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    Friday, March 30, 2012

    The Best Easy Cheesey Scones

    My friend Elpie gave me this recipe last night, while we were having is so simple I even remembered it this morning, without even writing it down.
    You can whip these up in 20 minutes.
    She has kindly let me share this, with you all.
    When I tasted them this morning, with my coffee. It immediately brought back memories of when I was a little girl. I could swear this is how the old lady next door made her scones.
    The smell, the texture, images flooded into my mind, my mouth was watering.
    The longest part of making these scones, is actually waiting for the oven to heat up to 230C.
    No rubbing in of butter, just toss the ingredients together, pat into shape and cook.
    Just an addition to the recipe, I have just made them with a 1/2 tsp oregano and 1/2 tsp of Vegeta Chicken Stock Powder, great extra flavour

    So Pre-heat oven to 230C

    1 cup of plain high grade flour
    2 1/2  teaspoons of baking powder
    Pinch of salt
    Good pinch of Cayenne Pepper
    1 cup grated tasty cheese
    1/2 cup milk

    Sift the dry ingredient into a big bowl
    Add cheese, stir
    Add milk
    Quickly mix and turn onto lightly floured bench
    Pat into a circle
    Cut into wedges
    Place on a lined baking sheet (you could just flour it if you wish)
    Bake for 8-10 minutes
    Break open and put a nice pat of butter on top

    Wednesday, March 28, 2012

    Soup and Sandwich Anyone

    I must stop banging on about the Avondale Market, click here to read about this wonderful Market
    But I am thrilled with the wonderful fruit and vege.
    These tomatoes were 99c a Kilo and I used them to make my Grandma's Tomato Sauce

    but also I made this beautiful soup.
    It couldn't be simpler
    Its really important to add sugar and salt to tomatoes.
    Such a simple flavour boost. Not enough to be bad for you.
    Don't forget, moderation in everything.
    Plus I like to add a little vinegar when I am cooking tomatoes.
    Even though Tomatoes are acidic, that little sweet acid from the cider vinegar is just another boost.

    So to prepare the soup

    2 kilos of ripe tomatoes
    Just cut off any spots and roughly large chop the tomatoes
    Onto a baking sheet
    Sprinkle with Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
    Also sprinkle over with about a tablespoon of sugar
    Throw on a few sprigs of thyme
    And then drizzle with Extra Virgin Olive Oil

    Bake at 150C for about 30-40 minutes
    Meanwhile peel 2 red onions
    Slice and saute in a little olive oil
    Season with Sea Salt and Pepper
    Cook till tender
    Set aside

    When everything is ready
    Combine everything in a blender
    Back into the pot
    Taste and add 2 tablespoons of cider vinegar
    You may need more seasoning
    It's up to you
    Taste again
    If you want a smoother texture, work it through a mouli

    An egg sandwich completes this Soup and Sandwich meal.
    For a change, how about using Soft Tortilla
    You will need 2 Tortilla
    Olive oil
    1 egg
    Sea Salt and Black Pepper
    Sriracha Hot Sauce (Optional)

    Heat a medium pan
    Add splash Olive Oil
    Place first Tortilla in the pan
    Break and egg on top
    spread it over the Tortilla
    Season and if you like this sprinkle over some Sriracha Sauce
    Put another Tortilla on top
    Push down
    After a minute or 2
    Turn over
    Cook another minute or two
    Turn onto a board
    Cut into wedges

    Chocolate Pudding Extraordinaire-From Alex Guarnaschelli

    Chocolate Pudding with Almonds
    Recipe courtesy Alex Guarnaschelli
    6 to 8 shallow coffee cups
    Currently Food TV in New Zealand is stripping Alex’s Day Out.
    Alex Guarnaschelli is a Chef in New York and features in several Food network shows as a judge, obviously well respected.
    I love her food.
    This pudding is a prime example.
    It is Thursday when the grandchildren come for dinner and this will be a real treat for them. If you were making for adults I’d bump up the rum.
    It is very rich and the cream and the salty nuts on top are just perfect.
    Well balanced.

    1/2 cup granulated sugar
    1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
    1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
    1/2 cup warm water
    1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
    1 cup heavy cream
    1 1/4 cups whole milk, divided
    3 tablespoons cornstarch
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 teaspoon dark rum

    Whipped cream:
    1/2 cup heavy cream
    1 tablespoon powdered sugar
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    Almond topping:
    4 tablespoons canola oil
    1/2 cup slivered almonds
    Kosher salt

    In a large saucepan, combine the sugar, cocoa powder, salt and warm water.
    Whisk to blend and bring to a gentle simmer over medium heat.

    Remove from the heat and
    stir in the chocolate, 1 cup heavy cream and 1 cup of the milk.
    Stir to blend and bring the mixture back to a gentle simmer on low heat.

    Meanwhile, in a small bowl,
    combine the cornstarch and the remaining 1/4 cup of milk
    until the mixture is smooth.
    Stir the cornstarch into the simmering chocolate mixture
    and continue cooking it over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon,
    until the mixture thickens, 3 to 5 minutes.
    From time to time, use a whisk to blend the pudding
    and assure that it is not sticking to the bottom or sides and scorching as it cooks.
    Remove from the heat.
    Taste and add the vanilla and rum.
    Pour the pudding into a large bowl (or, if preferred, individual coffee cups) and cover tightly with plastic wrap so a skin doesn't form on top of the pudding.
    The plastic wrap should directly touch the top of the pudding in the bowl or cups.
    Refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.

    Whipped cream:
    In a medium bowl whisk the cream until thick.
    Whisk in the sugar and vanilla until blended.
    Taste for sweetness and refrigerate until ready to use.

    Almond topping:
    When ready to serve, heat the oil in a medium skillet over low heat.
    When the oil begins to smoke lightly,
    add the almonds. 

    Cook them, stirring, from time to time, until they turn golden brown, about 2 minutes.
    Use a slotted spoon to transfer them from the skillet to a paper towel
    or a kitchen towel to drain off excess oil.
    Season with salt, to taste.

    Remove the pudding from the refrigerator,
    discard the plastic wrap and sprinkle with the almonds.
    Top with dollops of the whipped cream or serve the cream on the side.
    Serve immediately.

    Thursday, March 15, 2012

    Special Cup Cakes for St Patricks Day-Chocolate Guinness

    Thanks To Audra from The Baker Chick blog... click here to catch up with her blog...I have been inspired to make Chocolate Guinness Cup Cakes for St Patricks Day...The only thing I am lacking in is something green. Aha... I thought I would candy some parsley to put on the top.
    It was gross, so don't ever bother with that. Some angelica would be lovely perhaps.
    Meanwhile they are excellent as is.
    The cake is so light and rich, with the slight taste of the Irish favourite ale.
    Then the sweet Baileys on top.
    Oh to die for.
    So here ya go.
    I found that they took about 25 minutes to cook, so test with the skewer at 17 minutes  as Audra suggests. Then if not ready give them little more spurts till done.

    Chocolate Guinness Cup Cakes
    For the Cake
    1 cup stout (Guinness)
    2 sticks unsalted butter
    3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
    (dutch process is best)

    2 cups all-purpose flour
    2 cups sugar
    11/2 tsp. baking soda
    1/2 tsp. Salt

    2 large eggs
    2/3 cup sour cream

    Bailey’s Cream Frosting
    1 250 gm package of cream cheese (softened)
    4 tablespoons of butter (softened)
    4 cups powdered sugar
    4-8 tablespoons of Bailey's Irish Cream Liqueur

    To make the cupcakes,
    preheat the oven to 175 C
    Line pans with paper liners.
    Combine the stout and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
    Add the cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth.
    Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.

    In a medium sized bowl,
    Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt, and whisk together.

    In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sour cream until creamy.
    Add the stout-butter mixture and mix just to combine.
    Mix in the dry ingredients slowly whisking until just until incorporated.
    Divide the batter evenly between the cupcake liners, filling them about 3/4 full.
    Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 17 minutes.

    Allow to cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
    For Bailey's Cream Cheese Frosting:

    Combine the cream cheese and butter in a large mixing bowl and beat until creamy.
    Gradually add the powdered sugar until well mixed.
    Add in the Bailey's a tablespoon at a time until the texture is smooth, creamy, and spreadable.
    Frost as desired.

    Decorate with cake crumbs or sprinkles.
    Look at that crumb. Yum

    Pea Pie and Spud - A Rich Apple Pie to Finish

    On the subject of Pies again
    A wonderful comfort dinner…
    It is cold outside
    Last Thursday, I made a plethora of pies
    "The Piewoman Cometh"
    I was planning to make some for the freezer,
    but by the time the kids had theirs,
    (Complete with their initials),
    I also gave some to the lovely young lady,
    that "does" for me,
    Dale ate his portion.
    Then, there was only enough left over for dinner tonight,
    Plus a couple of spares.
    I'll pop them in the freezer
    Make a nice little lunch later in the week

    I had made little ramekins filled with mashed potato, shallots, cheddar cheese, sour cream and an egg to help them puff up.
    Excellent for the children they loved them

    What. A Wonderful Friday night dinner in front of the TV with a couple of glasses of a nice crisp Sauvignon Blanc.

    The only real recipe here in this post,
    is my Mother's Simple Mince.

    3 tablespoons olive oil
    1 kg good mince
    2 large onions chopped
    Salt pepper
    2 tablespoons flour
    Beef stock cube
    3 tablespoon tomato ketchup
    1 tablespoon soy sauce
    Dash Worcester sauce
    700mls hot Water

    Thickening agent
    1tablespoon flour
    2 tablespoons of water

    Place 1 tablespoon olive oil into a hot pan
    Start frying the mince over high heat

    It pays to do it in batches
    You want a nice colour, no Grey Mice here
    Season each batch with S&P
    When brown, remove from the pan and set aside
    When all of the mince is cooked
    Add remainder of olive oil into the pan
    Sauté onions over med heat till soft
    and just starting to colour
    Add flour
    cook for about 3-4 minutes
    Dissolve stock cube in hot water and add to onions
    Stir till thickened a little
    Return mince to pan
    Mix well
    Season with tomato ketchup, Worcester sauce and soy sauce
    Simmer for about 30 minutes
    Stir occasionally, to stop mince from sticking to bottom

    The mince will probably need to be thickened a little more

    The Thickening
    Make a slurry of flour and water
    Just whisk well with a fork no lumps please

    Add to mince
    Just cook about 5 minutes
    This really is best made the day before
    Dont forget to buy Frozen Pastry
    The sheets are good for this.
    To make the pies

    Grease your pie tins with butter
    Roll out pastry enough or bottom and top
    Line tin with one disc
    3/4 fill with mince
    Put a lid on
    Crimp the edges
    Brush with egg wash

    Bake at 190c for 20 -25 minutes or until golden brown
    Remove from tin and cool on rack

    Just reheat in a 190c oven when needed
    Should take about 10 minutes
    Comfort food at it's best
    The pie in the picture only yielded 622 calories
    Mashed potato about 3 tablespoons
    Only around 50 cals Not bad
    The kids think the meal is not a meal, unless I make dessert
    I researched and found this recipe by Nigel Slater
    It’s from Nigel Slater's Simple Suppers
    Now this pie is not Lo-Cal at all

    But it is delicious
    Crumbly, short with those sweet apples 
    So so good
    A word of advice. I found the egg yolks were not enough to bind the dough.
    I chilled down some water and added it little by little, till the consistency was right.

    250g/9oz plain flour
    125g/4oz butter, cut into small dice,
    plus a little more for cooking the
    2 free-range egg yolks,
    3-4 tablespoons iced water (Only if needed)
    plus an extra beaten egg for brushing the pastry
    4 tbsp mature farmhouse cheese, grated,
    plus a little more for brushing
    the pastry
    6 medium-sized dessert apples
    a pinch ground cinnamon
    a little milk for brushing the pastry
    plain yoghurt, to serve (optional)

    Preparation method
    Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.

    To prepare the pastry, put the flour into a mixing bowl,
    add the butter and rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips
    (use a food processor if you prefer. I did.)
    Beat the egg yolks with a fork and mix with the flour and butter, 
    till it looks like breadcrumbs
    This is where you may have to use your iced water.
    You need to pastry to be able to clump together

    then bring the dough together to form a ball.
    Scatter the grated cheese over a large chopping board
    then put the dough on top,
    Knead the dough very lightly, pushing the grated
    cheese in as you go.

    Put into the fridge to rest, covered in cling film.
    To prepare the filling,
    Cut the apples into quarters,
    Remove and discard the cores
    then cut the fruit into chunks.
    Put a generous slice of butter
    into a non-stick pan over a moderate heat,
    add the apples
    and leave to cook, with the occasional stir,
    until they are lightly coloured and starting to soften.
    Stir in the cinnamon. 
    Roll the pastry out into a rough circle about 35cm/14in in diameter,
    then transfer it to a baking sheet or roasting tin.
    Pile the apples in the centre of the pastry
    leaving a wide rim around the edge;

    Pull the edges of the pastry in over the apples, leaving those
    in the centre quite visible.

    Mix the remaining beaten egg with a little milk and brush the pastry
    with the mixture, then scatter a little extra grated cheese.

    Bake for about 40 minutes or until the pastry is golden.
    Serve warm,
    with yoghurt or Creme Fraiche, if you wish.
    Serves 6

    Iconic New Zealand Food-Bluff Oysters and Vogels Bread

    Gone are the Rock and Roll Budget Days, when we would buy several dozen Bluff Oysters. as soon as the season opened. And on Many Occasions what's more!

    Now it seems, 1 dozen, between two of us, is it.
    So I have bulked it out with some buttered Vogels Bread
    The Queen of New Zealand Commercial Breads.
    A good grind of black pepper and a little lemon juice.
    Sometimes, a few drops of Balsamic or a nice Chardonnay Vinegar
    And maybe a drop or two of Tabasco.
    Any which way, they are fabulous

    Tuesday, March 13, 2012

    The Best Salad Nicoise With A Twist

    Salad Nicoise is a favourite of ours.
    Perfect for boat food.
    Canned Tuna, black olives, red onions, green beans, Boiled eggs, Tomatoes Potatoes, a few Capers and some chopped herbs
    All dressed with a tasty French Dressing
    All of the food groups just about and it's so fresh and clean
    This  particular version is outstanding

    And the beauty of it is you can prep early in the day.
    I assembled about an hour before.
    All ready, sit down have some drinks
    Off to the table and serve.

    Anna Gare, is best known as a Judge on Junior Masterchef Australia
    Also she is in a programme called "The Best in Australia".
    It has all the right ingredients, but treated differently
    The tomatoes are roasted for the extra flavour.
    The red onions Caramelized.
    There is mayonnaise on the potatoes and eggs...I would normally use French Dressing
    I also used my marinated olives to scatter over the top
    And beautiful fresh Seared Tuna, drizzled with a Nicoise style salsa
    Serves 4
    4 x 120g tuna steaks
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    Olive oil

    1 egg per person, hard boiled, peeled and quartered

    500 g kipfler potatoes boiled
    Little French dressing

    200 g stringless green beans

    4 large Ripe tomatoes quartered
    Sea salt
    Little sugar
    Olive oil
    Fresh thyme

    Caramelised Onions
    2 purple Onions finely sliced
    11/2 tablespoon Olive Oil
    1 tablespoon Sugar
    2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
    Sea salt and pepper

    2 Cloves roasted Garlic finely chopped ( I used raw garlic)
    2 Anchovies finely chopped
    2 egg yolks
    1 tablespoon Lemon Juice
    1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
    ¾ cup Olive Oil

    1 tablespoon baby capers
    1 tablespoon Italian Parsley chopped
    1 small Tomato deseeded and finely diced
    4 Anchovies finely chopped
    1 part of Lemon juice
    2 parts of Olive Oil
    Salt and Sugar to taste

    As many Black Olives as you like


    Place tomatoes onto baking sheet and sprinkle with salt & thyme and slow bake for 45 mins in 120 deg oven. This will intensify the flavour.
    Put aside.

    Cook potatoes whole in a pot of salted water and blanch beans in the same pot towards the end.
    When cooled cut potatoes & beans as desired.

    Caramelize onions by putting olive oil, sugar, salt, red wine vinegar and onions all into a pot and cook on medium-low heat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until onions are just cooked through- they should be soft and shiny.

    Make dressing by combining yolks, lemon juice, anchovies, garlic & mustard.
    Whilst whisking, slowly drizzle in oil.
    I did it in the food processor

    Lightly brush Tuna with oil salt & pepper then sear on high heat, 2 minutes per side.
    Don't overcook it. As it rests it continues to cook.

    For Salsa, mix all ingredients together and taste for seasoning and citrus factor.

    Dress potatoes & eggs with some mayonnaise 
    Place on desired platter
    Then add in layers, first onions, beans, then tomatoes.

    Just before serving, sear tuna and place on top, then drizzle over with Nicoise Salsa.
    Throw olives over the top

    Because this was so healthy, I then served this superb apple pie from Nigel Slater.

    Check out the recipe here
    Beautiful crisp cheesy pastry.
    A little Creme Fraiche on the top

    Thursday, March 01, 2012

    Summer Pasta _ Orzo Salad

    Of course you can put anything you like in a Salad 
    but this Combo worked really well.
    I had some leftover poached chicken so what 
    better vehicle to carry it but a Pasta Salad
     I think this is a great entry for Ruth of the Blog Site Once Upon A Feast
    She has an event called Presto Pasta Nights. Every week bloggers from around the world put their favourite Pasta recipes on her site.

    Now this week this is the 5th Birthday of the Blogging Event. Have a look here
    I really like Orzo, it cooks quickly and just absorbs flavours better than anything.
    Fresh Sweet Corn is available at the moment and I like to pop a cob in the Microwave for about 4 minutes
    Corn is OK raw, but just a little cooking completely enhances the flavour.
    Let cool so you can handle it
    Cut off the kernels
    So cook your Orzo in plenty of boiling well salted water
    Should take about 6 minutes.
    Drain and then toss in about 2 tablespoons of olive oil
    Zest and Juice of a lemon
    Freshly ground black pepper
    Set aside
    Meanwhile finely chop a medium red onion
    Marinate in your favourite French Dressing for at least an hour.

    Finely Chop
    1 stalk of celery.
    1 spring onion
    1 large tomato, quartered seeds, removed
    1/2 red pepper
    Add to Orzo
    The add the kernels of cooked corn 
    Plus the marinated onion complete with dressing
    Toss everything together
    Taste and adjust seasoning

    Finally add your protein of choice
    In this case I had poached chicken
    Dale doesn't eat chicken, so he had some leftover mashed egg
    Canned Tuna
    Maybe Feta Cheese

    Anything you like.
    This was an excellent lunch.
    And we have leftovers for tomorrow