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    Monday, April 20, 2009

    Rachel Allen's White Soda Cheesy Bread

    I watched Rachel Allen make Soda Bread, an Irish favourite, this morning and thought it could be a quick alternative to a yeast bread for lunch.
    It’s really like a scone, (USA Biscuit) but uses Buttermilk instead of Butter and milk.
    About 5-10 minutes to prepare and approx 20 minutes to cook…not bad.

    It made a lovely light bread.
    Delicious when warm.
    I was going to make a salad for lunch, but it was raining and a bit miserable so I accompanied the bread with a quick Mushroom Soup.
    Now a couple of hints, I found it needed more buttermilk than the recipe allowed.
    Maybe it’s the weather, as I found I needed to add extra iced water to a sweet short pastry I made today as well.
    So you need to judge the amount on the day.

    3 tbsp Olive oil
    450g plain flour
    1 very level teaspoon Bicarbonate of soda (Baking Soda)
    1 teaspoon Salt
    125g Cheddar cheese
    400ml Buttermilk

    Preheat the oven to 220C/gas 7.
    Brush a baking tray generously with olive oil.

    Sieve the plain flour and the bicarbonate of soda into a big bowl,
    Add the salt, 50g of the cheese and mix together with your hands.

    Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in most of the buttermilk.
    Spread the fingers of one hand out like a claw and together in a full circle.
    Add enough of the remaining buttermilk to make a soft dough.
    Do not knead the mix, but work it very gently to bring together.

    Place the dough onto a floured surface and roll out to about 35 x 20cm.
    Transfer the rolled dough to an oiled baking tray,
    Brush the top with some more oil and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
    Bake for 18-25 minutes, turning the oven down to 200C after 10 minutes.
    When cooked the bread should be a golden brown colour and feel firm in the centre.
    Transfer it to a wire rack and cool for a couple of minutes, then cut it into squares and serve.

    It’s a good crumb light and kept well.

    Made wonderful toast the next day.
    Just spread butter onto the hot toast.
    Wonderful cheesy.

    Saturday, April 18, 2009

    Easy Food and Saturday Night at the Movies.

    Sometimes at the end of the week, cooking dinner is a bit of a drag.
    Especially if you have been out to lunch, as we were on Friday.
    A little tasty Indian was partaken along with a few wines.
    Even if I have eaten a large lunch, I still get hungry later, and here is a simple dish,
    which fills the gap. It ticks all my boxes for ease, taste and satisfaction.

    Baked Potato with a Poached Egg on Top.

    First 1 potato per person

    Olive oil
    Sea salt

    Grated cheese and
    1 tablespoon of finely chopped spring onion

    1 poached egg per person

    Heat oven to 180C

    Wash potato, prick and rub with some olive oil and sea salt

    It should take about 1 hour

    Remove from oven and cut top off.
    Meanwhile poach the egg.

    Score potato flesh with a knife
    Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper
    Add grated cheese and spring onion
    Back into oven for as long as it takes the egg to cook.

    Remove potato
    Drain egg and place on top.
    A good grind of pepper and a little more sea salt and
    Voila! Dinner
    P.S. Of course My husband has to put ketchup on his.
    But there ya go.

    So on Saturday evening, I had the same lethargy (re cooking a major meal.)

    Let’s watch DVDs and something simple to eat
    I went to the supermarket with the intention of buying ingredients for a salad dinner.
    At the store, a demonstrator was cooking up some little seafood dumplings.

    Of course I had a sample.
    They were very tasty, I had another sample.
    I bought a packet.

    Very easy to cook
    2 tablespoon oil and 1/2 cup water into a hot pan
    Add dumplings cover and cook over high heat
    When the liquid has dissolved just cook them till they turn golden brown.

    When we were in Sydney we came across this fabulous dressing at
    the Oyster Bar in David Jones.
    Created by Tetsuya, possibly Australia’s most famous Chef.
    We loved it.
    My daughter-in-law Helen found the recipe and made some for me.
    It is excellent on oysters but I couldn’t see why it wouldn’t be good on this dish.

    Tetsuya's Rice Wine Vinaigrette – for Oysters
    1 teaspoon finely grated ginger
    4 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
    1 teaspoon superfine sugar
    1 teaspoon soya sauce
    6 tablespoons grape seed oil
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    3 tablespoon lemon juice

    So I made a salad of Baby Cos lettuce, cherry tomatoes and papaya

    Topped with the hot dumplings and dressed with Tetsuya’s Dressing

    Delicious. Highly recommended for convenience food.

    We sat in front of the TV, with this little delight, and some chilled Sauvignon Blanc,
    watching Daniel Craig in “Quantum Of Solace’
    That was so full of action, we were exhausted.

    Then Richard Gere and Diane Lane in “Road to Rodanthe”
    My husband lasted about 10 minutes.
    Of course I love Richard Gere so just watching him is a real treat.
    But I don’t really get Nicholas Sparks, his stories are really soppy but…It should have had me didn’t and I can cry at the drop of a hat. So it was OK but not brilliant.

    Back to movies TCM had “Fame” on last night. I recorded it on My Sky.
    Have had a sneaky look this afternoon.
    One of my favourite movies. I love the energy. The scene with them all dancing in the street singing the title song “Fame” still wears well.
    Could be a good one for granddaughter Sophia to come over and watch.
    After all she loved The Sound Of Music and Grease.
    Why not Fame?

    Wednesday, April 08, 2009

    Dale's Coming Of Age - Oyster Delights

    It's been a busy two weeks. Planning, then getting over, the event of this year so far.
    Dale's entry into the New Elite. "The Old Aged Pensioners Club."

    To celebrate, Katie put together this wonderful little video presentation, accompanied by an excellent soundtrack by Craig.

    One thing we were not short of... was material.
    There are so many very silly photos of Dale.
    Hope you enjoy it.

    But one can't have a food blog without any food.
    Here are two excellent ways to cook with oysters.

    It is the Bluff Oyster Season. Truly a delight.
    Normally we would eat them, just with maybe, a drizzle of balsamic and some freshly ground black pepper.
    Or squeeze of lemon and some freshly ground black pepper....maybe a drop of Tabasco.
    All sitting on some thinly sliced Vogels Bread.
    I had two dozen in the fridge...
    BUT we got so busy, we forgot to eat them, while very fresh.
    They were within the use by date, but I had to cook them.
    Raw slightly older oysters are not really right.
    I did two wonderful applications
    So for the first dozen
    We were lucky enough to have some very fresh, just caught snapper, from our Fisher Friend George.

    I sauteed a finely chopped shallot, in butter till soft
    Added a small glass of wine and about 50 mls of oyster juice
    Reduced it all down
    Added 100 mls cream
    Bring to the boil and reduce again
    Taste and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    Add the oysters and set aside.

    Meanwhile I cooked some mashed potatoes
    Pureed them up beautifully with butter and milk
    Put to one side and keep warm

    Heat the broiler to 250C
    Put your baking sheet in the oven to heat through
    Bring it out
    Lightly oil it
    Place fish filets on top quickly season them
    Cover with Oysters and their sauce.

    Pop under the broiler about 8 minutes
    Serve on top of the mashed potatoes

    Top with a sprinkling of chopped parsley.

    It's Easter.
    We were supposed to go away on the boat today, but now we are waiting till the morning.
    This delightful little hail storm came through this afternoon.
    Apparently all will be well and we are expecting fab weather over the long weekend.

    So, Application Two for the Oysters

    An Oyster Soup
    Finely chop
    1 med carrot
    1 small onion
    1 stick celery
    1/2 chili
    Gently saute the above in a big knob of butter about 5 minutes
    Cover with some water and the juice from the oysters
    Simmer till the vege are soft and tender about 10 minutes
    Add 100 mls white wine
    Cook another 2-3 minutes

    Add 600 mls (1 pint) milk
    (If you have any cream in the fridge add about 50 mls
    This is optional but is very tasty)
    Bring just to the boil
    Season with 2 teaspoons chicken stock powder
    This gives it quite an edge

    2 tablespoons grated tasty cheese
    2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
    And the oysters
    Let sit about 5 minutes for the flavours to meld

    Just before serving add a little squeeze lemon juice and a grind of freshly ground black pepper.