Spicy Asian Noodles

These Spicy Asian Noodles are the perfect side dish to accompany any Asian-themed meal. Packed full of flavour with a bit of a kick, these noodles are peppered with toasted sesame seeds for added crunch. Although the ingredient list may seem a bit intimidating, these Spicy Asian Noodles hardly take any time at all to whip up.
You won’t believe how long this blog post has taken me to write. I’ve managed to catch some sort of horrible cold bug and can’t concentrate on anything for more than a few minutes. I can’t even follow basic TV show story lines right now!
I needed something to help clear up my sinuses before they exploded – I’m sure that wouldn’t really have happened, but you never know! I always used to grab a portion of crispy chilli beef from my favourite Chinese shop when I felt like this, but I couldn’t drag myself up and hunt for the take-out menu to find the number, let alone actually get myself to the restaurant.
Instead, I decided to make something that would be easy on my throat and help me breathe a little better. I boiled some noodles and grabbed a load of spices out of the cupboard that I thought would work well together. Fortunately, these flavours worked brilliantly together and I could breathe almost normally for around an hour! This recipe makes two portions of yummy, sinus-clearing noodles.
Ingredients
200g noodles
1tbsp sesame seeds
1tsp sesame oil
1/2tsp cayenne pepper
1tsp ground coriander
1tsp cumin
1/4tsp ground ginger
1/2tsp mixed spice
1/4tsp ground garlic
2tbsp soy sauce
2tbsp honey
2tbsp water
Recipe
1. Boil the noodles according to the instructions on the packet and toast the sesame seeds in a frying pan over a medium heat until golden brown – this should take around 10 minutes. When the seeds are toasted, remove them from the heat and leave to one side.
2. In another pan, heat the sesame oil and add all the spices. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring regularly.
3. Add the water, soy sauce and honey. Mix well and leave to simmer for around 5 minutes.
4. Drain the cooked noodles and add them to the sauce in the frying pan. Stir so that all the noodles are well-coated and leave for 5 minutes.
5. Toss the noodles with the sesame seeds and serve.

Two-Tone Rice Krispie Treats

These Two-Tone Rice Krispie treats are really easy to make and take only a few minutes to prepare. More than your ordinary Krispie treat, these bars are made up of two layers – a crunchy milk chocolate layer and a gooey cream cheese layer.
 
 
I have childhood memories of melting a great big bowl of chocolate in the microwave, pouring a load of Rice Krispies in, mixing it like my life depended on it then digging in straight away before the mix had even been spooned into cases.
That is all my Krispie treats used to be made from – chocolate and Rice Krispies – and I was perfectly happy with it until I couple of years ago… I whipped up some Krispie treats and Ian  –  my official treat taster  –  was horrified to discover that I hadn’t added any golden syrup. That is the ‘done thing’ in his family. I’d never heard of anyone adding syrup in Rice Krispie treats and I’m really not a fan – I much prefer honey – but I thought I’d give it a go anyway.
 
 
It really works! Not only does it add an extra flavour, but the syrup helps stick the cereal together and now I don’t have to witness that incredible look of disgust my poor syrup-less Rice Krispie treats got from my treat tester ever again.
 
This recipe makes around 6 large Rice Krispie treats. 
 
Two-Tone Rice Krispie Treats
Ingredients
For the chocolate layer
40g Rrice Krispies
3tbsp golden syrup
40g chocolate
1tbsp milk
For the cream cheese layer
40g Rice Krispies
3tbsp golden syrup
30g cream cheese
3tbsp icing sugar
 
Recipe
For the chocolate layer
Combine the chocolate, golden syrup and milk and melt in the microwave. Mix well then pour in the Rice Krispies. Stir really well until all the crispies are coated. Spoon the mix into the bottom of a greased tin and place in the freezer to set.
 
For the cream cheese layer
Now for the cream cheese half. Mix together the golden syrup, cream cheese and icing sugar. Pour in the Rice Krispies and mix really well until all the Krispies are coated. Scoop onto the chocolate Krispie layer and place in the fridge until set – at least 2 hours.

Chunky Baked Potato Soup

One of the great things about the cooler months is the number of fantastic soup recipes floating about. This recipe for Disneyland’s Loaded Baked Potato Soup inspired me to come up with a recipe myself. This soup is wonderfully thick and creamy, topped with salty crunchy bacon and gooey cheese.
 
 
It’s really easy to make and uses ingredients that you probably already have at home. Whip this up after a long, tiring day and before you know it you’ll be all snuggled up with a smile on your face! This recipe makes enough for two large portions but you can easily adjust it to feed as many as you like.
 
Chunky Baked Potato Soup
Ingredients
250g bacon
6 medium potatoes, diced
1 grated carrot
2tbsp flour
250ml vegetable stock
250ml milk
1tsp thyme
1tsp garlic powder
1tsp onion powder
Salt and pepper
Grated cheese
 
Recipe
1. Finely chop the bacon and fry until crisp. Remove and drain on paper towels. Set about 1/3 of the bacon aside for topping.
 
2. In the bacon fat, cook the onions and carrots for about 10 minutes over a medium heat. Add the potatoes and cook for another 10 minutes, stirring regularly.
 
3. Add the flour, chicken stock and the bacon. Mix well and season with thyme, garlic powder and onion powder.
 
4. Bring the soup to a simmer and cook for around 30 minutes or until you can easily mash the potatoes. 
Make sure you leave some lumps – this is a chunky soup! Mix in the milk and simmer for 5 minutes before seasoning with salt and pepper.
 
5. Divide into bowls and top with the remaining bacon and grated cheese.


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Deep-Dish Cookie Pie

Most of my recipes are full of the good stuff – eggs, butter, chocolate, sugar and cream – but this recipe really grabbed my attention. A healthy deep-dish cookie pie made with garbanzos and oats? I really like garbanzos anyway, so I was more than happy to attempt this butter, egg and cream-free recipe.
 
I read the reviews by people who had made the pie and had convinced their friends that it was an ordinary fat-filled cookie pie. I decided I would try it out for myself. Ian really hates garbanzos so I thought this was going to be a tough challenge, but I could do it!
I blended everything together out of his view and banged it in the oven. As soon as I opened the door, the kitchen was filled with the smell of baked garbanzos and his taste buds were immediately on alert. After the healthy deep-dish cookie pie had cooled, I tried it for myself and could easily taste the garbanzos.
 
Ian tried it, but from the face he pulled, it was evident he wasn’t going to have another bite. I really enjoyed it, but that’s probably because I really like garbanzos anyway. I recommend this recipe for anyone looking for a healthy alternative to a calorie-packed dessert, but definitely not if you’re going to try and fool anyone into thinking it’s an ordinary deep-dish cookie pie.
 
Deep-Dish Cookie Pie 
Recipe adapted from Chocolate Covered Katie
Ingredients
500g garbanzos
1 cup oats
3tbsp oil
2tsp vanilla extract
1/2tsp baking soda
2tsp baking powder
Pinch salt
1 cup sugar
1 cup chocolate chips
 
Recipe
1. Preheat the oven to 170C and blend all the ingredients – except the chocolate chips – really well together in a food processor.
 
2. Stir in the chocolate chips and pour into a greased 20cm baking dish. Place in the oven and bake for around 40 minutes.

Breakfast Egg Cups

An easy, simple breakfast recipe seems the ideal way to begin a Monday morning. Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day, but we don’t always have all the time in the world to prepare a fancy and indulgent dish. With this recipe, you can have a great-looking and fantastic-tasting breakfast in minutes with minimal effort.
There is a lot of room for personal additions with this recipe. How about adding cheese? Or swapping ham with pre-cooked bacon or sausage? I find a great big dollop of sauce underneath the egg really helps this recipe and makes it a lot less messy if you’re planning on eating it on the go.
 
This recipe makes two breakfast egg cups, but it can easily be adapted to make as many or as few as you like.
 
Breakfast Egg Cups
Ingredients
2 pieces of bread
2 eggs
2 slices of ham
Sauce of choice
Parsley
Salt and pepper
 
Recipe
1. Preheat the oven to 180C and lightly toast 2 pieces of bread in a toaster.
 
2. Using a round cutter slightly larger than your round mould, cut circles out of the toast and place them in the bottom of the moulds.
 
3. Dollop some sauce in the bottom of the toast cup and cover with a piece of ham. Crack an egg on top – be careful not to split the yolk! – and bake in the oven for around 20 minutes, or until the yolk has set.
 
4. Remove from the oven and season with salt, pepper and parsley.