Baking


BBQ Man is a supremely capable Dad, but I thought I’d help out a little by cooking and freezing some meals for when I’m away in Melbourne. Otherwise I don’t think a single piece of vegetable will be eaten by BBQ Man or Little Miss over the 7 days that I’m away. So I did a cookout on the weekend, and made  beef and vegetable goulash pie, lamb and spinach pasta bake, Tex Mex bake (vegetarian, muahaha!) and soy sauce chicken with rice, (which hopefully BBQ Man will slice up some cucumber to eat with).

To make beef and vegetable goulash pie, fry 500g beef mince and a cup each of chopped pumpkin, carrot and peas with an onion. Add 2 heaped tablespoons of paprika and 1/2 cup water. Season well with salt and pepper. Place in a baking dish and top with either a sheet of puff pastry or mash potato, and bake.

I topped mine with mash potato, and added a touch of whimsy which I’m pretty sure the Little Miss would like.

I sprinkled paprika into a heart-shaped pancake/egg ring…

Voila!

Have a great week ahead and I’ll see you back here on Thursday.

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Creme brulee is that irresistible combination of crunchy on the outside and gooey on the inside, and of soft vanilla accents amidst the bite of burnt sugar. It’s a dessert so simple and yet, so, so decadent. A whole little pot of cream, enriched with egg yolks and infused with vanilla, topped with caramelised sugar, for each person! Bliss!

There are many variations on this classic French dessert. Dark Chocolate with Hazelnut praline, Coffee Creme Brulee, Baileys Creme Brulee, Chocolate, Orange and Cardamom Creme Brulee… You’ll find a selection of those creme brulee recipes at http://www.taste.com.au/. (Just type in creme brulee in the search option.) I used the first recipe on that page, featured in Delicious Magazine. My variations on the recipe: I used a grill to burn the sugar, and the old thing wasn’t quite hot enough to completely melt the sugar – but it still caramelised and had a good crunch to it. Also, I used vanilla paste instead of vanilla bean.

Enjoy! 

Once in a while, BBQ Man’s Dad breaks out of character and does something rather unexpected. (Like pocketing some interesting bouncing rocks from a national park, but we won’t get into that…) This weekend he coolly turned out 4 perfect pizzas as if he’s been making them all his life! They were so good that I ate far too many pieces and could barely move from the table. And looking at the pics now…groan…I want some for breakfast!! Thanks Dad, they were deeeelicious!

First up, grab yourself a ready-made pizza base. Squeeze a sachet of tomato paste on.

Swirl the paste around with the back of a spoon. When you get tired,

hand the task over to an eager assistant.

Top the pizza with assorted goodies…

such as pan-fried chicken breasts, cherry tomatoes, ham, fried red onions and mushrooms

Don’t forget the cheese!

Pop it in a hot oven until the cheese melts

Slice, top with baby spinach leaves and serve.

(I LOVED the spinach leaves, it gave a new and entirely delicious dimension to pizza.)

When can we come over for pizza again, Dad?

These little gems have oats, yoghurt and three different kinds of fruit in them, and have no sugar! They’re sweetened with only a little honey, and the result is a barely-there hint of sweetness, very moist and blueberry-juicy kind of muffin. I like having them on their own, or warmed up, split and buttered. If you like it sweet, split them and spread some jam on them (oh, that’s got my mouth watering!) I’m also going to try it with some spreadable Philly cream cheese. The beauty of their being not-very-sweet is that you have the choice of having something a little savoury with them, like some salted butter, or sweet, ie with jam or honey. They’ve been a welcome change to the ol’ breakfast routine. Enjoy!

Best Ever Breakfast Muffins

Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients

2 cups self-raising flour

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2/3 cup rolled oats

2 eggs, lightly beaten

200g natural yoghurt

2 medium ripe bananas, mashed

1 medium apple, grated

1/2 cup honey

1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

Method

Preheat oven to 190°C/170°C fan-forced.

Line twelve 1/3 cup-capacity non-stick muffin holes with large paper cases.

Sift flour and cinnamon into a bowl. Stir in rolled oats. Make a well in the centre.

Add eggs, yoghurt, banana, apple and honey. Stir to just combine. Fold in blueberries.

Divide mixture between paper cases.

 Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden and a skewer inserted into 1 muffin comes out clean.

You’ll find the original recipe here

 

Let’s face it. There’s nothing quite as irresistible as a pasta bake. Pasta ranks right up there on the comfort food stakes, and when it’s served all simmering and snug under a blanket of melted cheese…moan… (Great! Now all I’m thinking of is the leftovers in the fridge. Argh!) I love pasta bakes with chunky veggies, which cleverly absorb all the lovely, herby tomatoey flavours in the sauce, while it bakes. I threw this together for dinner with the vegetables that I had in the fridge – mushrooms, zucchini and carrot. Feel free to change the veggies to suit your tastes. There’s a vegetarian alternative given in the recipe. Enjoy!

josashimi’s pasta bake

Ingredients:

200 g bacon, chopped OR 200 g sun dried tomatoes, chopped

300 g zucchini, sliced into batons (about 3 medium-sized zucchini)

200 g carrot, grated (about 2 medium-sized carrots)

200 g mushrooms, sliced

2-4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

200 – 300 g cheese, grated (more, if you like!)

150 g sour cream

400 g canned tomatoes

1/2 tsp mixed dried herbs

500 g pasta

Chopped parsley, to taste

Method:

Heat oil in pan and fry garlic, stirring, for 3-4 minutes (make it  5-8 minutes for the vegetarian option).

Add bacon and cook for a further 5 minutes.

Add zucchini and mushrooms to pan for 5 minutes, then add carrot and dried herbs (and sun dried tomatoes). Cook for further 3-5 minutes, stirring.

Add tomatoes and sour cream, mix thoroughly and bring to a simmer for 2 minutes. Set aside while you cook the pasta.

Cook the pasta a minute or two less than packet instructions. (This will give you a tastier pasta bake, because the slightly undercooked pasta will then finish cooking in the oven, and will better absorb the sauce)

Toss the pasta with the sauce and pour into a baking dish. Top with grated cheese and bake in a 200C oven for 30 minutes, or until the top just begins to brown.

Serve with a generous topping of chopped parsley.

 

 

These cinnamon rolls…what can I say. They were difficult to make, and even more difficult to photograph. I was quite convinced that I wouldn’t be able to blog about them – how could I recommend a recipe that had me floundering in the kitchen, the product of which looked like a blob before and after it’d been baked? Well. I ate one, you see. (Then I quickly ate another, but that’s beside the point.) Suffice to say, these were just much, much too delicious not to share. I split a roll open, still warm from the oven, and generously spread butter over…took a bite into soft, buttery, cinnamony heaven. The rolls were light, ever so slightly salty and sweet and the cinnamon was like a rich anointing, warm and oh-so fragrant. Sigh. It was good.

  

      

Coming back to reality – these were tricky to make because the dough was very soft and sticky, hence difficult to handle. The recipe said to lay on flour like a snowstorm on the benchtop and then on the dough, when shaping and rolling out. I ended up throwing fistsful of flour all over the benchtop, myself and the Little Miss, (who thought it was it was great) and finally got the dough unsticky enough to roll and cut. No amount of shaping and prodding would make the blobs of dough look like pretty little rolls, so I ended up with baked cinnamon blobs. Not pretty by any means, but wonderful to eat. (I enjoyed breakfast this morning, in case you had any doubts.)

Here is the recipe, which promises cinnamon rolls, made and baked within an hour. http://www.myfirstkitchen.net/blog/2009/5/11/buttermilk-cinnamon-rolls.html It has great step-by-step pics to guide you through the storm. The prize for wading through all that snow-I mean, flour, is absolutely worth it.

 

Recipe Tip

This recipe calls for buttermilk. You can make a substitute by adding lemon juice to milk, which curdles it and gives it a similar texture to buttermilk. For this recipe I used the same quantity of milk as for the buttermilk, and the juice of 1 lemon. Make it before you begin the recipe and it will be ready when the time comes to mix the wet ingredients in with the dry.

 

Meet Nigella Lawson’s Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake. It’s rather ironic that it’s an old fashioned cake, because this recipe thrills the food geek in me. I was drawn to it mainly because it’s one of her food processor cake recipes. All the ingredients go into the food processor, gets processed and voila, the batter is ready. See? Nothing old-fashioned about that, is there? Plus, it’s easy as to make! But I’ve made it again and again since then not so much because it’s easy, but because I love how this chocolate cake tastes.  Love.it. Chocolatey and not-too-sweet. It’s officially my favourite chocolate cake.

The other thing that the food geek in me loves about this recipe is this : I was given some lovely digital scales for Christmas, and it makes making this cake even more of…a piece of cake! (Sorry, couldn’t help myself!) Now, all I need do is to place the bowl of my food processor on my scales, tare it (ie press ‘zero’), and then measure out each ingredient straight into the food processor bowl, hitting ‘zero’ before I add the next ingredient. No messing around with mixing bowls and spoons! Just have fun pressing buttons! I should re-name it the Hi-Tech Choc Cake.

Weigh + Spin

Pour + Bake

Eat!

Here’s the link to the recipe for the cake. http://www.lifestylefood.com.au/recipes/1637/oldfashioned-chocolate-cake Most of the instructions are about how to make the icing. Which looks luscious, I have to admit, but I’ve not attempted to make it because it kind of takes away from the quick-n-easy-ness that I like about this recipe. In fact, I iced the cake with Betty Crocker’s Vanilla Icing, because I’d bought some for a kids craft project and there was just enough leftover. And, true to my casual (disrespectful) attitude to recipes, I ignored the instructions to use 2 x 20cm cake tins, and bunged the lot into a 23cm tin.

Enjoy!

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