Saturday, November 22, 2008

Katharine's 6th birthday party, and gift cake

So. Katharine's 6th birthday party today.
I had originally organised to hold it at a park, but with the severe storms, and now the heat and humidity, we changed it to Hungry Jacks.
There's a pic (above) of the cake. It's a 2 layered sponge, with whipped cream inside. The frosting is just a simple vanilla frosting, the straps are a sour strawberry strap, and thats Smarties for polka dots. Oh. And the curly ribbon is inedible ;)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Hibiscus tea

Its Spring here, now, so iced tea season.
This one is super simple, and "magic".

Get a few (I used around a dozen) hibiscus flowers.
Take the stamens out, and remove the green bits.
Put them into a tea pot.
Pour boiling water over, and add almost too much sugar (I use raw. Much nicer taste)
Allow to brew for a short while.
Pour into glasses with lots of ice.

And now the magic bit...
It looks a dark brown purple now.
Add a squeeze of lemon juice, and it'll go bright red!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Herbed salt

Break up a good handful of the herb of choice, such as rosemary or basil.
Place in the bottom of a mortar and pestle.
Add a good handful of salt.
Bash the salt and herb together, until the salt goes the bright green (or appropriate colour) of the herb.

You can do this with orange peel and sugar, or lemon and sugar, or vanilla beans and sugar, etc, too.

The salts and sugars keep indefinitely in a sealed glass jar (I recycle the dried herb jars from the supermarket).

Use these to top savoury dishes or sweet dishes.

Pop tarts

Pastry sheets Filling (Jam, chocolate spread, cheese spread) Flavoured salt or sugar Cut one sheet (approximately 30 cm or 12 in square) into 3 equal-ish rectangles.
In the centre of each rectangle, leaving 1.5 cm along the edges, spread your choice of jam, chocolate spread, or cream cheese spread.
Fold in half length ways.
Press edges with a fork (it looks pretty, and it seals it together)
Knife small cuts into the top, and brush with milk
Place on a greased flat tray.
For the savoury (cheese) pop tarts, sprinkle with salt (I have rosemary salt... I'll write up how to make that later). The sweet ones get a sprinkling of raw or demerara sugar.
Bake in moderate (350F or 180C) oven for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.

I use pre-made, frozen shortcrust pastry because pastry is something I just Don't Do. I can make it, I'm just lazy that way.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sweet cardamom and cinnamon coconut rice

Wash 1 1/2 cups rice well.
Add 1 cup water, and a tin of coconut cream.
Add 2 cinnamon sticks, and 6 cardamom pods, cracked open.
stir in 3 heaped tablespoons of sugar.
Cook using the normal absorption method for rice.

In another saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons of sugar, and add a can of coconut cream. simmer gently for 5 minutes.
Serve the sauce over the coconut rice

Monday, September 8, 2008

Chicken in creamy white wine sauce

Finely chop 1 leek (leave the green part - it can be used for stocks/soups)
Chop half dozen cup mushrooms (thinly sliced)

Poach 3 chicken breasts.
Fry off the leek in a frying pan with a half cup dry white wine, until transparent.
Add the mushrooms, and continue to fry until soft (use the lid).
Remove chicken from poaching liquid (use the same white wine, with bay leaf and water) when cooked. Cube roughly.
Add fresh cream (not thickened) to the mushrooms and leeks, bring to simmer.
Toss in the chicken, and bring back to simmer.
When simmered, add enough pasta (of choice) for 4 adults.
Serve with blanched snow peas or broccoli.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Baked eggs with prosciutto

Spray a muffin tray with canola or other oil.
Preheat oven to 180C, or 350F.
Line 6 muffin holes with prosciutto.
Place some coarsely chopped green onions in the base of the prosciutto "cup"
Crack an egg into each "cup".
Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until egg is cooked.
Serve with thick, buttered toast.

Serves 3 adults, or 2 adults, 2 children

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Tonights meal is proudly brought to you by chunky mediterranean vegies

Cook enough pasta for 3 people.
In heavy based, large frying pan, seal meat of choice (This also infers you can not use meat, if you so desire). Remove meat from frying pan and finish cooking in oven (A later post will detail how to cook the perfect steak).
De-glaze with white wine or dry sherry (you can use stock if you don't drink alcohol).
Add chunky chopped onions, zucchini, yellow squash, snow peas, and other chunky hard vegies of choice.
Around 2 minutes before serving, add a good double handful of cherry tomatoes (these should all be chopped in half, or the seeds with spurt at a super hot temp and burn the inside of your mouth), and some (seeded, whole) black olives.
Stir through some pesto and the pasta, and right before serving, some good mozarella or bocconcini cheese.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Ham parcels

chop up 100 g ham
mix in 1 cup mayonnaise, and a large handful of cheese.
add 1 teaspoon of mustard powder
cut a square of prerolled puff pastry into 3 strips.
place a decent spoonful of ham mixture on one end of the pastry. fold over continuously to make triangles
bake in moderate oven for 15-20 minutes

This can easily be made vegetarian by using mushrooms, brocoli or spinach instead of the ham

Chocolate croissants

take 1 square of frozen, prerolled puff pastry.
Cut into 4 triangles.
Spread Nutella (or other chocolate/choc hazlenut spread) along the longest edge.
Sprinkle with grated chocolate *
Roll from the longest edge towards the tip.
Curl the ends in.
Bake in a moderate oven for 15 minutes or until golden.

* I've done it without the grated chocolate, and it still turns out well. Just spread the Nutella a little thicker ;)

Cheesey-mite scrolls

This one is pretty easy

Get 1 piece of pre rolled, frozen puff pastry.
Spread vegemite over so that you can see it, leaving around 2 cm along one edge. Don't spread it too thin, it'll sweeten as it gets cooked.
Sprinkle a generous amount of cheese over the vegemite.
Roll up from the end that is totally covered towards the end that has no vegemite and cheese.
Cut into wheels around 1.5 cm / half inch thick.
Bake in oven for around 15 minutes, or until golden, at 180C