Moroccan Couscous & Charred Chicken

I’m back again with another recipe that was made at our cottage during my break. This is one of the most colourful dinners I have ever made. The pistachios, couscous, pomegranate and cilantro add amazing hits of color. It’s a work of art AND it tastes good!

Couscous_1See? Wasn’t I right?

Since I made this recipe at our cottage, I’ve been dying to make it again. Sadly, I haven’t had enough hours in the day to do it. Since being back at school, the work never ends — but that’s okay! I’m doing something I love, so that makes it much easier. I have a goal: hopefully by next weekend I will be able to have an afternoon where I can relax, go to the grocery store, and then come back to the dorm kitchen to cook this yummy couscous.

Where did this recipe come from? Because I am a huge foodie nerd, I follow a bunch of YouTube food channels. One of my favourites is Sorted Food. They had a series going for a while called EyeCandySorted, where every week they would release a beautifully shot recipe montage. This one caught my eye immediately and has been sitting in one of my Pinterest folders ever since. I seriously thought I couldn’t make my plate look as pretty as their’s in the video, but I think I managed. What do you think?

Here’s a link to their video if you want to watch before reading the recipe here.

You’ll need:

  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp mixed pepper corns
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbs rapeseed oil
  • 150g couscous
  • Pinch of saffron strands
  • 200ml chicken stock
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1 heaped tbs harrissa paste
  • Glug of olive oil
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 pomegranate
  • Handful of pistachio nuts
  • Handful of fresh coriander
  • Dollop of natural yogurt
  • Pinch of paprika

This recipe serves 2

Place the spices and salt into a pestle and mortar, then grind until powdered. Grind in the rapeseed oil. Pour the mixture into the couscous in a heatproof bowl.

Boil the chicken stock along with the saffron strands and pour over the couscous to cook.  Sit the bowl in warm place and leave for 5 minutes to cook.

Trim the skin and any sinew from the chicken breasts, then butterfly to thin them out and increase their surface area. Bash them out between two sheets of greaseproof paper.

Rub the harissa paste into the chicken flesh with a glug of oil and the zest of the lemon.

Preheat a cast iron griddle pan, then grill the chicken for a few minutes on each side until charred and well and cooked through.

Halve the pomegranate and bash the seeds out by hitting the back with a wooden spoon over a bowl of cold water. Scoop any scraps that are floating on top of the water and drain the pomegranate into a sieve.

Peel and finely slice the red onion.

Squeeze the lemon juice into the couscous.

Toss the onion slices, pomegranate seeds and pistachio nuts into the couscous along with plenty of coriander leaves. Strip the cooked, charred, chicken into pieces and scatter onto the bed of dressed couscous. Dribble with the yoghurt and garnish with a pinch of paprika.

There are a lot of ingredients and it does take a bit of time, but as always, totally worth it.

yourstrulyg

 

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Rooibos Tea Ice Cream

Our family swears by Rooibos tea. The caffeine free tea has too many health benefits to count! When combined with loads of sugar and cream, these advantages are essentially lost — but that’s the point of ice cream anyway, right?!

Icecream_1Coming home from school for a week means that I basically do two things: cook and sleep. I’ve been having the best time! I love my amazing school and Arizona (where it is currently 12 degrees warmer), but there’s something about home ;)

I found this recipe on Drizzle & Dip, written by Samantha Linsell. Her website is wonderful and has the most beautiful photography. She even has her own book that I am extremely tempted to buy. Sam explains that this Rooibos tea ice cream is based on a Ben & Jerry’s vanilla recipe and doesn’t involve using a cooked egg custard. She says to look into using this recipe and infuse the tea if you have an issue with using raw egg.

The recipe calls for 4 tablespoons of Rooibos tea leaves. I was skeptical that this wasn’t enough at first, but was pretty happy with the results. I would have let the milk infuse for 7-10 minutes for a stronger flavour. Another great thing about Rooibos is that the longer you steep it, the more flavorful it will become (and it doesn’t become bitter). 

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Don’t have an ice cream machine? Check out this post by Scoop Adventures!

You’ll need:

  • 1¼ cup milk
  • 4T Rooibos loose tea leaves
  • 2 eggs (free range)
  • ½ cup sugar (125ml)
  • ¼ cup honey (60ml)
  • 2 cups cream, heavy or whipping

Bring the milk to just boiling point and then turn off the heat. Add the tea leaves to the milk and allow to infuse for about 3-4 minutes. Strain and set aside to cool.

Beat the eggs and sugar until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the honey and continue to beat for another minute.

Measure out one cup of cooled milky tea (if you have less than a cup, top up with extra milk, if you have too much, discard) and add this, with the cream to the egg base and briefly mix.

Run the mixture through an ice cream maker until ready according to the manufacturer’s instruction.

Pretty simple, eh?

yourstrulyg

 

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Chocolate Macarons

Okay…I might have said last Sunday that I was going to post a new recipe using chia seeds today…but chocolate macarons are so much better, right?!

This photo was taken, believe it or not, two summers ago! I don’t know why or how, but the recipe never made it to the blog that summer. I think it may have been lost among the copious number of food pictures in iPhoto. I apologize for the lateness but hey – at least you get the recipe now! Here they are: the chocolate sandwiches of wicked awesomeness.

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I remember the day Gracie and I made these. We had scheduled a “Cousin Day” filled with baking and chatting. I’m pretty messy in the kitchen on my own. With Gracie the mess DOUBLED! Somehow there was flour and splatters of batter everywhere you looked. I think chocolate ganache was flung on my nose at some point! We’re pretty crazy when we’re together, that’s for sure. I love it.

Looking back, I actually have no clue how we managed to make these. They’re one of the most difficult recipes I’ve ever tried. It takes a lot of practice, so take that into consideration! Don’t worry if you mess up on your first try. It’s a crazy long process of sifting, whipping egg whites and piping. Even though it takes a while, it’s worth it. These are so good. Good luck!

For the macarons you’ll need:

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup almond flour or almond meal
  • 3 tablespoons natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 3 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • Pinch cream of tartar
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar

For the ganache you’ll need:

  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/4 stick), at room temperature and cut into cubes

Begin by lining two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. Fit a large pastry bag with a 1/2 inch tip; set aside. Don’t have a pastry bag? Take a large Ziploc bag and snip off the tip with a pair of scissors.

In a large bowl, sift the powdered sugar, almond flour, cocoa powder, and salt together. Mix well and set aside.

Now you need to make a meringue. Place your egg whites in a clean bowl and get your beaters ready. You can also use your stand mixer with the whisk attachment for this part. Beat the egg whites on a medium speed until opaque and foamy (30 seconds). Add the cream of tartar and then increase the speed to medium high. Beat the egg whites until they are white in color and hold the line of the whisk (1 minute). Continue to beat, slowly adding the granulated sugar, until the sugar is combined, the peaks are stiff, and the whites are shiny (about 1 minute more). Transfer the meringue to a large bowl.

Use a rubber spatula to gently fold the dry mixture into the egg whites. Do this in four batches until the dry ingredients are just combined. Be careful during this part. Too much pressure and/or adding too much of the dry ingredients at a time will deflate the meringue. When you are done the mixture should look like cake batter.

Transfer the batter into your pastry bag. Pipe out 1-1/4 inch circles about 1 inch apart onto the baking sheets. Pick up the baking sheets and bang them against the work surface. This helps create the macaron base or what is referred to as a “foot” (if you want to be all fancy). Let them sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. This drys them out to ensure even cooking.

Heat the oven to 350°F and place one baking sheet in the middle of the rack. Make sure you bake one cookie sheet at a time. Bake for 14 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through. Transfer the sheet to a rack to cool completely and then repeat with the other batch of macarons.

Now you have to make the filling.

Place the chopped chocolate in a large bowl.

Warm the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until it just starts to boil. Next, stir it into the chocolate and mix thoroughly. Let the mixture sit for 1 minute. Add the butter and stir until smooth. Chill in the refrigerator until thickened (but still spreadable) for 30 minutes.

Time for assembling!

Scoop about a teaspoon of ganache onto the center of a macaron half. Top with another half and press gently to squeeze together.

You’re suppose to refrigerate for at least 24 hours before serving, but you don’t have to listen to that. We ate them straight away (cue maniacal laughter). 

Happy baking everyone!

yourstrulyg

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Super Easy Chia Seed Pudding

After a month, I am back. I know it’s been a while, but I have a great recipe to make it up to you: a SUPER easy chia seed pudding.

I’m obsessed with cooking shows. I can’t deny it. I especially love waking up every morning and watching the newest YouTube videos from my favourite channels. Here are a few if you want to check them out: Sorted Food, Bondi Harvest, Tastemade and FoodTube. Watching these shows first thing in the morning is a great way to motivate myself. If I get up and go for a run, I can make one of their recipes for breakfast! Everyone has been using chia seeds lately, so I thought it was my turn to try ‘em out. Turns out I love them. Who woulda thought?

Pudding 2

What are chia seeds any way? They are an easy way to kick up nutrition in a dish and they have a lot of energy boosting abilities. They are rich in protein, vitamins, minerals, and omega fatty acids. This is the neat thing: chia seeds absorb liquid, creating a thick gel. They can hold 9-12 times their weight in water! This is why they make a PERFECT pudding.

These edible seeds are also used to make Chia Pets. So after finish making your pudding, why not make your own Chia Pet? There are tutorials all over Google ;)

Recipe makes a single serving

You’ll need:

  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup coconut, almond or 1% milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup

Pudding 1

Mix all ingredients in a small bowl or jar. Refrigerate and for an hour, then give a good stir. You want to make sure the chia seeds don’t clump together. Put back in the fridge and leave over night (or at least a few hours).

Easy peasy! A new recipe with chia seeds will be up next Sunday, so keep an eye out.

yourstrulyg

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Valentine’s Day Cards

I think Valentine’s might just be my favourite holiday (excluding Christmas, of course). Some may call it a cliché or “Hallmark holiday”, but I like to think of it as the opposite. Even though I tell the important people in my life that I love them everyday, it’s nice to have a holiday dedicated to expressing that. Plus, it’s a great excuse to give and eat LOTS of chocolate and home baked goodies!

Remember in elementary school when you would spend an afternoon decorating a paper bag that would become filled with valentines the next day? I wish my university did that! It was so nice to dump out that paper bag at the end of the day to discover all the heart warming notes. I remember the handmade cards being my favourites!

So, that brings me to why I’ve made this post. For the past few years, I’ve loved to spend some quality time making Valentine’s cards. This year, I’ve been obsessed with my watercolour pencils. I actually love them. I never put them down. Everyone at home who has gotten snail mail from me has received at least one watercolour card.

Here are some valentines I’ve made for you to use! Send them to whoever you’d like!

Card2Now this has to be my favourite one. I think I have an obsession with Grumpy Cat. My bulletin board in my room has three pictures of him…I’m not crazy am I?

Card1I posted this one on Instagram a couple days ago and everyone LOVED it! Here’s a link to my Instagram account (www.instagram.com/gwynethmc)

Card4

Card3

I hope you enjoy these valentines! Make sure to send them to all those special people on Friday!

I hope you have a lovely day :)

yourstrulyg

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Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

This post is long overdue! I made these cookies…hmm…around Thanksgiving, I think. I had some leftover pumpkin puree and for some reason felt I HAD to use it up or the world would end. Dramatic, I know, but I am very happy I made them.

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I’d say they’re kind of like a cake and a cookie combined. My batch ended up soft on the inside and just a bit crunchy on the outside. This is my roommate Allison’s grandmother’s recipe, and I am so happy she has let me share it with you. Allison returned back to school from a visit home earlier this semester, and brought along a nice big bag of these cookies. She said “pumpkin” followed by “chocolate chip” and I was sold. Seriously though – who can give up some nice homemade cookies?

I am embarrassed to say that I haven’t tried the Starbucks pumpkin spice latte yet. I can feel the waves of judgment now. I realized this as I was baking the cookies. It is very unlike me. I’m that girl who will sit in a Starbucks drinking a vanilla latte or chocolate mocha or frappuccino of some kind while blogging on her Macbook! Therefore, I cannot fathom the fact I have not yet tried a pumpkin spice. I guess I have an excuse for that though: there isn’t a Starbucks super close to my campus. Oh well! When I get home for winter break I shall make sure to stop and grab a pumpkin spice latte at Starbucks. Is it all really worth the hype? I’ll have to find out.

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You’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup cugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup pumpkin purree
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Cream butter and sugar. Beat in egg.

Add pumpkin and vanilla and mix. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well!

Bake at 350° for 15 minutes until brown.

These taste best straight out of the oven so make sure you have a cup of tea on hand to go with them! This will definitely be the first recipe I’m going to make my friends and family when I get home. Great for a an escape from the snow along with some hot cocoa.

Yummy yummy in my tummy!

yourstrulyg

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DIY Heating Pad

December is the month of DIYs (for me at least!). Here’s another great crafting project for these last few weeks before Christmas. These heating pads are the nicest thing to snuggle up with on a chilly night, and now that it’s winter, who could resist?

I hope you enjoy these illustrations! Please let me know. I have an insane amount of fun doing them :)

Don’t forget to Tweet, Pin and share this post on Facebook if you think anyone else would enjoy it. I love getting feedback and hearing that you’ve tried my DIYs.

1

Use a long sleeve shirt!

You’ll need:

  • A cotton long sleeve shirt
  • Sewing machine (optional)
  • Needle and matching thread
  • Uncooked rice
  1. Cut off a sleeve of your shirt at the shoulder seam, and turn inside out.
  2. Sew the two openings together on each end, leaving a small opening at one end (minimum 2 inches). If doing this by hand, I would suggest sewing with a small stitch length, or enforcing the stitch by sewing the edges together a few times. You don’t want any rice falling out!
  3.  Turn the tube inside out, using the small opening. Now all the seams are invisible!
  4. Fill the tube with rice. Don’t fill it too full - you want the heating pad to have some flexibility.
  5. Sew the opening using a whip stitch.

2Use a t-shirt or tank top!

You’ll need:

  • A cotton t-shirt or tank top
  • Sewing machine (optional)
  • Needle and matching thread
  • Uncooked rice
  1. Cut a rectangle using one of the side folds of the shirt.
  2. Keeping the shirt folded, sew the open edges together, leaving a small opening at the end (minimum 2 inches). If doing this by hand, I would suggest sewing with a small stitch length, or enforcing the stitch by sewing the edges together a few times. You don’t want any rice falling out!
  3.  Turn the tube inside out, using the small opening. Now all the seams are invisible!
  4. Fill the tube with rice. Don’t fill it too full – you want the heating pad to have some flexibility.
  5. Sew the opening using a whip stitch.

3Use fabric!

You’ll need:

  • Cotton fabric
  • Sewing machine (optional)
  • Needle and matching thread
  • Uncooked rice
  1. Cut out two match shapes (ex. hearts)
  2. Sew both hearts together, leaving a small opening at the end (minimum 2 inches). If doing this by hand, I would suggest sewing with a small stitch length, or enforcing the stitch by sewing the edges together a few times. You don’t want any rice falling out!
  3. Turn the tube inside out, using the small opening. Now all the seams are invisible!
  4. Fill the heart with rice. Don’t fill it too full – you want the heating pad to have some flexibility.
  5. Sew the opening using a whip stitch.

So…I apologize for not having a photo posted of the actual heating pad yet. Whoopsies! I sat down with my shirt, needle and thread the other night and planned to make one while watching Freaks and Geeks, but sadly, I fell asleep and it didn’t get finished (hehe). Now I’ve become swamped with homework! I’ll post a photo as soon as possible I promise! :)

Lots of love!

yourstrulyg

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