Monday, March 30, 2015

Tomato & Spinach Tortellini Soup

I was only 19 when I met my husband and started dating him, so I had only been on a handful of proper dates with other people up until then. So maybe I just don't know what's the norm, but I always thought I'd see swags of other young people out for dinner beside us, wining and dining. Do young people not do dinner dates in the 2000's? Where do they go, and what do they do? We always seemed like the youngest ones eating out in a restaurant, surrounded by couples aged 30+. Was dining out uncool? Maybe I'm just old fashioned, but I think it's an amazing way and opportunity to get to know people better, and to me that's what dating is partially about. Those talks over dinner were priceless! I wouldn't have traded them for drinks with my boyfriend in a noisy bar. You know, the ones with such loud music that you have to yell, and then just end up giving up and dousing down another drink, with the hope to soothe your sore throat?
Okay, I realise I'm beginning to sound old now.
Moving on! What's your favourite cuisine? I have two in particular,  French and Italian, closely followed by Indian. Take me out for Italian, and I'll probably be hanging around you for life.
If you're looking for great spots to go out for dinner in Brisbane, try out the Ceylon Inn for Indian, Boucher for French and Mario Sarti for Italian. They're three of our favourite places to dine out. And they never disappoint.
Neither will this Italian recipe I'm about to share with you, inspired and adapted from a blog called Diethood. Now you know I don't believe in diets, and this soup is filled with delicious carbs (oh yeah!) It's also vegetarian, so it is perfect for those who are looking for meatless meals, which are great for Lent and Fridays. Or if you don't indulge in meat. If you'd like a meat addition, you can add any sort of tortellini, and many have a meat filling. I used spinach and ricotta filled agnelotti and it was just divine! The recipe feeds many mouths too, and is great with a dollop of sour cream and some nice, crispy garlic bread on the side.


2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1 red onion, finely chopped
2 tsp crushed garlic
2 cans diced tomato with added herbs (basil, garlic and oregano)
4 cups passata/tomato sauce (pasta sauce)
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 package tortellini (frozen or fresh is fine)
1 cup fresh baby spinach, finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Place the oil and butter in a saucepan, and heat until the butter has melted. Ad the chopped onion and cook for two minutes or until somewhat softened. Add the garlic for a further two minutes. Add the diced tomatoes and tomato sauce and bring to the boil on a medium-high heat.
Add the stock and return to the boil. Then add the tortellini and spinach. Cook until heated through. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with optional dollop of sour cream and crusty garlic bread.

Serves 6-8

Monday, March 16, 2015

Chocolate Rum Hearts

Lovers-it's that time of the year again. I've crawled out from my hiding place to bring you a very quick, easy and yummy recipe that is perfect for Valentine's Day, especially if you don't buy gifts but just do something thoughtful for your significant other. The only problem is life caught up with me and I wasn't able to post it on time, but never the less, it's a good recipe for just surprising your lover, regardless what day it is. Who needs a particular day to express their love anyway?
Just in case you've been wondering what rock I've crawled out from under, I am pregnant! That's one big boulder on the front of me. I haven't been up to doing much cooking or baking, and would rather be laying down and catching as many zzz's as I can muster with three toddlers under my care. Just kidding- toddlers 1, mummy 0.
But that's okay, because over the weekend, hubby and I and the kids are heading off on holidays to the Sunshine Coast. I cannot wait to get my grubby mits on that little beach house and really relax! Anyway, these heart shaped rum bites are delicious and you don't need to use an oven. If you're in one of those hot climates like I am, you will not want to pass this up. It's too hot to have that thing on.
If you're curious as to what you'll be creating, I can tell you what will be passing your beloved's lips-dense, chocolatey hearts with a nice dash of rum, rolled in red coconut. You will need a silicone heart mold. I suspect mine is supposed to be used for ice making but it's always been more handy for other non liquid creations like this...yum!

 CHOCOLATE RUM HEARTS (A Lick the Spoon Original)

350g biscuits (I used a bunch of different ones like Marie bisuits, plain sweet ones)
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup (300g) sweetened condensed milk
2-3 tbsp. rum
1/4 cup dessicated coconut
1 tbsp red food colouring

Crush the biscuits into fine crumbs in a food processor. Pour into a medium sized bowl.
Add the cocoa, sweetened condensed milk and rum. Mix until well combined.
In a zip lock bag, place the coconut and the food colouring. Mix around until the coconut begins to change colour. Sprinkle a little of this mixture into the bottom of each heart shaped silicone old.
Press the chocolate biscuit mixture into the silicone heart molds and firmly press the tops smooth. Refrigerate for 15-30 minutes, then pop them out. Refrigerate in a airtight container until ready to serve.