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!