Monday, March 31, 2008

Hot Cross Bun Pudding

If you scroll down a bit, you might see some lovely, fresh, freshly glazed Hot Cross Buns. Aren't they beautiful? I'm not bragging, because Ryan made the buns AND took the picture. I just ate one. And was terribly supportive, of course. I was making the yoghurt cake.

Anyway, there's only so many sticky buns you can eat, before they start getting stale. I contemplated my options for a while, thinking about french toast, and bread and butter pudding. But in the end, PossumChops beat me too it. She blogged her pudding recipe here, without a photo.

I have followed her recipe, and it was good, but next time I need more buns or less custard. But I'm offering up a picture.

Menu Plan Monday - March 31

I can't believe it's nearly April. We've been really, really busy lately. And you're probably beginning to think we only eat cake. As evidence for the defence, I hearby list this week's menu plan:
Chilli con carne, on brown rice with salad (and left over yoghurt sauce)
Lamb chops, with carrots and beans
Veggie Lasagne
Eggs Florentine
Chicken Soup
Curry Puffs with Creamed Indian Spinach

Happy Monday!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Easter Cake Bake: Greek Yoghurt Cake

For me, Easter is a time for traditional cakes. Cakes where you can taste the eggs and butter - all the things that we once would have gone without for Lent. Not that I'm particularly religious, I just like tradition. This is an Australian take on a traditional Greek yoghurt cake, brought you to by the lovely ladies at the Women's Weekly Test Kitchen. You can find the recipe in the 'Foods we love' book. It came out all golden and fluffy, but it's very moist too. I thought about icing it, remembering all the extravagant cakes from last year's Easter Cake Bake. But I decided simple suited me (and this cake) best. We ate it with home-made hot cross buns, on Easter Sunday, with friends. It's my entry to this year's Easter Cake Bake.
Greek Yoghurt Cake
125g butter, softened
1 Cup caster sugar
3 eggs, separated
2 Cups Self Raising flour
1/2 tsp bicarb soda
1/4 Cup finely chopped bloanched almonds
1 Cup yoghurt
Preheat oven to 180C. Lightly grease 20cm x 30cm lamington pan; line base and sides with baking paper.
Beat butter and sugar in small bowl with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks, beat well.
Transfer mixture to large bowl; stir in sifted flour and soda in two batches, then nuts and yoghurt.
Beat egg whites in small bwol with electric mixer until soft peaks form. Gently fold egg whites into yoghurt mixture in two batches. Spread mixture into pan. Bake about 35 minutes. Turn cake onto wire rack to cool; dust with icing sugar if desired.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Waiter, there's something in my fritters!

I love chickpeas. I put them in couscous and curries, I roast them by themselves, I turn them into burgers, I even put them in eggs. So when the theme for this months' "Waiter, there's something in my..." was Pulses, I decided I had to join in.
It was hard to decide what to blog. I haven't blogged my chickpea burgers, or my dhal recipe yet. But in the end I was rushed, and the answer presented itself - chickpea fritters. I hope you enjoy them! Spicy Chickpea Fritters with yoghurt sauce
1/2 Cup Self Raising flour
1 eggs
10g butter, melted
1/3 Cup milk
1 tsp mild paprika
1 tsp carraway seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 can chickpeas, drained, rinsed and roughly mashed
5 spring onions, finely chopped
1/2 a bunch of coriander, finely chopped
Wisk the first four ingredients to make a batter - it should be the consistency of pancake batter. Add the rest of the ingredients. Heat a frying pan over medium heat, then drop large spoonfuls of the batter into the pan, turning after 2 minutes, or when that side is golden. Keep warm while cooking the rest. Serve with yoghurt sauce.
Yoghurt Sauce
1 Cup plain yoghurt
1/2 Bunch coriander, finely chopped
1 small clove of garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons (or so) Lemon Juice
Combine all ingredients. Refrigerate and let sit for at least 15 minutes before serving.
Thanks to Cook Sister for hosting this!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Hot Cross Buns - redux

I love Easter. I love autumn, and I love the four-day weekend. We managed to fit in a lot of socialising, heaps of climbing, heaps of baking - and get four loads of laundry done! Why can't every weekend be this long?
Anyway, we made Hot Cross Buns. They turned out dense and fruity and good. I used the same Donna Hay recipe as last year, but used golden syrup for the glaze instead of gelatine. Here they are.
Hot Cross Buns
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 1/2 cups lukewarm milk
4 1/4 cups plain flour, sifted
2 teaspoons mixed spice
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
50g butter, melted
1 egg
1 3/4 cup mixed dried fruit (Donna used sultanas and candied mixed peel)
1/2 cup plain flour, extra
1/3 cup water
golden syrup, to glaze
Place the yeast, 2 teaspoons of sugar and all the milk in a bowl and set aside for 5 minutes. If it doesn't start to foam, you might need new yeast.
Add all remaining ingredients (except extra flour and water) to the yeast mixture. Stir with a butter knife until a sticky dough forms. Knead on a floured surface for 8 minutes, or until it feels elastic. Place in an oiled bowl, cover with a tea towel and stand for an hour in a warm place, or until it's doubled in size. Divide the dough into 12 pieces and roll into balls.
Grease a square cake tin and line with baking paper. Place the balls in the tin, cover with a clean tea towel and set aside for another half an hour, or until they've risen. Preheat the oven to 200C.
Combine the extra flour and water, place in a plastic bag with one corner snipped off, and pipe crosses on the buns. Bake for 35 minutes or until well browned and springy to touch. Brush with golden syrup while still warm.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Menu Plan Tuesday (oops!)

I have to admit my menu planning has been languishing a bit lately. I've been focusing on baking and other sweet stuff, so the plans have lacked detail and inspiration. This week I'm back on track!
Tuesday: Dinner out with friends
Wednesday: Lamb Chops with green beans and stuffed squash
Thursday: Butter chicken soup and flatbread
Friday: Spicy baked pork fillet, with brown rice and stirfry broccoli.
Saturday: Warm veggie salad

I hope you enjoyed your Easter break!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Novel Food: Red Rice with Maya

One Christmas I was wandering around Melbourne with Ryan, and we found a beautiful bookshop. No glossy best-sellers here, but the quirkiest collection I'd seen anywhere. I lusted over a beautiful old atlas, and ogled some beautiful cookbooks. Then I lingered in the biographies, torn between heart-tugging stories. One title jumped out at me, "hallelujah! the welcome table". It was subtitled a lifetime of memories with recipes. The author was Maya Angelou. How could I go past?
I have to admit that although I knew her name, and vaguely her story, I hadn't read any of Maya's stories. These ones jumped out at me - and I read the first two chapters before I even left the store. The recipes are a bit intimidating - as well as the Southern food from her childhood, there is cassoulet, beef wellington and souffle. Clearly Ms Angelou is not a cook to mess with. So although I've read through the book several times, I've only cooked one recipe, a simple one for red rice.
The stories are evocative and beautiful. And so are the recipes. One day I am going to attempt the double layer caramel cake. But I thought I'd start with something easy. This is my entry for Novel Food. It's cheating a bit, because it's a memoir, not a novel. But I thought I'd add it anyway.
Red Rice
225g thick back bacon rashers
2 medium onions, chopped
1 small red capsicum, seeded and chopped
475 ml canned diced tomatoes
175g tomato paste
ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
450g cooked white rice
475ml water
Fry bacon in a large skillet on medium heat until brown, stirring with fork. Add onions and capsicum. Cover and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove lid and add remaining ingredients; mix well. Bring to boil, about 3 minutes. Stir vigorously, cover again, and cook over a very low heat for about 15 minutes until rice and liquid are totally mixed.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Menu Plan Monday - March 17

I love this time of year. All the public holidays and the beautiful weather - plus the feeling that the summer is nearly over - mean we spend a lot of time outside. Consequently, I haven't been cooking all that much. This week we're going back to firm favourites:
Bangers and Mash
Curried Fish
Chicken Pie
Chicken Salad
Veggie Lasagne

Happy Monday!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Standby Supper: Baked Eggs Recipe

My photo's have disappeared again! Just when I have some awesome ones to share. We'll have to wait til Pete sorts out his server, but in the meantime, I may have to switch to flickr....
Anyway, this dinner turned out awesomely, with about 2 minutes prep work. The inspiration was here, but you have to scroll down to the bottom to find it. Here's my take. I promise to add the photos when they're working. Baked Eggs with Chickpeas and Vegetable
1 1/2 Cups assorted veggies, chopped small
(I used half a small zucchini, a carrot and some green beans)
3/4 Cup tinned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
4 eggs
50g butter
parmesan cheese
dried thyme
Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius. Arrange the vegetables and chickpeas around the edge of two ramekins. Drizzle with melted butter. Gently crack two eggs into the middle of each one, and sprinkle with parmesan and time. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until eggs are set. How easy is that?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Food Porn Meme

For those of you that don't know Rosie, she is a writer of Southern Gothic fiction and erstwhile keeper of goats. I'm laying the blame for the following nonsense squarely at her feet! Food Porn she has requested, and food porn she shall get.

1. What food do you consider the best “date” food? In other words, what meal or food item do you think is sexiest to eat in the company of someone you would like to look sexy around?

I always think the best date food is morsels you eat with your fingers, and anything you can share. So a picnic of good wine, cheese, ham and grapes will always work. You have to remember a blanket to snuggle on. And stay out late enough to watch for shooting stars.

But if you mean sexy-glamorous, a picnic just won't do. You can't do high-heels and short skirts on a blanket on the grass. And there's no restroom near by to fix your makeup! If you're planning on taking me out on that sort of dinner, it had better be sushi, somewhere up-market with low tables and an exotic selection. But I don't know - sex should be messy and adventurous, so maybe teppanyaki would be a better start to the night. And there's a new Teppanyaki place around the corner (Ryan are you taking note?).

2. What well-known person would you like to share a meal with—with or without clothing. (saying whether or not clothes are involved is optional).

Do I have to just pick one? For the scenery, there's some great AFL players this season. But it's preseason, so they are all on diets, and not drinking.

For the conversation and the food, I think I'd pick Rosie - I'd love to eat at some meals and stories at one of her local haunts. (I think we'd best keep our clothes on, so I don't end up in a story like Porn and Donuts!!)

And finally, I do have a soft spot for Lindsay McDougall. If nothing else, I'd love to find out what vegan rock-stars eat on a romantic date : )

3. What does your perfect breakfast-in-bed look like? (Food AND the details, please. Candles? Music? Flowers? Hot tub? Dancing girls?

Mangos and stawberries and champagne. In the bath (a deep one with feet). With lots and lots of bubbles and fluffy towels and good coffee for when we get out of the tub. And no where to be until dinner. Oh boy, I wish we still lived in a house with a bath...

4. What do you consider the best application of whipped cream to be?

Chocolate dessert cakes. Sorry Rosie, nothing comes close.

5. Oh-God-No, Biff, the yacht is sinking! You are sent to the galley to retrieve the food. What luxury food items do you snatch first? The champagne? The caviar? Smoked Salmon? Truffles? Chocolate? Or something else?

Blue cheese! Brie! All the cheese! I'd make a terrible vegan. (Sorry, Lindsay)

So there you have it folks. More than you ever wished to know about me and food. Now the fun begins. I'm supposed to dob in 5 more bloggers to share the love. All you need to do is answer the questions, link to Rosie's original post, and link to the evil person that dobbed you in. Here we go:

1. Lucy, at Nourish Me. I just found her blog and I love it.

2. Red Dirt Mummy.

3. Beck at Frog and Toad are Still Friends.

4. Anna at Morsels and Musings.

5. Silvermoon Dragon at Dragon Musings.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Menu Plan Monday - March 11

I am sitting in my house with every single window open, listening to thunder bounce around. I love storms! This one hasn't rained much yet. I told my boss it won't rain much because I haven't got any clothes on the line. But I think I can smell it coming.
Anyway, I hope the weather is all good at your house, whatever that means for you. I'm trying out some new-to-me vegetarian recipes this week. I'll keep you posted!

Chickpeas with macaroni, and green beans
Baked Eggs on vegetables
Sweet and sour fish on rice
Chicken and chilli pasta

Happy Monday!
(ok, so i know it's tuesday already, but we went bush on Monday and didn't cook a thing. i took a blog holiday with my work holiday)

Friday, March 07, 2008

Tupperware Biscuits

Not actually, you know, made of tupperware. I found this recipe lurking down the back of a tupperware brochure called 'Healthy Lunch Choices'. I admit it. I had a tupperware party. My second! Nobody every asked me to host one, or even invited me to one before I got married. I'm beginning to think of tupperware as a late symptom of a wedding. You know, somewhere between the honeymoon and the children.
Anyhoo... the recipe is actually pretty good. Reminiscent of Anzac biscuits, but a lot more interesting.
Nutty Oat Biscuits
1 Cup plain wholemeal flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/4 Cups rolled oats
1/3 Cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 Cup chopped walnuts
2 1/2 Tbsp pepitas
2 Tbsp sunflower seed kernels
4 tsp sesame seeds
100g olive oil
1/4 Cup golden syrup
2 Tbsp water
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Preheat the oven to 160 C. Line 2 large baking trays with baking paper.
Sift the flour and cinnamon together, returning any husks to the flour. Stir in the rest of the dry ingredients.
Combine the margarine, golden syrup and water in a small saucepan. Warm gently over a medium heat until the margarine melts. Remove from the heat and stir in the bicarb. Add immediately to the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until combined.
With damp hands, roll into walnut sized balls and place about 5cm apart on the trays. Flatten each ball and bake for 20 minutes or until cooked through.
Keep on trays for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Duck Laksa: A one-dish dinner

What's for Lunch Honey is hosting the monthly mingle - and the theme is one-dish dinners. I had a couple of things I thought about contributing, but I settled on Duck Laksa.

According to wikipedia, a laksa is a popular spicy noodle soup from Peranakan culture, which is a merger of Chinese and Malay elements found in Malaysia and Singapore. I didn't know that, but for me a duck laksa from Dickson Noodle house is the best cheap feed in Canberra. For around $10, you get a bowl of noodles, tofu, veggies, soup and the protein of your choice. It's fresh and spicy and huge! It really is the ultimate one-dish dinner. It's not short on calories, but you can tailor it to just about any dietary requirement. Here's my take on the Dickson classic.

Duck Laksa
2 Tbsp laksa paste (but any curry paste will do)
2 cups chopped vegetables (beans, bok choy, beansprouts and carrot are all good)
1 can coconut milk (if you're watching your calories, you can limit this to 1/4 cup)
2 Cups chicken stock
2 serves of vermicelli noodles, soaked for 2 minutes in boiling water
1/2 the meat from a peking duck, off the bone and shredded
Heat the laksa paste in a pan until fragrant. Add any hard vegetables and stirfry until coated. Add the stock and coconut milk, and bring to the boil. Add any leafy vegetables and bean sprouts, and cook only until wilted. Drain the noodles and add them to the wok. Add the duck and heat through.
Serve with sliced fresh chilli, coriander and more fresh beansprouts.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Menu Plan Monday - March 4

Is it really today already?
I was working all weekend. And when I was finally finished, I made cake. So I want to blog about that, and the stew we had for dinner, and salads with eggs - but I haven't really been blogging that much lately.
Anyway, here's the list for this week. I'll try and be a bit more proactive. Especially with cake.

Crunchy salad with eggs
Sweet and sour fish
Chorizo and garbanzo hot pot (Ryan's choice)
Red rice
Braised beef with red wine, and herby dumplings

Happy Monday!