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    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

    Sunday, May 07, 2017

    Want a Change - Lamb Chili with Puy Lentils

    Hadn't ever thought about Lamb in a Chili but it is very good.
    Instead of Beans...try The French Style Puy Lentils.  Slightly nutty and chewy.
    This amount probably would feed 8 people
    You can either halve it or just freeze the extra.
    Perfect to have on call

    Oh and of course any leftovers...Make Pies - My Mantra
    This came from The NY TImes Cooking site attributed to Pierre Franey
    As they said, a nod to his French roots ...using Lamb and the little Puy Lentils
    When you fry the Lamb there is a lot of excess fat, I would suggest that you drain most of that off

    1 tablespoon olive oil
    1 kg lean lamb, chops cut into 1/4-inch cubes
    2 cups finely chopped onions
    2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
    1 cup finely chopped celery
    1 cup finely chopped sweet red pepper
    1 jalapeno pepper, cored, seeded and chopped fine
    1 teaspoon ground cumin
    3 tablespoons chile powder
    1 teaspoon crumbled fresh oregano, or 2 teaspoons dried
    2 bay leaves
    3 cups canned crushed tomatoes
    1 cup chicken broth, fresh or canned
    Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
    1 cup dried green lentils
    Sour cream for garnishing
    Limes for garnishing 

    Heat the oil in a large heavy pot,
    Add the meat.
    Cook over medium-high heat for three or four minutes,
    stirring with a heavy metal kitchen spoon to break up any lumps.
    Add the onions, garlic, celery, red pepper, jalapeno pepper, cumin and chile powder, and stir to blend well.
    Cook until the onions are translucent.
    Add the oregano, bay leaves, tomatoes and chicken broth along with 1 cup water and salt and pepper. 
    Bring to a boil, stirring often.
    Cook for 20 minutes.

    Place the lentils in a saucepan with 3 cups of water, and salt to taste.
    Bring to a boil, and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring often. Drain.
    Add the lentils to the meat mixture.
    Cook for 10 minutes, stirring often.
    Remove bay leaves.

    Serve with a dollop of sour cream, some grated cheese, coriander leaves and wedges of lime

    Tick ✓ another Chili for the repertoire

    Saturday, May 06, 2017

    And with the Egg Whites - Make Chcoolate Meringues

    If you go and have look at my post re Chocolate Puddings click here
    There was quite a bit of the delicious Orange Whipped Cream leftover
    It actually keeps in the fridge for several days. I think the alcohol helps

    So after making the Mayo for the Chicken Salad, of course there was 2 egg whites to be used

    I made these beautiful Chocolate Meringues, joined them together with the Whipped Cream

    Chicken and Broccoli - Two Ways - Both Work

    Last night I made a Chicken and Potato Salad for the kids and they loved it

    I still had 2 chicken breasts left to cook
    Plus in the fridge was
    A head of Broccoli
    A red and a yellow Capsicum
    A shallot
    A Cucumber
    Bread and Butter Pickled Cucumbers

    Loving the colouful food 
    Mayonnaise (Make your own  It is so simple, particularly  if you use your blender)
    click here to get the easy recipe
    Here is the Mayo I made and the Bread and Butter Pickles
    I love them and use them in so many ways
    I like to use the vinegar to make the mayo, just lifts the Mayo and makes it special
    Corn in the freezer
    Pasta in the pantry

    I can make something with these.
    Rather than make a large salad, not good to have it hanging around too long
    I decided to split the ingredients
    Made a Salad and also a Pasta Bake

    So first poach the chicken in chicken stock preferably Homemade
    I quite often add some Vegeta Chicken Stock Powder
    It’s an excellent flavour boost
    Bring the stock to the boil
    Add chicken breasts, make sure they are covered
    Bring back to the boil, drop the heat and simmer for about 2 minutes
    Put a lid on the pot and leave till it has cooled
    Do this earlier in the day

    Chicken will be perfectly poached
    Set aside and cut into cubes
    Reserve the stock

    Break the broccoli into florets and into boiling salted water
    Cook for just a couple of minutes, Want to keep it lovely and green
    Strain into a colander… Keeping the water to cook the Pasta
    Run the broccoli under cold water to cool down, then drain
    Bring the water back to the boil and add 3 cups of pasta shells
    Cook till al dente about 8m minutes
    Drain divide into 2

    Chop the peppers
    Finely chop the shallot,
    De-seed the cucumber and chop, you need about 1/2 cup

    Let’s make the salad first
    Into a large bowl
    Place Half of the broccoli, half the peppers and shallots
    1/2 cup chopped cucumber
    3-4 slices of Bread and Butter Pickles finely chopped
    Half the cooked Pasta
    1 cubed chicken breast
    Big dollop of Mayonnaise
     Toss and let sit for about an hour for the flavours to meld
    Now lets work on the Bake

    3 Tablespoons butter
    3 Tablespoons Flour
    1 1/2 cups Chicken stock

    Melt the butter
    Add the shallot and peppers
    Season with S & P
    Cook gently about 3-4 minutes to soften the vegetables
    Add the flour
    Cook about 3-4 minutes to get rid of the raw flour taste
    Add chicken stock

    Whisk well and heat till it starts to simmer and thickens
    Once again simmer, stirring so it doesn't form any lumps
    Add the remainder of the Broccoli, Pasta. Chicken  and a cup of frozen corn

    Place in baking dishes.
    You can freeze it at this stage
    When you are ready to eat it
    Top with some breadcrumbs and cheese
    Bake for about 25 minutes, till it is bubbling and golden on top


    Wednesday, May 03, 2017

    More Leftover Wine - Make A Chicken, Mushroom and Chardonnay Dish

    So it was time to use up the Chardonnay.
    It’s got to be Chicken and Mushroom
    Basic French Fare
    I bought some chicken thighs and some white button mushrooms, for a change
    I wanted to have that Creamy look and taste

    Being French style, I just had to serve with mashed Potatoes,
    By rights it should be accompanied by cooked green beans...but by the time I was about to serve, I lazily came up with the frozen pea option
    Pretty though

    I used 2 pans to cook the chicken in
    Multi tasking!!!

    Serves 4-6

    Olive oil

    8 Chicken thighs, skin on Bone in
    1 large onion chopped
    4 garlic cloves sliced

    250 gms White button Mushrooms, halved or quartered
    500 mls of Chardonnay
    250 gms Cream
    Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
    2 Bay leaves and some thyme

    Parsley finely chopped for garnish

    Dry chicken thighs, with paper towels
    Season with S & P
    Meanwhile heat a pan, (in my case 2 pans) to medium heat
    Add about tablespoon oil in each
    Place chicken thighs skin down
    Brown both sides
    set aside in the pan you are going to cook them in

    You may find there is too much fat left after cooking the thighs
    if so drain off excess

    In one pan
    Add onions, season with S & P
    Cook slowly till they get soft
    Add garlic, cook for another  few minutes
    Don't brown
    When they are done add to chicken thighs

    In the other pan add the mushrooms

    Season with S & P
    Quickly brown the mushrooms
    Add to chicken

    Then deglaze both pans with wine
    Bring to the boil
    throw over the chicken
    Bring everything to the boil and the simmer for about 40 minutes

    Add cream and simmer for another 10 minutes
     Note: There was a lot of sauce, so before serving
    I removed the chicken and halved the sauce
    Reserve one half, pop into the fridge

    Reduce the rest down for about 5 mins
    Place chicken back in
    Sprinkle with parsley

    The extra sauce was useful the next day
    With the leftovers
    I removed the meat from the thighs
    Add back to the pan
    Add the sauce from the fridge
    Voila, an excellent sauce to serve over Pasta
    Ready to go into the freezer
     Almost like a Chicken Stroganoff