26 May 2011

easy-peasy lemon-squeezie

Targeted advertising.  It's everywhere.  I loathe it, but at the same time sometimes even I get sucked in.  Lucky for me (and those who get to eat my baking) I gave in to a tasty looking ad the other day.  It was a little ad, alongside my email, for the chelsea sugar website.  The image was a lemon muffin.  I LOVE lemons in baking, so was immediately drawn in.  Here's the recipe, it was easy and turned out really well - I doubled the lemon from the original, 'cause you can never have too much of the good stuff. 

2 cups self-raising flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup poppy seeds (optional)
finely grated rind of 3-4 lemons
100 g butter
2 large eggs
1 cup milk 
juice of 3-4 lemons
1/4 cup sugar
  1. Measure flour, sugar and seeds into a bowl.  Add lemon rind and combine. 
  2. Melt butter.  Mix in eggs and milk. 
  3. Add liquid into dry ingredients, fold together, but do not over mix. 
  4. Spoon into muffin tray, bake for 10-15 minutes at 200 degrees celcius. 
  5. While cooking squeeze lemon juice and mix with sugar - don't dissolve though. 
  6. As soon as muffins removed from oven brush with lemon-sugar glaze.  
  7. Cool on a wire rack and enjoy!   
Nb: These would also work really well using mini muffin tins, for bite-sized treats, for an afternoon tea.  Sounds nanaish, but be honest, we all go there sometimes.  ;)  Probably would need to reduce the cooking time a little...

25 May 2011

nipper-friendly tikka masala

Okay, this is sort of a cheat-new post, or a psuedo-new post, if you will.  The other night I went back in time and made last August's chicken tikka masala again, only this time it wasn't just for adults with taste buds attuned to the rigours of spicy foods.  This time it was for two adults and a 6-year old, so needed a little extra attention.  Basically the recipe was largely the same (as this is a VERY mild curry anyway), but we removed the seeds from the jalapeno, and I stirred in about a half pottle of sour cream, to further reduce the heat factor.  Served with naans, it went down a treat!  So, if you're looking for a way to extend a child's taste buds, give this a shot.  Nom nom nom!!   

17 May 2011

creamy creamy carbonara

Okay, if you are vegan, trying to down your intake of calories, or intolerant in any way to dairy, close this now, 'cause it ain't for you!  I usually make carbonara without cream, as per the traditional way from the Lazio region in Italy - my friend Bates has a wicked recipe for the pasta tradizionale on her travelogue for foodies.  But last night I went back to the way I first learnt to make carbonara, and it wasn't in Italy, nor was it Italians doing the teaching.  The teachers were French, and we were in France.  Nathalie, the specific Frenchie doing the teaching, was from the Savoy region in France, where it's pretty alpine and they're not at all adverse to the use of cream, butter and cheese in their cuisine.  So, here it is, my take on carbonara with cream, a decade on.  Oh, and you can omit the splash of wine if you wish, but as I had a glass in my hand...

250 g spaghetti (or fettucine etc)
some butter or oil, for frying
200 g bacon, cut into matchsticks (les lardons as they call them in France)
1 onion, diced
handful of chopped mushrooms
250 ml cream (or thereabouts)
3 eggs
handful chopped fresh herbs
salt and pepper
parmasan cheese, grated
blue cheese (optional, but as it was in the fridge)
  1. Get the water boiling for your spaghetti, and start that cooking. 
  2. Melt butter/oil in large frying pan.  Fry the onion, bacon and mushrooms, letting the bacon get good and cooked.  Set aside. 
  3. Whisk the eggs in a jug/bowl.  Add the cream, herbs, salt and pepper and combine. 
  4. When the pasta is ready, drain it and add to the bacon etc. 
  5. Place pan back over a low heat and stir through the egg mixture.  If you're using cheeses, add these too. 
  6. Continue to stir, allowing the mixture to warm through, but not let the eggs cook.  When the sauce is thick enough serve with a sprinkling of extra parmasan.  Yum!! 

12 May 2011

mundane? maybe. amazing? yes!

Okay, garlic fries.  Hardly going to be a winning entry into Masterchef.  But it is possibly the yummest food-related discovery I've made this week (second only to the fact that last night's curry soup tastes like the laksa from Wellington's Satay Kingdom).  Most people like hot chips, and I'm no exception.  But oven-baked frozen fries from the supermarket just don't quite cut it.  I like a little oil, and a little more flavour.  So this is the perfect solution - oven-baked, then tossed with garlic-infused hot oil.  Brilliant!

1 bag frozen fries (whatever cut you like, as many as you need)
4 cloves garlic, grated finely
good glug of oil - you need enough to toss the chips with
  1. Bake chips as per instructions on packet.  I like to leave mine in for a few minutes extra, to get them really golden and crunchy on the outside.
  2. Gently heat oil in pan, add garlic and cook slowly. 
  3. Pour the oil and garlic over chips and toss to coat. 
Nb:  You don't have to use frozen chips, obviously - if you prefer, cut up some fresh ones at home.  But this is a good way to turn puha frozen muck into homemade-tasting goodness. 

11 May 2011

อร่อยมาก - aroi mak!!

I am not ashamed to say that I love the Rachael Ray show.  It's fun, has funny guests, and the food demos are usually pretty fun to watch.  Also her magazine - 'Everyday With Rachael Ray', 'cause it's full of two very good types of recipe ideas - quick and easy, and tasty twists on various world foods.  Mum recently brought me back the latest copy of the magazine from the States, and this recipe for a thai curry soup jumped out - super simple to throw together, and with a relatively short list of ingredients.  I like it!  I've used broccoli florets in mine, rather than the stipulated snow peas (out of season), and swapped red curry paste for yellow (it's what we have in the fridge).  I also added a few ingredients at the beginning, mostly 'cause I just enjoy frying up onions, garlic and ginger.  But that goes to show - swap it up, change things for what you have, or what you fancy.  Enjoy this with some roti on the side, for dunkin', or bread toasted with garlic and butter.  Aroi mak!! 

120 g rice noodles (or egg)
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
2 cm knob ginger, finely diced  
1 cup water
400 g tin coconut cream/milk
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp curry paste (or 1, for less heat)
500 g raw prawns (peeled and deveined)
2 cups veges (broccoli, carrots, snow peas etc)
salt and pepper
fresh coriander, to serve
lemon/lime wedges (optional)
  1. Cook noodles, drain and set aside (it's a good idea to stir a very small amount of oil through them, to prevent them sticking together, as they dry off a bit).
  2. In pot fry onion, garlic and ginger in a little oil (or butter), until softened.  Add water,  coconut cream, soy and curry paste and bring to a simmer. 
  3. Add veges and cook for about 3 minutes, to crisp-tender.  Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Put the noodles back in and add the prawns.  Cook for about one minute, until the prawns are just pink. 
  5. Ladle into bowls, garnish with coriander, and serve alongside toasts and lime wedges. 

05 May 2011

spice up your life!!

A group of lads came by the other day, with bags and bags of fruit for sale, off the back of a pickup truck.  It was fantastic - nashi pears (the size of mammoth grapefruit!), apples and pears.  Big bags, $2 a pop.  Where'd they get the fruit?  Who knows, but it tasted great, so if it was hot, I'm not altogether concerned (though I doubt it was, I imagine they work at an orchard and these were bags which didn't meet export requirements, or something mundane like that). 

Anyhoo, getting through three tramping packs full of fruit (a slight exageration, sure) was a big ask.  The apples did, eventually, start to get a bit battered and bruised, sharing their space in the fridge with many other veges, jostling for position.  It came time to accept we weren't going to eat all of them.  The really bruised ones would, most likely, get ditched ('cause lets admit it, unless really, really hungry, or hanging out for some vitamins, no one wants to eat the ones with big, brown, soft, bruisy spots).  So I stewed 'em and they became muffins.  Really yum muffins too - they'd work with all sorts of fruit too - apples, pears, feijoas, tamarillos, whatever you have overkill on. 

225 g flour
175 g sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp mixed spice
2 cups stewed apples (I like to stew mine with a little vanilla essence and cinnamon)
125 g butter
1 egg, beaten
  1. Set apples to stew (with any additions you fancy).
  2. Preheat oven to 200 degrees celcius and grease a dozen muffin tins.
  3. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl.
  4. Beat egg with a fork, so ready when you need it. 
  5. Once apples are ready (drain if there's too much excess liquid) add the butter to them and stir until butter is all melted. 
  6. Add to dry ingredients, along with egg, and mix.  Spoon into tins and bake for about 15 minutes. 

02 May 2011

winter warmers #5

Chicken casserole.  Yum.  We got home yesterday after a busy weekend to be faced with that awful Sunday dilemma - what to eat?  You know that feeling when you haven't got anything planned for dinner and you really can't be arsed thinking of something, let alone making it, but takeaways just don't leap out either?  Well, seeing as we'd had steak, sausages and rissoles the night before (BBQ) and didn't want to eat the same, that narrowed down the choices from the freezer.  Chicken, prawns or snapper. 

So KB started to throw together a casserole, the first he'd done in the oven (usually being a crockpot devotee).  It was so so yum - I reckon it was the lemongrass and white wine which were the star ingredients here, followed closely by ginger and soy.  So, when in doubt, get the chicken out.  This served 2. 

4 chicken drumsticks (or any other piece on the bone)
750 ml chicken stock
250 ml white wine
dash dark soy sauce
pinch of salt, grind of pepper
few stalks of lemongrass, cut to fit in dish
fresh herbs (last night thyme and majoram were used)
1 onion, diced
2 cm fresh ginger, finely diced
1 clove garlic, finely diced
  1. Put all ingredients into casserole dish.  Stir to combine. 
  2. Cook in 180 degree celcius oven for a couple of hours (or however long you have, but no less than one hour). 
  3. Remove and serve on mash, with veges on the side (we had pak choi, capsicum and zucchini stir-fried with some sesame oil).  If the sauce is too thin, shake together some flour and milk, to stir in as a thickener. 
Nb: We had plenty of sauce left at the end, so have put it in the fridge (it tasted so good) and are going to use it to make some tasty meatballs for dinner this evening.  Would also be a great base for a chicken and vegetable soup!