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    Wednesday, May 22, 2013

    Eccles Cakes - When It's Wet and Miserable - Bake I Say

    The weather was crap yesterday and I felt like something sweet for afternoon tea.Something quick and easy

    So I got out one of my very old recipe books and Eccles Cakes caught my eye. Good oh, I have all the ingredients. So I whipped up a batch. 

     The recipe, I found was rather slack I felt, a bit lacking in ingredients and method, funny how they just expected everyone to know what to do. Aunt Daisy was like that as well. I guess all cooks did know what to do in the olden days

    So I Googled it

    I found the recipe from British Food and have just copied it exactly, I think I may have made my discs just a little small but...they were great. Lovely taste. I ate 2 with my cup of tea. Even ate a couple more when we returned home from Quiz Night. I have some of the fruit mixture leftover. Storing in the fridge and will make some more later. A success I feel

    1lb 2oz/ 500g puff pastry
    1oz/ 25g butter, melted
    Pinch freshly ground nutmeg
    2 oz/55g candied peel
    4 oz/ 110g sugar
    8 oz/ 225g currants

    Pre-heat oven to 425∞/220∞C/Gas 7
     In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and butter and cook over a medium heat until melted.
     Off the heat, add currants, candied peel and nutmeg.
     On a lightly-floured surface, roll the pastry thinly and cut into rounds of about º inch/0.5cm thickness and 4 inch/10cm diameter.
    Place a small spoonful of filling onto center of each pastry circle.

    Dampen the edges of the pastry with a little cold water and draw the edges together over the fruit and pinch to seal.

    Turn the patty over, then press gently with a rolling pin to flatten the cakes.
    Snip a V in the top with scissors.
    Place on a greased baking tray. I like to use baking paper

    Brush with eggwash and sprinkle with a little extra sugar.

    Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes or until lightly browned round the edges.
    Place on a wire rack and allow to cool.
    Try not to eat them all at once!

    Friday, May 17, 2013

    Best Carrot Soup - My New Version

    I moved away from my normal Carrot Soup, today.
    Saturday Lunch
    Of course I was clearing out the fridge as I do, you know Waste Not Want Not

    I had 3 sticks celery
    4 large carrots
    1 red chili
    2 small onions
    2 cloves garlic
    1 courgette

    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    1 tablespoon Chicken stock powder
    About 6 leaves of mint

    1/2 orange juiced
    70 gms butter

    Extra Virgin Coconut Oil

    The Coconut Oil, Mint and Chili were ingredients, I don't normally add to my Carrot soup 
    but Wow... which extra addition made it special, I'm not sure but it was just divine

    I think the addition of that extra chili and the mint at the last moment, really enhanced the flavours
    By the way it wasn't hot, just flavourful
    Will make this again

    Gluten free of course…plus using the Extra Virgin Coconut Oil was an added extra, not only tasty but also very good for you
    It will pass the Health Food Police
    Just don't mention the butter!!!

    I’ve started blitzing the vege for my soups and meat sauces recently, particularly good if you want to slip added vege, to hide from kids.

    So I melted the butter in a pot
    In the food processor I added
    2 cloves of garlic chopped
    Onions chopped
    Celery chopped
    Courgette chopped

    Whiz them up and add to pan
    Season with S & P
    Sauté till just soft

    Meanwhile chop carrots and half of the chili
    Add to food processor and whiz up
    Add to pot

    Season with chicken stock powder
    Add orange juice
    Stir and sauté for a few minutes

    Cover with hot water and bring to a simmer
    Simmer for about 15 minutes

    Just before serving
    Add Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
    Chop the mint leaves and the rest of the chili

    Pour soup into blender
    Add mint and chili
    Blitz to smooth
    Taste and adjust seasoning if needed
    If it too thick just add a little extra hot water

    I served with Cheese scones
    Hot from the oven

    Time to go shopping and fill the fridge again


    Wednesday, May 08, 2013

    Beat Mumsy Meals - Comfort Food - So So Simple

    Ive been rushing around, 'Taking on Jamie' and decided that it was time for The World's Most simple meal.
    Steak for me, Fish for the Beloved.
    Potatoes and peas mashed together, and a little extra vege on the side. cause I had it, cooked beetroot tossed in oil and Tarragon leaves, that's a great pairing. Actually I adore this kind of meal. So Tasty and Normal
    Of course I cooked too much Potato and Pea Mixture so time for a superb leftover dish.

    I bought some spinach for the kids dinner the other night. It was on special.
    2 bunches, for cheap as chips
    Actually I'm not really rapt in spinach. Baby spinach yes, it's not so earthy
    So I've thought about how to use up the spinach I didn't use for the kids
    Now Creamed Spinach is another thing. Flavoured with garlic and nutmeg that is and excellent use of this earthy vege.
    Even better, I decided to join forces with the left over spuds and peas and make a quiche

    It was very successful
    I used 2 sheets of puff pastry, that made enough to make 4 little pies as well
    Waste no Want not.

    So Ingredients
    1 large cup mashed vege
    1 bunch spinach
    3 cloves garlic peeled
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    Grind of nutmeg
    2 tablespoon of cream

    6 eggs
    1 cup cream 
    S & P
    50 gms grated cheese

    2 sheets puff pastry joined together to fit the quiche tin
    Use trimmings to make 4 little pies
    Line the greased quiche tin and little pie tins with rolled out pastry
    Set aside in fridge to rest

    In a large pot of boiling water
    Add garlic cloves and spinach
    Bring back to boil and blanch for about 2 minutes
    Stick under cold water to keep the colour and cool down

    In your hands squeeze out as much water as possible
    Place in food processor
    Season with Salt pepper and nutmeg
    Add cream

    In another bowl
    Add eggs, cream and cheese
    Season with S & P
    Beat together
    Add to food processor

    Pour into prepared shells
    Have your oven pre-heated to 220 C
    Bake in hot oven for about 10 minutes
    Turn temperature down to 180C
    Cook for about another 15-20 minutes

    The bottom should be crisp and the filling set

    It was excellent, it would easily feed 4 people, with a salad
    The little pies took about 15 minutes, this would depend on you oven

    Now here's a little tip
    I also saved the water from the potatoes and peas
    Nice little vege stock
    How thrifty is that?
    So I was making a Japanese Curry for the kids for Dinner, to have with the spinach
    There were some meat trimmings
    I popped then into the vege stock in a pot
    Added trimmings from the carrots, celery and onions, that I was using for the
    Simmer away for about 15 minutes, longer if you have time

    Drain and you have a tasty little stock to add to any casserole/curry that you are making

    Wednesday, May 01, 2013

    Comfort Food - Cheap and Very Cheerful - Vegetable Bake

    I am making some food for a friends friend, who is stuck in hospital, for quite some time.
    Everytime I make a dish, I make enough to freeze some. This is a good idea anyway.
    Being able to bring some food out of the freezer,  virtually instant food.
    You can sit and have a glass of wine while it bubbles away in the oven.
    As I am Taking on Jamie, I thought I would time this. Took a little longer than 15 minutes. You could eat it immediately but I think it needs to be baked.
    But you could make it earlier in the day and then just stick it in the oven for about 25 minutes or until it is golden and bubbly. All ready for the oven or freezer

    This is a Vego Dish, you could make it Gluten Free, if you use cornflour instead of wheat flour.
    Lovely cheesey sauce smothering broccoli, topped with mashed potatoes

    I followed Jamies advice and got my pans hot and ready to multi task

    This will feed 4 people

    3 large potatoes
    75 mls hot milk
    30 gms cold butter

    2 heads broccoli

    100 gms butter
    1 onion chopped
    1 carrot grated
    1/2 cup flour
     Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    About 800 mls Whole milk 
    1 Bayleaf

    100 gms grated tasty cheese

    Get ready
    Put milk and Bayleaf into microwave and heat for about 2-3 minutes

    Put a pot of salted water to boil for broccoli
    Have another pot of salted cold water for the potatoes
    Melt butter over medium heat in another pot for sauce

    Break broccoli into florets
    Throw into boiling water and blanch for about 3 minutes

    Drain and run under cold water to keep the lovely green colour

    Peel potatoes and cut into smallish cubes about 1/2 inch for faster cooking
    Throw into cold water and bring rapidly to the boil
    cook till tender about 10 minutes

    Meanwhile chop onion and grate carrot and add to melted butter
    Season with S & P
    Cook down about 5 minutes till tender
    Add flour, stir well
    Cook another 4 minutes to cook out the raw flour taste
    Add hot milk all at once and stir to ensure there are no lumps
     Cook for about another 4 minutes adding more milk if it is too thick, don't want it gluggy

    Add broccoli  to sauce and transfer to serving dish
    Now, your potatoes will be cooked
    Drain well and mash
    I used a potato ricer, does such a good job,
    Takes a little longer but it's worth it
    I bought mine for about $9, many years ago from The Warehouse. Its been a great asset
    You don't have to spend a fortune

    Add hot milk to potatoes
    Stir, beat in cold butter
    Check seasoning and adjust if necessary
    Spread the potatoes over the Saucy Vege
    All ready to go
    Cooked in  27 minutes
    That's not too hard

    Quite a lot of carnage though. No one talks about the washing up.
    I've got a good dishwasher which did all of this for me