Thursday, 20 October 2016

Trying recipes I found on Pinterest | 2. Easy peasy Pumpkin Pie

Last week you will have seen the first post in my new series (Stuffed Pumpkin Peppers), trying recipes I find on Pinterest. After last week's spooky success, we're back today with another recipe!

Anyone who knows me will know that around this time of year I'm all about Pumpkins. It doesn't matter if it is decorative or edible, I have a certain yearning for anything pumpkin. I'm not sure why, maybe it is since I've become a blogger, I just feel the need to have pumpkins in my house. But either way I'm a little obsessed. I've already got my little munchkins from Aldi to adorn my coffee table and I'm ready to start decorating the house in all my Halloween/Pumpkin decorations brought down from the loft. 

Although I've maxed out on all things Pumpkin visually, I've not really had much experience of them in cooking/baking. There is of course the almighty Pumpkin Spice Latte, but as I don't like coffee, I've not had one. So in an effort to introduce more pumpkin into my life, I decided I must try the coveted Pumpkin Pie.

I found this super easy recipe on Pinterest, tracing back to American Heritage Cooking, and started on my mission to find all the ingredients. They were pretty easy to find once I stumbled upon canned pumpkin in Sainsbury's. I was going to do it the old fashioned way and cut up a pumpkin to roast (or steam) but this seemed a hell of a lot easier.

easy pumpkin pie recipe UK

easy pumpkin pie recipe UK

If you'd also like to make this pumpkin-spiced dream, then read on and get cooking!

You will need...

1 can of pureed pumpkin 
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 large eggs, slightly whisked
1 rounded teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt
1 (9 inch) pie crust (shop bought or homemade, preferably quite deep!)

Before starting this recipe preheat your oven to 220 degrees. Don't worry, we start high but then drop the temperature down after some time in the oven.

Next whisk all your ingredients together in a bowl, excluding your pie crust (obviously), making sure everything is well combined.

Pour your mixture into your pie crust and bake at 220 degrees for 15 minutes. Make sure to keep a watch to ensure it doesn't burn! When it's had its 15 minutes turn the temperature to 180 degrees and leave for another 35-40 minutes, or until a sharp knife comes out clean from the centre of the pie). If you don't want to put a knife in your pie, you an jiggle your pie. It's done when only the centre 1 inch diameter jiggles.

When your pie has cooled at room temperature, put this in the fridge in a sealed container, or cover with foil to make it last longer. It will also keep for several days at room temperature if you prefer.

easy pumpkin pie recipe UK

easy pumpkin pie recipe UK

The cooking process of this was super easy, although my pie rose really high in the oven, which you can see from the lumpy skin, which I'm not sure if it was supposed to, it came out cooked and ready to eat. 

Now for the taste test! As I don't like cream, I didn't have any with my pie, but I think that's the done thing. It is AMAZING. So spiced and lovely, the perfect thing for a cosy night in. I think I'm going to have a piece with some ice cream. I would say it is quite sickly, so have in small portions!

What do you think, are you going to try your hand at making a pumpkin pie??

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Trying another inner city food spot | Solita, Northern Quarter - Manchester

When we visit big UK cities we are always on the lookout for good food joints. Not because we don’t have good food here in Middlesbrough but because in cities they seem to have so much more choice with eateries popping up all the time to cater for the thousands of people who mill through the city on a daily basis.

Before we headed off to Manchester on Friday we had a nosy online at places as well as asking friends for their recommendations. Solita was high on people’s list to recommend for a lunchtime bite. Located in an easy to find corner of the Northern Quarter, Solita is a small but spacious restaurant offering a selection of burgers, hot dogs and grilled meat options. There were so many creative items on the menu like deep fried pickles, sweet potato balls and pizza fries. All very interesting but also super calorific!

Unusually for myself and Matt, we didn't go for a beef burger. This was a real shocker for both of us. Instead Matt went for a loaded hot dog and I went for a deep fried chicken burger. Both just as tasty as I imagine their beef burgers to be!

Solita, Northern Quarter - Manchester Food Review

Solita, Northern Quarter - Manchester Food Review

Solita, Northern Quarter - Manchester Food Review Chicken Burger

Solita, Northern Quarter - Manchester Food Review Mac and Cheese

Solita, Northern Quarter - Manchester Food Review Hot Dog

Solita, Northern Quarter - Manchester Food Review

Our meals came in super quick time and were just as delicious as they sounded on the menu. My chicken burger was massive, there was no way I was getting through it all but I gave it a good go. The batter on the chicken was amazing, so crispy and seasoned brilliantly. With my burger and chips came a pot of gravy which is always welcome on my plate. It was such a yummy lunch but afterwards I was soo full and I hadn't even eaten it all! Matt really enjoyed his hot dog, although he did comment that there too much other gear, i.e the bread and toppings, in comparison to the hot dog itself. He did agree that Solita was somewhere we'd definitely recommend to friends.

Have you been to Solita in Manchester? What did you think?


Thursday, 13 October 2016

Trying recipes I found on Pinterest | 1. Stuffed Pumpkin Peppers

Quite recently, as you'll have noticed, I haven't put up any blog posts. Life has been flying ahead and nothing has made me want to put fingers to the keys and tap out a post. In an effort to blog more and have more content to share, I've decided to start up a little post every week (hopefully) dedicated to trying recipes I track down from Pinterest. These posts are inspired by the lovely Kat Bouska from MamaKatTV with her weekly video trying drinks she spots on Pinterest. If you haven't already seen any of these videos, then get over there and have a watch. It's everything you wish you could be doing on a Friday night!

Anywho back to why we're here... As it's the month of October, I'm obviously obsessed with Halloween and all things pumpkin. This month I want to try out as many pumpkin themed recipes as I can, starting with today's! This doesn't actually contain pumpkin, but they look so darn cute, they might as well be pumpkins.

Today's recipe is shredded chicken and rice stuffed peppers, with a Halloween twist! I traced this recipe back to As with all things you see on Pinterest they usually look a lot better than how they turn out, and that is exactly what has happened with my little beauties. I didn't even get a picture before they went in the oven as I was so confident they look great when they came out. However I left the oven a little too high and didn't check them. Can we say it adds to their creepy Halloween vibes??

Trying recipes I found on Pinterest - Chicken and Rice Stuffed Pumpkin Peppers - Halloween themed

Trying recipes I found on Pinterest - Chicken and Rice Stuffed Pumpkin Peppers - Halloween themed

So if you still want to make these little cutie pies, read on...

For these stuffed peppers you'll need:
- 4 (preferably) orange peppers
- 2 chicken breasts (although I used chicken thighs)
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 tsp garlic salt
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 can diced tomatoes (I added a few spoons of salsa as well)

- 2 cups of rice, I used brown but you can use white (I added some sweetcorn and beans too)
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

To make your spiced shredded chicken add it to the bottom of a slow cooker adding your spices and your tin of tomatoes. Give it all a mix and cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4-6 hours. When it is cooked, shred the chicken and allow it to remain in sauce.
To make your peppers, bring a large pot of water to boil.  While you are waiting for the water to boil, wash your peppers, carve out the top, being careful not to break the pepper, and then empty out all the insides including all the white parts. 
Here is where you will carve out your little pumpkin face! Get creative! When you've created your pumpkin face and the water is boiling, put the peppers and tops in and allow to cook for about 5 minutes until peppers are tender. Putting the tops in is important as I found as the colours and size of the peppers change so you have to cook the tops too... even if you won't eat them!
Remove from water and set them on some kitchen roll.  Mix the cooked rice, shredded chicken and any other extras you want to add like beans or sweetcorn. Fill each pepper with the mixture and top with extra cheese. I did a sort of a layer effect, adding a few scoops of mixture, then cheese and repeating.
Replace the pepper top back on top. Bake at 180 degrees for around 10-20 minutes until cheese is melted and pepper is done to desired tenderness.  Make sure to watch the peppers to make sure they don't crisp up like mine! 
Jenny also suggests that if you want heat it later that once the peppers are stuffed you can wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate. When you're ready to cook, preheat oven to around 180, remove plastic wrap and bake for 40minutes-1hr.
Trying recipes I found on Pinterest - Chicken and Rice Stuffed Pumpkin Peppers - Halloween themed

Overall I though this was a lot of work for not much food but they were pretty tasty. Around this time of year they are perfect to make for kids or if you're having a Halloween-themed dinner party. My tips for this recipe are; make sure to season your chicken well and don't put too much rice in as it will dilute the flavour of your chicken.

Have you tried these before? What did you think??

Do you have any recommendations for recipes to try next?
© gingerbread smiles.

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