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My Mum's Cheesey Scones

My mum makes the best scones - everyone says this. J said this. Then J had my mum's scones. He doesn't say his mum makes the best scones anymore

Ingredients
2 cups SR flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Approximately 1.5 cups of tasty cheese (shredded)
1/4 cup of olive oil
1 cup buttermilk (if unavailable, use 1/3 cup milk, 2/3 cup water and lemon juice)
Herbs as desired (thyme is my mum's pick).

Method

Preheat oven to 200°C. Prepare your normal tray.

My mum doesn't botther with all the stuff you read about - making wells, rubbing in butter, using lemonde. She combines the above ingredients until it is just together - do not play with it too much as you'll get tough scones. Don't use too much milk either - if the mixture looks like it's not coming together use more water.

Pat out to about 2cm thick and cut your scones out. Place on tray. Sprinkle with a bit more shredded cheese. Bake for approximately 10 - 15 minutes until golden brown (will depend on how big you make your scones - if you make monster scones, may take more than 15 minutes).

Eat and enjoy!!

Charcoal Barbecue

So a while ago I fell in love with bacon again, due mostly to my favourite cafe's bacon, which is organic bacon which they char-grill.

I finally bought myself a charcoal barbecue and tried it out today:

Bacon and bread:



Chicken and pork sausages:



Yumm.

The bacon and chicken were particularly tasty!

Anyone else got some barbecuing awesomeness to share?

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Pea & Ham soup

I'm lazy. So very lazy.

So, my pea and ham soup recipe, which is pretty damned tasty, goes something like:
- 500g ham, chopped
- 500g dried green split peas
- 2 onions, diced
- 3L water (I added more every so often during cooking - not sure what the total amount would be, but keep adding it until the ingredients are covered)
- 2 stock cubes (I used Massel chicken-style ones)
- 1 bay leaf
- ~2tsp salt
- pepper to taste
- dash of chipotle tabasco sauce

Put all ingredients in a big pot, bring to the boil, then turn down to medium heat and cook for ~4 hours.

That's um, a whole bunch of serves. 10 or so?

I've done it without ham, too, and it was good, if you're a vegetarian totally give that a try, maybe add some other veggies too.

Does anyone have any other super low preparation time, slow cooked recipes? If so, post them!

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Blender Recommendation

Our Sunbeam blender gave up the ghost this week when the glass jug cracked...Does anyone have a recommendation for a blender? We don't want to do anything too industrial with it - must be able to do ice, make green smoothies and the occasional curry paste. Would love it if the bottom undid for easy cleaning.

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Beef Kofta

I just made beef kofta using this recipe from taste.com.au.

Ingredients
* 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh continental parsley leaves
* 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh coriander leaves
* 1 brown onion, quartered
* 500g lean beef mince
* 1 tsp ground coriander
* 1 tsp ground cumin
* 1 tsp ground mild paprika
* 1/2 tsp ground allspice
* Salt & freshly ground black pepper
* 10 saffron threads
* 1 tbs hot milk
* 200ml container skim-milk natural yoghurt
* 2 tbs chopped fresh coriander, extra
* 2 tsp olive oil

Method
1. Line a large baking tray with foil. Place parsley, fresh coriander and onion in the bowl of a food processor. Process until finely chopped. Add mince, ground coriander, cumin, paprika, allspice and season with salt and pepper. Process until well combined and paste-like.

2. Preheat grill to medium-high. Use your hands to mould a heaped tablespoonful of beef mixture around a wooden skewer into a 7cm pointed-ended sausage. Place on the lined tray. Repeat with remaining beef mixture and skewers. Cover and set aside.

3. Place the saffron and hot milk in a small bowl and set aside. Combine the yoghurt, extra fresh coriander, salt and pepper in a small bowl and set aside.

4. Brush the kofta with a little of the oil and cook under preheated grill, turning carefully once and brushing with the oil, for 5-8 minutes or until browned and just cooked through.

5. Add saffron mixture to yoghurt mixture and mix well. Serve kofta with saffron yoghurt.

My variations

* I didn't use any fresh coriander, but I'm sure it would be delicious.

* I didn't make the saffron yoghurt. Instead, I made tzatziki, with some low fat greek yoghurt, diced cucumber and a little bit of garlic.

* I didn't put them on skewers, but just shaped them into sausages, sort of flattened them a little and then grilled them on each side until brown and cooked through.

* I didn't need to use any olive oil whilst cooking.

* I served them wrapped up in lebanese bread with some cos lettuce, chopped tomato, parsley and the tzatziki. Yummo!

Dairy free dessertly goodness

So, my friend Phil came around for dinner last night. He's allergic to a whole bunch of foods, most significantly for desserts is his dairy allergy.

So, he's never eaten a lemon tart, and hasn't been able to eat mint slices (a chocolate coated, mint-filled biscuit made by Arnott's in Australia) since they added milk powder to the recipe 15 years ago.

This made me Very Angry, and decided the menu for the evening (which began with a chicken ragu, cooked for 5 hours, which I will talk about soon maybe).

Incidentally, it wouldn't be super hard to do either of these recipes gluten free too. Making a gluten free tart case is pretty easy (rice flour), and chocolate biscuits probably likewise.

For the lemon tart we started with this recipe:
http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/16046/lemon+tart

and made these changes:

  • Arnott's Marie biscuits have milk powder, but Nice biscuits don't, so we used those
  • We used Nutellex (dairy free margarine) instead of butter.
  • Made a double recipe, as Mum wanted a second tart for a dinner party next week.
  • Used 1/3 less sugar than the recipe calls for.
  • Used 2/3 less butter in the filling than the recipe calls for (seriously, THAT much butter? ridiculous)
  • Added lemon zest to the crust

This was amazing, and blew Phil's mind!


Half a lemon tart leftCollapse )

The next recipe we concocted was mint slice biscuits. The commercial ones look like this:


It's a chocolate biscuit, topped with a fairly thick layer of peppermint cream, all covered in dark chocolate. Probably my favourite Australian biscuit.

So, we went searching, and found that Arnott's Chocolate Ripple biscuits have no dairy, which saved us the trouble of making them from scratch.

I concocted a mint cream, using:

  • 1/8 cup butter
  • 1 cup icing sugar mix
  • around 2 teaspoons of peppermint essence
Mixed that all up and tweaked quantities until it was a fairly dry paste.

Then we spread a thick layer on each chocolate ripple biscuit, dipped the top in melted 70% cocoa dark chocolate, put the whole tray in the freezer to set it, then pulled them out, dipped the other side, chilled again.

They turned out really well, sort of home-made-looking versions of the commercial ones.

MintCollapse )

Parsley pesto!

This week's vegie box delivery came with parsley and rocket so tonight I made parsley pesto!

I didn't use a recipe, nor write down the quantities I used, but here is an approximation. So simple and so yummy. I was very pleased with the results.

Ingredients
* bunch of parsley, chopped
* a handful of rocket leaves
* a handful of roasted almonds (I didn't have pine nuts on hand. apparently walnuts also work for this)
* 1/3 cup of parmesan cheese
* a few splashes of olive oil (more as needed to help the mixture blend)
* 1 clove garlic

Method
Put all ingredients into the food processor and blend until combined but so that it still has some texture.

And hey pesto! :)

I served it with some penne and steamed brussel sprouts (another new addition to the vegie box). It was absolutely perfect. Perhaps a tad too much garlic - not that there is such a thing - so adjust quantities to suit your own taste.

Gluten Free Muesli

Hello! As some of you know, I've been trying gluten free for the last 2 weeks. Not for any real health reasons other than I've just been feeling really bloated and horrible. So, based on this recipe, I doctored together my own version. Of course, muesli/cereal is a personal preference - so add what you do/do not want

INGREDIENTS

3 tablespoons golden syrup
3 tablespoons coconut oil (original recipe used macadamia oil)
1 cup gluten-free cornflakes
1 cup rolled rice - I used 'poha' flakes from the Indian grocer, get the thin ones (I used medium but thin would be better)
1.5 cups puffed rice - again, I got mine from the Indian grocer
Handful of coarsely chopped macadamias
Handful of flaked almonds
Handful of walnut pieces
Two handfuls of flaked coconut
Shake of linseeds
Shake of sunflower seeds
Handful of raisins
½ cup dried cranberries

METHOD

Preheat oven to 180°C/160°C fan-forced.

Roast your walnuts and macadamias in the dry tray in the oven for about 5 minutes or until fragrant/slightly brown. Place the nuts into your storage container.

Now put 2 tablespoons of golden syrup with 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in your baking tray. Put in the oven for just under 5 minutes, or until the syrup/oil has melted together.

Combine 1 cup of cornflakes, half a cup of rolled rice, puffed rice and one handful of coconut flakes in the baking dish. Stir the syrup mixture through. Roast, uncovered, for about 7 - 10 minutes or until browned lightly, stirring halfway through roasting time. Cool in the tray.

This mixture should be kinda sticky and maybe sticking together. In which case, you should then break it into bits into a storage container.

Clean your tray or use a new one. Melt the coconut oil/syrup again (1 tablespoon of each). Get the puffed rice, another handful of coconut and almond flakes and stir through. Again, roast until lightly browned...This took me about 5 minutes.

You should have everything in the container now - so add the remaining ingredients which didn't need toasting - the fruit and seeds. Give your container a good shake til it's all mixed up.

NADZ TIPS

If you find it too sweet, you can add some untoasted cornflakes or more plain toasted puffed rice to make it less sweet.

Check your cornflakes to make sure they are gluten free. Most normal cornflakes will have gluten in them.

Hit up your Indian grocer for ingredients rather than getting punished at your health store.

Be inventive - you can add what you want. Pistachios, peanuts, cashews, chia seeds, etc.

I love this stuff and I want to eat it all now!!! But gluten free doesn't mean calorie freee. FAIL :(

Edit: I even took a photo but forgot to upload it - thanks for reminding me dorukai




I always measure out 60g to eat for breakfast and I always want to eat 100g :( Depressing!

Dark Chocolate-Orange Mud Cake

This recipe comes from a book called 500 Cakes by Susannah Blake.

My husband assures me the cake, which I made for Mother's Day, was AMAZING. Certainly, if the portions he ate were anything to go by, it must have been. :)

Ingredients
140g Dark Chocolate
220g Butter, diced
400g Caster Sugar (I only used 350g)
240ml Milk
Zest of 1 full Orange (you may include more to taste)
2 Eggs
150g Plain Flour
40g Self Raising Flour
2 Tbspn Cocoa Powder or Cacao

Icing:
100g Dark Chocolate, finely chopped
80ml Thickened Cream
Orange essence

Method

Pre-heat oven to 170 degrees C or 325 degrees F. Line a baking tin with baking paper or butter and flour one.

Put the chocolate, butter, sugar, milk and zest in a large pan. Heat very gently, stirring, until the butter and chocolate have melted and the mixture is mostly smooth (there will be zest lumps, but that's ok). Remove from the heat and leave to cool for 10 to 15 minutes.

In a mixer, beat the eggs, then sift in the flours and cocoa powder. Pour in the chocolate mixture and combine.

Pour the cake mix into the prepared tin and bake for anywhere between 50 to 90 minutes. The recipe says 90 minutes, but my cake was completely done at 50, so make sure you keep an eye on it. When done, leave to cool in tin for at least thirty minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the icing, put the chocolate and a few drops of orange essence in a heatproof bowl. Heat the thickened cream until almost boiling, then pour it over the chocolate and leave to stand for 5 minutes. Stir until smooth, then leave to cool and thicken slightly before pouring over cool cake.

Decorate with some Terry's Chocolate Orange segments or Jaffas.

Serves between 8 to 16 people.

Food Budgets

Hey guys - it's been a bit dead in here...what's happened? Did you guys stop cooking and wanting to share the noms!? We've had a few new joiners and I haven't seen them post recipes. People, this community only works when people make the effort to post, share and discuss!

One of the things I have been thinking about it how much I spend on food. They always say that cooking fresh is cheaper, but I'm not so sure. Not to say that I'm going to stop cooking fresh, but I spend so much money on fresh food.

I'm not sure what the official amount on food is, but I easily spend $40 - $50 on vegetable/fruit, $30 - $50 on fresh meat and probably $30 on other ingredients, milk, noodles, etc. EASILY. If I go to the fish shop, it's probably another $15 - $20 on that.

Am I out of control? How much do you guys reckon you spend on food? I seem to be stumbling into chinese shops and coming out with $20 worth of noodles, spices, asian veg and tofu at every turn.

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