Nibbles

Cheeseball recipe – Cheeseboard on a budget!

cheeseball recipe

This cheeseball recipe is another one of those recipes that I’ve made on and off over a decade. It’s a recipe I actually got off my Aunty Lois. She’s a great cook and one day I asked her what her best recipe was. She paused and then said ‘my cheeseball’ – naturally I begged for the recipe and lucky she obliged! I can’t help myself, I’ve put my own spin on it over time. It’s become a great ‘go to’ recipe, particularly if we have people call in unexpectedly or at short notice as it’s something you can whip up without too much difficulty for nibbles: I always have cream cheese in the fridge and some salami (that’s a staple in my son’s lunchbox).  Note, in these situations I freeze the ball instead of chilling it in the fridge to speed things up.

Well, we’ve been on a reduced income since I started my new job and subsequently now work part-time, so frankly, pulling out an extravagant cheeseboard groaning with a stinky Kikorangi blue, vintage cheddar, double cream brie, cumin gouda, stuffed baby peppers and a selection of gourmet deli meats is no longer in my budget. That’s a bit of a bugger because a cheeseboard, as odd as this probably sounds for someone who loves cooking, is one of my favourite things to make, as well as eat, noting it’s not particularly conducive to being Weight Watchers friendly at the moment!  Anyway, since we’ve been on a reduced income I’ve totes ditched the cheeseboard and, instead, pulled out this old school favourite cheeseball recipe a few times as a ‘nibbley dish’. It always lands well with the punters and you can serve it up with any cracker, or even a nice loaf of ciabatta, meats, anything goes. I love it on dried apricots tucked into a slice of salami, but I’m a bit random like that.    On that note, there’s a heap of ways you can variate this recipe, be sure to check out the notes at the bottom of the recipe below.

Lastly, as the recipe below makes two balls (snigger… I’m so smutty and immature) I often keep one in the fridge (not rolled in nuts) and then stuff it into chicken breasts a few days later. I wrap the breasts in streaky bacon, pan fry them till they are golden on both sides, then bake them until the chicken is cooked. This is next level stuffed chicken breast – I promise.

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Best Ever Chunky Guacamole Recipe

guacamole recipeI’ve been hit up by a couple of friends over the summer holidays pointing out that my chunky guacamole recipe isn’t on my blog. Opps!  Best I fix that!  It seriously is the best ever guacamole I’ve ever tried. Yes, I know that’s a big claim!

This guacamole recipe is reasonably well known across several groups of my friends:  I’ve been making guacamole in my Napier circle of friends since sixth or seventh form (I’m old skool – I still think of school years in ‘form years’!).  As for my Rotorua buddies, they first had this in Ohope three or four years ago.  It made such an impact I dished out the recipe and the name got a rebrand: They call it ‘Holy Moly Ohope Guacamole’, LOL. It’s slightly more sexy than plain old ‘Guacamole’, I guess.  Anyway,  lots of my friends tell me they now make guacamole using this recipe which chuffs me to bits. However, it turns out I’ve been a bit lax by  not sharing the recipe on my blog. Suffice to say I’ve kicked myself up the bum!  So, here you go, embrace the rest of the avocado season here in the Southern Hemisphere! (more…)

Lemon, Honey and Garlic Chicken Wings

Lemon, honey, garlic chicken wings recipeAsk Hot Hubby what his favourite meal is to come out of my kitchen… It’s quite likely he’ll tell you it’s Lemon, Honey and Garlic Chicken Wings. I can’t take any credit whatsover for this recipe, this comes from Cathie Hamilton, of Cathie’s Cuisine.  I nabbed this recipe when I went on Cathie’s Spanish Tapas cooking class 18 months ago (don’t get me started on what else we made or how good they were, we’ll all be here all day).  I mentioned to Cathie how much we love this recipe and Cathie generously said I could put it on my blog to share with all you lot!  Thanks Cathie! This is a fabulous entree/nibble dish when you’ve got visitors and it never fails to impress.  I’m pleased this recipe is now here on the blog, as I can refer my dinner guests to this – everyone asks for the recipe!

By the way, if you are in Hawke’s Bay and looking to WOW your friends or family with your cooking skills, or even just looking to hone your cooking schools or even expand your recipe collection, definitely consider one of Cathie’s Cooking courses. I did the Spanish Tapas class with Mum (on a Mum and Daughter day out) as well as a Thai Cooking course with a group of colleagues. Both courses were so much fun and I’ve successfully recreated all the dishes many times since.  Cathie runs the courses from her own home in Hastings. You spend the afternoon cooking (and giggling) and then at the end of the class you get to sit down and enjoy the meal you’ve lovingly prepared along with a wine.  On that  note, I really must sign up for her Mexican cooking class. Hmmmm.

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Healthy Hummus (with a twist)

low fat hummus recipeThis hummus is heroic in in my eyes as it’s got half the amount of oil contained in usual hummus and no flavour has been sacrificed. Why is low fat important? So, well, time to fess up: My jeans shrunk in the wash over Christmas (yeah right), so I’m engaging some common sense and turning to nutritious snacks that cost next to nothing to make, that are low in fat and contain no sugar.  What to whip up in such situations? I don’t reckon you can beat hummus which has been one of my favourite stand-by snacks since, well, ages. Unfortunately lots of store bought hummus can be quite high in fat. Not this stuff! (more…)

Spinach and Bacon Cobb Loaf Dip

SAMSUNG CSC
OK, strictly speaking this isn’t a Cobb Loaf: I wanted to take a new photo and after looking at three supermarkets: I gave up. I guess this is a ‘loaf dip’. Oh well.

I’ve been making this hot dip for years and it’s always a hit. Some of my friends have been known to invite me around for dinner on the proviso I bring this with me for nibbles! It’s simple to make and it has serious WOW factor (the photo of the finished product here hasn’t really done it justice…). It’s a dish that’s especially popular with the boys.  My boss tried it under duress (it doesn’t look particularly pretty, lets be honest) and he raved and raved about how good it was.  I’ve also made just the filling as a pasta sauce, it’s absolutely delicious folded through penne or bog-standard macaroni (even my fussy kid eats it). (more…)

Dukkah Recipe

Dukkah recipe
I love giving homemade foodie gifts at Christmas and I absolutely love receiving them.  Gift giving doesn’t have to be expensive,  yet, more than ever, society puts an emphasis on giving big extravagant gifts… Just think of all the marketing campaigns you see leading up to Christmas! This makes me sad as I just don’t think this what Christmas should be about.  Giving and receiving something thoughtful, made with love, time and effort – now that’s what makes people feel special… And when you make a foodie gift for a fellow foodie and they come back and ask for the recipe, as happened to me last year with this dukkah recipe, then you know you hit the gift giving jackpot!  Package this dukkah up in a nice jar, tie some ribbon around the lid, maybe make a homemade label – done.

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Max’s Carrot Dahl

imageI got this recipe off my friend Max, who is the most amazing cook. Max got this from NZ’s Healthy Food Guide (I’d hate to be hit up for not acknowledging the real source!). As usual I’ve adapted it a little (I can’t help myself…) and I reckon this is better than hummus. I have it on toast, on flatbreads, in sandwiches, I’ve even been known to serve it to accompany BBQ chicken kebabs. This is also a great dip to whip up if you’ve got friends coming over as it’s an ideal starter/entree. You just serve it up on a platter with bits of of toasted pita, crackers or raw veges. I made this for book club recently and I had several requests for the recipe, always a telltale sign I’m onto a winner! Lastly, this is low in fat, ticks all the boxes for the ‘good stuff’ and bonus – it’s simple and inexpensive to prepare.  What’s not to like? (more…)

Ole! Amazing Layered Mexican Dip

imagePart of this amazing recipe is from my lovely American friend Mel (of Mel’s Mac Daddy Salad fame), it also combines my Gorgeous Guacamole recipe that I’ve been making since I fell in love with Avocados when I was at high school! My Gorgeous Guacamole combined with Mel’s recipe, well, it’s simply the best dip I’ve ever had. I love taking this dip to parties, like I did on the weekend (to a Mexican Party, how appropriate!) along with a big bag of cheese Doritos (because they are the best corn chips ever). It’s a dip with serious Wow Factor and guys, in particular, enjoy this and can’t get enough of it.   Thanks for sharing your recipes Mel. Got anymore? (more…)