28 February 2014

All roads lead to Wellington

Well, not entirely true.  Only two roads lead to Wellington, something that would prove problematic should a natural disaster occur.  However, I digress.  

We had some leftover sheets of pastry recently, from a bout of pie-making, so thought 'hey - what about beef wellingtons?'.  I hadn't had these for absolutely years, not since I was a kid and Mum used to sometimes make them for dinner parties.  Her ones were always tasty, and I knew the key was not putting too big a slab of meat inside - you want to have a good meat:pastry ratio.  

So, we decided to stick with the traditional beef ('cause I can't see why you couldn't have chicken, lamb, or simply a vegetable filling), but with plenty of onion and mushrooms in with it, to heighten the flavour of the meat.  So, I panfried a small piece (about the size of my palm) of sirloin - salted, peppered, and beaten a bit too, to make sure it was tender.  Place that on a sheet of pastry big enough to fold over the meat (and whatever else you throw in there) and close around the edges.  If you're adding other bits in, do this now too.  We gave the onion and 'shrooms a wee fry too (in butter, of course!).  Press edges of the pastry down and brush with egg - this'll give the wellington a nice golden sheen when its done.  Bake in the oven for about 10-15 minutes, or until it's the right colour.  

Now, traditionally a beef wellington has a layer of pâté on the beef, but that sounded too rich a parcel for me.  But if you're feeling traditional and want to invoke the shade of the 1st Duke of Wellington (his favourite dish, according to some sources), then grab your fav fois gras and get cooking!  

26 February 2014

go bananas with some mini muffin madness

These little gems are the tastiest banana muffins I've ever made.  I've made loads before, but these ones, with soft brown sugar in place of regular or raw sugar, are super tasty and light.  I've made mini ones for one reason - they're a better size for school lunches and almost-one-year-olds.  This made 36 mini muffins, so should keep us going for a few days!  

1 1/2 cups self-raising flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup chocolate chips (or a few more)
3/4 cup mashed banana
1/2 cup oil
1 egg
3/4 cup milk

  1. Preheat oven to 180°c and grease mini muffin tray.
  2. Mix dry ingredients in bowl. 
  3. In another bowl beat egg, stir in oil and milk, then mix in the banana. 
  4. Combine dry and wet ingredients.  Spoon into muffin trays and bake for about 10-12 minutes.  
  5. Remove from oven and let sit for a few minutes before removing to wire racks to cool.