Waffles to dress up.

Just before last Christmas my eyes were exposed to a surge of videos waffling pretty much anything… smores waffles, pizza waffles, macaroni and cheese waffles, eggs just shaped waffles… anything and everything I could possible crave. 

Just waffle it.

It basically convinced me that I needed a waffle maker. Oh, the possibilities. I’ll use it all the time, because most of these recipes weren’t even actually waffles… they were using pre-made dough or leftovers. Easy peasy… waffling on demand.

So, a waffle maker officially made the Christmas list and Santa delivered. 

The first time I made waffles was just a few days after Christmas and the second time I made any sort of waffle was today. Whoops.

That being said, if you’re thinking about getting a waffle maker I’d still recommend it because of the obvious… homemade waffles whenever you want.

Both times I’ve made waffles they turned out delicious. They take slightly longer than I was lead to believe… but waffles are worth the wait. Even if you wait about six months for them. 

As you know, I’ve got a sweet tooth… so today’s breakfast topping was warm smashed blackberries and smoked crispy bacon. Also, I can never have enough maple syrup.

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I’m just going to post a very basic waffle recipe that I believe is pretty neutral to either sweet or savory. Great for waffle beginners like me.

Basic Waffle Recipe

(makes ten square waffles, depending on machine)

Ingredients:

2 cups flour
2 large eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1.5 cups of milk (any kind – buttermilk if you have it!)
2 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

If you are wanting your waffles a little bit sweeter than add in a 1 teaspoon of vanilla or almond extract. I always add a bit of cinnamon too.

I added vanilla extract and cinnamon to the waffles featured in this post and while they were slightly sweet, it still was pretty tame and if I needed to I’d be happy putting a savory topping on them.

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To make:

Now… I believe the traditional thing to do here is to separate the eggs and whisk egg whites until stiff peaks form and add them to your waffle mix last, mixing gently.

Again, I have made waffles only twice and the first time I separated the eggs, this time I did not. And, if the truth is to be told I couldn’t really tell much of a difference. And I hate separating eggs… so, I say do what you want or what you have time for. 

1. In a small bowl put in dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Mix gently until everything is combined.
2. Crack eggs into large bowl and whisk (by hand or mixer) until eggs are foamy and light in color.
3. Add in all wet ingredients and mix until all ingredients are combined.
4. Add flour mixture and mix until there are no lumps.

And that’s all. Super easy and then your waffle maker will do the rest. 

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In terms of time and temperature that is going to differ for each machine, so all I can suggest is to read the instructions to make sure you understand how it works etc. 

Waffles are like pancakes in so many ways… but just remember the first one (or two in my case) will be the ugliest. Test your machine to see how the temperature works and how long you should leave the waffles in. 

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So, there you have it. A waffle base to top for your heart and tummy’s delight!

 Go forth and brunch.

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xx

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Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas

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Over a week later and I’m still celebrating Cinco de Mayo…

It’s a state of mind.

Bold colors and simple food, a celebration for any occasion. I think that’s the official motto.

These carnitas have so many things going on:

1. TACOS
2. Minimal Effort
3. Minimal Ingredients
4. Party Food

And obviously taste is a big factor. You get such a rich flavor from all the fat in the pork shoulder… so maybe not the healthiest, but this isn’t a calorie conscious blog.

I add a bit of heat to mine, but it comes through as an after thought, a little kick at the end of the bite. Keep it simple kids, you won’t regret it.

The low and slow cooking method makes this easy win for feeding a party… even if it’s just a little midweek party for two. 

Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas

(makes 2-3 portions, we’re hungry)

Ingredients:

700g pork shoulder
2 -3 bottles of Mexican or Light beer (enough to cover the pork, plus half inch extra)
2 garlic cloves
1 large onion chopped chunky
1 dried ancho chili
2 dried Chili de Arbol
1 jalapeno
Generous pinch of salt and pepper
2 teaspoons Mexican Oregano, normal oregano
2 tbsp of olive oil
1 Lime
1 teaspoon of cumin

Marinate the pork overnight or a few hours before cooking, but definitely marinate the meat. Overnight is best, but sometimes you just wake up wanting Carnitas. 

To Marinate:

1. Place dried chillies in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Cover bowl with  clingfilm and let sit for 30-45 minutes or until the Ancho chili is soft
2. Cut pork into chunky blocks, 2-3 inches wide, trimming excess fat where necessary. Season with finely crushed garlic cloves, salt, pepper, cumin and oregano – Basically a dry rub
3. Mash up Ancho chili into paste and rub into pork
4. Finely dice the Chili de Arbol and mix in with pork
5. Let mixture sit for a minimum of two hours up to overnight.

To Cook:

1. Get your frying pan on a high heat and add two tablespoons of olive oil. Throw in marinated pork and sear until the outside is browned. The rest should be completely raw.
2. Place seared pork into a low temperature set slow cooker, along with chopped onion, chopped jalapeño, and the juice of one lime
3. Cover slow cooker ingredients with beer until liquid fully covers pork by 5.-1 inch over.
4. Set your slow cooker to a low temperature and let cook for 5-8 hours. The longer the better.
5. Once pork is throughly cooked, drain any excess liquid. Take diced pork and gently shred meat with two forks. 

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Carnitas are best served with warm tortillas, diced raw white onion, cilantro and guacamole. Oh, and of course Homemade Salsa!

There’s really not much more you could want, except maybe an ice cold beer.

Ah, summertime.

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xx

Roasted Tomato Salsa

Chips and Salsa. It’s a staple where I’m from.

It’s almost always on the menu, regardless of what type of eatery you’re in. And if it’s not listed on the menu, then it arrives free and immediately – usually before a drink order is even taken.

Ah… Chips and salsa are my ultimate snack food. And fresh homemade salsa is so easy to make. Bonus.

Summer is salsa season… but, I decided to start the party early by making a batch of roasted salsa for my Cinco de Mayo dinner.

I love all varieties of salsa, but I find that roasted salsa has a little more depth of flavor to it. It’s all those excellent charred bits that make this type of salsa my favorite. 

Now, salsa is a bit subjective to how much spice you want. I prefer a kick in mine, so I used a good amount dried and fresh chilies. I think the ancho brings a good color and flavor to the salsa, so I would definitely recommend it for roasted salsa. If you’re unable to get your hands on any, then just add an extra jalapeño or two.

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Roasted Tomato Salsa

(makes about 3 cups)

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 pounds (680 grams) of fresh tomatoes (any variety, I used salad this time)
  • 1 large onion, cut chunky
  • 2-5 jalapeños/assorted mixed chilies (you choose, 2 for something mild obviously)
  • 1 dried Ancho chili
  • 2 dried Chili de Arbol peppers
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 lime
  • Olive oil, for drizzling
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Cilantro (optional)

Now, I love cilantro, but unfortunately Mr.Snacks has that strange genetic thing where cilantro tastes like soap. So, when sharing I need to leave it out during the blending stage. 

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Instructions:

1. Turn oven to grill and place temperature onto the highest setting.
2. While that preheats, chop onion and tomatoes if using larger ones i.e. beefsteak etc. Then place tomatoes, onions, chillies and garlic cloves on a baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Let ingredients grill for 30-45 minutes. 

You want burnt edges and skin on everything! The onions might cook quicker than the tomatoes and potentially the jalapeños, so check the oven after 20 minutes. If the onions are charred enough, remove them and place tomatoes and chillies back in the oven for longer.

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3. While everything is roasting, put your dried chillies in a small bowl fill it with boiling water. Cover the bowl in cling film and leave the chillies to soak until your oven ingredients are finished. Once everything is charred leave the tray to cool for about 10 minutes.
4. Place roasted ingredients, soaked dried chillies, the juice of one lime and a big handful of cilantro (if using) into a food processor. Pulse until everything is blended to your liking. Add salt and pepper to taste.

If the salsa is too thick, add a few tablespoons of the water left over from the dried chillies to thin it out a bit. The amount of liquid will depend on your tomatoes, so you might need work it differently each time you make the salsa. If you’re happy with the heat then just use either more lime juice or water to thin out until you’ve got the right consistency. 

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And then you’re ready to dip a chip!

If you’re not as keen to munch it right away, you can store the salsa in the fridge within an airtight container for 3-4 days. Keep in mind the garlic and heat will develop a stronger flavor the longer you leave it to sit.

And there you have it, your go to snack recipe for the summer. 

Break out the tortilla chips! 

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xx