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    Tuesday, June 13, 2017

    Don't Waste Leftover Vege- Make Vegetable Cakes- No Recipe Required

    They can always be turned into a tasty lunch
    No recipe required
    It seems, when  I'm cooking for only 2 people, I misjudge how much, Vege, (Potato in particular) is going to be consumed
    I guess there's an hidden agenda, as I love leftovers

    So, in the past couple of days there was some leftover mashed potatoes and peas,
    How could anyone throw this away
    In the fridge there was also some Polenta Chips and stir fried Carrots, Cabbage and Onion
    So let's make cakes
    To make them really tasty
    Add some Protein,
    In this case Crumbled Feta Cheese, 
    Canned Tuna works well or minced chicken

    Mix them all together with an egg
    Check your seasoning and adjust if necessary

    Form them into cakes,
    Dip them in flour
    Pop them into the fridge for about 30 minutes
    just to let them set
    Egg and Breadcrumb them
    I think another little time in the fridge helps
    Another 30 minutes
    Fry gently till golden brown
    and Voila, a little relish on the side
    Lunch is served
    If you make too many, pop them in the freezer for another day

    Wednesday, June 07, 2017

    Iced Cookies - Date and Orange - Perfect Combo

    115 gms butter 
    ¼ cup sugar
    2 tablespoons condensed milk
    3/4 cup flour,
    1/4 cup cornflour
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    Pinch of salt

    1/2 cup chopped dates (about 14 dates)
    1/2 cup chopped candied peel

    Makes around 24 cookies

    Cream butter and sugar till light and fluffy
    Add condensed milk
    Mix Dates and Peel with sifted flour, cornflour, salt and baking powder
    Then add to the butter mix
    Blend well

    With a teaspoon make little balls
    Place on baking paper on a baking tray
    Squash down with a floured fork
    Pop into the fridge for about 30 minutes to chill the dough

    Meanwhile Heat Oven to 170C
    Cook for 8 - 10 minutes till just starting to brown
    To Ice
    1 cup Icing Sugar sifted
    2 tablespoon butter  softened
    1 tablespoon boiling water to help the butter mix in
    2 tablespoon lemon juice
    1 tsp lemon zest

    Add boiling water and lemon juice and zest
    If it is too dry, add more lemon juice

    Mix well and ice the cookies
    Got a 10/10 for these  ✅✅✅

    Tuesday, June 06, 2017

    A Revamp - Chicken Salad with Avocado and Cabbage

    I am re-posting this salad, funnily enough the Avocados are particularly nice at the moment, might be a bit expensive but we need a treat every so often, Yes?
    This salad has been designed as a Paleo Meal, by Paleo Pete Evans but it was really a little bland, so I have given it a boost
    As much as I love Avocados they can be a bit boring so I have added tomatoes, French Dressing and my favourite Sriracha Sauce for that extra lift
    Much better
    Almost like a Guacamole
    It might seem a bit silly to de-seed the cherry tomatoes but  the flesh stays intact and you get to keep the juice by pushing the seeds through a small sieve

    For 4 people

    I roasted my chicken especially…  click here for superb Roast Chicken, but you can use leftovers, poached chicken breasts, or buy a roast chicken from the Supermarket
    I used both breasts of the chicken for this salad
    Of course didn't waste the rest, took the leg and thigh meat, off the bones
    and made stock from the drippings and all the bones
    Look at all of that flavour sitting there
    2 cups of green cabbage, shredded
    Handful chopped parsley
    3 tablespoons Chopped Chives
    3 Tablespoons French Dressing

    1 ripe avocado, stone removed, lightly mashed
    8-10 cherry tomatoes de-seeded and chopped
    Keep the seeds and juice and squeeze through a sieve, reserve

    Slosh Sriracha Sauce  to taste
    Sea Salt and Freshly ground Black pepper
    3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    3 tablespoons lemon juice

    Small handful extra mixed herbs, torn (tarragon, parsley and more chives)
    Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
    2 tablespoons almonds, toasted and chopped

    Add cabbage to large bowl
    throw in herbs
    and dress with French Dressing
    Season with sea salt and pepper
    Break chicken up into bite size pieces
    Add to cabbage
    Meanwhile make your sort of guacamole
    Add tomato juice and sliced tomatoes to Avocado
    Add lemon juice and olive oil
    Season well with Salt and Pepper
    Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary
    Throw on top of the rest
    Toss and leave to sit
    Meanwhile toast almonds gently and chop
    Sprinkle over the salad
    Best to let sit for an hour or so to get those flavours through
    Serve at room temperature

    That's the ticket

    Saturday, May 27, 2017

    Baby Craisin Cookies - Looking Good

    I had a request to make some Baby Size Cookies with no Citrus, no Chocolate and no Walnuts
    So I thought I would develop a recipe based on a tried and true favourite -  Kiwi Crisps
    Replaced Chocolate with Craisins
    I also wondered if replacing some of the flour, with cornflour would change the texture
    Not a lot but maybe, a bit more like shortbread than normal
    Whatever, they are excellent
    115 gms butter
    ¼ cup sugar
    2 tablespoons condensed milk
    3/4 cup flour,
    1/4 cup cornflour
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    Pinch of salt
    1 cup Craisins chopped

    Cream butter and sugar till light and fluffy
    Add condensed milk
    Mix Craisins with sifted flour, cornflour, salt and baking powder
    Then add to the butter mix
    Blend well

    With a teaspoon make little balls
    Place on baking paper on a baking tray
    Squash down with a floured fork
     170C for 10 - 12  minutes
    Makes about 30 Baby cookies
    Or make them bigger, then
    Cook for 15-20 minutes

    Monday, May 22, 2017

    Bacon and Egg Casserole - Perfect for a Pink Ribbon Breakfast Fund Raiser

    May is Pink Ribbon "Awareness of Breast Cancer" Month
    Helen and I hosted a Special Breakfast for a Group of very generous Friends

    Helen worked really hard on getting heaps of prizes for Raffles and The Silent Auction
    So many generous Friends

    I was quite excited to be cooking as I had seen a recipe for a Bacon and Egg Casserole on the Epicurious Site, which would be perfect and it was
    So if you have a brunch coming up, this generously feeds 8.
    More if you have lots of other food
    Which we did
     I also made my simple tomato sauce to serve on the side

    As you see we also had fabulous Fresh Croissants, with some Sliced Emmenthal Cheese and Tomato or some Jam, for those with the sweet tooth
    Carrot Cup Cakes, Cinnamon Rolls, Fresh Fruit, Rose Bubbles

    A veritable Feast. Yumo

    Tomato Sauce to serve with Casserole
    2 tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    2 cloves garlic peeled and crushed
    1 tin crushed tomatoes
     Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    1 teaspoon sugar
    Slosh of vinegar (white or red wine, cider or rice wine you choose)

    On a medium heat add olive oil and garlic
    Just cook for about 2 minutes to get the garlic going, (Oooh that divine aroma)
    Add the tin of Tomatoes, rinse out the tin with a little water, no waste please
    Season with Salt, Pepper and Sugar
    Simmer for about 10 minutes, longer if you have time but not really necessary
    Add Vinegar
    That worked well

    So to make the Casserole 
    There is quite a bit of prep but the beauty of this dish… you can prepare it the day before and finish off in the morning Easy Peasy 
    Feeds 8 - 10  

     2 sheets Flaky Pastry I used Edmonds Frozen sheets
    already rolled and easy to cut into strips

    14 large eggs, divided
    9 strips bacon (about 8 ounces)
    1 large onion, thinly sliced
    8 ounces Gruyère, coarsely grated (about 2 1/2 cups)
    1/2 teaspoon sea salt
    1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    1/4 teaspoon freshly grated or ground nutmeg
     2 cups plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream, divided
     2 medium Yukon Gold potato cut into 1/2" cubes
    Olive Oil for roasting potato
    Bag of baby spinach

    I large ovenproof dish

    Preheat oven to 175C

    Cut the pastry sheets into 1 cm wide strips
    You probably will only use 1 1/2 sheets
    Pop them into the fridge till you need them

    Peel and cut potatoes into cubes
    Par boil in salted water till just tender
    Toss in Olive oil and roast till golden about 15 -20 minutes
    Drain and set aside

    Bring a medium pot of water to a boil.  
    Add 6 eggs, cover, and cook 7 minutes.
    Transfer eggs to a bowl of ice water and let cool completely.
    Peel eggs.

    As there was quite a lot of bacon I cooked it in the oven while the potatoes were cooking
    Took about 5 minutes 
    Drain on a rack sitting on paper towels
    When cool coarsely chop
    Save the bacon fat. use it to grease the casserole dish

    In a pan add some olive oil, saute onions till translucent about 5-7 minutes
    Set aside

    Meanwhile grate Cheese
    Now everything is ready to assemble

    Grease the Dish well  with Bacon Fat
    Whisk 8 eggs in a large bowl.
    Add cheese, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and 2 cups cream and whisk to combine.
    In dish spread out spinach,
    layer with potatoes, onions and bacon 
    Pour egg mixture over the top and mix in well...
    Cut cooked eggs in half lengthwise and arrange over filling,
    then press down so top edge of egg is even with top of filling.

    So at this stage you can cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate over night
    as you can see I doubled the recipe
    In the morning I got up early and let the casserole come to room temperature
    Also defrosted the pastry and cut into strips
    So I made a nice lattice pattern on top of the casserole and lightly brushed with cream
    Bake casserole, rotating pan halfway through,
    until pastry is deep golden brown and
    cooked through, 50–55 minutes.
    Let cool at least 15 minutes before serving.
    We actually let it come to room temperature before we served
    and that worked really well

    My other contribution was Cinnamon Rolls
    Now I have made these before from a recipe by Paula Deen
    To get that recipe Click here
    But of course as usual I tried out another recipe that  hadn't made before
    Phew... it worked and was excellent
    From The Epicurious Site
    This is a lovely dough to work with. Rolled out  so easily
    A pleasure 

    3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
    2 1/4 teaspoons rapid-rise yeast
    1/3 cup sugar

    2 large eggs, room temperature, beaten
    1 cup whole milk
    56 gms unsalted butter, plus more for greasing pan
    2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
    1 teaspoon kosher salt
    Vegetable-oil cooking spray

    For the filling:
    3/4 cup packed dark-brown sugar
    2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    1/8 teaspoon sea salt
    85 gms unsalted butter, room temperature 85 gms
    1 cup chopped, lightly toasted pecans
    1 cup Craisins

    For the glaze:
    1 cup icing sugar
    1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons whole milk
    1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
    Pinch sea salt

    Special equipment:
    2 x  9-inch round cake pans

    N.B. Rolls can be assembled, arranged in pans,
    covered with plastic wrap, and refrigerated for several hours or overnight.
    If refrigerated, allow to come to room temperature for about 2 hours,
    watch for second rise (rolls should almost double in volume), and then bake.
    These are not too sweet, coulod be a good idea to make 1 1./2 batches of the glaze if you fancy a little more sweetness

    Make the dough:
    In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment,
    add flour, yeast, and sugar.
    Mix on low speed until well combined.
    Add eggs and mix on low to combine.
    In a small pot, heat milk, butter, and cinnamon over medium-low heat until butter is melted and mixture is between 120 and 130°F (use a thermometer). Hand hot
    Add warm milk mixture and salt to stand mixer.
    Beat on low speed 2 to 3 minutes, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl with a spatula.
    Beat on medium speed until smooth and elastic, 2 to 3 minutes.
    Dough will be very sticky.
    Lightly oil a large bowl with cooking spray.
    Form dough into ball and transfer to bowl, turning to coat. 
    Cover bowl with plastic wrap then kitchen towel.
    Let dough rise in warm draft-free area until doubled in volume, about 2 hours.
    While dough rises, cut 2 pieces of parchment to fit 2 9-inch round cake pans.
    Butter pans, line with parchment, and butter parchment.
    Make the filling:
    Mix brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in medium bowl.


    Punch down dough and transfer to floured work surface.
    Roll out to 16-by-12-inch rectangle.
    Spread butter over dough, leaving 1/2-inch border on the long sides.
    Sprinkle filling mixture evenly over butter, then add Pecans and Craisins.
    Starting at a long edge, roll dough toward you into a log,
    pinching gently to keep it rolled tightly. With seam side down,
    cut dough crosswise with a thin sharp knife into 16 equal slices.
    Divide rolls between baking dishes, arranging cut side up; rolls will be touching after they have risen
    Cover baking dishes with plastic wrap then kitchen towel.
    Let dough rise in warm draft-free area until almost doubled in volume, 40 to 45 minutes.
    Preheat to 375°F and position rack in centre of oven. 
    Bake rolls until tops are golden, 18 to 20 minutes.
    Remove from oven and invert immediately onto rack.

    Make the glaze:
    In a medium bowl, whisk together the icing sugar, milk, vanilla, and salt.
    Cool 10 minutes. Turn rolls right side up.
    Drizzle glaze over rolls and serve

    Wednesday, May 10, 2017

    A "Newish" Twist on Sausages and Onions - Add Apple

    Rhubarb is now in the shops.
    My Dad used to grow Rhubarb in his wonderful Garden and when Mum stewed it she always added an apple
    Along with a reasonable amount of sugar. Probably more than would be acceptable today
    Mind you it tasted really good

    Thought I would make some Rhubarb and Apple Pies and bought some canned stewed apples

    Remove 3 tablespoons of the sauce for the Sausage bake
    Keep the rest for the Rhubarb
    Recipe below

    But first
    I decided to make the Apple work for me,
    Blend it with some Pork Sausages and Onions
    Little sweet and sour
    Another little Cheap and Cheerful Dinner.
    Olive oil
    6 Pork Sausages
    2 onions peeled and sliced
    3 tablespoons Apple sauce
    1 Large Kumera (Sweet Potato) 
    Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper 
    Chopped Chives

    First get the Mash underway
    Peel and cube the  Kumera 
    Into a pot of well salted water
    Bring to boil and simmer till fork goes through
    Drain and reserve the water
    Mash with a big knob of butter plus a tablespoon olive oil
    and 2 tablespoons chopped chives and a good grind of freshly ground Black Pepper
    Set aside

    Brown sausages in a tablespoon oil
    Meanwhile in another pan slowly cook sliced onions in 2 tablespoons olive
    till soft and starting to brown

    When sausages cooked, remove and slice
    Move the onions to the sausage pan and stir well
    To take up all that goodness and flavour on the bottom of the pan
    Add 3 tablespoons apple sauce
    Add a good knob of butter 2 tablespoons
    Mix well
    Add 3 tablespoons flour
    Cook for about 3-5 minutes
    Add 2 cups of the reserved Kumera water and whisk well over heat, till it starts to thicken
    Add more if it gets too thick
    When it has thickened.
    Simmer for a few more minutes
    Add sausage to gravy and place in ovenproof dishes
    Top with mashed Kumera
    Now either above
    or bake in 180 C (like below)
    For 25-30 minutes
    Till the Kumera Topping is golden and the sauce all bubbly
    Now for the Rhubarb
    Cut up the Rhubarb in 2.5 cm pieces
    add the remainder of the Canned apples
    1 tablespoon sugar
    Zest and juice of 1 Orange
    and about 1/4 cup water 
    Bring to the boil, turn down and simmer till rhubarb breaks up
    I made some pies for the freezer
    Saved the rest and it is in the fridge for breakfast, with cereal maybe or just
    With Ice Cream for dessert