Looks like fun!

Homemade With Mess

I don’t need to tell you again how much I love tomato based soups; I could literally live on a diet of them. This is not my first tomato based soup recipe, and I doubt it will be my last. We don’t always have bread in the house but as my body craves carbs I thought I would fill this soup with spaghetti and it was so good! So good infact I even had it for breakfast the next day, it was just a shame I didn’t make a bigger batch!

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–          1 red onion – cut into quarters

–          5 cloves garlic

–          1 red chilli – halved

–          1 tbsp rape seed oil

–          1 x 400g tin plum tomatoes

–          ½ dsp balsamic vinegar

–          2 tbsp tomato puree

–          500ml hot vegetable stock

–          Large handful basil

–          50g Spaghetti – snapped in half

–          Cream…

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Published in: on February 10, 2013 at 3:42 pm  Leave a Comment  

Chinese Roast Chicken

Chinese Roast Chicken.  Looks yummm and the ingredients are easy and easily on hand 🙂 Can’t wait to try.

via Chinese Roast Chicken.

Published in: on December 28, 2012 at 2:54 pm  Leave a Comment  

strawberry funfetti pancakes

Funfetti heaven!


Check it out 🙂

strawberry funfetti pancakes.

Published in: on December 28, 2012 at 2:51 pm  Leave a Comment  

Creamy Camembert, Bacon & Mushroom Spaghetti

minus the bacon…I could totally do this 😀 looks yummy 😀

Homemade With Mess

So, Christmas 2012 has been and gone and it is almost time for the January de-tox. I say almost, as there are still lots of Christmas leftovers to be used up and New Year party food to be eaten. I have to say I have been very spoilt over the festive period and have had very little opportunity to cook. I say spoilt too in the sense that I have seen lots of family and have had many lovely meals cooked for me, I have however been itching to get in the kitchen the whole time.

While I was at my Mum’s I made a few little bits here and there but the issue I have cooking at my Mum’s is that there are never any sharp knives. Infact, her knives have never seen a sharpener, bearing in mind she has had the same knives for over a decade! I…

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Published in: on December 28, 2012 at 2:46 pm  Leave a Comment  

of somethings old and new [recipe: teriyaki grilled chicken breast with sauteed portobello mushrooms sandwich]

yum 😀

:: epicurean escapism ::


Gosh, half a year has gone by since my last update here, and I must admit I miss writing more than I had anticipated. I reckon there isn’t any need for me to explain my disappearance, since you would have gathered by the last post (and my instagram feed), that I’m pretty tied up with my now-9 month old daughter. I would’ve imagined no one would drop by this site anymore, and it would slowly just dissipate into one of those has-been blogs floating in the blogosphere, but since my blog stats are still moving (albeit reduced to almost a fifth!), and I had gained some new friends on Instagram looking through the recipes here, I decided it would be best to drop in when I can, and share simple recipes from my every day culinary escapism.

It came up recently in a conversation; how will ovenhaven remain as named…

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Published in: on December 5, 2012 at 4:23 pm  Leave a Comment  

Turkish Bulgur Pilaf


  • 1 finely chopping onion
  • 1 tbsp red pepper paste (or tomato paste + hot pepper flakes if not available)
  • 1 tbsp butter or ghee
  • 1 c. bulgur
  • 1 3/4 c. hot water or chicken stock
  • 1 chicken boullion cube or 1 tsp salt (or to taste)


  1. Sautee finely chopped onion in butter/ghee on medium high heat
  2. Add bulgur and sautee (pilaf style)
  3. Add liquid (water or broth)
  4. Add red pepper paste and salt/boullion
  5. Cover and wait until it boils
  6. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until water is absorbed.
  7. Take off heat, cover with a paper towel and cover with lid, and let sit 10 minutes before serving.
  8. Fluff and serve


Published in: on November 19, 2012 at 9:01 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Hawawshi (Pita stuffed with meat)

So, I’ve been trying to get this right for a while, and I think I finally nailed it. (I think :)).

It’s pita stuffed with spiced meat and then baked in the oven.  It sounds simply (and it is!) but you’ll be surprised how enjoyable and tasty it is! .  The fat from the meat and the moisture from the onions and peppers make it soft in some spots and the olive oil/broth brushed on makes it crunchy in others – it’s a great combo!  My problem was always finding the best way to make it to get that ultimate consistency of soft and crunchy.  Growing up,  my parents wrapped each pita in some sort of paper so it would steam a bit (honestly, not really sure where that came from), and while it did the job, the best parts of the hawawshi always ended up stuck to the paper.  It just seemed cumbersome, and quite honestly, the thought of losing those yummy soft spots to paper really got on my last nerve.   Others have told me they use foil, which let it sweat too much, and then, I had to bake to crunch it up a bit – prolonging the whole experience.  Also cumbersome and time-consuming.  I’ve tried a few different ways/temperatures/times and this seems to have given me the best results.  Each batch takes 15 minutes in a 400 degree oven.

The good news is, you can very easily play with the ingredients as long as you have a good amount of chopped veggies to add to the meat, and enough spices (whatever spices you prefer) to give it enough flavor.

Hope you like.  Enjoy!

What you’ll  need:

  • 8 (or more) Pita bread rounds, cut in half
  • 1lb ground beef (not too lean ideally 85%)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 of a small red pepper
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp of Kofta Spice – available in most Middle Eastern stores (1 tsp all-spice, that’s not available)
  • 2 Tbsp fresh chopped cilantro
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 2 tsp sumac, (optional)
  • 1 fresh jalapeno pepper minced or a 1 tsp chili paste (optional – if you want to spice things up)
  • 1/4 c. chicken broth
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil ( this is a rough estimation.  It’s a almost 1:1 (broth:olive oil) with a little more broth


  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Place the onions, red peppers, and cilantro in the food processor (if using a jalapeno pepper, this is a good place to add it)
  3. Place onion/pepper mixture in a bowl with the ground beef
  4. Add the tomato paste
  5. Pass 2 cloves of garlic through a garlic press or chop finely and mix into the meat mixture.
  6. Add your spices (Salt, pepper, kofta spice or all spice, sumac, italian seasoning, etc.)  (btw you can get creative with your spices, but this is a combo I like)
  7. Mix ingredients thoroughly
  8. In a separate bowl, mix the broth with the olive oil
  9. Cut pita bread in half
  10. Put a large tablespoon of meat in the pita half and press down evenly (use more or less depending on your liking but it shouldn’t be too thick and should be uniform in thickness)
  11. place on ungreased baking sheet
  12. Continue until you have finished all your meat mixture
  13. Now brush the broth/olive oil mixture on each side
  14. Place first baking sheet in preheated oven for 15 minutes, turning half way through (be sure not to forget this step so it browns evenly)
  15. After time is up, remove pita halves from the baking sheet onto a towel lined tray
  16. Place second batch in the oven and repeat
  17. Let cool for about 10 minutes and then enjoy!

(Pictures to follow.  Haven’t had a chance to upload them.)

Published in: on November 19, 2012 at 8:48 pm  Leave a Comment  

Basic Stir Fry Sauces – America’s Test Kitchen

Great bases for sauces in Asian cuisine.  Each is very easy to adjust to your own tastes.

For alcohol substitutes go to:  http://www.gourmetsleuth.com/Articles/Wine-and-Alcohol-644/alcohol-substitutes.aspx


Classic Stir-Fry Sauce

Combine 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth, 1/4 cup dry sherry, 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce or oyster sauce, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 2 teaspoons cornstarch, and 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil in a medium bowl.

Spicy Orange-Hoisin Stir-Fry Sauce

Combine 1 cup orange juice, 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce, 2 teaspoons cornstarch, and 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes in a medium bowl.

Sweet and Sour Stir-Fry Sauce

Combine 6 tablespoons red wine vinegar, 6 tablespoons orange juice, 6 tablespoons sugar, 3 tablespoons ketchup, 1 teaspoon cornstarch, and 1/2 teaspoon table salt in a medium bowl.

Coconut–Red Curry Stir-Fry Sauce

Combine 1 cup coconut milk, 1 tablespoon fish sauce, 2 teaspoons Thai red curry paste, 1 teaspoon light brown sugar, and 1 teaspoon cornstarch in a medium bowl.

Hot and Sour Stir-Fry Sauce

Combine 6 tablespoons rice vinegar, 1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth, 1/4 cup dry sherry, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons Asian chili sauce, 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil, 2 teaspoons sugar, and 2 teaspoons cornstarch in a medium bowl.

Sesame Stir-Fry Sauce

Combine 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth, 1/4 cup soy sauce, 2 tablespoons dry sherry, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds, 2 teaspoons cornstarch, 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil, and 1 teaspoon Asian chili sauce in a medium bowl.

Published in: on October 18, 2012 at 8:20 pm  Leave a Comment  


You know you want to run out and try this 😀

Published in: on October 18, 2012 at 8:17 pm  Leave a Comment  

Paula Deen Crunch Top Apple Pie Recipe (Food Network)

Damn you Paula Deen! Your desserts really are the best!  The worst for you…but the tastiest!

After apple picking, we had a load of apples sitting in the kitchen.  So…apple pie anyone?

Posted below is the original recipe.  However, I did make the following changes:

  • Doubled the crumb topping (LOVE crumb topping)
  • Added cinnamon to the crumb topping
  • Made my own apple sauce (I had A LOT of apples) – steamed apples in the microwave.  (4 chopped apples + 1/2 tsp cinnamon in the microwave with 1/4 c. water.  Placed in a glass Pyrex bowl with a glass lid.  Microwaved for 5 minutes.  Stirred.  Microwaved uncovered for about 3 minutes.  Added sugar, and some vanilla and mashed away!  Leave till room temperature and then use or refrigerate.  Also a quick easy topping to ice cream or filling for pastry puff).  It’s better over the stove but this is quicker.  Please note, more apples will require more time in the microwave so adjust times accordingly.
  • Used 3 large apples + 4 medium apples I used for the homemade apple sauce (amount worked out perfectly)
  • Added 1/2 tsp vanilla to the mixture.

So here it is :).


Crunch Top Apple Pie

Recipe courtesy Paula Deen

Prep Time: 15 min
Inactive Prep Time: —
Cook Time:  55 min
Level:  Easy
Serves:  6 to 8 servings


Dough and Filling:

  • Dough for a double crust 9-inch pie (homemade, frozen, or refrigerated)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Dash salt
  • 3 1/2 cups peeled, chopped cooking apples
  • 1 (16-ounce) jar applesauce
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons butter, chopped into small pieces

Crunch Topping:

  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Dash salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter, at room temperature


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Line a 9-inch pie pan with half of dough. Combine sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl. Stir in apples, applesauce, and lemon juice. Spoon apple mixture into pie pan and dot with butter. Cut remaining crust into strips; arrange in a lattice design over top of pie. For crunch topping, combine flour, sugar, and salt in a bowl. Using a fork, cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle over top of crust. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees F and continue to bake for about 45 minutes, or until crust and topping are golden brown.

Published in: on October 6, 2012 at 12:02 am  Leave a Comment