan until the onion is caramelised. Add the glass of wine and chicken stock put with 1/2 cup water and allow to simmer until reduced by 50% (or mushrooms are cooked).

    Leave to cool as you bring a pot of salty water to the boil.

    Once cooled down a little, the stock, veg and juice should be rather thick. Add the pesto and sour cream. Stir and then lay the chicken slices into the pan, turning the mixture (not stirring so as to hold the chicken in nice slices) warm up slowly. Add your pasta to the boiling water. When the chicken and sauce reaches a simmer, turn off heat.

    Once the pasta is done, pour off most of the water, leaving a few tablespoons in the bottom. Cut in 1/2 tablespoon of butter and then add to the chicken and sauce. Gently flip to mix and finely grate a little more parmesan over the dish. Add the pinenuts and throw in several large handfuls of rocket and gently flip again encouraging the rocket to wilt a little before serving.

    Enjoy :)

    Thai Green Curry Paste (Bangkok Khao Cooking School 08/2011)

    Grind the following ingredients into a mortar and pestle, one at a time in the listed order:

    1 pinch of salt
    2 tbsp chopped bell green chillis
    7-10 more chopped green chillis (only 4 if using birds eye)
    1 tsp galangal, sliced (galangal, root of the ginger family, can get in asian stores and sometimes at the supermarket)
    3/4 tbsp lemongrass, sliced
    1 pinch kaffir lime zest
    1 coriander root (the root from the plant - you can use three stems instead)
    1 tbsp garlic
    1 tbsp shallot, sliced
    1 tsp coriander seed, toasted
    1 pinch cumin, toasted
    (if using lamb or beef, add 1 tsp toasted white pepper seeds)

    Grind until you get a smooth paste, it takes about 15 minutes.
    then grind in:

    1 tsp good shrimp paste

    To cook the curry, pour 1 cup of coconut cream into a wok and wait until the coconut oil starts to separate from the cream. Once this happens, add the curry paste and fry until the fragrance is very strong. Add 120gm chicken and fry until cooked. Add 1tbsp fish sauce and another 5-6 cups (sml.) of coconut milk and a pinch of palm sugar. Cool until hot. Add 1-2 kaffir lime leaves, 1-2 basil leaves and garnish with sliced red chilli.

    Sarah and Simons Silky Pasta Dough Recipe

    Using 3 cups of plain flour and 1 teaspoon of salt, make a wee mountain on the bench. Make a well and add four eggs and two tablespoons of olive oil. Gradually mix using your fingers, taking a tiny bit of flour from the walls without letting the liquid escape. Once combined, work the dough hard-nuts until it becomes a very silky dough that holds its form. Wrap the dough in gladwrap and leave to sit for at least 1/2 an hour to allow the gluton to relax.

    Cut the ball in half and rewrap one half to prevent the dough from drying. Flour the bench and form the ball into a flat rectangle and run through the pasta maker on the widest setting. Keep processing the dough until you reach the smallest width, then fold the length in half as many times as you can before repeating the processing cycle. This helps to work the dough and keep it silky.

    Dry the dough for as long as you like.

    Beautiful Cookie Recipe


    2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
    3/4 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    225gm butter, softened
    1/2 cup sugar
    1/2 firmly packed brown sugar
    1 large egg
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    2 tablespoons orange zest (for me that was the zest of 2 oranges)
    2 cups white chocolate chips

    Preheat oven to 190 degrees.

    In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

    In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and creamy. Beat in egg and vanilla until smooth. Gradually add flour mixture until combined. Stir in orange zest and white chocolate chips.

    Drop rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Do not flatten cookies; it will make them dry. Bake 8 - 9 minutes or until golden brown around edges. Do not overcook! Cookies will be plump. Cool for several minutes on cookie sheets before transferring to rack to cool completely. Store in airtight container.

    These are awesome, but even just the base is beautiful, if you dont like orange, just make them chocolate - the texture is awesome! x

    2011's BEST cooking tip EVER

    Buy a meat thermometer that can stay in the meat while it cooks in the oven. You can get roast meats at the PERFECT point of moisture and temperature meaning you NEVER get tough or overcooked meat. Its easier than checking for juices as while the roast rests the internal temperature continues to rise for about 20 minutes. Its the best £12 ever spent.

    Fluffy Pancakes (hotcakes!)

      • 1 cup SR flour
      • 3 tablespoons sugar (white is best)
      • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
      • 1/2 teaspoon salt
      • 3/4 cup milk
      • 2 tablespoons malt vinegar
      • 1 egg
      • 2 tablespoons butter, melted

      Stir the milk and vinegar together, and leave for 5 minutes while it curdles (this is like buttermilk, but a bit tastier!)
      In another bowl, mix the dry ingredients together. Set aside.
      Add the melted butter and egg to the milk mix, stir, then mix in the dry ingredients - whisking until the lumps are gone. 

      Fry in a pancake sized frying pan in a knob of butter using about 1/3 cup per pancake. When the top of the PC starts to bubble and pop, flip until both sides are golden.

      Serve with a bucket of maple syrup and bacon. NOMMMMM!!!!!

    Nae's Mama's Pie Recipe

    1 kilo of sirloin steak cut into pieces
    500 grams minced beef
    1 x finely sliced carrots
    2 x very finely diced red onion
    500 grams button mushrooms
    3x heaped tablespoons tomato paste
    1 tsp curry powder
    grated nutmeg
    beef stock
    red wine
    1 x tablespoon mustard
    tub of sour cream

    Put at least 6 large agrias on to boil.

    Fry the steak with a little olive oil and garlic ( not much)  until brown and tender.Put aside. Fry beef mince  until browned. Into the pan with all the brown from frying the meat , add your 1 cup of beef stock and stir to get all the flavour out.  Place the meats , stock, mustard,diced mushrooms,  etc etc all except the sour cream into a large saucepan. Simmer for an hour. Add your 1x cup of red wine mixed with a little rice or corn flour to thicken.. Simmer and taste for salt etc.. add more condiments to taste. Stir in the sour cream....keep back a cup for the potatoe topping.

    Potato Topping
    Mash potatoes with salt, pepper, a cup of sour cream and parmesan cheese. Mash until soft and fluffy ( if you need to add a little milk thats ok,  but this whole pie is not a runny pie. The meat mixture should not be too gravyish....quite thick.

    Line a large pie dish with flaky pastry. Pour in mixture. Top with the potatoes,  black pepper, parsley and xtra parmesan. Place  on your top layer of flaky pastry. Cook for aprox 1 hour on a relatively hot oven....

    Can put in peas and or spinach  but I like it mainly being a beef sour cream pie myself..  Serve with broccoli , steamed carrots with lemon butter, crusty rolls. A green salad is aceptable too as this is not a runny pie.

    I have done this pie with chicken too Darling and it works well just swapping the stock to a chicken one , and red wine to white. Adding a little bacon and some  steamed spinach to sit under the layer of potatoes is really yum. This is my basic pie recipe I always use when baking a pie. Interchanging a few ingredients to suit. Hate runny pies.

    Bal's No-Butter Chicken

    Delish, SUPER EASY and QUICK and lower in fat :)

    • Slosh of olive oil
    • red onion, chopped
    • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh garlic
    • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
    • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
    • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
    • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
    • 1 tablespoon garam masala
    • 1 teaspoon red chile flakes
    • 1 teaspoon turmeric
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 pound chicken breasts, boneless and skinless, cut into cubes
    • 1/4 cup low-fat yogurt
    • 1/2 cup water

    Put a large pan over medium-high heat and add the oil. When it starts to get hot, add the onion, garlic and ginger and cook for 4 minutes or until the onion is soft and golden. Add tomato paste, brown sugar, cumin seeds, garam masala, red chile flakes, tumeric and salt and cook for 2 minutes. Add chicken and stir well to coat. Add the yogurt and water and cook, stirring until the chicken is done, about 8 minutes. Serve with rice or roti.

    Drunken Mushrooms on Toast

    This is a weird one. I made it with a friend at 2am one night because its all we had in the fridge, dear lord it was awesome. Takes about ten minutes. Also awesome for breakfast :)

    15 mushrooms - the darker the better
    2+ TBSP half fat creme fraise
    1 TBSP paprika

    Chop the mushies into quarters (depending on the size) and throw into a pan with a little bit of olive oil. Slowly cook until the mushrooms start to get juicy but not QUITE cooked through (boo to soggy mushies). Add the paprika, a touch of salt and pepper and and continue to fry slowly, there should be tonnes of mushroom stock with a orangy colour from the paprika - if not add a dash of water and cover. When the mushies are al dente, add the creme fraise and warm through. You should have a thick, creamy sauce loaded with mushrooms. Pop onto vogels toast and blast with fresh flat-leaf parsley, salt and pepper.