Friday, November 19, 2010

My new blog button

I've finally folded and decided I should do this.
So, I played with GIMP this morning until I had something I like.
Do you like?
So, the thing is, you can now have this VERY SAME BUTTON on your blog, and all you need to do is copy and paste the code I shall be leave at the bottom of this post. I will need to edit it (of course) so that I get the correct location for the button, and I will also be playing with the html boxes on the side so I have a permalink there for it.


Friday, October 8, 2010

Baked pork chops with caramelised apple

I did this one the other day. I looked in the freezer, saw some rather large pork chops, and had an Idea (intentional capitalisation). It worked well, because I used the same sauce I baked the pork chops in for the spare ribs the kids had, and it was snazzy enough for the guest we had for dinner, too (I found out she'd be eating with us at 430 in the afternoon)

  • 1 large pork chop per adult
  • 2 pork spare ribs per child
  • 2 potatoes per person
  • 6 rashers bacon
  • Ginger (grated)
  • cinnamon (ground)
  • bourbon (eyeball this bit)
  • Brown sugar (around 1 cup, not firmly packed)
  • 4 large green apples, peeled and diced roughly
  • 2oz (60g) butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger

  1. Mix bourbon, a good measure of cinnamon and a good measure of grated ginger with the brown sugar. Add some water if you think it needs it.
  2. Pour over the pork chops (and spare ribs) and turn them a few times while you're chopping up the potatoes.
  3. Cook the potatoes for smashing in plenty of boiling, salted water.
  4. AT THE SAME TIME put the pork into a moderate (180C) oven to cook while you're doing everything else.
  5. Melt butter in heavy based frying pan, add in the apples, and start the caramelise them. Add in the brown sugar, cinnamon and ginger. Coat the apples well in the resulting caramel sauce, and reduce heat as much as you can.
  7. Cook bacon your preferred way (oven, under the grill in the oven, microwave - just make sure it's crunchy)
  8. Smash the potatoes with a good helping of butter, and season sparingly. Add in the crumbled bacon, and a good handful of cheese.

Serve it all up on a plate, with plenty of Wet Ones nearby

Chicken and mushroom pasta bake

I made this one last night, and found it stupidly easy.
You could easily add in some good chunks of bacon, and it would make a lovely chicken boscaiola sauce.

  • 1 packet pasta (we used penne, but any pasta will work well)
  • 1 leek - finely chopped
  • 200g mushrooms - finely sliced
  • A good splash of white wine
  • Olive oil
  • Philadelphia cream for cooking (I apologise for the flash, but I didn't design that site :P )
  • Cheese for sprinkling and baking

  1. Cook pasta according to directions on packet.
  2. Heat olive oil in a heavy based pan.
  3. Cook chicken, mushrooms and leeks together in the olive oil. Season to taste.
  4. When chicken is sealed, add the white wine, and reduce.
  5. Toss the chicken mixture and the Philly through the cooked, drained pasta.
  6. Pour the lot into a baking dish (I used a lasagne dish), sprinkle over some cheese, and bake in a moderate (180C) oven until golden brown.
You can reheat the leftovers in a microwave by sprinkly a small amount extra cheese on top, and heating through.
You can also make ahead, but cook on a lower temp in the oven.

a lovely little chart you may like

I often look in my pantry and think "what can I make with this?"
And then I found this chart (from HomeEc101).
It made me think about some of the things I cook, and it looks like substitution cooking is possible, too.
I apologise for the size, but it is small print.

Prepare for the flood!

I realise I've been very slack lately, so I'll be posting a few things in the next few days - probably today, in fact.
Just a warning for those who get the RSS feed ;)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Pasta night

Thursday nights are pasta nights in my house.
The reason is simple. Ian (that is, the InfoxicatedMan) doesn't like pasta (inorite? who doesn't like pasta?), and Thursday nights is Band Night.
This recipe is my standby, budget pasta recipe. I've added salami to it before, and fresh cherry tomatoes, and bocconcini, but as a general rule, this is it.

  • Pasta of choice (I've been using rollini lately, but I imagine penne or spirali would work well, too)
  • minced garlic to taste
  • chili to taste
  • sundried tomatoes
  • olives (pitted are best, and I normally use kalamata)
  • a tablespoon of tomato paste

  1. Cook the pasta as per the instructions on the packet. Make sure it's al dente.
  2. Heat a heavy based pan on the cook top.
  3. Add in some of the oil from the tomatoes or olives (its generally olive oil anyways).
  4. Gently fry the garlic and chili.
  5. Add in chopped sundried tomatoes and the tomato paste.
  6. Stir through the olives.
  7. Allow all to heat through.
  8. Add drained pasta.

If you are adding salami, fry it off in chunks with the garlic and olive oil.
Prosciutto and pancetta should be fried (or baked) until crispy, and crumbled through at the last minute.
Any mozarella or bocconcini should be stirred through at the same time as the pasta.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Cocktail bar - Moscow Mule

I'm sitting here, drinking vodka lemonade and thinking what I could possibly do with the 1L of vodka my husband brought back duty free when he came back from Switzerland - and then I thought of the Vodka Mule.
Smirnoff at the moment have an RTD (ready to drink) called Smirnoff Mule at the moment, and I know 3 different recipes for this - I'm gonna give you my favourite first, and then the alternatives, which I'm not so sure on.

  • 50 mL vodka (always use Smirnoff - mostly because its what I drink, and its also what tends to be the "house" vodka at pubs I work at)
  • Lime
  • Dry ginger ale

  1. Muddle the lime in an old fashioned glass
  2. Add the vodka
  3. Add ice to top of glass
  4. Top with dry ginger ale

The alternatives I know are using ginger beer, which is much spicier in flavour, and using lime cordial/syrup instead of real lime. If you're gonna use the lime syrup, make sure its the very pale chartreuse coloured syrup, not that dark green-kids-love-it stuff

Friday, September 10, 2010

Corned beef

I mentioned to my friend, Destri (the same one mentioned here) that I should do a corned beef post, so here it is.
I've noticed a lot of my friends wouldn;t know how to cook corned beef, even if the piece of meat and a boiler (with the pickling brine in it) were put in front of them.
This is a recipe similar to what my husbands grandmother used to make, but developed for our personal tastes.

  • A decent sized chunk of silverside or "corning" beef
  • 1/2 cup vinegar for each kg (2 lbs) beef
  • water to cover
  • sugar, salt, peppercorns, bay leaves and cloves to taste
  1. Place heavy pot boiler or stockpot on stove top with the above ingredients
  2. bring to boil
  3. reduce and simmer for a minimum of 2 hours
Serve with cabbage, mashed potatoes and white sauce

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A product review...

I generally don't do them unless something really OMG! comes up, and this is it.

I drink a lot of coffee. Read several mugs worth of bitter, dark coffee a day (yeah, I drink it with milk, but I can't drink plain black coffee as a rule).
Anyways, as I was walking through the supermarket yesterday, I came across Zolito coffee, in pop up cup sized filters. (I'd give you a link on their site, but a) I don't read or speak Thai, and b) it doesn't seem to be listed)
Anyways, here's the point (and yes, there is one). It makes a nice cup, and at $3.60 for a pack of 6, it's not bad....
Now to see if I can work out how to make my own cup filters...

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Destri's Zesty Refrigerator Pickles

I've copied this recipe exactly from my friend, Destri.

Just so we're all on the same page, Destri is a mate that I chat to online - ex-Navy, and an all round Good Bloke.

I'd give you his real name, but we're all kind of private about stuffs like that :)

1 large cucumber, cleaned and sliced into half-chips. (makes 2 -12 oz jars)

baby carrots

Onion optional

Rice wine vinegar

Hot water

1 Jalapeno

1 jar of banana peppers (you want pepper-infused vinegar)

2 (or more) clean jars with sealing lids.

Dried basil (or fresh)

Hot sauce (your fave, I used Frank's redhot sauce this week)

First off you want a jar that is just jalapeno peppers and/or hot banana peppers. You can refill this over and over with the rice vinegar and make more pepper-infused vinegar. You can add some of these pickled peppers to your pickle jars, and keep refilling your pepper-vinegar jar with fresh sliced peppers.

For refrigerator pickles, you want a mixture of 3/4 vinegar to 1/4 water for your brine. I'm on a low-sodium diet, so I'm not using any salt.

Fill your jars with the sliced cucumbers and carrots (if wanted). Pour hot brine over the pickles in the jar and then seal them. Shake it a lot and put it in the fridge. They will be awesome in 3 days and last a total of 2 weeks.

Brine this week.

2 parts Pepper-infused rice vinegar

1/4 cup of Frank's red hot sauce

1 part plain rice vinegar

1 part hot water. (1/3 of the vinegar amount)

Dried basil, 1 tsp

Garlic powder 1 tbsp.

-I stirred this all together in a large cup, letting the spices rehydrate. Try the brine it should be really zesty and have a serious twang. The pickles will be about 1/2 of this twang. The cucumbers have their own water that will mix with this. I added a few of the pickled Jalapeño slices to the jar.

These pickles seem to get better the spicier they are. You can reuse the brine I'd say 1 more time within the 2 week period. After that, start fresh with a new brine. I'd say that these are "Medium spicy", which for me is spicy enough. Lower-spicy threshold will say "Those are spicy!" but keep eating them. People who regularly eat Thai and Indian food will think they are good and just keep eating them. I haven't been able to make them /too/ spicy yet. This may be a challenge for somebody. Probably putting sliced jalapeños in the jar with the pickles should kick them up, and make the pickled jalapeños tasty as well. Adding onion slices makes tasty pickled onions. It's a pretty tolerant recipe for changes. These are dynamite out of the jar as a snack or on a sandwich. We pretty much just eat them out of the jar at game night. Interspersed with chips, bread, cheese etc.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

I need a new script...

One that will allow me to take images from other cooking blogs, condense them in a 3 by 3 multi image, and then blog it. I'm searching for it as we speak.
I figure that'll help me concentrate on adding some colour and interest to this blog, and also show you my inspirations for colour and cooking for the week.
Of course, I need a name and a day I do this on.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

My wedding anniversary

Yesterday was my 8th wedding anniversary.
That's right, I've been married to the InfoxicatedMan for 8 years now.
Unfortunately, Ian wasn't able to be here yesterday at all, since he had to be on a 5am flight to go to Switzerland with The Band this morning.
For this reason, we had a family dinner on Monday night - roast lamb, potatoes, sweet potatoes, roasted onions, and peas and corn.
Oh, and the InfoxicatedMan made gravy.
From scratch.
And that is the recipe I will post later this week. Real gravy, without using an instant gravy mix.

Friday, July 30, 2010

The cocktail bar - Mojito

Okay, so it's winter, but I love a good drink.
And since a friend just finished all the paperwork for her divorce today, its time for a damned good drink.
Tomorrow night, I will be making Bel a few of these - we're mourning a part of her life that should have been happy, but at the same time, celebrating the fact that she is less than 2 months from finally being free of her wife bashing ex husband.
So, here's to the future.

  • 10 fresh mint leaves
  • 1/2 lime, cut into 4 wedges
  • 2 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 1 cup ice cubes
  • 45ml white rum
  • 125ml soda water
1.Place mint leaves and 1 lime wedge into a glass. Use a muddler to crush the mint and lime to release the mint oils and lime juice. Add 2 more lime wedges and the sugar, and muddle again to release the lime juice. Do not strain the mixture.
2.Fill the glass almost to the top with ice. Pour the rum over the ice and fill the glass with soda water. Garnish with the remaining lime wedge

If you don't have a muddler, feel free to use the end of a rolling pin or the handle of a wooden spoon.

And now for the non alcoholic version...

  • 8-10 large mint leaves
  • 1/2 c. sugar (you can add more if necessary, especially if kids are involved)
  • 3/4 c. fresh lime juice (about 7 small, juicy limes)
  • 1 24-oz. bottle of sparkling water (like Perrier or soda water)

  1. Finely chop the mint leaves. Place the chopped mint leaves in a bowl or non-reactive pitcher and press them with a pestle or the back of a spoon to release the oils. Add the sugar and press the mint leaves and sugar together with the back of a spoon. Add the lime juice and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved and no longer grainy.
  2. If you haven't been mixing the mint and sugar in a pitcher, transfer to a glass or plastic pitcher. Right before serving, add the sparkling water and serve immediately over ice. Garnish with lime slices and mint leaves.

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Cocktail bar - The Tadam

This one is a drink I invented.
I worked bar for 3 years at Mary Gilhooley's in Lismore, NSW, and 2 of my regs are lactose intolerant (I say are, because as far as I know, they haven't ceased to be lactose intolerant), and one is allergic to oranges. Add to that, the other one also doesn't like coffee (the flavour of it), and I was limited in the super-girly-cocktails these too manly men could drink. (Yeah, it was two blokes, but they always drank things like Breezers - I used to open their bottles, pour it into the prettiest cocktail glass I could, and add an umbrella)
So, my patented recipe for the Tadam (I'll explain the name underneath the recipe).

  1. Muddle lime in glass
  2. Add liqueurs in order
  3. Add enough ice to fill glass
  4. Top with cranberry juice

Non alcoholic version

  • Hurricane glass
  • Lime
  • Ice
  • Pineapple juice
  • Cranberry juice
  • Pink grapefruit juice

  1. Muddle lime
  2. Add ice
  3. Add equal parts of all juices

Now for how it got its name.
My real name is Tanya (Yeah, I know. All this time, you actually though it was InfoxicatingLady, right? :P ), and one of the regs, for whom I invented this lovely OMG! This Will Get Me Plastered Drink is Adam. Doesn't take a genius from there, does it?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Cocktail bar - The Mimosa

I missed last weeks blog because I was otherwise occupied (that post is friends locked. If you want to be able to read it, you'll need to get a livejournal account, and friend me).
So, this is Friday afternoons post, which I promised you.

The Mimosa
The Mimosa is a beautiful, elegant, simple drink. Most of us have had them, and not realised what we were drinking, by name. In fact, most of us would call them "Champagne and OJ", which is technically incorrect, because Champagne is specific to the region of Champagne in France, which infers you're drinking The Good Stuff. Said Good Stuff should be enjoyed for what it is (Though, my opinion is that it's fizzy vinegar, but that's just me ;) ).
So, the recipe.

Sparkling wine (White, and preferably dry) - Chilled
Orange juice - Chilled
Champagne flutes - Chilled

Half fill the Champagne flutes with sparkling wine. Top with orange juice.
You can garnish with a slice or segment of orange, if you want.

Non alcoholic version

Use orange juice with soda water in champagne flutes, making sure both are chilled. Sparkling mineral water would also work well.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Cocktail Bar - Limoncello, mandarincello, and a non alcoholic equivalent

I've been seeing lots of recipes for limoncello around, and I have some going at the moment.
I also have some home made Everclear (don't ask) left over.
So, yesterday, I caught my trolls eating manadrin oranges, so I thought I'd make mandarincello with the skins left over.
It was really easy to make, too. I got the skins, rolled them up, put them in a cleaned and sterilised bourbon bottle, and poured the rest of the everclear over. All the Aussies out there can try this with vodka (or ask a mate with a still for just the pure alcohol, but you didn't hear that from me...)
In around 3 weeks, I should have around 1 Litre of mandarincello to drink, mixed with soda water (club soda) on ice.
And the non alcoholic version?
Freshly squeezed orange juice, mixed with lemonade (Sprite) will taste about the same :)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Home made air popped popcorn

I make this one when the kids are driving me NUTS!
And since it's not just Birthday Month, but also the Winter Holidays (for school) here in Australia, I'm being driven nuts almost daily.
I have a friend from back when we were young and stupid and at high school, who thinks circuses, fairy floss and popcorn make everything better, too. So, Viv, this one is also for you :)

Take 1 paper bag per person.
Add 1 small hand full of popping corn to the bag.
Fold the top down well.
Place in microwave, and heat on high for around 1 minute, 20 seconds, or until most of the kernels are popped. (You can hear that bit. They stop popping).
Remove bag from microwave, and sprinkle with herbed salt

The Theme Is Unveiled!

I've told you all before, but Bast and I are sisters. In fact, I'm pretty darn sure I've mentioned we're twins. Identical, in fact.
Mum also has another anniversary of her 21st birthday this year (we won't say how old she is - let's leave it at she was a young mum, shall we?)
Anyways, this month is Birthday Month, because there are 3 of us who are meant to get older. We may be growing older, but I'm not so sure we're growing up ;)

So, this month, all of our recipes are birthday themed.
And my cocktails will also have a mocktail version, too, because Bast shouldn't have to miss out on all the fun while she's pregnant.

Stay tuned, everyone!

Friday, July 2, 2010

The cocktail bar

In a bid to post more regularly, I'll be posting a cocktail recipe each Friday afternoon.
The tag will be The Cocktail Bar.
I'll start next week :)

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Theme Week

Wanted to know if anyone has any ideas on what they would like to see on here for a theme week.
Said theme week will commence next Monday.

The best potatoes you will ever eat

I have this rule for savoury meals. It's a really simple rule, too. Just about everything tastes better if you add cheese. And this recipe proves it. Though, the best-ness is magnified by the addition of diced onions and bacon.

Again, this is a "I don't measure anything" recipe, so make it in quantities you know will be eaten.

  • Preheat oven to 180C (350F)
  • Dice potatoes with skins still on, or peel and dice brushed potatoes
  • Lightly spray the bottom of a lasagne dish with spray on oil
  • Place potatoes in the dish in an even layer
  • Spray the top of the potatoes again
  • Cook for 30 minutes or so.
While the potatoes are cooking, dice a large onion and around 8 rashers of bacon. Mix these together with some mustard powder, or horseradish cream - or just leave them as they are.

  • Remove potatoes from oven, stir through onions and bacon mix.
  • Return to oven for 15 minutes
  • Remove potatoes from oven again, and sprinkle generously with grated cheese
  • Return to oven for 10 minutes, or until cheese is browned

I serve this as a side dish for barbecues, or as part of a roast dinner. I'd probably eat it every day, if I could afford the bacon.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Meal Plans...

I've had enough of never knowing what I'm eating until that afternoon or night.
I always forget to buy the meats/vegies before that day, and I end up cooking something I don't necessarily want to eat.
And for us, that is 3 different problems.
See, on Mondays, Isabella has Marching Girls, Tuesdays, Katharine has band practise (she's a cornet player :) ), and Thursdays, Ian has Fire Brigades Band practise.
I effectively have to have everyone fed by 630 pm, which normally doesn't happen because I don't think ahead.

So, today, I bit the bullet.

Worst thing is, it seems so... instinctive. And yet, noone I know does.
Do any of you meal plan?
If you do, does it work for you?

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Perfect Steak

I like my steak more rare than medium, but I understand that some people (Mum included) like their steak to be well and truly cooked. She doesn't quite eat leather, but it isn't far from it.

I'm going to start with a few obvious pieces of advice on meat.

  1. Working meat is tough. The neck, the tail, the legs. They get used. They're naturally tough. They should be slow cooked.
  2. Non working meat is more tender. The meat from the back, the belly, the rump. All good steak meats.
  3. Cast iron is a godsend, if it has been cured and stored right. Look after it, and it will look after you.
  4. You don't need much seasoning on good meats. You also don't need much oil. You're sealing it, not deep or shallow frying.
  5. Your oven is your friend.

Pre-heat your oven to 180C (350F)
Start with heating up a good oven proof frying pan. I have 3 cast iron frying pans. They are my friends.
While the pan is heating up, brush the meat with oil, or spray some on. Season lightly on both sides. If you're brushing with oil, make it garlic or chili oil, for a nice bit of extra flavour. Still sprinkle a little salt on it.
When the pan is hot, gently place your steak in it. Ignore it for a minute or two. Turn it once only.
Place the steak (still in the oven proof pan) in the oven.
Cook until perfect for you - 5 minutes for rare, 10 for medium, 15-20 for well done.

Serve with whichever sides you want. I suggest mash and season vegies.

I've also cooked chicken breast this way. Much more tender, not as dry, and super yummy.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Flavoured vodka


Inspired by this post over at A Cozy Kitchen, I think flavoured vodka is in order.
I can see candy cane vodka for Christmas, cinnamon vodka (for any gods be d@mned time! - I can see {and taste} it now, cinnamon vodka with apple juice), musk stick flavoured vodka for my birthday...
I wonder how I could make chocolate vodka.
I see a bottle of vodka and experimentation is required.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Crispy Chicken Pieces

This recipe is one of my old favourites, I just keep making it again and again, and no matter what, everyone loves it.
It gets it's name from the fact the skin on the chicken goes crispy.

1 Kilogram of chicken pieces (drumsticks, legs, wings, nibbles, whatever....)
3 Tablespoons of Soy Sauce
1 Tablespoon Paprika (I prefer the smoked variety)

  • spray the bottom of a baking dish with oil
  • place chicken pieces in dish evenly (you may need more than one dish, depending on size)
  • brush chicken pieces with say sauce and then sprinkle with paprika
  • bake in preheated 180C oven until cooked. I'd love to give you a time on that, but it's dependant on the chicken pieces. Most of the time I use wings, and find it's done in half an hour.
Serve with rice and steamed vegetables, or as a finger food at a BBQ.

Italian style meat sauce

This is another of my "I never actually measure anything" recipes.
I use this meat sauce for lasagne and also for spaghetti/pasta. The ever picky Katharine won't eat the lasagne because it's "too spicey", so I just throw some cooked spaghetti through a cup of it for her when we are eating lasagne. She seems to think it tastes different. I also get to add vegies to this, which is great. Neither my husband nor Katharine eat carrots, so I get them in whenever I can *grins*

  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped chili
  • 1 cup tomato paste
  • 1 large tin of tomatoes (use the whole peeled ones. The diced ones seem to be slimier, and have too much juice around them)
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 500 g mushrooms, finely diced
  • 1 large carrot, grated
  • 1.5 kg mince (preferably beef)

  1. Heat a small amount of oil in a large frying pan or large saucepan
  2. Add onions, garlic and chili - cook until transparent
  3. Add mushrooms and carrots, stirring through until the pan is dry
  4. Add wine, and simmer for a short while
  5. Break up minced meat into pinches, stirring occasionally while doing it
  6. Continue breaking up meat as you're going
  7. When meat is almost completely browned, add tomato paste, and stir through thoroughly
  8. Add tin of tomatoes, crushing in your hand as you are going
  9. Simmer until you have a thick, rich sauce.

This makes 2 family sized lasagnes, 1 serve for Katharine, plus around 2 cups of sauce left over.
I'd also suggest adding salt and pepper to taste - but since I have a husband who adds snow to all meals, I don't bother.

Chicken with mushrooms, leeks and ricotta

This one is a hat tip to an earlier recipe.
It's Autumn (Fall) here, so I'm cooking winter-y recipes.

  • 3 kg chicken drumsticks (legs)
  • 2 large leeks - finely sliced
  • 500 g mushrooms - finely sliced
  • 2 cups white wine
  • 500g Ricotta cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 180C (350F)
  2. Line 2 baking dishes with the leeks and mushrooms
  3. Evenly divide the drumsticks between the trays
  4. Pour 1 cup white wine over each tray
  5. Cover each tray with baking paper and foil, to keep some of the moisture in
  6. Bake for approximately 45 minutes
  7. Turn drumsticks, and replace in oven for 15 minutes to brown
  8. Take drumsticks out of trays, and stir through 250g of ricotta in each tray (with the wine, mushrooms and leeks)
  9. Replace drumsticks, and return to oven to heat the ricotta through

I served this with rice, and blanched snow peas.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The teastick

Again, not a recipe post!

I was stumbling last night, and came across The Teastick, a single serve way to get a lovely cup of tea.
This for me is wonderful in a few different ways.

  1. I love tea. And it's because it's tea that I've posted it here
  2. I love sleek looking designs that combine form and function so well, which is why it is also posted on InfoxicatingDesigns
  3. I could see me using it, not just in a cup (I always drink my tea in a cup, with matching saucer), but I can also see my mother using it, for her plain, bland, boring black tea, in her bone china mug with a design of otters chasing butterflies badgers chasing a worm (I spoke to my mother yesterday. She chipped her otters mug)
I might have to buy it, just to check to see if it is as good as the reviews say

Friday, May 7, 2010

Cinnamon donut muffins

I've been craving donuts for a few days, so I figured I better either buy some, or cook some.
I opted for the latter, and got my favourite cookbook out - Google.
I came up with this recipe, which aren't quite donuts, but are quite delicious.
If you don't feel like link clicking, here's the recipe:

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking power
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup milk (low fat is fine)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup sugar, for rolling
  1. Preheat oven to 180C (350F)
  2. Lightly grease a muffin tin with cooking spray or vegetable oil
  3. In a large bowl, beat together sugar and egg until light in color
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg
  5. Pour into egg mixture and stir to combine
  6. Pour in vegetable oil, milk and vanilla extract
  7. Divide batter evenly into 10 muffin cups, filling each about 3/4 full
  8. Bake for 15-18 minutes, until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean
  1. While muffins are baking, melt butter and pour remaining sugar into a small bowl
  2. When muffins are done, lightly brush the top of each with some melted butter, remove from the pan and roll in sugar
  3. Cool on a wire rack.

So, the verdict.
Next time, I make it with butter instead of vegetable oil. It requires that richness that butter gives, and the vegetable oil, while giving it moisture, didn't give it the richness it needs.
Also, I used cinnamon instead of nutmeg, which made them gorgeous. Bast and I discussed it earlier, and I have to agree, there is no such thing as too much cinnamon.
And the last thing. I used mini muffin pans. Perfect size for kids, or a mini muffin or two (donut hole?) with a mug of coffee.


This is the soft version - the one that hasn't been fried. At the end of this recipe, I'll give you instructions on how to make friend polenta - which is super yummy topped with fried off tomatoes, onions and olives for breakfast.
I'm a firm believer in cheese making everything taste better - and in this case, it's true. Plain polenta is very boring and bland.

  • 1 litre boiling water or stock
  • 1 cup polenta
  • butter
  • cheese
  • cream (optional for a looser polenta. If you want to be able to slice it up and fry it later, don't add the cream)

  1. Bring water or stock up to boil.
  2. Add 1 cup polenta
  3. Simmer for 8-10 minutes
  4. Stir in butter
  5. Stir in cheese to taste
  6. OPTIONAL stir in cream to make around the consistency of mashed potatoes
If you're going to be frying it up later, spread it out into a square dish or tin now. Allow to set. When it has set, slice into squares, triangles, diamonds, rectangles or circles. Gently shallow fry in butter and oil until crispy and golden brown.

If you're not frying it up, you can use it in place of mashed potatoes.
If you would like it sweeter, make it with half water, and half milk. Omit the butter and cheese, but add the milk. Serve with fruit coulis or rehydrated dried fruit.

Lamb casserole

It's getting a little cooler down here in AU (and especially in Sydney), so I figured a warm winter meal was in order.
I also wanted something that was cheap, but delicious, so lamb casserole it is.
I'm doing it in the slow cooker tonight, but I'd normally do it in a casserole dish, in the oven, for around 2 hours, total.

  • Garlic (I'm using around 4 cloves), crushed
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped mint
  • 1 teaspoon hot chili (seeds in)
  • 1 cup tomato paste
  • 1 large (2 medium) cans tomatoes
  • 1 kilogram lamb chops (the cheaper the better, in my opinion)
  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • salt and pepper to taste

  1. Layer the meat and onions.
  2. Combine the mint, garlic, chili, rosemary and tomato paste.
  3. Place the tomato paste mix and the tinned tomatoes on top of the lamb in the slow cooker.
  4. Cook on high for approximately 3 hours, then turn down to low. Allow to cook for as long as you want - the longer the better.
Serve with steamed green vegies and either polenta or mashed potatoes.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


This is not a cooking post!

I'm always looking for a way to get everyone to pull their fair weight around the house - with cooking, cleaning, and everything else.

Imagine how happy I was when I came across this...

My Chore Wars character

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Russian friendship tea

You may not know this, but Bast and I are sisters. Twins, in fact. Lucky Bast, right? ;)
Anyways, Bast is getting married soonish (okay, more like in around 12 months). This means thinking about Stuffs, like Wedding Favours, and food ideas.
The other day, we were discussing tea cup and saucer style favours with teas in them, like my Chai tea recipe.
And we came across this - Russian Friendship Tea.
We haven't tried it yet (at around 1200km apart, we don't exactly get together for a cup of coffee or tea, yanno?), but I suspect some of my friends will be getting gifts soon. I just need to buy the ingredients and actually make it. I'm sure I can find a jar for it.
So, how to make it:

Russian Friendship Tea Mix Recipe

2-1/2 cups Instant Orange Drink Mix
(like Tang)
1-1/2 cups Instant Lemonade Mix
(like Country Time)
1-1/2 cups Instant Unsweetened Tea
1/2 cup Sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
(all spices are the dried, ground kind- not whole!)

In a large bowl, whisk together all ingredients until thoroughly combined. (That’s pretty much it, folks!)

I'm not so sure you can buy dried lemonade mix here, but I have a feeling it's a dried sugar lemon flavoured powder.

I asked an online associate today, and she informs me that the instant lemonade mix is indeed sugar, lemon flavour, and nasty-sounding-chemical. I wonder if I can make up some lemon sugar and make it that way...

To serve, add 1 tablespoon to a cup, add boiling water, and enjoy

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Pantry Tomato Soup

OK, the soup thing for me at the moment is two fold.
Firstly it's beginning to get a little cooler down here in the southern hemisphere, and secondly, I'm pregnant, and consequently can't keep anything heavier than soup down.
This soup recipe has to be one of the easiest ones I make, and most of the ingredients are in the average kitchen pantry.

4 tins of chopped peeled tomatoes
2 tins of water (by this i mean after the tomato tins are empty, use them as measures)
1 onion, chopped finely
1 teaspoon chilli paste (optional)
1 teaspoon crushed garlic (optional)
4 teaspoons of powdered stock, flavour of your choice
Mixed herbs to taste.

Fry off the onion, garlic and chilli in a small amount of olive oil or butter.
Add the tins of tomatoes, and water, bring to the boil.
Once boiling add the stock powder and herbs.
Mix well, and then drop heat to a simmer for 30 minutes minimum. The longer you leave it, the more the flavours will develop.
Serve either as is for a rustic style soup, or liquidise.

Serves 4 to 5 people.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Chicken in pyjamas

Tonight was lazy-cook night, so I made my version of chicken parmigiana.
Since it isn't the traditional meal, I don't call it chicken parmigiana. That, and the kids love the sound of "chicken in pyjamas". It sounds much more fun, food wise.
So, as I said, its my version, so I cheat a little.

  • 2 chicken burger patties per person, or one chicken breast schnitzel per person
  • 1 large jar of taco sauce per 10 patties (5 schnitzels), or a jar of pre made tomato salsa.
  • 1 slice of cheese, or a generous pinch of grated cheese, per patty
  1. Precook the chicken. You can shallow fry it, or deep fry it. Either way, make sure it is cooked.
  2. Place each piece of chicken on a tray (as many on there as you can fit. You can generally fit 9-ish chicken patties on a biscuit tray)
  3. Place a few tablespoons of the sauce/salsa in the middle of the chicken.
  4. Put enough cheese on the chicken to make sure it's covered.
  5. Cook in pre-heated oven, on moderate heat (180C or 150F) for around 15 minutes, or until cheese is golden brown

I served this with blanched mange tout for the kids, and got told yet again that I'm the best cook in the world.
I know they're fibbing, but I love them for it anyways.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Chai tea

This is one of my favourite ways to drink tea, and my girls love it, too. I acquired this recipe from a Sikh family I once worked with. They did catering, I did bar, waitressing, food service, staffing, and dishes for them. This recipe was a bonus one night, and only because I asked for it.
I use sugar because I prefer the taste to that of honey, or any other sweetened syrup.
This recipe is made per person, so you need to multiply it out for more.
Do not boil this, as it will make the tea bitter.

  • 1 teaspoon loose leaf tea and one extra
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 cm cinnamon scroll
  • 3 cardamom pods, cracked open
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander (round)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/2 cup milk

  1. Add all ingredients except milk to saucepan, and bring to boil.
  2. Reduce heat, and simmer while stirring for 3 minutes.
  3. Add milk, and bring back to boil, simmering for a further 3 minutes.

Strain into cups and enjoy

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Vegan banana cake

  • 1/3 cup margarine
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 6 ripe bananas (overripe work best)
  • 2 2/3 cups plain flour
  • 3 tablespoons baking powder (bi-carb soda works just as well)

Preheat oven to 180C.
Melt margarine . Add in sugar, mix thoroughly.
In a separate bowl, mash the bananas until smooth and creamy.
Add sugar/marg mixture to the bananas and mix well.
Add flour and baking powder slowly, mix until thoroughly incorporated.
Pour into greased cake tin.
Bake for 35 mins.

I've never iced or glazed this. I imagine it would be lovely with a thick chocolatey icing or frosting, though.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

"Mexican" Sausages

These aren't actually Mexican, by any stretch of the imagination. I guess you could also call them a sausage casserole. Similar to my Savoury Mince recipe, you can change it fairly easily. Depends on what you have on hand, and how hard or easy you want to make it for yourself.

  • 2 sausages per person (You can use 1 thick one, or 2 thin ones. It's much the same)
  • 1 cup tomato paste
  • 2 cans of tomatoes
  • 2 medium onions (sliced)
  • 4 cloves of garlic - minced (you can use 2 tablespoons of minced garlic from a jar if you're feeling particularly lazy. same with the ginger and chili)
  • 2 cm piece of ginger - chopped finely
  • 1 red chili - chopped finely
  • paprika, cinnamon, cumin and coriander to taste
  • 1 large potato per person, peeled and sliced finely
Cook sausages under a grill. Slice into bite sized pieces.
While sausages are cooking, cook onions until transparent. Add garlic, ginger and spices. Stir through well (the paprika will burn otherwise. We discussed this in my goulash recipe
Add the tomato paste and keep stirring. Add the tins of tomato. Continue stirring.
Add potatoes.
When potatoes are almost cooked, add sliced sausages.

I serve this with either grated cheese or greek style yoghurt. It gives it a more mellow flavour.