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    Tuesday, October 28, 2014

    Colourful Pasta Salad - How can you resist this?

    I'm still on the 'use up the food in your fridge' before you go shopping, kick
    How about an Orzo Salad, packed full of flavour.
    Colourful and a perfect light dinner. All the food groups covered.
    Hot Smoked Salmon, Vege, Pasta and good Olive Oil, a touch of cider vinegar. 
    Can't get much better than that.
    It's really not a recipe, just some ideas
    Use any amounts you like, it's up to you

    In the fridge I found, mushrooms, half a red capsicum, some spring onions and parsley.
    Perfect for marinated mushrooms, the start of my salad
    Best to make this in advance, to get the flavours established

    Slice up the vege
    Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and toss well in some French Dressing

    Easiest French Dressing  
    To make 300 mls
    (I like to make it in a jar)
    100 mls vinegar, I like to use Cider vinegar, it has a touch of sweetness
    1 tsp Dijon Mustard
    Sea salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
    Shake well to emulsify
    Start adding 200 mls Olive oil
    Keep stirring with a fork
    Set aside, all ready

    Next step, I fossicked around in the fridge and found
    Some Hot Smoked Peri Peri Salmon, You could use a Tin of Tuna

    Some cooked asparagus and radishes
    Slice them up set aside
    I had some Tomatoes which I chopped and seasoned with S & P

    I cooked the Orzo as per the manufacturers instructions
    Toss with a couple of tablespoons of French Dressing and set aside
    1 cup uncooked pasta will feed 2

    Now to assemble
    Orzo, Marinated Mushrooms, Asparagus and radishes
    Drizzle with some more French Dressing, to your own taste
    Toss and add Smoked Salmon
    Gently stir, Plate
    and garnish with Chopped seasoned Tomatoes
    All that colour has to be good for you

    Cheap and Cheerful Meat Loaf - Kid Friendly Dinner


    It’s Thursday at Grandma’s and I decided to cook from the freezer and the pantry
    I had a packet of Lamb and Rosemary Sausages in there.
    450 gms on special at $8.00, gluten free, but I have added breadcrumbs to the loaf so  that's not applicable

    While Grandma gets dinner ready, the kids are swimming. Bit chilly for me, but they didn't care
    I got out the Trusty Triple Tested Cookbook, to get some ideas, this is a perfect cookbook for old fashioned cooking, things kids and old people like.
    There is a Glazed Meat Loaf recipe which I have adapted.
    It actually called for mince but I used the sausages instead 
    I’ve added some extra vege. Corn and spinach in fact.

    So ingredients
    450 gms sausage meat/or hamburger mince
    1 small onion finely chopped
    3/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs
    2 tablespoons chopped parsley
    1/2 cup chopped frozen and thawed spinach
    1/2 cup frozen corn
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    1 egg
    1/2 cup milk
    2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce

    Glaze
    1/4 cup tomato ketchup
    1 1/2 tsp golden syrup
    1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce



    Combine ingredients and mix well
    Pack into a greased loaf tin and bake in 175C oven for 30 minutes
    You can do this earlier in the day and glaze just before you are ready to eat

    Turn onto baking sheet and pour glaze over
    Return to over and bake for 15 minutes
    Slice and I brushed the excess glaze on the cut slices, that goes down well with the kids.
    Serve with yummy mashed potatoes and in this case a crunchy coleslaw
    Cabbage, Capsicum, Cucumber, Spring Onions all tossed in Homemade Mayo
    And for Dessert. Chocolate Dipped Strawberries and Pineapple, served with some whipped cream

    Easy peasy, just melt the chocolate, either over a water bath, or in the Microwave
    Make sure the fruit is well dried and then dip into warm chocolate
    Leave to set on baking paper or foil.

    Tuesday, October 21, 2014

    Mince and Cheese Pie - A Old Fashioned Family Favourite

    We were going out for a picnic, Daily outings for the beloved, these days
    Thought I would swap the usual delicious fresh homemade sandwiches,
    for Homemade Mince and Cheese Pies
    For this dish I went back to the traditional Grandma’s (as in My Mum) tasty mince
    None of your Italian herby, lots of vege, tomatoey Mince that you use for Lasagne, Spag Bol etc
    No back to basics for this dish

    1 large onion Chopped
    600 gms mince
    2 Tablespoons Olive oil

    Ground Black Pepper
    4 tablespoons Tomato Ketchup
    2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce

    Beef Stock Cube dissolved in 2 cups hot water
    Just enough to cover the mince2-3 tbs flour
    3 tbs water enough to make a paste

    Sauté the onions in  Olive Oil till soft but not brown
    Add the mince and brown
    Season with Ground black pepper
    Add the Tomato Ketchup and Worcestershire Sauce
    Stir well

    Add beef stock so that the mince is just covered
    Bring to boil and simmer for about 30 minutes

    Mix the flour and water together to make a thick slurry
    Take mince off the heat
    Stir in flour,
    Back on the stove and cook gently
    Just light simmer, till Mince is nice and thick
    Continue gently cooking, stirring regularly to cook out the flour
    Careful, it can catch at this stage
    Remove and cool, ready to put in your pastry cases

    I had some help in the kitchen today, from my Grand daughter Cleo
    She was very helpful
    She grated the cheese that goes on top of the mince
    So to make the pies
    I use the frozen puff pastry sheets
    So easy and cheap too
    You also need some grated cheese and egg wash, to help give the pies, a nice golden glaze
    Egg wash easy, just beat an egg with a few drops of water

    So Lightly grease the pie tins
    Roll the pastry to make a bottom and top
    After you have prepared the pastry in the tins
    Let it sit in the fridge, for about 20 minutes
    It needs to rest a little, after all you have been giving it a hard time
    Take it out, prick the bottom with a fork

    Fill the case with mince
    Sprinkle with Grated cheese
    Place the lid on top
    Press down the sides and crimp
    Make a little steam hole
    Brush with egg wash

    C for Cleo on top
    Into 200C oven and bake for 20-30 minutes
    Till golden and crisp

    Lunch is served
    Of course, can't waste the trimmings
    The Queen of hearts, she made some tarts
    Jam Tarts in fact
    She kindly let Dale have one, she has demolished 4
    The rest are going home with her

    Monday, October 13, 2014

    Spring, Autumn - Food for Season Change - Orange Beef Casserole Covers Both

    Daylight saving started here in New Zealand just a couple of weeks ago. Earlier than normal, but arranged around the School Vacation. Give the kids a chance to settle in.
    Of course, it is the real start of the Spring Equinox, in my mind. 
    The days are getting longer, it is warming up and it's the last of the winter type meals
    Of course for those in the Northern hemisphere, it is all reversed.
    This dish will cover both.

    Cross cut blade steak, browned, gently simmered with root vegetables. Loads of flavour infused with the addition of Orange Chili Oil

    Al Brown, makes this delicious Orange Chili Oil.
    I guess someone else will supply it in other countries.
    If not just use a Chili Oil and some grated zest of an orange.



    Make your own Stock
    I never waste the trimmings of the meat and vege
    Just pop them into pot with a couple beef stock cubes and about 500 mls water
    Simmer for about 30 minutes
    Strain and reserve
    Added flavour for your stew
    For 3-4 people
    Ingredients
    700 gms Cross Cut Blade steak, fat trimmed off and cut into chunks
    1/2 cup flour seasoned with Sea salt and Black pepper
    3 Tablespoons Orange and Chili Olive Oi, if the oil is too hot for you break it down with Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    Large Knob of butter
    1 large onion, segmented
    2 large carrots, cut into chunks
    1 large parsnip, cut into chunks
    1 green mild chili de-seeded and chopped
    2 cloves garlic peeled and finely chopped
    Sea salt, freshly ground black pepper 

    Garnish
    Grated Orange Zest and handful chopped Parsley
    Plus a drizzle of the Orange Chili Oil


    I like to flour and brown the meat. More flavour,
    Toss the chopped meat in the seasoned flour, shake and reserve the flour


    Into a medium hot pan, throw in your meat, do not overcrowd the pan
    You may have to do this in batches
    Brown on all sides
    Remove and place into casserole dish
    Add onions to pan with the knob of butter
    Cook gently till soft
    Add carrots, parsnip, chili and garlic
    Toss around and cook about 4-5 minutes
    Add slosh of white wine to deglaze the pan
    Cook down, till absorbed
    add the remainder of the flour
    Cook out the flour for about 3-4 mins
    Add strained stock, see above
    Bring to the boil, stirring and simmer till it has thickened

    Add to the meat in the casserole
    Meanwhile Preheat the oven to 175C 
    Slowly cook for about 1 1/2 - 2 hours till thickened and meat is tender

    Serve with some chopped parsley and grated orange zest
    Finish off with a drizzle of the Orange Chili Oil

    Delicious on its own, but even better with some mashed potatoes and some greens