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    Wednesday, June 01, 2016

    Prawn and Spinach Cheesy Pasta Bake - Good for the Freezer or Wolf Down straight away

    Would you believe I had some Cooked Prawns leftover last Thursday.
    It may be that the beautiful Bluff oysters were so yummy, that we filled up on them
    Also, in the fridge, there was an unopened bag of baby spinach 
    Anyway, as usual…waste not want not
    Almost a boring refrain... BUT it’s all true
    Best way to get the most out of the prawns
    Turn into a Pasta Bake, easy to freeze too
    Now I know the Italians don't put cheese and seafood together
    BUT the French do, so I am going the French way
    If you are starting from scratch and your prawns are frozen
    They are so easy to cook

    Just toss the defrosted prawn tails with a slosh of Olive Oil
    Some sea salt 
    A grind of Freshly Ground Black Pepper
    1 clove Garlic finely chopped
    Grated zest of a lemon

    Into a 200C oven for just 6 mins
    Remove from the oven
    Squeeze juice of 1 small lemon and mix 

    Now back to the main dish
    Enough to feed at least 6 People

    2 cups  Cooked Prawns
    2 cloves garlic chopped very finely
    125 gms butter
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    6 large cherry tomatoes chopped
    1 bag baby spinach
    1/2 cup flour
    5 cups milk

    1/2 cup grated cheese

    2 cups cooked prawns and juices
    Zest lemon

    Juice half lemon
    4 cups dry pasta of your choice
    Penne or Orecchiette perhaps
    Your choice

    Extra grated cheese and
    Fresh Breadcrumbs

    Melt butter in medium size pan
    Gently sauté the garlic, till just cooked do not burn
    Add  chopped tomatoes

    Season with Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    Sauté about a minute and then add the spinach
    Let it wilt
    Add the flour to make a roux and stir, cook down for about 3-4 minutes
    to get rid of the raw taste

    Meanwhile heat the milk and add to the roux
    Bring back up to a simmer, stirring so that it doesn't go lumpy
    and it thickens up nicely

    Let it simmer about 3-4 minutes,
    stirring constantly, to stop from sticking to the bottom of the pan

    Add the grated Cheese
    Hooray a Mornay sauce is born
    Throw in the Prawns, any juices, lemon zest and the lemon juice

    Meanwhile cook  the pasta
    till it is al dente
    About 8 minutes
    Drain and add to the sauce

    Transfer to a ovenproof dish
    Cover with extra grated cheese and some fresh breadcrumbs

    This can now be frozen or cook straight away
    180C oven for 20-25 minutes
    Till top is golden and the sauce is bubbling
    Delicious, Just enough for me in this  particular dish.
    And these containers for the Freezer 

    Monday, May 30, 2016

    Mashed Potato Bake - Perfect to Serve with Your Favourite Winter Protein Dish

    I used to make this potato dish years ago, but couldn't find the recipe
    I just needed to get some idea for the ratio of milk, to butter, to cream cheese etc
    So I googled it and found this version,  on a website called Real Simple
    You can  prepare ahead, which makes it perfect when you have friends coming over
    It is so delicious,
    It's attractive cooked in a souffle dish
    Or on this occasion
    I spread this over 4 different containers
    Some for tonight’s dinner the rest going into the freezer for a later date
    That’s up to you
    This amount can feed 6 normal people, 4 greedy

    Fluffy Mashed Potatoes

    1 kg Agria or any other (Mashing) potatoes (about 5 medium),
    peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
    1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
    125 gms cream cheese, at room temperature
    125 gms unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into pieces,
    plus more for the baking dish
    1 spring onion finely chopped
    Sea salt and black pepper
    3 large eggs, lightly beaten

    Heat oven to 200C.
    Butter container,
    Bring the potatoes to the boil
    turn down and simmer, cover, and cook until very tender, 18 to 22 minutes.
    Strain and return the potatoes to the pot.

    Add the milk, cream cheese, butter,
    Season with Sea salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper to the potatoes and mash until smooth.
    Add spring onion
    Fold in the eggs; transfer to a buttered 8-by-8-inch or other 2-quart baking dish.
    Or as in my case, on this cook
    Spread between different containers

    Bake until set and golden, 25 to 30 minutes (or 40 minutes if refrigerated before baking).
    I was so eager to get into it, I forgot to take the photo
    This will give you an idea.It's very fluffy, melt in the mouth

    A Chocolate Mousse Meringue Cake - To Die For

    I have posted this before, but I feel the way I made this time around, makes it worthy of a re-post
    I have had this recipe, for donkeys years.
    Once again out of The Trusty Triple Tested Recipe Book
    This Cake is a Meringue Base with a  lovely layer of Chocolate which cracks nicely when you cut in
    Then a layer of whipped cream, finally topped with Chocolate mousse
    I made a Berry Coulis just for the tart component 

    Because I was feeding 10 to 12 people I increased the quantities, on this occasion

    First I will give the quantities for the original recipe which was a 20cm base
    This will feed 8 people
    but at the bottom of the post, I will give the actual amounts, that  I used on the night
    which is for a 30cm base, the plate was licked clean

    For the Meringue Shell
    2 egg whites
    1/4 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp vinegar
    1/2 cup sugar
    1/4 tsp cinnamon

    For the Filling
    1 cup semi sweet Chocolate pieces
    2 beaten egg yolks
    1/4 cup water
    1 cup heavy cream
    1/4 cup sugar
    1/4 tsp cinnamon

    Berry Coulis
    1 cup frozen Berries preferably thawed
    2 tablespoons sugar
    2 tablespoons water

    For the Meringue Shell
    Heat oven to 135C
    Beat egg whites, salt and vinegar until soft peaks form
    Blend sugar and cinnamon and add gradually to the egg whites
    Beating until very stiff peaks form and the sugar has been dissolved
    Draw a 20 cm circle on a piece of baking paper
    Place on an oven tray
    Spread the meringue over making the bottom about 1 cm thick
    Mound up the sides to form an edge
    You can pretty it up, just form ridges with the back of a teaspoon
    Bake in a very slow oven for 1 hour
    Turn off heat and allow to dry in oven with the door closed for about 2 hours
    Peel off paper

    For the Filling
    Melt Chocolate over hot water
    Cool slightly and spread 2 tablespoons over the cooled shell

    To remaining chocolate add egg yolks and water and blend really well
    Chill until mixture is thick
    Combine cream, sugar and cinnamon and whip until stiff
    Spread half of the cream over the chocolate on the shell

    Fold remainder of the cream into the chocolate mixture and spread over the Cake
    Chill for several hours or even over night

    For The CoulisHeat together till sugar dissolved and fruit tender
    Blend to make a puree
    If you like pass it through a sieve for a smooth look
    but you don't have to
    Also this is quite tart you might like to add more sugar
    It’s up to you
    Here is the coulis sitting on top of the 30cm plate I used to serve my Cake on this occasion
    So if you wish to increase the size of your cake
    These are the quantities I used for this size
    I doubled the ingredients for the shell but cut back on the cream and sugar in the filling
    Draw a 30cm circle on the baking paper

    For the Meringue Shell
    4 egg whites
    1/4 tsp salt
    1 tsp vinegar
    1 cup sugar
    1/2 tsp cinnamon

    For the Filling
    2 cup semi sweet Chocolate pieces
    4 beaten egg yolks
    1/4 cup water
    1 1/2 cup heavy cream
    1/4 cup sugar
    1/2 tsp cinnamon

    N.B I used 4 tablespoons of Chocolate for that first layer

    I didn't use as much cream when doubling the recipe
    I think it doesn't need that much cream

    It worked well

    Monday, May 23, 2016

    Cauliflower Fried "Rice" - The Kids Loved it

    Hard to tell, that this is not actually Fried Rice
    Looks like Rice but it's actually Ground Cauliflower
    Every morning I get receive from The Epicurious/Bon Appetit websites
    I’m always looking for idea to feed Our Grandchildren
    I found this and have adapted it to suit

    The kids loved it, the youngest had 3 helpings, she told me
    Apparently it's originally from a website Family Fresh Meals
    This recipe fed 4 kids and 2 adults
    accompanied by a beautiful Roast Chicken a la Thomas Keller
    Check out on this post. Click here


    2 Tablespoon olive oil
    1 Medium onion, chopped
    2 Cloves garlic, minced
    1 yellow or red capsicum sliced
    1 Cup shredded carrots
    1/2 Cup peas
    1 large cauliflower grated (about 4 cups)
    2 Eggs
    2 Tablespoon soy sauce
    1/2 cup spring onions, chopped
    Salt and pepper to taste

    To grate the cauliflower, place into the bowl of a food processor
    and pulse till it looks like rice
    Set aside.

    Add the olive oil to a large pan and sauté the onion capsicum and garlic
    on medium heat until soft and translucent. 
    Add the carrot and peas, if you want to prep ahead...cook to this stage

    Add the soy sauce, raise the heat to high and add the cauliflower. 
    Sauté for 4-5 minutes until the cauliflower is heated through.

    Make a well in the center of the pan and crack in the egg.  Whisk until the egg scrambles and distribute it throughout the mixture.  Season with salt and pepper
    Top with the spring onions and serve

    Monday, May 16, 2016

    How to Charm the Kids - Make Nutella Calzone

    How to charm the kids
    Make Nutella Calzone. They love them
    I made these for 3 of my lovely Grandchildren last week
    They wolfed them down

    There was 2 left.
    I heated them up the next day and Mia and I ate them hot from the oven...
    burning our mouths with Hot Nutella
    Yum and So So Simple

    I stole this recipe from Australian Chef Adrian Richardson,
    who is a presenter on a television programme on Food TV,
    called Good Chef Bad Chef and
    Seemed that it had everything a kid would love
    I was right

    Ingredients (enough to make 8 Calzones)

    1 tub Nutella
    1 egg, lightly beaten
    2 cups self raising plain flour
    1 cup natural yoghurt
    1 tbsp brown sugar

    Pinch salt
    1 tsp cinnamon sugar


    Using the dough paddle,
    Place the flour, yoghurt and sugar and a pinch of salt
    into your food processor,
    Blend for 10 to 20 seconds until dough forms.
    Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured bench.
    Knead gently to form a smooth, very soft pastry,
    it may seem a little wet but a light dusting of flour will fix this.

    Place in a bowl and covered with glad wrap
    Rest for 30 minutes.
    When ready to use, divide into small golf ball sized portions. 
    Roll the pastry out on a lightly floured work surface into circle shapes.
    Place a spoonful of Nutella in the centre of each circle of pastry.
    Brush the edges with a little water and fold over to create half moon shapes.
    Press edges to seal.
    Brush the top with beaten egg.
    Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
    Transfer to a lightly greased tray and
    Bake in a preheated 220C oven
    Check after 15 minutes
    They are ready when  golden brown.
    I served with Ice Cream

    Sunday, May 08, 2016

    A Delightful Savoury Scone "Bread "Pudding - Waste Not Want Not

    I find it really hard to throw food away. If I can I will try and do something, anything, not to waste food. A few days ago, we had to take a road trip. Time to say Goodbye to a dear friend.
    Friends for 55 years, a big loss

    It was a lunch time 2 1/2 hour drive
    Of course one of the beauties of funerals is frequently the food, so I knew that we would be getting
    some tasty delights, but we needed some food in our bellies

    So I made some very tasty cheese scones

    This is my go-to recipe for can whip this up, from Whoa to Go in 30 minutes
    The recipe will be at the end of this blog, or you can have
    a look at my original post  Just click Here

    When my husband and I camped around Europe in the 60's
    Very posed shot below, of the car and tent. Our home for 3 months.
    My husband, once we got on the road, was loathe to stop for anything except petrol
    So I became very adept at making sandwiches en route
    This time the driver was our son, but I felt the need to carry on the tradition
    Prepare the food whilst we drove
    A quick selfie, proof of the trip

    As it turns out we only got to eat 3 of the 8 scones.
    Do I turf them out ...or do I make something with them
    Of course I chose the latter
    Hence, this beautiful Savoury Scone Pudding
    So so simple

    5 Scones split and buttered
    4 cups milk
    3 eggs
    Sea salt and freshly ground Black Pepper
    Parmesan Cheese, finely grated 

    Break up the scones into cubes
    Beat the eggs and milk together
    Butter an ovenproof Gratin dish
    Pour the custard over the scones 
    and let them sit for about 30 minutes to absorb the custard
    Grate Parmesan Cheese over the top
    Meanwhile pre-heat the oven to 160C

    Place in the middle of the oven and cook for about 1 hour
    Remove and serve
    I served it last night with a mushroom sauce and a rocket salad

    But even better.
    Leftovers at lunch today
    Reheat, sprinkle with some chopped chives and serve with a tasty chutney of your choice

    Savoury Cheese Scones
    This recipe makes 4 scones. I like to make the dough fairly wet.
    Like bread, scones really don't their dough being too dry.

    Heat oven to 220C

    While the oven is heating up
    Sift together into a bowl
    1 cup plain flour
    2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    Good pinch salt
    Add 1/2 tablespoon sugar
    1 cup grated tasty cheese
    1/2 red capsicum finely chopped
    1 spring onion finely chopped
    Grind black pepper

    1/2 cup milk

    With your fingers mix all of the dry ingredients together
    Add milk

    Mix with a knife till just blended
    If the mixture is too dry add a little more milk
    This should be the right amount (depends on the weather, flour etc)

    Turn out onto a board and knead two or three times,
    just to make sure they are well blended

    Pat with floured hands onto a baking sheet lined with baking paper
    Cut into 4 pieces

    Bake in pre-heated oven for 8 minutes
    turn the tray around and bake for about 3 more minutes
    We had them with Egg Mayonnaise, topped with some fresh tomato

    Monday, April 04, 2016

    The Easiest Sweet Treat for Kids - Eton Mess Tarts - Just Like a Bought One

    This dessert was so popular with our grandkids.
    If you really want to be in control, you can make the components yourself
    But for speed. Go Shopping

    1 packet mini Tart Shells 1 doz
    6 Bought Medium Meringues 
    Frozen Raspberries - 1 cup
    A Little extra sugar, about 1 tablespoon
    Cream - 1 cup

    Place the Raspberries in a pot with sugar and heat till defrosted and sugar is dissolved
    Blend with a hand blender till rough puree
    Set aside to cool

    Meanwhile, whop the cream till fairly stiff
    Break the meringues up and add to cream

    Take half of the raspberry puree and marble through the cream mix

    Fill the tarts with the mix
    Top with remaining puree

    Guaranteed a huge hit

    Thursday, March 31, 2016

    My Minestrone with Chicken Meatballs - Kid Friendly Food

    Once again always looking for Kid Friendly Food
    I found a recipe on The Epicurious Website and adapted it for my kids
    Added vegetables that they like… e.g. Broccoli instead of Spinach
    Onion instead of leeks and I also added courgettes
    So here's My Minestrone with Chicken Meatballs

    It was very popular, the kids devoured it.
    Will make this again
    The meatball recipe made around 48 little balls
    I cooked them all and froze half for next time

    600 gms ground chicken (2 cups)
    1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
    6 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan
    4 garlic cloves,  minced,
    5 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
    2 large eggs, whisked to blend
    Sea salt,
    Freshly ground pepper

    The Broth
    2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    1 red onion finely sliced 
    3 cloves garlic peeled and finely sliced    
    1 large carrots, finely sliced
    1 courgette finely sliced
    1 litre chicken broth
    2 cups water
    1 cup Orecchiette Pasta

    1 tablespoon olive oil
    1 small head of broccoli finely sliced

    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Chopped fresh basil
    Extra Grated Parmesan

    To make Meatballs
    Mix chicken, breadcrumbs, Parmesan,garlic cloves,
    Chives, eggs, Sea salt 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl.
    Form into little meatballs
    I used a melon baller. Nice size

    Heat oil in a pot over medium heat.
    Cook meatballs until golden all over, about 3 minutes (they will finish cooking in soup).
    Transfer to a plate;
    Set aside.
    To Make Broth
    Add onion to pot and cook,
    Stirring often, until beginning to soften, about 3 minutes.
    Add thinly sliced garlic cloves; cook for 1 minute.
    Add carrots and courgettes, cook for another 3-4 minutes
    Add broth and water; bring to a boil.
    Stir in pasta 
    Simmer until pasta is almost al dente, about 8 minutes.

    Meanwhile in another pan heat 1 tablespoon olive oil to medium heat
    Just lightly saute the Broccoli, for about 3 minutes
    Add meatballs to soup
    Simmer until pasta is al dente and carrots are tender, and meatballs are cooked through,
    About 3 minutes.
    Add cooked broccoli
    Season with salt and pepper.
    Ladle soup into bowls.
    Garnish with chopped Basil and Parmesan