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    Wednesday, July 20, 2016

    Best Roast Butternut Soup, with Roast Chicken Pieces and Broccoli Garnish

    If you are are looking for a smooth Pumpkin/Butternut Squash Soup. This is the one
    The addition of the large pieces of Roast Chicken just add another dimension
    Plus little flavourful slices of broccoli on top
    This is a complete meal
    I found this soup on better recipes.com a website that sends me emails each morning
    It is soup time at the moment and this was a little beauty
    For those interested, it is gluten free and also Paleo 
    Ingredients:
    4 Bone-in, skin-on breasts, chopped into bite-sized pieces
    1 Medium Butternut Squash, peeled, seeded, chopped
    1 Small Yellow Onion, rough chopped
    2 cloves Garlic, peeled and left whole
    2 Tablespoon Olive Oil
    Sea Salt and Freshly ground black pepper

    5 cup Chicken Broth
    ⅓ tsp Ground Cumin
    ⅓ tsp Ground Coriander

    2 tsp Fresh Lemon Juice


    Optional Garnish
    Kale  sliced
    in my case or as I find Kale a little boring
    Broccoli
    broken into florets, just enough to use as a garnish

    To prepare broccoli
    Slice broccoli thinly,
    I used a mandolin
    Blanch the broccoli
    in boiling salted water for about 45 seconds
    Strain immediately and plunge into cold water, to stop cooking
    This will keep the fabulous bright green colour

    In a frying pan, on medium heat, add about 1 tablespoon olive oil
    add 1 clove of garlic, finely copped with sea salt and about 1 tbs of lemon zest
    Just sauté gently for about a minute be careful not to burn the garlic

    Throw in blanched broccoli and cook till heated through
    Use to garnish soup

    Directions:
    Preheat the oven to 200C degrees
    Place the chicken, squash, garlic, and onion on a baking sheet.
    Season the chicken and vegetables with the oil, salt and pepper. 
    Bake for 25 minutes.
    Remove the chicken and set it aside.
    Place the remaining vegetables into a blender with any excess oils.
    Add the remaining ingredients, and blend until smooth.
    Depending on the size of your blender, you may have to do this in two batches.
    Strain through a sieve, into a stock pot and bring into a boil.
    There was still some fibre from the squash, I though it needed to go
    So I strained it
    Reduce to a simmer and return the chicken.
    Simmer the soup uncovered for 20 minutes.
    If you really want to use kale, stir in it for the last 5 minutes.

    Or again my case, I served the soup and topped with Broccoli Slices
    Very pretty and tastes fab
    Of course I had leftovers
    Reheat it very gently, so that the chicken heats through

    Sunday, July 17, 2016

    A Classic Cream of Mushroom Soup

    Mushroom Soup

    I had some chicken stock sitting in the fridge, thought I would make some soup
    Had a glance through my Go-To Cajun Cookbook… that I bought on our first trip to New Orleans
    in 1988. Le Bouche Creole, by Leon E Soniat Jr.
    I don’t think you would go wrong with any recipe in this book.
    Elizabeth David
    Julia Child
    Jacques Pepin
    Marcella Hazan
    and Leon
    These authors have created little bibles for me, all well worn
    I will never throw them away.
    My heroes!

    So, what jumped out at me, was
    Cream of Mushroom Soup, even though I didn't have any mushrooms…
    I did have to go to the Supermarche, so I bought some

    It’s a little fiddly but well worth it
    Serves 8-10 people

    Voila Lunch
    Take
    500 gms mushrooms
    125 gms butter
    1 litre Milk
    1.5 litres of Chicken stock
    1 onion
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    1 bunch spring (green onions)
    8 tablespoons flour
    2 bay leaves
    1 teaspoon Dried basil 
    1/2 teaspoon Tabasco
    2-3 tablespoon good chicken stock powder, I use the Vegeta Brand


    Boil the onion, bay leaves and tops of green onions in the stock for 1/2 hour
    Strengthen the stock with the powdered stock
    Strain

    In a heavy pot, melt the butter over low heat
    Add flour
    Cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly
    Warm the milk then
    Add the milk very slowly

    Stirring all the time, to avoid lumps

    When the sauce is well mixed and creamy
    Slowly pour in the strained stock

    Clean the mushroom, remove the stem and chop them finely add them to the stoup
    While this cooks, slice the mushroom tops
    After the soup has simmered for about 10 minutes
    Season with Salt and pepper to taste
    Then the Tabasco and the sliced mushroom

    Let cook for another 5-10 minutes
    stirring occasionally

    When the soup is served garnish each bowl with a little green onions 

    As I am always On my "Waste Not Want Not" Crusade
    This soup, also made a wonderful mushroom sauce
    That evening, I made myself dinner, using some leftover vegetables
    and some beautiful Filet Steak

    Just popped the vegetable into the oven and roasted them
    Not too long about 20 minutes
    After I had cooked the steak, I removed it from the pan and
    Ladled in some of the soup into the hot pan

    Mixed with the yummy meat juices, it reduced down a bit and the sauce was delicious
    I forgot to take the picture before I dressed the steak, but you can get the idea
    It was such a tasty dinner and no Waste
    You may notice with the soup above there is a little Toasted Sandwich to accompany it
    Very simple, It does need to be the old plastic white bread though, sorry,
    There are times this just has to be
    This filling was perfect
    Quantities are up to you...depending on how many people you are serving

    Slices of white bread, well buttered
    A little beaten egg
    Sliced ham
    Grated cheese 
    Sea salt and Black pepper
    Chopped Green onion or chives

    Lay the bread, butter side down onto a chopping board
    Place all the other ingredients, into a small bowl and mix well

     Spread the ingredients Over the un-buttered side
    Place the lid on and cook in your toasted sandwich machine, or you can cook on a non stick skillet
     Excellent and a lovely view, to go with my lunch

    Sunday, July 03, 2016

    Beautiful Spinach, Corn and Feta Muffins - The Joys of Frozen Food

    This morning I wanted to make some tasty muffins to take over to a friend
    Of course I didn’t want to go out and buy anything, so I made do with what I had in the pantry, freezer and fridge.
    The actual recipe called for courgettes and feta.
    Vegetables, that I always have in the freezer, are peas, corn and spinach
    I can do something with that, so I replaced the courgettes with spinach and corn and I created a delight

    Also I didn’t have quite enough milk so I topped it up with some chicken stock
    Should give some extra flavour

    I defrosted the spinach, squeezed out the excess juice, quickly defrosted the corn

    This recipe is from a post that I put up in 2007
    Inspired by my blogging friend Anali click here to read her blog
    Worth another go I reckon
    They are delicious, I wolfed down 2 for my lunch
     Heat oven to 175C
     
    1/3 cup sugar
    ¼ teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1 ½ cups plain flour


    1/2 cup chopped frozen spinach (well squeezed to remove excess juice
    1/2 cup frozen corn kernels thawed
    1/3 cup feta cheese crumbled

    2 eggs
    ¾ cup milk
    ½ cup rice bran oil

    Sift dry ingredients into a large bowl
    Add spinach, corn and feta cheese and mix around to coat them
    use you hands for the best result
    Meanwhile beat all wet ingredients
    Add to dry.

    Just stir to mix
    Pour into greased muffin tins
    Made 9-10
    Delicious.

    Pasta A La Norma - Everybody loved it

    It seems I'm going Sicilian this week, tonight I am cooking A Sicilian Fish Dish Click here for the recipe and tomorrow I am cooking a lunch for friends
    So continuing on the Sicilian Theme, I am making Pasta A la Norma
    Apparently named after Bellini's Opera, Norma, I think I need to find the music on my phone and play it during lunch
    I've made this a few times, and it has been very popular with the punters
    A great vegetarian dish,
    The fresh herbs really lift it, Fabulous Flavours, with the saltiness of the cheese giving that extra lift
    There are many versions of this dish...but it seems this is one of the best
    Of course I did cook too much... so
    I did have some leftover and reheated it, to accompany schnitzel for the grandchildren
    They loved it, all had second helpings.
    Raving in fact

    Ingredients
    1 large eggplant
    4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for tossing
    Sea salt
    2 or 3 large ripe tomatoes (about 350 grams)
    1 pound rigatoni or fettuccine ( I used rigate which was I think will be my preference now)
    2 garlic cloves, very thinly sliced

    Crushed red pepper flakes
    1 bunch basil, leaves only, very roughly chopped (about 1 packed cup)
    About 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
    About 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
    1 scant cup goats Feta, crumbled or coarsely grated, optional
    Parmesan cheese


    DIRECTIONS
    Heat the oven to 215°C.
    Using a vegetable peeler or a paring knife, peel some of the skin from the eggplant in stripes (it’s nice to have some, but not all, of the eggplant skin in the final pasta dish)
    Cut the eggplant into 1-inch dice, toss it on a rimmed baking sheet with oil and salt, and roast until browned and very tender, about 20 minutes.
    The eggplant is done when you can easily squish a cube with your finger
     and it has a nice, creamy texture; under-cooked eggplant
    can have a less appealing, cottony feel.
    Bring a big pot of cold salted water to a boil.
    Add the pasta and cook, stirring frequently, according to the package instructions.

    If you’re in a hurry, cut the tomatoes into large dice about the size of, well, dice.
    Don’t bother removing the skins and seeds.
    BUT
    If you have a moment to intensify the flavour of your tomatoes,
    remove their skins and seeds and dice them, then place the diced tomatoes in a colander,
    sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt, and let sit for 10 minutes.
    To grab that extra flavour, its worth doing this step
    I extracted the juice from the seeds and skin and added it into the sauce


    Warm a large skillet over low heat and add the 4 tablespoons oil.
    Toss in the garlic and crushed red pepper and stir a bit.
    Add the basil and a sprinkle of salt,
    raise the heat to medium and cook, stirring, until the basil is dark green and wilted,
    being careful not to burn the garlic.
    Add the tomatoes, sprinkle with the salt (if you haven’t already), and
    cook until the tomatoes barely lose their rawness, about 5 minutes.

    Add the roasted eggplant and let the sauce simmer gently until the pasta is ready.
    Drain the pasta, reserving about 1 cup pasta cooking water.
    Toss the drained pasta with the sauce, the mint, and the parsley,
    tasting and adjusting the seasoning if necessary.
    If the mixture seems dry,
    add some pasta cooking water, a little at a time.
    Toss in the Feta
     Grate the Parmesan over the top

    Serve

    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 
    Cool

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

    Ingredients
    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

    Topping
    Extra grated cheese and
    Fresh Breadcrumbs


    Method
    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

    Directions
    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


    Method
    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

    Ingredients

    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
    Pizza
    Nutella
    I was right


    Ingredients (enough to make 8 Calzones)

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

    Pinch salt
    1 tsp cinnamon sugar


    Method

    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