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Made with almond milk and dark Lindt chocolate, spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom, this hot chocolate from Sweet and Savory by Shinee is a indulgent warm drink you will be making again and again this winter as you pull on your favorite pair of patterned socks and reach for that faded patchwork quilt to keep you cozy all night.

SPICED ALMOND HOT CHOCOLATE

Ingredients:

1 cup unsweetened almond milk

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoons ground cardamom

Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

85g semi-sweet chocolate

Pinch of kitchen/ kosher salt

1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

1 tablespoon caster sugar

Method:

  • In a medium pot, simmer milk with spices over medium high heat for about 5 minutes.

  • Stir in the chocolate until it is melted. Remove from heat and add a small pinch of salt.

  • While the milk is simmering, whip the heavy cream with sugar using an electric mixer.

  • Whip cream until hard peaks form and set it aside in the refrigerator until serving time.

  • Pour the hot chocolate into a large mug. Top with dollops of prepared whipped cream.

  • Decorate with slivered almonds or chocolate curls or cinnamon and serve immediately.

Spiced Almond Hot Chocolate

Farfalle or bow ties are among my favorite pasta shapes, not only because they look like dainty little butterflies on a plate, but also because they cling well to rich sauces like this creamy tomato sauce from BBC GoodFood.  A good bowl of al dente pasta soaking up the deliciousness of a simple, warm sauce will rate as the ultimate comfort food on any gloomy, rainy day. This specially holds true when you come back tired [or not] from work and have no energy to cook something fancy or drive yourself to a restaurant where pasta dishes are frightfully overpriced. It will take you all of 15 minutes to conjure this dinner-for-one from scratch although you can easily double, triple or quadruple the recipe to accommodate any family size you ought to feed. I promise that even your picky eaters will forget their temper tantrums and happily tuck in, hence providing more than one harried mother with a much needed break.

FARFALLE WITH CREAMY TOMATO SAUCE

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon butter

1 garlic clove, chopped

1/4 cup tomato puree

1/4 cup pasta water

100g farfalle pasta

75 g roasted chicken

1/4 cup cooking cream

1 small bunch flat leaf parsley

1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

2 tablespoons parmesan

Method:

  • Heat butter in a small saucepan and fry chopped garlic gently until golden. Stir in the tomato puree.

  • Season and simmer for 5 minutes. While the sauce is cooking, boil the pasta in a pan of salted water.

  • Cook until tender for 8-10 minutes. Transfer to a colander and drain, reserving pasta water for later.

  • Add the cream to tomato sauce, then throw in roasted chicken and cooked pasta and mix well to coat.

  • Cook for a few minutes until the sauce bubbles. Add a splash of pasta water to thin sauce, as desired.

  • Sprinkle chopped fresh parsley, ground pepper and dried basil over cooked pasta and stir to combine.

  • Serve it right away with shavings of parmesan cheese. Makes 1 large serving for a very hungry person.

Ultimate Comfort Food

Waking up early on Sunday to make crêpes or pancakes for breakfast is something of a ritual at my place. Crêpes are and still remain in my belief, delicate, lacy creations that one can gracefully flip over on a crepière until they are just golden and ready to be served with a spoonful of pineapple jam. The idea of savoury crêpes struck me as being absurd and I was never tempted to try one till I was pleasantly surprised by a salmon filled crêpe at the Pancake Festival held at Grain d’Sel restaurant years ago. In a feeble attempt to recreate this rich gastronomic experience, I managed a close replication of the flavours as I remember them using a basic crêpe recipe from Nigella and deliciously creamy seafood filling from Kraft Cheddar cheese. Not all crêpes have to be sweet, right?

SEAFOOD CREPES

Ingredients:

For the Crêpes

30g unsalted butter, melted

150g all purpose flour

375 ml full cream milk

1 egg, room temperature

For the Filling

3/4 cup cooking cream

150g Cheddar cheese, grated

2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest

100g smoked salmon, sliced

300g peeled shrimp, cooked

1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

2 tablespoons spring onions

Method:

  • For the crêpes, put the flour, milk and egg into a blender and whiz to amalgamate.

  • Pour the mixture into jug and stir in the melted butter. Heat a seasoned crêpe pan.

  • Ladle 1/4 cup batter into pan, then quickly hold it up and swirl it around carefully.

  • The batter should form a thin pancake covering base of the pan. Cook for 1 minute.

  • Flip crêpe over and cook for another 20-30 seconds on the other side, then remove.

  • Stack the crêpes between layers of baking paper on a hot plate until ready to serve.

  • For the filling, place cream in a small saucepan and heat gently over medium heat.

  • Stir in grated cheese and stir until smooth. Stir in lemon, pepper and spring onions.

  • Gently fold seafood through sauce. Place a spoonful of seafood sauce on each crêpe.

  • Fold in half, then in half again and serve immediately with extra cheese. Serves 5-6.

Seafood Crêpes

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