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    Sunday, March 04, 2018

    Bagel Crisps Again - Another Triumph

    We needed some nibbles to have with wine pre-dinner
    So I decided to make Bagel Crisps again
    But when I removed the bagels from the Freezer I discovered that they
    were pre cut
    Not deterred I cut them into batons
    Tossed them with Olive Oil, Parmesan and S&P
     Threw them onto a baking tray. No need to grease
    Pre heat oven to 170C

    Bake for about 5-7 minutes till crisp
    Perfect with drinks

    Crispy Pasta Bake with Chicken, Spinach and Tomatoes

    This pasta dish is cooked on a shallow baking tray
    So it becomes nice and crispy on top
    Wonderful flavours
    It was very popular in our house and these amounts fed 6, with leftovers for lunch
    I made breadcrumbs from Vogel’s Bread, instead of Panko, which gave an excellent flavour

    Just crumb them in food processor or blender

    I bought a rotisserie chicken from the market.
    Very easy, then make stock with the bones, Waste not want not
    I found this recipe on the Epicurious Site, once again, such a good site for anything
    You will need a large shallow baking tray to cook  and serve it on

    500 gms short pasta, such as penne or fusilli

    1 cup Panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) or your favourite bread, crumbed
    1 cup grated Parmesan, divided
    4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
    Sea salt
    Freshly ground black pepper,
    1 350gm packet frozen spinach leaves
    2 punnets cherry tomatoes, halved
    1 cup sour cream or crème fraîche
    1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
    4 cups shredded cooked chicken
    1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella (about 6 ounces), divided

    Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water according to package directions. 
    Meanwhile, mix Panko/breadcrumbs, 1/4 cup Parmesan, 2 Tbsp. oil, sea salt, and freshly ground black pepper in a medium bowl.
    Toss spinach and tomatoes with 1/2 tsp. salt and remaining 2 Tbsp. oil on a large rimmed baking sheet

    Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water.
    Return Pasta to pot
    Add sour cream, mustard, 1 tsp. salt, 1/4 cup pasta cooking liquid,                
    and remaining 3/4 cup Parmesan and pepper;                                      
    Stir until smooth

    Stir in chicken and 1 cup mozzarella, adding more pasta cooking liquid if needed, until evenly coated
    Transfer to sheet with spinach and tomatoes
    Top with Panko mixture and rest of Mozzarella
    You can get to this step earlier in the day
    Then you just need to bake
    Place tray with pasta mixture, into preheated oven until cheese is melted and top is lightly browned, 5–7 minutes.

    If you have prepared earlier it make take a little longer maybe 10 minutes
    To make sure it is heated right through

    Sunday, February 11, 2018

    Make Your Own Bagel Crisps- If I Can Do It You Can Do It

    This weekend, I had people over for drinks, we had some homemade Hummus and a delicious dip from the Deli
    I forgot to buy something to dip in
    But ever resourceful, in the freezer...some Bagels

    Heat oven to 170C
    I cut them into slices
    Brushed both sides with Melted butter
    Finely grate Parmesan or Pecorino over the top
    Lightly sprinkle with a touch of Cayenne Pepper
    Place on a baking tray, lined with baking paper
    Bake for about 6-8 minutes till golden
    There ya go Easy Peasy

    Wednesday, January 31, 2018

    Broccoli, Pasta, with Cheesy Crunchy Topping

    Enough for a good feed for 2 people...with some pickings for late arrivals,
    which is what happened our house last night long as you eat cheese of course
    This was on the NYT Cooking site

    There was a couple of changes that I made, due to dietary requirements for a member of the family
    and it worked really well

    1 head Broccoli broken into florets
    2 tablespoons Olive oil
    1 tsp cumin ground seeds
    Sea salt
    1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, or to taste
    2 cups penne or similar pasta

    1/3 cup finest grated Parmesan Cheese
    1/3 cup Panko Bread Crumbs
    1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
    Freshly ground black pepper
    100 gms Goats Feta

    Fresh lemon juice

    Heat Oven to 200 C
    On a rimmed baking sheet toss together broccoli, oil, cumin, salt and red pepper flakes
    Roast until tender and browned at the edges 15-20 minutes
    Tossing halfway through
    Remove from oven and set aside
    Turn oven onto Grill function

    Meanwhile bring a large pot of salted water to the boil
    Add pasta and cook to according to manufacturers directions

    In a small bowl mix Parmesan, Panko, lemon zest, some sea salt 
    and freshly ground black pepper
    Toss cooked pasta with the broccoli, in a gratin dish
    Crumble the Feta over the top
    Sprinkle the Parmesan, breadcrumb mix
    Drizzle very generously with Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    Under the griller till topping is golden brown
    2-4 minutes
    Sprinkle with lemon Juice and serve

    You can prepare ahead then pop under the grill when you want to eat
    Might take a little longer but you can judge that

    Tuesday, January 30, 2018

    Stuffed Sweet Potaoes - Tacos Without Tortillas

    Kumera (Sweet Potato) is so popular
    All my Mother did with it,  when I was young was roast it.
    Part of the weekend Roast...Along with Roast Potatoes and Pumpkin
    But as we have evolved with our cooking skills, of course we have discovered  there are so many other ways to eat this beautiful vege…
    This version, the Mexican Way, I discovered this On The Epicurious Site
    Instead of stuffing Tortillas, just stuff the Kumera,
    It was delicious and the Family loved it
    And for you Gluten free people...excellent as well
    Oh by the way I used these Black Beans, I would suggest you find something similar for that authentic Mexican Taste
    2 medium sweet potatoes (about 250 gms each)
    1 tablespoon Olive Oil
    1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
    1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, divided
    1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, divided

    1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
    1 red onion, coarsely chopped
    2 garlic cloves, finely chopped, divided
    1 400 gm can black beans, rinsed, drained
    3/4 cup vegetable broth
    1 ripe avocado
    3 tablespoons chopped coriander, divided
    2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, divided
    2 cups baby spinach
    50 gms creamy feta crumbled

    Tortilla chips (optional; for serving)

    Preheat oven to 200C
    Cut potatoes in half lengthwise.
    Toss with 1 tablespoon oil, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. cayenne,
    and 1/4 tsp. cumin on a rimmed baking sheet.
    Arrange cut side up and roast until fork-tender, about 25 minutes.
    Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a medium skillet over medium heat
    Add onion and half of garlic and cook, stirring,
    until onion starts to release moisture and turns translucent, 2–3 minutes.
    Add beans, broth, 1/4 tsp. salt, and remaining 1/4 tsp. cayenne and 1/4 tsp. cumin and cook until liquid is reduced and beans soften, about 10 minutes.
    Meanwhile, mash avocado and remaining garlic in a medium bowl with a fork until smooth.
    Stir in 2 tablespoons coriander, 1 tablespoon lime juice, and remaining 1/4 tsp. salt.
    Add spinach and remaining 1 tablespoon lime juice to bean mixture.
    Continue to cook until spinach wilts, about 30 seconds.
    Using the back of a spoon, gently push down in centre of potato halves to create a divot.

    Spoon bean mixture into potato halves, then top evenly with 2 tablespoons avocado mixture,
    Crumble the Creamy Feta and remaining 1 tablespoon coriander
    Serve with tortilla chips, if using, and remaining avocado dip alongside.

    Wednesday, January 24, 2018

    Celery Salad with Dates, Almonds and Shaved Parmesan - Followed by Gingery Chicken Soup over Zucchini Noodles

    Currently my flatmates are on the No Grain kick, of course, gives me a chance to hunt down food that is just not just plain old meat and vege.
    So for our first dinner, we started with this delicious Celery Salad, peppered with Sweet Dates, Crunchy Toasted Almonds, shaved Parmesan, with a simple dressing of Lemon and beautiful Olive Oil.
    Then we completed the meal with Gingery Chicken Soup over Zucchini Noodles

    If you want the gluten option...serve with some Beautiful Fresh Crunchy Bread

    For the Salad
    ½ cup raw almonds
    8 celery stalks, thinly sliced on a diagonal, leaves separated
    6 dates, pitted, coarsely chopped
    3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    60 gms Parmesan, shaved
    ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
    Pinch Crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

    Preheat oven to 175C.
    Spread out almonds on a small rimmed baking sheet;
    toast, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 8–10 minutes.
    Let cool; coarsely chop.

    Toss almonds, celery, celery leaves, dates, and lemon juice in a medium bowl;
    season with salt and pepper.
    Add Parmesan and oil and toss gently; season with red pepper flakes.
    So first course made
    On to the main
    Gingery Chicken Soup of Zucchini Noodles
    To be honest I do like carbs with my meal but I also really enjoy any food and this tasty Noodle dish really hit the spot

     4 medium carrots, divided
     3 (3") pieces ginger, unpeeled
     1 Large whole chicken
     1 medium onion, unpeeled, cut into sixths
     3 celery stalks, cut into 2" pieces
     1 head of garlic, halved crosswise
     1 tablespoon black peppercorns
      Handful of cilantro stems, plus leaves (for serving; optional)
      2 medium zucchini (about 10 ounces)
      2 teaspoons Sea salt, plus more
      3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more
      Lime wedges (for serving; optional)

    First make the Broth
    Scrub 2 carrots and cut into 4 Cm pieces
    Finely grate ginger to yield 1 tsp
    Then thinly slice remaining ginger
    Place chopped carrots, ginger slices, chicken, onion, celery, garlic
    Peppercorns and coriander stems in stockpot
    Fill with cold water to cover
    Cover with lid and heat over high until mixture comes to boil
    Lower heat and bring to a simmer

    Cook, uncovered, skimming foam and fat from the surface occasionally
    And reducing  heat if needed so mixture does not come to a boil,
    until chicken is just cooked through
    About 30 minutes

    Using tongs, carefully transfer chicken into a large bowl and let cool slightly
    About 15 you can handle it
    Remove meat from bones, discard skin
    And return bones to pot

    Continue to simmer until liquid is flavourful and reduced
    Should take about 2 hours

    Meanwhile shred chicken and set aside
    When your broth is ready strain into a large bowl
    Discard the vege and bones

    You can do this ahead, in fact the day before
    Just refrigerate the broth and chicken till you are ready to go
    You should have about 8 cups of broth

    Make noodles
    Use the clever peeler which makes noodles out of vege
    Or you can spiralize them
    Or cut them into very fine noodles
    This is what they should look like
    Set aside
    So to compete the Soup
    Peel remaining carrots and slice into 1 cm slices on the bias
    Return the broth to your stockpot
    Bring to a simmer

    Add carrots, shredded chicken, the reserved grated ginger
    2 tsps sea salt and good grind of black pepper

    And cook until carrots are tender.
    5-7 minutes
    Remove from heat, taste and adjust seasoning if necessary...

    To serve place zucchini noodles in bowls
    Ladle simmering soup over the noodles
    And top with coriander leaves

    Serve and if you have any limes
    Offer them
    That last touch of lime juice, Just lifts the completed soup

    Saturday, January 20, 2018

    Back on feeding the Crew. Those boys love a bit of sweet, so got the Grandson Baker back on the case. In the fruit bowl Bananas almost on the turn
    Perfect for Banana Muffins
    Always looking for something different, I had found this recipe on the Epicurious Website
    Not only Bananas but also Coconut
    The recipe gave 10 normal sized muffins, some for the crew and a couple for Joe and me 

    1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    2 very ripe bananas, mashed (3/4 cup)
    113 gms unsalted butter, melted
    2/3 cup sugar
    1 large egg
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla
    3/4 cup sweetened flaked coconut

    Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 190C
    Line muffin cups with liners.

    Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.
    Whisk together bananas, butter, sugar, egg, vanilla, and 1/2 cup coconut 
    in a large bowl until combined well,
    then fold in flour mixture until flour is just moistened.

    Divide batter among lined muffin cups and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup coconut.
    Bake until muffins are puffed and golden, about 18 minutes.

    Transfer muffins to a rack and cool slightly.

    Thursday, January 18, 2018

    Salted Butter and Chocolate Chunk Shortbread

    What a triumph. Got Grandson Joe on the baking today
    I had seen this recipe on the Bon Appetit Site
    The recipe is from a lady Alison Roman, featured on her book Dining Inn

    Apparently they are taking the Internet by Storm!
    Well we agree
    Very buttery, the Demerara Sugar coating gives them an extra little crunch

    I could only eat one as they are beautifully rich,
    Surely...that must mean that they might last longer
    We'll See

    You will need

    255 gms of salted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces
    ½ cup granulated sugar
    ¼ cup (packed) light brown sugar
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    2¼ cups all-purpose flour
    6 ounces semisweet or bittersweet dark chocolate, chopped (but not too fine, you want chunks, not thin shards of chocolate)
    1 large egg, beaten to blend
    Demerara sugar (for rolling)
    Flaky sea salt

    Using an electric mixer and a medium bowl
    or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment,
    beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla 
    on medium-high speed until super light and fluffy, 3–5 minutes.

    Using a spatula, scrape down sides of bowl.
    With mixer on low speed, slowly add flour, 
    followed by chocolate chunks,
    and beat just to blend.

    Divide dough in half, then place each half on a large piece of plastic wrap.
    Fold plastic over to cover dough and protect your hands from getting all sticky.
    Using your hands (just like you’re playing with clay),
    form dough into a log shape; rolling it on the counter will help you smooth it out,
    but don’t worry about getting it totally perfect.
    Each half should form logs that are 2–2¼" in diameter.
    Chill until firm, about 2 hours.

    Preheat oven to 170C
    Line a rimmed baking sheet (two, if you’ve got 'em) with parchment paper.
    Brush outside of logs with egg wash.
    Roll logs in demerara sugar (this is for those really delicious crispy edges).

    Slice each log into ½"-thick rounds. 
    Arrange on prepared baking sheet about 1" apart (they won’t spread much).
    Sprinkle with sea salt.
    Bake cookies until edges are just beginning to brown, 12–15 minutes. 
    Let cool slightly before eating them all.