November 30, 2008

Pop Them In Plum Cake

I really DO love a cake with fresh stone fruit dotted about it! You can make this with plums - or other things too. Apricots, nectarines, apple segments.... yum.

125g butter
125g caster sugar
250g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
zest of one lemon
700g plums, halved and pitted
4 eggs
1/3 cup of milk
extra tablespoon of sugar
icing sugar

Preheat oven to 360 degrees. Butter and line a 22cm springform tin.

Cream the butter and sugar. Add the lemon zest. Beat in the eggs one at a time until fluffy and light and creamy and nice. Carefully fold in the flour and baking powder. Next mix in the milk, gently. Pour into the prepared tin. Pop in the plums and regular intervals. Sprinkle with cinnamon and extra sugar. Bake for 45 minutes. Dust with icing sugar when cooked and serve with icecream or thick cream thank you very much.

Deliciously Decadent Super BLT

These are a great supper dish - but you could also assemble lots of them and and take them on a picnic. I would add some chilli to mine.

4 slices of grainy bread
4 slices of bacon - cooked until crispy
4 iceberg lettuce leaves
4 slices of nice tomatoes
1 avocado mashed with the juice of a lemon and some coriander
2 tablespoons of mayonnaise
some basil leaves
Salt and Pepper

Toast bread.
And then assemble two sandwiches with equal parts of the above ingredients.
Eat with a HUGE glass of red wine to cut the richness a wee bit.

My Favourite Mayonnaise

3 egg yolks
600ml of good quality (but not too strongly flavoured) oil
1 tbsp of dijon mustard
1 tsp of seeded mustard
1 tbsp of Lee and Perrins worcestershire sauce
1 slosh of tabasco sauce
juice of 1 lemon
salt and pepper

In a food processor, beat egg yolks with mustards until well combined and a bit airy. Slowly, oh so very slowly add the oil, trickle by trickle. The mayonnaise will slowly thicken and combine. When you've carefully added all the oil, add the worcestershire sauce, the lemon juice, the tabasco and the salt and pepper. Then add half a tablespoon of boiling water to lighten the whole mix up. Store in the fridge.

Cream of Cauliflower Soup Deluxe

1 tbsp butter
1 brown onion, diced
1 clove of garlic, diced
1 medium cauliflower, trimmed of it's leaves and cut into florettes
1/2 tbsp curry powder
2 cups of chicken stock
1 cup of water
1 cup of cream
black pepper
a pinch of salt

Heat butter and saute the onion and the garlic until soft and smelling good. Add curry powder, stock, water and cauliflower. Put the lid on and cook over a low heat for half an hour. The cauliflower should be tender by this stage. If it is soft, blend in batches and return to the pot. Stir in the cream and simmer until nice and hot - but not boiling! Season with salt and pepper and enjoy!

Max's Favourite Muffins - Carrot and Cheese!

We like these a lot. We eat them with a big bowl of cream of cauliflower soup for soothed sighs all round.

2 cups of self raising flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of sugar
1 teaspoon of salt
1/2 cup of grated carrot
1/2 cup of grated cheddar cheese
1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese
3/4 cup of milk
1/2 cup of melted butter
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 200 degrees c

Mix all ingredients together until just combined. Don't mix too much! Fill muffin cases (which are sitting happily in a muffin tray) two thirds full of mixture. Bake in a hot oven for 15 minutes or until cooked and browning around the edges. Eat hot with a big bowl of soup!

LoobyLu's Mum's Chocolate Cake

via Loobylu and her Mum

Melt 85 grams (3 ounces) of butter.
Put in bowl (in order of appearance) with:
1 cup of sifted self raising flour,
1 cup of caster sugar,
2 Tablespoons of cocoa (sifted) — not drinking chocolate, but real cocoa
2 cold eggs
dollop vanilla
pinch of salt
1/2 cup of whole cream milk

combine & beat 3 minutes.
Cook for 45 minutes on 180°c.
Cool and ice with chocolate glace icing.
Eat. With ice-cream.

November 29, 2008

Soba- So-Good Noodle Salad

This is a favourite recipe of mine! You can really add anything you like to it - asparagus, prawns, soused spinach, bbq chicken ... the list goes on. It's yummy to take on a picnic - and it's even better if you make it and then eat it the next day!

You Need:
1 packet of soba noodles
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
1 avocado - sliced and diced
1 cucumber - sliced thinly
2 tbsp of pickled pink ginger
1/2 punnet of cherry tomatoes - halved
1 tbsp peanuts - chopped roughly

1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp light olive or good vegetable oil
2 tbsp light soy sauce
2 teaspoons of sugar
Juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp of white wine vinegar
1 clove of garlic, diced
1/2 chilli, diced
1 inch piece of ginger - diced

Mix all these ingredients together in a jar.

Cook noodles for 4 or 5 minutes in boiling salted water - then cool immediately in a big bowl of cold water. Drain well once cold. Add all other ingredients. Toss well with the dressing. Eat it all up!

November 28, 2008

Corn and Bacon and Potato Soup... Chowder if you like!

My mum used to make this when we were growing up. This is my version, because I don't have her recipe. It's super yum and I recommend making a double quantity and freezing half for delicious suppers at a later date.

Oh... and you can definitely substitute FRESH corn for the corn kernels - but don't leave out the creamed corn - it makes it thick and sweet and super delish!

1/2 kg of peeled diced waxy potatoes
1 tin of creamed corn
1 tin of corn kernels
200 g bacon diced
1 onion
1 litre of milk
250ml chicken stock
salt and pepper

Fry the onion and bacon in a wee bit of butter until lovely and smelling sweet. Add the corn, creamed corn, potatoes, milk and stock. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer for 25 minutes until the potatoes are tender. Eat it all up.

Carluccio's Meatloaf

I like this even better the next day. Cold. Sliced thick. In a sandwich with home-made tomato sauce (and sliced roast potatoes if you are feeling super decadent). Yum.

1 kg minced beef (or a mixture of veal, lamb, pork mince)
175g crumbs from stale bread, coarsely ground
2tbs finely chopped parsley
50g freshly grated Parmesan cheese
salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 eggs
oil for frying.

For the tomato sauce:
1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic crushed
4tbs olive oil
1 bottles of tomato passata
1 tin of diced tomatoes
1/4 cup basil leaves

Mix the minced meat with the breadcrumbs, add the parsley, Parmesan, salt and pepper and mix thoroughly. Lightly beat the eggs and add them. Form it into an oval meat loaf. In a large LIDDED oven proof casserole dish/pan, heat the oil and fry the loaf until it is a crisp golden-brown all over. Set casserole aside.

In a separate pan, fry the onion in the oil. When softened add the garlic, then the tomatoes and tomato passata. Cook sauce over a medium flame for 10 minutes, stirring. Season with salt and pepper, add basil then pour the sauce on the meat loaf, and put the lid on the casserole. Bake in a hot oven (200C) for an hour. Carefully baste loaf from time to time. Remove lid after 30 minutes to allow the sauce to thicken. The loaf should cool for 10 minutes before it is sliced. Serve with mash and peas or cubed new potatoes fried with garlic and rosemary.

Amazingly Delicious Fish Curry

If you DEFO won't eat fish - you could try this with chunks of pumpkin in the rolls - you'll just need to cook them for longer (about 15 minutes on an even simmer). Or you could put chicken fillets in there. Or some deep fried tofu would be lovely too.

Please note: This makes a mild curry that Max can eat too - definitely add some fresh chilli to amp things up if you like!

2 tsp of red curry paste - DIY or store bought
1 440 g tin of coconut milk
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 kilo of nice fish fillets - cut into little bite sized pieces - no bones please!
1 large CHINESE cabbage - for extra stretch
Juice of one lime - or 1 tbsp of lime juice
1/2 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp fish sauce
1/2 tsp white pepper
1 clove garlic, 1 inch piece of ginger, 1 small onion, 3 candlenuts (or macadamias!) - all ground to a paste in a food processor or mortar and pestle
1 tbsp of peanut or other good frying oil
Some toothpicks for securing the 'fishy cabbage rolls'

First cut the end off the cabbage - discard the outer leaves for compost and separate the rest of the leaves nicely. Also remove any hardcore woody ends too - they'll make for a yick mouthful and tricky wrapping too. Put on a large pot of water to boil - and blanch the leaves for about 30 seconds each - until soft. Place a leaf flat and pop the bite sized raw piece of fish in the centre. Fold one end of the leaf over - the fold the sides in - and finally roll the whole lot over and secure into a neat, tightish parcel with a toothpick. (Easy. Max did this for me this afternoon)

Next - fry the garlic, ginger, onion, nut paste in a spoonful of oil until fragrant. Add the red curry paste and fry for 30 seconds or so, stirring. Next add the stock and stir till combined. Then add the coconut milk, lime juice, pepper, soy and fish sauce.

Bring to a fairly serious simmer and then pop in the cabbage/fish parcels. Now, slosh it around a bit so the curry sauce gets all over the fish. Next, bring the whole lot up to the boil, and turn off the heat. Allow to sit for 15 minutes while you cook some rice.

When your rice is done, turn the fish back on and bring up to the boil again. Turn off and allow to sit for 5 minutes with the lid on before serving.

Enjoy with a nice cold beer or glass of crisp white wine!

November 27, 2008

Dorothy's Scones

This recipe comes courtesy of the CWA documentary 'Not All Tea and Scones'.

500g flour
60g butter
60g icing sugar
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 tsp salt
30g cream of tartar
15g bicarb soda
1 egg

Rub butter into sifted dry ingredients using spirit fingers. Add milk and egg all at once. Knead gently and lovingly like a CWA chick. Gently pat down to 3cm or so thickness. Rest dough for 5 minutes. Cut into rounds and bake in a hot oven on a greased tray for 15 minutes until risen.

November 26, 2008

Amazingly Delicious Eggplant with Honey

Whenever I make this, people moan with delight. It can be a wee bit embarrassing. For them. I am used to moaning. I based the recipe on a Claudia Roden one that I found in an old Cuisine Magazine.

2 medium eggplant, sliced to about 1cm slices
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, diced
1 tsp of curry powder
1/4 cup of honey
1/2 cup of stock or water
Juice of one lemon
1/2 cup of olive oil (light)
a sprig of fresh mint or coriander

arrange the eggplant on oiled oven trays - drizzle with 1/4 cup of the light olive oil and bake until golden. Add more oil if they look to be drying out.
meanwhile, in a deep frypan - heat a tablespoon of olive oil and gently fry the garlic and ginger, being careful not to brown it. Add the curry powder. Next add the honey, lemon juice and stock/water. Stir until well combined. Simmer for 5 minutes on a low heat. Add the oven baked slices of eggplant. Cover and simmer, checking often for sticking/burning, until the liquid has reduced and the eggplant has started to go sticky and caramelise a bit.

Serve at room temperature with plenty of sea-salt and black pepper and the mint sprinkled over it too.

eggplant beanbags from here

November 22, 2008

Best Ever Choc Chip Cookies - via the Frankie Cookbook

I am lucky. Frankie asked me to be in their cookbook last year. Of course i said Y.E.S. With pretty bells on. Here is my Frankie-Famous recipe.

125g salted butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 small eggs
1 or 2 drops of vanilla essence
1 3/4 cups self raising flour
250 grams ! choc chips

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees.

Using an electric mixer, cream the butter with the sugars until pale.
Beat in the eggs and the vanilla until nicely mixed.
Beat in the sifted flour until mixed through.
Fold through the choc chips.

Grease or line a baking tray with baking paper. Roll dough into teaspoon sized balls and pop onto the tray. Bake for ten to twelve minutes. If you like them chewy don't let them brown. They will crisp up as they cool down. makes about 48.

cookie jar via here

Lemon Squares - Not For Sour Pusses

Did you know... that this is really a lovely slice. A simple cake topped with a fresh lemony sugary syrup. It's really lemon soaked loveliness... in a square!

Make Le Cake...
175g butter
175g caster sugar
175 g self raising flour
2 eggs

Make Le Topping...
juice of two lemons
120g caster sugar

Cream the butter and the sugar. Beat in the eggs. Fold in the flour. Bake in a greased, square pan measuring 25 X 17 cms. The oven should be at 180 degrees. Bake for about 40 minutes or until cooked.

Meanwhile, mix together the lemon juice and the sugar. As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, pour it over the hot cake. Leave to cool and then cut into squares and serve.

Make some tea.

Play scrabble.

Have fun.

Yellow Tea Bowls from here

Honey Madeleines and Moustaches

My big girl grew up on these. Icing sugar dusted madeleines sent home from Stephanie's for her munching pleasure. She did turn out pretty sweet. Perhaps it was due to these.

100g butter (unsalted)
1/2 tbsp honey (i like leatherwood)
2 eggs
100g caster sugar
a tiny slosh of vanilla essence
pinch of salt
100g plain flour sifted with 1 tsp baking powder

Melt the butter and honey together. in a big mixing bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, salt and vanilla. fold in the flour. Let rest for an hour or so.

Butter and flour the madeleine tins well (or if you don't have a fluted madeleine tin - use a patty pan tin). Spoon tin 2/3 full of mixture and bake for just under ten minutes in a 180 degree oven. Allow to cool for a minute or two - then bang the tin on your benchtop to dislodge the sticky cakes. Cool on a rack and dust with icing sugar. Eat lots of them.

Mug from here

Nigella Lawson's Cupcake Recipe

put zem on zis....

250g softened unsalted butter
250g caster sugar
3 large eggs
250g self raising flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
5 tbsp milk

Preheat oven to 200 (or 400)

Throw all ingredients into a food processor. Mix until combined. Spoon into cupcake case lined muffin tin - fill them 2/3 full. Cook for about 15 minutes until well risen and golden and springy on the top. Ice with your favourite icing*. Decorate. Share. Gobble them down!

Cake stand with birdys from here

Egg Baskets - From Cooking With Daisy

My kids love these. They are crunchy and eggy soothing at the same time. And cheesy. They are cheesy too. It's a bit of preparation - but it's worth it for the fun factor!

Make some toasty baskets with egg in them....!

4 slices of brown or white bread (2 for each child)

4 eggs
a bit of butter

2 tbsp milk
salt and pepper
1/2 cup of grated cheese

Preheat the oven to 200c or 400f.

Cut the crusts off the bread and spread both sides with butter.

Press each slice into a muffin tray to form a basket.

Bake for 10 minutes until a bit golden and quite crisp.

Whilst they are baking, w
hisk eggs, milk and some salt and pepper
Melt a little butter in a pan and add the egg mix. Scramble until almost cooked through.
Tumble the scrambled egg into the bready basket. Top with grated cheese. Return to the oven until the cheese has melted. Keep watching them to be sure the bread doesn't burn. Serve with a smile!

Felt eggs from here

Coconut Tarts with Raspberry Jam a la Mike....

My nan used to make these.. this is not her recipe.. but it is nearly as nice!

For the pastry
50g butter
100g plain flour
pinch of salt
one tsp caster sugar
one egg yolk and cold water to mix

For the filling
raspberry jam
50g butter
50 g caster sugar
1 egg, beaten
50 g dessicated coconut
3 tbsp self raising flour

Preheat oven to 190 degrees (or 375 degrees farenheit) This recipe makes one dozen.

  • For the pastry - rub the butter into the flour and salt until it resembles breadcrumbs; stir in the sugar.
  • Make a well in the centre and pour in the egg yolk and enough cold water to make a firm dough. Turn onto a floured board and roll out thinly.
  • Cut into rounds large enough to fill a shallow patty pan tin. (We used a glass to to this.. like nan used to).
  • Line each patty pan hollow, and then put a little bit of jam in each one.

Now make the filling:
  • Cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy.
  • Add the egg a little at a time. Then fold in the coconut and the flour.
  • Place spoonfuls of this mixture on top of the jammy lined patty pans.
  • It will spread out as you cook it.. so don't be too precise...

Bake for 15 to 20 mins until golden and firm. Cool and eat!

Gorgeous cake stand from here

How I Make Super Fizzy Ginger Beer

This recipe will yield approx 55 cups (a cup is 250ml) of ginger beer.

Week One
Make Your Plant
½ teaspoon dried yeast
1 rounded teaspoon ground ginger
1 rounded teaspoon sugar
1 cup lukewarm water

Put all of the above in a jar that will hold about 4 cups of liquid. Give it a good mix. Cover with an open weave cloth and an elastic band to hold it in place. NOT a lid. It could go BANG! Yeast is rather explosive at times!

EACH DAY - you must add one teaspoon of ginger and one teaspoon of sugar. Do that for ONE WEEK.

While you're 'growing your plant' you need to collect plastic bottles. I'm told smaller bottles result in better fizz - but just your regular 1.5l or 2l milk or water bottles will do the trick as well. You'll need to do the sums. But know that you're making about 14 litres of ginger beer - so collect your bottles accordingly - and maybe an extra one just in case!

Week Two - A bit more fortifying!
You need to add to your plant. It now needs a top up of two cups of warm water - NOT HOT! You will kill the yeast! So add those two cups of warm water, and now each day you need to add TWO Teaspoons of Ginger and Two Teaspoons of Sugar. Stir it up. Do this for one week again. And be sure you have your bottles ready for the end of the week!

Week Three
AT THE END OF THE SECOND WEEK - It's time to bottle it!

You'll need a 20 litre container for mixing it all up, a funnel, some muslin cloth for straining your goopy 'plant' and your bottles (which are lovely and clean).

Mix 48 cups of warm water with 1 cup of strained lemon juice and 8 cups of sugar - and stir until the sugar has dissolved.

Now, you need to strain your 'plant' (into a large dish through the muslin). It might be easiest to just stretch the muslin over the top of the 'plant' jar - and then secure it well with the elastic band. Now tip it into the bowl, thus straining. Set the leftover goop aside for your next ginger beer 'plant'.

Add the strained 'plant' (not the goop) to the warm water/sugar/lemon mixture. Stir up well and then pour into bottles with the help of a jug and a funnel. Be sure to leave an inch or so space between the ginger beer level and the lid of the bottle. It's nice for the ginger beer to have breathing space.

SET THE BOTTLES ASIDE FOR ONE WEEK IN A COOL SPOT. Make some cute labels for your bottles in the mean time - you might even want to add the 'ready to drink from THIS DATE' label if you're planning on another batch some time soon.

So... It's a week later - the whole process has taken THREE WEEKS - Say 'Hurrah!' Then open and drink! It should be fizzy now! You might like to add lots of ice or some gin or vodka or lime to your ginger beer. Or you might like it 'beach style' fresh from the bottle with no fancy stuff!

Pretty Glasses from here

Picnic Lemonade - It's Delicious

You definitely need one of those American Style picnic jugs to tote this delicious drink in! You might also want to fortify with a bit of Gin for the grown ups.

via Martha

Makes 10 cups - you might want to make sure your ICE will fit into the top of whatever bottle you are going to carry this in... just a thought.

3 cups lemon or lime juice, about 20 lemons or 25 limes freshly squeezed (perhaps lemons - limes are WAY TOO EXPENSIVE unless you have a lime tree!)
2 cups caster sugar
6 cups cold water
2 cups of ice
2 lemons or limes, thinly sliced for garnish
1/2 cup cranberry juice, optional for pink lemonade

Into a large serving container, strain the citrus juice, mix it with sugar, and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add 4 cups cold water and cranberry juice, if using, and stir again until well combined. Add ice to fill and a few lemon or lime slices.

bottle cap magnets via here

Tuna Pan Bagna - Perfect Picnic Fodder

Pan Bagna is such a cool, portable concept, huh? You really can customise to suit yourself - with a heap of delicious flavours all mixing it up together. I think this recipe came from Martha Stewart's site... but I can't quite remember! I think chicken, avocado, mayo, red onion, almonds, pesto would be super good in a pan bagna. But you do what YOU like!

1 loaf Italian or country bread with crust that is not too heavy
1 large clove garlic, halved
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons white-wine vinegar
1 small red onion, very thinly sliced
medium sized tin of tuna in olive oil
1 large ripe tomato, thinly sliced
a couple of 'fillets' of roasted red pepper
1 handful of rocket
1/2 lemon
a few basil leaves
2 tbsp mayonnaise
pitted olives

Halve bread horizontally. Pull out the soft interior, to within 1-inch of the crust; discard interior or reserve for another use. Rub the inside of bread all over with garlic, then drizzle with oil and vinegar. Cover the bottom half of the bread with onion and tomato slices. Top with pepper strips. Evenly distribute tuna and basil and rocket and olives. Add plenty of salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon too. Spread the top half of bread with mayonnaise and place it mayo-side down over filled bottom half. Wrap in plastic wrap. Place on a large plate, and top with a second plate. Weight with several heavy cans. Refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours.

Just before serving, cut into 6 to 8 wedges or slices.

Zebra Picnic Print from here

Tea with Delia? Delia Smith's Crumpet Recipe

You really need to take your time cooking these. Otherwise they will be doughy and yuk. And doughy crumpets are for slappers, right? I make the batter and whack it in the fridge for delicious sourdough crumpets the next morning. I'm a bit clever, sometimes. You could get these started early in the day and have them for afternoon tea. That would be clever too. This recipe makes 12.

8 oz (225 g) strong plain flour
1 level teaspoon salt
1 level tablespoon dried yeast
1 level teaspoon caster sugar
½ pint (275 ml) milk

You will also need a thick-based frying pan, some egg rings and a little lard.

Heat the milk and 2 fl oz (55 ml) water together in a small saucepan until they are 'hand hot'. Then pour into a jug, stir in the sugar and dried yeast and leave it in a warm place for 10-15 minutes till there is a good frothy head on itMeanwhile, sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl, make a well in the centre then, when the yeast mixture is frothy, pour it all in.

Next use a wooden spoon to work the flour into the liquid gradually and beat well at the end to make a perfectly smooth batter. Cover the basin with a tea-towel and leave to stand in a warm place for about 45 minutes - by which time, the batter will have become light and frothy.To cook the crumpets: grease the insides of the egg rings well, and grease the frying pan as well before placing it over a medium heat.

Arrange the rings in the frying pan and, when the pan is hot, spoon 1 tablespoon of the crumpet batter into each ring. Let them cook for 4 or 5 minutes: first tiny bubbles will appear on the surface and then, suddenly, they will burst, leaving the traditional holes. Now take a large spoon and fork, lift off the rings and turn the crumpets over.

Cook the crumpets on the second side for about 1 minute only. Re-grease and reheat the rings and pan before cooking the next batch of crumpets. Serve the crumpets while still warm, generously buttered. If you are making crumpets in advance, then reheat them by toasting lightly on both sides before serving.

Slapper Tea-Cup and Plate from here

Rustic Tomato and Onion Tart

Biscuity Dough Base
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup whole milk

Dijon Mustard - or Seeded Mustard is nice too!
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of crushed garlic
6 ripe tomatoes sliced thickly
1 red pepper sliced thinly
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Thyme/parsley... whatever you have on hand

ALSO - you could add capers, anchovies or olives.. whatever you like... even very thinly sliced potato if it's sauteed till tender! You might like to add something meaty or fishy if you are so inclined.

Make the dough - add all ingredients except milk to food processor (or do it by hand) - combine well - until crumby - and then slowly add the milk. Don't handle/process for too long. Roll out (on a well floured surface) to fit a WELL GREASED baking sheet (you should use butter here) - messy is good - rough edges are perfect!

Make the topping - fry the onion in the olive oil until it's caramelising and getting golden - add the garlic and peppers - fry until soft and melding together nicely. Add salt and pepper.

Assemble - Spread the uncooked base with a generous coating of mustard. Then place the tomatoes evenly over the base. Next add the onion and pepper mix (and any other treats you want to put on!) - and sprinkle with fresh herbs. Drizzle with olive oil. Add some more freshly ground pepper and put in a hot oven for about 15 - 20 minutes until the base is crispy and the edges re browning and rustic!

Eat with a nice bottle of wine and a rocket salad!

Tomato Tea-Towel Apron from here

My favourite snack - Potato and Onion Tortilla

I like to cut a cold wedge of this and tuck it into a baguette with mayo and tomatoey sauce of some kind. Definitely a great one to take on a picnic. It's filling and super tasty. There are lots of different versions of this dish - some say you shouldn't add garlic. But I like garlic. So I add it. You should add what you like too.

You need a large, deep frypan and a shallow oven-proof dish for this

600 g of red skinned or yellow fleshed potatoes - cut into smallish cubes
3 tbsp olive oil
2 roughly diced onions
2 cloves of crushed garlic
Salt and Pepper
2 tsp of sugar
a couple of sprigs of a fresh herb
(mint, thyme, basil, parsley.. whichever you like)
8 eggs

Heat the olive oil in a large deep frypan. Throw in the onions and potatoes and sugar and cook slowly (over a low heat) until golden - this is important as it makes it taste EXTRA good! It might take 15 or 20 minutes to do this bit - but keep stirring and you'll be rewarded! Once they are golden, add the garlic and fry for one minute to combine.

Next, butter your ovenproof dish (or you can use more olive oil). Tumble the potato and onion mixture into the buttered dish. Season VERY well with lots of salt and freshly ground pepper. Beat the eggs just a little bit to loosen them up.

Pour into the dish on top of the spuds. Put into a 400 degree (or 200 degree) oven for about 20 minutes until puffy and golden on the top.

Eat hot or cold. I like it cold!

Dollshouse onions via here

Zucchini Slice via Stephanie's

This recipe was found in Stephanie's 'Travelling and Tasting' book. It's called 'Anna-Maria's Zucchini Slice'. Dur-e used to bring home the small bits that were left over from the restaurant's 'Centre Table' lunches. We warmed it in the oven for a little while and it was just so good. I think the quality of the ingredients makes a huge difference to this dish - but use what you can afford and it'll still be wonderful.

500g grated unpeeled zucchini
1 onion chopped finely
1 cup bacon finely diced
1 cup grated parmesan
1 cup self raising flour
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup olive oil
salt and pepper
3 tomatoes

Mix all ingredients together except for the tomato slices.
Grease your tin thoroughly with olive oil or butter.
Pour into 25cm square tin - (or a bigger rectangular dish for a flatter slice that cuts into more pieces!)
Top with the tomato slices and more salt and pepper (some basil would be nice too).
Drizzle with olive oil.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 40 minutes until firm.
Sometimes it can take longer.
And if you go for the shallow dish, it will only take half an hour or so.
Serve hot or warm or cold.
With some salad and a glass of crunchy wine.

Zucchini Print via Here

Cosiest Cream of Mushroom Soup

Oh. It's so cool in Melbourne today. I want to make some of this now! You know - if you reduce this down a bit - it makes a delicious toast topping. Just add a heap of cracked black pepper and a very huge cup of tea. Perfect.

500g diced mushrooms
6 golden shallots diced finely - or use one medium onion
1 clove of garlic, chopped
1 handful of fresh herbs - sage is nice - chopped
400ml cream1/2 cup plain flour
600ml stock - beef, vegie or chicken
salt and pepper
30 g butter
juice of one lemon

Saute the shallots and garlic until nearly golden, add the mushrooms and saute for about 15 minutes, stirring regularly until softened and sweet smelling and well combined. Squeeze in the lemon juice. Add the flour and combine well, then add the stock and fresh herbs. Allow to simmer on a gentle heat for 15 minutes, stirring often - it should thicken up a little. Then add the cream and cook gently for another five minutes. Serve with heaps of black pepper and sea salt and more herbs if you like! And bread, heaps of crusty bread!

Serves two hungry or four entree peeps!

Bird and Mushroom Print Via Here

BLT - Guystyle

Tell me what's better then tomatoey goodness melding with mayo-ey deliciousness. Nope. You can't, can you?! These are super quick and super yum. Omit the bacon and add avocado if you are a vegie type.

This is Cam's BLT

Turkish Bread
Nice tasty tomatoes
Iceberg lettuce
Home-made Mayonnaise or Aioli
Sprig of Fresh Herbs
Squeeze of Lemon
Sea Salt
Black Pepper

Toast the bread and fry the bacon until crispy. Spread a healthy dob of mayonnaise on the toasted bread. Sprinkle with fresh herbs, add the bacon, lettuce and tomato. Squeeze a teeny bit of lemon juice on top of it all - and season with lots of pepper and a bit of salt.

Eat with much gusto.

BLT necklaces via here

Easy As... Chicken and Vegetable Pie

I miss the days when you could buy a delicious pie from your local corner store. But it's really super easy to make a nice pie yourself - and you SO don't need ALL THAT PASTRY UNDERNEATH. Just make a lovely filling and whack a lid on it! This pie is really easy, really tasty and generally fun for the whole family. Make it. Go on!

500g chicken fillets, chopped roughly
500g pontiac or desiree potatoes diced roughly
200g carrots, diced roughly
1 cup of frozen peas
1/2 cup of frozen corn
1 leek
1 onion, diced finely
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 litre of chicken stock
2 tablespoons of seeded mustard
30g butter
1/2 cup plain flour
1 or 2 sheets of puff pastry

You need an oven proof casserole dish (no lid necessary) for this recipe.

In a large saucepan, bring the potatoes, carrots, peas and corn to the boil in the STOCK. Simmer until all vegetables are tender.

Whilst that's going on, take a fry pan and saute the onion, leek, chicken and garlic in the butter for about 5 minutes. Add the mustard and fry a bit more. Then throw in the flour and mix through - it'll be a gluggy pasty mess - but don't worry.

Now, the vegetables are tender, right?! If they are, throw in the chickeny, oniony, floury mixture and simmer until the mixture thickens nicely. Season with lots of pepper and a wee bit of salt.

Pour into casserole dish and cover with a piece of puff pastry cut to the correct size. Press down the edges with a fork to seal and poke a few forky holes in the pastry to allow the air to escape. Paint with egg yolk and bake for 20 minutes in a moderate oven - or until golden! Eat!

tiny hearty pie dish from here

Easy Enough For Duffers - Red Lentil and Vegetable Soup

I am one of those people who cannot get enough of SOUP. I just think you can't beat a warm bowl of deliciousness... especially on a wintery day. Soup makes me feel nurtured, loved and generally looked after. Even if I make it for myself, I feel totally chuffed and lucky. So if YOU made me soup...... WELL.... you should start running, because my gratitude would be a little TOO much to deal with for most people. And, did I mention I'm a good hugger?

1 tbsp mild curry paste
440g can of diced tomatoes
5 cups of chicken stock (or vegetable if you prefer)
1 carrot, diced
1 stalk of celery diced
1 small zucchini diced
1 potato diced
1/2 cup peas - frozen is fine
1/2 cup corn - as above
1 cup red lentils
a handful of chopped fresh coriander
salt and pepper

Fry curry paste in a little oil until fragrant.
Add tomatoes, carrot, celery, potato and zucchini.
Fry for a few minutes until nicely coated and softened a bit. Add stock.
Add lentils. Bring up to the boil.
Then simmer for ten to fifteen minutes over a low heat.
Add peas and corn.
Simmer a further 5 minutes.
Serve with plenty of s&p and the fresh coriander.

soup bowls from here

Make It Golden - Potato Curry

I invented this dish when my eldest was a wee baby. it's particularly delicious with Jasmine Rice and some Gingery Stirfried Beans. I like it on toast for breakfast too. It's really the super goodness! Oh and whack it in a lovely soft sesame roll with some relish and rocket for a totally winning portable lunch!

1 kg of nice potatoes (peeled and cut into rustic cubes)
2 large onions - roughly chopped
2 cloves of garlic - smashed up and chopped up
1 inch piece of ginger - grated or chopped finely
1 tbsp curry powder 1 cup of water
1 tbs soy sauce
2 tbsp vegetable or olive oil
fresh mint - chopped
200 g frozen peas
salt and pepper

Boil potatoes until almost tender - while they are boiling, in a large frying pan saute the onion the oil until golden - stir often and make sure it doesn't burn. When it's nice and golden and catching a bit on the bottom of the pan - throw in the garlic and ginger and stir for 30 seconds - then add the almost cooked potatoes - toss or stir to combine all ingredients in the pan.

Next, mix the curry powder, soy sauce and water to form a paste and pour into pan over potatoes - mix and fry well. Add the peas. Keep simmering and tossing until liquid has reduced - it's meant to be a dry-ish curry. Season well with salt and pepper - garnish with mint and serve! With rice or naan or whatever you like!

Saucepan Pendant here

November 21, 2008

Chicken in a Bag - Nanna-Style

Another dish adapted from the 'Vogue French Cookery' Book. It's really easy to do... and so few dishes! What's that all about? That's all about smart cooking, that is! Adapt the concept to other stuff for delicious meals (and spread the word about cooking in a bag while you're at it!)

One Large Oven Bag - like your Nanna used to use
One Chicken
One Bunch of Baby Carrots, stalks removed
6 Baby Potatoes, halved
One Punnet of Cherry Tomatoes
4 whole cloves of garlic
1 sprig of fresh herbs
salt and pepper
1/2 cup of chicken stock
1 tbsp flour

Open up the oven bag. Throw in the flour and shake it around a bit. Don't get it all over yourself. Then put in the chicken. Any way will do. Now chuck in the carrots, tomatoes, potatoes, herbs, garlic. Add plenty of salt and pepper. A dollop of butter is good if you're a bit of a lush.

Now hold the bag with the opening upmost - and pour in the stock. Tie the bag closed securely. You don't want the juices to escape whilst you cook it. Pop onto an oven tray - roast for 40 minutes in a hot oven (400 degrees - or 200 depending on the C or the F thing.) Be careful not to steam yourself when you open the bag and serve!

It's the most delicious, no-nonsense, super easy, nutritious meal! The chicken will be super tender. My kids eat theirs betwixt two pieces of soft white bread! YUM! It's also really good with mushrooms thrown into the mix!

Chicken things from here

Truly Delightful Egg and Bacon Pie

My paternal nanna was the queen of egg and bacon pie. In my quest to recreate my childhood I began to make it too. Here is my recipe - based on one in Stephanie's BIG orange cookbook.

2 sheets of puff pastry (the frozen type is good)
8 nice free range eggs
3 rashers of bacon, chopped roughly
1 onion, diced
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1/2 cup chopped parsley
salt and pepper
30 g butter

Melt butter in a fry pan and add onion and garlic - saute until softened. Add bacon and cook until starting to crisp up. Set aside.

Line a greased pie dish with a sheet of pastry. Cut it to size and press down around top edge to secure. Pop in the bacon/onion mixture and the parsley. Crack in the eggs - they don't need to be beaten. Season with salt and pepper. Put another sheet of pastry on top to make a lid. you can decorate with little pastry chickens or piggys at this stage if you choose!

Pierce pastry lid with a fork a few times. Brush with egg yolk mixed with 1 tbsp of milk. Bake in a moderate oven for 35 minutes until golden and puffed up on top. Serve with tomato sauce or chilli sauce.. or both and a crisp green salad. Delicious cold the next day too!

via here

felt egg and soldiers here

Clever Dinner for Silly Sausages...

Once the cat was out of the bag (so to speak) with the whole concept of oven-bag cookery, there was no stopping me. Sausages, potato curry.... I swear it'll be soup next.

Stay tuned for my 'dessert in a bag' - and why wouldn't lovely Summery stone-fruits tossed in some prosecco and brown sugar and baked be a delicious treat? Then a wee bowl of crumble in the centre of the table and a tub of ice-cream.. and away you go! Oh. I digress.. back to the sausages.

Rustic Sausages in a Bag
1 large oven bag
1/2 kilo of very good quality sausages (or you could use chorizo, don't skimp on the sausages though - as bad sausages are not worth eating)
2 tins of tomatoes (cherry or whole)
1 head of garlic cut down the middle
1 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion cut into chunks
1 tin of chick peas, rinsed and drained
1/2 red pepper cut into chunks
6 baby potatoes, halved
1/2 cup of chicken stock
1/2 cup of chopped fresh herbs (i like basil!) salt and pepper

Put the lot into the bag. Mix about a bit without spilling. Tie bag closed securely. Pop onto oven tray. Pierce two holes near the tied up opening to allow some steam to escape and prevent the bag from gaining pressure. Bake for about an hour in a 400degree oven. Eat with crusty bread and some fruity wine!

via here

Sausage Dog From Here

Sara's Sassy Saucy Spuds!

Crockery via here

Sara's Classic Bistro Style Gratin Dauphinoise -
French Gratin Potatoes


* 1.5 kgs waxy potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
YOU MUST USE A V-SLICER!! You can get them from Victorias Basement QVB for about $40. It’s worth it TRUST ME
(such as Desiree, Golden Wonder, Maris Piper, Idaho or King Edward)
* 200 grams cheese, grated (gruyere or tasty) I try to use light
* 430 ml double cream (I try to use light here too)
* salt
* fresh ground black pepper
* 2-4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
* 2 sprigs fresh thyme
* 25 grams butter
* cheese, for topping (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 300F/150C/gas mark 2.
2.Take a heavy-bottomed dish or an ovenproof gratin dish, and grease it will with some of the butter. I use one about 10 cm deep, 40 cm long and 20 cm wide.
3. Layer the potato slices in the dish, slightly overlapping each other, seasoning lightly with the salt and pepper, and sprinkling a liberal amount of cheese on each layer.
4. Sprinkle cheese on the top of the last layer.
5. Put the double cream, garlic and sprigs of thyme in a pan and bring to them gently to the boil, then remove the thyme and pour hot cream over the potatoes.
6. Dot the top of the gratin with the remaining butter and some extra cheese if you wish, and bake for about 1 1/2 to 2 hrs, or until the potatoes are soft, and the top is crispy and golden brown.

YUMMMMMMM! Via here.

Not-For-The-Faint-Hearted- Potato, Bacon and Cabbage Fry Up

nice felt vegies here

Colcannony Type Thing - or Bacon, Cabbage and Potato Fry-Up

2 Rashers of Bacon (or more if you're the bacony type) chopped roughly
2 Onions, chopped roughly
1 Kilo of Waxy Potatoes - peeled and cut into biggish 'dice' - keep it rustic
2 Cloves of Garlic - chopped higgledy piggledy
1/4 Cabbage - chopped roughly
About One Tablespoon of Butter and The Same of Olive Oil

Boil potatoes until almost cooked. Heat Butter and Oil together in a LARGE deep frypan
Add Bacon and Onion - cook until onion is soft and bacon is getting golden edges Add Potatoes and toss well.
Then add the Cabbage and mix well again.
Cook until cabbage is lovely and soft and buttery.
Add lots of freshly ground black pepper and a sprinkle of sea salt

Serve with A Big Glass of Wine.

Ari and I like to eat ours between slices of soft white bread - but that's just greedy.


Nige's Hey Presto! Rapsberry Jam

vintage jelly jar lids from here

This recipe comes courtesy of Nigella Lawson.

200g of raspberries
200g of white sugar
Two Pie dishes
One Oven
Basically - you just need equal parts of raspberries and sugar. Of course fresh raspberries are best - but they are scarce now.. so frozen it is for me!

Tumble the raspberries into one pie dish.
Tumble the sugar into the other.
Put both dishes into a Hot oven for 20 minutes until HOT HOT HOT.
(BUT don't let it burn!)
Carefully tip the sugar into the raspberry dish.
Gently stir with a wooden spoon to combine.

also posted here

Pip's Famous Pane Toscano

baguette earrings from here


How Pip Makes Bread
You DO need 10 cups of flour.
It makes 3 free-form loaves.

Make the starter first - it's easy.
1 tsp dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water - NOT too hot
3 cups of white flour (bakers flour or unbleached)
1 cup cold water
Add the yeast to the warm water. Wait till it goes frothy. Then mix in the flour and the rest of the water. I do this in the Kitchen Aid or Food Processor. Put in a DEEP bowl in the fridge - with plenty of room for it to grown. Leave until tomorrow.

Make the dough - it's easy.
This will make about 3 small loaves.
1 tsp dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water - NOT too hot
7 cups of white flour (bakers or unbleached)
1 tbsp sea salt
3 cups of cold water
a splash of olive oil
HALF of the starter you made (freeze the rest for a jump start to the next batch - you'll thank me later*)
Polenta or flour to stop the bread sticking to the trays
(* you'll need to defrost it to room temperature before use)

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water as before. Put the flour into a really big mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the yeast/water mix, salt, cold water and starter (remember you're only using half of the starter we made). Now mix it all together - you can do this in a KitchenAid on slow (but be prepared for a few floury clouds!) - or by hand. I don't use my hands - just a wooden spoon and plenty of elbow grease - it's a really sticky dough.
Mix it until it's all clinging together and not just sticking to the sides of the bowl. But don't agonise too much - 5 minutes 'by hand' with a wooden spoon or 2 minutes in the Mixer sounds great. Tip it out onto a floured surface and shape into a rough ball - clean your bowl thoroughly - oil the clean bowl with olive oil and pop the dough back in. Cover with a towel and put in a warm, draught-free place.

TURN YOUR OVEN ONTO 400 degrees F or 200 degrees C.

When the dough has doubled - punch it down (just think of all the things that are making you cross and lay into it a bit) and let it rise again until doubled. Then turn it out onto a floury surface and cut into three (or you can do what Amy does. Keep the dough bowl in the fridge and just cut off what you want each time you need bread! The dough will improve with age and your bread will be slightly different each time!)

Sprinkle two good sized oven trays with polenta or flour and pop your just-cut freeform loaves onto them. Sprinkle the tops with flour for good luck and good looks. Bake in a HOT oven for 20 to 30 minutes - checking towards the end. If they are ready they will be golden and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. I often take them off their trays for the last 5 minutes for extra good crust action!


as seen here

Soup for Pretty, Smart People

bowls from here

Soup Paysanne a la Francine

You will need:
50g unsmoked streaky bacon (diced)
2 small leeks (whites only, finely chopped)
1 medium onion, peeled & finely chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled & finely diced
200g potatoes, peeled & cubed
3tbsp olive oil
200g tinned peeled tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato paste
a few leaves of fresh basil
1 tsp sugar
salt and pepper
1.5 litres of water
herb of your choice for garnish

Heat the oil and fry (in a big pot) the bacon, onion, garlic, leek and potatoes over gentle heat for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Next, chop the tomatoes roughly and add to the pan with tomato paste, basil, sugar and salt & pepper. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

Give the potatoes a bit more of a mash in the pan.. then add the water, cover and simmer for half and hour.

Check seasoning and serve with a nice herby garnish!

Gobble it up!


Quick Chick's Coq au Vin

rooster magnets via here

Quick Chicks Coq au Vin a la Pip and Rin
serves 6 hungry people

12 chicken thigh fillets
4 rashers of streaky bacon - chopped roughly
6 peeled golden shallots - sliced roughly
1 clove crushed garlic
200g swiss browns or other flavoursome mushrooms - sliced
1 1/2 cups of red wine
1 1/2 cups of chicken stock
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons of tomato passata or puree
olive oil
1 tbsp butter
black pepper
sea salt
sage if you have it

(To serve with this...
Crunchy greens, mash and lovely crusty bread)

Heat olive oil and fry chicken until a little browned on each side (you may need to do this in batches). Remove and add bacon, garlic, shallots, mushrooms and a tablespoon of butter. Fry for about 5 minutes until caramelising and golden-ish. Add chicken, red wine, chicken stock, tomato passata and bay leaf. Cook uncovered for 20 mins. Garnish with sage if you have it - and plenty of pepper and salt to taste. Serve with lovely creamy dreamy mash and some crunchy beans, snow peas or spinach!

Yum. Try it.. it's nice.

If you don't eat chicken.. you could try it with really really good golden potatoes (like kipfler or bintje or some dutch creams) and good quality mushrooms.. and just have it with crusty bread and a lovely side of fresh tomatoes and crunchy beans!


Nanna-Style Tomato Sauce (To Put on Pies Not Pasta)

Nanna-Rific Tomato Sauce

10 kilos of ripe tomatoes- chopped roughly
2.5 kilos of granny smith apples - cored and peeled and chopped roughly
30g of ground ginger
30g of whole cloves*
30g of whole allspice*1 tsp of mace
30g cayenne pepper
1 litre white vinegar 1.5 kg sugar 8 tablespoons of salt 2kg chopped onions* bundle these up in some muslin or calico with string to keep closed and pop in - you need to take it out once cooking time is up, though.

You'll be needing a 20 litre pot for this!
Put all ingredients into a very large pan. Boil for 3.5 to 4 hours. Blend or sieve to make for a smoother consistency. Bottle in sterilised jars. Make adorable labels with smiling tomatoes on them. Give to people for Christmas! Bravo!
(If you like - add a few cloves of garlic, cumin seeds and some chilli for a bit more gusto!)

sauce bottles from here

Mary Had A Little Lamb and Vegetable Curry

lamb badge via here

Simple Lamb and Vegetable Curry500g diced lamb
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp good quality curry powder mixed with 2 tbsp water
3/4 cup tomato passata
1 tbsp soy sauce
250ml beef stock
500g butternut pumpkin, peeled and diced roughly
500g potatoes, peeled and diced roughly
200g green beans, topped, coarsely chopped
2 fresh tomatoes diced
2 tbsp olive oil

Heat 1/2 the oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over medium-high heat. Brown half the lamb pieces. Then remove and brown the remaining lamb. Set the browned lamb aside.

Heat the rest of the oil in the pan over medium heat. Fry the onion until golden and fragrant. Add the curry powder/water mix and stir-fry until fragrant.

Add the tomato passata, stock, soy, potato and pumpkin. Cover and bring to a simmer. Add the lamb and cook, partially covered, for 25 minutes. Add the beans and cook for 5 minutes until just tender.Stir through the diced tomato. Voila!

You could add some frozen peas at step 4 if you wanted to make it super vegetabley!

Pump Up The Jam - Tomato Jam

vintage tomato thermometer via here

This is the tomato jam they used to serve at Stephanie's in Hawthorn long, long ago. Du-re got me hooked on this - and then it disappeared forever from my life, when Stephanie's disappeared. So sad - and we definately need to bring back the jam

I'm making regular Nanna-style tomato sauce at this very moment - but I'm going to make this tomato jam this week too.

I'm in a total preserving, bottling, pickling frenzy! I am just feathering my nest, I think... well, bottling at least. I have sweet, romantic notions of a pantry super-lined with bottles and jars of good stuff - just waiting to be popped open and enjoyed.

Anyway... here is the recipe for the tomato jam i am GOING to make!

Tomato Jam
4kg of ripe tomatoes
200ml light vegetable oil
4 tbsp cumin seeds, lightly roasted
2 tbsp mustard seeds, soaked overnight in 400ml of white wine vinegar
200g fresh ginger grated finely
20 cloves garlic
10 red chillis (perhaps a bit less - i think 4)
2 tbsp ground turmeric
2 tbsp sambal oelek
250g palm sugar
100ml fish sauce (or you could add 50ml of light soy and the juice of one lemon to make this vegan or vegetarian - I'm doing that so I can give some to Gemma and Hollie and Molly too. You're important!)

OKAY - First place the tomatoes in a roasting pan with the oil. Cover with foil and roast for 4 hours at 180 degrees. I think I'm going to do this in a pressure cooker - to speed it up - my pressure cooker is huge and will preserve all the juices. Plus - my oven is tiny and portable. It can't do this!

Pass the roasted tomatoes through a food mill - or blend and then sieve.

Process remaining ingredients until pastey. Cook this paste over a low heat in a heavy pan for 1 hour. Add the pureed, roasted tomatoes and cook for a further 2 hours. Bottle in sterile jars.