07 July, 2010

French Macaron Biscuits with Chocolate Ganache

Well this week I was bitten by the masterchef bug and today for the first time in my life I made French macaron biscuits.

Kylie was really the instigator but the bug hit me pretty quickly, sort of like a fast moving virus. I HAD to see if I could do it. After googling and reading everyones' horror stories and failures I was totally prepared for a dismal flop but very oddly for me they worked! I don't think they'd sell in a French Patisserie but they sure as hell made fine eating!

We sandwiched them with a chocolate cream ganache.

Some refinement is needed though. I'd go slightly lower on the oven temperature and make them smaller next time and I'd also cook them one batch at a time on the middle shelf of the oven as a few were a touch browner than I would have liked.

BUT overall I'd say today was a success and a big thank you goes to Kylie for helping and keeping me company while I cooked. It's her turn on the weekend and she is going to attempt a double batch, or so she has told me.

Now I want to play with all sorts of fillings and then the next step after that will be to make different flavoured macarons...............but that's for the future.

This is the recipe I used with a few amendments of my own that came from google research! http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2007/10/how-to-make-macarons-recipe.html
If you go to the original you will see the differences.

Basic Macaron Biscuits
225g icing sugar
125g gound almonds
110g egg whites (we used 3 and a half), aged overnight at room temperature
30g icing sugar extra
pinch of salt

Using a texta draw 2.5cm circles on sheets of baking paper (ours made 31 single biscuits but our circles were bigger than that, we used a toothpick holder to draw them)
Turn the paper over so that you don't pipe the mixture on to the texta and place on baking trays
Sieve the almond meal and the icing sugar separately and then sieve them both together into a bowl to make sure the mix has no lumps and is very fine, mix thoroughly
Beat the egg whites in another bowl with the salt till soft peaks form and then add the extra icing sugar gradually, beating till you have stiff peaks (you are basically making a meringue mix)
Gently fold the icing sugar mixture (in small batches) in to the egg whites till it reaches what a lot of people call the "flows like magma" stage...which sort of means when you pick a bit up with your spatula and drop it back down on the mixture it dissolves back in to the mixture slowly
Using a piping bag with a 1cm round tip, pipe the mixture on to the prepared circles (or go freehand!)
Tap the baking sheets to remove air bubbles
Let dry for half an hour so a skin forms on the top of each biscuit
Bake in a 180oC oven (I'd use 160 next time, like the original said) for 10 to 11 minutes, with the door propped slightly open with a wooden spoon, turning the tray/s around after 5 minutes for even cooking
Remove from the oven and transfer the baking paper to cooling racks
Whe cool use a thin spatula to remove them from the paper (if this doesn't work I have read that you can put the baking paper on a wet teatowel and that helps remove them, though we had no trouble and didn't even need a spatula)
Pair the biscuits in similar sizes and pipe (or freehand) about a teaspoon of the filling onto one biscuit and sandwich with his mate

Chocolate Cream Ganache Filling
230g chocolate (I used 70% lindt)
1 cup heavy cream
60g butter, softened

Chop the chocolate finely and place in a heatproof bowl
Cream the butter with beaters
Heat the cream till just at boiling and add to the chocolate and stir to melt
Let cool slightly then stir in the butter with a spatula in 2 lots
Cool to a spreadable consistency, I used the fridge to cool it down, but keep an eye on it as it can set pretty quickly
IF it does set too much nuke it in the microwave for a few seconds to soften it again


Homemade Salty Caramels.....yum yum yum

The July Australian Good Food magazine came with an added bonus....a little cookbook called "Winter Warmers" and on the back page (courtesy of saxa salt) was a recipe for chewy salted caramels with white chocolate. Now for anyone who knows me I LOVE salt so I just had to make them, it became imperative!

The first time I tried them I didn't cook the caramel for long enough and they didn't set so I had to scrape it all back into the pan and recook it and then because the pans I was going to use were dirty I decided to use mini muffin cases (the paper ones) and I didn't spray them with oil so they sort of stuck a bit..........though I did get used to the taste of paper after a while.......it added a whole new dimension to the word "texture".

But one failure has never really stopped me so I decided to try again yesterday and this time they worked! Mind you this was after I went out and bought 2 X 12 silicone mini muffin pans last week. I got lucky, they were on special at Target.

So here is the recipe and what I changed in brackets after each bit. Thanks Aussie Good Food magazine and saxa salt.

Chewy Salted Caramels with White Chocolate
makes 24 (and it DOES too!)
250g caster sugar (I used normal granulated)
1 cup (250ml) double thick cream (I used thickened cream)
2tbsp liquid glucose (I always wondered what I was going to do with the rest of the jar, now I need to buy more)
30g salted butter
3tsp Saxa Sea Salt Flakes (sorry saxa, I used normal cooking salt)
200g white chocolate, chopped

Grease 2 X 12 hole mini muffin pans
Place sugar, cream, glucose, butter and sea salt in a heavy based (and LARGE 'cause it boils up a fair bit) pan on medium heat and stir until sugar dissolves
Increase heat to med/high and boil for 6-7 minutes (no way, this was my mistake the first time, boil till it reaches a brown caramel colour and the bubbles look weird!) until mixture reaches 118oC on a sugar thermometer (see I don't have one of those, have to go on sight and feel)
Divide among prepared pans and stand for 3-4 hours till firm (otherwise when you unmould them they will spread over time!)
(I also put a very small sprinkle of Murray River salt flakes on the top of the caramels before they set and before I added the white chocolate layer and it was YUM........I did mention how much I like salt didn't I?)
Melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (nah, no way, do it in the microwave in 30 second bursts till melted, checking and stirring after every 30 seconds)
Spoon over each caramel, tap gently on the bench (this is to even the tops out) to settle chocolate and stand for 2-3 hours (no way, white chocolate sets a lot faster than that!) until set
Remove from mould and put a sign on them saying "only for people I REALLY REALLY REALLY love!

This week I've been sucked in by the Masterchef macaron bug and I've had my egg whites sitting out all night in preparation for a day of macaron failure! Will let you know how it goes.........googling macarons could have been a mistake..........failure seems to be the order of the day.

Oh and the recipe I used the mole sauce in a while ago is coming soon........stay tuned.

23 June, 2010

What is a chowder?

This afternoon I'm making leek and potato soup because it's trivia night down the club and I have to have something easy on a Wednesday that everyone can eat whenever they happen to be there! I decided I wanted bacon in it and Sarah wants corn. As I stood pondering dinner in the shower this morning I wondered if that would make it a chowder?? So I had to Google it to satisfy my curiosity!

Here's an answer from the world according to wiki:

So I guess we're having potato and leek soup with corn and bacon after all. I wonder though, how many people actually make chowder these days with "salt pork backfat"? Basically, I guess, a modern chowder would be a soup thickened with roux (fat and flour) and then made with milk.

Potato and Leek Soup Recipe
(no measurements given at all, I go by how thick I want it!)
potatoes (add more cooked ones if it's not thick enough after blending)
leek, chopped and softened in a little butter or olive oil
salt and pepper
vegetable stock (or chicken)
First sort out the leeks........cut the green tops off and discard, cut the white part in half and wash well as leeks can be very gritty, then sauté till soft but not brown.
Add the peeled and chopped potatoes to the pan and then add the stock.
Add parsley and season with salt and pepper.
Boil and then blend to make smooth.
Check seasonings.
Sauté some bacon that's been cut up into bits and add that and some corn (well tonight that's what's happening anyway)
Serve hot!

21 June, 2010

My weight....and Masterchef Australia

The two topics have nothing to do with each other.........I seriously can't blame Masterchef for my weight! I just like food a tad too much. Though maybe there is nothing wrong with that at all!? BUT I weighed myself this morning and usually I write it on the calendar in the kitchen. NOT TODAY......no way. Not that in anyway do I want to "diet" but I do try and stay about what I am and not gain any more. I blame winter and the rhubarb and apple crumble. Maybe I should stop eating dessert? OR there is of course another option....................I COULD shave my head. I wonder how much I would lose that way?
Anyway, enough of that............The Entrance Markets were on again last weekend and as usual we went to get as much as we could for the fortnight but this time it seemed a bit different. It was a lot busier and I'm thinking they are gaining in popularity plus there were a few new stalls (though I wish the potato guy was there on a bit more of a regular basis).
Drayton's Wines were back. They had issues with The Entrance being alcohol free and it's taken since Christmas for them to work it out with council. Sadly none of the wines I tasted did much for me except the white chocolate liqueur (yum yum yum)..............though I had cleaned my teeth before we went. That may have had something to do with it? Next time I think I'll have to sample the ones I didn't sample on Saturday and maybe retry a few I did sample.No teeth cleaning first though.
And........this is where Masterchef fits in............Jake (who was eliminated because of the Rick Stein seafood platter challenge) has opened a seafood stall. EXCELLENT! They do cooked seafood to order plus fresh seafood. As a bonus Jonathan was there to support Jake because Masterchef is on a production break. They both graciously consented to have their photo taken with my baby granddaughter Isabella. I know they were a bit scared because they thought she was younger than she really is............ "I don't hold them under 6 months" was Jonathan's comment.............she's 8 months so it was all good!
Here are the photos!
Jonathan for the win this season!!!!! Go Jonathan! Besides the fact he can cook he seems an exceptionally nice guy.

24 May, 2010

Babies in the kitchen!

Today was baby day in the kitchen! Cath and baby Charlie came to visit his girlfriend Isabella...the reason for baking day yesterday.

Cath was going to make treacle scones but there are times when babies and baking just DON'T go together so we ended up with some yummy passionfruit and white chocolate scones from Bakers Delight.......plus what we'd made yesterday.

All in all a wonderful breakfast at 11am!

Sunday often seems to be Baking Day

Today became baking day because Cath and baby Charlie are coming tomorrow to visit.

Once Sarah and I start baking it's hard to stop. Today we made puff pastries with chocolate filling, chocolate chip biscuits, gingerbread cake and two date and chocolate rolls. There seems to be a bit of a chocolate theme running through the cooking. Life is SWEETER with chocolate! The 2 leftover bits of puff were filled, one with jam and cream and one with my lime curd and cream.....the puff pastry delicacies became the cooks reward!

I've never made anything in a nut roll tin..they've always scared me! They sort of look like everything will fall out one end BUT I know my grandma used to make rolls all the time so I figured it was one thing I had to do before I died and today was the day that I broke out Ma's two nut roll tins and risked a mess in the oven. Thank goodness she had two of them because that's what the recipe called for. It was originally a "Milly's Kitchen" recipe but (as always) I've changed it a bit!

Date and Nut/Chocolate Roll Recipe
240g dates, chopped
3/4 cup boiling water
125g butter
3/4 cup raw sugar
1 egg
1.25 cups self raising flour
1/2 cup plain flour
1 tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp bicarb soda
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (though we used CHOPPED DARK CHOCOLATE instead, I don't think I'd use milk chocolate as I don't think it would taste as good, the dark stuff goes with the spice so well)

Place dates in a bowl and cover with the boiling water. Leave for 30 minutes to soak. Beat the butter and sugar and then add the egg. Stir in the dates with the water and then add the dry ingredients. Mix well and add the CHOCOLATE (or nuts)!
Spray the inside of 2 nut loaf pans with oil and divide the mixture evenly between the two tins. Make sure the lid is on the bottom BEFORE adding the mixture! Put the top lids on and bake upright on a tray in a moderate oven for about an hour.
Let cakes stand in tins, with lids on, for about 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

We had to try some before tomorrow's play date of course. They were BEAUTIFUL with a smear (??) of butter. It is one recipe I will definitely be using again and again and again..............well you get the drift!

21 May, 2010

Mexican Mole Sauce

I'm making an interesting "beef" stew later in the current menu cycle but when I went looking for recipes for this particular ingredient (all will be revealed AFTER the family has tried it!!) I found one I wanted to use but it used canned/bottled pre-made mole sauce, unavailable where I live. The recipe was American SO I decided to research mole sauce and make my own.

Here's the recipe I came up with. I wanted something fairly easy and some of them were extraordinarily hard but also something close to real and at least in keeping with the Mexican original.

Mole Sauce Recipe
2 tsp vegetable oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 tbs cocoa powder or 35g dark chocolate (I used Lindt 70%, only because I had a bar and the chocolate seemed more original than the cocoa)
1 heaped tsp cumin seeds
1 heaped tsp coriander seeds
2.5cm piece of cinnamon
1.5 cups tomato "sauce".......pureed tomatoes
fresh chillies (I used 2 fresh from the garden and 2 from a Mexican pickled chilli jar)

Grind the cumin, coriander and cinnamon in a mortar and pestle.
Heat the oil and fry the onion, garlic, chilli and ground spices for about 10 minutes on a medium heat till the onion is very soft.
Add the tomato sauce and use water to thin a bit if your tomatoes are very thick.
Cook for about 30 minutes till thick again (the water seems a touch stupid doesn't it? But you need the cooking time to amalgamate all the flavours!)
Add salt to taste.
Add in the chopped chocolate and cook a further 5 to 10 minutes.

Voila! Yummy and easy Mole Sauce.

You could try it with chicken, rice, beans, tomato, salad leaves and avocado wrapped in a tortilla....................though like I said, mine will be stored in the fridge for a few days in anticipation of a special recipe coming up soon!

18 May, 2010

Sautéed Kale

Tonight I cooked kale for the first time! It is in season and seems to be a bit trendy at the moment.

The Recipe
bunch of young kale, stems removed, coarsely chopped
1 large clove garlic, chopped finely
2 tbs olive oil
1/2 cup vegetable stock
salt and pepper
2 tbs red wine vinegar

Heat the oil and fry the garlic till soft. Add the kale and stock and cook till tender and the stock has evaporated. Add salt and pepper to taste and then the vinegar.

I guess if you liked kale it might be OK but I've decided, along with my entire family, that it will never be on our shopping list again! Ryan ate it but only because he HATES chucking out food that is meant to be good for you...............the rest of us had no worries putting it in the bin!

The pan fried whiting, mashed potato, carrots and cauliflower were alright though!

29 April, 2010

Spicy Beef Stew

The Recipe
1kg stewing steak (I got mine from the Entrance markets, Hunter Valley casserole beef, prechopped) if yours isn't chopped cut it into bitesize pieces
1 large onion
3 cloves garlic
1 stick of celery (though I use anything green, tonight it was beans)
2 carrots
500g tomatoes (canned tomatoes are a good substitute)
1 tbs tomato paste
1 tbs parsley, finely chopped
200ml red wine......tonight was shiraz because that's what I was drinking!
200ml beef stock
2tsp sugar
1tsp cayenne pepper (if you want it hotter add 2 teaspoons)
1tsp paprika

Peel and finely chop the onion and garlic. Chop the celery and carrot finely.
If using fresh tomatoes drop into boiling water for a few seconds, peel, halve, deseed and chop finely..............YEAH RIGHT!!! lol.......I like skin and seeds! OR open the can!
Brown the meat on all sides in a little bit of oil and remove from the pan. In the same oil cook the onion, garlic, carrots and celery. If you are using beans or some other green veggie add it with the stock (though zucchini should be added pretty close to the end otherwise they turn into mush).
Then I add the tomato paste and fry it off, then the wine and reduce it. Next add the tomatoes to the casserole dish with the parsley, salt, pepper, sugar, paprika, cayenne and return the meat to the pan.
Stock is the last to go in. Simmer over a low heat for about 2 hours. If it gets a bit dry add some extra water.
I served mine tonight with mashed potato but you could serve it with rice or noodles.

I think once this was a recipe called "Spicy Pork Ragout" but it has changed so much that is now my "Spicy Beef Stew"! AND I'm amazed that I turned it back into a readable recipe!!

24 April, 2010

Using up the limes......Lime Curd recipe!

No markets this week and some of the stuff we bought last week is getting a bit long in the tooth now! So I had to decide this morning what to do with the limes that I bought really cheap last week.

Definitely some more lime sorbet seemed like a winner and I decided that this time I'd whip the egg white a bit more before I put it in the ice-cream maker to stop the lumpy frozen eggwhite thing happening again and use the peel in the sugar syrup and then discard it rather than use grated lime rind.

It worked a treat!

Also there were just enough limes left to make some lime curd. It made 2 jars and will go quite nicely with my toast for breakfast tomorrow and for a few weeks to come I hope!!

Lime Curd Recipe
grated rind of 3 limes
juice of 3 limes
250g (1 cup) sugar
120g butter
2 eggs

Heat all the ingredients, except the eggs, in a double boiler over hot water till the butter melts and the sugar dissolves.
Take the boiler off the heat and add the beaten eggs in a thin stream, beating with a whisk, so you don't make lime flavoured scrambled eggs......return to the heat and stir till the curd coats the back of a wooden spoon.
Pour in to sterilized jars and seal.
Makes about 300ml.

Our stewed rhubarb had run out (Dave and I often have it on ice-cream after dinner) so I made more of that and chicken and veggie soup was on the menu for tonight...........all in all a busy day in the kitchen and it was 28 degrees today (where is Autumn??) so a rather sweaty one as well!

07 April, 2010

The Menu!

Done last Saturday afternoon while sitting in the kitchen with Sarah after eating our "market and Caesars" lunch of bread and cheese and other yummy bits and pieces!

I leave it deliberately vague with only really the main ingredient written to allow me to decide what I want to do on the day...........though I usually have an idea!

It's based on what we have left from the fortnight before, what we have bought fresh at the markets and fish I will get at the co-op at Tuggerah.

This week we went to the co-op on Tuesday after Easter and they had very few fish at all............we only got 1 meal of leather-jacket and need to go back on Friday for another fish meal.....but it wasn't a waste because I picked up the eggs on the way home from Johns Road.

The sausages are made from belted Galloway and are local and the beef/steak is the same as well as the mince.

The meat for the stew is black angus from the Hunter Valley and the lamb is salt-bush from Narromine.

The chicken is free range, also from Narromine, and I'm thinking about butterflying it and using some sort of Portuguese seasoning on it.

Usually there is some sort of soup and/or vegetarian meals in there but for some reason it didn't happen this fortnight.........maybe I need the iron?

Saturday: corned beef

Sunday: sausages

Monday: chicken kiev

Tuesday: leftovers

Wednesday: beef salad

Thursday: chicken

Friday: fish

Saturday: sausages

Sunday: steak

Monday: mince

Tuesday: lamb rump

Wednesday: stew

Thursday: sausages

Friday: fish

06 April, 2010

The Entrance Farmers' Markets

What a wonderland of food it has become! The Entrance Farmers' Markets that is............I can almost buy all my meat and fresh fruit and vege there now. I can get the milk as well, though sadly they are only on on the 1st and 3rd Saturday of the month so I can't get enough to last for the 2 weeks but 6 litres does a while and it seriously takes me back to the old days of milk with REAL cream on the top.........I know I could go to the organic shop at Erna but the drive is crazy just for milk.

The bread from Bill's is damn good too and we are making it a ritual to come home after the markets on a Saturday and have cheese from Caesar's at Erina (Hunter Valley Cheese Co, their washed rind is damn good) that I buy on Thursday/Friday before the markets with a Bill's sourdough baguette.....yumbo. That's what they are eating in the photo!

At the back of the photo on the kitchen bench is a selection of the fresh stuff we got last Saturday. The meat was already in the freezer................the other stuff was still out because I had to eat first to get the energy to put it all away!

"Make what you can out of what is fresh, seasonal and as local as possible" is one of my mottoes, though the apples from Orange are excellent at the moment and the saltbush lamb is pretty good too (from Narromine way I think) and though not totally local they are at least Aussie and from the same state! Got to consider those food miles and all...............but the best is the belted Galloway beef (my favourite looking cow, they look like the real thing!) from up Yarramalong Road, just out the back of our place.................they make great sausages too....I loved the mountain pepper and native thyme I got last month though they didn't have any last Saturday. At least now I know I can ring them by Wednesday and they will try and have what I want there waiting for me so I don't have to go too early.........mornings are just not my time seeing Dave works late and our life seems to revolve around his working hours.

31 March, 2010

Roll on pay day...........

On the menu for tonight is leftover chicken and vege soup that I froze from a couple of weeks ago. You can tell that pay day is fast approaching!!

Nice, but not earth shattering.................some decent bread should make it a bit more exciting though!

30 March, 2010

Mummy's chicken

For some reason the chicken we had for dinner tonight has always been called "mummy's chicken" by the kids. No idea why really seeing the recipe is never set in stone and tends to change depending on what mood I'm in but here it is anyway!

Mummy's chicken recipe:
500g chicken breast
2 eggs
dash milk
2 gloves garlic, crushed
herbs and other dry stuff!! (I'll explain in the method)

Cut the chicken in to bits that sort of look like fishfingers.
Line up 3 bowls. 1 with flour, 1 with eggs + dash of milk + garlic and one with the breadcrumbs.

Tonight I used panko, I've been known to use preboxed stuffing mix or just normal breadcrumbs as well.

To the breadcrumbs tonight I added (all dried) parsley, thyme, mixed herbs, cayenne powder, that cheap Parmesan packaged stuff (it's the only thing I use it for) and salt and pepper.................all to taste.........experiment a bit and see what you like............but like I said I use all dried stuff because it sticks better.

In the past I've also used cajun seasoning or any dry seasoning like it and different herbs such as oregano and basil but the garlic in the egg mix and the parmesan has always stayed the same.

Dip the chicken in the flour, then the milk mixture and lastly the crumbs.

Pan fry in oil and buttter till just cooked through and slightly browned and crunchy on the outside.

We had ours with baby potatoes and minted peas and carrots.

My kitchen as a homeschooling classroom!

My son Ryan (11) is homeschooled and very often, like this morning, our kitchen can become an impromptu classroom. He needed to do some weighing in a maths exercise and it said to use sand. Rice made a pretty good substitute! Beside formal stuff like this though just helping with normal cooking is great for his maths, English and science............and he has even talked about becoming a chef..............that one we'll wait and see. I guess it's the usual stages that a kid goes through like wanting to be a doctor or a fireman or a garbo??

29 March, 2010

Lime Sorbet

To eat this one you seriously have to be a bit of a lime freak.......................it's strong..........lip puckering strong! I had it for dessert tonight, the rest of the family probably had icecream, but I wasn't watching. We'd left the dinner table by then and gone back to the camper. Dessert and TV went together tonight.

The Recipe:
1 cup white sugar
300ml water
rind of 3 limes, grated or peeled, see below
juice of 6 limes

Make a syrup out of the sugar and water by boiling till the sugar dissolves. Add the rind and juice. Cool. Chuck in your ice cream maker and churn for about 30 to 40 minutes. Put it in a container and chuck it in the freezer.

I had a recipe that said add an egg white about 10 minutes before the end. I tried it once. All that happened was that I ended up with frozen slimy lumps in the sorbet! I think maybe if I had of beaten the egg white till slightly more frothy it may not have lumped and also if you don't like the lime rind in the sorbet (which I like) you can peel the rind instead of grating it and add it to the cooking syrup and then strain it out before you churn/freeze the sorbet.

You can also make this without an ice cream maker. Freeze the mixture till slushy (about 4 hours). Get it out and beat it in a food processor. If adding egg white (lightly beaten till frothy) add it now and mix well. Freeze for another 4 hours. All done!

Monday night's dinner.....the best laid plans of mice and men

Menu: eggs

Real Life: chilli sausages, garlic mash and chokoes!

Well a menu is a guide only isn't it? It is for me anyway. It's a tool but it's never set in stone.
"Eggs" was written on the menu on the fridge and when I went in this morning to "do my house round" that's what we were going to have. I was tossing up between frittata, quiche or maybe being really slack and having an English breakfast for dinner when the idea of eggs on toast for breakfast became all too much for me and before I knew it my 2nd oldest daughter, Sarah, and I were sitting down and tucking into a plate of eggs on toast with juice.
That sort of killed the plan of eggs for dinner as, when I'd finished, I really didn't want them twice in one day.
Back to the drawing board.
On the bottom of the menu board I write what "extra" meals we have and one of them this fortnight was sausages so sausages it was! Out of the freezer they came. Daughter number 3 loves garlic mash (butter, local fresh garlic, milk, salt and pepper) so that's what I decided to serve them with and my neighbour gave me some homegrown chokoes (just plain, cubed and boiled, served with salt and butter) on the weekend, which I adore, so they were added to the menu. Too bad for the ones who don't like chokoes! They were for ME!

The benefits of menu planning

My daughter Sarah and I sit down once a fortnight and plan a dinner menu. How much easier does that make my life? Very much easier is the simple answer.

My husband and I live in our driveway in our motorhome and the kids live in the house! Unusual but it works well for us. We've been there since we got back from a 4 month round Australia trip last August, so every morning, after the first coffee of the day, I toddle off inside to "do the house rounds".

With a menu on the board on the fridge all I have to do is have a look and get out whatever meat or ingredients I need for that night's meal.

The menu is only done after we have the meat/fish for the fortnight and that is what we base or meals around. We usually have 2-4 fish meals and a couple of egg meals plus maybe a vegetarian thrown in for good luck!

Our eggs come from a local egg producer in Johns Road (I went back to supermarket eggs last week and couldn't stand the staleness of them, I've been spoiled) so we had to do a dash out to the farm last Saturday.......our fish comes from the Co-op at Tacoma and lately we've been buying our meat from The Entrance Farmers Markets as much as we can anyway.

So we try and base our menu on what is local, fresh and in season.

No morning brain drain any more about what's for dinner, no last minutes dashes to the shop (well hardly ever) to get food, not very much takeaway and a more balanced meal plan...............overall a win for the finances, time and the headache inducing "what's for dinner mum?" questions at 4pm in the afternoon!

28 March, 2010

Sunday requires an easy dinner

Lasagna and salad............easy peasy.........especially if you've made the meat sauce earlier in the week and frozen it and have frozen fresh lasagna sheets from Caesars in Erina! All that was needed was a quick cheese sauce and a bit of building work and voila...............................

Even the salad was quick.........the girls made it!!!!!!!! and I had leftover cooked dressing to use (the kids and hubbie love the stuff)

Cooked Salad Dressing
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup oil (not olive, it's too "tasty")
1 tablespoon soy
2 teaspoons sesame oil

Put it all in a pot and bring to the boil then boil for a couple of minutes till the sugar dissolves. Put it in a screw top jar to cool and then shake when ready to use.

Hubbie reckons it makes boring lettuce taste great! Lettuce has NEVER bored me but each to their own.

Sunday afternoon and the need for sugar = Marshmallow Slice

It's been a stinking hot autumn day, I really don't think summer has decided it is over with us yet! The conundrum was a need for sugary sustenance versus the heat the oven would make if I fired it up in the kitchen........sugary sustenance won out in the end and a very vibrant pink marshmallow slice was born this afternoon.

It should have been purist white but pink seemed more appropriate seeing there were 5 females in the kitchen which included me, 2 daughters, 1 next door neighbour and Isabella the grandbaby........but an extra tip of the rose colouring in to the marshmallow mixture could have been a disaster......once whipped though it ended up a not TOO disgusting hue! Not as bright red as it looked at the beginning anyway.

The recipe:
4 crushed weetbix
1 cup desiccated coconut
1 cup self raising flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
125g melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup white sugar
3/4 cup water
2 teaspoons gelatine powder

Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl and then add the melted butter and vanilla. Press in to a baking paper lined slice pan and bake at 180 deg c for about 15 minutes.

While the base is cooking put the topping ingredients in to a saucepan, bring to the boil and boil for 3 minutes. Cool and then beat with electric beaters (not a whisk, unless you want to be standing in the kitchen till Monday) till light and fluffy.

Spread on the cooled base and pop in the fridge to set for at least 15 mintes.

Cut in to squares and enjoy. I made 20 squares.

The Beginning

I love cooking but I never went near my old blog because it was all way too random.............this one is really going to be about my life in the kitchen! Plus anything else that pops up of course! But basically FOOD!