Thanksgiving always sneaks up on me here in Scotland because I’m basically the only person I know who even cares about its existence. It’s my favorite because the food is the star, and I don’t have to worry about finding the perfect gift or looking a certain way. I just have to put a beautiful meal on the table for people I love, and even though it can get stressful, it’s also so much fun.
I may be a failed blogger and a million years behind the times, but just in case I’m not alone in not yet planning my Thanksgiving menu, here are the 34 absolutely awesome recipes I’m going to choose from for my dinner next Saturday. Enjoy your days off, American friends. I’ll be at work remembering how thankful I am to have a job that allows me to pay for imported cans of pumpkin puree.
We’ve had a dog for seven months now. Everybody said I would fall in love with her immediately, but by the end of the first week, she had eaten my diary, and a cookbook, shattered the glass in our living room door, and peed on the rug where I do my yoga. We did not hit it off early.
Since then, her behavior has improved, but she still can’t be trusted to be left alone within reach of our food. Once I spent a half our slicing cheese for an epic cheese board. Turns out I didn’t latch the kitchen door all the way. By the time I realized it was entirely too quiet in the living room, about a third of the cheese was gone.
The first time I made this Chicken and Ham Pie, we left the leftovers out on the counter to cool down a bit before stashing them in the fridge. Who left the kitchen door open? We’ll never know, but Eevee, naturally, did not fail to notice and took advantage of this opportunity to eat about half of the remaining pie. My complete disappointment at the lack of leftovers confirmed how much I really liked this pie. It’s unusual for me to love a recipe that’s loaded with vegetables and doesn’t have any cheese, but this Chicken and Ham Pie was crave worthy, so I had to make it again for you.
This is definitely a weekend dinner project. Nothing is complicated, but there are a few different elements, and the prep work is a little time consuming. I used store-bought shortcrust pastry to make things a little more simple, but if you want to really go all out, you could make your own.
This Chicken and Ham Pie will be closely guarded from marauding dogs. It’s just too good to share. But even though she’s mischievous sometimes, I think we’ll let the dog stay. I have to admit, she’s sorta awesome.
Chicken & Ham Pie
This Chicken & Ham Pie is so good, you won't want to share it with anyone.
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, divided
Salt and pepper
850 ml chicken stock
50 grams butter
3 green onions, thinly sliced from the bottom up to the point where the green leaves split off
50 grams flour
300 ml whole milk
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
150 grams thinly sliced ham, chopped
500 gram pack shortcrust pastry
1 egg, beaten
Chop your carrot, potatoes, celery, and chicken and add it to a large pot. Add half your fresh thyme, and salt and pepper to taste. Add the chicken stock and place your pot over high heat to bring to a boil, then reduce heat, and simmer for 15 minutes.
Place a colander over a large bowl, and drain your chicken and veg mixture, reserving the stock. Set the chicken and veg aside, and strain the stock into a large measuring cup. You'll need 600 ml, so either top up with water, or discard any excess.
To the pot you were just cooking in, melt your butter over medium heat. Add the green onions and cook for a few minutes until tender.
Sprinkle the flour over the butter and onions, and stir to combine. Cook for a minute or so until it starts to smell nutty.
Slowly whisk your reserved chicken stock into your flour mixture a little at a time, making sure the mixture is lump-free before adding more. Add your milk, bring the mixture up to a simmer, and cook for two minutes.
Remove the sauce from the heat, and stir in the lemon juice, remaining thyme, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste.
Add your chopped ham, and your reserved chicken and veg to a pie plate or casserole and give it a little toss to mix it together. Pour your sauce over this. Mine went right up to the top of the pie pan.
Allow this mixture to cool ever so slightly while you preheat your oven to 200C or 400F.
When your oven is hot, unroll your pastry, and give it a light roll to make sure it will cover your pie pan. Cut a few thin strips off the end your your pastry, and press them around the edge of your pie pan. Use a pastry brush to brush a layer of your beaten egg onto the strips of pastry, then lay the rest of your pastry over your pie. Trim the edges, and press them into the rim of your pie plate to seal. Brush the top of the pastry with the beaten egg, and cut a few slits into the pastry to vent steam.
Bake your pie for 25 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly.
Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.
I’m supposed to be writing about life and chocolate cupcakes. I’ve been staring this computer for a good fifteen minutes trying to conjure up some words. My husband is out drinking with work friends, and my animals are both asleep on separate sofas. Old episodes of Friends are playing in the background, and I’m just sitting here so happy it’s Friday. It’ll already be Saturday when you read this. You will be well and truly sunk into the weekend by now, and I hope you’re absolutely reveling in it.
I think the older I get, the more precious weekends become. Especially when I think about how I probably won’t be able to retire until like a week before I die. I suppose that’s all the more reason to take the time to make and eat cupcakes. Let every weekend be a celebration. You survived another week, and you deserve chocolate.
Chocolate Mint Cupcakes stay moist for days, and the combination of tender chocolate cake and creamy mint frosting is unbelievable. They also have a lovely light texture because of the addition of ground almonds. If you have a hard time finding them, you can always throw some skinned almonds in into the food processor.
The mint frosting is sweet and refreshing. I promise it doesn’t taste like toothpaste. Though if you could eat it from a tube, I’d be cool with that. These are definitely from scratch cupcakes. There are no clever shortcuts. But there’s absolutely nothing fiddly about making them. You’ll be nice and relaxed, and the smell is absolutely heavenly.
You work hard. You deserve a cupcake.
Mint Chocolate Cupcakes
Chocolate Mint Cupcakes stay moist for days, and the combination of tender chocolate cake and creamy mint frosting is unbelievable.
Preheat your oven to 350 and prep 24 cupcake papers. If you only have one pan, stash the batter in the fridge between batches. It’s not the end of the world.
Boil some water, then measure out your chocolate into a bowl. Pour 120 ml (1/2 cup) of the boiling water over the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate is melted and smoothish. It doesn’t have to be perfect.
With your mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Add the vanilla to your beaten eggs.
With the mixer on low, slowly add in the egg mixture.
Add the chocolate. Make sure to get it all.
Add the buttermilk and mix until combined. If you’ve been using a stand mixer, you can abandon it at this point.
Sift the flour, baking powder, and baking soda over your wet ingredients, then add the almonds.
Fold the wet and dry ingredients together.
Divide your batter between the 24 cups. I use my cookie scoop. Each one gets two generous scoops. Fill them about two thirds full.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until they spring back when touched.
Let them cool in the pan for about 2 minutes, then cool them completely on a wire rack if you have it. Or the counter is totally fine, too.
For the frosting
Beat the butter and powdered sugar together with your mixer on medium high for about five minutes. It should be light and fluffy.
Turn the mixer down to low and add in the peppermint extract and food coloring for your desired effect.
Marry your cake and frosting in whatever way you see fit. I used a Wilton 1m tip straight above the cupcake. Just squeeze it for about three seconds. Easy!
I just finished watching the semi-final of this year’s Great British Bake Off. In case you’re wondering, I’m team Sophie. I absolutely love watching this show, especially since they have the refrigerator of my dreams on set. Every week I’m astonished by how the producers can manage to make baking seem so extremely tense and suspenseful. It just makes me realize there’s no way I ever would or could put myself through that.
I love to bake, but I also love to keep it simple and need to keep it cheap. Most importantly, I need to keep it delicious. I think that’s one thing about Bake Off that makes it superior to other cooking competition shows like Cake Wars and such. They really focus on flavor, so even if your bake doesn’t look completely perfect, you still get credit for how it tastes, and sometimes, great flavors even win out over beautiful spectacle.
All I’ve got for you are some humble Spice Cupcakes with Maple Frosting, and while they might not win any beauty contests, I assure you, the flavor is on point. Tons of spice comes through, heavy on the ginger and almost hot. And the cake itself is so tender. Then the maple frosting on top is sweet and deep and dreamy.
You could pipe your frosting to make them extra fancy, but I went with a scoop and swirl action, then added a hint of gold sprinkles for a bit of whimsy. It’s not a show stopper, but it’s absolutely awesome.
Spice Cupcakes with Maple Frosting are going to make all your Fall flavor dreams come true.
Spice Cupcakes with Maple Frosting
Spice Cupcakes with Maple Frosting are full of gorgeous flavor and perfectly sweet.
We’ve been having one of those days where it’s cold and rainy but also sunny at the same time. It’s a horrible trick. Rude almost. I’m done with the wind and the rain. I’m ready to hold onto that sunshine. I don’t know whether or not Scotland will deliver, so I’m going to turn to my kitchen . If we can’t have real sun, at least maybe we can put some sunshine on a plate. Or in a glass, as the case may be.
Here’s 40 awesome recipes to bring some sunshine into your life, whether or not you’re getting any out your window.