Cocoa + Milk

MIM COCO + MILK 01

The simple pleasures in life… Chocolate Milk!

Chocolate milk was a rare treat when I was little. Mum only allowed us girls to have it probably a handful of times a year, usually when we had been really, really good & in my case when my school report didn’t mention how ‘Jahde has a lot of potential, if only she would stop talking to everyone & snacking during class as it distracts others!’

In my defence it was school & I didn’t always have the longest attention span! There was always something to talk about & as for the ‘snacking’… well I blame mum. She was a sucker for packaging, always bought the latest packet of muesli bars & all the kiddies wanted to try it.

I think chocolate milk has had a bad reputation – filled with sugar, sugar & more sugar. But how times have changed. Now-days it’s all about that pure chocolate taste without the added sugars & preservatives.

Cocoa powder (raw cacao powder) is high in antioxidants. Honey, maple syrup or agave is Mother Nature’s sweeter. I’m a big fan of almond milk at the moment, adding a rich, nutty creamy texture.

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Cocoa + Milk (MIM style)

What you need
1 cup almond milk
2 heaped tablespoons organic cocoa powder
2 heaped tablespoons greek yoghurt
1/4 cup natural rolled oats
2 tablespoons agave
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 frozen banana

Go for it…
Place all ingredients into a blender. Whiz until smooth, taste test & pour into a serving glass. That’s it.

Sneaky seconds
Great for an afternoon snack.
Serves 2

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Lemon Panna Cotta with Burnt Orange & Chamomile Toffee

MIM Lemon Panna Cotta W Orange & Chamomile Toffee 01

There we were in the middle of Roma, having finished the most amazing dessert of our lives. We had befriended the restaurant owner, Mimo, who made such amazing pasta, I would name my first born after him!
Needless to say Alex & I went to his restaurant night after night & each night Mimo would bring us glasses of his very own homemade limoncello. But one night, he brought out a little panna cotta, placed it in front of Alex & I, & walked away…

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We both looked at each other & without any hesitation got stuck in. It was a panna cotta like no other. Each element had inspiration from the different regions of Italy, but the Sicilian flavour of citrus was beaming through.
The panna cotta was sharp & smooth with lemon – no thanks to the limoncello. The mousse was tangy, fluffly & light, topped with cream, whipped with bitters & little nibs of burnt orange toffee & dried chamomile… It was a dessert i will never forget.

MIM Lemon Panna Cotta W Orange & Chamomile Toffee 03

Lemon Panna Cotta with Burnt Orange & Chamomile Toffee

What you need
lemon panna cotta
2 teaspoons powdered gelatine
2 cups thickened cream
80 grams caster sugar
1 vanilla pod, de-seeded
2 tablespoons limoncello
juice & zest of 2 lemons
1/4 cup milk
lime mousse
2 teaspoons powdered gelatine
4 organic egg yolks
80 grams caster sugar
juice & zest of 4 limes
1/4 cup water
200ml thickened cream, whipped
burnt orange & chamomile toffee
1 cup water
1/4 cup caster sugar
juice from 1 orange
handful of dried chamomile flowers
garnish
100ml thickened cream
2 teaspoons angostura bitters

Go for it…
Place the gelatine in a small ramekin with the milk, allow the gelatine to soften for 15 minutes.
For the panna cotta, heat the cream, de-seeded vanilla pod, zest & juice of the lemons, sugar & bring to a gentle simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes & set to one side to cool. Stir in the gelatine until it is completely melted. Add the limoncello & cool to room temperature.
Pour equal amounts of the mixture into moulds or glasses and pop in the fridge for 2 hours or overnight to set.
For the mousse, place the gelatine in a small ramekin with the water, allow the gelatine to soften for 15 minutes.
Whip your cream to soft peaks.
Place the egg yolks & sugar in a heatproof bowl, over a bain-marie, whisk the yolks continuously until light & fluffy. Add the lime juice & zest while still whisking, bringing the mixture from warm to hot. Remove the bowl from the heat & add in the gelatine, stirring until dissolved. Once the mixture is cooled, strain through a sieve into the whipped cream & fold through. Pop in the fridge for 4 hours or overnight.
To make the toffee, line a baking tray with baking paper. Place the water, orange juice & sugar into a small saucepan. Bring to a gentle simmer, do not swirl the pot. Watch until the colour changes to dark golden. Immediately pour it onto a lined baking tray, sprinkle over half of your dried chamomile flowers & allow it to set completely. After 30 minutes, the toffee will become hard, break into large shards, pop into a food processor & process until you have a fine crumb.
To assemble, whisk your remaining cream with bitters & set to one side. Pipe equal amounts of the lime mousse into each glass on top of the lemon panna cotta, add a dollop of the whipped cream, sprinkle with toffee & dried chamomile.

Sneaky seconds
Serves 6.
Panna cotta & lime mousse can be made the day before.

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Roast Lamb with Potato & Broccoli Mash

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Keep it simple. Roast lamb is not complicated, but it needs to be done right.
This lamb recipe is Mumma MIM’s concoction, developed over her years of experience, proving winter comfort meals can give you a big warm foodie hug. Whenever I make this roast lamb, it makes me all mushy & sentimental & that is how a good dish should make you feel!

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Roast lamb should be soft, juicy & gelatinous. It should not taste boiled or be hard & chewy. Just because you roast something for a long time does not guarantee tenderness. It needs juices & flavour.
Adding red wine & oil will boost the flavour, but by adding some good quality beef stock it will caramelise & become sticky in the bottom of the pot, forming a delicious sauce. But the real secret is placing the carved meat back into the pot to soak up the juices.

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Roast Lamb with Potato & Broccoli Mash (MIM style)

What you need
2.5 kilo organic leg of lamb
1 cup of red wine
1 cup beef stock
good glug of olive oil
8 garlic cloves
sprigs of fresh rosemary & thyme
6 potatoes
1 head of broccoli
100g salted butter
2 cups of full cream milk
sea salt & pepper

Go for it…
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees celsius.
Place your lamb in a large, deep casserole dish. Grab a small sharp knife & make 6 small incisions over the lamb. Peel 3 garlic cloves, thinly slice them & push a slice into each incision. Pour in the wine, beef stock and good glug of oil, add in the remaining garlic cloves – unpeeled – season the top of the lamb with sea salt & pepper & throw in some fresh sprigs of rosemary & thyme. Pop into the oven for 2.5 hours, checking each hour that there is still juice in the bottom of the dish.
While the lamb is roasting away in the oven, it’s time to get started on the housework… or the potato & broccoli mash!
Place a large pot, filled with salted water, onto the boil. Place the potatoes into the pot & cook the potatoes until they are cooked through. Drain & peel the skins off the potatoes & set to one side. In the same pot, re-fill with salted water & place onto the boil. Roughly chop up the broccoli & pop into the water, cook until the broccoli is bright green & still firm. Drain & return back to the pot, adding in the potatoes & blitz everything together with a hand mixer, adding in the milk & butter as you go, until smooth & creamy.
Once the lamb is falling off the bone, remove from the oven & place on a chopping board to rest. Carve up the lamb. Once carved, return the lamb pieces to the juices in the pot & place on the stove top to warm through.
Place the mash onto a serving tray & top with the lamb & serve.

Sneaky seconds
Serves 4.

 

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Dark Chocolate & Hazelnut Cookies

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Ok I’m just going to say it… cookies are the bomb! I’m serious, there is nothing like a simple, homemade, delicious cookie that crunches when you bite into it & it melts in your mouth.

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Im definitely not the baker in the family & the first batch of these cookies I made turned out to the same size of the baking tray! But by the sixth batch, I finally got the sizing portions down pat & made 4 beautifully sized cookies. I was quite chuffed with myself.

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Dark Chocolate & Hazelnut Cookies (MIM style)

What you need
200g good quality dark chocolate, roughly chopped
150g unsalted butter, room temperature
60g caster sugar
60g brown sugar
1 free range egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
100g ground hazelnut meal
100g hazelnuts, roughly chopped
150g plain flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

Go for it…
Preheat your oven to 160 degrees celsius & line a baking tray with baking paper.
Cream the butter & sugars together until soft & smooth. Then beat in the egg & vanilla essence. Once combined add the flour, bicarbonate of soda, ground hazelnuts, chopped chocolate, crushed hazelnuts & stir until everything is combined.
Pop the the dough onto a long sheet of clingfilm & shape into a log, wrapping as you go & then pop in the freezer for 10 minutes.
When ready to bake, take the log out of the freezer & with a thick, sharp knife, cut 3cm slices & lay on the lined baking sheet – spread out.
Bake for 10 minutes, until golden on the edges, but soft in the middle.
Remove the tray from the oven & leave the cookies on the tray to cool down.

Sneaky seconds
Makes 16 cookies and serves 2 greedy people during the week.

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Greek Beans on Toast

MIM Beans on Toast 01

Being Russian, Italian & Greek, there is a certain expectation to always eat meat. If there is no meat on the menu for lunch or dinner, well then it’s not a proper meal!
For the last couple of months since Easter, meat has not been on the menu. I have been craving nothing but fresh fruit, veggies and legumes.

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Tomatoes have been particularly delicious at the moment. Their aroma is full bodied & I could not go past the gorgeous varieties of Heirloom tomatoes at the markets. There are so many kinds to choose from, the large ones are just plump & juicy & then you have the little cherry ones, which are too cute.
Greek beans on toast is a staple in any Greek household & perfect for any vegetarian & super-duper easy to make.

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Greek Beans on Toast (MIM style)

What you need
1 loaf of sourdough bread, sliced & toasted
1 garlic clove, grated
1 brown onion, finely diced
glug of extra virgin olive oil
200g Heirloom tomato puree (about 4 large Heirloom tomatoes)
handful Heirloom cherry tomatoes
200g butter beans, soaked, skinned & cooked
handful of finely chopped mint & parsley
handful of greek feta cheese
sea salt & pepper (to taste)

Go for it..
Place the tomatoes in a large bowl & cover with boiling water, leave for 10 minutes. Drain & allow to cool slightly, remove the skins, roughly chop and blitz with a bar mix until smooth.
Heat a pan over a medium heat, add a little glug of oil, add the garlic, onion & fry until soft & fragrant. Season with sea salt & pepper. Stir in the tomato puree & whole cherry tomatoes, then add the beans & bring to a gentle simmer for 20 minutes, until the sauce thickens. Toast the slices of bread & finely chop some mint & parsley.
Once the beans are cooked, spoon the bean mixture on top of a sliced toasted piece of bread & sprinkle on some herbs, crumbled feta & drizzle with some oil. Serve while warm.

Sneaky seconds
Serves 2 – best eaten fresh.

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Roasted Rhubarb with Yoghurt

MIM RHUBARB 01

I think we all know that no matter what we plan, plot & dream about what we want from our life, it never quite pans out the way we envision it. But is that such a bad thing?
Just because something doesn’t go our way, it is not always negative. Over the last couple of months, things have been crazy, exciting, sad, hard & joyful for MIM – Sweet & Sour.

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And like MIM’s life of late, rhubarb can be both sweet and sour. The first time I tasted rhubarb I didn’t quite understand it. It was stringy & mushy and I didn’t take to it. I then tasted it lightly roasted, still holding its shape, and it was soft & delicious in flavour.
The roasted rhubarb goes so well with the sweetness of the honey and tartness of the yoghurt. This simple dish is a great way to start the day.

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Roasted Rhubarb with Yoghurt (MIM style)

What you need
4 stalks of fresh rhubarb, cut in 5cm lengths
1/2 cup caster sugar
juice and zest of 1 orange
1 heaped tablespoon rosewater
2 cups natural greek yoghurt
1/4 cup crushed hazelnuts
1/4 cup greek halva
drizzle of honey

Go for it…
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees celsius. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
Combine your cut rhubarb, sugar, orange juice & rosewater in a mixing bowl, stir to combine everything together & place the marinated rhubarb on the lined baking tray in a single layer. Roast for 15 minutes.
Once the rhubarb is cooked, it should still retain its shape & soft to touch. Allow to cool.
To serve, grab a glass & place a layer of the roasted rhubarb in the bottom, spoon a layer of yoghurt & repeat. Sprinkle with halva, hazelnuts and a drizzle of honey.

Sneaky seconds
Serves 2

 

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Twice Baked Cheesy Sweet Potatoes

MIM TWICE BAKED SWEET POTATO 01

Sweet potatoes are sweet, creamy & full of flavour. What I love most about them is that they provide that winter comfort I crave when the nights begin to become crisp & nothing beats a good home cooked meal.

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Wacking the sweet potatoes in the oven for 40 minutes is easy enough, but before I serve them I add a little sprinkle of grated pecorino cheese, panko breadcrumbs & marjoram and pop them under the grill until they all become delicious & crispy, just to bulk these sweet potatoes up with extra comfort.

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Twice Baked Cheesy Sweet Potatoes (MIM style)

What you need
3 similar sized sweet potatoes (orange & purple variety)
sprigs of fresh marjoram
glug of extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup freshly grated pecorino cheese
1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
sea salt & pepper (to taste)
Go for it…
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees celsius, line a baking tray with baking paper. Remove any dirt from the potatoes & place them on the baking tray, drizzle a little oil on top.
Roast in the oven for 40 minutes or until cooked through. In a mixing bowl, combine the grated cheese, breadcrumbs, sea salt, pepper & marjoram, stir to combine.
When ready to serve, sprinkle the tops of the sweet potatoes with the cheese-breadcrumb mixture. Pop under the grill for 5 minutes, until golden brown. Serve warm.
Sneaky seconds
Great as a side for dinner & lunch the next day.
Serves 4

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Mini Rabbit Pies

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Rabbit is one of those meats that most of us only eat at restaurants. It’s not something we cook at home, but in the spirit of Easter & white fluffy bunnies hip-hopping around in the sun kissed grass, I thought it would be a good idea to cook with rabbit…

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Rabbit is a game meat & to my surprise, not expensive. It’s strong in taste, but when you slow cook it for 2 hours in the oven, the meat is juicy, soft & melts in your mouth.

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Pies are something we all love & when you’re heading on a picnic or popping over for a family BBQ, you want something that is easy to transport & can be eaten warm or cold. Pies are known for their British heritage, but they are also Russian… probably any freeze-your-ass-off country for that matter. But these Mini Rabbit Pies will give you a little taste of Russia.
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Mini Rabbit Pies (MIM style)

What you need
1 rabbit, jointed
5 sheets frozen shortcrust pastry, thawed
1 white onion, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1 fennel blub, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 large potatoes, peeled & diced
½ cup green peas
1 cup organic vegetable stock
1 cup cider
good glug of extra virgin olive oil
½ cup sour cream
handful of fresh thyme & dill
good knob of butter
1 tablespoon plain flour
1 organic, free range egg, lightly beaten
6 dutch carrots
sea salt & pepper (to taste) 

Go for it…
Preheat your oven to 160 degrees celsius & grease a muffin tin with butter. Leave your pastry out on the bench to thaw.
Add a good glug of oil in a deep casserole dish & heat over a high heat. Add the jointed rabbit & sear on all sides until golden brown. Add the butter, onion, celery, fennel, potatoes, thyme, dill, garlic, stock & cider. Cover with a lid & braise in the oven for 2 hours, until the meat is soft & falling off the bone. Check every 40 minutes that there is still liquid in the pot, add a splash of water if running low.
For the pastry, cut six rounds to size (size will vary on the size of your tin) to line six holes of your muffin tin. Prick the pastry & cover each pie base with baking paper, fill with uncooked rice, bake for 10 minutes. Then remove the paper & rice, bake for a further 5-8 minutes or until golden, set aside to cool slightly.
Once the rabbit meat is falling off the bone, remove the rabbit from the liquid, place onto a chopping board & chop/shred the meat, discarding the bones & place the meat into a bowl.
Using a fine strainer, strain the braising stock into a saucepan. Over a low heat, reduce the liquid by half, adding in the flour & whisk to combine. Allow the liquid to cool, pour on top of the rabbit meat, add the sour cream & peas (they will cook in the oven), mix to combine & season with sea salt & pepper.
Distribute your rabbit mixture among the blind baked pastry cases.
Cut another 6 rounds from the pastry (leaving a 1cm boarder) for the lids of your pies. Pop on top of the filling, brush the edges with eggwash & press to seal the edges. Cut a 1cm small hole in the centre of each pastry (for the dutch carrots to sit in), brush with egg wash & bake for 15 minutes, until golden brown.
While the pies are finishing off in the oven, grab a pan, heat a little knob of butter, add in the dutch carrots & glaze for about 5 minutes, until cooked. Once the pies are done, place a carrot on top of each pie, season with sea salt & pepper.

Sneaky seconds
These pies are great eaten warm or cold.
Serves 6

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