Easy quinoa and chicken satay recipe

Stuck for dinner ideas tonight?

This recipe is super quick taking only taking 20 minutes to make and it is really really tasty, great for evenings after a long day at work when you just want to relax with a nice glass of wine and some yummy comforting food.

This recipe is really healthy and combines my new food obsession ‘quinoa’ (which although tastes and looks like a lovely stodgy carb but is actually completely carb free and made entirely of protein)and peanut butter which ever since watching Meet Joe Black as a teenager I have secretly/guiltily eaten out of the pot with a spoon in a effort to be that much cooler like the lovely Brad Pitt…

This recipe is a great healthy alternative to comfort food that will satisfy your taste buds as it’s so delicious!

Serves 2

Prep: 5m

Cooking: 15m

Total: 20m

Easy

Ingredients

  • 120 g – 2/3 cup of quinoa
  • 2 chicken breasts – diced in to bite size pieces
  • 2 big handfuls of spinach (or more if you love spinach like me)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds to garnish (optional)

For the sauce:

  • 125ml – ½ cup of water
  • 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons of smooth peanut butter

Method

  1. Start by rinsing the quinoa and cooking it in a pan of boiling water for about 15 min.
  2. Whilst the quinoa is cooking fry the diced chicken for about 10 min adding salt and pepper to taste
  3. Once the chicken is cooked add in the soy sauce, water and peanut butter (the peanut butter will thicken the sauce nicely).
  4. Drain off any excess water off the quinoa and add to the chicken and sauce, at this point you can remove the pan from the heat.
  5. Add in the spinach and let it wilt by slowly stirring it into the sauce.
  6. Serve in a bowl and top with sesame seeds.

I hope you ENJOY 🙂

Hugo Hugs

Abi ❤

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5 minutes 5 ingredients: Chocolate Mousse 

As you lovely people have probably gained from my previous posts I am definitely a fan of quick desserts.

I love making food and being in the kitchen but I also want to make sure I can be a good host when my guests arrive, this recipe guarantees that I can be front and centre topping up wine glasses and providing nibbles while this little beauty is doing its thing ‘chilling’ in the fridge.

I referred to this dessert in my previous post about marshmallows here because once again the main ingredient here is… Marshmallows 🙂

I have provided both metric and cup measurements. Use what ever you feel more comfortable with. I use cups which is unusual for a Brit – wild I know!

So without further ado, let’s get cooking:

Ingredients:

150grams/ 1 ½ cups mini marshmallows

50 grams/ ½ stick soft butter

250 grams/ 9oz good dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids) chopped into small pieces

60 ml/ ¼ cup hot water (from a recently boiled kettle)

284 ml/ 1 cup double cream

Method: 

1. Put the marshmallows, butter, chocolate and water in a heavy-based saucepan. Gently melt the ingredients together on a low heat stirring every now and again.

2. Once all the ingredients have combined nicely remove from the heat. Meanwhile, whip the cream until thick, and then fold into the cooling chocolate mixture into the cream until you have a smooth, cohesive mixture.

3. Then pour or scrape into 4 glasses or ramekins, and chill for an hour to set.

4. Enjoy 🙂

Let me know what your go to recipe for a quick fix is. I would love to hear ❤

Hugo hugs

Abi xx

Quick, simple homemade chocolates

At the weekend our friends come for dinner and stayed the night. We had a wonderful evening of good food, good wine and good company. One thing I always do and I learnt this from my mother in law is ‘always leave a bottle of water and something sweet by the side of the bed when guests come to stay.’

With this in mind I decided to make my own chocolates…

It so simple and rewarding and it doesn’t take long at all. They make a lovely gift if you wrapped them up in a nicely another addition to this years Christmas hamper I think 🙂 

All you need is some good quality chocolate and a silicon ice cube tray and a filling of your choice. I got this lovely heart shaped ice cube tray from ‘tiger’. https://www.tiger-stores.com 

Method:

1. Melt chocolate in the microwave (in a microwaveable safe bowl) for about a minute, and then in 10 second blasts if it hasn’t fully melted, make sure it doesn’t  burn or bubble.

    
2. Next carefully pour a small amount of chocolate into each section of the tray. 
  
3. Then you want to paint the sides of each section, you will need to pop the tray in the fridge after each coat to harden the chocolate. It will take roughly 3 or four coats before it is thick enough that the filling won’t leak when you add it in. 

4. For these chocolates I added salted caramel filling you can find the recipe here: Homemade Salted Caramel Recipe | Love Grace and Cakes

http://lovegraceandcakes.com/2015/06/13/homemade-salted-caramel-recipe/  

   

5. To finish pour chocolate on top to seal. And then pop it back in the fridge for 10 min. One the chocolate has set you can carefully remove each chocolate from the mould and there you go you have your perfectly handmade chocolates. 

For an alternative filling you can make some icing using half a cup of icing sugar and 5 tbs of water and a tsp of flavoured extract such as vanilla, orange, strawberry or peppermint and there you have fondant chocolates.

  
I hope you enjoy 

Hugo hugs 

Abi xx  

White Wine & Strawberry Sangria

I recently got back from a weekend trip in Barcelona (I took my Mummy for her Birthday), it is really such an amazing city – my favorite thing to do when I visit Spain is to Tapas hop and drink wine.  Whilst out there we drank Sangria – it really would have been rude not to!!

However since returning all I have thought about is when I can make my own Sangria. My trouble is that with it being summer, we have more white wine in the wine rack than red, and hubby would kill me if I wasted a good red that should be paired with an nice fillet steak on sangira.

So this got me to thinking about using my white wine and how could I make a white sangria – if it is even aloud to be called that – is this something like Champagne can only be called Champagne if it comes from the Champange region… Can sangria only be called sangria if its red… must reseach this (the smart me would do this now so I can sound clever here but its late and im slightly tipsy 🙂 because of my White Sangria)

So the sun was shining and hubby was out in the garden tending to his Braai (BBQ in Afrikaans, I get told off if I call it anything other than a Braai though, its a South African pride thing), he was sipping on G&T’s and I really fancied somthing a bit different. So I decided to make this…

Ingredients:

1/2 cup Sugar

2/3 cup of halfed strawberies – not tightly packed

1/4 cup water

Bottle of any white wine

Strawberries and Mint to garnish

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Method:

1. Hull and half your strawberries and place them in a pan along with the sugar and water on a low heat and let simmer for about 5 min – you will notice the water starts to turn a nice pinky colour, after about 5 min you can give the strawberries a little squish to make sure all the flavour has seeped into the syrup.

2. while you wait for the syrup to develop pour your white wine into a carafe and hull and half some more strawberries and pop them along with a couple of sprigs of mint.

3. Once the syrup is ready pop it through a strainer to get rid of any bits and then pour the syrup into the wine, give it a bit of a swirl and then pop in the fridge to let it cool

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4. serve in a nice glass, grab a good book, your sunglasses and relax…

n.b. if you want to dilute the alcohol a bit add some soda water or lemonade this makes it a bit less potent, because if your like me, wine goes to my head a lot quicker when I’m lounging in the sun!

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I hope you like this as much as I do

Hugo hugs

Abi xx

Homemade Salted Caramel Recipe

Salted caramel to me is one of the most divine foods I have ever eaten – as soon as I see it on any menu I know I just have to have it, its like little angels kissing my taste buds… I have purposely been nonsensical with my description as there really is no other way to tell you how happy salted caramel makes me!

Now a little secret here for you, and this you might say is quite strange for someone who writes about cakes and sweet things but I am not the biggest fan of sweet foods, I can eat sweet things in small amounts but I am much more of a savory person, however Salted Caramel is one sweet that I will never pass on.

When I was younger my dad used to make homemade salted caramel ice cream which is what stared my love affair. He once made a batch and I crept downstairs in the middle of the night and demolished the entire 2 liter tub. Safe to say he was not impressed that his painstaking heartfelt ice cream had been scoffed by a teenager with no appreciation of the effort he had put in. I can now say I can relate as I would be heartbroken if someone consumed the food I lovingly prepare with no appreciation for the time and love that goes into it. So long story short Daddy, I am very sorry for always eating your salted caramel.

There is nothing better than homemade salted caramel, it is also one of the simplest things to make and you only need four ingredients most of which are probably lying around your home. It also makes a brilliant addition to a Christmas hamper so save this one for Christmas time as it will be here before you know it, only 194 days to go.

My top tip for this recipe is make sure you use good salt as table salt will not give it the ‘oomph’ which makes it so moreish.

Ingredients:

1 cup of granulated sugar

3 tbs water

5 tbs double cream

1 1/2 tsp of Maldon Sea Salt (or any high quality salt flakes)

Method:

  1. Place the sugar in a heavy based pan on a high heat until it starts to simmer and brown around the edges, then turn the heat right down – try not to touch the sugar at all if you can help it however if you need to give it a little helping hand just give the pan a bit of a swirl to help move the sugar around.

2. When your sugar is simmering nicely and a nice golden colour add a splash of water – be careful this can cause it to bubble up quite viciously let this simmer again for a minute or two before moving onto step 3.

3. Then add in the cream and salt and stir well, be careful about using the caramel straight away as it will be extremely hot and sticky and can hurt a lot if it touches your skin :(. Let it cool slightly before transferring it into a sterile jar to store.

    

To clean all the sticky caramel off of all your equipment once your done just submerge them in a bowl of boiling soapy water and the caramel will just melt away.

I hope you liked this quick tutorial. I welcome any and all comments, I look forward to hearing how you got on 🙂

Hugo Hugs

Abi

xx

Throw Back Thursday – Drawing Days

Throwback Thursday. Today I thought I would share with you lovely people some of my artwork from back when I had the time to spend days working on pieces.

I will write a detailed tutorial on how you can achieve photorealistic drawings shortly so stay tuned…

I haven’t had a chance to draw properly since last summer due to my studies, but thankfully due to the summer break this year I can once again sit outside again in my little garden with my pencils and sketch away to my heart’s content 🙂

The pieces below are part of a series of ‘Bedroom Art’ quite literally as they hang in my spare bedroom but also because of the sensual nature of the drawings.
This piece is called the Sound of my Heart

This piece is called Hands Full of Love:

  

Apologies the pictures are a little dark they were take a while ago on a really poor camara!!

Prints are available and if you are interested in an individual commission please email me on lovegraceandcakes@outlook.com

Hugo Hugs

Abi

xx

Mini Ombre Champagne Cake

I love the ombré trend, and although it’s no longer a new concept it really doesn’t show any sign of slowing down so to that effect I decided I wanted to make an ombré cake. Now, I am not the worlds quickest baker, I much prefer to take my time have a glass of wine and listen to my happy music, than to rush. With that in mind and because it’s a school night and I get grumpy if I’m awake past 10, I have decided to make my cakes miniature. The decoration on these cakes are minimal or ‘naked’ as the professionals call it, this is because I wanted to ensure the champagne could be tasted and not wiped out by the sweetness of buttercream I chose to decorate it in a rustic shabby chic style instead. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I enjoyed making it

Hugo hugs

Abi xx

Tools:

Greaseproof paper

Ruler

Scissors

Pen

Tin cans x3

Toothpicks
Ingredients:

7 oz salted butter, softened

7 oz golden or white caster sugar

3 large eggs

7 oz self-raising flour

2 fl Oz Prosecco (or if you prefer to make a plain sponge substitute the champagne for the following: vanilla to taste and 1.5 fl oz milk)

For the buttercream:

2 oz unsalted butter, softened

4 oz icing sugar
Meathod:

  1. Pre-heat your oven to gas mark 4.
  2. Using a clean tin (I used a Hienz baked beans tin) draw around the base of the tin onto your greaseproof paper and cut out the circle, then measure out a rectangle measuring 26cm by 8cm and cut this out too. 
  3. Place the circle greaseproof paper at the bottom of the tin and then encase the long piece around the inside of the tin, make several small cuts along the edge that sticks out the top and fold this over the lip of the tin.  
  4. Do this for all three tins and then you can now set that aside while you prepare the cake mix.
  5. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter, sugar together until creamy. Gradually beat in the eggs a little at a time, beating well after each addition. Sieve in the self-raising flour and stir in with the Champagne.
  6. Take a toothpick sized amount of colouring paste and stir it into the mixture until it’s a nice pale pink and then spoon the mixture into the first tin filling it half way. Repeat this step twice more adding more colouring each time   to darken the mix.    
  7. Place the three tins onto a baking tray and Bake for 35 minutes or until a skewer pushed into the centre of each cake comes out clean.
  8. Cool in the tin for about 15 minutes before turning the cakes out onto a wire rack to cool completely.  
  9. Trim the tops cakes so they are level and then cut each cake into 3 spread each base with buttercream and assemble with the darkest at the bottom.  

These little cuties are perfect as individual desserts or favours 😘

Marshmallows!! 

I use marshmallows for everything! They are my most versatile ingredient, use them to make the best chocolate moose (a wonderful Nigella recipe) or my favourite fondant…

Using marshmallows to make fondant is so easy and cheap I would never use an alternative method! 

It tastes amazing and can be used in exactly the same way as regular fondant. 

Recipe:

4 cups mini marshmallows 

4 cups of icing sugar

2 tbsp water 

1 tsp butter

  • Melt the marshmallows and butter in the microwave in a microwaveable safe bowl (obviously) 
  • Then slowly stir in the icing sugar and water
  • And voila… 

Seriously it’s that easy!! I recommend greasing your hands up with butter as after you have stirred in the icing sugar you will need to knead the icing like bread in order to get the texture right and that can get very sticky.

Always make sure you have extra icing sugar on the counter when you knead so you don’t leave half your fondant behind every time you want to pick it up.

If you want to make different colours just slowly add a toothpick amount of Wilton paste at a time.

So next time your making a cake to bother buying the yucky ready to roll royal icing. Just make this 

Hugo hugs 

Abi

Xx

Perfect Vanilla Sponge Cake:

This recipe is the main recipe I use for my Giant Cupcake but I use it for all my other cakes as well it is also a good amount of batter for a two tiered cake and as it is the the best and most delicious recipe if I have any left over I use it to make some cupcakes for hubby, which he always appriciates.

For the giant cupcake:

14oz salted butter, softened

14oz golden or white caster sugar 

6 large eggs, beaten 

14 oz self-raising flour

Vanilla to taste 

3 fl oz milk
For the buttercream: 

4oz unsalted butter, softened 

8oz icing sugar 

Vanilla to taste 

3 tablespoons seedless raspberry jam for filling

Preparation method

Prep: 45 mins | Cook: 1 hour 15 mins 

1.To make the cake, preheat the oven to 170 degrees C / gas mark 3. Brush the two halves of your giant (2.4 litre) cupcake tin with oil (or cooking spray) and dust with flour. 

2.In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter, sugar together until creamy. Gradually beat in the eggs a little at a time, beating well after each addition. Sieve in the self-raising and plain flours and stir in with the milk. 
3.Spoon the mixture into the tin, filling each half about three-quarters full and hollowing out the centres a little as both cakes will rise quite a lot. Bake for 1 hour 5 minutes – 1 1/2 hours or until a skewer pushed into the centre of each cake comes out clean. 
4.Cool in the tin for about 15 minutes before turning the cakes out onto a wire rack to cool completely. 
5.Trim the tops of the bottom cake level and spread the base with the jam and buttercream. Sandwich the cakes together and spread the top part with the butter cream.

This recipe was given to me by my mamma and is the very same recipe she used to make my wedding cake so I am a little biased 🙂