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    Sunday, March 25, 2007

    Mini Cup Cakes

    I am really enjoying the Food from the
    "Party Line with Hearty Boys TV Show".
    I trialed 3 of their dishes for Lucy’s Birthday in an earlier blog.
    Very successful.

    Here is the recipe for their Mini Cup Cakes.
    These were cooked and decorated by Katie (her design)
    with recipe supplied by me.
    They look sensational.
    These were for a little girls birthday party.

    It is a slightly different method than normal, you heat the butter and milk together
    and add to egg, sugar and dry ingredient mix.

    The recipe makes heaps and there were only a handful left from this beautiful tray of cakes.

    You need
    3 eggs
    ½ cups sugar

    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    ¾ cup of milk
    6 tablespoons butter

    1 ¾ cups flour
    2 teaspoon Baking Powder
    ¼ teaspoon salt

    Heat oven to 175C
    Mini muffin tins
    Hint make sure they are well greased for easy removal

    Whip eggs and sugar till fluffy
    Add vanilla
    Sift and add dry ingredients just a
    little at a time, you don’t want to be wearing a flour suit.

    Meanwhile heat milk and butter don't boil.
    Just enough to melt the butter.

    Finally fill the tins ¾ full.

    Into oven…this mini muffin size (pictured) should be done in 10 minutes
    If your tins are slightly larger allow for that in the timing.
    Quite often little kids only eat the icing on the cup cakes, but these little nibbles were gobbled down, hardly any left.

    Saturday Dinner

    Currently at home alone…I was invited to dinner with Katie and Chris.
    The temptation was extra gripping.
    She was making Lamb Shanks.
    I saw a wonderful way to roast vegetables (inspired by Tim McRoberts
    on Food TV he is a Canadian chef) and cooked them to accompany the wonderful shanks

    First the vege

    You will need for 4 people (there were left overs…good lunch the next day)

    3 tablespoons olive oil
    2 fingers potatoes per person
    2 med carrots cut into 12 sticks
    2 little turnip each
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    2 baby onions each
    2 whole cloves garlic each
    2 handful sliced mushrooms
    3 stalks of silverbeet sliced stalks and all
    3 stalks of celery chopped

    Bouquet Garni
    1 stalk of celery cut in half horizontally
    3 sprigs thyme
    3 b ay leaves

    8 black olives
    Juice ½ lemon
    50 gms feta crumbled
    Several basil leaves...torn for garnish

    If your you can cook in your roasting pan on the stove top do this in one stage
    I decided to spread the cooking over 2 frying pans and then transferred to a roasting dish to finish off the dish.
    First put oil into a med hot pan
    Add potatoes, carrots and turnips
    Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Cook gently 10 mins
    Toss around
    Add onions garlic cloves, mushrooms, celery and silverbeet
    Saute another 10 minutes

    Meanwhile make the Bouquet Garni
    Lay thyme and bay leaves on 1 piece of celery place the other piece on top and tie up with string.
    Get ready to roast in 180C oven.
    Put all veges and Bouquet Garni into roasting pan
    Roast until fork tender about another 15 minutes
    Squeeze lemon juice over
    A good grind of freshly ground black pepper
    Pile onto platter
    Crumble over feta cheese and tear basil leaves for garnish

    Now from Katie’s Kitchen
    Katie is always looking for recipes without tomatoes as she has an allergy
    She developed this delicious dish very simple

    Katie’s Lamb Shanks
    To feed four
    I large lamb shank per person
    3 tablespoons flour
    Sea salt & freshly ground black freshly ground black pepper
    3 tablespoons olive oil

    1 large red onion peeled and chopped
    2 large carrots peeled and chopped
    2 sticks of celery chopped
    3 cloves garlic chopped
    1 bottle red wine
    1 litre chicken stock
    2 large sprigs rosemary

    Season the flour with salt & freshly ground black pepper and dredge
    each shank, shake and brown all over in hot pan in the oil
    Remove and set aside.
    Add chopped vege to pan and coat with oil
    Saute 5-6 minutes.
    Deglaze pan with red wine
    Reduce down a little
    Add chicken stock

    Carefully return shanks to pan along with rosemary sprigs
    Bury them in the liquid.
    Bring back to boil
    Turn heat down and simmer
    2-3 hours till shanks are fork tender.

    Remove from pan
    Skim fat off pan juices and reduce down by half.
    Taste and test the seasoning and adjust with salt & pepper if needed.

    Return shanks to pan
    These are now ready to serve as soon as you are ready
    We served them sitting on some mashed kumara.
    And yes, we did demolish that large shank.
    They were great.

    The Fruits of My Labour

    Late Summer - Early Autumn
    The best time of the year for tomatoes.
    I made my pilgrimage out west to get the best outdoor tomatoes around.

    First I made the famous Grandma’s Tomato Sauce. Courtesy of my friend Anne’s local pharmacist who supplies me with the formula…which makes it so special.

    Unfortunately it is a secret recipe but do have a look I am very proud.

    Meanwhile there still quite a few kilos of tomatoes left so I called on Mrs Elizabeth David for her wonderful Cream of Tomato and Potato Soup.

    Very simple and so beautiful.
    You can taste the butter potato and tomato quite separately.


    The white part of 2 leeks finely sliced
    15 gms of butter
    250 gms of tomatoes chopped
    300 gms of potatoes peeled and diced
    Sea salt
    Sugar 2 cubes
    Ground white pepper
    1 litre water

    100 mls cream
    Parsley or Chervil finely chopped

    Just melt the butter and add leeks before it bubbles
    The idea is soften without browning the butter or the leeks
    Add the tomatoes, let them cook till they start to give out their juice
    Add the potatoes
    Salt, sugar and white pepper
    Cover with the water and bring to the boil
    Simmer about 25 minutes till potatoes tender.

    Put through a food mill
    Return the puree to the rinsed out pot and add cream
    (She advises that in warm weather you scald the cream
    It may curdle with the acid of the tomatoes.

    Test seasoning and add more salt if necessary .

    Serve with a sprinkling of parsley or chervil and a grind of freshly ground black pepper

    I also garnished with some grated parmesan cheese.
    This is a French Dish and it was OK but…not brilliant

    Wednesday, March 14, 2007

    Lucy's Birthday

    It was Lucy’s Birthday

    and the family came around for a Birthday Dinner
    With Drinks we had Catherine’s fabulous egg sandwiches (we forgot to take a picture)
    They were wolfed down

    And we also had
    Warm Goats Cheese with Sherried Figs and Onions

    300 gms soft goats cheese.
    2 onions sliced finely
    2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    4 cloves garlic chopped
    2 sprigs rosemary
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

    10 dried figs sliced
    50 mls water
    ¼ cup sherry

    First place figs in saucepan add water and sherry
    Bring to simmer turn heat off and leave to steep.
    This will plump up the figs

    Meanwhile sauté onions and garlic in extra virgin olive oil with rosemary
    Season with salt & pepper
    Till soft and translucent
    Mix in figs
    You may not need all of the liquid your choice.

    Break up goats cheese into gratin dish
    Pour over onions and figs
    Into 170C oven for 20minutes

    Serve with slices of fresh baguette or maybe even croutons.

    I took this picture before the cheese was completely covered with the fig onion mix so that the method is shown

    Butterflied leg of lamb

    Get your butcher to butterfly a lamb leg
    Make marinade

    1small can crushed pineapple
    2 tablespoons soy sauce,
    2 tablespoons dark rum,
    1 tablespoon honey,
    2 cloves garlic crushed,
    2 tablespoons French mustard.

    Marinate lamb about hour minimum
    Place onto roasting tray
    Into a 210C preheated oven
    Cook 10 minutes
    Reduce oven to 200C
    Cook for 20 minutes per kilo
    For medium lamb (my favourite)
    Test with a skewer if blood runs
    Remove from oven
    Cover with foil and
    Sit for at least 20 minutes

    It’s important to baste with marinade every 10 minutes adding a bit of water if marinade is starting to burn.

    Feeds 4 people

    1 punnet Cherry tomatoes halved,
    Slice 1 red onion,
    Finely dice 2-3-slices of fresh peeled pineapple.

    2 fresh corns cobs or 1 cup frozen corn
    Roughly dice Avocado
    Finely chop 1 red chili,
    Zest of lime and
    8-10 mint leaves chopped

    Dress with
    3 parts extra virgin olive oil
    1 part lime juice
    Freshly ground black pepper and good pinch sea salt.

    Pop corn cobs into microwave for 2 mins per cob
    Remove and slice kernels off cob and place in a large bowl
    Add all other ingredients.

    Dress and leave for at least 2 hours before serving.

    Serve this with
    Basil Smashed Potatoes and Peas

    1 med potatoes per peson
    1 cup frozen peas
    Big handful of Basil leaves
    4 cloves garlic finely chopped
    Sea Salt
    Extra virgin olive oil

    Cook potatoes in the last 5 minutes add the peas

    In a big bowl –
    Rip the basil leaves
    Add 4 cloves of chopped garlic
    Add pinch sea salt
    Pour hot potatoes and peas on top and
    Proceed to smash each potato with a fork...
    (when I did this for 6 people got a little bored with the fork and roughly smashed them with the potato masher,)
    This will release the oils from the herby seasoning
    Pour a generous amount extra virgin olive and serve.

    A great combination

    We also had Balsamic Chicken

    Balsamic and Tomato Chicken Breasts.
    This is a great dish for a crowd . Everybody loves balsamic vinegar
    You can even prepare the previous day.
    Just sauté the breast
    Make the sauce
    Store them separately in the fridge and bring to room temperature
    Then combine and cook just before serving.
    Don’t overcook the chicken in the sauté process as it will bee cooked through whilst in the oven. This will keep the sometimes easy to dry up chicken moist.

    For 8 people
    1 small breast per person
    Vege oil to sauté
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    25 gms butter
    2 large onions sliced
    6 cloves garlic finely chopped
    2 punnets cherry tomatoes halved
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    6 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
    2 cups light red wine probably a pinot noir

    Chopped parsley to garnish

    Season then sear chicken breasts on both in oil till golden brown
    Don’t over cook
    Set aside in serving dish

    Add butter to pan and throw in onions and garlic
    Cook till soft
    Add tomatoes stir well to coat with onion mix.
    Add balsamic and red wine and reduce by half
    Just a gentle simmer.

    When you get to this stage you can store in fridge as suggested above,.
    But if you continue straight away
    Pour sauce over chicken

    Into 175C oven 15 minutes
    This should ensure the chicken is cooked right through and moist

    If you have prepared ahead I suggest you increase the cooking time to 25 minutes.

    Serve with rosemary cous cous.

    Rosemary cous cous
    The suggestion is to use the Israeli cous cous for this dish but normal cous cous will do.
    Whatever cous cous you use just follow cooking instructions on the packet
    But do try the Israeli it is sensational

    4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    2 large sprigs rosemary leaves removed
    3 cups cous cous
    6 cps chicken stock
    Salt & freshly ground black pepper
    Large knob of butter

    Heat oil in saucepan
    Add rosemary leaves to sizzle
    The add cous cous and coat well

    Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    Add boiling stock and follow with manufacturer’s instruction.
    Simmer about 20 minute still cous cous absorbs all the stock

    Of course there was too much cous cous and salsa so we stored them together in the fridge.
    Wow what a taste treat the next day
    Here is a quick pic of the leftovers

    The crowd were enjoying it

    Helen made a wonderful Rum and Raisin Cheesecake
    And Jacqui came to the Party complete with a Baked Cheesecake covered in Blueberries.

    Both cakes were so rich and fabulous.

    Here from Helen's Kitchen
    Rum and Raisin Cheesecake

    This is a grandiose dessert to be savoured and enjoyed. It’s ideal for a party as it can be made a couple of days ahead and stored in the fridge – in fact it’s even better that way as it allows the flavours to mingle and meld. It certainly carries an AO rating, with a wallop of rum that makes your breath run hot for just a minute. Don’t worry though – you’d need to eat the whole cake to blow any drink driving test. If you are a rum and raisin fan you’ll adore this combination. If you aren’t, well you are about to be converted.

    250g wholemeal digestive biscuits
    1tsp cocoa
    ¼ cup golden syrup
    80g unsalted butter

    1 cup + 2 tablespoons rum
    1 ½ cups raisins, roughly chopped
    5 ½ tsp gelatine
    ½ cup cold water
    450g cream cheese
    1 ¼ cups icing sugar
    3 cups chilled cream
    Crush biscuits to a fine crumb and combine with cocoa.

    Melt golden syrup and butter together. Add to crumbs and mix well. Press firmly into the base of a 26m springform cake tin lined with baking paper. Chill

    Filling: Pour rum over raisins and leave to soak overnight (or heat in the microwave for 2-3 minutes on high). Strain rum into a pot. Mix gelatine and cold water until duly absorbed.

    Add gelatine to rum and stir over gentle heat until dissolved. Do not allow to boil. Remove from heat and cool but don’t chill or it will set.

    Beat cream cheese using an electric beater until soft and free of lumps. Sift in icing sugar and beat until smooth. Stir in raisins. Add cooled gelatine mixture and beat well.

    Whip cream to very soft peaks and fold into cream cheese mixture until evenly combined (do not beat).

    Pour cheesecake mixture over chilled base. Tap tin gently on a hard surface to release air bubbles. Chill 3-4 hours until set.

    Cheesecake will keep 4-5 days in the fridge, sealed with plastic wrap to prevent the absorption of any fridge odours. When ready to serve, run a hot knife around the inside of the tin to free the cheesecake before lifting off the sides of the tin to free the cheesecake before lifting off the sides of the tin.
    Prep Time: 35-40 Minutes
    Makes: 12-14 servings

    I didn’t have a cake tin big enough (just used a 22cm tin) so just filled ramekins with the remaining filling mixture. It’s Very rich and although it says it serves 12-14 people these are very generous serves. Really delicious and ‘grownup’ and quite boozy.