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    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
    Perfect

    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
    Method
    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
    Drain
    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

    Filling
    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 Amazon.com 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.

    Different

    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

    Serve
    Voila
    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
    Ingredients

        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


    Directions

    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  

    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 paste



    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 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