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    Tuesday, October 28, 2014

    Colourful Pasta Salad - How can you resist this?

    I'm still on the 'use up the food in your fridge' before you go shopping, kick
    How about an Orzo Salad, packed full of flavour.
    Colourful and a perfect light dinner. All the food groups covered.
    Hot Smoked Salmon, Vege, Pasta and good Olive Oil, a touch of cider vinegar. 
    Can't get much better than that.
    It's really not a recipe, just some ideas
    Use any amounts you like, it's up to you

    In the fridge I found, mushrooms, half a red capsicum, some spring onions and parsley.
    Perfect for marinated mushrooms, the start of my salad
    Best to make this in advance, to get the flavours established

    Slice up the vege
    Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and toss well in some French Dressing

    Easiest French Dressing  
    To make 300 mls
    (I like to make it in a jar)
    100 mls vinegar, I like to use Cider vinegar, it has a touch of sweetness
    1 tsp Dijon Mustard
    Sea salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
    Shake well to emulsify
    Start adding 200 mls Olive oil
    Keep stirring with a fork
    Set aside, all ready

    Next step, I fossicked around in the fridge and found
    Some Hot Smoked Peri Peri Salmon, You could use a Tin of Tuna

    Some cooked asparagus and radishes
    Slice them up set aside
    I had some Tomatoes which I chopped and seasoned with S & P

    I cooked the Orzo as per the manufacturers instructions
    Toss with a couple of tablespoons of French Dressing and set aside
    1 cup uncooked pasta will feed 2

    Now to assemble
    Orzo, Marinated Mushrooms, Asparagus and radishes
    Drizzle with some more French Dressing, to your own taste
    Toss and add Smoked Salmon
    Gently stir, Plate
    and garnish with Chopped seasoned Tomatoes
    All that colour has to be good for you

    Cheap and Cheerful Meat Loaf - Kid Friendly Dinner

    It’s Thursday at Grandma’s and I decided to cook from the freezer and the pantry
    I had a packet of Lamb and Rosemary Sausages in there.
    450 gms on special at $8.00, gluten free, but I have added breadcrumbs to the loaf so  that's not applicable

    While Grandma gets dinner ready, the kids are swimming. Bit chilly for me, but they didn't care
    I got out the Trusty Triple Tested Cookbook, to get some ideas, this is a perfect cookbook for old fashioned cooking, things kids and old people like.
    There is a Glazed Meat Loaf recipe which I have adapted.
    It actually called for mince but I used the sausages instead 
    I’ve added some extra vege. Corn and spinach in fact.

    So ingredients
    450 gms sausage meat/or hamburger mince
    1 small onion finely chopped
    3/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs
    2 tablespoons chopped parsley
    1/2 cup chopped frozen and thawed spinach
    1/2 cup frozen corn
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    1 egg
    1/2 cup milk
    2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce

    1/4 cup tomato ketchup
    1 1/2 tsp golden syrup
    1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce

    Combine ingredients and mix well
    Pack into a greased loaf tin and bake in 175C oven for 30 minutes
    You can do this earlier in the day and glaze just before you are ready to eat

    Turn onto baking sheet and pour glaze over
    Return to over and bake for 15 minutes
    Slice and I brushed the excess glaze on the cut slices, that goes down well with the kids.
    Serve with yummy mashed potatoes and in this case a crunchy coleslaw
    Cabbage, Capsicum, Cucumber, Spring Onions all tossed in Homemade Mayo
    And for Dessert. Chocolate Dipped Strawberries and Pineapple, served with some whipped cream

    Easy peasy, just melt the chocolate, either over a water bath, or in the Microwave
    Make sure the fruit is well dried and then dip into warm chocolate
    Leave to set on baking paper or foil.

    Tuesday, October 21, 2014

    Mince and Cheese Pie - A Old Fashioned Family Favourite

    We were going out for a picnic, Daily outings for the beloved, these days
    Thought I would swap the usual delicious fresh homemade sandwiches,
    for Homemade Mince and Cheese Pies
    For this dish I went back to the traditional Grandma’s (as in My Mum) tasty mince
    None of your Italian herby, lots of vege, tomatoey Mince that you use for Lasagne, Spag Bol etc
    No back to basics for this dish

    1 large onion Chopped
    600 gms mince
    2 Tablespoons Olive oil

    Ground Black Pepper
    4 tablespoons Tomato Ketchup
    2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce

    Beef Stock Cube dissolved in 2 cups hot water
    Just enough to cover the mince2-3 tbs flour
    3 tbs water enough to make a paste

    Sauté the onions in  Olive Oil till soft but not brown
    Add the mince and brown
    Season with Ground black pepper

    Add the Tomato Ketchup and Worcestershire Sauce
    Stir well

    Add beef stock so that the mince is just covered
    Bring to boil and simmer for about 30 minutes

    Mix the flour and water together to make a thick paste

    Take mince off the heat
    Stir in flour,
    Back on the stove and cook gently
    Just light simmer, till Mince is nice and thick
    Continue gently cooking, stirring regularly to cook out the flour

    Careful, it can catch at this stage

    Remove and cool, ready to put in your pastry cases
    I had some help in the kitchen today, from my Grand daughter Cleo
    She was very helpful
    She grated the cheese that goes on top of the mince
    So to make the pies
    I use the frozen pastry sheets
    So easy and cheap too

    You also need some grated cheese and egg wash, to help give the pies, a nice golden glaze
    Egg wash easy, just beat an egg with a few drops of water

    So Lightly grease the pie tins
    Roll the pastry to make a bottom and top

    After you have prepared the pastry in the tins
    Let it sit in the fridge, for about 20 minutes
    It needs to rest a little, after all you have been giving it a hard time
    Take it out, prick the bottom with a fork

    Fill the case with mince
    Sprinkle with Grated cheese
    Place the lid on top
    Press down the sides and crimp
    Make a little steam hole
    Brush with egg wash

    C for Cleo on top
    Into 200C oven and bake for 20-30 minutes
    Till golden and crisp

    Lunch is served

    Of course, can't waste the trimmings

    The Queen of hearts, she made some tarts
    Jam Tarts in fact
    She kindly let Dale have one, she has demolished 4
    The rest are going home with her

    Monday, October 13, 2014

    Spring, Autumn - Food for Season Change - Orange Beef Casserole Covers Both

    Daylight saving started here in New Zealand just a couple of weeks ago. Earlier than normal, but arranged around the School Vacation. Give the kids a chance to settle in.
    Of course, it is the real start of the Spring Equinox, in my mind. 
    The days are getting longer, it is warming up and it's the last of the winter type meals
    Of course for those in the Northern hemisphere, it is all reversed.
    This dish will cover both.

    Cross cut blade steak, browned, gently simmered with root vegetables. Loads of flavour infused with the addition of Orange Chili Oil

    Al Brown, makes this delicious Orange Chili Oil.
    I guess someone else will supply it in other countries.
    If not just use a Chili Oil and some grated zest of an orange.

    Make your own Stock
    I never waste the trimmings of the meat and vege
    Just pop them into pot with a couple beef stock cubes and about 500 mls water
    Simmer for about 30 minutes
    Strain and reserve
    Added flavour for your stew
    For 3-4 people
    700 gms Cross Cut Blade steak, fat trimmed off and cut into chunks
    1/2 cup flour seasoned with Sea salt and Black pepper
    3 Tablespoons Orange and Chili Olive Oi, if the oil is too hot for you break it down with Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    Large Knob of butter
    1 large onion, segmented
    2 large carrots, cut into chunks
    1 large parsnip, cut into chunks
    1 green mild chili de-seeded and chopped
    2 cloves garlic peeled and finely chopped
    Sea salt, freshly ground black pepper 

    Grated Orange Zest and handful chopped Parsley
    Plus a drizzle of the Orange Chili Oil

    I like to flour and brown the meat. More flavour,
    Toss the chopped meat in the seasoned flour, shake and reserve the flour

    Into a medium hot pan, throw in your meat, do not overcrowd the pan
    You may have to do this in batches
    Brown on all sides
    Remove and place into casserole dish
    Add onions to pan with the knob of butter
    Cook gently till soft
    Add carrots, parsnip, chili and garlic
    Toss around and cook about 4-5 minutes
    Add slosh of white wine to deglaze the pan
    Cook down, till absorbed
    add the remainder of the flour
    Cook out the flour for about 3-4 mins
    Add strained stock, see above
    Bring to the boil, stirring and simmer till it has thickened

    Add to the meat in the casserole
    Meanwhile Preheat the oven to 175C 
    Slowly cook for about 1 1/2 - 2 hours till thickened and meat is tender

    Serve with some chopped parsley and grated orange zest
    Finish off with a drizzle of the Orange Chili Oil

    Delicious on its own, but even better with some mashed potatoes and some greens

    Tuesday, September 23, 2014

    Recycling Food - Leftovers Turned Into More Leftovers - 3 meals - 3 days

    Lunch today, Risotto Cakes,  Fabulous.

    In the weekend, I whipped up some soup from the vegetable bin, in the fridge,
    Celery, Butternut, onion, some leftover chicken stock, Very Simple
    Plenty for 4 people
    We didn’t eat it all, we were off to a party and thought we should have a small bowl, to line our stomachs. The remainder went into the fridge.
    So last night, I thought I would be a little more creative, than just a bowl of soup and toast for dinner.

    Let’s make risotto.
    I also had some leftover marinated feta, that I had bought from Farro Fresh in the weekend.
    Also for  a little extra zing, a dash of Sriracha Sauce

    It was really tasty and very easy.
    1 onion finely chopped
    Sea salt and Freshly ground black pepper
    2 tablespoons Olive oil
    2 cups Arborio Rice
    Slosh White wine
    4-5 cups of leftover soup. You may need to thin it down so that it is the consistency of stock

    2 tablespoons Marinated Feta in Olive Oil
    Dash of Sriracha Sauce (optional)

    Gently saute the onion in olive oil till translucent
    Season with S & P
    Add Rice and stir well

    Cook about 2-3 minutes to toast it a little
    Add wine, cook till absorbed
    Meanwhile, have the soup gently simmering on the stove

    Start adding the soup, gradually,
    A ladelful at a time
    stirring well till liquid absorbed
    Continue cooking, till rice is just cooked and the risotto is creamy, almost soupy in fact
    Add marinated Feta and extra olive oil
    and dash of Sriracha Sauce if you are using it.

    Serve in bowls, best way to eat, this kind of food I think.
    Of course I made too much

    Solution. Risotto Cakes

    Take your leftover Risotto
    There was about 2 cups left
    2 rashers bacon chopped finely and sauteed till crisp
    1 tablespoon chopped parsley
    Add an egg to bind

    1 cup Breadcrumbs (I used Panko Crumbs)
    4 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan Cheese

    Mix the breadcrumbs and Parmesan together on a plate

    In a large bowl, add risotto, sauteed bacon and parsley

    Add beaten egg
    Mix well this mixture was quite wet
    So I added 2 tablespoons of the breadcrumbs mix just to dry it out a bit

    Roll into cakes and pat them flat
    Coat with the remainder of breadcrumbs

    Pop into the fridge for an hour or so just to solidify

    Fry till crispy and golden in some vegetable oil
    Voila Lunch

    I served them with some Pear Chutney, supplied from our friends Derrick and Lorraine Woods
    Actually you don't need much chutney, they are very tasty on their own
    On Sunday, the family came over, so I made Italian Meatball Soup
    Click here for the recipe
    There were 9 of us
    I had preceded the soup, with a very tasty Aubergine Salad 
    Read the recipe in this post
    Threw some beautiful baguettes on the table
    Great lunch

    I didn't add pasta to the soup, before serving, as I wanted to keep it gluten free
    At lunch, I cooked the pasta and only added it to those who didn't care
    So there was at least 3 cups of soup left
    So on Monday, I cooked up 2 cups of penne

    Mixed together with the Meatball soup
    Placed it into a Gratin dish
    Meanwhile, I made a Bechamel sauce which I flavoured with the Marinated Feta

    Smothered the penne mix and baked for about 30 minutes at 180C
    There was enough for 4 people.
    So half of it went into the freezer for another day
    As my friend Mary said
    Great budgeting, absolutely no waste

    Saturday, September 13, 2014

    Kid Friendly Dinner - Crumbed Sausages with Savoury Sauce

    Back once again, to The Trusty Triple Tested Cookbook.
    It really does have some good basic food, that suits kids.
    These Crumbed Sausages with Savoury Sauce, have been very popular with the Grandkids
    Not the most attractive looking dish, but very tasty
    I went into the Posh Supermarket to buy the sausages, but I think basically the kids just like a good old fashioned Beef sausage, so off to the Supermarket Supermarket, I went.

    You can prepare this earlier on the day, and cook in the oven, just before you need it
    Will take about 10-15 minutes.

    I thought this time I would accompany the sausages with corn fritters
    This gets extra vege into the kids.
    Everyone likes Corn fritters, surely

    I used the base for my fritters in this recipe click here, to get the recipe,
    replacing the seafood and spinach with, frozen corn, red pepper and onion.
    2 sausages per person
    3 tablespoons Flour
    Freshly ground black pepper
    1 egg
    1 tablespoon water
    Breadcrumbs. As much as you need to coat the sausages, this will vary
    Oil for frying,  2-3 tablespoons

    ½ cup Ketchup
    2 tablespoons brown sugar
    1 tablespoon vinegar
    1 tablespoon soya sauce

    Place the sausages into a pot, cover with cold water
    Bring to the boil and simmer for about 2-3 minutes
    Drain, cool and remove skins

    Mix pepper into flour, on a plate
    Beat egg with water in a shallow bowl
    And lay breadcrumbs on a paper towel

    Dip skinned sausages into flour
    Then egg mix
    Finally into breadcrumbs

    Best to let them set, for at least 15 minutes
    Makes a better crust when you cook them

    In a medium hot pan
    Add oil
    Lightly brown the sausages all over
    Place into an oven dish

    You can leave them in the fridge till you need them

    When you are ready to go
    Preheat oven to 190C

    Combine all the Sauce Ingredients
    Pour sauce over the sausages, making sure each has a good coating
    Bake 10-15 minutes till golden

    Serve, as I did with Corn Fritters or
    Mashed potatoes and broccoli go well
    Kids seem to adore them

    We had leftovers
    So the next day, I cooked up some Cous cous
    Fried some chopped onion,
    Diced carrot and diced celery in olive oil
    Quantities up to you
    Cut up the leftover sausages into medium dice
    Threw onto the pan

    Mixed the lot into the hot Cous cous

    Excellent Brunch Idea - Scrambled Eggs and Mushrooms in a Toasted Bread Basket

    Been watching a bit of Jacques Pepin lately, he gave me an idea, which I have just cooked for our dinner. Jacques put a bit more effort into his mushrooms, but we liked these.
    Scrambled Eggs and Mushrooms in a Toasted Bread Basket

    Would make a great brunch recipe.

    Because the bread case required real bread, I especially made a loaf from my blog. A recipe that I stole from Michel Roux Jr
    Sensational bread you can find out how to make it here
    This is seriously very easy and if I can do you can

    So you need for 2 people
    2 slices Day old bread
    4 Eggs
    2tbs milk
    100 gms Mushrooms sliced
    Slosh of White wine
    Clove of garlic peeled and squashed

    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    Spring onion tops, chopped for garnish

    It's up to you how much butter and oil you use
    So I haven't  specified amounts

    Slice the bread into 1 inch/ 2.5 cm pieces
    Cut off the crusts
    Cut about 1cm inside the slice
    Carefully remove the crumb so you are left with a little square basket

    Melt approx 1 tsp butter per slice of bread, with the garlic
    Remove the garlic and set aside
    Brush the slice with the garlic butter
    All over and place on an oven tray

    Pre-heat the oven to 200c
    Bake the buttered basket
    for 7 minutes
    Remove and set aside

    Meanwhile add a dob of butter and the same amount of oil into a hot pan
    Add sliced mushrooms
    Season with S&P

    Toss around quickly
    Till they start to brown
    Slosh in a little white wine,

    Cook quickly till liquid absorbed
    Set aside

    Now quickly beat your eggs with the milk
    Season with S&P
    Scramble in a medium hot pan in melted butter

    Place bread case on plate'
    Fill with scrambled eggs
    Dress with mushrooms and garnish with spring onion tops
    or parsley if you'd rather


    This would be great for a crowd
    Prepare the bread case, butter them
    Set aside, till ready to cook

    Cook the mushroom
    Set aside
    At the last minute
    Cook the cases
    Reheat the mushrooms

    Cook the eggs

    Would go well with a Mimosa

    Saturday, September 06, 2014

    Seriously Good Cheddar, Date/Craisin and Orange Flaky Scones

    I am re-posting this blog. Today, I made scones to take up to the hospital.
    Found this on my blog and they were sooooo good.
    In the recipe below, you will note that I candied the orange peel, which is very very good.
    I didn't have time to bother with that, so I used the zest of 1 orange, also  No dates, so out came the trusty Craisins.
    If you are siting comfortably, then we'll begin!

    When we were on our road trip round New Zealand in 2008. I was on the hunt for the best Date Scones. Only found 3 I think, so I had to try my own.
    The secret is to candy the orange peel which is very simple.
    See below

    I have adapted The Cheddar and Thyme Biscuits/Scones recipe to make these delicious treats. From a previous post here

    I like the idea of adding sugar to savoury muffins or scones. It gives the food such a lift
    This is a very good recipe

    Heat oven to 220C

    2 cups flour
    4 teaspoons baking powder
    3 tablespoons white sugar
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
    54 gms butter or margarine
    3/4 cup milk
    1/2 cup /115 gms shredded Cheddar cheese
    1 cup chopped dates/ or 1 cup Craisins
    Candied zest of 1 orange chopped/or zest of 1 large orange

    So if you want to do the Date Candied orange way
    First candy the orange zest
    Zest the orange into strips with a potato peeler
    Cover with water bring to boil
    Drain and repeat
    Make a syrup ½ cup water and ½ cup sugar
    Bring to boil
    Add drained peel and simmer about 8 minutes
    Remove and chop

    Sift dry ingredients into large bowl
    Grate butter into flour
    and rub between fingers till it looks like breadcrumbs
    Or use a pastry cutter
    Add dates and orange zest (or craisins and raw orange zest)
    Toss the fruit in the flour.
    Make a well and add cheese and milk.
    Mix quickly and you may need to add a little extra milk.
    I like the dough to be wet

    Turn out onto floured surface and pat out to about ¾ inch
    Cut into pieces
    And place on oven tray I like to line my trays with baking paper.

    Cook 10 -12 minutes
    A beautiful mid morning snack…I think I have cracked it.

    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