Thursday, November 19, 2015

Christmas Advent Calendar Surprise Ball!

One of my favorite holiday traditions leading up to Christmas has always been the advent calendar! And I am certainly not ashamed to admit that even as a 30 year old woman I still have to pick up one of those traditional chocolate filled ones every year and get super excited every morning to open one of the tiny compartments to see what christmas shaped chocolate I'll be getting...will it be the stocking? The toy train??

In hopes that my nieces and nephews would share the same joy I do from advent calendars I usually get them one as well but this year I'm stepping my game up! Have you ever played that party game where theres a gift wrapped in multiple layers of colorful tissue paper and everyone takes turns unwrapping a layer until finally a winner unwraps the last layer and gets the gift? Well this is sorta like that but on steroids! For this advent calendar there is a prize within every layer that you get to unwrap everyday till Christmas!

As you'll see in the video I am making one for my niece but you can make it for anyone you love. Boyfriends, girlfriends, sisters, brothers, best friends....and it's sure to bring cheer to any age as well.

For the prizes I went super simple/inexpensive and even got a few jokes and games off of the internet which were practically free. Here's a list of prize ideas that are easy to wrap in the layers: gloves, pjs, bracelets, ear rings, stickers, chocolate coins, temporary tattoos, hair ties, head bands, a dollar, socks and undies. The link to the instructional video can be found at the bottom of this post! 

****Now watch the video here!*****









Sunday, October 25, 2015

Easy Peach Pie Roses


About a month ago I came across a clip of a guy making these stunning roses out of apples for an apple tart and was immediately inspired to give it a try. Well, they turned out amazing and I got a lot of attention for the photos I posted of them but I must admit that making them was more time consuming than I prefer.

I'll say it right here, right now...I have cooking A.D.D! If I'm making/baking something and the prep is going on and on, my mind starts to slowly drift and think about other stuff or I get completely distracted and mess with a different task and thats how cooking disasters happen.

Anyway, thats what lead me to trying out an easier version of this recipe which is why I chose peaches over apples because the peaches are soft already and once sliced can be made into roses immediately without any pre-cooking. Wham bam and they're done! I used peaches and nectarines for this recipes just to get two different colors for prettier roses but you can use just peaches if you want.



Ingredients:

Makes 8 roses

2-3 large peaches and/or nectarines

1 package of pre-made puff pastry

3 1/2 Tbsp (50g) unsalted butter

1/2 c. (100g) brown sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp mixed spice


1.) Preheat oven to 200c/390f and line a round cake pan with parchment or cupcake pans with papers. Halve the peaches/nectarines and remove the pits then cut the halves in half. Now make thin slices, about as thin as a coin. Set slices aside.

2.) If it isn't already, roll out the puff pastry and cut out approximately 15" long by 1" wide strips. If necessary roll out the strips individually to stretch them out further. 

3.) For each strip, lay the thinly sliced peaches/nectarines so they overlap slightly (see photo guide below) and gently press them into the dough as you go. Then carefully roll the dough and fruit in a spiral, sealing the dough at the end. Arrange is greased and papered cake tin or cupcake tin.

4.) For the brown butter sauce, heat the butter in a saucepan on medium heat till it starts to turn a light brown color. Turn heat to low and stir in the remaining ingredients till a syrup is created, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and drizzle the town butter sauce evenly over the roses. Pop in the oven for 20 minutes then place a sheet of foil lightly over the roses to prevent them from burning and bake an additional 10 minutes. Serve hot with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. 










Monday, August 10, 2015

3 Super Easy Fail Proof Dips for Summer BBQ's

Sexy Domestic is back from hiatus and ready to rumble! Thanks everyone for your patience while I got my new health and fitness blog up and running. If you get a chance go check it out www.thrivery.co.uk.

Now, being in the full swing of summer and having my inbox overflowing with invites to summer BBQs and parties I thought I'd share the recipes for my 3 most popular party dips. Whenever I bring along any of these moorish delights I am suddenly bombarded with requests for the recipe so here they are!

I know it's not always mandotory but if you've ever been to a friends shin dig and its gotten to that point where everyone is desperately scratching at the bottom of a chip bowl for crumbs and the host either has to make a food run or dish out cash to order pizzas, it's just nice to help avoid that. After all, it's better to have too much food than not enough. This goes for booze too but I particularly love bringing homemade goods. 

In my experience, a good dip is always the best way to go. Dips are a great for sharing/serving, easy to make and they make socializing whilst eating a cinch. These 3 dip recipes are my staples which have been passed down to me from my mother. Trust me, these are crowd pleaser guaranteed.

7 Layer Mexican Dip


Serves 12-14

3 16oz. (435g) cans fat free refried beans
6 ripe avocados, mashed
1/2 onion, chopped
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp hot sauce
Juice of 2 limes 
Salt and pepper
16oz (454g) sour cream
1 pack taco seasoning 
8 oz. (250g) shredded cheddar cheese or 4 cheese mix
1 1/2 c. (300g) fresh tomatoes, chopped
1 16oz (435g) can pitted black olives, sliced
6 green onions, sliced

Doritos or plain tortilla chips for serving

First, spread the beans into a thick layer in the bottom of a large platter. For the guac, mix the mashed avocado with the onion, garlic powder, hot sauce, limes and salt&pepper then spread the mix evenly over the beans. Next, mix the sour cream with the taco seasoning and gently spread that over the guac. Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the sour cream mix and top with tomatoes, olives and green onions. Let sit for at least 30 minutes before serving.




French Onion Dip From Scratch

Serves 20-25

2 tbsp olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
1 red onion, diced
5 shallots, minced
3 cloves of garlic
16 oz. (450g) container of sour cream
1 cup (226g) light Mayo 
2 Tbsp chives + 1 tbsp for garnish, chopped 
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp seasoning salt
Fresh cracked pepper

Plain ruffled potato chips for serving

Heat olive oil in a large skillet and sauté the onions and shallots till soft them add the garlic and sauté everything together till the garlic is toasted and the onion are slightly browned. Remove from skillet and let cool. Meanwhile, mix the remaining ingredients in a large bowl till well combined. Now stir in the sautéed onion mix and let sit in the refrigerator for at least an hour. Stir then top with chives before serving.






Creamy spinach dip

Serves 15-20

2x 10oz. (566g) Packs of frozen spinach, thawed and drained thoroughly
3/4 cup (190g) light mayo
2x 16oz (900g) containers of sour cream
1 packet of Hidden Valley ranch mix
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 4 oz can water chestnuts, chopped
1 red bell pepper, minced

Cubed French bread, pumpernickel or Rits crackers for serving

Make sure all the water has been drained from the spinach by pressing down hard on the thawed spinach though a strainer then use your fingers to break it up into loose pieces. In a large bowl mix the Mayo, sour cream and ranch mix then fold in the spinach. Next, stir in the green onions, water chestnuts and bell pepper. Let sit in the fridge for 2 hours before serving. 

















Sunday, April 12, 2015

Herby Chicken Scotch Eggs

One of the first items of food I ever had at a real British pub was a fabulous Scotch egg. The Scotch egg is fantastic for so many reasons. Crunchy on the outside, the amazing sausage and egg combo on the inside and best of all they make for a perfectly filling and compact snack. 

I decided to experiment with a healthier version using chicken instead of sausage and to my surprise they turned out spectacularly well on the first try! You can make this recipe using sausage meat if you really want but the chicken version is pretty amazing. Even my friends' kiddies were loving them!
Makes 7 Scotch eggs

Ingredients:

6 skinless boneless chicken thighs
A handful of fresh herbs (I used rosemary, parsley and sage)
1 Tbsp dijon or grainy mustard
1 tsp seasoning salt + fresh cracked pepper
7 eggs, soft boiled (6 minutes) and peeled
1 cup flour
1 beaten egg mixed with 2 Tbsp water (the egg wash)
1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
3 1/2 cups (810ml) sunflower or vegetable oil

Equipment: 

Food processor 
Slotted or perforated metal spoon
Small pot
Food thermometer 
Large plate with paper towels to absorb grease

1.) In a food processor, blend the chicken, herbs, mustard and seasoning salt and pepper all together then transfer contents to a bowl.

2.) Roll an egg in the flour then using your hands flatten a small handful of the chicken mixture and coat the egg with it. Keep adding small bits of the chicken mixture to coat the egg till it is completely covered evenly then roll in flour. The chicken coated egg will feel much firmer and easy to handle now. Next, dip into the egg wash then directly into the Panko crumbs till well coated and set on a plate. Repeat this till all the eggs are coated and ready to be fried. (See all steps in photos below)
^ what the egg should look like as you add small bits of the chicken mixture.^

3.) Pour all the oil into the small pot and turn on high heat. Bring the oil's temperature to 325f/160c then use the slotted spoon to gently place 2 scotch eggs in the hot oil one at a time. Fry for 6 minutes occasionally rolling the eggs around with the spoon for even frying. Also, keep checking that the temperature stays in the 325f/160c region the whole time, turning the flame down or off if it gets too hot. You don't want a burnt egg!

4.) Remove each egg and let sit on the paper toweled plate. When ready to serve, cut each egg in half. *these eggs can be kept refrigerated for up to 3 days before serving. Enjoy! 


PJJ xx

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Psychedelic Tie Dye Zebra Cake!

A couple of weeks ago my sister Whitney and I watched a video on YouTube about how to make a chocolate and vanilla zebra cake that blew our minds. That's when Whitney got the idea to do the same with different colored vanilla cake mix and we went strait to the shops to get all the ingredients. Now, I must warn you that we cheated a bit because the actual technique of making this cake requires a lot of time and concentration so we didn't make any of the cake or frosting from scratch. To make things easier we went with the boxed Betty Crocker vanilla cake mix and tub of vanilla frosting. 

We happened to have leftovers of the rainbow chip frosting that I made which is basically white chocolate that I melted, dyed and made into tiny multicolored chips (photo of that process below) and stirred into Betty Crocker vanilla frosting. If you have the time and patience, I would strongly recommend this yumminess! 

Anyway, this crazy psychedelic cake was so much fun to make with my sister and even more exciting to cut into and see the SPECTACULAR results! If you decide to give it a try I would love to see your results too. This cake would be great for children's birthdays or even a groovy hippie themed adult party. Actually, I'm sure you'll love it so much for any party. It's pretty special.

Ingredients:

2 boxes of Betty Crocker classic vanilla cake mix
5 different food colorings in vibrant colors 
1 tub Betty Crocker vanilla frosting or any flavor you wish (more if you like a lot of frosting on your cake)

Equipment: 

6 medium glass cups or bowls
2 ice cream scoopers, mine were on the small side but large ones will work too
2x 9 inch round cake pans
Non-stick parchment paper
 
Preheat oven as instructed on cake mix box.
Mix both boxes of cake mix as their instructions say and divide all the batter into the 6 glass cups or bowls. Leave one glass cup of batter uncolored and stir a couple drops of food coloring into each of the other cups making 5 different colors of batter. 
Now, grease the bottom and sides of each cake pan and use a pencil to trace and then cut out a circle of parchment paper to fit into the bottom of each pan. 

Start with the white batter and scoop one ice cream scoop full of batter directly into the center of each pan. It helps to have one person on each cake to speed things along. Now scoop one of the colored batters directly into the middle of the pan. You'll see that the batter naturally spreads out with each scoop. See photos below. Do not shake or tap the pan, just let it naturally spread! Keep repeating with a different color each time until all the batter is gone and evenly distributed between both cake pans. You can make sure they're even by counting the rings on each cake. 

Place the cakes in the oven side by side on the middle rack and bake as instructed on box. Remove cakes once a toothpick poked into the center comes out clean. Let cool then slice off the tops to make each cake even for stacking. Sandwich a layer of frosting between the two cakes then spread the remaining frosting evenly over the rest of the cake. Refrigerate till ready to serve and enjoy!


PJJ and Whitney J xx