Perfect for Afternoon Tea

Are you surprised? Yes I did bake these scones in the airfryer for 8 minutes and they are totally satisfying and yum. You may adjust your time depending on the thickness of your scones. Did you ever think such simple things in life can give us so much joy. Well I was in heaven eating these Easy Buttermilk Airfryer Scones.

I missed my scones, it’s the one thing I make often because not only is it quick but there’s something comforting about having scones with tea. I couldn’t bake for a while now because my oven decided to give up on me. So today I thought why not make some scones in my airfryer and it turned out perfect. You can of course bake yours in the oven for a little extra time, about 10-15 minutes.

I’m sure most of us assume baking scones is the easiest thing to do, well at least I did. Until one day when I overworked my dough and had chewy, horrid scones. I have since learnt the secret to making beautiful, light scones is in how you handle the scone dough and of course using cold butter. These Easy Buttermilk Airfryer Scones are so quick and easy to make and if they are a little rustic looking then you know you’ve done a good job.

Unfortunately scones are not the most forgiving, you work the dough a little more than you should and you will have disastrous scones. I have seen chefs use ice-cold butter, straight from the freezer, grated into the flour. To be totally honest I don’t think I have the patience to grate frozen butter. For this Easy Buttermilk Airfryer Scones I remove my butter from the refrigerator when I’m ready to use it. I then add my flour into the food processor, pop my butter in and give it a quick pulse. This works perfectly for me.

You can also add your buttermilk and egg to the mixture in the food processor. If you give it a pulse just a few times it brings the dough together without overworking it. Thereafter you remove the dough and place it on a flat surface lightly dusted with flour. Just use your hands to press it down to about 2cm thickness.

When cutting the dough press the cutter into the dough but do not twist, press and lift. This technique will then create those rich, buttery layers in your scone.

Looking for more sweet treats then another easy recipe to try is my Shortbread

https://itsallaboutthekitchen.co.za/recipe/shortbread/

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Easy Buttermilk Airfryer Scones
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Instructions
  1. Preheat your airfryer for a minute
  2. Add flour and butter to a food processor and give it about 3 to 4 pulses until it resembles fine breadcrumbs
  3. Add sugar and pulse one more time
  4. Add the egg and buttermilk and pulse about 3 times until the dough comes together
  5. Turn dough out on a lightly floured surface and bring it all together. Flatten the dough with your palms, about 2cm thickness and cut into circles.
  6. Do not twist the cutter when cutting the dough, simply press and lift. This is what creates the beautiful layers in your scones
  7. Brush the top of the scones with eggwash (egg mixed with a few drops of water) or some extra buttermilk and bake in the airfryer at 180 degrees for 8 minutes or in the oven at 180 deg celcius for 10-15 minutes
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Crunchies, this is definitely a South African favourite which you have to try. These crunchies are so delicious, crunchy on the outside, a little chewy on the inside. Did I mention also quick and easy to make?  To be honest I found this recipe on the internet a while back. I never thought I would ever have the courage to start my own blog and share it, so I never recorded the source of the recipe. However, I think it’s such a delicious recipe and it’s why I want to share it. I have baked it a few times and it’s always been a hit with everyone that’s tried it.

You probably won’t believe me but I promise, I don’t eat the sweet stuff I bake.  I love stocking little treats in my cupboard because I do work from home. It gives me great pleasure to offer my client’s a special home-baked treat with their coffee.

My kids also don’t eat too much of the stuff I bake, they are tempted when it’s just out the oven but that is as far as their temptation goes. Am I feeling guilty that I’m sharing too many sweet treats of late??

These Crunchies also makes the perfect snack but are also great as Christmas gifts. You can pack them in little boxes or jars with a cute ribbon and you have a gift made with love. I cannot believe it’s that time of year again.  Time to shop for presents and swing into holiday mode soon. We don’t celebrate Christmas but it is a time we get to see more of our family. It’s only during the holidays that we get to spend time with our dear parents, whom we don’t get to see very often.

I’m so looking forward to our break. We also get away from fast-paced Johannesburg, it’s funny how everyone in Johannesburg is always stressed and never have time. The people in Durban are the opposite, they are so much more relaxed, laid back and friendly and you can still visit people without making an appointment a month ahead.

On that note let me share this delicious South African Crunchies recipe with you. Please do try it and if you do, kindly drop me a note to let me know if you think it’s as delicious as I think it is. I love hearing from you and you are welcome to mail me with any comments or questions.

 


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South African Crunchies

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Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees celcius. Cut the butter into little cubes and melt it together with the golden syrup, in a microwave for about a minute is perfectly ok.

  2. Add the bicarbonate of soda to the melted butter and allow it to stand until the mixture starts frothing

  3. Add all the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix it all together

  4. Press the mixture onto a parchment lined baking sheet at bake at 160 degrees celcius for about 20 minutes or until cooked and golden brown. Cut into squares whilst still warm


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These Thai-style Salmon Fishcakes are made from canned salmon but they turned out so yummy! I don’t often use canned stuff although I do stock up on stuff like canned tomatoes, chickpeas and baked beans for the sake of convenience. I purchased this can of salmon a few months ago as I was going to use it for some recipe I may have had in mind but I forgot all about it. I must admit I was totally put off Thai food for a while as I once ate at a restaurant and ordered a Thai Curry and it was totally sweet, with every bite I took all I could taste was the sweetness, no other flavours came through and I vowed never to eat Thai food again. However, I did try some delicious food since and I now enjoy Thai dishes again.

I was looking for something quick and easy to cook for my pescatarian husband so this can of salmon was perfect.  He loves being adventurous with food although he is fussy about the quality so I thought I should try something different in the form of Thai-style Salmon Fishcakes. Guess what, he loved it and that made me happy as my efforts didn’t go to waste. Although I must admit those wasn’t too much effort to make. For weeknights it’s always great to have simple recipes that can be prepared in a jiffy, I am a stay-at-home mum but I know that my days get quite crazy with the boys, especially being their chauffeur. So I think for working mums it’s even tougher when you have to get home and still think about dinner. It’s always nice to have a few easy recipes at hand. These fishcakes can also be made ahead and frozen so when you don’t have time to cook these come in quite handy.

The flavours are amazing and it’s a perfect, light summer dish that pairs well with a crisp salad.

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Thai-style Salmon Fishcakes
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Instructions
  1. Boil the potato in some cold water until soft, drain and mash. Bruise the lemongrass stalk with a heavy knife, trim the root end and discard the tough outer leaves and chop
  2. Add all the ingredients, including the potato and lemongrass, into a food processor and whiz until it all comes together and it's a smooth dough like consistency
  3. Divide the mixture into 8 balls, flatten in the palms of your hand into little patties. Refrigerate for half an hour
  4. Heat the oil in a pan and shallow fry the fishcakes on medium heat until golden brown
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Of late I have been wanting to try everything rose flavoured, I think it is one of the most amazing flavours, it’s becoming my little obsession. It’s why I think these rose pistachio cookies will be a perfect addition to my Diwali treats. Rose flavour originated in Persia and then moved on to Arabia and India, I guess it’s why it such a common ingredient used in Indian cooking.  Roses are beautiful to look at and makes everything look stunning so can you imagine eating rose flavoured cookies, it’s heaven.

I can’t promise this is the last of rose flavour because it is used a lot in sweetmeats too and with my Diwali baking you will probably find the addition of rose essence in a lot of recipes.

These cookies were dipped in some chocolate, to which I added some rose syrup just so I can taste the rose and smell the rose. It’s no point calling anything rose flavoured if you can’t taste it, don’t you agree?  You can totally omit the chocolate, the cookies taste delicious on its own but if you want that extra decadence then chocolate it is.  I used granulated sugar as I wanted my cookies a little crisp and I toast all my nuts before adding them to my cookie dough so I toasted my pistachios too, the toasted nuts adds a lovely crunchiness to cookies. I add my nuts to a pan on the stovetop and let it toast on low heat, about 10 minutes. I prefer low heat as I do sometimes forget about them and on low heat there’s less risk of them burning.  It will be slightly brown and fragrant when ready.

Please note that I have adjusted the amount of rose essence in my recipe as I initially used 1 tablespoon in my cookies, the second time I used exactly the same but the new bottle of rose essence I used was definitely more concentrated so it was a bit much. So I suggest please add a teaspoon and taste the cookie dough if you have to and then add more if necessary.

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Rose Pistachio Cookies dipped in Chocolate
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Instructions
  1. Using a stand mixer or hand mixer beat the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy
  2. Add the rose essence and mix well
  3. Slowly add the flour and pistachios and bring it all together into a firm but not crumbly dough
  4. Divide the dough in two halves, roll them into logs , wrap in cling wrap and refrigerate for about 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 160 deg celcius
  5. Cut them into circles, about 1cm width. Bake on a lined cookie sheet at 160 degrees celcius for 15-20 minutes until slightly brown
  6. Melt the chocolate in the microwave at 10 second intervals, it's how I do it. Add the rose syrup and mix well. Dip the cookies into the chocolate. You can sprinkle more pistachios over the chocolate if you wish. I popped my cookies into the fridge for a few minutes so the chocolate could set quickly
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I have many favourites but I think butter cookies is my weakness. I love cookies but I prefer homemade ones, made with real butter. My cookies won’t necessarily look like designer cookies or one’s that were carefully crafted in a Paris Café but one thing you can be sure of is that it’s delicious. Well butter does make everything delicious, doesn’t it?  Nothing beats the taste of real butter, these cookies are so delicious and you can taste the butter in every bite. The cherry on the top is that the cookie dough is made with just 3 ingredients, wouldn’t it be wonderful if all our cooking consisted of just 3 ingredients, I would certainly be in heaven and I would be posting a recipe every few hours. I am all for simple cooking but I am a sucker for delicious tasting food, so these cookies ticks all the right boxes. Don’t take my word for it, you will have to try it.

This is such a versatile cookie dough, you can add anything to it and turn into a gourmet cookie. I added pecan nuts to half the dough and I kept the half plain because I wanted to decorate them with chocolate and I thought that creates enough richness so I didn’t feel the need to add anything more.  The options are endless as to what you can add to this dough, you can add fudge, cherries, honeycomb, almonds, coconut and it will all taste wonderful.

I must admit I’m not the world’s best decorator so as much as I love beautiful stuff I don’t have the patience to create finicky designs on tiny cookies, unless I’m really have a stressful day and I want to go into a deep meditative state then I will, hahaha…just kidding. I have my moments so somedays I can exercise a little patience and I will really get into decorating, then you will see my right brain really works. For now you will have to make do with my very simple but pretty cookies. I have used some Belgian chocolate to decorate them, the best tasting chocolate you can use in your baking, we have an amazing Chocolate/Baking shop near us so it’s where I get mine. A very simple way to decorate and still have fairly pretty cookies, is to melt your chocolate, pop it into a disposable icing bag, snip a tiny hole at the end, and you can create lines and dots on your cookies. Another way is to pour a teaspoon of the melted chocolate on the cookie and spread it out a little. I always have decorative flowers, made from sugar paste, in my cupboard and I just place one on top of the wet chocolate and I sprinkle a little sparkle dust and they look amazing. See you don’t have to be an artist to have pretty cookies. I also find it easier to cut out my shapes and then pop my cookies in the fridge for 5 minutes before baking. Some people do it the other way around, they place the dough in the fridge and then cut them into shapes. For the pecan cookies I refrigerated the dough first and then cut them up.

 

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Butter Cookies
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Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 160 deg celcius. Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, I used a hand mixer
  2. Add a cup and a half of flour and mix well until you form a firm, but not crumbly, dough. Add the other half cup of flour if dough is too soft
  3. Divide dough into 2 portions. Add pecan nuts to one half of the dough and divide this dough into 2 portions. Roll into 2 cylinder shapes, wrap in cling wrap and refrigerate for half an hour
  4. Roll out the other half of the dough, about 1cm thickness and cut into shapes. Place on a lined cookie sheet and refrigerate for 5 minutes. Bake in the oven at 160 deg celcius for 15-20 minutes
  5. Cut the pecan cookies into rounds and bake them at 160 deg celcius, also for 15-20 minutes
  6. Decorate the plain cookies as desired
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I posted a recipe for Dhall Puri in an earlier post, this is the exact same dough minus the filling and I’ve used butter ghee as I used this for a prayer so it had to be saltless. As Hindus there are rituals that we perform so there are rules that have to be followed. But I will leave that discussion for another day.

Puri is not something everybody gets right the first time, it’s all about getting the dough right and getting the thickness of the puri perfect and of course, the frying is also tricky as your oil has to be at the right temperature, if your oil is not hot enough you are going to have oil-fiiled, soggy puris.  The yogurt also creates tenderness to the puris, it’s why I add it to my dough. The baking powder helps the dough puff up, I never let my dough rest when making puri and they still puff up pretty  well.

We all have kitchen disasters from time to time but if you do want to perfect your puri making skill then don’t give up. It may fail a couple of times but you are bound to get it right after a few tries. I have used this recipe for a while now and it never lets me down, I think I’ve mastered the technique of making puris. If this South Indian girl can make puris so can you!

You can also freeze your puri after rolling them out and fry them when you need them. I leant this trick from my mum-in-law and her puris were perfect.  Puris are commonly eaten with vegetarian curries here in South Africa, the most popular curry being a bean curry which is served at Indian prayer functions. It is a great combination, if you want to try it you can use my Gadra (Borlotti) Bean Curry recipe.

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South African Puri Recipe
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Instructions
  1. Sift the flour and baking powder. Rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips until it resembles fine breadcrumbs
  2. Make a well in the centre and add the yogurt, pour the milk around the flour and bring the dough together. If the dough is too sticky add a little more flour or if too dry add a little more milk.
  3. Knead the dough until it's soft and smooth.
  4. Divide the dough into 24 pieces. Dust a flat surface with flour and roll the dough into circles, about 3mm thickness.
  5. Fry the puris in hot oil on medium heat
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Poli is an Indian sweet treat made with a flaky deep-fried pastry and filled with coconut, sesame seeds, cardamom and almond. it is usually prepared for a special occasion. This brings back memories of my childhood, I remember my mum making this for Diwali,  she never made it quite the same, she used a more nutty filling, however I prefer this filling without the addition of nuts. This is a filling my mum-in-law makes and she is a great cook so I have learned a few tricks from her over the years.  These polis can be deep-fried immediately or can be frozen, be sure to separate them with some plastic or cling wrap so they don’t stick together.

Deepavali or Diwali, and Indian festival where Indians celebrate light over darkness, it was really festive when we were younger, it was a grand occasion and I remember our families preparing for the occasion days in advance and they baked every sweet treat they could, we always had new clothes and lit clay lamps and firework and all our family came together on this special occasion.

I must say over the years it has changed, kids have moved away from their hometowns and are now living miles apart from parents and siblings.  Diwali is not declared a holiday in SA so most people work and can only celebrate in the evenings. Families are so far apart so we also don’t get to spend it with every member of our family, like in the old days. It is a sad reality, but it is how the world has changed. Although we miss our parents and siblings we do try to keep it festive and make it as special as we can.  Diwali will not be the same if there’s no sweet treats so I am sure to make a few of my families favourites. I do share with my neighbours and friends because it’s what I do best, and as they say “sharing is caring”.

This poli was light and flaky as I increased the quantity of butter, in my previous recipes I used a little less butter, it wasn’t bad but this was perfect. I also increased the amount of condensed milk as my family thought it wasn’t sweet enough before although I prefer the not so sweet version.

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Poli
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Instructions
  1. Fry the coconut and sesame seeds in a pan, on low heat, until it turns slightly brown. Add condensed milk, cardamom and almond. Mix well and set aside
  2. For the pastry, rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips until it forms fine breadcrumbs
  3. Pour the milk, a little at a time until the dough comes together. Do not overmix the dough. Remember you want a flaky pastry so overhandling the dough will result in a stiff pastry. Roll out the dough, about 3mm thickness, and cut out round circles with a cookie cutter
  4. Place a teaspoon of filling onto one side of each circle and fold it over, press it down with the fingertips and press the edges with a fork or you can twist the edges like a rope. I tried pressing my pastry with a dough press that I purchased but it wasn't the result I expected so my polis are not as pretty but still tastes delicious.
  5. Fry the poli in hot oil over medium heat. Serve warm
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My middle son is in matric and writing exams in a few weeks but he doesn’t seem stressed. I am more stressed than he is, is this normal? Why is it that boys are never stressed about anything. I remember growing up and my dad used to run a military camp at home, we never questioned why he said no, we ate what was cooked, we couldn’t leave the house without permission and we certainly didn’t dare to back chat or we would have been punished, not grounded but hit with a stick or whatever was fitting at the time. We were terrified if we didn’t study hard enough and our report cards were a mess. I remember I one day altered a poor mark in my report before bringing it home, as I was so terrified of the consequences for my bad mark. See why they never let kids bring their report cards home anymore, because of kids like me. Oh my gosh, I hope my dad or kids never reads this.

But hey we grew up to be decent kids, at least we have respect and manners, We were taught how to give and how to treat people with kindness and we’ve learnt that everything is achieved through sheer hard work and determination. We also know that you don’t have to be rich to be a good person or have a good life, material stuff doesn’t bring happiness. It’s love and care that brings happiness and joy.  I try everyday to instill these same values in my boys but as a mum I’ve realised we can only nurture our kids and give them all the tools they need to become successful, respectful young adults. How they choose to use it is up to them. I made mistakes in my life and I regret some of them and learned from some , I keep saying that I don’t want my kids making the same mistakes I did but unless they don’t make their own mistakes they will never learn I suppose. Easier said than done.

The joys of being a mum and the joys of trying to feed your boys veggies for a month. It’s almost a week and the struggle is real. But I’m loving being creative with veggies. I made these cheesy broccoli bites, anything with cheese is always delicious, they are packed with goodness and the panko crumbs  makes it a little crunchy. They don’t have eggs but the cheese hold them together well. Perfect with a tomato dip and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. This recipe makes 24 bites.

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Cheesy broccoli bites
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Instructions
  1. Steam the broccoli until it's soft and break it into little pieces with a fork. Set aside until it's slightly cool
  2. Add a few drops of oil and fry the minced garlic for a minute.
  3. Add the chilli flakes, garlic and herb seasoning, mozzarella and parmesan cheese, panko breadcrumbs and the fried garlic to the broccoli. Season with salt and pepper and mix well.
  4. Form them into 24 equal sized balls. Mixture may look a little crumbly but as you press them into a ball they become fairly intact, the cheese holds it together well. Shallow fry them on medium heat in a little olive oil. Serve with a drizzle of fresh lemon juice and a dip of your choice.
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Today is Heritage Day in South Africa, a public holiday where people are encouraged to celebrate their culture and diversity. Although we have our problems, some days more than others, I still love living in our beautiful country.It can be stressful when we hear about the escalating crime and have to constantly look over our shoulders and be extra vigilant. Amongst the negativity I choose to remain positive and hopeful, it’s the only way to live in South Africa, there is always hope. We do have some amazing people in South Africa, I have friends and neighbours from different cultures, we may all look different but our beliefs and value systems are all the same. I am blessed with a home, food on my table and clothes on my back, I’m thankful and it’s all I need right now.

It’s also national braai day and whilst I’m sitting in my lounge, typing away, I can smell the aroma of the grilled meat, coming from my neighbour’s property. We unfortunately have started our month long “abstaining from meat” for religious reasons so no braai for us. However, I cooked my family a vegetarian feast and hubby dearest said it was absolutely delicious, he couldn’t stop raving about how delicious lunch was. I’m glad he did as I slogged in the kitchen for a good few hours and would have been rather disappointed if the critic was not good.

I made dhall puri to go with the veg curries I cooked. This an Indian flat bread that is stuffed with a dhall filling and deep fried. It is buttery, a little crisp with a hint of cumin, it tastes better than any Indian bread I make and if I could I would make it often, but it is deep fried so I restrict myself to making every few months, as a treat for my family. I learnt to make this from my mum-in-law. At first I wouldn’t even attempt it as I thought it was a time-consuming, tedious task but once you get the hang of making it, it is really not that bad. Takes a little bit of patience and a few attempts to perfect the art of making dhall puri.

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Dhall Puri
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Makes 12
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Makes 12
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Instructions
  1. For the filing:
  2. Soak dhall overnight. Rinse well and boil until soft but not mushy, dhall should be soft when pressed between your fingers. Once cooked, drain excess water and set aside to cool
  3. Place dhall in a food processor and pulse until it's processed into fine breadcrumb like consistency. Do not over process.
  4. Heat the butter in a pan, saute the spring onion for a few seconds, add the cumin and tumeric together with the dhall. Season with salt and mix well. Allow it to cool and add the coriander
  5. To make the puri:
  6. Sift flour and baking powder. Rub the butter with your fingertips into the flour. Make a well in the centre of the flour and add the yogurt. Pour the milk, you may need more or less milk depending on the weather so please do not pour in all the milk at once, along the edge of the flour and bring the dough together. Knead until you form a soft, smooth dough
  7. Divide the dough into 12 equal portions. Roll them into round balls
  8. Flatten each ball a little, place it in the palm of your hands and add a tablespoon and a half of filling to the centre of the dough. Bring the edges of the dough together and seal it well.
  9. Roll each filled ball on a lightly dusted surface. Be very gentle when rolling or the filling will leak out.
  10. Heat oil on medium heat and fry each puri individually. Once it puffs up, turn and cook the other side. Be gently when turning it. Place individually on paper towels, to drain excess oil
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I made these spinach and ricotta rolls for my kids. My hubby is really conscious about what he eats and generally doesn’t eat too much carbs but sometimes he just can’t resist. I made these as he got home from work and he said they look so delicious and he couldn’t resist, so it was worth cheating for one day. Of course I had to pop them in the oven straight away and he absolutely devoured these little flaky bits of heaven.   I must say I didn’t eat much of it but the one I did get to taste was delicious, anything with cheese always goes down well.  I didn’t make the pastry as it was too much effort, however the Woolworths ready rolled pastry is amazing. I didn’t need to stress over pastry making, I think making pastry can be a little daunting for me but not that it stops me from making my own on the rare occasion.

These rolls are perfect for the lunchbox or as a snack. You can make them bigger and even have them with a crunchy salad for lunch. It’s best served with a chilli sauce or spicy dip.

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Spinach & Ricotta Rolls
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Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 180 deg celcius, there may be slight variations between ovens so depending on your oven you could increase the temperature to 200 degrees celcius.
  2. Chop spinach and rinse well. Use the back of a large spoon to drain all the water out of the spinach. Heat the oil in a pan, fry the garlic for a minute. Add the nutmeg and spinach , season with salt and pepper and cook until the spinach is wilted, 4 to 5 minutes. Allow the spinach to cool.
  3. Combine the ricotta and mozzarella with the spinach. Add the chilli flakes and mix well. Use your hands to mix it all well.
  4. Place pastry on a flat surface and cut it in half lengthwise. Divide the mixture into 2 halves and spoon them along the length of each pastry half. Brush a little milk or water on one edge of the pastry and roll it into a log shape
  5. Cut filled pastry into 9 pieces each. Place on a lined baking tray, brush the top with some milk and bake for 20 to 30 minutes. Serve hot
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