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    Saturday, February 23, 2013

    Jacques Pepin's Excellent Soda Bread

    Jacques Pepin is back on Food TV with his "Essential Pepin" Series
    He is a wonderful Chef and an excellent teacher
    It is so inspiring to watch him cook

    I got this recipe off his website after watching his programme on Bread
    I love bread and I have friends, who either because of gluten intolerance, or choose not to, don't consume bread.
    I hope that never happens to me
    It is the Staff of Life after all

    Soda bread is one of the simplest and quickest methods to make bread at home
    It doesn't have yeast so that cuts the prep time down.
    Jacques suggests to how keep this bread light and moist, with a crispy exterior: 
    For the first thirty minutes, the bread bakes under an overturned bowl 
    that is removed for the second half of the baking time so that the crust can brown.

    Makes 6 to 8 servings

    1 teaspoon rice bran oil
    3 cups all-purpose flour
    1 1/2 teaspoons salt
    1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    1 1/2 cups milk

    Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. 
    Check your oven that make be a little hot
    Don't let the bread get too brown
    Line your baking sheet with a piece of baking paper
    Oil it with the rice bran oil.
    Combine the flour with the salt and baking powder in a large mixing bowl.
    Add the milk, and mix gently and quickly with a wooden spatula,
    until the mixture forms a solid mass.
    It should be wettish not dry so add more milk if too dry
    Place the dough on the prepared baking sheet.
    Using a piece of plastic wrap, press and
    mold the dough to create a round loaf about 7 inches in diameter and 1 inch thick.
    Sprinkle about 1 tablespoon of flour over the top,
    Using a serrated knife, cut a large cross, about 1/2 inch deep, across the top of the loaf. 
    (Don’t drag the tip of the knife through the dough; keep the length of the blade parallel to the work surface.)

    Invert a stainless steel bowl over the bread and bake for 30 minutes.
    Remove the bowl and continue to bake the bread for another 20- 30 minutes, until the exterior is golden brown.
    Remove the bread to a wire cooling rack and let cool for at least 30 minutes before serving.
    We decided to have lunch on the Loggia
    I made delicious crisp salads
    Red Pepper
    Finely chopped Shallot
    Chicken for me Smoked Salmon for Dale
    Lightly dressed with delightful dressing
    Bought Mayo is fine... about 3 tablespoons
    Lemon zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
    Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
    A dash Ketchup
    A glass of crisp Sauv Blanc and we're sweet
    AND this morning we had it for breakfast
    Grilled Cheese on Toast
    Thank you Jacques


    Thursday, February 14, 2013

    Want A New Pie - Try This Kid Friendly Dinner

    Higgedly Piggedly Lamb and Pineapple Pie

    It’s Thursday and The Kids are coming over for dinner
    I like to make new food for them if I can. 
    There is of course, the favourites, which we repeat frequently, but it’s good to expand flavours

    So I consulted my Trusty "Triple Tested Recipe Book". This is great for Family meals
    It was put together by the Lower Hutt Plunket Society in` 1959

    The coordinator was one Thelma Christie
    She collected favourite recipes from Mothers and put them together in this wonderful book
    Someone went to the trouble of doing great little illustrations
    There is no credit for these, I wonder if, in fact, Thelma Christie was the artist

    So here some examples of the sketches... really cute

    So for tonight, I have gone for, the simply Named “Lamb Oriental”

    Lamb, Pineapple. Touch of Bacon and topped with some chopped mint

    As this was printed in 1959,…things have changed…we have learnt more about Asian Food and I decided to make a couple of additions to get a slightly more modern taste
    i.e. Rice wine vinegar and soya sauce
    Before I added these...It was lacking in sour and needed a salty boost. 
    Actually on reflection I think Lime would be really good next time 
    Also I think this would probably work better with pork

    Strangely, this is turned into a pie
    And I will do this, as the kids love pies.
    I think that it would probably be really nice on rice.
    This amount fed 4 kids with a little bit for me

    1 kg of boneless Lamb leg chops
    1 tablespoon of oil
    1 400 gm can of diced pineapple
    1 onion chopped
    2 rashers bacon chopped

    Sea Salt and Freshly ground black pepper

    1 tablespoon flour
    1 teaspoon ground ginger
    Pinch cayenne pepper
    Juice from the pineapple approx 1 cup
    1/2 cup water
    1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar (cider vinegar would do) or Lime juice
    1 tablespoon soy sauce
    1 tablespoon chopped mint

    Puff Pastry

    Cut meat into cubes discarding any excess fat
    Brown in a hot pan containing the oil
    Season with Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    Don’t overcrowd the pan you may need to do it in batches
    Remove and put aside
    Drain pineapple, reserving juice
    Add pieces to hot pan and brown
    Season this with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    Remove and set aside

    Add bacon and onions
    You may need to add a little more oil
    Gently brown

    Add flour, ginger, pinch of cayenne
    (The smell of the ginger is lovely)
    Stir well and cook for a couple of minutes to cook out the flour

    Add Pineapple Juice and water
    And bring to the boil
    Season with vinegar and soy sauce
    A good time to taste and adjust any seasoning if necessary

    Return meat to pan
    Bring to boil and then simmer for an hour

    Add pineapple
    Continue simmering for about 20 minutes

    Sprinkle over chopped mint
    Place into an oven proof dish and cover with pieces of puff pastry
    I made it like a patchwork quilt looks like fun I reckon

    Into 195C oven and cook till Pastry is golden brown and Meat and sauce bubbling

    Well I think it tastes wonderful just have to see if the kids like it
    Hope so
    Served with our favourite Lemon and Garlic Broccoli
    This is so popular with the kids
    Olive oil
    1 clove garlic finely chopped
    Sea salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper 
    Zest and juice of 1 lemon

    Blanch the broccoli in salted hot water for about 3 minutes
    Dont' forget to add the peeled and sliced stalks
    Best part

    Drain and run under cold water to keep the lovely green colour
    Into a warm pan add slosh olive oil
    Add garlic and just let it cook gently for about 3-4 minutes to grab that wonderful flavour

    Add broccoli and lemon zest
    Season with S & P
    Toss well to warm through
    Just before serving add  lemon juice, 
    Warning don't overcook broccoli 
    And make sure you just add lemon juice just before serving
    otherwise it can get a bit bitter and go brownish

    Oh we had dessert as well
    Thanks to Tyler Florence,
    I used a round tin, so it was more like a actual Cheesecake
    He used a square tin, it's up to you
    It's very rich
    It has a thin crisp crust and it's creamy and lemony
    A Blueberry and Lemon Cheesecake Slice

    For the base:

    Butter, for greasing
    2 tablespoons sugar
    1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    9 graham crackers or Digestive Biscuits
    65 gms unsalted butter, melted

    For the filling:

    450 gms cream cheese, room temperature
    2 eggs
    2 lemons, zested and juiced
    About 1/2 cup sugar, eyeball it
    1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries/ I used thawed frozen berries
    Powdered sugar, for dusting


    Preheat oven to 160 degrees C

    For the base:

    Grease the bottom of a 9 by 9-inch baking pan with butter. 
    Then place parchment paper over the top, pressing down at the corners. 
    In a food processor, process the sugar, cinnamon and biscuits 
    until you have the texture of bread crumbs. 
    Add the melted butter and pulse a couple of times to fully incorporate. 
    Pour into the lined baking pan and gently pat down with the base of a glass. 
    Bake in the oven for 12 minutes until golden. 
    When done set aside to cool.

    For the filling:

    Add cream cheese, eggs, lemon zest, lemon juice and sugar 
    to the food processor and mix until well combined. 
    It should have a smooth consistency. 
    Pour onto the cooled base and then cover with blueberries. 
    They will sink slightly but should still be half exposed -- 
    as the cake bakes they will sink a little more and break down.
    Bake in the oven for 35 minutes or until the center only slightly jiggles. 
    Remove from the oven and cool completely before refrigerating for at least 3 hours. 
    Once set, remove from pan using the parchment lining 
    and slice into 10 rectangular bars. 
    Dust with powdered sugar.
    Set up for dinner on the Loggia and yes, the pie was popular

    Monday, February 04, 2013

    A New Take on Eggs and Chips -Using The Fridge and The Pantry

    I love Eggs and Chips.
    When we lived in UK in the 60's, every respectable little Caffe and even those not so respectable, served Eggs and Chips
    Every so often, I would treat myself and go to the Caffe under the railway bridge in Isleworth.
    (Just up the road from my work) for  "Cheap as Chips" lunch...  only 1 shilling, (10 cents)
    2 eggs and chips
    They were so, so good
    The Brits excelled at that  kind of food then.
    Nothing like a fry up...
    It's still on my list of quick and easy meals
    Now days I oven bake the chips and poach the eggs.
    Bit more healthy.

    This last weekend we went away
    On our return, I noticed that there was not much food in the house
    I couldn't be bothered going to the shops

    So let's check on food available
    In the fridge were Eggs, Cheese and Spring Onions
    In the pantry, New Potatoes, Olive oil, Sriracha Hot Sauce, Salt and Pepper
    I'm sure I can do something simple with those ingredients
    Of course
    Eggs and Chips
    But new potatoes, don't exactly "Good Chips Make"!

    What about Crushed Roast Potatoes
    Crack some eggs on top
    Smother with grated cheese mixed with some spring onions
    For extra flavour a drizzle of Sriracha Hot Sauce
    I love this Hot sauce, packs a little punch and also packs
    great flavour...perfect for the topping

    For 2 people
    About 12 little gourmet potatoes
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    4 eggs
    About 10 grates of cheddar cheese
    2 spring onions chopped

    Bring the potatoes to the boil and cook till just fork tender
    Meanwhile heat oven to 190C
    Put a pan in the oven till hot
    Add olive oil and potatoes being careful to cover handle
    so you don't burn your little fingers

    With a masher
    Squash down the potatoes
    Season with SP
    Back into oven for about 20 minutes
    The potatoes should be golden

    Break eggs in a little ramekin and drop on top of potatoes

    Cover with grated cheese and chopped spring onions
    Back into oven about 6 minutes, till eggs just cooked

    Drizzle Sriracha over the top
    Big grind of black pepper

    Fit for a King