November 12, 2010

Tomato Sauce (Like Ketchup not Passata!)


Nanna-Rific Tomato Sauce
(Like Ketchup - but Australian!)

  • 10 kilos of ripe tomatoes- chopped roughly
  • 2.5 kilos of granny smiths - 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.

What to do:
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!)
Let me know how you go - if you make some too!

xx Mikes

Vanilla Berry Tart

Vanilla and Berry Tart

Vanilla and Berry Tart


Click to see larger!

Cakey Pear Tart Tatin

Pear Tart Tatin Cake

Cakey Pear Tart Tatin

Cakey Pear Tart Tatin

Cauliflower Soup

Here is what we had for lunch today. I like to go to the market on Saturdays before dawn and shop for the whole week as the sun comes up. Then I like to have a big breakfast at home. Maybe bagels, maybe a fry up, maybe a breakfast pizza.... and lots of cups of tea and coffee.  Then I mess about and do a few jobs.  Then I put some soup on.  This week it's Cream of Cauliflower soup.  We had it with a sprinkle of paprika and some Garlic and Cheese bread thrown in for good measure.  Probably that is uncouth.  But I like to throw bread into my soup. I do.  Do  you?  Or am I freaking you out?

xx Pip

Messy Recipe from last time : Minestrone Con Bruschetta


This very delicious recipe is taken from Stefano de Pieri's 'Modern Italian Food'.  Ari had two bowls and commented that it was 'So good and vegetables don't taste like anything, do they?'  Do not ask me why it is called Minestrone con Bruschetta. I do not know. (But if YOU do then DO tell us.)

Also, as an aside, Stefano says to cook little pasta shapes or beans separately and add them in at the end for best results, if you like those in there. In my experience this sounds good as it will keep your soup from being too cloudy and starchy. Enjoy soup. Soup is ace.

xx Pip

Potato Latke (again)

Potato Latke

Potato Latke

Yum.  Take your time with the frying and these will turn out a golden treat!

xx Pip

Kylie Kwong Chilli Sauce

Today I have been making fresh chilli sauce a la Kylie Kwong.  The recipe is from here , and YES this is the crazy-bountiful sauce Kyles made on Masterchef!  It is really delicious and super spicy and sweet and most of this batch is for this gal! I quadrupled the recipe, because I like a LOT of chilli in my house!  I am totes spicy, ya know? Yep.

Kylie Kwong's Divine Homemade Chilli Sauce
Homemade Chilli Sauce
Makes 1/2 cup (125 ml)
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) peanut oil
  • 4 long red chillies, roughly chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 7 cm knob ginger, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon tamari
Pound chillies, garlic and ginger to a paste using a pestle and mortar.
Heat oil in a wok until moderately hot. Add paste and cook, stirring constantly, for about 3 minutes. Add sugar and stir for 1 minute or until sugar caramelises, then stir through tamari. Reduce heat to low and cook, still stirring, for a further 5 minutes. The chilli sauce can be used straight away, or allowed to cool and then stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

xx Pip

Not Too Bitter Chewy Chocolate Brownies

We made these brownies yesterday. My kids are pretty picky with their brownies. They like them with crunchy tops and fudgy-chewy bottoms.  They like them chocolate-y but not bitter.  It is quite hard to make them JUST like that, but these brownies are JUST like that. They are not wet or cakey.  They are a bit moist and a lot chewy.

A LONG time ago... maybe eight years ago, there was a REALLY GREAT recipe in 'The Age' for Brownies. If you have that could you let me know.  I want to try it again and somehow it got thrown out... sigh.   If you have a copy neatly filed away I would KISS you.  I would.  I am a bit sad I don't have that particular recipe because it was Max's favourite.   Having said that, he thinks these Brownies are JUST as good.  Maybe you would like to make some too?  Here is the recipe, my dears!


Not Too Bitter, Chocolate-y, Chewy Brownies
Adapted from this Cook's Illustrated Recipe

1/3 cup of good quality cocoa
150ml boiling water
60 grams dark chocolate pellets PLUS
3/4 cup of dark chocolate pellets
200g melted unsalted butter
2 eggs PLUS
2 egg yolks
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups of sugar
1 3/4 cups of plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
Spray on Canola Oil or extra butter and a pastry brush

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  You need a pan around 30cm x 9cm. I used a Pyrex one, but you could use a tin, for sure.

Prepare your pan first. Line it well with two layers of foil. The edges of the foil should rise up a bit higher than the edges of your pan so it's easy to get the Brownies out later.  Make sure the layers are nice and neat and completely covering the surface of the pan and pushed well into the corners. Now spray VERY VERY well with oil or paint VERY VERY well with melted butter and a pastry brush.  This is very important!  You do not want your sugary brownies to stick to the foil!  So go carefully and do a good job of this!

Put the boiling water in your mixing bowl and add your cocoa.  Mix quickly until smooth and then quickly add (one by one) the 60g of chocolate, melted butter, the eggs and egg yolks, the vanilla and the sugar, mixing well after each addition.  Next add the flour and the salt and then fold in the remaining 3/4 of a cup of chocolate.

Pour into your foiled and greased tin and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a skewer or toothpick comes out clean when poked into the centre of said Mega Brownie.

YOU MUST allow these to cool fully before you cut them.  The longer you wait the chewier they will be, but DO NOT cut them before they have cooled.  There is cool brownie-chewy-magic going on!


Let me know how you go... or post your favourite Brownie recipe in the comments (if you would like to!)

xx Pip

Easy Mix Butter Cake

Easy-Mix Butter Cake
Favorite Cakes
Card 14


When I was a wee gal, I used to come home from school to THIS VERY cake.  I loved it. Sometimes my Nan used to sprinkle jelly crystals on the top, you know, the powdered jelly? Yes, that.  Always Raspberry or Strawberry flavoured. Golly. I just remembered that as I typed this.  I am going to make this again with Jelly Crystals on top of it. Wow.  But it is really great with 100s and 1000s or sprinkles too.

This cake was EASY to make.  It was lovely and light.  I used the Kitchen Aid.  And I did burn the edges a teensy bit, but that is because my oven only has HOT or NOT kind of temperatures.  So it was a teensy bit HOT!  Oops. The dog got the ends and she was VERY happy!

I love this cake as much as I love my Nan. I think it is a simple cake with a lovely crumb and a golden crust.  I say go forth and make this.  You will like it. Yes you will.  It is lovely and light and humble. Just my kind of cake.

xx Pip


Homemade Confectionery
Card 19

Have you ever cooked from this recipe card?  As a child I was FOREVER making toffees. It is a credit to my mother that she let me play with boiling sugar.  Mum, I salute you.  Sometimes I rushed these and they were grainy and awful and cloudy. Sometimes I didn't rush them and they were clear and amber and wonderful.  Sometimes I added way too much food colouring to these.  Sometimes I let them cool too long and the 100s and 1000s would not stick to the surface and my toffees were naked.  We made these for fetes that happened and some fetes that never happened because we licked all the toffees and there were none left.  Do you remember that the paper stuck to the toffee and you had to determinedly assure everyone that the residue of the torn paper on the sides of the toffee actually tasted REALLY nice?

I made these AWW toffees yesterday. They work perfectly.  Here are some extra tips for your toffee making pleasure  ::

  • These would be BEST made in those little petit four cases so they are not too huge and teeth achingly impossible to get through. Tiny toffees would be best. (But I made big ones!)
  • Make sure you put paper down and protect your surface when you are spooning the toffee into the paper cases : you can easily clean it all up then and will not be chiselling toffee off your counter tops till the cows come home.  
  • It's important to make sure that you DO let the bubbles subside and make sure the toffee is nice and clear before you pour it, if you want lovely clear toffees, that is. 
  • Do make sure you don't let them cool too long before you decorate them.  
  • Work quickly because the toffee thickens up and hardens quite quickly.
  • Don't worry if you have little spills or toffee threads because that is considered artistic.
  • When you are done fill up your toffee pot with water and boil it and your spoon to get rid of that hardened toffee.

Do you have any stories about these toffees? Or toffees in general?   Do you love the original AWW photo as much as I do? I used to stare at this card as a little girl and wish the toffee fairy would visit us. It's true. How about you?!

xx Pip

Fish and Chips


Fabulous Fish Dishes
Card 3
Fish and Chips

So, last night I was out at a Trade Show and the boys took the reins with the old Yellow Box. They decided on Fish and Chips, shopped, cooked and even took some stylish photos to prove it!   Apparently the Fish and Chips were delicious and the batter was lovely and light and crispy. They made the Tartare Sauce and thought that was good too.  My people are big fans of the golden delight that is Fish and Chips and much prefer the home-made version to the shop bought.

How about you? Do you make your own? Do you buy it in?  Are you a fan?  Potato Cakes? Tartare Sauce? Chiko Rolls?  What's your fancy?!

xx Pip

Chicken Pie

Great Ways With Chicken and Duck
Card 16
Chicken Pie

I will tell you straight up that we LOVED this recipe.  It was delicious.  We ate it all, as you can see, and Max especially liked it.  You can also see that there is a pond of butter left in the dish.  It has 60g of butter in it. Yikes.  I reckon you could easily use half that amount and still get a great result.

I made this while Gemma and Ari were playing Monopoly the other night.  Then Gem headed off to dinner with a friend and we tucked in to this golden deliciousness.

What I like about this recipe is that you get to make a big pot of stock to use later.  You boil a whole chicken 'in the usual way' to make stock and then you pull the meat from the chicken and add it to your pie filling.  Be sure you add lots of pepper and salt as there is no seasoning mentioned in this recipe.  We put enough water into just cover the chicken : about 3 litres.  We added carrots and parsley and onion and garlic and celery to the stock pot too.

Also worth noting is that you might want to do the stock/chicken part ahead of time as it's not nice trying to pull a hot chicken apart.  So maybe prepare that earlier like I didn't. I burnt my fingers a titch. Not good.

I made pastry leaves for the top of my pie, I think my Nan did that and I like to do that too.  You could put chicken shapes or other cute shapes atop yours.  That would be nice.  Later you can use the stock to make something else great, like wonton soup or chicken and vegetable soup.

Do you like chicken pie? If you do this one is really yummy.  The best one I have ever made.  Did your Mum cook this?

xx Pip

Emmenthaler Schnitzel

Superb Recipes From Famous Restaurants
Card 22
Emmenthaler Schnitzel

Right. Max chose this recipe. To Max this looked like the King of Parmigianas.  I guess it does look like that, doesn't it?  This recipe is taken from my favourite section of the Yellow Box - 'Superb Recipes From Famous  Restaurants'.  There REALLY are recipes from famous restaurants in there... places like Beppi's, Fanny's, Two Faces, Doyle's and The Hilton.  This recipe is taken from The Chesa Restaurant at The Peninsula Hotel in Hong Kong.  I wonder if it is still there... hang on... I will Google that.... Wait there.

Oh my gosh.  It is STILL there. You can go and take a peek here.  It is a Swiss Chalet style restaurant and I bet you they still serve Emmenthaler Schnitzel there. Wow.  How cool is that?!  If you are breezing through Hong Kong you might want to grab a fondue and schnitzel there, I think.  Or you could just make this at home like we did.

Things to note about this recipe:

Fun.  It is really fun to make the Spatzli.  We had to add an extra half a cup of water to the batter.  And we tried so very hard to push it through a colander as instructed, but it did not work.  In the end we inverted a wide mesh cake rack atop the boiling pot of water and tipped the dough through that.  Our Spatzli were really delicious.  Granted the numerous attempts to get the colander method to work resulted in a bit of swearing from Cam.  Well. A lot of swearing. He likes things to work.  That did not work and he got antsy.  But we kept adding water to loosen up the batter and changing methods and finally we got there.  And it was totally worth it. Our kitchen was covered in batter after the trial and error approach... but you won't have a batter covered kitchen if you make these, because we just told you an easier way, right?!

Feet.  Max did not like the cheese.  It is true.  He said it smelled like feet.  I loved it, however, as did Cam.  It smelled like Taleggio when it was melted and it was ridiculously rich and good.  If you have a cholesterol problem you might want to hold back a bit in terms of serving size, but DO have SOME.  This is totally delicious comfort food.  If I made this again, I would use mozzarella. I know... it's not what the dish is about, but the kids would LOVE that and then we'd all be happy.  Max did eat some though... and he HAD eaten half a pizza after school so he may have had cheese fatigue.

Crappy.  Our oven is quite crappy and it's hard to get things to brown in there.  You should make this in quite a shallow dish so that you can grill it if the cheese is not brown (like ours!)  I think a bit of golden cheese would be nice.

Butter.  Well.  Yes.  There is a LOT of butter in this. I think you could lose more than half the butter in the veal frying part, as well as half the butter in the mushroom sauce.

Tomato.  This looked like way too much creamy, buttery craziness to me.  I had a small serve and made a quick tomato sauce to have on the side to cut the crazy a bit.  You might like to do that too?

Quick Tomato Sauce
One finely diced onion, one diced clove of garlic, one tin of good quality tomatoes, a pinch of salt, a pinch of sugar, a tablespoon of fresh herbs, a splash of white wine vinegar :: Fry the onion until soft in a slosh of olive oil, add the rest of the ingredients and mix and mash until a nice sauce is achieved.  Simmer for ten minutes and then serve.

So. All in all this dish was ace.  It would be more family friendly with the tweaks mentioned.  We will revise the recipe and cook this again in a heartbeat.  If it is still beating after all that butter.

xx Pip

PS :: Ari was ill, so he did not have this for dinner, in case you were wondering.

Family Chocolate Cake

Favorite Cakes
Card 22
Family Chocolate Cake

OKAY!  So this is a recipe that lots of people mentioned when I first announced this project.  I made it today (early this morning, in fact) with the Caramel Icing (as above.)  I think it would be extra nice with Chocolate Icing as well.  Max thought this cake was quite nice.  He said he would prefer it if this cake was rich and chewy and chocolaty like a brownie.  It isn't those things, but it is a nice light tea cake.  Not very chocolaty though.  You could add lots more cocoa, I think, and chocolate icing, and that would placate the Chocolaty People.  Ari did not really like the icing.  But Max did. So go figure.  Maybe chocolate icing is the safest option here?!

Personally, I think it is really nice as is. Cam liked it too, and he thought it was nice and moist.  He said he hates dry cakes.  This cake is  not dry. Phew.  It is lovely and moist with delicious caramel icing.  That is what it is. Yum.

Points to note ::
The caramel icing took a bit more icing sugar than mentioned to make the icing thick enough, so watch out for that and have a bit extra on hand, perhaps.  You will note that I made this in a heart shape.  That is because I did not have a big square tin, and also because I like hearts.  I lined it well with baking paper and greased it super goodly.   You could make a heart cake too, if you wanted to.  I think it is nice to defy convention and use fancy tins.  Perhaps you have a tin in the shape of a bowler hat, or a monkey, or a bottle of whiskey.  Those would all be great options too.  Or just make a square and ignore my silly tin fetish.

Is this cake part of your culinary history?! Did someone in your family make this cake for you?  We would LOVE to know more.  Tell us!

xx Pip

Tuna Casserole

Money Saving Meals
Card 17
Tuna Casserole

Hi!  Hi!  Okay.  Here's the thing.  Max hates tuna.  He loathes it, in fact.  He really loves anything else fishy, but tuna is a no-go.  On Friday Max stayed at Leon's house, which meant we could try this recipe out (again) without Max getting antsy or going hungry.

Let me just put it out there that I LOVE TUNA CASSEROLE.  I have not eaten it for years, but my Mum used to make it when we were kids and it was one of my very favourite meals.  She used to make a different one to this.  It had Cream of Celery Soup in it.  I wish I had THAT recipe. If you have it, can you send it to me?!

This AWW Yellow Box recipe was pretty delicious.  This really is comfort food.  I added HEAPS of lemon and pepper and salt at the end and piled it on to grainy toast. Yum.  Ari, who is a fan of rice, tuna and corn did not much like this.  Go figure.  I am not sure why.  I think it was the sort of non-cheesy-mornay-esque base that weirded him out.  He's not genetically programmed to like that kind of thing.  We live on very clean, simple flavours... creamy saucy things are not on our menu very often.  But he TRIED to eat this because he recognized the key ingredients were friends of his.  Cam liked it... not a lot... but a bit.

I think Tuna Casserole is the kind of thing you have to have nostalgic ties to, to like.  I like it.  I grew up with it.  Those that have not grown up with it were not huge fans. Do you like it?  

xx Pip