May 10, 2011

Tessa Kiros Tomato Lasagna

My version of Tessa Kiros' Tomato Lasagna

Tomato Sauce
1.25 kg of tinned diced tomatoes
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
a good slosh of olive oil
one cup of warm water of stock
bunch of fresh basil or a teaspoon full of dried Italian herbs

8 sheets of instant lasagna (the dried one) : I used one family sized packet : about 350g
250g Parmesan

Bechamel Sauce
1 litre of warmed milk
3/4 cup of plain flour
120g of butter

Make the Tomato Sauce First
Heat the oil and gently fry the garlic till it's fragrant (not browned!) Throw in the tomatoes. Cook for 15 minutes, and then add 1 cup of water (or you could use stock!) Season with salt and pepper and then simmer it on a low heat while you make the Bechamel sauce. (You are meant to puree it, but I didn't, because I am lazy and I don't like too many dishes!)

Make the Bechamel Sauce Next
First warm your milk. Then in a separate large-ish pot melt the butter. Once the butter is melted, add the flour and whisk like crazy to make a smooth butter and flour paste. Continue to stir the floury butter over the heat for a few minutes to cook the floury taste away. Now start whisking in the warm milk a slosh at a time. Don't stop whisking! Your Bechamel will end up nice and thick and smooth. Good work. It needs to be thick so that it layers nicely.

Assemble it All
Grease a lasagna suitable dish or just slosh some oil and and coat the dish well with it using a pastry brush or your fingers. My dish was around 20cm x 30cm and quite deep. Slosh a layer of Bechamel sauce in first and spread it over the base. Put two sheets of dried lasagna atop the Bechamel. Now layer tomato sauce, then Bechamel, then Parmesan, then lasagna. Do that two times. Then add a final layer of lasagna and top with Bechamel, more Parmesan and dot with any leftover tomato sauce.

Cook in a 360F/180C degree oven for 30 minutes until golden and cheesy.

Eat it all up!

Serves 6

May 6, 2011

30 Soupy Recipes

Salt N Peppa Shakers via here

Last night we put an extra blanket on the bed.  And we had the heater on at the breakfast table.  You know what that means?  It's time for soup! I really love soup!  Soup with crusty bread, soup with crackers, soup with toasted sandwiches, soup, soup, SOUP!  Here are 30 extra great soup recipes for you to peruse.  Let me know if you make anything... I think I am going to do Sophie Grigson's soup tonight!
  1. Chicken and Rice Soup via Martha //// here
  2. Baked Potato Soup via Smitten Kitchen //// here
  3. Happiness Soup via Nigella //// here
  4. Spicy Parsnip Soup via Jamie Oliver //// here
  5. Feel Good Chicken Broth via Jamie Oliver //// here
  6. Cream of Cauliflower Soup via Pip! //// here
  7. Stefano De Pieri's Minestrone via Pip! //// here
  8. Chickpea and Celery Soup via Gourmet Traveller //// here
  9. Corn, Bacon and Potato Soup via Pip! //// here
  10. Lovely Mushroom Soup via Pip! //// here
  11. Creamy Tomato Soup via The Splendid Table //// here
  12. Vintage Vogue Soup Paysanne via Pip! //// here
  13. Chicken Noodle Soup via Gourmet Traveller //// here
  14. Kylie Kwong's Sweetcorn and Crab Soup via Lifestyle //// here
  15. Madame E Saint-Ange's Pumpkin Soup via Recipes For Two //// here
  16. Tyler Florence's Roasted Tomato Soup via Lifestyle //// here
  17. Broccoli Soup via Chocolate and Zucchini //// here
  18. French Onion Soup via Girl Cook In Paris //// here
  19. Pumpkin, Barley and Miso Soup via Gourmet Traveller //// here
  20. Coconut Red Lentil Soup via 101 Cookbooks //// here
  21. Julia Child's Leek and Potato Soup via Food Network //// here
  22. Simple Carrot Soup via Stone Soup Blog //// here
  23. Sophie Grigson's Vegetable Soup via BBC Food //// here
  24. Nigel Slater's Bubble and Squeak Soup via BBC Food //// here
  25. Rachel Allen's Chicken and Udon Soup via Lifestyle //// here
  26. Simple Tom Yum Soup via ABC Sydney //// here
  27. Pea and Ham Soup via Gourmet Traveller //// here
  28. Bill Granger's White Bean and Chorizo Soup via Lifestyle //// here
  29. Rice Noodle Soup with Beef and Fresh Herbs via The Splendid Table //// here
  30. Julia Child's Leek and Pepper Soup via Smell My Kitchen //// here

15 Great Recipes For Baked Risotto

  1. Bacon and Tomato Risotto via BBC Good Food //// here
  2. Tomato and Parmesan Risotto via The Vine //// here
  3. Oven Baked Risotto Carbonara via Delia Smith //// here
  4. Bill's Risotto with Tomato and Zucchini via ABC Sydney //// here
  5. Baked Mushroom, Bacon and Spinach Risotto via Donna Hay //// here
  6. Oven Baked Risotto with Mushrooms and Thyme via Rachel Allen //// here
  7. Baked Spanish style Risotto via Silvana Franco //// here
  8. Honey Baked Pumpkin Risotto via Taste //// here
  9. Baked Mushroom Risotto with Sauteed Eggplant via Vegie Num Num //// here
  10. Oven Baked Tuna Risotto via The Australian Women's Weekly //// here
  11. Oven Baked Pumpkin, Leek and Chicken Risotto via Taste //// here
  12. Oven Baked Red Pepper Risotto via BBC Good Food //// here
  13. Baked Sage and Saffron Risotto via Martha Stewart //// here
  14. Baked Beetroot and Goats Cheese Risotto via A Foodie Lives Here //// here
  15. Oven Baked Risotto with Italian Sausage via The Australian Women's Weekly ////here

Ten Warm Drinks To Make You Feel Cozy!

Because you can't always drink regular old tea... or wine, for that matter.  Sometimes you need to change it up a bit, don't you?  Here are some nice drinks to give you a fancier time with your favourite mug.

  1. Condensed Milk Chai via The Spendid Table //// here
  2. Very Best Cocoa via K Shimotsu Photography //// here
  3. Gluhwein via Pip //// here
  4. Ginger Tea via Martha //// here
  5. Mexican Hot Chocolate via Nigella //// here
  6. Non-Alcoholic Mulled 'Wine' via Pip also //// here
  7. Warm Apple Cider via Jane Spice //// here
  8. Hot Chocolate via The Hairy Bikers //// here
  9. Irish Coffee via Martha //// here
  10. Warm Vanilla Milk via La Cucina Italiana //// here

Pip's Kimchi Salad


My Kimchi Salad

Basic Ingredients
One tub of Kimchi from your local Asian grocer (I buy the Chinese Cabbage style one!)
One packet of ramen or soba noodles
2 diced cucumbers
1 diced avocado
1/2 tub of cherry tomatoes, halved
1 handful of diced beancurd
(you can also add some blanched peas, green beans, snow pea sprouts... whatever YOU love!)

1 tablespoon of soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon of sesame oil
1/2 tablespoon of mirin
1/2 tablespoon of nice vinegar (white wine, red wine or sherry are all good!)

a handful of fried shallots (the kind you buy in a packet!)
a sprinkling of chopped peanuts if you like
a lemon or a lime squeezed over the top
Optional :: Coriander

How To:
Cook the noodles in a big pot of boiling water as per the instructions on the packet. Be careful not to over cook them. That would be yuck. No one likes mooshy noodles. Test them often until they are done. Now, cool the noodles under cold running water and drain them thoroughly.

Mix all the other ingredients together in a BIG BOWL. You can just slosh it all together and mix it up nicely with a pair of tongs or a spoon.Try not to mush it to much if you have added the avocado, or better still, put it on last. Add the cold, drained noodles and toss well again. If you are hands on, use your hands, but keep your chili fingers away from your face etc!

Plate it up and garnish with the shallots, peanuts and lemon or lime! You can add fresh herbs, too, if you like. Coriander would be lovely!

The Lazy Baker's Hot Cross Buns


 The Lazy Baker's Hot Cross Buns

Make the dough the night before and be sure it's in a nice big bowl (so it doesn't overflow!) and well covered (no one likes bug-buns!)

Yeast Mixture:
2 7g sachets of dried yeast
1 tsp white sugar
1 3/4 cups of warm milk (not hot!)

Mix above ingredients together and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes to get the yeast going and the milk frothy.

Dough Ingredients:
1/2 cup sugar (yes, more sugar!)
a pinch of salt
50g butter - softened (not melted though!)
4 cups good quality plain flour
1/2 cup sultanas (or you could add some currants as well!)
1 tbsp chopped mixed peel
1 egg
ground cinnamon, nutmeg and mixed spice - a good shake of each or about 1/4 tsp if you are shy

Make the dough:
Sift the salt and flour together. Sprinkle in the 1/2 cup of sugar. Now add the cinnamon, nutmeg and mixed spice. Rub in the butter next until well mixed. Plonk the egg in with the milky/yeasty mixture - and whisk with a fork to combine. Now pour the eggy/milky/yeasty mixture into the floury/buttery mix. Add the sultanas and peel. It might be quite sticky. Flour your hands and push on. Sticky is good. Sticky means they will end up moist and bubbly. Knead together with springy, spirit fingers until it's all nicely combined and looks like a nice big lump of speckled dough.

First Rise (the night before!) :
Place into a greased bowl and sprinkle with some cinnamon and nutmeg. I brushed mine gently with some melted butter to keep it moist. You might like to do that if you can be bothered. Allow to rise covered with a clean cloth (until doubled in size). It will rise more quickly in a warm, draught free area.

Here is where you cover them and let it sit overnight. If you want the 'do it in one day' recipe look here!

Get up and shape your buns: 
Good morning! I like your hair! Okay. Make a cup of coffee. Preheat your oven to 200C. Next, turn the dough out gently onto a floured surface. Don't knead it! Just carefully cut it into rough square-ish pieces around 4cm square (or bigger if you like big buns!) Gently push them into a nice bun shape with your finger tips, as though you are a very gentle dough sculptor. You should get about 16 or so buns from this - enough for 2 trays - don't worry if you get less (but don't try for 20 or they'll be TINY!) Grease your trays and pop the buns on - a little way apart - they will join together as they rise and bake.

Recovery Rise:
Now cover these nearly oven-ready buns with a couple of tea towels and let them rise again for half an hour or so in a warm spot. They may not double in size, but they will have time to recover and get ready to rise more in the oven. 

While you are waiting you could pop over here and have a bit of a read?

Make the flour paste and get piping if you want traditional crosses:
Mix half a cup of plain flour with four or five tablespoons of water and pipe onto the uncooked buns in crosses (use a piping bag or a plastic bag with the corner snipped off a teensy bit)

Uncover the buns and brush them with egg wash:
Mix 1 Egg Yolk with 1 Tbsp Milk to make 'egg wash'. Now brush your buns all over with this mixture using a pastry brush. Be sure to avoid your crosses if you added them! This egg wash will help make your buns a nice burnished golden colour!

Buns in the Oven:
Put your buns in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes. Put them as high up as you can in your oven, allowing room for the buns to rise upwards too. Keep an eye on them while the cook, they are a bit prone to burn on the bottoms. If they do, they'll still be yummy, but obviously we want crisp bottoms, not burnt bottoms!

Make a pot of tea
While they are cooking make the sugary glaze to make your buns sticky! 
Mix 100g sugar with 50ml water in a pot on the stove. When your buns are ready, boil the sugar and water mix up and pour or brush it onto the just baked buns! Not too much, though, just enough to make them shiny and delicious! Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar if you would like! Maybe some nutmeg too?!

Icing Crosses for Hot Cross Buns : instead of the traditional floury crosses :
Mix 1 cup of sifted icing sugar with 1 dessert spoon full of warm milk (or enough to make a piping consistency) - pipe onto your warm (not hot!) buns!

Variation for Fussy Kids:
Omit the sultanas and peel and add 150g of choc chips!

:: Crockpot Concussion Beef


Crockpot Concussion Beef 
(to have in tortillas or tacos)
based on this recipe

500g of gravy beef
1 tin of tomatoes, juice and all
1 jar of nice quality salsa
1 cup of chicken stock
1 diced onion
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
a tablespoon of cumin
a teaspoon of paprika : smoked or not
a teaspoon of dried mixed herbs
1 teaspoon of brown sugar
a slosh of sherry vinegar or other nice vinegar
Lots of ground black pepper (or lovely white pepper!)
Some salt
Some olive oil

NB : I add chilli to my own, because my kids are not super spicy, but you can add chilli when you cook it if you like... and some beans would be nice too!

Mix all these things together, drizzle with some olive oil and put in a heavy based pan in a low oven for 4 hours.
Or in a slow cooker for 6 hours on high : if you use a slow cooker you will need to remove the meat and reduce the sauce down at the end.

Pull the beef apart with two forks and serve in tortillas with some of its sauce and lots of avocado, tomato, lettuce, jalapenos and extra salsa!  Cheese is nice for some people too, so add cheese if you like!

May 5, 2011

Sophie Dahl's Chicken Soup (Best croutons EVER!)

I have made this soup a couple of times. It is a really lovely thing to cook on a lazy day, or to have bubbling away between breakfast and errands and things.  The croutons are truly sublime, cooked in the leftover fat from the roasted chicken. Y to the UM.


For the chicken

  • 1.8kg free range chicken
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 onion
  • 1 bay leaf
  • knob of butter
  • olive oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper

For the soup

  • 2 red onions, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic – peeled and chopped
  • 2 leeks, sliced
  • 2 litres vegetable of chicken stock
  • 2 carrots – cut into pieces
  • 2 celery stalks
  • some bay leaves
  • small bunch of parsley
  • white wine

To finish the soup and serve

  • 2 stick celery – chopped into very small pieces
  • 1 large carrot – chopped into very small pieces
  • 1 leek – cut into small rounds
  • 2 large handfuls of freshly shelled peas
  • small bunch of tarragon – finely chopped
  • small bunch of flat leaf parsley – finely chopped
  • fresh parmesan – grated just prior to serving
  • small sourdough loaf – ripped into pieces

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C
  2. Stuff the cavity of the chicken with the whole lemon, whole peeled onion and bay leaf. Rub the skin with some butter and a little olive oil. Season and roast about 1 ½ hours at 180C FAN/200C/Gas Mark 6 until cooked right through. Keep the roasting tray and juices to one side to be used later on.
  3. For the soup. Gently fry the red onion and the garlic in a large saucepan big enough to fit the whole chicken and liquid in
  4. Add the leeks
  5. Put in the whole cooked chicken once it is roasted – remove the lemon from the cavity before you do this
  6. Add 2 litres of stock – and make sure that the chicken is almost completely covered
  7. Add the roughly chopped carrots and celery sticks
  8. Add several bay leaves, the small bunch of parsley and a lug of white wine
  9. Leave the soup to cook for around 4 hours – check the liquid doesn’t evaporate too much and if necessary add a little water.
  10. When the soup is cooked. First toss the sourdough chunks in the original roasting pan from the chicken and place it back in the oven for around 15 minutes at 180C fan/200C/Gas mark 6 while you are finishing off the soup.
  11. Heat a little oil in another large pan, gently fry and soften the remaining sticks of chopped celery, the carrot and the leek
  12. Remove the chicken from the pan and strain the soup from into the softened vegetables
  13. Add the fresh peas and allow to cook for a minute.
  14. Shred some of the chicken meat (enough for as many portions as you need)
  15. Serve the soup with the meat, tarragon, parsley and freshly grated parmesan – with the roasted pieces of sourdough bread on the side