Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Cherry Chocolate Dump Cake

A tin of cherries - a handful of fresh cherries - a woolies home brand chocolate cake mix (on special for $1) and 50 grams of melted butter ... it is bloody delicious!
A dump cake because you dump the whole thing into the one pan.
Fruit in the bottom ... sprinkle over the cake mix and pour over the melted butter ... bake for 35 minutes until bubbly ... needs cream or ice cream neither of which I have ...
Moist and gooey in the middle with the best crunchy top ... give it a go and let me know what you think

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Home made Indian banquet

- Coconut Water Dahl 
- Curried Vegetables
- Quinoa

Coconut Water Dahl - Curried Vegetables - Quinoa
This menu can be cooked at the same time and all will cook in about 20 minutes ... on the table in about 40 minutes even with preparation being taken into consideration ... why not give it a go as its ingredients  cost very little and when served decorated as described could easily be taken for authentic Indian cuisine by your family. 

Curried Vegetables

  • Prepare what ever vegetables you prefer ... I have used large chunks of pumpkin, sweet potato, broccolini and baby spinach leaves.
  • In a adequate saucepan place a little oil and fry off a couple of teaspoons of mustard seeds, and the same of cumin seeds along with a couple of bay leaves until popping and fragrant.
  • Sprinkle into this mix a good dessert spoon of curry powder and then add the root vegetables and stir to coat and start the cooking process ... 
  • Finally cover with water and bring to the boil then lower the heat and cover to cook for about 15 minutes ... add the lighter vegetables such as broccoli about halfway though and finally the spinach that just needs to wilt add at the very end and stir through to serve. 

Coconut Water Dahl

  • In a large saucepan soften off a diced onion for a few minutes and then add a couple of teaspoons of fresh grated ginger a couple teaspoons of ground cumin a touch of cayenne pepper to your liking and a 1/2 teaspoon of ground turmeric ... when fragrant 
  • add 2 cups of red lentils and 2 cans or 600 ml coconut water and 400 ml water and cook for 15-20 minutes ... add more water as this cooks if you prefer a soupier rather than thick Dahl.
Quinoa (as an alternative to rice)
  • Cook about a 1/2 cup per person by the absorption method instructions on the packet and by using coconut water or ordinary water or a mixture of both will give you a nice sweet flavour.
Serve these dishes in the centre of the table presented in individual bowls and sprinkled with fresh coriander, piping hot ... top the Dahl with a little natural yoghurt or serve on the side so the family can add their own as they choose. I don't make mine spicy at all however if you do the yoghurt becomes a cooling source of flavour.

If there are any left overs ... heat and serve the next day ... curries intensify in flavour the following day ... Yummo!!!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Potato Topped Chunky Salmon Pies

These are very simple individual pies which can be cooked and ready to serve in no time flat ... great for a breakfast to impress a light lunch with a salad or an evening meal with vegetables ... I have even eaten this for afternoon tea ... because I can!

Potato Topped Chunky Salmon Pies

  • I made four pies with a simple short crust pastry by using about 3/4 cup of plain flour about 100 grams of cold chopped butter processed into a crumb mixture and bought together into a soft dough using an egg. Purchased pastry sheets will simplify this dish even further. 
  • I have non stick, pop out bottom flan cases. I ran a fork over the pastry base of the pies and blind baked the pastry until just golden to keep them crisp ... do this first or while you prepare the filling.
  • Meanwhile put on some potatoes to cook for the mash topping ... 3 medium sized potatoes did my four pies.

The filling couldn't be simpler and can be modified as with all recipes to suit your own tastes. I have used salmon here but I intend to use barramundi and oysters next time to try and reproduce my all time favourite pie ever tasted when crossing the Nullarbor.
  • Gently soft fry some finely diced onion with a large knob of butter. Try not to get too much colour on these.
  • To make the thickened white sauce add a couple of tablespoons of plain flour and fry the flour for a minute or so to cook it through.
  • Gradually add to this enough milk, a little at a time, whisking as you go to keep it smooth until you have quite a thick sauce ... by keeping this thick your pies will hold together nicely.
  • Stir through to coat about 200-300 grams of chunky diced salmon, a large handful of a tasty cheese like a crumbled feta or maybe a blue cheese along with a hand full of fresh herbs of your choice such as parsley, chives, dill or all of these. Season carefully as some cheeses are quite salty and white pepper to suit ... you don't want to over cook at this stage as the fish will get its final cook when browning and heating to serve.
  • Turn off the heat and cool this mixture down in the fridge for a few minutes before adding to the cooled pastry bases.

  • Compile the pies and top the mash with a little grated cheese. When you are ready to serve bake in a moderate oven until golden brown and heated through.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Quinoa (Anzac) Cookies

Can they get any more delicious - absolutely!
Quinoa (Anzac) Cookies

My inspiration comes from my cousins (Judy Miragliotta) recipe of yummy traditional Anzac Biscuits however for my delicious morsels I have changed it to suit me and made them with Quinoa flakes instead of the traditional oats used in Anzacs and another bonus twist I have added 50/50 coconut flour and plain flour ... you can use just plain flour if you choose but I just love the extra coconut flavour boost.

  • Mix all of your dry ingredients together in a large bowl ... 1/2 cup plain flour, 1/2 cup coconut flour, 1 cup of quinoa flakes, 1/2 cup raw caster sugar, 3/4 coconut (desiccated or the moist shredded one).
  • In a small saucepan melt together 150 grams of butter and two extra large tablespoons of golden syrup ... gentle simmering roll for a minute or two to achieve a nice caramelised golden colour.
  • To this mixture add a 1/2 teaspoon of bi-carb soda that has been dissolved in two dessert spoons of water ... while the mixture is still frothing add it to the dry ingredients and combine.
  • Form into biscuit size balls and flatten them to bake on baking paper in a gentle oven until golden brown ... these biscuits are very soft when first out of the oven so let them cool on the tray so as not to break them.

Mixing up a recipe to suit yourself and your family or adapting the ingredients to hand is what in my opinion cooking is all about. Loads of fun trying new ideas. Some will be successful like this one and some not so. 
Give your ideas a go you may be pleasantly surprised.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Gado Gado with Peanut Sauce

My Gado Gado is a selection of warm blanched vegetables  and salads served with a delicious peanut sauce and topped with a hard boiled egg. You can choose to purchase a ready made sataty sauce or very simply make your own.

Gado Gado with Peanut Sauce

  • Blanch or steam a selection of vegetables I have used snow peas, sweet potato, pumpkin, cabbage and cauliflower... these should still have a little crunch to the bite.
  • Display these seperately on the serving plate and add a layer of satay sauce.
  • Top this with your selection of salads I have used tomatoes, capsicum and cucumber.
  • Top with some more warm satay sauce.
  • Finally add a hard boiled egg and shredded corriander.

Simple Peanut Sauce

  • In a medium saucepan soften some diced onion, chilli and garlic in a little peanut oil until the onion is translucent. 
  • Add about 200 grams of unsalted peanuts to toast.
  • When golden brown whiz up into a paste in your food processor.
  • Return to the saucepan and add a can of coconut milk a dash of fish sauce, the juice of a lime, a splosh of ketjap manus and a couple of tablespoons of palm sugar. 
  • Simmer gently until the sauce reduces and thickens ... delicious home made sauce however if you decide to buy one please choose a quality authentic sauce as it is a very large part of the success of this dish.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Macaroni Cheese with tuna, cauliflower and mushrooms

This evening meal or lunch time snack is a moist tasty simple dish that is sure to become a family favourite ...  it has some veggies in it which also makes it an all round balance of deliciousness.

Macaroni Cheese with tuna, cauliflower and mushrooms
  • Cook about 400 grams of a small macaroni pasta of your choice and a half a head of cauliflower cut into small pieces in 3 cups of milk and one cup of water bought to the boil with a little salt added.
  • While these are cooking ... in a frying pan over a low flame soften a diced onion, add a punnet of button mushrooms which have been quartered until also softened.
  • To this mixture add a cup of white wine (I have used a  Japanese Sake as it has a wonderful intense flavour)and reduce this gently until almost all gone. You can use a little stock if you prefer however the wine concentrates into nothing but flavour.
  • When the pasta is just cooked strain off any remaining liquid that has not been absorbed and place the pasta and cauli into a large bowl.
  • Add the mushroom and onion to this along with a small tub of ricotta cheese, a medium to large tin of tuna depending on the amount you prefer(I use one with chilli oil for a hint of spice without being hot ... remove the chilli's and oil from the tinned tuna first)
  • Finally add about a cup of grated tasty cheese and spread our into a lasagne dish.
  • Top with some breadcrumbs and a little more grated cheese and a slight drizzle of oil. Gently brown this under the grill or in the oven bringing the dish to the  required eating temperature.

We enjoyed this dish picnic style at the outdoor cinema ... heat before leaving home, wrap in a tea towel to keep warm and served and enjoyed  under the stars.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Meatless Chow Mein

Brown Rice and Green Veg...

This dish is very simple to make, nutritious and filling as wells as yummy enough that the kids will be surprised by the fact that they like it.

 Meatless Chow Mein 
  •  Fry off to soften a thinly sliced onion in a little olive oil add to this a heaped teaspoon of curry powder to toast through.
  • When softened in place of the meat I now add about 3  cups of cooked brown rice and stir to coat the rice.
  • To this mixture add a packet of chicken noodle soup mix and two cups of water and the first of the green vegetables. For today's recipe they were sliced green beans and shredded Bok Choy. I would normally have used thinly sliced cabbage however I didn't have any so I have improvised. Cover the fry pan and allow to gently steam.
  • Simmer very gently until the vegies are cooked through and the moisture has absorbed into the rice. You can add a little more liquid if you would like a sauce.
  • In the last five minutes of cooking toss in some frozen peas and a handful of freshly chopped herbs.

Finely shredded cabbage will give the dish a more authentic look (it resembles soft noodles). Again I suggest you can add any vegetables you like including perhaps julienne carrots and corn for some colour.

Also if you prefer meat substitute the cooked rice for mince and brown this is the beginning with the onion and curry powder. Simmer cook for about 15 minutes to make sure the meat is cooked through properly.

The kids will love this dish because of the flavour that the chicken noodle soup brings to it. A great way to get vegetables into them.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Lentil & Quinoa Slice

Lentil & Quinoa Slice
Lentil & Quinoa Slice

I have made this dish today for the first time. My version was inspired by the cooking show "Good Chef Bad Chef" and I have to say this is delightfully delicious.
  • Start by lightly frying off to soften some finely diced onion and a little minced garlic then add a teaspoon of Turmeric (this spice is so very good for us all and is a great aid to cancer prevention and you probably won't even notice it is in there).
  • Add to this any vegetables you may like. You can be as creative as you like as long as they are all uniformly diced or grated quite small. I have used today what was available in my little fridge, celery, broccoli stems, pumpkin, sweet potato and mushrooms.
  • Stir fry all of these until they are just cooked (final cooking to set is only short) and then add about a cup of almond meal which will soak up any liquid from vegetables such as zucchini and is also a source of protein.
  • Add to the mixture a drained tin of brown lentils and some cooked quinoa (as little or as much as you like mine was about 2 cups cooked).
  • Turn off the heat and stir through two eggs which will bind the mix together in the final bake.
  • Grease or line with baking paper a lasagne dish and press the mixture firmly into this and bake it in a moderate oven for about 15 minutes to set the slice and lightly browned on the top.

Variations of this recipe could easily be made, maybe a tablespoon of tomato paste or some fried bacon bits. If you wish to keep this vegetarian but wanted a little more protein try adding crumbled firm tofu. 

The slice when cooked is quite juicy and soft but will slice easily into portions. These slices can be eaten either hot straight from the oven or is equally nice served cold the next day.

It will keep for a few days in the fridge very safely as it contains no meat. Enjoy and let me know what you think.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Warm French Dressed Bean Salad

These beans could be from anywhere and I am pretty sure every country would have their own version... these have been called French because I have added a French mustard into the dressing.

Warm French Dressed Bean Salad

  • Steam some young green beans until just cooked.
  • While steaming the veg prepare the dressing by placing a spoon full of French mustard (this isn't a hot mustard but contains herbs, spices and treacle which has a wonderful flavour, a couple of finely diced spring onions, a handful of chopped herbs, I have used basil and coriander my two favourites, a couple of tablespoons of fresh lemon juice and 4 - 6 tablespoons of olive oil.
  • Toss through the warm beans when al dente. Add some salt and pepper and serve while still warm as a side dish with anything or on their own if you prefer.

Caprese Salad with Roasted Capsicum

Caprese Salad with home Roasted Capsicum

The scrumptious colours of Italy with its origins in Capri trust me this salad will fit in just fine to any kitchen anywhere in the world.

  • Roast a red capsicum straight over the gas burner with a pair of tongs straight on your stove turning often until it blisters and blackens and then place in a plastic bag to sweat. The skin will then peel off very simply leaving you with a delicious fresh capsicum. You can also grill it to achieve the same result or even using the jar ones will suffice. Try doing it yourself however because it really is simple and delicious.
  • Remove the skin and seeds and then tear the capsicum roughly and place it on a serving plate.
  • Add very ripe room temperature tomatoes, sliced, halved or quartered depending on what you have available.
  • Now add some torn mozzarella or bocconcini cheese (the best quality you can find its worth it)
  • Finally add some torn fresh basil and I have also added coriander to mine and drizzle over the top olive oil and a coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper.