21 September 2016

We don't carry guns, we carry cookies

Said comedian Gabriel Iglesias, on travelling like a rapper, just without the heavy artillery.  I can kind of relate.  Not that I see myself as rolling deep, cruising with a posse of coolness, but as a parent I can relate to travelling like a rapper - the quantity of stuff you travel with, the amount of ammo (food) and the ofttimes circusness of it all.  

Everyone loves biscuits.  Well, at least I presume everyone does.  I've met people (both adults and, amazingly, children) who don't like lollies.  Or chocolate.  Ice cream.  Fizzy drinks.  But never, to my knowledge, have I met someone who would really rather not have a biscuit.  The great thing about a biscuit is that, as Sandra Lee said, [They] are the sweetest little bit of comfort food - they are bite-sized and personal".  There's one to suit pretty much everyone.  The classic choc-chips, afghans, Anzacs, florentines, hokey-pokey, gingerbread, shortbread, yo-yos - the list is probably endless.  

So, I got an email the other day from Chelsea Sugar, with a recipe for the good ol' choc chip.  Time to get my bake on.  I swapped out the chips for a couple of good-sized handfuls of M&Ms, just 'cause I like the colour, and the kids love the 'dog biscuits', as they call them (not sure where that started, or why, but....).  

So, fill your cookie coffers with this little treat - school holiday treat?  I made about 36-40 biscuits from this.  

125 butter, softened
1/2 cup soft brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 cup sugar (or caster sugar) 
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
1 egg 
1 3/4 cups SR flour 
1/2 tsp salt 
1/2 cup choc chips (or M&Ms nom nom nom )
  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius (or 160 if fan-forced).  Line or grease biscuit trays (I needed 3).  
  2. Beat butter, sugars and vanilla until pale and creamy.  Add egg and beat until mixed.  
  3. Add flour and salt, mix until combined.  Stir in chocolate.  
  4. Roll out small teaspoon-sized balls (or bigger, for bigger biscuits) and place on baking trays.  Press down lightly with fork.  
  5. Bake for 12 minutes.    

20 September 2016

Fried in butter, tastes like summer

Green beans.  Bok choi.  Asparagus.  Zucchini slices (ok, it's a trifle early for those).  They're all green, they all taste great, and they all..... Love Being Fried In Butter.  Not heavily, or for a long time, just enough to coat them a little and cook them a tad.  I love the taste of butter, hence this recommendation for your spring/summer greens.  Steaming is a far healthier option, and what we actually do a lot of the time.  But sometimes you don't want the purest, healthiest option.  You want a semi-ok option, which tastes great, and isn't going to take away your vege's nutritional value.  Here it is.  

We had beans the other night, alongside kumara mash, baked salmon and salsa (see photo), and the taste was just fantastic.  It reminded me of greens cooked (with butter) on the BBQ in summer.  Hence this post. 

The salsa was another element which really invoked that spectre of impending summer - not a traditional salsa, but one which uses ingredients currently incoming and fresh.  Diced up capsicum (we used both red and yellow, for colour), halved cherry toms, diced cucumber and diced apple (rose variety in this one, but I reckon granny smith would also be wicked!).  Plenty of herbs, and bam, awesome flavour!  

So get thinking about what's in the markets at the moment, fresh vege-wise.  Salsas can enliven any meal (steak, chicken, fish) and can use virtually whatever firm fruit/vege you wish - mango, peach and nectarine also work really well, come summer).  And butter.  Good ol' butter - I promise it'll feel like a BBQ on the deck in no time.  

06 September 2016

Like a bat outta hell I'll be gone when the morning comes

This meatloaf will be gone when the morning comes because it's so damned tasty, leftovers just aren't an option (unless there are only two of you eating it, in which case, yes there may be - this recipe serves 6-8 adults, with side veges).  

KB came across this recipe in the latest Waikato edition of Nourish.  We'd been talking about making a meatloaf, and this seemed to take our humble standard to a whole new level.  It was incredibly tasty, though I don't know that the bacon was really needed - the loaf and sauce were so full on, the bacon was kind of superfluous.  But it probably kept the loaf from drying out in cooking, so....up to you whether you leave that in the recipe, or discard it.  I'm in two minds...  Actually no - next time I'll use the bacon, but then rather than eat it with the meatloaf, I'll save it to chop up and put into a mac cheese, or a BLT, the next day.  Bingo.  Anyhoo peeps, this is a delicious crowd-pleaser, and made the best meatloaf sandwiches too - enjoy!!

1 tbsp butter
1 onion, finely chopped (FC)
1 carrot, FC
1 celery stalk, FC
2 cloves garlic, FC
1 cup FC mushrooms
1/2 cup rolled oats/oatmeal
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/4 cup buttermilk (I used normal milk, with lemon juice squeezed in a few minutes prior to using) 
1/4 cup tomato sauce  
1 tsp Dijon mustard (wholegrain or American would be fine too)
1 kg mince (we used 500g each of beef and pork)
salt and pepper
250 g streaky bacon (we used Magills - OMG amazing, but to be honest, probably won't both next time - would rather eat the bacon as a separate meal!)

BBQ Bourbon Sauce
1 1/2 cups tomato sauce 
3 tbsp Dijon mustard 
1/4 cup brown sugar 
2 tbsp maple syrup 
1/4 cup cider vinegar 
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce 
1/2 cup bourbon 
juice of half an orange
2 tsp Italian seasoning (or garlic salt, or something along those lines)

  1. Place all sauce ingredients into a small pot and simmer for 20 minutes, until thick. 
  2. Heat the butter in a large pan, saute the onion, celery, carrot and garlic for 5 minutes until the veges are soft.  Add mushrooms and cook for a further 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and put aside in a large bowl.  
  3. Add remaining loaf ingredients (except bacon) into bowl and mix thoroughly.  Line a large loaf tin (or use a silicone one) - roughly 15 x 25 cm - and press meatloaf mixture into it.  Poke some holes in the top of the loaf.  Pour 1/4 of the sauce over the meat and bake at 180°C for 30 minutes.  
  4. Transfer loaf to a roasting dish, arrange bacon over the top.  Brush with more sauce and bake for further 30 minutes.  
  5. Serve with mash and greens and a drizzle of the sauce.