Monday, September 01, 2014

Mini Croissants - Best Appetisers - So Simple

When the World Cup was on, I received a link to Jamie Oliver's daily "youtube" update, Food Tube. A young French Guy, (turns out that's what he calls himself), The French Guy, suggested making Mini Croissants, from bought puff pastry.
I was first attracted by the version, using Nutella, I knew the kids would like that AND they did.
So it is so simple
Take a sheet of frozen puff pastry, cut it into a large circle and cut into triangles
The pastry I use is 25cm x 25cm
Out of that I got 8 triangles

Beside the Nutella filling, for adults, the Chef offered 2 other ideas
Pesto and Mozzarella
Or Cheese and Ham, 
I had mixed up a tasty Cream Cheese filling
So so simple, just take about 100 gms cream cheese, 
Mix well with some tubed Chilli and Basil
Squeeze out around 2.5 cms of each herb. 
Really to your taste
By the way, you could add some chopped fresh Chilli and some chopped Fresh Basil
but I really like to have these on hand
You don't have to add anything else, this is just right, as Goldilocks would say
I actually mixed this up, for a base for Pizza Blanca. Excellent. Had some left over so I thought this could be tasty in these croissants. Perfect
Pre-heat your oven to 200C

Take your triangle, spread the pesto over 2/3 of the triangle, leaving some space at the top
Break the Mozzarella into small pieces and place on top
From the bottom, roll them up one at a time
Place onto baking sheet, lined with baking paper
Press down and brush with an egg, beaten with a little water
Below, the filling is the Cream Cheese mix, with a slice of shaved ham
Bake till golden brown about 8-10 minutes could take a little longer, keep an eye on them
Cool on a rack

They are so popular. perfect to make for pre dinner drinks
Or anytime for the kids

Once again for the kids version
Just smear the triangle with Nutella and follow the procedure as above, then bake

In the last few years, I have also taken to making Pinwheels, to serve with drinks.
Have a look at the method here

Change that filling a la the croissants above
Pesto and Mozzarella
Or Ham and Cream Cheese Mixture
One more use for this delicious Cream Cheese
Spread onto a Blini, place some Smoked Salmon on top
Little lemon juice and some cracked pepper
Hey Presto, another delight
This little batch, went up to the hospital, to give the beloved a wee treat. He loved them

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Seafood Fritters- Prawns, Spinach. Easy Peasy

After receiving a copy of The Great New Zealand Cookbook, the first thing that inspired me was Al Browns Tuatua Fritters.
I rushed off to the Fish Market and picked up some fresh Clams and Cockles, the closest seafood to Tuatuaa
Then I cooked these up and the fritters were fabulous
All wrapped in white bread. othing much better than that
Well, I have made something this weekend, which is pretty close
In my freezer, I had prawns and spinach
The fridge had eggs
And in my pantry, flour, onion, lemon and Sriracha Sauce
I cooked up large fritters for our lunch and with the remainder, made some small ones,which I took to my friend Catherine's Sunday night drinks

Very tasty
So grab

1 cup defrosted prawns chopped
3 little lumps of spinach thawed and chopped
1 onion finely chopped and sautéed in some olive oil
Sea salt and pepper
4 eggs
1/3 cup self raising flour
Zest of a lemon
Sriracha sauce up to you how much you use
It is hot so be careful

Rice Bran Oil for frying
Sauté the onion, chop the prawns and spinach
Zest the lemon

In a bowl add the flour, add beaten eggs and which till smooth
Season with S&P and Sriracha sauce
Mix together and add to the batter

In a hot pan add the rice bran oil
Enough to just cover the bottom of the pan
Add the batter in spoonfuls
Turn the heat down to medium
Cook on one side for 2-3 minutes
Flip and cook another 2-3 minutes
Onto a paper towel to drain

Slather slices of white bread or in this case Mollenberg sliced bread, with Mayo
Place a fritter on one side
Sprinkle with a little lemon juice and a good grind of pepper
Fold over and devour

Let all run down your chin

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

I have discovered the Best Hamburger Patty

I have discovered the Best Hamburger Patty
The photo doesn't really do it justice
But you get the idea

I used a technique that I've gleaned from watching Food TV

This involves, adding vegetables, finely chopped, to the Hamburger Mince
It was moist, so tasty and we loved it
It's a good way to get some vege into kids, without them knowing

I made my own buns
Treated like a bap so that they were a soft roll
But of course use bought ones, if you cant be bothered
For the recipe click here

I stirred some grated tasty cheese into my delicious Chili Mayo
Homemade as well.
I have been using the vinegar from pickled gherkins. when I make the Mayo
Then I added some Sriracha Sauce to get the Chili Hit
This makes a Mayo that really tickles your taste buds

I didn’t bother to add any accompaniments, but if you were doing this for guests...
You could make some chips then maybe add some beetroot and lettuce to the finished burger

But with the addition of mushrooms, red pepper and onion to the mince
You had your vege content, all inclusive
I like using Vegeta for seasoning it really does add that extra oomph

Put 500 gms Minced beef
into a large bowl

1 Onion  roughly chopped
4 large mushrooms roughly chopped
1/2 red pepper roughly chopped
All into food processor
Whizz till it’s almost a paste

Sauté  the vege gently in olive oil just to soften
Remove and cool them
Add to mince which has been seasoned with Vegeta

Form into Patties
Season with Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Lightly brush with olive oil
Grill on a hot pan about 3 minutes each side

Let rest for a few minutes
Meanwhile toast your buns lightly
On bottom lay a good blob of Mayo and Cheese
Put the patty on Top
Tomato ketchup on top half
Jam together


Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Bacon and Egg Pie - Shall We Mess with a Classic

So many recipes over the years, for Bacon and Egg Pie... 
I guess when you mess with it, by rights you should call it another name.
But Nah I'll stick with B & E
By the way I think Bacon and Egg Pie, is best eaten warm not hot
The flavours really get through then

This is also a good way to bump up the 5 a day Vege,
that we are supposed to consume, to be healthy
I've added celery and tomato to this pie.
The tomato, I squeezed the seeds out of as they bleed and can make the pie filling too wet
No waste though , the seeds and juice went into my chicken soup
But... I replaced them with a little balsamic glaze for an added flavour
The amounts are varied, depending on the size of your tin

Gather together some grated cheese (1 cup)
1 tablespoon olive oil
6-7 bacon slices cut into pieces
1 small onion chopped
2 stick celery sliced

6 little tomatoes, seeds removed
Salt and pepper
Drizzle of Balsamic Vinegar
6 large eggs

Place the olive oil in a frypan
Add bacon, only cook for a few minutes, to get the juice and fat running
Remove and put aside
Add and saute onions, celery  till soft but not brown

Halve and squash the tomatoes, to remove the seeds and season with salt and pepper
Drizzle with a little Balsamic
So line your greased tin with Flaky Puff Pastry, store bought off course
Cover with the grated cheese
Layer with half of the bacon, onions. tomato, celery

Whisk eggs
Season with Salt and pepper
Save a little for glazing the pastry lid

Pour over the top
Then another layer of bacon

Top with Pastry lid
Brush with reserved egg wash

Pre-heat  oven to 190C
Bake for about 30 to 40 minutes, till top is golden and crisp
Let sit in tin for about 10 minutes and unmould
If the bottom is not cooked pop back into oven onto a hot baking sheet and cook another 5 minutes
Nothing worse than a soggy bottom

Doesn't that look good. I reckon

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Best Meatless Lasagne - Thumbs up from my Dinner Guests

I don’t know how I found this site Moodie Foodie and decided to keep this recipe, but I’m so glad I did
It made the tastiest sauce.
Jay The Blogger said it fed 6... there were only 4 of us and we ate it all
Jay is more about lighter calorie food than me.

I have upped the fat content, but I still think it is pretty healthy
If you want to be gluten free, use eggplant or potato instead of pasta
And cornflour instead of wheat flour

Also there was plenty of sauce.
Enough for me to freeze for another day
So for Vege Sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
400g field mushrooms, finely chopped
160g (1 large) onion, chopped
200g (3) celery stalks, finely chopped
180g (1 large) zucchini, finely chopped
100g (1 large) carrots, finely chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 cans diced tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato paste
1½ cups stock, chicken or vege
60g (1/3 cup) red lentils
2 tsp dried oregano
2 bay leaves
1 tsp sugar
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
Salt & pepper

Bechamel Sauce
50 gms butter
1 small onion, finely sliced
50 gms flour
1 cup stock
1 cup whole milk

1 packet lasagne sheets, preferably the no pre-cooking kind
½ cup grated tasty cheese

For the best result with the vegetables, I chopped them in the food processor
I also do this when making meat sauce, particularly when cooking for kids who are a bit fussy.

Spray a largish rectangular casserole dish with oil.
I used a 30 x 20 cm dish this was perfect for the lasagne noodles that I used
Heat oil in a large non-stick frying pan and add mushrooms, onion, celery, zucchini, carrots and garlic with a pinch of salt.
Cook on a medium-low heat for 8 minutes until softened.
Add tomatoes, tomato paste, stock, lentils, oregano, bay leaves and sugar
and bring to the boil.
Check for seasoning,
Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes until fragrant.
Remove bay leaves.
Stir through parsley.

While vege sauce is cooking, make the Béchamel:
In a non-stick (if you have one) saucepan, heat oil on low.
Add onion with a pinch of salt.
Cook for 6-8 minutes on low until onion is softened.
Add flour and continue to cook for a minute or so until flour has been incorporated. Remove saucepan from heat and slowly whisk in stock and milk.
Return pan to the heat and bring to a simmer,
Simmering for about 5 minutes until sauce thickens.

To assemble lasagne:
Slap a good couple of spoonfuls of the sauce in the bottom of the prepared casserole dish and top with a layer of lasagne sheets.
Top with 3 large ladlefuls of the sauce, This should cover the dish
Add another layer of lasagne sheets,
Then half the Béchamel.
Another 3 large ladlefuls of the sauce
Another layer of lasagne sheets
Top with the remaining Béchamel

Heat oven to 200°c

Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes.
Remove the foil, sprinkle over the cheese 
Continue to bake a further 20 minutes until golden and bubbling.
Serve with a big salad and you’ll be happy all night long.

I reckon some Garlic bread would also be a great accompaniment
And that way you could feed 6 people.

For great Garlic Pizza Bread  click here

Pizza at it's Homemade Best

I decided to repost this Pizza recipe, as the other day I made some wonderful Pizza Bread
It is really simple and perfect to having with lovely comforting soup with this miserable weather we are having here in Auckland.
When I looked for this post for the recipe, I noticed there were the photos of our time on the boat.
Definitely worth a re-post
Wonderful Summer weather.
Not too far away...only a couple of months...oh maybe 3
So here we go
Hi my first post for 2008 
This my version for the easiest So Simple Pizza
We are still on board Cajun Moon where we have spending the last month in the sunny and not so sunny (as it turned out this year) Jewel of the North Whangaroa Harbour. A beautiful and unique place.

How's this for a sunset?
But back to Pizza
Step by step
You don’t have to get up at the crack of dawn for this bread
Max time: 1 hour 15 minutes... from whoa to go
I have this down to a fine art and feel really confident that anybody could get the same results.
i.e. to get the water to the correct hand hot temp 2/3 cold water 1/3 just boiled water.
This is the right temp for our granddaughter’s mouth and perfect for bread making
You learn something everyday

! cup high grade flour (if you have Italian 00 more’s the better)
1 pkt 8g dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt

Approx 100 mls warm water prepare 200 mls just in case…some days it may take more
It’s important that the dough is not dry

Place flour in a large bowl
Add sugar, yeast and salt
(making sure the salt and yeast are not together
Salt kills yeast)
So add about 100 mls of water and mix till the dough comes clear of the bowl
Turn out onto floured board and knead about 1-2 minutes
Till dough is smooth
Place back into the bowl which you have oiled and toss around to coat the dough
Cover with tea towel or plastic wrap.
Leave till doubled in size about 30 minutes to an hour depending on the temperature
Pull away from sides of bowl

Turn back onto floured board and knead it well about another minute
Flour the rolling pin and roll into shape and place in oiled pizza pan
Now I do have a stone and a peel on board
and they have been well used, particularly by our son when he is on board but I think to myself… the pizza shop guys use these pans…why not me.
I sit the pan on the stone though to get maximum heat
On this occasion I just wanted to make pizza bread so I brushed an excellent olive oil
Over the top
Into a very hot oven and it should take anywhere around 10 minutes

It doesn’t need to be brown that makes it too crispy this is just perfect
Sliced into 6 pieces and served it with some beautiful tomatoes seasoned with sea salt and pepper and a drizzle of the good extra virgin olive oil
Some nice soft Castello cheese white and blue. Glass of crisp white wine.Lunch fit for a king.
To make Garlic Pizza Bread
Before you place it in the oven make a paste
Using 2 cloves garlic, 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
A slosh of olive oil
Sprinkle with sea salt
Again about 8-10 minutes in a very hot oven
Perfect to have with anything really

Of course most times we add toppings.
This pizza I topped just simply with
Fresh tomato sliced
Spring onion chopped
Grated cheese (your choice...this was a mix of mozzarella and cheddar)
3-4 artichoke hearts
And few dashes of hot chilli sauce

It's so good I am going to make it again today

Friday, July 04, 2014

What to Do with Mushrooms - Make Soup of Course

It's Saturday and fine... but windy and cold

A sandwich just won't do and also we have some muffins left over from the other day
In the fridge were some Mushrooms
Ooh, Mushroom and Bacon Soup seems like a good idea
Warm buttered Muffins on the side
What could be better than that

 First you need to render some streaky fatty bacon
To get the fat to sauté the onions and also to have some tasty bacon bits to top the soup

To make a good hearty lunch for 2

4 rashers streaky bacon
1 red onion chopped
200 gms mushroom
Chop 2/3 of them and keep the rest to slice and add at the end

Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon dried Italian Herbs
100 mls white wine
1/4 cup flour

2 cups chicken stock  (I used low salt)
50 mls cream (optional)

The sliced Mushrooms
Slurp of Olive Oil
S & P
Chopped Parsley 

Into a cold pan add the bacon
and cook over medium heat till the bacon gets crispy
and the fat has rendered out
Add onions
Cook till soft not brown
Remove bacon, chop and set aside for garnish
Add chopped mushrooms
You won't need any salt at this stage the bacon will cover that but a
Good grind of Black pepper is just perfect
Plus add the herbs
Toss in white wine and simmer till it is nearly all absorbed
Takes about 10 minutes
Add flour
Stir well to combine
Cook gently for about 3-4 minutes to get rid of that raw flour taste
Add chicken stock stir well and bring to boil
Transfer to a pot
Simmer for about 15 minutes

Saute the sliced mushrooms in olive oil
Set aside

Put soup into Blender
Whiz till smooth
Return to pot
Add cream

Bring back to boil and then
add reserved mushrooms

Ladle into bowls
Garnish with chopped Parsley and Chopped Bacon