Sunday, October 30, 2011

Dirt and Worms

My 2 beautiful girls have daycare on Monday, which also happens to be Halloween. The daycare asked for kids in costumes and "Halloween snacks to share". Ummm ok daycare people. My brain was going a little crazy but then it went straight to Ree. If you don't know who I'm talking about, I'm talkin' Ree Drummond AKA the Pioneer Woman. I remember seeing her cute little flowerpot desserts and thought I'd appropriate the idea, put my freaky spin on it and call it "halloween snack".
First, I used a packet cup cake mix.
This one, to be exact. It came with cake cases, it came with frosting. I didn't have to weigh or sift any ingredients. Today, that sounded like my kind of cooking. So I baked those suckers...


Ok. So, I left them in the oven for a bit longer than I should have. Don't judge.
Then, I got some choc ripple biscuits -


And whizzed some up in Mr Buzzy, until it looks like dirt.




Mmmmmm yummy chocolatey dirt.
Put the frosting on the cakes, add a gummi worm.


and some "dirt" and here is how they turned out.


Mmmmm Dirt and Worms, anyone?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Meatloaf (Well, kind of)

This is sort of a recipe for a sort of meatloaf.
It is hard to actually put a name on this because, well, there is meat in it and it is a loaf shape, but it is definitely not traditional.
That is what I normally put in there. They can be divided into 5 categories.
Meat - minced beef, occasionally I'll put in about 20% pork mince.
Veges - Always onion, almost always capsicum, often cabbage, usually carrot, sometimes mushrooms. All diced or shredded or minced or grated really REALLY fine (especially if you have vege haters in your clan)
Herbies and spices - Always garlic and some other mix of dried herbs, garlic and herb salt
Sauces and other flavourings - Kajup manis, tomato sauce/pizza sauce, BBQ sauce, Kraft parmesan cheese-like product, wostershire sauce
Binders - 1 egg and some bread crumbs (or cornflake crumbs)



You take you selection of ingredients and slop it into a large (I mean, the biggest one you have) mixing bowl, don some food handling gloves and get in there. Give it a really good mix. Squeeze it through your fingers  and make sure all the ingredients are thoroughly combined. If it looks a little sloppy, add some more bread crumbs, if it looks a little dry, a little more tomato sauce is the ticket. When it is ready, it should look like lumpy off-pinky red playdough.
Smoosh that into a loaf pan,, whack it in the oven on 180 for 60-80 mins.At about  50mins in, brush the top with a mix of half kajup manis and half woster. Yum. Take it out of the oven, drain, slice and serve with a big pile of mash potato and some gravy
YUMMMMMM!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Spiced Banana.... Muffins.

Finally got around to defrosting and reorganising my freezer this weekend. While scraping and chipping and wiping away the ice, and making a list of the contents of the freezer, I came across not one, not 2 but 3 bags of overripe frozen bananas! Jackpot! After cyclones and floods, the Australian (in particular, Queensland) banana crop was all but wiped out, sending the price of bananas through the roof. I think they peaked around here at aroun $15/kg. Before the price hike, we purchased some bananas and the ones that we didn't quite get to, I put in bags of 2 (and a half) and popped them in the freezer to bake with later. Fast forward to today, with bananas still at over $11/kg, finding some frozen ones in the freezer was like finding a gold nugget in your yard. It screamed to me, Spiced Banana Bar. But I wasn't in the mood for a bar cake, and had desire for more of the pleasently crisp edgebits. Solution? Muffins! I topped them with a dot of simple icing and a banana chip.
Here's how they turned out.


Fresh out of the oven


Decorated and ready to eat.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Sauted Cabbage

Quick, easy, tasty and healthy side dish that goes with just about everything.

Ingredients:
1 cupe Cabbage, shredded
1 teaspoon butter
1/4 teaspoon Olive Oil
1 clove Garlic, minced to a paste
Salt and Pepper

Method:
1. In a non-stick place butter and oil onto medium heat
2. When butter starts to bubble a little, add the cabbage
3. Move gently around the pan until the cabbage starts to soften slightly and develop small golden brown bits
4. Add garlic, plenty of fresh ground black pepper and a pinch of salt
5. Saute for another 2 minutes.

That's it. Really yummy with a steak and some mash. I had it today as a side to roast chicken. Try it.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Mmmmm Cake

Yesterday, it was someone from work’s birthday. Another person from work, Natasha, made 2 cakes for the occasion. I had some of the flourless, gluten free chocolate cake and it was YUMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!!! I have requested the recipe and I shall share it with you when it is in my possession. Did I mention YUM!? My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Cream Scones

3 Cups of sifted self raising flour
2 tablespoons white sugar
300 mL thickened cream
150 mL milk

(Yes, that really is it. 4 ingredients. Honestly. And yes, there is NO butter in this recipe. You are reading correctly - You do not have to rub any butter into flour. Don't question it, just try it!)

Method

1. Sift flour into bowl
2. Stir in sugar
3. Make a well in the middle of the flour and pour in cream
4. Pour milk into cream bottle and shake, then add milk and cream residue to bowl also
5. Mix with a spoon until it all just comes together
6. Tip out onto a floured board, very clean bench top or gladbake
7. Press the mixture out until it is about 2.5cms thick (You can use a rolling pin, but you shouldn’t need to)
8. Cut into rounds with a floured scone cutter or wine glass
9. Place onto gladbake lined tray
10. Brush tops with a little extra milk
11. Bake in 210 degree preheated oven for 10min or until golden brown


Serve with jam and whipped cream or whatever you like and enjoy

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Porky Pies for dinner

Tonight for dinner, we are having meatloaf. Or are we? Can you still call it meat loaf when there is only just enough meat to hold the vegetables together? There is also no cabbage and most definitely no carrot in my meatloaf (but only if my husband or my children ask). And we will be having ice cream for dessert too (because frozen yogurt and fresh strawberries are too healthful).

Ah, the beautiful lies we tell our children.... and husbands.

Have great food and great fun
Kate

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Lemon Bars

This recipe I stole from Better Homes and Gardens. It looked yummy and my Aunt had a flush of lemons  on her trees so I thought "why not?" I was not disappointed at all. Fresh and zesty and totally moreish.


Ingredients:
For Base:
150g Butter, softened
3/4 cup caster sugar
1 egg
2 tsp finely grated lemon rind
1/2 cup ground almonds
1 1/2 cups plain flour, sifted

For Topping:
4 eggs
1 cup caster sugar
1 cup plain flour
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 tsp baking powder
Icing sugar, for dusting


Method:
1. Prehead oven to 180°C. Grease and line base and sides of slice tin with baking paper
2. For the base: Cream butter and sugar until pale.
3. Add egg and beat until combined.
4. Add almonds, rind, and flour and mix until combined.
5. Press base mixture into tin. Bake for 20mins or until golden
6. Just before the base is ready, prepare the topping: Whisk eggs and sugar together until well combined.
7. Whisk in lemon juice
8. Sift in flour and baking powder and mix well to combine
9. Pour topping mixture over hot base and bake for 25mins or until light golden on top.
10. Cool completely in the pan before cutting into rectangles and dusting with icing sugar to serve.

Caramel Fudge Brownies

These are EVIL! Delicious, but evil. Amazing, but evil. Super easy to throw together and only 6 ingredients!
(I pinched this recipe from a magazine. I cut it out, and lost the magazine, so I can't credit it properly. Sorry)


Ingredients:
3 eggs
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
100g butter, melted
200g white chocolate melts, melted
1 cup plain four
380g can Top'n'fill caramel

Method:
1. Grease and line a 20cm x 30cm lamington/brownie pan with baking paper to cover the base and sides. Preheat oven to 160°C
2. Beat eggs and sugar on high for approx 4 minutes until thick and pale
3. Reduce mixer speed to medium. Beat in caramel, melted chocolate, melted butter and flour until combined
4. Pour mixture into pan. Bake for 40-45mins or until firm in the centre. Allow to cool before lifting out of the pan using the lining paper and cutting into squares.


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Apricot Chicken

So much for my big lunch of Apricot chicken and brown rice! 3 drumsticks should have been plenty. Pulled the chicken off one bone and gave it to KP with some rice and sauce, then cleaned off the bone to give to Audrey to gnaw on, then sat down to eat my lunch. KP finished her food before I'd even had 3 mouthfuls, so I gave her another 1/2 a drumstick worth of chicken and a bunch more rice. AJ was eyeing off my spoon and licking her lips, so I gave her a spoonful of rice and she chowed into it and opened her mouth for more. Now KP has finished her second helping of lunch and is saying "More rice pleeeeeeeeeeeeease, more chicken pleeeeeeeeease." So at the end of all this, I end up with about half a drumstick worth of chicken and a half a dozen spoonfuls of rice. That's it! To say this recipe is popular is an understatement. It is so simple, is great with a range of side dishes and so quick to throw together.


Ingredients:
Oil
8 Chicken drumsticks
1 can apricot halves in juice
250mL Apricot nectar
1 sachet dried French onion soup mix (Pack should say "Makes 1L of soup)

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 180°C
2. Lightly grease the base of a large, deep baking dish with a little oil.
3. Place the chicken in a single layer in the base of the dish. Place in the oven and bake for 45minutes until browned, turning once during cooking
4. While the chicken cooks, mix soup mix, apricots and nectar in bowl, stir well and stand
5. After 45mins, add apricot mixture to the baking dish, stir and continue to cook for a further 15-20minutes, or until the sauce is thick and the chicken is thoroughly cooked.


Serve with Rice or a jacket potato.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Forgetful me

I made meat loaf tonight. I had all these good intentions of photographing and blogging the recipe... but I forgot. Sorry. I will have to try again another day.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

German Potato Pancakes

This is one of those recipes that has evolved from something and something else and sort of just became this beautiful cohesive yummy thing. It is almost a fritter, almost a latke and almost a savoury pancake but really neither. I have tried these with both normal potato and sweet potato with great success. I suppose you could use other grated starchy vegetables like swede, but I've only done potato.


Ingredients:

6 large potatoes, grated
2 eggs
60g butter, melted
1/2 brown onion, finely diced or grated
1/4 cup plain flour*
1/4 tsp baking powder
salt and pepper
1 tbs chopped herbs - either parsley, chives or both.
Olive oil and a little butter to cook pancakes in.

Method:

1.Sift the flour and baking powder into a large mixing bowl.
2. Add the eggs, salt and pepper, herbs and butter. Whisk to combine.
3. Sqeeze some of the liquid out of the potato. Set the liquid to one side.
4. Add the potato and onion to the bowl and mix well.
5. In a non-stick fry pan, melt a small amount of butter and a splash of oil.
6. Spoon potato mix into the pan, to form patties**
7. Cook on medium heat until golden brown, flip and cook until golden.

*The amount of flour you end up using is very dependant on how watery your potatoes are. If the mixture is too wet, add a little more flour. If it looks too dry, add a splash of the reserved potato water.
*You can make the pancakes any size you wish, from little bite sized morsels to bread and butter plate sized whoppers.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Square Pizza

It's just me and the girls today. It is freezing cold outside. It is was getting close to lunch time so I started the daily ritual - scouring the fridge, freezer and pantry to find something to eat and to feed the kids. I noticed I have all the toppings for pizzas and proceed to chop everything up, preheat the oven etc. Then, when it comes to assemble..... ah crap! No pizza bases, no flat bread, no pita bread. Ingenuity to the rescue. All I have is day old white sandwich loaf. Not the best pizza bases, but most definitely an acceptable alternative, in a pinch. KP didn't complain, and polished off 2 slices. So square pizzas made it's debut in Kate's kitchen.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Tiramisu

Warning: this is a grown up dessert. It has uncooked alcohol and coffee. If you have kids present, I recommend making extra cream/cheese mix. Dunk some of the biscuits in some melted chocolate and sandwich two together with cream, for the kiddies, or making a separate dessert, like these caramel blondies (link to come)


Ingredients
3 cups strong black coffee, cooled. If you are fancier than me, you can use espresso or drip, but I just use instant.
3-4 tablespoons Tia Maria (Kahlua is also nice)
2 eggs, separated
250g mascarpone (Italian cream cheese)
1/4 cup caster sugar
250mL thickened cream
16 Saviardi (sponge finger) biscuits
1 tablespoon drinking chocolate (approx) or grated dark chocolate


Method
1. Mix together coffee and tia maria in a bowl. Set aside.

2. In a  large mixing bowl, beat egg yolks and sugar until thick and pale


3. Add the mascarpone and beat well to combine.


4. In a separate bowl, whip cream.

5. Fold cream into cheese mix

6. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites to soft peaks.

7. Fold egg whites into cream/cheese mixture


8. Get your chosen serving dish/es. You can use one large dish, individual servings in any dish. Large red wine glasses, coffee cups, latte glasses. You can see some of the options at the end of this post.


9. Dip the biscuits into the coffee mix, and place in a single layer in the base of your serving dish. Don't soak the biscuits, just a quick dunk and straight out. If you leave the biscuits in the coffee for longer than a second or two, they will soak up way too much of the liquid (they are sponge fingers, after all) go soggy and fall apart.


10. Next, add a generous layer (1-2cm) of cream/cheese mixture and spread over evenly.


11. Continue alternating dipped biscuits and cream until you reach the top of your dish.


12. Finish with a layer of cream mixure and a sprinkle of chocolate


13. Refrigerate at least over night before serving.


Here is the finished result. I've used a variety of different vessels so you can see some of your serving options.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Celebration Food

This post is dedicated to food for celebrating. What do you think of when someone says "Party"?
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Chances are, most of you thought of some type of cake. Some of you may have thought of chicken wingets, party pies, mini sausage rolls or mini quiche. Others may have thought of elabourate meals, like the spread that may be laid out on a table at Christmas time, while others still may think of take away food or resturant food, because who needs to think about doing the dishes when you're celebrating?
Birthday cake, christmas cake, all kinds of cake are synonymous with celebrations. Finger foods are also pretty popular and enourmous meals like Christmas dinner also scream "Party time".
However, ANY food can be made appropriate for the right celebration. Take my last Tuesday night, for example. My family and I were celebrating my last university lecture. What did we have? Glazed Meat and Veg loaf with mashed potato and steamed vegetables for mains and lemon bars for dessert. The dense and flavourful loaf, fluffy mash and simple veges was followed wonderfully by the light and zesty lemon slice. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed it, even AJ scarfed 2 pieces of steamed carrot and a small chunk of meat loaf. And, importantly, if definitely felt celebratory.
My last birthday (26, but gosh, I'm feeling older than that this afternoon), I didn't feel like a traditional birthday cake, so my mum made me her deliciously cakey caramelly Pecan Pie. It was the most amazing birthday pie. My guests thought it was weird, at first, but when they took a bite with a big dollop of King Island Double cream, they understood.
Have you had a weird party food? What did you have? What did the guests think?

Moving on

For the last 4 months, I have been going to university for 2 hours every Tuesday afternoon to attend lectures for my final uni course. During this time, my amazing parents have stepped up to help us out. Tuesdays became rather busy. In the morning, I packed up 3 bags, KP got dropped off at daycare with her little pink backpack, AJ got dropped off at mums with a big black nappy bag and my aunty and I went and did laps at the swimming pool. When it got colder, AJ would get bundled up in her Boba baby carrier, and Aunty Trace and I would walk. Then, we'd go back to mums, pick up mum, go to the butcher, then home, to clean the house, do a load of laundry and get dinner sorted. Leave AJ with mum and head off to uni. Dad finished up work and picked up KP from daycare, I came home from uni and Aiden came home from work and all of us have dinner together.
But that is all over now. My last uni lecture was on this week. I have my last exam next Wednesday. After that, I should be graduating and I'll officially be done with university in October when the graduation ceremony takes place. No more uni, no more Tuesday dinners with my parents. Sigh. It is the end of an era, and I'm not sure whether I am happy with it. Change is inevitable, but that doesn't mean I have to like it.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Spicy pork Sausage rolls.

This recipe is adapted from Alive and Cooking. I liked the original recipe but thought they were a teeny bit bland, and I'm always looking for new ways to hide veges in my food (yes kiddies, mummy is a deceitful cook.) so some extra spice and grated vegetables have been added here. Hope you like them.

Ingredients:

850g minced pork
1 brown onion finely chopped
¼ cup finely grated carrot
¼ cup very finely shredded cabbage
1 long red chilli finely chopped
1 tbs. sweet chilli sauce
2 tsp. crushed garlic
¼ teaspoon finely grated ginger
1½ eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup breadcrumbs
5 sheets puff pastry
½ egg lightly beaten, for egg wash

Method:
1. In a mixing bowl combine the pork, onion, carrot, cabbage, chilli, sauce, garlic, 1.5 egg and breadcrumbs, then rub all ingredients together thoroughly.
2. On a sheet of defrosted puff pastry lay down a line of pork mix, roll the pastry over, crimp and seal the edges with egg wash.
3. Brush the surface with egg wash and score with a sharp knife
4. Place on a lined tray with a decent space between each roll. Bake at 190 degrees for 25 minutes


Notes: I used panko bread crumbs, but I am sure you would be able to use fresh crumbs or normal packet crumbs. Make sure the Rolls are well spaced or they wont crisp up on the bottom and nobody likes soggy sausage rolls. These can be frozen before step 3. Just wrap each length of sausage roll in baking paper and place in a freezer bag or container. Defrost for 8-12hrs in the fridge before egg washing and baking as directed. Perfect easy dinner, or as finger food at a party. Don't forget the sauce - sweet chilli is nice, or tomato for the traditionalists among you.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Parmesan Pepper Twists.

Short one today. Pictures to come (when I find that damned cable again).

Ingredients:
1/4 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
1 whole red capsicum
1 birdseye chilli, deseeded and very finely diced/minced
2 sheets of puff pastry
1 egg, lightly beaten.

Method:
1. Cut the capsicum into thirds, remove the white-ish "ribs", seeds and stalk.
2. Place skin side up on a piece of alfoil on a baking tray. Bake in a hot oven until the skin is mostly black and charred
3. Remove capsicum from the tray, but leave on the foil. Wrap the foil around the capsicum to enclose it. Like making a little parcel. Wrap the foil parcel in a wet tea towel and set aside to cool
4. When cooled, peel the black skin of the yummy sweet roasty flesh.
5. In a little food processer (or with a stick blender and cup) add the grated cheese, diced chilli and capsicum flesh and pulse with the blender until all the capsicum is smooshed up and the ingredients are combined.
6. Brush one square of pastry with egg and smear over half of the capsicum mix. Put the other square of puff pastry on top and crimp together with a fork down the top and bottom edges.
7. Slice into long thin strips, twist and place on a lined baking tray. Brush with more beaten egg.
8. Bake until golden and puffed.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Things I have Learnt (Part 1)

As a mum I have learnt a whole lot - some interesting, some weird, some downright horrifying. Here is a list of some of the things I have learnt from being a mother of a new born and a toddler. If you don't have kids yet, there are things you can look forward to, if you do have kids, you may be able to relate.

  • As long as there is a child about, your house will never be truely clean
  • An infant can vomit more than a grown man, given the correct circumstances
  • Some kids who will scream, spit and fight their way through every spoonful of a loveingly prepared gormet meal will happily drink vast quantities of bathwater, including soap and their own urine.
  • Kids can drink a surprising amount of afformentioned bathwater and suffer no ill effects.
  • The best bath toys are empty shampoo bottles.
  • Some days, you worry because your child has picked at this and nibbled at that but hardly eaten anything. Other days, you become genuinely concerned that he/she may explode if they were to consume another mouthful.
  • Soggy nutrigrain cereal is almost indistinguishable from toddler poop.
  • A large assortment of objects can pass through a toddler's digestive system without damaging the item or the child. These items include, but are not limited to: beach sand, glitter, coins (both real and play money), small toys, christmas beetles, tinsel and beads
  • The first time your baby giggles will sound like angels singing
  • You will never believe could love anything or anyone as much as you love your baby, until you have another baby
  • Going out often takes military level organisation.
  • Your friends who don't have kids wont understand your actions most of the time.
  • A good nights sleep is very very important.
  • A mother's work is never done

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Hoi Sin and sweet chili marinade

I made this up a few weeks ago in a search for something tasty to do with some chicken legs I had. And WOW! I must say, I was pretty impressed with the outcome. I didn't measure quanitites, but when I tried to reproduce it yesterday, it came out just as good. It was also quite tasty just brushed over some chicken thigh fillets while they grilled and as a stirfry sauce with some sliced pork loin and lots of veges.
Here it is: Just mix all the ingredients together in a bowl.
Approximately equal quantities of Sweet Chilli Sauce, Hoi sin and Kajup Manis.
Honey
A small sprinkle each of ginger powder and chinese five spice powder.
A little garlic oil.


That's it! So simple and delicious. Adjust the quantities to taste. I am sure there would be other ways to use this sauce. Pehaps with some nice calamari or king prawns. Or as a dipping sauce for vegetarian rice paper rolls. Oooh, the possibilities are nearly endless,