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    Tuesday, June 29, 2010

    Tuna Casserole Anyone- Move Over Rachel Ray

    Last night was The Cat Stevens Concert at The Vector. My beloved generously gave up his ticket to our friend Lana. About 5pm I thought I have better make him a tasty dinner.

    Using pantry and fridge items I knocked up this very tasty Tuna and Rice dish all in just over 30 minutes.
    Tuna, Mushrooms in a creamy sauce mixed with rice and covered with a cheesy crunchy  topping.
    Oh yes

    Rachel does it in under 30 minutes but my dish needed at least 25 minutes in the oven, but the prep was only about 12 minutes.

    Heat the oven to 180C
    1 cup rice( long grain)
    2 tbs unsalted butter
    1 onion finely chopped
    5 mushrooms sliced
    1 tbs flour
    Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
    Sprinkle oregano
    Pinch chili flakes
    Chicken stock about 1 cup
    50 mls cream
    1 can tuna ( (i always use Tuna in Olive oil
    Grated cheese
    Potato Chips

    Put the rice into a pot of boiling salted water
    Cook for about 8 minutes
    Drain and leave till needed

    Meanwhile, while the rice is cooking
    In a frying pan
    Add butter
    Onions saute till soft
    Add mushrooms cook about 4 minutes
    Add flour, oregano S & P and chili flakes 
    Stir and cook for a minutes or two.
    Add chicken stock stir till thickened
    Simmer about 3 minutes
    Add good dash of cream

    Add can tuna
    Add cooked drained rice
    Into casserole dish

    Crumble potato chips over the top
    Cover with grated cheese

    Into oven about 25 minutes till all bubbly with a crisp top


    By the way Yussuf (aka Cat) was sensational. good trade dinner for a ticket.

    Monday, June 28, 2010

    Corn Muffins - Dealing with Wheat and Dairy Free

    Thought I would make some corn muffins. I wanted to trial them for Thursday to accompany the Soup Lunch for the Juice Staff.
    They look and taste just fine. I used spelt flour and rice milk. Don't forget we are talking wheat free not gluten free.
    Added some chili and sauteed onion. I think I will add some frozen corn, a larger onion and some coriander, when I make them on Thursday, for a bit of extra flavour.
    They would be great with some feta crumbled in I reckon... but there ya go.

    1 cup cornmeal
    1 cup spelt flour
    1/3 cup white sugar
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 egg, beaten
    1/4 cup rice bran oil

    1 small onion finely chopped
    1 red chili finely chopped
    1 cup vanilla rice milk


    Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
    Grease muffin pan or line with paper muffin liners.
    Take a tablespoon of the oil and gently saute the onions and chili, till just soft
    In a large bowl, mix together corn meal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
    Add egg, oil onion, chili and milk;
    Stir gently to combine.

    Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.

    Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, (18 minutes did it for me)
    or until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean.
    So far so good
    Warm and inviting, an excellent crumb, light and very good.
    A blob of melted butter, dripping off it would be very nice!

    Thursday, June 17, 2010

    Rich Fabulous Lasagne

    I am fond of making lasagne and I saw Lidia make her version, on her programme "Lidia's Italian Table". Food TV.
    This sauce is the slow cooking, tomato, meat ragout. The first time this kind of beautiful sauce passed my lips was in 1968 in Paris staying with our new best friends Roy and Jeanne Nunn. We met them in Venice whilst camping at the Lido. We were very impressed with them... in particular for all of the canned food they had in their car. A direct quote from my Letter to Sandy dated October 1968
    "We met some Americans who kindly put us up in Paris.
    We lived like Kings with them there, also or with them camping as he works at the US Embassy and they can shop at the PX… need I say more. America cans everything, and they had it all in the boot of their car. Chili Con Carne. Cobs of Corn vacuum packed Well!!"

    When they did kindly put us up in Paris, Jeanne (of Italian descent) cooked her Grandma's (I think it was) Ragout. It cooked for hours and was amazing. married to the lovely Wendy.

    So Lidia's sauce is up there with it. By the way the dish got a big thumbs up from the grandchildren, on the Thursday night Dinner.

    Below Roy and Jeanne with Dale in Rome, we traveled down from Venice with them and spent our time in Rome, on the Camping Ground at the beach. Managed to fit in a bit of sightseeing.
     So onto the lasagne.

    First the sauce
    2 large onion peeled and sliced
    Olive oil
    500 gms beef mince (you can use a mix of pork and mince)
    2 cloves garlic peeled and finely chopped
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    pinch Red Chili flakes
    2 bay leaves
    Good sprinkle oregano
    White wine
    2 cans good tomatoes

    1 pottle tomato paste (140 gms)

    Soften onions in olive oil
    Season S & P
    Remove, set aside add beef mince and brown
    Put onions back in
    Add garlic stir through
    Add herbs and chili flakes
    Good slosh of white wine to deglaze

    Pop tomatoes through food mill or pulse them in food processor
    Into pot
    Add tomato paste
    Check seasoning and adjust if necessary
    Leave to simmer at least 1 1/2 hours even up to 2 hours
    If it gets too thick add a little water.

    You will also need
    Lasagne sheets
    300 gms ricotta
    1 egg
    This Mozzarella works really well. Good product
    I haven't put the quantities of the Parmesan and Mozzarella
    Just have plenty on hand

    Plus you need to make a Bechamel sauce
    2 tbs butter
    2 tbs flour
    1 cup milk (warm)
    1 bay leaf
    Sea salt and pepper
    Nutmeg (freshly grated)
    Parmesan Cheese

    Melt butter and stir in flour

    Cook out for a few minutes
    Season S & P
    Add warmed milk and bay leaf
    Stir till thickened
    Add grated nutmeg to taste
    Remove bay leaf and add a good handful of grated Parmesan

    Meanwhile beat egg and add to ricotta

    NOW, after all that
    To assemble
    Spread a thin layer of the sauce on the bottom of your dish
    Place lasagne sheets to cover
    Then plenty sauce and sprinkle grated Parmesan
    Ricotta Mix and more Parmesan

    Slices of Mozzarella

    A drizzle of the sauce
    More Parmesan
    Final layer of sauce

    Then top with Bechamel sauce
    If you want to freeze this... cook at 180C covered with foil for about 25 minutes
    Cool and Freeze
    To finish, thawed is best and then it will need about another 20 minutes covered
    And about 15 minutes, uncovered to bubble the top.
    It is best to let it rest at least 30 minutes, before serving, it is easier to portion and once again
    Piping hot food is not the best way to get flavour.
    If you want to cook straight away
    40 minutes covered in foil
    20 minutes uncovered
    Either way a winner.

    Wednesday, June 02, 2010

    Carrot Cakes and a New Look at the Girdle Scone

    I popped on a recipe for Girdle Scones a few posts ago... click here to get original recipe.
    Yesterday, another rainy rotten day, was soup day and I didn't want to just make toast.

    Lets go Girdle Scones, quick and easy, no oven necessary.
    The recipe I have, requires yogurt or sour cream and milk.
    No sour cream or yogurt, but I did have some double cream and if you squeeze some lemon juice into cream It makes sour cream Yes?

    Well what a find...How simple is this?

    1 cup plain flour
    1 tsp Baking Powder
    1/2 salt
    1/2 cup cream with a squeeze of lemon juice

    Sift flour, Baking powder and salt
    Mix cream
    Add to flour
    Mix with a knife
    Then start kneading lightly with your hands.
    Roll out into a circle on a floured bench

    Onto a girdle... or in these days a non stick heavy based pan

    Cook about 4 minutes 1 side
    turn and then cook another 4 minutes
    Onto a rack to cool
    When I cracked it open, I was so delighted with the texture of the scone

    So flaky
    I gave away the soup idea and stuffed my helping with Ham and Swiss cheese
    Obviously, not good if you want Lo-Cal
    BUT sensational.

    It's Thursday and all the Grandchildren come here for dinner.
    Its a fun time for us all.

    I pick them up from their respective schools, each one, somewhere different
    and I am always wanting to make something new for them
    So I saw these little cakes being baked on Everyday Baking a Martha Stewart programme
    Once again very simple

     Carrot Cup Cakes (Makes 12)

    Pre-heat oven to 190C 375F
    Prepare 12 muffin tin with paper cases

    1 1/2 cups flour
    1 teaspoon Baking Powder
    1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
    3/4 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
    1/4 teaspoon ginger
    1/4 teaspoon nutmeg grated

    170 gms butter melted butter
    1 cup brown sugar packed

    1 egg
    2 tablespoon yogurt
    1/4 teaspoon vanilla

    1 1/2 cups grated carrots

    Whisk Dry ingredients together

    In another bowl
    Add melted butter and brown sugar
    Add egg
    Add yogurt and vanilla
    Whisk till combined
    Add carrots, Stir
    Add flour.
    Mix well

    Divide between paper cases
    Tap on bench to evenly disperse
    Into oven 25-20 minutes
    Half way through cooking
    Rotate tins to cook evenly
    They are ready when a toothpick comes out clean
    Cool then Ice

    I made this Icing and by accident got a great little recipe
    I bought Lite  ream Cheese I don't know why but as it turns out
    The Lite Cream Cheese gives it more of a condensed milk flavour and it works.

    1 packet 150 gms Lite Cream Cheese softened
    50 gms butter softened
    Zest 1/2 lemon
    1 1/2 cups icing sugar
    Lemon juice enough to moisten

    Whip the butter and cream cheese together
    When smooth add sifted icing sugar and lemon zest
    Add lemon juice to taste and to get the texture you like.

    There was quite a lot left over, so I have frozen it, I will be interested to see how it turns out.
    I'll make more next week and try the icing then

    Here is the original Frosting recipe
    If you want to go by the book and have the heavily frosted cakes here ya go
    55 gms butter room temperature
    225 gms cream cheese room temperature
    1 cup icing sugar
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla
    1 teaspoon grated orange zest

    Whisk all ingredients together
    2 tablespoons frosting on each cake

    Tuesday, June 01, 2010

    Letters From Abroad - Whoop Whoop 3 Channels

    Mr. and  Mrs. P Schultz                                  Mrs. G Wrightson
    72 Derwent St                                                186 London RD
    Island Bay                                                      Twickenham
    Wellington NZ                                                Middlesex UK

    Sat Nov 11th 1967

    The Weather here is like a normal NZ winter

    Dear Sandy and Pete

    In answer to your letter, which we collected from the bank today.
    First Tim does live in East Sheen. I laughed when I heard it. I immediately thought of Tony Hancock and East Cheam.
    This became our Pub with Tim Dobbie and his friends set in East Sheen

    We have already been in touch with him and he got us tickets for the All Black Match.
    In the stand, what’s more.
    He’s in good health and in a good flat.
    Better than his NZ ones.
    I received a letter from Frances last week so I presume, you have heard of our news till then, as I answered her straight away. I am an excellent letter writer lately, I have written so many. Did Dave Holey get my letter before he left? I hope so. He should arrive here soon we are expecting to hear from him.
    Glad to hear about Marilyn, Give her my love and tell her I want to hear from her sometime, I already know about Mr. Barr, Don Markwell told me.
    We went to dinner at his house a couple of weeks ago. It is very nice.
    A detached house, you don’t see many of these in England they are nearly all joined together. We had a lovely evening and he arranged an interview for me at Unilever Research Lab in Isleworth. I went and was offered a job in bucket chemistry (Product Development) on shampoo, that’s about all they do there. I accepted and start on Monday. Tell Grant and Colin, whoever is in charge, I will write and tell them when I am settled. Salary £700 a year. Not too bad for here, I was quite pleased.

    Once again a young crowd and I am working with a young chemist Mike Whiteside. They have a pub in the building everyone goes there for lunch.
    Below: Bit of a sing a long with my workmates at Unilever Isleworth

    More about that later.
    Dale too has a job, in an agency in Knightsbridge. (Harrods the Posh Store is close by).
    His office overlooks Hyde Park. He doesn’t start till Monday week.
    It is funny starting a job here you have to get National Insurance and the tax is shocking.
    I hate to think what wage I will bring home.

    We have a flat that we have been in for week now, in Twickenham.
    Once again a detached house. Nice and big.
     Above: Dale outside of our flat with our mini hire car
    We have what used to be the billiard room. One large lounge, bedroom same size, kitchen, (plus washing machine and drier, most uncommon here, everyone uses the Launderette) and our own bathroom and toilet.
    Below: Guess who? in the Kitchen
     Bringing the food through to the dining room/lounge
     To the right was the bedroom

    Isleworth is about 2 miles from here and the bus passes the gate.
    We are 3/10 mile from the rail station and shops. Quite a good position. £9 a week.
    Meat is a terrible price but canned foods are cheap.
    Everyone lives out of cans even boiled new potatoes.
    Mushrooms we eat a lot only 4/- a pound.
    I have so much to tell you Sandy and so little room. We love London.
    We are even accepting the fumes in the city. You come home from town filthy.

    Today we went up to see the Lord Mayor’s parade, This is a big parade.

    Train fares are expensive cost us 16/- in traveling. Today was expensive, my first trip on public transport. We went on a train, the tube and a double decker bus. How about that for one day? You see, we handed over our hire car on Thursday.
    What a tragedy. From now on we walk. Can you imagine it.

    TV is marvelous, I sit in front of it every night and swap channels.
     Above: The other end of the lounge, yours truly in the favourite place watching TV

    With 3 channels you get a good night entertainment.
    I have changed my drink from Whisky Sour to Rum Punches. We had them in Trinidad. You would love them, even Pete would. I could drink them all day and get rotten as well, they are rather potent.
    We are working out how to mix them. When I have the recipe I’ll send it.
    Glad to see you move to Auckland is working our fine.
    Today we saw the All Blacks beat Wales on TV, we couldn’t get seats unfortunately.
    A great match. To beat Wales is a big thing.
    Tell Murray not to worry himself into a frazzle about the wedding. Tell him it’s nothing
    You know!
    How’s dozy Joan? Still with you? Hope she is behaving.
    Above Poor Dozy Joan...second on the right, seeing us off.

    We went to Hyde Park Corner the other Sunday. What a laugh, the speakers are hilarious, we must go up again soon.
     The Hilarious Speakers above, and below, yours truly in Hyde Park

    Soho was disappointing. Not half as sordid as Acapulco or Panama.
    Rick Christie is here and Eddie Bisdee, hope to see them soon. I’m afraid you can’t say much in aerogrammes but it is a bit expensive to send ordinary air mail to everyone. give my love to Nan and Grandy. Did they get my card. Hope to hear from you soon.

    Love Gillian and Dale