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    Friday, February 06, 2015

    Sweet Corn Maque Choux- A New Orleans Delicacy - Perfect for the Summer

    Last weekend, we had a major celebration in our house.
    The headline act on the Menu, was Gumbo
    If you want to make Gumbo, click here
    All the steps to make a perfect one, outlined for you
    You can either serve it like a stew, below
    Or more like a soup, a la the photo below
    With or without rice
    When I posted a photo of the Gumbo on Facebook, one of friends reminded me of other
    New Orleans Delights, for instance Corn Maque Choux
    So I had to make it
    Corn is abundant, so sweet, this is a delicious alternative, to "the just gnawing" at the cob.
    Serve with any protein and if by any chance, you have Leftovers
    Make a Frittata, just add some more sauteed onion and perhaps some extra sauteed capsicum

    Servings: 4
    Recipe by Bruce Aidells from Epicurious Website

    125 gms butter
    1 cup finely chopped onion
    1/2 cup chopped yellow capsicum
    2 cups fresh corn kernels (cut from 3 medium ears of corn)
    3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
    1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
    1/2 teaspoon (or more) hot pepper sauce
    1 green onion, finely chopped
    2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
    1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
    Sea salt

    To remove the kernels without making a huge mess
    Strip back the husk and silk.
    Leave attached, it makes a great handle
    Also useful, for when you just want to eat a la naturale, dripping in butter

    Melt butter in large skillet over medium-high heat.
    Add onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes.
    Add capsicum; sauté until beginning to soften, about 3 minutes.
    Add corn; sauté 2 minutes.
    Add cream, thyme, and 1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce. 
    Simmer until sauce thickens, about 5 minutes.
    Mix in green onion, parsley, and basil. 
    Season to taste with sea salt, pepper and more hot pepper sauce, if desired.

    Wednesday, February 04, 2015

    Perfect Raspberry Sorbet - So Simple

    Raspberry or Strawberry Sorbet

    I saw this simple Sorbet, on an Australian Cooking Programme, with Justine Schofield
    She was a MasterChef Finalist, in Series One
    She actually made this with frozen Raspberries, or you could use fresh in season

    So so simple
    I just had to make it
    After a wonderful celebration lunch, that we held at home last week.
    I found a couple of punnets of leftover Strawberries, in the bottom of my fridge.
    Just to the point of going off.
    One bonus of that, is, they were really sweet
    What a great way to use them up, perfect for the kids dinner tonight.
    So I made Sorbet
    No need for ice cream machine
    Just a food processor or blender and a freezer

    100 gms caster sugar
    100 mls water
    2-3 drops lemon juice

    Dissolve over med heat
    Bring to slow simmer and
    Bubble away for about 5 minutes
    Just to reduce a little

    600 gms raspberries/strawberries

    If using strawberries remove stalks

    Pop into food processor
    Blitz till fine purée
    Strain through a sieve into a bowl
    To get out the seeds
    Add sugar syrup
    Back into food processor
    Blitz again till smooth
    In to a tray and freeze

    Remove from freezer
    Break up and back into food processor

    Separate out 1 egg white
    Start processor and add egg white to raspberry ice
    straight away
    Blitz till smooth

    This took about 2-3 minutes
    Every so often scrape down the sides till homogenised

    Into plastic container with lid
    Refreeze then it’s ready to eat

    Going to serve it with Little tarts, filled with Chocolate Ganache

    Saturday, January 24, 2015

    Summer Food - Flan of Green herbs with Raw Tomato Sauce

    In the previous post, I gave the recipe for a superb Courgette Salad, that I served with Lamb
    This is the first course, that I served to my guests.
    It went down really well
    I found this in The "Essential Pepin" Cook book
    by the wonderful Jacques
    I love his food

    Perfect as a first course, or even a lunch
    I served some hot rolls, just in case you need to mop up the the yummy sauce

    For The Flan
    6 cups of mixed green herbs such as parsley, coriander, chives, basil rocket
    4 cups loosely packed baby spinach leave
    1 tablespoon unsalted butter
    2 tablespoons Olive Oil
    1/4 cup Pine nuts
    6 larger eggs
    1/2 cup light cream
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    freshly ground black pepper

    2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan Cheese

    For the Sauce
    1 kg ripe tomatoes coarsely chopped
    1 tablespoon finely chopped Jalapeño peppers (optional)
    1 tsp salt
    Freshly ground pepper
    1 1/2 tablespoons White Wine Vinegar
    1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    Pinch sugar

    Preheat the oven to 185C

    First wash and dry the herbs and spinach
    Roughly chop

    Melt the butter with the olive oil in a 23-25 cm ovenproof, nonstick pan
    Add the nuts and sauté for 1-2 minutes until light browned
    Stir in the herbs and spinach and cook for 3 minutes or until soft and tender

    Break the eggs into a bowl and whisk with the cream until blended
    Add the mixture to the pan along with salt and pepper and cook stirring
    For about 15 seconds until semi set
    Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese on top

    Transfer the Flan to the oven and bake for 10 minutes
    or until set and lightly browned

    For the Sauce
    Put the tomatoes in a Food Processor or Blender, with the Jalapeño
    Process till smooth
    Add salt, pepper. sugar, vinegar and olive oil

    Process for a few seconds
    Check for seasoning and adjust if necessary

    You can make this earlier and keep in the fridge
    To serve
    Place some sauce on a plate
    A piece of Flan on top

    A perfect first course

    Friday, January 23, 2015

    Courgette Carpaccio Salad with Pistachio Vinagrette

    Courgette Carpaccio Salad with Pistachio Vinagrette

    This recipe I saw on a TV programme, hosted by Anjum Anand. called My Kitchen

    I had some friends coming over for dinner and thought this would be wonderful, served with Roast Lamb, which was dressed with the Jus from the Lamb,
    Accompanied by New Potatoes, lightly dressed with butter and some freshly chopped mint
    A perfect summer dish
    For 8 people
    6 -8 medium to large Courgettes
    Olive Oil

    Handful Rocket Leaves
    Handful of Parmesan Shavings

    To prepare the courgettes
    (Anjum actually grilled them, but for ease I think roasting them in the oven is
    much quicker and just as good)

    Thinly slice the courgettes, diagonally
    Brush either side with olive oil
    Bake in a 180C oven till golden and soft

    Place on a baking tray

    Remove and season with a little sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Meanwhile prepare the Pistachio Dressing
    1 garlic clove
    30 pistachio nuts, skin removed
    A large pinch of sugar
    20ml white wine vinegar
    3-5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

    Crush the garlic to a paste using a mortar and pestle,
    then add the pistachios, a pinch of freshly ground black pepper and the sugar.
    Pound until the pistachios are very finely crushed,
    then mix in the white wine vinegar and olive oil
    (you may not need all of the olive oil)... until emulsified.
    Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

    To assemble
    Lay the courgette slices on a platter slightly overlapping
    Drizzle the dressing over,
    Save some to toss with the Rocket
    Lay some Parmesan shavings over

    Then Sprinkle the tossed Rocket leaves over the top

    Tuesday, December 23, 2014

    For A Change Try Sausage and Pasta - Another Kid Friendly Meal

    The Kids were coming over and I remembered that, previously, I had made a Gordon Ramsay Pasta dish, using Sausage meat... so I looked it up in the cook book
    Turns out, the recipe I was thinking of, was actually a rice dish
    The kids wanted Pasta, so I devised this dish, inspired by Gordon (I feel I can call him Gordon)
    It is so different from the original I think I can call this mine

    2 tablespoons Olive oil
    Onion peeled and chopped
    Sea salt and freshly Ground Black Pepper
    Red pepper chopped
    Sausages from the famous Westmere Butcher
    Beef, Garlic, Parsley and Parmesan, perfect

    1 1/2 sausages per person will be enough

    White wine to deglaze
    2 cups chicken stock

    Pasta, Farfalle, cooked to manufacturers instructions

    2 medium fresh tomato chopped

    1 head of Broccoli
    Olive oil
    2 cloves of Garlic peeled and finely chopped
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    Zest of 1 Lemon

    Spring onions to garnish and or chives
    Chopped parsley

    Grated Parmesan
    Place olive oil into a pan, heat to medium heat
    Add chopped onions
    Saute till soft
    Add chopped red pepper and sauté till soft
    Season with S & P
    Meanwhile remove sausage meat from skins and break up to resemble small meatballs

    Add to pan, I actually used a second pan to brown the sausage, stop it from stewing
    plus you get a better flavour

    Add all the cooked sausage meat to the pan
    Deglaze the sausage pan, with a slosh of white wine and tip into the main pan

    Add chicken stock
    Bring to a simmer and cook gently for about 15 minutes

    So the Broccoli
    Cut into small florets
    Blanch in salted water for about 3-4 minutes
    Drain and put into ice water
    This will stop it cooking and keep the nice green colour
    Drain and out aside

    In a large pan, add the olive oil
    Throw in the chopped garlic
    Season with salt and pepper and the lemon zest
    Add the cooked broccoli
    Toss well
    Set aside

    So, cook the pasta
    I usually allow 100 gms per person

    When it is just cooked
    At this stage,
    Add the broccoli and chopped tomato
    to the sausage
    Toss well
    Add pasta
    Mix well

    Dish up and grate some Parmesan over the top
    garnish with some chopped green onion tops or chives and a little chopped parsley

    Loved by young and old
    Very tasty

    Sunday, December 21, 2014

    Christmas Appetisers - Feed The Drinkers - When Only White Bread will do

    It's that wonderful time of the year again Christmas and it is usually full of good cheer
    It is really important that you feed the drinkers
    The best soaker upper, is of course...White bread
    Of course offer lovely crisp vege and dips, also I do have some gluten free appetisers in another blog
    Click here to view.

    You can serve a cheese board with cherries, for those who are not eating bread, but for the majority,

    How about these Little Chicken and Pistachio Sandwiches, and some Mushroom filled Patty Cases

    I have stolen the Sandwich filling from my good friends Mary and Catherine
    Probably a little different from theirs, but any way you do it,
    Guaranteed Tasty!

    So first buy some white sandwich sliced bread
    Butter well

    1 medium chicken breast poached and finely chopped
    3 tablespoons chopped pistachio nuts
    2 tablespoons finely chopped chives
    2 tablespoons finely chopped gherkins
    3 tablespoons mayonnaise
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    Mix together well
    Place filling on one slice of the bread
    Cover with another buttered slice
    flatten with your hand and cut off the crusts
    Cut into triangles
    Pop on a little plate
    Sprinkle with a little chopped parsley
    So for the Mushroom Savouries
    I found these in one of my Cajun Cooking Bibles

    Terry Thompson’s “Cajun-Creole Cooking”.
    I have just checked out and you can buy Terry’s book from them.
    It is a great addition to your Cookbook Library

    First make the Patty Cases.
    These are the best ones I have ever made.
    You must use the (as we call it) "plastic" white sandwich bread.
    You know that soft white bread that the food police say “DON’T EAT”…
    I have to say when one has a hangover, a little sandwich made from this bread, maybe bacon and mashed egg, is just the ticket.

    So cut the crusts off and roll the bread both ways
    Cut out shapes with a pastry cutter.
    I used these mini muffin tins. I got 2 rounds per slice of bread.
    Butter the muffin tins and carefully press the bread rounds in.
    Bake 200C for 10 minutes. You can keep them in an airtight container for a few days or they will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.
     Mushroom Filling.
    ¼ cup unsalted butter
    4 green onions chopped
    2 tablespoons minced parsley
    2 tablespoons minced chives
    250 gm mushrooms finely chopped
    3 tablespoons flour
    ¾ cup cream
    ¼ teaspoon dried thyme or 1 teaspoon fresh thyme finely chopped
    ¼ teaspoon cayenne
    1 ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    Sea salt
    1 tablespoons lemon juice
    24 baked Patty Shells
    Grated Parmesan Cheese.
    2 tablespoons butter at room temperature

    Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat
    Add green onions parsley and chives
    Cook until wilted about 3 minutes
    Add mushrooms
    Cook 10 minutes, or until liquid evaporates.
    Sprinkle flour over mixture, stir till blended
    Cook 2 minutes stirring it will be dry be careful it doesn’t stick to pan.
    Stir in cream, thyme cayenne freshly ground black pepper, salt and lemon juice.
    Reduce heat to low cook 5 minutes or until thickened.

    Preheat over to 175C
    Place patty pans on baking tray and fill with cooled mixture.
    Top with a little Parmesan cheese and ¼ teaspoon butter
    To add to the Christmas Theme, 
    I topped them with a little slice of tomato and a little touch parsley

    Bake about 10 minutes until mixture is bubbling

     I made the Mushroom Savouries for a drinks party yesterday and they were gone in minutes

    Tuesday, December 02, 2014

    Kids Chicken and Potato Dinner - Nutella Dessert? Perfect

    I’m always looking for recipes, that fill my Grandchildren with Joy.
    They are good eaters and enjoy their food and like trying something new.
    There is a couple of allergy issues but as the children grow, these are getting better.

    Italian Food is away popular and also, the kind of food, I was brought up with.

    Grandma style

    This week,  I thought I would try a couple of new things
    My friend Trish has a recipe for Potatoes that she used to use in her Restaurant and very popular it was too. Just toss your potatoes in French Onion Soup Mix and Cream
    Yum. How easy is that?

    Next I am not a Paleo person, it’s the restrictions that drive me crazy, nevertheless there are some ideas which are worth trying… have heard a bit about Cauliflower Rice
    Why not try Broccoli Rice
    Yes that was fun and they liked it.


    Next for the protein, Jamie Oliver in his one of 15 minute Meals, cooked, what he called Golden Chicken, so I borrowed that.

    Back to The UK Super Chefs, Gordon Ramsay, in his Ultimate Home Cookery, produced a 3 Layer Sandwich Meringue Cake. He layered it with melted chocolate folded into whipped Cream

    I made a couple of changes. Not just ordinary Melted Chocolate
    But how about Nutella mixed into the cream
    Terrific. show me a kid who doesn't like Nutella
    So an excellent Menu all in all

    Trish’s Potatoes

    Take 4 large Potatoes peel and chopped into medium cubes
    Bring to the boil in salted water and simmer till they are almost cooked
    Drain and pop into a oven dish
    1 packet of French Onion Soup Mix
    200 ms cream

    Sprinkle the potatoes with the soup mix,
    Season with a little salt and pepper

    Funnily enough the French Onion soup mix is not overly salty
    so it needs some extra seasoning
    Pour the cream over
    Toss and pop into a Hot oven  200C and cook till cream is absorbed and potatoes are covered with the delicious creamy sauce

    Broccoli Rice
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    1 small onion, roughly chopped
    2 heads Broccoli
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    Splash of water
    Zest of lemon
    Large knob of butter

    Place onion and whiz up in the food processor
    Add to a medium hot pan contain the olive oil
    Sauté gently

    Cut the Broccoli into small florets
    Don't throw away the stalk
    Peel it, and save, my kids love to eat it raw
    Back to the florets Put into the food processor and whiz till it turns into “Rice”

    Add to the onions and toss
    Splash in some water abut 3 tablespoons
    Season, cover and cook for about 4 minutes
    Grate in the zest of the lemon and add the butter
    Ready to serve

    Jamie’s Golden Chicken
    2 Large Chicken Breasts
    1 tablespoon chopped rosemary
    3 tablespoons flour seasoned with salt and pepper
    Olive oil

    Take the Breast and open them out so they are flattened and even
    Cut into serving size pieces

    Mix the seasoned flour and rosemary together
    Dip the chicken into the flour both sides
    Place olive oil into medium to hot pan
    Add chicken, only cook a couple of pieces at a time
    After a minute, turn it over and continue turning every minute
    till the chicken is cooked and golden
    A total of 5-6 minutes

    Remove and keep warm till needed while you cook the remainder

    Tender Tasty Chicken on Broccoli Rice with Creamy Potatoes

    So onto Gordon’s dessert
    I bought some roasted hazel nuts and whizzed them up in the food processor
    The Meringue
    4 egg whites
    225 gms caster sugar or Golden caster sugar
    50 gms ground hazelnuts

    For the Filling
    2 large tablespoons Nutella
    200 mls whipping cream

    Pre heat the oven to 140 C
    Beat the eggs white till they reach soft peaks
    Start adding the sugar, a tablespoon at a time
    Beat until the meringue is nice and shiny

    Gently fold in the ground hazelnuts
    Line 3 baking sheets with baking paper
    Mark out  a ring on each of approx 18cm
    To keep them anchored, just place a little piece of the meringue mix under each corner
    Spread the meringue equally over the 3 rings

    Bake for 1 1/2 hours
    When cooked, leave them in the oven with the door slightly ajar
    till cooled
    They are ready to go

    They can be kept in an airtight container for a week if necessary

    To  assemble

    Pick out the best ring for the top
    Lay one sheet on a plate
    Cover with the filling

    Top with another ring
    More Filling
    Last Ring and top with the remainder of the  Filling

    Place in the fridge for at least 2 hours before serving

    What to do with the leftover yolks
    Make a Chocolate Pudding of course

    Thank you Martha Stewart
    I am not normally a milk pudding sort of person, but even I like it

    The kids loved it

        2/3 cup sugar
        1/4 cup cornstarch
        1/4 teaspoon salt
        1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (if making chocolate pudding)
        2 1/2 cups milk
        4 large egg yolks
        2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
        1 teaspoon vanilla extract


    Place a fine-mesh sieve over a medium bowl; set aside. 

    In a medium saucepan, off heat, 
    whisk together sugar, cornstarch, and salt. 
    If making chocolate pudding, add cocoa powder. 
    Very gradually (a few tablespoons at a time) 
    whisk in milk, taking care to dissolve cornstarch. 
    Whisk in egg yolks.

    Whisking constantly, cook over medium heat until a skin appears

    Reduce heat to low; still whisking, cook 1 minute. 
    The bubbles will incorporate and Voila Look at that
    Rich Chocolate velvety pudding
    Remove from heat; 
    immediately pour through sieve into bowl. 
    Stir butter and vanilla into hot pudding.
    Place plastic wrap directly on surface of pudding (to prevent skin from forming); 
    chill at least 3 hours and up to 3 days. 
    Before serving, whisk pudding until smooth; divide among four serving dishes.
    Unfortunately I neglected to take a picture. Silly me
    So you will have to use your imagination
    Of course it needs a little whipped cream to cut the richness