Wednesday 29 July 2015

July 2015 - Colin Fassnidge Pot Roast Chicken

Back again with another dish from this issue. There really is a lot of good food in it. Although I haven't made as many as I had planned when first reading through. I am still having fluctuating cooking mojo. Along with that sometimes I just want to make something familiar. The only things I have made lately have been bolognaise sauce, curried sausages and a beef stew (that tastes great but looks vile in a photo). All good food just not all that exciting or really worth blogging. The most recent bolognaise sauce was just a quick, easy version. If I make my long slow cooked version again then I may blog that. Mince, some veg, various tomato substances, wine & herbs really isn't all that thrilling. 

Anyway, I made Colin's pot roast chicken one night. It had quite a lot of flavour to it but there was something about it that I just didn't like that much. I don't even know what it was. Mine didn't colour up that much. Not nearly as much as the one he has pictured. Although I have heard quite a bit about how in some cases you don't want your food to look like the photo. I wonder if that happens in food magazine photo shoots? There was a tv show here in Australia called Gruen Transfer that was all about advertising. One of the guests on there one night was talking about how to get that "wisp" of steam coming off a steak. She said that they soaked a tampon in water, microwaved it and then shoved it under the steak for the photo. It weirded me out then and does again now. There was also talk of gluing sesame seeds onto buns, nailing pizza to get the perfect cheese pull and using brown paint for the pour of chocolate... All fascinating stuff and, well, a bit gross too. 

The flavour of the chicken was great. It was juicy and all. I just didn't like it for some reason. The recipe is available here on the website. 

Sunday 19 July 2015

Pancake Sunday

Do you have any family food traditions. There are a few in our family that I think it is time that I start going through them. I am starting with the easiest one because a lot of them involve a bit of preparation. There are a couple that will not be hitting my kitchen leave alone my dining table. They can be explained along the way when it comes to supposedly "paired" dishes. Anyway, on to pancake Sunday. 

One very clear memory that I have from throughout my childhood is of pancakes. Fluffy, yummy pancakes. My mum & I lived with my grandparents for quite some time when I was young. I think I have mentioned before what a good cook my Gramma was, especially when it came to desserts. However her pancakes were the best. It was a tradition, a major tradition. I am sure there was the occasional Sunday when pancakes weren't the breakfast made however they would be the exception rather than the rule. What do I remember the most. Well, my Gramma would make the pancake batter and put the bacon on to cook. My Grampa would cook the pancakes. They had this great big huge round electric griddle (well that is what they called it) and Grampa would make four smallish pancakes at a time. As they were ready they were moved to a plate in a warm oven so that more could be cooked. When the bacon was cooked Gramma would fry eggs, fresh eggs from the hen house. When they were cooked it was just a matter of assembling it all. 

The table would be set with an array of condiments. There was maple syrup, Log Cabin syrup, homemade saskatoon syrup, jams, cream and yoghurt (especially for my uncle). We all started mostly the same. Pancake, syrup, egg & bacon. Oh, wow it makes my mouth water just thinking about it. Next, for me, was usually pancake, raspberry freezer jam and cream. If, on one of my frequent trips home in my twenties, I was late to rise I would squeeze in another pancake with saskatoon syrup in lieu of lunch. 

I don't have pancakes every Sunday anymore. They are an occasional treat here now mainly because I over eat when I make them. I do make half of this recipe but it still makes 6 pancakes. I have thought about freezing leftovers but there is nothing like fresh pancakes so it usually means that at least 3 go to waste. They aren't the same without the freezer jam or saskatoon syrup either but since neither of those are possible I make do. I have even found myself a very old electric "griddle" to cook them on. Okay, it is rectangular but it is much better than a frypan on the stove.

Gramma's Pancakes 

2 c flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt 
2 tbsp sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 c milk
1 tbsp butter, melted

Combine dry ingredients. Whisk eggs & milk together and then combine with flour mix then add the butter. Let sit 20 - 30 minutes before cooking. 

You may need to add extra milk. I find that sometimes it is a bit thick. 

My pan

Sunday 12 July 2015

Delicious - July 2015 - Dulce de Leche Banana Bread

Congratulations to delicious magazine on the achievement of reaching 150 issues and just look at the amazing cake on the front cover. I definitely want to make that. It may make an appearance for our next Toastmasters meeting. Even if it does take 12 eggs to make it! I mean that is a lot of eggs. However, I really do want to make it...

I am surprised by the amount of recipes in this issue that I actually want to make given how meh I have been so far this year. Although I am starting to think that has had a lot more to do with my lack of cooking mojo. Thinking back over the past 6 months and, for the most part, I have been making some pretty banal food. Nothing wrong with it, easy to do and involves little thinking but nothing to be blogging about. I am sure you don't want to read about me cooking lamb cutlets & veg or steak & veg. Plus you really can only blog lasagne once. I've already blogged the curried sausages. Hmm, there may have been a couple of interesting things in there but I can't think of anything off the top of my head. Oh, there was one really excellent roast pork belly but I have a rather dreadful out of focus picture. I guess I'll just have to make it again.

I have actually already made something else from this issue and will write about that in another post. I would also like to make Matt Wilkinson's Garlic, Ginger & Sesame brown rice, add some chicken & greens and I think it would make a fabulous dinner. His Pumpkin B'Stilla with beetroot & yoghurt sauce sounds really interesting too. I have all but the filo pastry to make it. I hate filo pastry. I can never get it to work for me. I would just use some puff pastry & roll it a little thinner. I might add that to my menu plan for some time this week...Wednesday maybe. (Hahahaha, I said "menu plan"... like that happens)

After mentioning about the endurance of dulce de leche in the fridge and how I had finally used the last of it in my snickers cupcakes I discovered that I needed some again. So I threw all the ingredients in the thermomix and off it went. I actually overcooked it a little so it is a bit more "set" than I would like it to be but all I have to do is toss some in the microwave for a minute on soften/melt function. Plus, it doesn't make any difference when sitting eating it with a spoon. lol. I really liked this banana bread recipe. The addition of the dulce de leche added an amazing moistness to it. Surprisingly it wasn't that sweet. It was welcomed with open arms at my Toastmasters meeting. I would make a few changes to the recipe though. The first is that I would leave out the chocolate chips. Only 50 g in the entire mix and it just seemed kind of pointless. I maintain that walnuts aren't all that nice of a nut so I used pecans for the nuts. I didn't have a loaf pan large enough so I put it in my 20 cm square pan. I think the 22 cm would have been better, it took a long time to cook and I had to foil the top as it was starting to darken too much. I also didn't use the coffee icing on it as we have a member who loathes coffee. I think that there was plenty of favour in it without the coffee icing. My final change would be to put the batter in the cake pan and then dollop and swirl the dulce de leche in as is really dispersed putting it in before putting in the pan.

 Dulce de Leche Banana Bread
adapted from delicious magazine July 2015 pg 88

1 1/4 c (300 g) sour cream
100 ml thickened cream
1 tsp bicarb soda
125 g unsalted butter, melted, cooled
250g caster sugar
2 eggs lightly beaten
1 tsp ground cinnamon (I used 2) 
2 cups (300g) plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 large ripe bananas, mashed
1 cup pecans, chopped (I didn't bother toasting) 
1/3 cup dulce de leche

Pre-heat oven to 160 C (fan-forced)
Grease 22 cm square pan
Combine sour cream, cream & soda in a both, set aside for 10 minutes. 
Mix in butter, sugar & eggs. 
Mix in dry ingredients and then bananas and pecans. 
Spread batter in pan and dollop dulce de leche on and use a knife to swirl through the batter. 
Bake 1 hour, checking at 50 min if using the larger 22 cm pan. If using 20 cm cook about 1 hr 15 min. 


Saturday 4 July 2015

Delicious - June 2015 - Beetroot & Pumpkin Curry

My last post said that I found this issue unread on my dining table. Well, apparently it just looked unread as when I started looking for this recipe it turned out to be in the June issue.

Doesn't the cake on the cover look amazing? I would love to make that but, well you know, I can't bake too much. There is only so much that I can (should) eat. I do get a bit of a chance to bake now that I am in Toastmasters as I get to provide supper for the meetings. So perhaps I will make the Almond cake with poached pears and caramel praline. Sounds awesome doesn't it? Although it might be a be much for one of our meetings. Plus those pears would mean that it wouldn't be "finger food". There are plates there that we can use but, well, then there is just more washing up. lol

The Beetroot & Pumpkin Curry recipe jumped out at me when I was flicking through the magazine. I love both beetroot & pumpkin. I have had pumpkin in curries before but never beetroot. It had me a bit curious. Beetroot are plentiful and pumpkins are in season so it was a really good seasonal meal to make. Like all beetroot dishes the colour is glorious. The earthy flavour of the beetroot combined nicely with the spice. I am not a huge curry fan but I did really enjoy this one. The recipe called for it to be served with flat bread however I didn't feel like making any so I just cooked up some rice. I just used white rice but I think that the nuttiness & chew of brown rice would be much better with this dish. I did really like it but given I am not a huge curry lover and freezing didn't go well I doubt I would make it again.

Beetroot & Pumpkin Curry
by Jill Dupleix
Delicious magazine June 2015 pg 58

800 g baby beetroot, stalks trimmed & scrubbed (I used 3 or 4 regular beetroot)
400 g butternut pumpkin, peeled & cut into 2 cm pieces
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 long red chilli, thinly sliced
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp tumeric
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp chilli powder (I would add a bit more)
50 g baby spinach (I used finely slice silverbeet)
1 tbsp sunflower oil
2 tbsp raw unsalted cashews,
Natural yoghurt & fried curry leaves to serve (I didn't have curry leaves)

Boil beetroot until tender. Drain saving 2 cup cooking liquid.
Cook onion until soft & then add garlic, chilli, tumeric, cumin & chilli powder and cook until fragrant. Add tomato paste and cook for a further minute. Add beetroot "stock" and pumpkin. Simmer until tender (approx 15 min)
Peel beetroot, chop & process 150 g to a puree. Chop remaining beetroot. Add both to the pumpkin mixture. Cook until heated through. Add spinach and stir in to wilt.
Serve with rice, yoghurt & cashews.

Pumpkin & beetroot curry

Monday 29 June 2015

Snickers Cupcakes

Well, hello there. It has certainly been a while. However, here I am writing again. I haven't really got the cooking mojo thing happening again however I do have the urge to write again. I do have a massive back catalogue of stuff that I have cooked in the last year when I just didn't feel like writing. So I may get on to posting some of those. Might be a bit of a stretch to remember some of them though. Photos are great but they cannot always revive the tastes and smells of something in the distant past. I will try though.

I can't say if it was delicious magazine that lost me or if I was just so ambivalent about cooking etc that I glazed over a lot of very good recipes. I will go back and have a look at the last few months. I found last month's issue buried on my table yesterday with not even a page turned. The new issue came out today. I have dutifully bought it although that has more to do with the absolutely stunning cake on the front cover, oh and the fact that it is the 150th issue, than duty. Although there is a bit of duty to given that I have a standing order for it from my local newsagent and, well, I just haven't gotten around to cancelling it. They put a sticker with my name on it and everything so I just can't say no to that, lol. I do have one thing that I made from the April issue (I think) that I will get posted up next.

My first post in ages is inspired by my desire to share these cupcakes far and wide. It was my birthday last week. I'm not saying how old because, well, I don't want to be this old. Unfortunately, I didn't really have a choice. Let's just say it was one of those 0 birthdays... sigh. I did have a nice day. My boss & his wife took me to lunch, my grandparents came along too. I received some lovely flowers, a few lovely text messages, fabulous forum messages and facebook posts. Since there wasn't much of a celebration I decided that I would make myself some cupcakes as a "happy birthday me".

I loooooove snickers bars. I mean really. I don't buy them because if I do I inhale them. My doctor tells me it is okay to buy them occasionally and suggests eating them "mindfully". Ha ha ha ha. No, they get inhaled. I can plan the whole mindful thing up to the point where I open it and, well, the next thing I know it is gone. I've seen all sorts of recipes over the years for snickers cupcakes and they usually involve the use of the actual snickers bar in them at some point. But, yeah, that just isn't going to happen here. They would be inhaled before going any where near being chopped up or melted down for use in cupcakes. So I decided that I would use all the elements and see what came out. So what did I do. I made chocolate cupcakes, cut a hole in the centre and filled with dulce de leche, iced with peanut butter buttercream and then sprinkled with chopped nuts and grated dark chocolate. **drool**

I wasn't sure on a chocolate cupcake recipe. I sometimes use my regular cake recipe but it makes such a big mix. Anyway I googled and the top result was a recipe from an old Notebook magazine issue (I miss that magazine). They were really easy and quite tasty. Possibly not quite as chocolatey as I would have liked but they were a nice texture, slightly dense which was perfect for my purposes. I also liked that they weren't overly sweet since there was plenty of sweetness to come. I would definitely make these again, oh actually I already have.

Notebook: - April 2009 , Page 155
Recipe by


Preheat oven to 160°C. Line 18 x 1/3-cup (80ml) capacity muffin pans with paper cases.

Combine the chocolate and water in a small saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Use an electric mixer to beat the butter and sugar until pale and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition, until just combined. Add the flours and cocoa powder and stir until just combined. Add the melted chocolate mixture and stir to combine. Spoon evenly among the lined muffin pans. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Next was the dulce de leche. I had this in the fridge, I have had it in the fridge forever. I made it in my thermomix, ages and ages and ages ago. I was kind of surprised that it was still okay. There was a bit of crystalised sugar on top but not bad and it still tasted great. Plus, not dead so it was fine, lol. I cannibalised a few recipes online for this one. Good thing I scribbled it down as I went, I don't always do that.

Dulce de Leche

1 litre milk
100 g sugar
150 g brown sugar
300 g cream
1/2 teaspoon bicarb soda

Place all in the bowl, 45 - 50 minutes; Varoma; Sp 5.
Use the basket on lid for evaporation without splatter.

**Will keep forever**
(Oooh, I just looked at my flickr feed. The photo I took of the finished product was taken on 29/6/2013, so yeah 2 years. Um, how on earth did a pot of caramel last in my fridge for 2 years? It wasn't like I didn't know it was there. **startled face**)

Now, for snickers, you obviously need nuts and what better way to get that in than peanut butter buttercream. This turned out nice and creamy, not too sweet.

Peanut Butter Buttercream

165 g butter
3/4 c peanut butter
500g icing sugar
1-2 tbsp milk

Cream butter & peanut butter until smooth. Add icing sugar slowly. Add milk to get consistency desired.


Use a knife to cut a cone shape into the cupcake. Fill that with dulce de leche, pipe buttercream on and then top with grated chocolate & chopped nuts.

Snickers cupcake

Snickers cupcake

Snickers cupcake

Saturday 31 January 2015

January 2015 - Heirloom tomato & haloumi salad

Just squeaking in here with my January recipe. Goodness it was a long hard road to get here. 

My cruise around New Zealand was amazing. The food was just incredible. So much variety and so good. I will post some of the photos I have in another post. I was incredibly good on the cruise though and didn't just pig out on the food. I came home without having put on any weight! Even though I tried a lot of food I ate small amounts of it. 

Unfortunately I came home and discovered that food didn't just appear in a buffet in front of me. The well cooked, tasty and mainly healthy food just wasn't appearing. I have actually put on weight since coming home and I have kind of fallen into a can't be bothered hole. A lot of people have said to me that if they lived on their own they wouldn't bother cooking. I have always said that I love to cook and, well, you have to eat decent meals. However, this past month the food hasn't been great. I have been eating breakfast most days. I do try to have a good lunch every day, even if it has involve buying it every week day. It is bloody expensive but it is better than nothing at all or just snacking.

I really need to get my mojo back. I need to get back into a routine. What I am eating is off a bit, I am not exercising as much and my sleep, while I am getting more it still isn't that restful.

Eat, sleep, exercise

They are the three main things that underpin all things in our lives. If there isn't some kind of balance there then a bunch of other things will sprout from it. 

The food has been random. 

My exercise has been less frequent. My main form of exercise is swimming and I got a new tattoo 2 weeks ago so have not been allowed to swim. They said give it two weeks but it isn't completely healed yet so will need another week. There are plenty of other forms of exercise though. So I really need to get off my butt and get out there doing them. 

Sleep is, well, I am not sure how to describe it. I bought myself a vivofit a few weeks ago. My doctor had suggested it as a way of keeping track of my sleep. It is really very interesting. I have been sleeping for a longer time than I had previously thought but I am very restless and don't hit a deep sleep for any length of time. 

When looking for another recipe to make out of this double issue this was one that caught my eye. Easy, quick and fresh. Even though it is a really easy recipe I still took a couple of short cuts but hey it got a good meal on my table. Do whatever you need to so that you can get back into it. I'm just going to write this as I did it.

Heirloom tomato & haloumi salad 
(serves 1)

1 tbsp garlic olive oil
1 tsp butter
1 slice sourdough bread, torn
haloumi slices
Mixed heirloom tomatoes (I got the cherry tomato mix)
1/2 lebanese cucumber, deseeded & sliced
handful salad leaves
your favourite vinaigrette dressing, I used Paul Newman's Classic 

Heat oil & garlic over a medium heat. Toss in bread & cook until golden. Set aside. 
Fry haloumi in the same pan until soft & melty (I cooked mine too long). 
Combine all ingredients.