Cyprus

I’ve been super busy going through the hundreds of snaps from our holiday, and I finally put together a post capturing all our favourite pictures! We visited the stunningly beautiful island of Cyprus for 2 weeks dedicated to relaxation, sightseeing and lots of delicious food. In this article my passion for travel, photography and food combines, so I really hope you enjoy reading and getting a taste for the Cyprus we love.

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Cyprus is a family favourite holiday destination and before this last visit, we’d visited Cyprus twice before staying on different parts of the island. This year we stayed on the western side of the island in the Paphos district. As with all the holidays we go on we love to get away from the tourist trails and appreciate the hidden gems. Our villa was located in beautiful Argaka – a small village with stunning shorelines, beachside restaurants and local bakeries. The area where we were staying was within a short car journey from the lovely town of Polis, where we would drive most nights to get an ice cream to cool down in the evening heat – it’s actually a common thing for most Cypriots to head out for an evening ice cream or cake after dinner. I’ll pretty much take any excuse to eat ice cream or cake!

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We had many picturesque views from our villa

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Aphrodite’s Rock – also known as “Petra tou Romiou”. According to Greek mythology and local legends, this is the exact spot where Aphrodite – the Greek ggoddess of love and beauty rose from the waves and sea. The area is beautiful, with glistening water and stunning rocky views. 

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Views of the Arkamas from the beach shoreline in Argaka 

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Harbour views from Agio Georgios – how blue is that sea!

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cyprus viewpoint pano

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I remembered from our last visit to Cyprus at Agio Georgios there were food and pottery stalls located just outside by the church. And as you can imagine, being a food blogger and loving collecting new bowls, plates and props it was great fun to look around and buy my favourite pieces from the stall. I love the hand painted pottery, it has a homely touch, looks very special and will make a beautiful addition to my kitchen.

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Greek cherries – bursting full of sweetness! Cherries are one of my favourite summer fruits. I simply couldn’t get enough of them all holiday! 

Cypriots absolutely adore their fresh fruit. In the supermarkets there is so many different, healthy fresh fruits to chose from. Watermelon is a particular favourite of ours, the funny thing is as we were driving through some of the towns they have trucks crammed full of watermelons and it’s not uncommon to see the odd melon or two fall off and crack open when it hits the road!

A number of years ago when we visited Zakynthos we dined at an amazing family run restaurant, Gallini’s. It was a family run business and the owners and staff were extremely welcoming and we became good friends. I remember every meal ended with a large platter of watermelon to refresh our palate after an evening of authentic Greek food. I didn’t realise until this visit to Cyprus that a traditional Cypriot summer snack is watermelon and halloumi cheese – sounds like a great combo, with the mix of sweetness and the salty cheese. Halloumi is a Cypriot speciality food and the best way to serve it is fried and then drizzled with fresh lemon and tzatziki!

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We enjoyed many local specialities everyday and I even had the chance to try some new foods like katimeri (a Cypriot pancake/crepe) and tasted some old favourites like the local village bread – in Greece and Cyrpus they serve this style bread before a meal. As appealing as the local restaurants are serving delicious food, they tend to be very expensive, and every year we self cater and stay at our own villa so most nights we became quite creative with the food we cooked. I made quite a few savoury recipes from the W.J.B.N kitchen including this spaghetti with courgettesGreek-style orzo pasta salad and this linguine gamberi with the fresh local seafood.

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This dish is one of mum actually created. Sypros (the lovely villa owner) had many trees around the property with all homegrown and organic produce (avocado and mango trees!) – I wish I could grow mangoes and avocados at home. He came round one day with homegrown tomatoes (pictured) and apples, he had previously promised to bring round some avocados, but I don’t think they were ripened enough. I’d already planned my mornings brekkie of avocado toast with chilli and lemon! However, both the apples and tomatoes were deliciously sweet and I love the fact they were homegrown too because organic produce always tastes better. The tomatoes were amazing stuffed with veggies and orzo for dinner – that is a very Greek dish!

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Mandarins are grown all over the island – you see them everywhere! At first we thought these were limes! 

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Greek salad – the perfect summer lunch served with pita bread. We ate Greek salad every day. 

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Above and below are pictures from our visit to Paphos archaeological park at Kato Pafos

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Paphos Lighthouse 

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Views whilst driving through the Troodos Mountains (Troodos Massif) 

It’s amazing up in the Troodos Mountains. There is not a soul in sight, we drove up through the winding roads on our way to the Kykkos Monastery and on the way stopped off at the Mouffalon Enclosure. It’s free entry and if you’re lucky enough like we were you may get the chance to see the moufflon and their babies.

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Beautiful flowers at Kykkos Monastery (Panagia tou Kykko) 

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Sunset from our villa (picture cred to my sis!) – we watched the sunset every single night before heading out for our evening ice cream in Polis or Paphos

It wouldn’t be a summer holiday without ice cream and fro-yo! We enjoyed or fair share whilst away in Cyprus!

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A scoop of each cookies ‘n cream and stracchiatella – my favourite flavours! (my dad’s great at photobombing – he did that in most my photos this year!) 

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The sorbets are amazing – my favourites were strawberry and lemon! 

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Mum modelling some gorgeous cherry frozen yogurt! Greek frozen yogurt is a must try! 


If you’re looking to find out more about Cyprus or about the places we visited, then be sure to visit the official website – argaka.org and find out more about Cyprus here on the official tourism website visitcyrpus.com 

We hope you have enjoyed reading and looking at the pics! I want to also say a big thank you for all the birthday wishes! I had a brilliant birthday! X 

jess

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Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes

Light + fluffy vanilla cupcakes topped with a lush vanilla buttercream and sprinkles! The perfect bake for any occasion and a great recipe for anyone new to baking!

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Hey everyone! I’m back from my summer holiday – that’s the reason why I haven’t blogged in SO long! We had a fabulous time, the last 2 weeks for me have been filled with lots of ice cream (maybe 3 a day!), sun, sea and sightseeing! Lots of you asked me on my last blog post to share pictures from the trip, so I’ve been super busy putting together an article all about my holiday to Cyprus coming to the blog next week. So stayed tuned! :D

I also had a few amazing things happen regarding the blog whilst away on holiday – a few have to remain secret the moment, but it was exciting to see this recipe won the Jam J-Art challenge and me some brilliant baking prizes and one of my ice cream recipes was lucky enough to be featured on BuzzFeed – massive thank you to the lovely Cate who blogs at chezcateylou.com for choosing my recipe in the roundup! I want to take this time to say another thank you for all the continued support of my blog it really means the world to me.

So back to today’s recipe. This blog post required a bake perfect for even more celebrating. It’s my birthday this weekend and I couldn’t be any more excited!

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It’s about time to share my favourite and fail-proof vanilla cupcake recipe on the blog! And when I say perfect I mean these are the BEST vanilla cupcakes I have ever made!

I baked some delicious vanilla cupcakes to ready celebrate my birthday later this weekend! I turn 19 years old (yes, I really am only 19 years old!!) this Sunday and it wouldn’t be a celebration without cake or sprinkles involved, right?! Vanilla cupcakes have always been one of my favourite bakes and this is a recipe adapted from childhood and it’s one I have been making with my mum since I first stepped into the kitchen.

These are seriously fluffy and with a beautiful vanilla flavour. They’re not sickly sweet and have just the right balance of flavour, sweetness and deliciousness. If you’re a regular reader, then you will know how popular the simple and easy recipes are on this blog! I love my no-bake recipes or no-churn ice creams and now quick + easy cupcake recipes too!

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When you’re baking cakes or cupcakes you need to remember some important points for a successful bake. Below I’ve put together my top tips!

Top 5 Tips for the amazing Vanilla Cupcakes! 

1. Always cream the butter and sugar for at least 5 minutes. You want the mixture to be really pale and airy with no big lumps of hard butter. I usually leave the butter out at room temperature overnight to soften – but I am also guilty of softening it in the microwave too!

2. Always bake with room temperature eggs. I experienced many baking fails before finally perfecting these cupcakes. Room temperature eggs will give your cupcakes a finer crumb and they will bake more evenly and quickly. To warm your eggs before baking, place the eggs in a bowl or glass of warm tap water for 5-10 minutes. This is a life-saving baking tip and it’ll save you a lot of frustration!

3. Remember to sift your flour – to avoid lumps of flour in your cupcake batter.

4. Always fold your dry ingredients into the batter. I love to use a rubber spatula to fold in the flour into this cupcake batter, this will stop you knocking any air out of the batter. 

5. Test the doneness with a cake tester, this is the most precise way to check the cupcakes are completely cooked through. When the cake tester is inserted into the centre of the cupcake it should come out with no uncooked batter. This way you can guarantee they’re cooked fully!

(Makes 12 Cupcakes)

Ingredients –

Vanilla Cupcake –

150g (1/2 cup + 2 tbsp) unsalted butter, softened

150g (3/4 cup) caster sugar or superfine sugar

3 large free range eggs, at room temperature

1 tsp vanilla extract

150g (1 + 1/4 cup) self-raising flour, sifted – be careful not to overmeasure  – you can sub with 150g plain flour + 2 tsp baking powder

2-3 tbsp water or milk – water makes a lighter cake 

Vanilla Buttercream –

150g (1/2 cup + 2 tbsp) unsalted butter, softened

300g (3 cups) icing sugar, sifted

2 tsp vanilla extract or seeds from 1 vanilla pod

2-3 tbsp double cream or milk – cream will give a creamer textured buttercream

Method –

1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C Fan / 200 °C / 400 °F / Gas Mark 6. Line a cupcake tin with 12 cupcake liners and set aside.

2. To make the cupcakes: In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment cream the butter, sugar and vanilla together until light in colour and very fluffy – this will take 5 minutes. Make sure you stop the mixer halfway through creaming and using a rubber spatula scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure even mixing.

3. Add eggs, one by one and mix to combine. Now fold in the flour – mix until just combined and no lumps of flour remain. Now add the milk or water to loosen to the mixture slightly. Do not over mix!

4. Take an ice cream scoop and evenly distribute the cupcake batter between the cupcake liners. Bake in the preheated oven for 18-20 minutes or until a cake tester comes out completely clean of any uncooked batter. Leave to cool in the tin for 5-10 minutes, then when cool enough to touch remove from the tin and transport to a wire rack to finish cooling completely.

5. To make the buttercream: Once the cupcakes are fully cooled make the buttercream. Add the softened butter to a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Cream on a medium speed for about a minute just to soften. Add the sifted icing sugar and the vanilla extract and mix together on a low speed (this is to avoid a sugar cloud!) until the butter and sugar has combined. Now turn up the speed to medium and cream for another 5 minutes – remember to stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl. Once the buttercream is fluffy add the double cream and mix on low speed for another minute to combine.

6. To decorate: Fit a large disposable piping bag with your favourite nozzle – I love the large star tip for cupcakes. Fill the piping bag with the frosting. Pipe even swirls on the top of each cupcake, then finish with sprinkles! Enjoy!

Jess’ Notes: 

  • Baking time will depend on your oven. This recipe recommends 18-20 minutes, but  different ovens may cause the baking time to differ slightly.
  • This cupcake recipe can easily be doubled or tripled to make more.
  • For the frosting I like to add a few tablespoons of double (heavy) cream. The cream makes the frosting lighter and it will have a creamier texture. If preferred, you can substitute with milk, but please note that frosting will not have a such a creamy texture.
  • The frosted cupcakes will keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
  • With the frosting you can add a few drops of your favourite food colouring. Add a touch of red for a pink colour or blue!

perfect vanilla cupcakes

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Enjoy the cupcakes!

jess

Easy Homemade Lemonade

Easy Homemade Lemonade. 3-ingredients and unbelievably simple + quick to make. It’s refreshing, tangy and the perfect quench-thirsting drink to sip on, on a warm summers day! This recipe will take your just 5 minutes to make!

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As you read this blog post, I’m currently relaxing in the beautiful Mediterranean in sunny paradise. It’s a much needed break, after a long year of studies and working on my blog. It’s nice to have 2 weeks dedicated to total relaxation. When I’m back I have lots more recipes lined up for the blog and I’ll definitely be sharing pictures from our trip!

So back to today’s recipe. For me, nothing compares to chilled sweet lemonade on a boiling hot day. It’s one of my favourite summer drinks and I knew this year I needed to share a back-to-basics recipe on how to make your own homemade lemonade. You will have this fab and easy recipe on hand ready for those hot summer days. Luckily, the English summer has been fantastic so far with soaring temperatures and long sunny days and evenings so I’ve had the chance to enjoy this delicious lemonade many times!

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My recipe couldn’t be any easier to make! I mean it’s not really even a recipe, because it’s so incredibly easy and quick to prepare! You won’t believe that all you have to do is stir together just 3-ingredients, chill and it’s ready to drink! I think we can all agree this is the BEST lemonade recipe ever.

My family absolutely loved this – I served it as part of a little afternoon tea party to celebrate my grandmas birthday! Me and my sis, in particular are big fans of Sicilian style lemonade and this lemonade tastes exactly like it! I even made it twice on the same day because it tasted so damn delicious. I think this would taste amazing even with a little dash of vodka added – obviously for adults only!

Most lemonade recipes on the web are way too complicated and require standing over hot stove and making sugar syrup. When it’s a gazillion degrees outside, I don’t know about you but the last place I want to be is in a hot kitchen stirring something over the stove. So this is when my Easy Homemade Lemonade comes in handy!

It’s really important to stir the lemonade well before chilling, you really need to dissolve all the sugar otherwise it will have a gritty texture. Because all you have to do is stir, this lemonade would be a fab recipe to make with kids + they will have great fun making it too!

Plus, it’s such a good feeling when you have make homemade lemonade – it’s 100% fresh and free from all those added flavourings, additives and colourings. This lemonade is still, but if preferred you can swap the cold water for sparkling water – I personally have always preferred still lemonade over the fizzy kind. Plus, making a drink recipe for the blog gave me the perfect opportunity to use these beautiful floral straws sent to me by my lovely friend Jemma at Iced Jems! Of which I have another recipe coming very soon using some of the beautiful cupcake cases from Jemma’s shop!

Ingredients – (Makes 2 Litres)

4 lemons, juiced

1 litre cold water – you can use sparkling water, if preferred

100g (1/2 cup) caster or superfine sugar

Garnish –

Lemon wedges

Ice cubes

Raspberries, strawberries – these flavour the lemonade

Mint leaves

Method –

  • In a large pitcher (2 litres) combine the lemon juice, water and sugar. Simply stir until all the sugar has dissolved. Chill the lemonade in the refrigerator. When ready to serve, pour into a glass and garnish with ice cubes and lemon wedges.

Recipe inspiration from here.

 

My new favourite summer drink – we love this lemonade. It’s fresh, sweet and great fun to make too!

jess

 

Oreo Ice Cream Pie

 Oreo Ice Cream Pie makes a decadent and refreshing treat! It’s super easy and a brilliant make-it-ahead dessert + you don’t even need an ice cream machine to make it! 

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TGIF! It’s finally Friday! The weekend is just around the corner and I’m heading off on summer holidays in just a few days! I’m super excited to share with you all my latest creation! The Oreo Ice Cream Pie.

I’ve had lots of readers tell me how much they’ve enjoyed the ice cream recipes I’ve been sharing and particularly my no-churn Oreo ice cream. So as you guys liked that recipe so much, I thought I would take that ice cream recipe and transform it to a new level of deliciousness!

Buttery Oreo cookie crust, topped with no-churn Oreo ice cream and then frozen. What could bet better then an ice cream pie loaded with Oreos? I’m sitting here writing this blog post whilst devouring a slice of this frozen delight. Trust this, I’m in total Oreo heaven. I polished off a good two slices as soon as it left the freezer – but who can blame me when you make something that tastes this good!

Me and my sister Becky made this pie ready for a family members birthday earlier in the week. I wanted to make something different to the usual cake. Birthday cake is ok, but for me it gets a tad bit boring and predictable and I wanted the bake to have the wow factor. So I remembered this seriously good no-churn Oreo cookies ‘n cream ice cream I made a few months ago – it’s was creamy, decadent and exploding with cookies ‘n cream in each bite! A definite favourite and I knew it was the perfect base for something even more special!

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 It really is so simple to make, start by mixing together crushed Oreos with melted butter and press into a cheesecake tin. For the filling I just followed my own recipe for Oreo ice cream using the magic no-churn method. 4 ingredients, a little bit of whisking and folding and you’re there! Spread over the base and freeze. The next day, decorate with even more Oreo goodness, whipped cream and then slice up and enjoy!

If you read the blog regularly, then you’ll will have seen how much I LOVE Oreos?! One of my most popular recipes is this divine No-Bake Oreo Cookies ‘n Cream Chocolate Tart. If you’re an Oreo lover then you’ve gotta make that recipe soon too!

This ice cream pie is not only the perfect dessert for a birthday party but it is amazing to make and serve up when it’s too warm to turn on the oven – as I experienced this past week. We’re currently going through a heatwave here in England and it’s been way too hot for my liking! Wednesday was the hottest day in July ever on record, so this pie was great to cool down with. Also, a note to myself, do not photograph frozen bakes in humid 35 degree heat. It’s not a good idea, but the bonus is you get the devour yet another slice of ice cream pie!

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Ingredients – 

Oreo Crust – 

18-20 Oreos or other chocolate cookies

75g (5tbsp) butter, melted

Oreo Ice Cream – 

500ml (2 cups) double cream (heavy cream), chilled

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 x 397g (14oz) can sweetened condensed milk

18-20 Oreos, crushed

Decoration –

  • Oreos – I used double stuf
  • Whipped cream
  • Chocolate fudge sauce

Method –

1. To make the crust: Crush the Oreo cookies in a food processor. Add the melted butter and mix through to combine. Scatter the cookie mixture into the tin and press down until firm. Place in the refrigerator whilst you make the filling.

2. To make the ice cream: Whisk the cream and vanilla until soft peaks form. Fold through the condensed milk, followed by the crushed Oreos and mix to combine. Pour the mixture into the tin. Cover the top and leave to freeze for 6-8 hours or overnight. *Overnight is recommended for best results.

3. To decorate: Once the ice cream pie is set, allow it sit outside the freezer for about 10 minutes to soften slightly. Now carefully remove from the tin – if you’re having trouble removing it from the tin it’s helpful to dip a knife into hot water, wipe and then run around the sides to release more easily. Finish by decorating with swirls of whipped cream and Oreos.

What Jessica Baked Next original recipe.

no-churn oreo ice cream pie

Now for a summer break for 2 weeks! I have one more recipe scheduled for sometime next week and then I’ll be back with more treats very soon! Have a great weekend everyone! :D

jess

Snapshots from Laura Ashley AW15 Press Day

I was recently invited along to the Laura Ashley A/W15 Press Day up in London. The event took place at the Music Rooms in Mayfair and I had the chance to look around at Laura Ashley’s brand new home and fashion collections. It was great fun to be invited along with journalists and other bloggers, I brought my sister Becky along with me and we enjoyed some time looking at the lovely bakeware and collections along with biscuits, cupcakes and some tasty mocktails!

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Our day started with an early wakeup call, ready to catch the train down to London. A short hour journey and we arrived in London ready to find the venue. It was lovely to finally meet some members from the Laura Ashley team who I’ve been talking with for some time and to have a warm welcome.

I’ve always been a big fan of Laura Ashley products. The collections are always chic, pretty and perfect for all seasons. So I was ecstatic to be invited along to the event for a first look at the collection.

If you read my blog regularly then you may know that I’ve been working with the Laura Ashley over the last year sharing some of my favourite recipes over on their blog. You may even like to try this delicious Eton Mess Cheesecake I posted over on their site! It’s perfect for summer and is brilliant fun to make and decorate.

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As we walked round we actually got to the chance to step into Christmas! Christmas in June – yes, it got me excited for those cold, cozy winter nights again! I loved how magical and christmassy the collection is this year.

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I love this glittery cocktail set. It would be perfect for the Xmas party season!

Now for the beautiful bakeware! Definitely the highlight of the visit. I really like the adorable bakeware, the floral designs are my favourite and I pretty much love all things vintage. This flour shaker is seriously cute and I really love the rolling pin for making pastry.

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Pretty little cupcake cases and toppers. And how cute are those dress biscuits?! Almost too beautiful to eat!

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I hope you’ve enjoyed the snapshots! You can head over to the Laura Ashley blog and browse their collection!

jess

How to Make Pesto Genovese {Classic Basil Pesto}

A great basil pesto recipe! Learn how to make to this Italian classic in a few simple steps and with just a handful of ingredients.

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Happy Monday guys! Today I’m sharing a really simple recipe that I think you’re all going to love! It’ll take you literally minutes to make and tastes out of this world good! This Homemade Pesto Genovese is the best pesto I have made to date and it couldn’t be any easier or simpler to make!

The “secret” ingredient that makes my pesto taste so good is the roasted garlic. Roasted garlic is such an underrated ingredient, it transforms this pesto and adds a light and sweet flavour. Before I perfected my own pesto recipe, I’d always made pesto with raw garlic. It’s ok, but I find it leaves a bitter taste in your mouth afterwards, whereas the roasted garlic is sweeter and gives a more rounded flavour without leaving a bitter aftertaste. I found these instructions for roasting garlic on thekitchn.com here. It filled my kitchen with most gorgeous garlic aroma and I would highly recommend you give it a try!

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I don’t know about you, but nothing shouts summer more than homemade pesto. I love it served with grilled veggies, it’s good in sandwiches or subs, amazing drizzled over bruschetta (yum!), but definitely my favourite way to serve it is with pasta.

I cooked this delicious pasta dish inspired by one of my favourite food blogs Cooking Classy. All Jaclyn’s recipes look divine and when my sister saw this pesto spaghetti with roasted tomatoes and grilled chicken she said it looked really delicious and it was definitely a hint for me to make something similar with my homemade pesto. So I based this chicken and pesto pasta dish based around the one on Jaclyn’s site for those who have asked for the recipe. When I next make this pesto, I’m definitely going to be trying these tasty pesto & halloumi veggie burgers!

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Roasted tomatoes with a mix of homegrown herbs including oregano, thyme and rosemary and I added a few extra cloves of roasted garlic. The pasta dish was delicious and made a great dinner. I mixed together the pesto I made with some spaghetti, but you can honestly use any pasta shape you like for this dish, and then topped the pasta with pieces of grilled chicken, the roasted cherry tomatoes, toasted pine nuts and fresh basil leaves for garnish. And not to forget, sprinkled with lots (and lots) of freshly grated parmigiano! Effortlessly delicious.

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With just a handful of ingredients, this basil pesto is not only satisying on the taste buds but it’s definitely worth going the extra mile to make it yourself! It’s a lifesaver on busy weeknights when you don’t have the time or energy to cook. You can make it ahead of time, so it’s waiting for you to use in the refrigerator ready for a tasty dinner!

Both the pesto and pasta dish got wonderful reviews from the W.J.B.N taste testers. So you know the recipes are good! Now you have the recipe, you won’t have the excuse to buy store-bought pesto ever again!

Ingredients –

2 handfuls/cups fresh basil leaves, packed – you can sub the basil for spinach leaves, if preferred

3 cloves roasted garlic

45g (1/3 cup) pine nuts, toasted

55g (2 ounces) parmesan, freshly grated

5-6 tbsp extra virgin olive

Good squeeze fresh lemon juice (optional)

Salt and cracked black pepper, to taste

Method –

1. In a food processor pulse together the basil, garlic, pine nuts and parmesan until they are minced.

2. With the processor on slow add the oil (about a tbsp at a time) in a slow stream. Now season to taste with salt and black pepper. Process for another minute until all the ingredients are combined. Finish with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

3. Place the pesto in a jar or bowl and drizzle over a little extra oil to cover the top – this keeps it fresh. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. You can also fill an ice cube tray with the pesto and freeze blocks.

Recipe Notes: 

  • If you can cannot find pine nuts you can easily substitute with walnuts, almonds, cashews or pistachios. For a nut-free version why not try sunflower seeds.
  • Adjust the consistency of your pesto by adding a tablespoon less or more oil.
  • When toasting the pine nuts always toast on a medium heat in a dry pan. Watch them as they burn very easily.
  • Along with the lemon juice, you can also add about a 1 tsp. of the zest.

basil pesto recipe

how to make pesto genovese

Enjoy the recipe guys!

jess

 

Vanilla Almond Granola

Sweet and crunchy with vanilla and almond flavour in each spoonful! Ditch the sugar-laden store bought granola for this delicious and healthy recipe!

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I’m the biggest fan of granola! I’m always making my own and I love coming up with new recipes and flavour combos.The list of my favourite granola flavours literally goes on and on, this PB + chocolate chunk granola still remains one of the best. (+ It tastes exactly like Reese’s, so you know it’s good!!) Granola makes a nutritious and energy-packed breakfast, and it’s brilliant to snack on to get through long days at work!

This creation is inspired by my mum’s recipe here! Easy healthy homemade granola is one of our favourites, but for me this for me this Vanilla Almond Granola is even more tasty! Sweet vanilla and almond combine with a touch of cinnamon spice and maple flavour, bite after bite and the cinnamon-y flavour warms your taste buds!

Whilst the granola was baking the aromas it created in my kitchen were amazing – I knew I was onto a winner! I’m really into my oat-y treats lately – did you catch the recipe for these flapjacks I recently posted?! They too are a brilliant energising snack!

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Whilst baking the flavour from the maple, cinnamon and vanilla gets stronger and even more deliciously aromatic! And before anyone asks, my recipe calls for ONE WHOLE TABLESPOON of vanilla. I love vanilla and this is a massive batch of homemade granola, so it really does make a difference – but if you’re not so keen, you can adjust to your own taste! It’s also optional to add some cinnamon to the granola mix, cinnamon is one of those ingredients that can transform any bake. These banana cupcakes prove that!

You can also customise the granola to your own taste. Add a few tablespoons of chia seeds for extra added goodness or sprinkle in some desiccated coconut. The choices are endless! And moving onto toppings, my favourites are banana and strawberries currently, but you could add anything from chopped dried fruit like apricots or dates or simply enjoy it with just milk or Greek yogurt for a protein-packed brekkie!

I guarantee you will be making this again and again. Granola lovers, get baking!

Ingredients –

300g (3 1/2 cups) jumbo rolled oats (porridge oats)

100g (3/4 cup) slivered or flaked almonds

200g (7 ounces) maple syrup

4 tbsp oil – I used rapeseed

1 tbsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (optional)

Method –

1. Preheat oven to 350°F / 180°C / 160C fan / Gas Mark 4.

2. In a small saucepan melt together the maple syrup, oil and vanilla extract on a medium heat. When the mixture is runny, take off the heat.

3. In a mixing bowl mix together the oats, almonds and cinnamon (if using). Pour the wet mixture over the oats and mix to coat fully. Make sure you cover all the oats.

4. Spread out evenly on 1-2 large baking trays. Bake for 20-25 minutes, stirring the mixture halfway through. Cook until a light golden and toasted.

5. Remove tray from oven once cooked and allow to cool. Once cooled store in an airtight container or jar. Best enjoyed with sliced banana and milk for a great, healthy breakfast!

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Enjoy the recipe guys!

jess