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    Monday, April 17, 2017

    A Vegetarian Delight - Carrot & Gruyère Timbales

    Carrot & Gruyère Timbales with Homemade Tomato Sauce
    My friend Katie posted this on her blog  click here
    to check out her posts

    I was cooking sausages for dinner and thought it could be a great accompaniment
    It was
    I served with Tomato Ketchup (a must for sausages)
    But if you would prefer…make your own tomato sauce
    (Recipe below) This is my "go to" Tomato Sauce that I use for Pizza, Pasta, Pinwheels
    Easy peasy

    Then it can be  a stand alone first course, with some crusty french bread

    This amount made 3 Timbales using Texas Muffin tins
    Adjust ingredients if you want to make more

        6oz (180gr) grated carrot   about 2 medium
        3oz, 90gr) grated Gruyère cheese
        1 egg
        1/2 tsp dry mustard
        1 tbs milk


    Heat oven to 200C
        Butter Texas Muffin Tins and line the bottoms with buttered wax or parchment paper.
       Put a medium saucepan half full of water on medium-high heat.

        Grate carrot first, then cheese, using the fine holes of your trusty box grater.
        Keep them separate.
        When the water is boiling, blanch the carrots for 30 seconds,

        drain and rinse with cold water.
        Using your hands gently squeeze them dry.

        Beat egg lightly.    Add carrots, cheese, mustard, milk and mix well.

        Spoon into prepared tins
        Put into a roasting pan with deep sides 
        add hot water (hot tap water is fine) so that it comes half way up the sides of the ramekins.
       Top each with a circle of buttered wax or parchment paper
        Bake for 25 minutes… they should be set - firm on top.
        Remove from oven and from hot water.
        Run a table knife around the sides to loosen.

    As I did...serve with grilled sausages
    But if you would prefer make the Tomato Sauce
    For Tomato Sauce
        1 x 400 gm chopped tomatoes, drained
        2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
        1 tablespoon olive oil

        Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
        1 teaspoon dried oregano
        1 teaspoon sugar
        1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

    Gently heat olive oil in a pot
    add garlic, season with S & P and oregano
    While the garlic is still soft but not brown
    Add the tomatoes and sugar

    Bring to boil and turn down to simmer

    Cook for bout 10 minutes
    Add vinegar and let cool

    Reheat when you need it


    Saturday, April 15, 2017

    Here's a Non Meat Pizza - Can be Vegan- But I added Cheese

    Roasted Apple, Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onion Pizza

    Here is a Pizza Blanco which can be Vegan...but I added Feta cheese
    Little bit Salty, little touch of Sweetness 
    Very Popular with the Grand kids

    Instead of a dairy base or the usual Tomato
    Try a Garlic Bean Puree
    This idea came from The Epicurious Website
    Some many good ideas on that site

    Garlic White Bean Purée
       1 400 gms can cannellini or other white beans, rinsed and drained
        ¼ cup olive oil
        2 tablespoon lemon juice

        Zest of 1 lemon
        2 cloves garlic peeled
        ½ teaspoon dried thyme or oregano
        1 teaspoon sea salt
        ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
        1 to 2 tablespoons water

    Pizza toppings
        4 tablespoons olive oil
        1 onion, thinly sliced
        Sea salt
        Freshly ground black pepper
        2 cups butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
        1 cup spinach
        1 apple, peeled and cubed
        1/2 cup Feta Cheese Crumbled

    First: Make your Pizza Dough
    Here's Step by step to make it easier
    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  pan

    Preparation and assembly

    Preheat oven to 190C

    I think the raw Garlic is a little too pungent, so I just gently sauteed it in the oil before I started
    Just to get that lovely soft roast garlic flavour
    Make the garlic white bean purée by blending the beans, oil,
    lemon juice and zest,  garlic, thyme, salt and pepper
    in a food processor.
     Add water, as needed, until a smooth consistency forms.
    Set aside. Can be made two days in advance.
    In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat and
    sauté onions until soft and lightly caramelized, about 20 to 30 minutes.
    Season generously with salt and pepper.
    While the onions are cooking, toss remaining 2 tablespoons oil with squash and season generously with salt and pepper.
    Transfer to a large-rimmed baking sheet and roast for 30 to 35 minutes until squash is fork-tender, turning once or twice with a spatula.
    Remove from oven and set aside.
    Add cubed apples to the onions
    Turn heat up to 220C degrees.

    Spread a layer of the garlic white bean purée evenly over the rolled-out dough.
    (You may not want to use all of it.)
    On top of the dough, arrange the spinach, caramelized onions,
    roasted butternut squash and apple slices. 

    Crumble over the Feta Cheese
    Season with salt and pepper, and brush the edges of the crust with olive oil.
    Bake at 220 degrees for about 15 to 20 minutes, rotating midway,
    until the crust is slightly browned or golden.
    Let cool, slice and serve.

    Plus if you want to use the Garlic Bean Puree as a dip
    Add a little extra Lemon Zest and dip away

    Monday, March 27, 2017

    $10 Worth of Chicken - What to do with it? Why...Make Pies Of Course

    Its worth looking for specials when you are at the supermarket and throw into the freezer
    for later. Last week there was a special on chicken drumsticks, so I grabbed 3 packets
    Cost...Just cents over $10

    So I threw them into a roasting pan along with a carrot, on its last legs in the fridge and a pile of spring onions, that were looking a little sad
    Seasoned them with some Vegeta Chicken Stock Powder, and some freshly ground black pepper Threw on a good slosh of Olive Oil and about a cup of Hot water
    Toss well and into the oven 200C
    After 15 minutes, take them out and baste them with the tasty juices
    They took about 25-30 minutes to cook
    I let them cool and then removed the meat from the bones
    Add the bones, plus all the juices into a reasonable size pot
    Rinse the roasting pan, with some boiling water and scrape all those good bits off the bottom
    Then top up with enough water, to cover the bones
    Bring to the boil and simmer for about 30 minutes
    Taste and add some salt and pepper if it needs it

    Voila… Chicken stock
    Now we can make the Pie Filling

    3 tablespoon butter
    1 onion peeled and chopped
    1/2  red pepper chopped
    1 stick celery chopped
    1 cup frozen corn, you don't need to thaw
    Sea salt and Freshly ground black pepper
    1/4 cup white wine

    3 tablespoon flour
    1 cup hot chicken stock
    Chicken meat chopped
    Frozen Puff Pastry
    1 egg beaten with a tsp water for glazing 

    Melt the butter in a pan
    Add the onions, season with S & P
    Sauce gently till soft
    Add red pepper and celery, season
    When they are soft
    Add corn
    Toss well
    Add wine and let reduce right down
    Add flour cook for a few minutes to cook the flour out
    Add hot stock, stir well and cook till thickened
    About 4-5 minutes
    You do need it reasonably thick
    It’s a pie filling after all
    But if too thick, just add a little more stock
    Taste and re-season if needed

    Put aside to cool

    AND there was stock left over
    Its was beautiful, all jellied.
    Maybe a risotto, some soup.
    There will be a use for it

    Now this amount of filling, was enough for 14 pies
    Into the freezer they went
    Still some filling left over,
    so I put it into a ovenproof dish
    Made some Mashed Potato
    1 large potato peeled, large chopped
    Cook in boiling salted water till tender
    Drain and mash with a little milk and good knob of butter
    Set aside

    Spread that over the top of the filling
    Chicken Pot Pie
    and that also is in the freezer
    waiting for another day

    So all up, I made all that Food for under $20
    Not bad for half a days work

    Aren't Muffins Fun - Two Ways - Using Honey

    Through some the websites that email me every morning I have found two new recipes for Muffins
    Both of them use Honey, both quite different, first one has the addition of Banana
    BUT what they both have in common...How easy they are to make!
    Virtually throw everything in together
    A little bit more finesse than that of course
    However So So Simple
    AND this first recipe No sugar, no dairy...if that suits 

    Also, all my Muffins freeze well, 
    Pop them on a tray and freeze, then place in a plastic bag
    Then just defrost on auto defrost, in the microwave
    Take them out, before they get too hot
    So to make the Honey Banana Muffins...recipe courtesy of Dinner with Julie blog
    I baked them in my fan oven and the muffins were ready in 15 minutes
    So I suggest that you check with a skewer or toothpick, around that time
    Oh and I added some lemon zest, you never go wrong with that

    3 very ripe bananas
    1/3 cup honey (creamed or liquid is fine)
    1/4 cup canola oil
    1 large egg
    1 tsp. vanilla

    Zest of a medium lemon
    1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    1 tsp. baking soda
    1/4 tsp. salt

    Preheat the oven to 185C Fan Oven

    In a large bowl, mash the bananas with the honey, oil, egg and vanilla and lemon zest

     Add the flour, baking soda and salt.
    Divide the batter among 10-12 paper-lined muffin cups, filling them almost full, 
    (Actually I only had 9)
    and bake for 15- 20 minutes, or until golden and springy to the touch.
    So Round Two

    From The Taste Of Home Website 2007 Page 33
    Titled quite Appropriately for Grandma's Honey Muffins

    2 cups all-purpose flour        
    1/2 cup sugar
    3 teaspoons baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 large egg
    1 cup milk
    1/4 cup butter, melted
    1/4 cup honey

    Preheat oven to 190C Fan Bake. 
    In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. 
    In a small bowl, combine egg, milk, butter and honey. 
    Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. 
    Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups three-fourths full. 
    Bake 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. 
    Cool 5 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack. Serve warm.
    Freeze option: Freeze cooled muffins in resealable plastic freezer bags. 
    To use, thaw at room temperature or, if desired, 
    microwave each muffin on high for 20-30 seconds or until heated through. 
    Yield: 10

    Thumbs up from the Grandchildren

    Wednesday, March 08, 2017

    Spinach Two Ways

    Spinach Two Ways
    Creamed Cauliflower and Spinach - Perfect Side Dish 
    Fish Spinach and Pasta Bake

     I was multi-tasking
    Cooking up for the next couple of days, these dishes have things in common, so I cooked them at the same time

    Two dishes using Spinach, one as a side dish and the other a full meal
    One using fresh Spinach, one using frozen
    AND by the way...both delicious
    Enough of each, to freeze for later maybe
    These little Spinach balls are great
    I always have frozen spinach, peas and corn in the freezer
    So useful
    The Bake is a good family dish
    So lets attack the Cauliflower dish first 
    This is a side dishes…I paired it with Pan Fried Fish
    But equally good with Grilled Lamb or Beef
    Gluten free too
    It is quite rich, very creamy but slipped down really easily

       Bag of fresh baby spinach
       1 small cauliflower head [cut into florets]
       1 small onion [diced]
       1/2 cup • shredded mozzarella [plus a little more for on top]
        2 tbsp • cream
        1 tbsp • butter [plus a little more for sautéing the onion
        1/2 tsp • nutmeg
        pinch of ground cloves
        salt and pepper

    Bring a medium pot of water to the boil.
    Once it boils rapidly,
    add the cauliflower florets and boil for about 10 minutes till tender
    When the cauliflower is cooked, use a slotted spoon to scoop the florets into a food
    Blitz the cauliflower until smooth with the cream and butter.
    Season with salt and pepper.
     While the cauliflower boils, sauté the onion in a little bit of butter until soft 
    then add the spinach, nutmeg and cloves and cook until wilted.
    Now mix the cauliflower, spinach, onion and cheese together,
    Adjust seasoning if needed, and scoop into a cast iron pan or small baking dish.
    Place in a 180C cook for about 10 minutes
    Then to finish off
    Slide under the broiler until the cheese is golden brown.
    I forgot to put the cheese on top. It was good but would be better with it
    Meanwhile, at the same time  I made a Fish, Spinach Pasta Dish
    Baked in a Cheesy Creamy Béchamel Sauce
    This has a light citrus flavour, due to marinating the fish
    The top, after it bakes is so crunchy and yummy
    Very easy to pick those crispy bits off before you serve
    and I did!!!

    For 4 people
    300 gms Pasta cooked  Penne or shells
    3 cups of prepared Béchamel Sauce
    1/2 cup grated cheese

    1 onion finely diced

    1 tablespoon butter

    8 Balls of Frozen Spinach thawed and all juice squeezed out
    300 gms Hapuka/Groper or any other meaty fish, Monkfish could work
    Zest and Juice of a lemon
    2 Tablespoons of Olive oil
    Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
    Grated Cheese for topping

    Sauce onion in a little butter
    Set aside

    Make Béchamel Sauce

    150 gms butter
    120 gms flour
    1 tsp mustard
    Sea salt and white pepper
    1 bay leaf
    6 peppercorns
    3 cups milk

    Make a roux.
    Melt butter in pan
    Add flour and seasoning and mustard
    Mix well to cook flour out
    Heat milk with bay leaf and peppercorns
    Strain and add all at once to roux.
    Whisk well and cook till thickened
    Add cheese
    Set aside

    Cut fish into 1.5 cm cubes
    Place in an non metallic container
    Add Lemon zest, juice, Olive oil and S & P
    Marinate for about 30 minutes just to start the cooking process
    Cook pasta to manufacturers instructions
    Drain and set aside
    Place onion, béchamel and thawed spinach into a large container
    Add pasta, Mix well
    If it is too dry just add some more milk
    mix well, best to be quite thin, the pasta will absorb the sauce

    Place in an oven proof baking dish
    Cover with Grated cheese
    1/2 into the freezer
    Bake at 180C for 25-30 minutes until bubbling and golden on top
    The Crispy bits are so good