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    Wednesday, April 01, 2020

    Hot Cross Buns - An Oldie But A Goodie

    It's Good Friday and I got up early, to make Hot Cross Buns for Breakfast
    It helped that I was awake reading, no alarms needed in this house, to get me out of bed

    Zorra Kochtopf is holding a Bread Baking Day Event.
    Blogwarming Party, Please Bring Bread
    Zorra is a German Blogger that I follow
    When Zorra does the round up of all the recipes, I will post the link for all to see
    Bread Baking Day #57 - Blogwarming Party - please bring Bread! (Last day of submission April 1st, 2013)

    So I reckon, these lovely buns would be welcome anywhere
    Any other time of year,  just don't pipe the cross on top and they will be Spicy Fruit Buns
    The recipe is actually really easy.
    It does require some kneading and time, but that is not difficult
    4 teaspoons (14g) dry yeast
    1/3 cup (75g) caster sugar
    1 cup (250ml) warm milk
    4 cups (600g) plain flour
    3 teaspoons mixed spice
    3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
    1 & 1/2 teaspoons salt
    80g butter, chopped
    1 cup (160g) sultanas
    2 tablespoons finely chopped mixed peel
    1 egg, beaten lightly
    1/3 cup (80ml) warm water, approximately

    FLOUR PASTE (For Crosses)
    1/4 cup (35g) plain flour
    2 teaspoons caster sugar
    2 tablespoons cold water, approximately

    1 tablespoon caster sugar
    1 teaspoon powdered gelatine
    1 tablespoon water


    Combine the yeast with one tablespoon of the sugar and all of the milk in a small bowl;
    whisk until the yeast is dissolved.
    Cover the bowl and stand in a warm place (on the door in front of a very slow oven is ideal) for about 10 minutes or until the mixture is frothy.

    Sift the flour, spices and salt into a large bowl;
    Rub in the butter.
    Stir in the remaining sugar, fruit, yeast mixture, egg and enough water to make a soft dough.
    It took a couple of extra tablespoons of water to get a nice soft dough.

    Cover the bowl with oiled plastic wrap and stand in a warm place for about one hour or until mixture is doubled in size.

    Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes
    When you knead push the dough out to stretch it
    Then pull it back over and in
    Turn over and keep going till it is smooth and elastic

    Divide the dough into 16 portions;
    Place hand over the dough and using a circular motion, roll the dough into a ball.
    Place the balls, almost touching, on a large greased oven tray.

     Stand in a warm place for about 20 minutes or until dough is almost doubled in size.
     Preheat the oven to 220 deg C (200 deg C fan-forced).

    To make crosses
    Sift flour and sugar into a small bowl;
    gradually stir in enough water to make a smooth thick paste.
    Place the Flour Paste into a resealable plastic bag and snip a tiny piece off one corner.
    Pipe crosses onto the buns.

    Bake the buns for about 15 minutes or until buns sound hollow when tapped.
    (I think I took them out after 12 minutes... they could have done with a little more time)

    Meanwhile, combine all ingredients in a small pan and stir over low heat, without boiling,
    until the sugar and gelatine are dissolved.
    Transfer the buns to a wire rack and brush the tops with the Glaze.

     Butter and some Jam...Yum

    Monday, March 09, 2020

    Cold Asian Noodle Salad with Chicken and Cucumbers

    This salad is perfect for a hot day, 
    Sweet, sour, and a little spicy. 
    The recipe called for wide rice noodles but personally I prefer vermicelli style noodle. 
    Also, make it even easier and use a store bought Rotisserie Chicken, 
    Just rip the meat off the chicken then you can make soup or stock with the remains, 
    The stock freezes well, for later use

    For the hot sauce, I like to use Sriracha Sauce but take your pick of your favourite
    To Feed 6 people 
    You will need

    500 gms rice noodles 
    1 red capsicum chopped into small chunks
    The meat of a whole cooked chicken shredded
    4 Lebanese cucumbers thinly sliced
    1/3 cup fresh basil leaves torn
    1/3 cup coriander leaves torn
    1/3 cup mint leaves torn

    For the Dressing
    1/4 cup fish sauce
    1/4 cup fresh lime juice
    1/4 cup runny honey
    1/4 cup soy sauce
    1 tablespoon (or more) of your favourite hot sauce

    Prepare noodles as per packet instructions
    Drain, transfer to a large bowl of iced water
    Drain then pat dry

    To the noodles add chicken,  cucumbers, basil, coriander and mint

    Whisk the fish sauce, lime juice, honey, soy sauce
    Season with hot sauce  to taste
    Pour over noodle salad and toss to combine

    Serve when needed
    It will keep up to a day in the fridge
    It's delicious and perfect for a hot summer day

    Saturday, December 14, 2019

    Chocolate and Pistachio Cookies

    Can’t stop eating these cookies
    As I was working my way through the Epicurious website, I came across these cookies
    With Pistachios and Chocolate you can’t go wrong really
    Very easy to make and you can cook half and freeze the rest of the dough for later delights
    Would make a nice gift for Christmas as well

    2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
    3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
    1/2 teaspoons baking soda
    285 gas unsalted butter, room temperature
    1 1/2 cups (lightly packed) light brown sugar
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 large egg white
    145 gms  bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
    1 cup unsalted, shelled raw pistachios, coarsely chopped

    Flaky sea salt (such as Maldon)

    Whisk flour, cocoa powder, kosher salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl. 
    Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat butter, brown sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. 
    Reduce speed to low and gradually add dry ingredients; mix just to combine, 
    then mix in egg white. 
    Fold in chocolate and pistachios.

    Divide dough into 4 pieces. 
    Roll each piece into an 20cm long log about 4cm in diameter, 
    pushing dough together if it feels crumbly. 
    Wrap tightly in parchment paper and chill until firm, at least 4 hours. 
    (The colder the dough, the easier it will be to slice.)
    Place racks in lower and upper thirds of oven; preheat to 175C
    Working with 1 log of dough at a time and using a serrated knife, 
    Cut logs into 1.5cm  thick rounds and transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet 
    spacing 4cm apart.
    Sprinkle cookies with sea salt and bake, 
    rotating baking sheets halfway through, 
    until set around edges and centres look dry, 10–12 minutes. 
    Transfer to wire racks and let cool

    MAKE AHEAD: Cookie dough can be made 1 month ahead; freeze instead of chilling. 
    Slice frozen logs into rounds just before baking.

    Mastering the Dough Roll
    1. Divide dough into 4 pieces. 
    Place each piece in the centre of a sheet of parchment paper and form into a log, about 8" long and 1 1/2" in diameter. 
    2. Just like you'd roll up a poster, wrap the parchment around the log, smoothing the paper and pressing out air with your hands. 
    Twist the ends of the parchment tightly to compact the dough log. 
    3. After wrapping, roll log on a flat surface to create a tight cylinder. 
    Let chill at least 1 hour before slicing and baking, or wrap tightly in plastic if freezing.
    I cooked 2 of the 4 logs today... these two in the freezer for a later date 

    Monday, October 21, 2019

    Kurnik (A Russian Chicken Pie)

    I was hosting a lunch recently and found this recipe on Jamie Olivers Website
    Perfect for 8-10 people 

    You could even prep ahead the day before
    Cook the chicken mix and the Rice, pop into the fridge and bring out 
    about an hour before serving.

    Cover with the pastry lid 
    Pop back into the fridge to chill
    25-30 minutes in a 180C oven
    As simple as that
    It looks like a Party Dish and tastes good too
    If you want to make it a little easier for your self buy a cooked chicken
    I had chicken breasts which I poached and shredded

    2 onions
    400 gms chestnut mushrooms
    1/2 bunch of parsley (15gm)
    Olive oil
    1 heaped tbsp plain flour
    200 mls double cream
    750 mls organic Chicken Stock
    Zest and juice of 1 lemon
    Nutmeg grated
    500 gms chicken breast (or  the meat from a 1.4Kg Chicken)

    200 gms long grain rice
    1 bunch dill
    4 hard boiled eggs

    Puff Pastry 400 gms

    Egg Wash

    1 egg yolk mixed with a tablespoon of water

    Place the chicken breast into a pot and cover with Chicken Stock
    Bring to boil, turn heat down 
    simmer for about 5 mins
    Cover and leave sitting in the hot stock for about 20 minutes
    The chicken will be perfectly cooked
    Remove the chicken and put aside
    When you can handle it, cut into bite size chunks 
    This stock is your beautifully flavoured chicken stock for the rest of the dish

    Peel and finely slice the onion, garlic and mushroom
    Heat a lug of oil into a pan over medium heat

    Add onions, saute till soft…not brown
    Add garlic, cook another couple of minutes
    Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

    In another frying pan over high heat add 2 tbs olive oil
    Add mushrooms, season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Cook till starting to brown (about 5 mins)
    Add to onion pan
    Mix well
    Add flour and stir well
    Then pour in cream and 250 mis of chicken stock
    Bring to the boil stirring all the time

    Reduce heat and simmer for a few minutes to thicken
    Stir in chopped parsley, lemon zest and juice, a good grate of nutmeg
    Add the chicken
    Meanwhile pop the rice into a pot with the rest of the chicken stock
    Bring to the boil, 
    Cover, lower heat and reduce to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes till the rice has absorbed the stock
    Remove from the heat and fluff a little with a fork

    Pick and finely chop the dill
    Peel the hard boiled eggs
    Chop them very finely
    Mix with the dill
    Add to the rice
    Set aside

    To assemble
    Grease a large ovenproof dish
    Spread a third of the rice so it is evenly covered
    Layer on half the chicken mix and top with half the egg mix
    Repeat the process and finish with the remaining rice mix
    Roll out the pastry, so that it will generously cover the pie 
    Place over the top of the mixture
    Tuck the edges in

    Place in the fridge for 30 minutes for the pastry to settle
    Heat oven to 180C

    Remove from the fridge
    Brush with egg wash

    Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown and the filling is heated through
    So how’s that for a pie
    I served it with a crisp Iceberg Salad, with some chopped cucumber and sliced radish and a sprinkle of chopped spring onions
    Just toss with French dressing just before you serve

    Excellent lunch

    Saturday, October 19, 2019

    Roast Pork Shoulder - Weekend Roast

    Recently we had a Pork Shoulder to Roast
    Unfortunately the skin was missing so we didn't get the crackling but the resulting  Pork was very juicy, tasty and well worth this method
    This photo is what it would have looked like if we had the skin on
    (Photo  and recipe sourced from
    Beautiful Crackling to nibble on
    Nevertheless it did taste wonderful. Crackling or not

    I shoulder pork
    10 gms rosemary leaves
    4 garlic cloves sliced
    1 tsp coarse sea salt
    1.5 tbsp olive oil
    2 red onions cut into wedges
    2 tsp fennel seeds light crushed
    2 apples peeled, cored and cut into wedges
    1 bulb fennel trimmed and cut into quarters
    500 mis of Cider
    2 medium parsnips peeled, halved lengthwise and cut into large chunks
    2 medium carrots peeled, halved lengthwise and cut into large chunks
    2 bay leaves, fresh or dried
    250 ml chicken stock  You can use a stock cube

    Preheat the oven to 180C Fan Bake 160C
    Score the skin of the pork and make about 15 incisions all around the meat
    Stuff each hole with rosemary leaves and a slice of garlic
    Rub the skin with half the salt

    Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a larger lidded casserole over a medium heat
    Add onions and fennel seeds and cook for 5 minutes until the onion is just soft and golden,
    Add the apples, cider, fennel, parsnips, carrots and bay leaves and the remaining Rosemary
    Pour in the stock,
    Bring to a bubble and let simmer for 1-2 minutes until reduce slightly
    Sit the pork on the vegetables,
    then cover and cook in the oven for 45 minutes
    Increase the oven temperature to 210C and cook uncovered for a further 45 minutes

    Transfer the pork to a chopping board to carve
    Let sit for about 15 minutes to settle down
    I made a gravy from the drippings

    Carve and serve with green vegetables and drizzle over the gravy
    Roast potatoes would a wonderful accompaniment
    Peel and cut the potatoes into serving size pieces, toss them in oil and some sea salt
    Add them after the first 45 minutes
    They should crisp up beautiful in that second cook

    Monday, October 14, 2019

    Cottage Pies with a Difference

    Normally when one makes a Cottage Pie it's normal to top with Mashed Potato
    Here's two different toppings to try
    For the kids...Little Fried Potato Pom Poms and for the others
    Mashed Pumpkin and Kumera (Sweet Potato)
    I used a packet of mushroom soup to thicken and give the mince some extra flavour
    Both were delicious
    You may wonder why the cheese hasn't melted as normal
    It is Pecorino... which does melt that well
    Covering for a member of family who is having a break from Cow Dairy
    Using normal cheddar cheese would be quite different
    This amount made enough for 2 oval x 5 cup casserole dishes

    750 gms of beef mince
    1 tbs rice bran oil
    Sea Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    1 large onion peeled and chopped
    2 cloves garlic finely chopped
    250 gms mushrooms sliced
    1 packet Mushroom soup
    Good dash of Tomato Ketchup

    For the Topping
    Packet Potato Pom Poms
    1 sweet potato (Kumera)
    1 piece of pumpkin about 400 gms
    Knob of butter
    Cheddar Cheese grated (about 200 gms)

    Heat a large frying pan medium
    Add oil then add the mince
    you will have to do this in more than one batch
    Season with Sea Salt and Freshly ground black pepper
    Fry till brown, remove and set aside

    When the mince is cooked add a little more oil
    Turn up the heat a bit
    Throw in the mushrooms
    Season with S & P
    Toss them around till they start to brown
    Remove and add to mince
    Turn the heat down again
    Time for the onion and garlic
    Add to pan toss and cook till tender

    Return the mince and mushrooms to the pan
    Toss well
    Add the mushroom soup mix and stir till blended

    Add 1 cup of water
    Stir well and cook till it thickens
    You may need to add more water

    Let it simmer away for 15-20 mins
    checking frequently so it doesn't stick
    When it is ready
    Toss in a good dollop of ketchup
    Transfer to the casserole dish
    Meanwhile while the mince is cooking
    Peel and dice the Kumera and the Pumpkin
    Cook in salted water until tender

    Mash with a good knob of butter
    Taste and add extra S & P if needed
    Add handful of chopped chives
    Bake at 180C about 20-25 minutes
    Sprinkle with some extra chives a some sea salt
    With the other dish cover with Potato Pom Poms
    Sprinkle over with Cheese
    Bake at 180C till cheese melted and the mince bubbling
    Garnish with chives and serve

    Dinner is served

    Chicken Pad Thai

    I am always looking for tasty easy recipes that all the family will eat
    This Pad Thai recipe was very popular
    Add more or less chilli, depending on the tender mouths

    200 gms Rice Stick noodles
    1/4 cup sweet chilli sauce
    2 tbs fish sauce
    2 tbs  brown sugar
    2 tbs dry sherry
    1/4 cup lime juice
    2 tbs vegetable oil
    500 gms Chicken breast finely sliced
    3 spring onions
    1 tsp garlic minced
    1 cup bean shoots
    1/4 cup unsalted cashew nuts
    1 red chilli 
    1 lime cut into wedges to serve

    Place noodles into a large bowl,
    Cover with boiling water and stand until soft, according to packet instructions.
    Drain thoroughly. 
    Meanwhile combine sweet chilli sauce, fish sauce, brown sugar, dry sherry and lime juice in a jug. 
    Heat a large non-stick frying pan. 
    Add a little oil and cook the chicken strips in batches 
    until lightly browned, adding more oil as needed.

    Remove from pan and set aside.

    Heat the remainder of the oil and stir-fry spring onions and garlic for 1 minute.
    Add drained noodles and stir until well combined. 
    Add sauce mixture toss until well combined. 
    Return chicken to pan with bean shoots and cook until heated through. 
    Spoon into serving bowls, top with chopped nuts, coriander leaves and slices of chilli (optional)
    Serve with lime wedges, extra coriander and nuts. 

    Red Thai Curry-One for the Family

    This recipe was originally planned for the slow cooker but I slow cooked it in the oven instead ...I’m not fond of just throwing everything into the slow cooker
    It may take a little longer in Prep time but the flavour improves with that extra care and attention
    I doubled the recipe
    That fed 6 people with leftovers for lunch the next day
    These quantities will feed 4
    500 g Stewing beef cut into 1 inch/2.5 cms cubes
    2 tbs rice bran oil
    2 potatoes peeled and diced 
    2 Kumera peeled and diced 
    1 onion peeled and diced
    1 red or yellow capsicum
    400 ml coconut cream
    1/2 cup Beef Stock, I used Simon Gault's Beef stock in a tube
    1 tbs fresh ginger finely chopped
    3 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
    3 tbs Red Thai Curry Paste
    1 tbs fish sauce
    2 tbs brown sugar
    1 tbs cornflour
    1 tbs lemon juice
    1 bag Baby Spinach

    In a large pan add rice Bran oil heat to medium heat
    Add the beef and sauce till brown
    Don't overcrowd the pan, do it in batches
    Remove and set aside
    Meanwhile Chop the onions and garlic finely

    add to pan
    sauce till soft
    The add the ginger stir and cook another couple of minutes
    Throw in the potato, kumera, and capsicum

    Empty throw contents of the curry paste in and sauté another 2-3 minutes

    its now time to add the beef in and the coconut cream

    Stir and add the stock. bring to thew boil and simmer for about 2 hours on a very low heat

    So when it is cooked, add the baby spinach, a good squeeze of lemon juice and serve 
    We had it over rice

    It is excellent the next day and as everything tastes better on toast

    This was my lunch
    Absolutely delicious 

    Thursday, September 05, 2019

    Bake Your Tacos - A Different Way to Consume Them

    Got the inspiration for this dish from the Hello Fresh people
    Instead of making Chili and the condiments and wrapping them up in Tortillas 

    How bake them in the oven instead?
    This looks pretty and was very popular with the family 
    To feed 4- 6 people, I used
    25 x 22 x 6 Deep baking dish

    1 packet x 8 mini tortillas 
    Homemade Chili (recipe below)

    For the salad
    2 large tomatoes chopped 
    3 spring onions chopped 
    3 tablespoons Coriander chopped 
    1 Cos lettuce sliced 
    French dressing (enough to dress your salad )

    1 small tub Sour cream
    100 gms grated cheddar cheese 

    First make a batch of Chili
    This is my favourite
    Gilli's Chili
    500 gms mince
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    1 teaspoon cumin
    1 teaspoon celery salt
    1 teaspoon dried oregano
    1 teaspoon chili flakes

    1 more tablespoons olive oil
    1 onion sliced
    1 small carrot chopped
    2 cloves garlic crushed and chopped
    1 tin Mexican beans
    1 tin cherry tomatoes in juice

    Brown the mince in olive oil
    Season with spices
    Cook for a couple of minutes
    Remove from pan set aside
    Saute onion, garlic and carrot till soft
    Add back the mince
    Plus beans and tomatoes.

    Check seasoning and adjust if necessary
    If the beans are not hot enough some more chili flakes would be good.

    Cook gently for about 30 minutes
    This improves on hanging about but you can eat it straight away

    To assemble The Baked Tortilla
    Grease the casserole dish with olive oil
    Line it with the tortillas
    Fill with the hot Chili
    Sprinkle with grated cheese
    Bake at 180C fan oven for about 30 minutes 
    So the filling is bubbling and cheese is melted 
    And the Tortillas are crisp

    To serve 
    Divide into 6 and slide into plate
    Dress with sour cream and place serving of salad on the side
    Dinner is served