Monday, September 29, 2008

Pernese Bubbly Pies

Those over run juices? Best bit!

This recipe is taken from the "Dragonlover's Guide to Pern", written by Jody Lynn Nye with Anne McCaffrey. For a verbatim recipe try The Sninge's Lair. I'm going to paraphrase, and add the few tiny, little changes I made. And fill you in on the lazy bones way I did it all. (Warning: Epic length, sugar fuelled post!)

1/2 cup butter
2 tbsp sugar
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup ice water

Cut the butter into chunks. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl. Work the butter gently into the dry mixture with a fork until pieces the size of peas form. Sprinkle the water over and work it in. (Do not overwork the dough.) Form the dough into a ball.
You can make the dough in a food processor right up to the water step. Then you really are better off going by hand, or at least be more paranoid and stop more often than me, because I did the whole thing in the food processor, and somewhere between dough coming together and just right, I waited too long, and ended up with tough dough. This pastry was nothing special though, so I'm sure you could use a combination of shortcrust or puff pastries or even just your preferred sweet pie pastry.

5 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen)
2 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp citrus juice (I used an Orange, Mango & Pineapple Nudie, because that's what I had)
1-2 tbsp butter or margarine (I forgot this)
Gently toss berries with sugar and cinnamon in a large bowl. Sprinkle citrus juice over mixture. Spoon berries into crust and dot with butter. Or take your frozen berries in their neat little resealable bag, tip the sugar, spice and juice in, and shake it all through. (Close the bag first!) If you are making the big pies as listed via the link, then I would use the butter. If making the little ones though, I'd skip it, because I didn't notice the loss, and it might interfere with setting of the awesome leakage toffee. ***Edit to note*** Somehow I got my sugar wrong, and added 2 1/2 cups instead of one. I've fixed that here, but just be aware that if you use the original recipe, you probably won't get the toffee awesome-ness I've described

For Twelve Gather-Pies
1 crust recipe
1/2 filling recipe

Divide dough evenly into 24 parts. I did that by making a large flat disc, dividing into 8, then rolling each triangle into a log, and cutting that into 3. Then I rolled each log piece into a ball. Put a piece of baking paper on a flat tray, cookie sheet, whatever. This is really important. Do NOT skip the paper. I added this in because I always bake everything on paper, because I'm lazy and don't like scrubbing trays. And it's a good thing too. Because these suckers are going to boil over, leaky sticky juices everywhere. And you are going to want to catch all that, and not only are you not going to want to clean it up, you are going to want to eat it. Every tooth achingly sweet tiny crumb. Berry toffee. How can you go wrong? And best of all, it comes 'free' with your pies!
Anyway, I was saying, paper your tray, then flatten 12 of your pastry balls and place them on the tray. Top each with about 1 tbsp of berry mix. Flatten the other 12, and cover the berries, picking up each pastry and making sure the edges are folded over and squooshed nice to fit. You can glaze these with 1/4 cup of water and 1 1/2 tbsp sugar if you like. I didn't, but in future I might use a bit of an egg wash. I got a lovely golden colour, but if they had golden'ed up a little earlier, my pastry may have behaved nicer. Stab the top of your pie 3 or 4 times, or you can more politely cut 3 or 4 small slits in the tops of your pies. Either way works, providing you don't stab through the bottom piece of pastry. Not that I did that. I'm just saying.
Bake at 200°C for 20-25 minutes, until crust is golden. Then walk the fine line between "serve hot" and "don't burn yourself on that molten toffee, ah shards these things are hot, oh the pain, the agony" because if you have to go to the emergancy room, your pies will be cold by the time you get home, and while that means you can get straight into that wonderful, wonderful toffee/leaked sugary goodness/mess on the tray, the pies are nicer while hot. At least small-children-bath-water-hot at any rate. Again, not that this happened to us, not with the speed my kids eat we were lucky to have them warmer than tepid, but I'd hate for it to happen to you. After all, sugar at high temps makes toffee, and that's one of the worst kitchen burns to get, right up there with oil or bacon fat (darn bacon, how can you be so good, yet so evil?).

Sorry, I think I got a little off track today. Must be all the sugar. Or not. They haven't really proved that have they? Somewhere I read today (no I can't remember where) that children in sugar-filled situations like birthday parties tend to get hyped no matter what they eat. Well, to you scientists, I say, what about a 19 year old who downs 32 of those little prepackaged teaspoon serves of sugar that you get in cafes, in one hour, and then is buzzing all night like a bad speed rush hmm? Except that I never took speed, but my friends and I regularly used to down "sugar shots" as we called them, to the point that the cafe we used to hang out at had to stop putting sugar on the tables, and only have them at the counter next to the registar.

Oh, right, the pies. Sorry.

Master Four ate two, as well as half a Turkish Delight that his father bought for him to have (as) with his dessert, and a third of my Double Dipped Cherry Ripe. (Nice concept, but I have to say, if they stuck with the regular 45% choc instead of switching up to the 70% I'd have liked it better. I don't like my dark choc super strong) Miss Two ate the other half of Turkish Deligh, a 1/3 of the Cherry Ripe, and the filling from one pie. She then ate a little of the pastry, and procedded to poke dints in the rest of it with her fingers until bedtime.

I had three. Plus all the toffee I could flake off the paper without tearing up the leftover pies.

This was going to be an entry for Novel Food #5, but in a moment of absentmindedness, I rearranged my menu plan calendar and put these in a week past the deadline! But go check out the round ups anyway, over at Champaign Taste and briciole.

Pesto Cheese Pocket Chicken

Ooooh, fancy!

This recipe was modified from the one in September's recipes+. It called for sliced mozzarella, and mustard, not pesto. Oh, and middle rasher bacon, not fancy, incredibly tasty, smoked prosciutto.

Pesto Cheese Pocket Chicken
100g pesto
150g grated mozzarella
100g ricotta
8 slices prosciutto
4 small chicken breasts
snow peas

Mix the cheeses and pesto together. Slice a deep slit into the thick part of each chicken breast, and stuff with cheese. Wrap until fairly well covered, with prosciutto, securing with toothpicks if need be. The recipe called the chicken to be browned on the stovetop, but I put it straight into the oven because I was making pies for dessert. 30 minutes at 200°C and it was good.

Master Four informs me that he doesn't like pesto, but I think if I don't let him see me put it in dinner, he wouldn't mind. He likes basil, just not the green colour of the ricotta mix. We'll see tomorrow, because the Gnocchi bake calls for pesto too.

Menu Plan Monday

Monday Pesto Cheese Pocket Chicken, with rice & snow peas
Tuesday Cheesy Gnocchi Bake
Wednesday Cannelloni with Garlic Bread
Thursday Ham & Scalloped Potatoes (slow cooker) with Broccoli
Friday Chicken Parmagiana, with peas and chips
Saturday Bulk Meatballs and pasta
Sunday Sandwiches

I've had these bulk meatballs on my menu plan for forever now, it feels like, and I'm determined to get them done this time! Sunday is lunch @ the ILs house, and it's MIL's birthday, so no one will want much more than a sandwich (or half) for dinner.

As usual check out I'm an Organizing Junkie for literally hundreds of other menu plan blog posts.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Vanilla Vodka Strawberries.

After one day, the vodka was already turning red

Take two punnets of strawberries, washed and hulled. Add to an air tight container with a split vanilla bean. Cover with vodka. Let sit for three months. I'm not sure if this needs to be refrigerated or not, but I'm not taking the chance - mine is living in the back of my fridge.

I meant to take a photo when I made this yesterday, but forgot. Ah well, I tohught, it's going to be there for a while. But already today the vodka is going red. It's quite cool actually.

Around xmas time I plan on removing the vanilla bean and blenderising the rest. To be served with either chocolate ice cream (perhaps in the blender to make a smoothie?) or Baileys or Creme De Cacao... I'm going to call it a Neopolitan. Strawberry, Vanilla, Chocolate, get it?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Slow Cooking Thursday - Roast Beef with Pumpkin

There really wasn't much to this. I fried the (seasoned) roast to seal it, placed 4 big chunks of pumpkin in the slow cooker, and rested the meat on top. Then I deglazed my frypan with 1 cup of water that had been mixed with a packet of french onion soup, and tipped the resulting gravy over the roast. I cooked that on low for 8 hours. The pumpkin didn't go mushy, but the parts that were under water (juices) was so good, I ate the piece the kids left behind. The pumpkin was awesome I wawnt to make this again, just for the pumpkin. I lurve french onion flavouring. Just not in soup.

Sandra over at Diary of a Stay At Home Mom hosts Slow Cooking Thursdays, so go have a look for more slow cooked deliciousness!

Kids Cooking Thursday: Vanilla Bean Melting Moments

Just like bought ones!

A simple recipe for DP's favourite biscuit Melting Moments, was spotted in an ad for the vanilla brand, in a magazine. I don't particularly like Melting Moments myself, but I do like vanilla, and I love DP. And the recipe seemed easy enough to use for KCT.

These turned out just like bought ones: crumbly, kinda floury, not enough icing to biscuit ratio (despite my best attempts to fix that), and had that dry fresh-bread-and-peanut-butter kind of texture that glues your mouth shut. For a whole 45 seconds (which is longer than it sounds, really). So of course, DP loved them. The kids ate the first one, asked for seconds, ate the icing, then left a big crumbly mess. But I got lots of brownie points.

I think I'd rather have had brownies.

Miss Two forgetting biscuits go in your mouth, not around it

Master Four making a mess

Master Four's mess

Please spread the word, and remember, if you don't leave a comment, that's fine, but I have no way of knowing when you've left a link otherwise!

This is an entry for Eat to the Beat over at Elly Says Opa. I wanted very much to be a part of the first round of this, but couldn't think of anything. This time around, all I could come up with was 'Cookie Day' by Shonen Knife. I tried for some, better, more clever ideas, but that kept getting in the way. So I figured I'd better use it, so I have it out of the way for the next round ;)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Five Cheese Jaffles

We love string-y cheese (mozzarella)

I had leftover cheese, and couldn't be bothered cooking. Jaffles were made with a mixture of mozzarella, tasty, parmesan, jarlsberg and cream cheese spread on one slice. Mmmmm Cheeeeeeese.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Tuscan Pasta Bake

Sorry, not in a very bloggy type mood. The recipe for this vegetarian pasta bake came from The GI diet website, so it's low GI as well. Tasty, but DP informed me he didn't like beans, (as he left all his beans in his bowl - not before dinner when I could have something about it) so we won't be having this again, regardless of it's tastiness and healthiness.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Crispy Chicken Bake

I made this in the morning, and left it for DP to put in the oven, while I went to a funeral. It's from the retro AWW menu planner book I have.

1 bbq chicken
3 sticks celery, sliced
3/4 cup slivered almonds
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
1/2 cup cream
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 cup grated tasty cheese
50g potato chips, lightly crushed

Remove chicken meat from bones, chop meat roughly. Combine chicken, celery, almonds, mayonnaise, cream, onion and lemon juice in a bowl, pour into shallow ovenproof dish. Combine cheese and potato chips, sprinkle over top. Bake in moderate oven 20 minutes or until golden brown and crisp.

I didn't get to taste this myself, but DP left a sticky note on the recipe for me: "minus almonds, cook without lid or for 30 -> 35 mins" After 35 minutes it still wasn't throughly cooked apparently, but that's because our oven doesn't cook well on the bottom shelf. I only used the lid to store it in the fridge - I would bake this uncovered myself.

Goodbye Mate...

It's an old, old photo, but it's how I'll always remember him. Goodbye Jas, we loved you mate.

Menu Plan Monday

Monday Chicken Crispy Bake
Tuesday Tuscan Pasta Bake (LOW GI)
Wednesday Southern Fried Chicken
Thursday Roast Beef (slow cooker)
Friday Pea Soup w/ homemade rolls, Pernese Bubbly Pies
Saturday ?
Sunday ?

This week Laura gave us homework :(. No, nothing terrible, in fact I look forward to going around the blogverse checking out this one: recipes or links to our family's favourite recipes. I had a hard time picking out these, since it's hard to get feedback out of small children (or DP) but I think these are winners. I've given links to the respective blog post, not the original recipe link (when applicable) so you can read what our thoughts and reactions were. (always important when dealing with young children!)
Chicken & Vegetable Pies, a favourite both fresh and from the freezer
Cauliflower Soup, a recipe lovingly stolen off my mother... via my sister. (multigenerational favourite!)
Mallee Quiche Another recipe from Mum's folder
Calzones Outside-In Pizzas!
Triple Choc Brownies The perfect brownie recipe.
Croquettes Yet another Mum recipe. I think there is something to that. But then, any recipes that can stand up to fifty years of marriage, seven kids, numerous parties and fourteen (soon to be fifteen!) grandchildren are bound to be pretty universal favourites.

As usual check out I'm an Organizing Junkie for literally hundreds of other menu plan blog posts, and everyone else's Family Favourites.

Saturday, September 20, 2008


Look! Fancy folded edge and everything!

Tonight I made Empanadas. I've been wanting to make these for absolutely ages, but they kept getting put off as things cropped up. I was a little intimidated by the amount of work involved. Then I found this recipe for Beef and Sultana Empanadas over at Taste.Com.Au. The filling is simple, and it uses frozen shortcrust pastry. I followed the instructions, but somehow ended up with 24 instead of 18. So I have 14 in the freezer for an easy meal some other time. Everyone seemed to like them. Miss Two only ate one and a half, but that may have been because Master Four left the table, and she wanted to go play too. She certainly didn't seem hungry afterwards, and she said she liked them. Master Four ate three. My cold ones tasted good, but I didn't get back to the table in time for hot ones. I'll be making these again. And I don't just mean cooking the frozen ones either, I mean more batches. I liked these.

Don't forget the competition running over at The Martha Blog, there's some tips for newbie bloggers there too!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Slow Cooking Thursday - Tasty Chicken

Tasty Chicken
4 Chicken thighs
1 can of tomatoes
3 tbsp Balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp tomato paste
small can of tiny taters
1 carrot, sliced
capsicum, chopped
Mushrooms, chopped

Throw it all in the slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours. You might want to thicken it up with some more tomato paste right before serving. Despite many protests from Master Four that he didn't like it, and he needed to "go to a doctor because [he] ate a lot of things" when I came back to the table after Feeding Master Three-Month-Old, all that was left were the potatoes. Which is fair enough, because they didn't taste like normal potatoes. I liked them though. So I ate his as well.

Sorry, no photo, these r/l issues are making me scatterbrained.

Finally linked this up to Slow Cooking Thursday over at Diary of a SAHM

Kids Cooking Thursday: Chocolate Spaceships

I'm getting very behind in my posting, and I do promise to fix that, but I'm having enough trouble getting myself to cook, let alone blog about it at the moment. The same R/L issues are what inspired today's KCT dish - that, and Master Four asked to make them last week. I promise this is going to be the last "assembly" cooking the kids do for a long time.

I made one to show them how

It's not very hard. Take a mini swiss roll, and put a small slit in three sides, starting from one end. Into this slit, place an After Dinner Mint that you have sliced in half diagonally. Roll a Roll-up or other fruit leather type thing into a cone, and place on the end. So easy, even a two, but almost three, year old can do it.

Miss Two's handiwork

Master Four eating the demonstration one, with "his" one in front of him

Please feel free to use the banner or sidebar images to spread the word!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Spinach and Pumpkin Lasagna

It's been a while since I took part in a Cooks Club Challenge. This is the recipe taken straight from the forum over at Taste.Com.Au

Spinach and Pumpkin Lasagna
baby spinach
½ pumpkin, sliced
1 red onion, sliced
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
2 cups milk
2 cups tasty cheese, grated
1 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
1 ½ cups parmesan cheese, grated
4 cloves garlic, crushed
Salt & pepper
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tub philly cream cheese
Lasagna sheets

Melt butter in saucepan, add flour, nutmeg, salt & pepper. Stir until smooth. Add milk and stir over medium heat until sauce thickens. Add cream cheese, garlic and 1 cup of tasty cheese. Stir until melted. Place a layer of pumpkin slices in base of a roasting dish. Add a layer of silverbeet and a layer of onions. Spoon 1/3 of sauce over veges. Sprinkle with a little parmesan. Top with lasagna sheets. Repeat until all ingredients are used up, ending with cheese sauce. Mix remaining cheeses together and sprinkle evenly over lasagna. Bake at 200C for 40 minutes or until browned on top

This is one of my all time favourites - so handy to have in the freezer - just pull out and heat and serve - yum. You can also add bacon to the layers for a carnivore who just won't eat it without some meat.

The white sauce took ages to thicken, so the kids ended up having sandwiches, and DP and I ate this after the kids were in bed. There was heaps left, enough for everyone to have some tomorrow for lunch. I loved the pumpkin in it, but not too fond of the spinach in it. I used to love baby spinach, but I'm starting to go off it now - tastes too metallic-y to me. I ate it a lot and never minded the taste when I was pregnant, I guess my body just needed the iron so it tasted good then. I might experiment with other vegies instead of the spinach, maybe zucchini would go nicely.

Menu Plan Monday

Monday Spinach & Pumpkin Lasagna
Tuesday Roast Tomato & Beef Fettucine
Wednesday BLT Risotto
Thursday Tasty Chicken (slow cooker)
Friday Cauliflower Soup w/ homemade rolls, Meatball Pasta
Saturday Turkish Roll Steak Sandwiches
Sunday Chicken Crispy Bake

The meatballs I'm making for the pasta on Friday will be part of a bulk batch - I expect to get about 90, so I'll be stocking up the freezer too!

Posting may be a bit sporadic, as r/l is a bit ick atm, but if I don't post on the day, I'll try and get it up within a few days.

As usual check out I'm an Organizing Junkie for literally hundreds of other menu plan blog posts.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Cheesecake Truffles

When I heard that Stephanie over at Dispensing Happiness was having a birthday theme for this month's blog party, I knew I had the perfect thing lined up to cook for her. It was simple, and delicious, and if my kids were scared of the noise the food processor makes, they could have pretty much made these themselves. Stephanie loves cheesecake, and this is the perfect bitesized version.

Take one block of cream cheese (250g). Use it at room temperature, unless it is 24°C in your kitchen, then you might need it a little colder. Put it in your food processor (or someone else's, I'm not fussy) with 2-3 packs of Oreos. I used cheap imitation oreos. It still tasted great. Whizz up until you get a smooth mixture. Roll into little balls, and chill. Or it your kitchen is enjoying the start of beautiful warm spring weather, chill, then roll into balls, then chill again.

Melt some chocolate and coat the balls with it. I didn't have enough chocolate, so I mixed in some Freckles (chocolate discs with hundreds and thousands on the top) that I had leftover from making the teacups the other day. Then I ran out of that mix, so I bought another bag of Freckles. That's why some are bumpier than others. I brought these, with the teacups, to my niece's 13th birthday party, so they are doubly birthday-ified.

Go check out the round up!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Friday from the freezer.

Tonight we had Pea Soup, bread rolls, and croquettes - all from the freezer. Then we put the kids to bed and watched more MacGyver. DP got the 6th season for Father's Day.

MacGyver rocks. Are you as clever as MacGyver?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Kids Cooking Thursday: Cups and Saucers

Welcome all to the first interactive Kids Cooking Thursday! Hopefully by posting your links here, we'll all have more recipes to encourage our little junior chefs with.

Today we cooked two things. The first was cupcakes using our Fruit Salad Bread recipe. We were all out of cupcakes in the freezer, for afternoon teas, and I liked having these on hand for me to grab as breakfast on the run while feeding Master Three-Month-Old.

Mmm, fruity!

But I couldn't just throw up a link to an old recipe, not on our first interactive week. So we made these:

Tea cups!

I saw these over at Planning With Kids and have since seen them in a few places.

Normally, this isn't the sort of cooking I do with the kids (Pretzel Butterflies aside), as I prefer to be teaching them how to cook, and not just assemble things. But these were so cute, and we are going to a birthday party on Sunday, for afternoon tea, so I thought we could bring these along. (And we did do some actual cooking today, so I thought we could get away with it ;) )

Now here comes the fun part... Please leave your name (with what you cooked) in Mr Linky, and let's get those little chefs cooking!

Slow Cooking Thursday - Beef Olives

When I was growing up, we always got to choose what Mum cooked for dinner on our birthday. I always choose Beef Olives, with the special deep fried mashed potatoes Mum made. She'd use a piping bag to make little spirals, then dunk them in the deep fryer - not healthy, but terribly tasty!

It's not my birthday today, but it is Slow Cooking Thursday over at Diary of a SAHM, and I thought since Steak and Onions cooked so well in the slow cooker, perhaps I should give beef olives a go. I made the rolls up last night, and put them in the fridge, so all I had to do this morning was brown them, and place in the slow cooker.

Last night

Beef Olives
Thin steak (I used round steak)
bacon pieces
sweet/sour cucumber
salt & pepper

Cut onion, bacon pieces and cucumber very very fine. Sprinkle salt and pepper onto the beef, then put the onions, bacon and cucumber onto the beef slices. Roll them up and secure them with toothpicks. Lightly brown them in a frypan with a little oil or butter. Fry any left over stuffing bits you have too, it'll be nice in the gravy. Place in the slow cooker, along with the fried stuffing bits, and add a little water.

Ready for a loooong simmer

Cook until well cooked, about 6-8 hours on LOW. This might be different for you. Everything I cook in my slow cooker cooks from about 11am till 6pm on LOW, it seems to work for me. You can thicken the juices with a bit of gravy powder. You could try that in the slow cooker, by taking out the meat rolls, and turning up to HIGH, stirring constantly, or you could just tip the juices and bits into a saucepan. That's what I do, as I can never get any sauces to thicken in my slow cooker, but then, perhaps I just don't give it enough time.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Roast Chicken Calzones

Served with pasta salad

I managed to do one more thing with yesterday's chicken, making a total of three meals/cooked things out of one 2.2kg chicken - not a bad effort I thought.
I took a sheet of shortcrust pastry, cut it into a circle, then spread a semi circle of marscapone in the centre, leaving about a 2cm border. On top of the cheese, I squirted some bbq sauce, and topped that with chopped chicken. If you don't have leftover roast chicken, you can always buy a bbq chook from the supermarket. Sprinkle that with some grated tasty cheese, then fold the pastry over. Cook at 200°C until golden.

Crockpot chicken stock

Last night, straight after dinner, I took the carcass from yesterday's roast chicken, and put it back in the slow cooker. I hadn't emptied the chicken juices out yet, and to that I added 6 cups of water. I also threw in a packet of frozen soup vegetables. Don't ask me what was in that, as my mother made them up and put them in my freezer. I saw grated carrot, peas, and some other green stuff. I'm thinking flat leaf parsley maybe? I let the lot simmer on LOW for 13 hours. When it had cooled, I skimmed off the fat, and poured it into freezers bags, measuring out 1 cup at a time. Then I froze them lying flat on a baking tray.

This is 7 cups... I almost got 8.

Now I have 7 cups worth of stock tucked away in my freezer for crockpot meals, risotto, or soups, and I won't have to buy chicken stock for a while at least.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Slow Cooker Roast Chicken, and Crash Hot Potatoes

It wasn't really this white - it's just glare from the flash, honest!

I didn't do anything at all for dinner tonight. Ok, maybe a little, but I could barely call it cooking. I cut five potatoes in half and placed them cut side down in my slow cooker. Then I opened a marinated chicken, and balanced it on top of the potatoes. Closed the lid and set on LOW for 10 hours. Oh yeah, I did chop up some more potatoes and some carrots, and microwave them on high for 10 minutes, then tossed them in oil with a few peeled cloves of garlic, and threw the lot in the oven at 200°C for about half an hour. I didn't even serve up - DP did (hence no nice plated dinner photo). I went and fed Master Three-Month-Old instead.

Everyone wanted the crispy oven roast potatoes, so I was left with ten beautifully chicken-y flavoured potatoes, that were admittedly kinda mushy. I made this with them:

I ate this whole plate myself - good thing I didn't end up getting dinner then!

I didn't get any roast because we're having Roast Chicken Calzones tomorrow and I was worried there wasn't enough leftover meat. But I ate all of these myself, since DP didn't want to eat any after chocolate - he'd been snacking on the big Toblerone the kids got him for father's day, during NCIS. These were great potatoes - not very crispy really, but I didn't use a brush with the oil, I just kinda flipped them over and rubbed them in the oil in the pan (leftover from roasting the dinner vegies) Still nice though.

Don't forget Kids Cooking Thursday gets interactive this week! I whipped up a little banner you can use if you like, and I'm in the process of making a little square button for sidebars too.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Peaches and Cream Dessert

Our last house was within walking distance of the local library, and every week, on the way home from storytime, the kids and I used to stop in at an op shop, and look at the books and foodie magazines. One time I happened to pick up a Australian Women's Weekly Menu Planner, from 1987. It had two course meals for 4 weeks, plus some 'treat' baking recipes. It has a lot of casseroles, and microwave dishes, it's generally very late 80s all round. Tonight's dessert comes from that book.

60g butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup SR flour
1/2 cup milk
425g can of peaches, drained
300ml thickened cream
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Beat soft butter, sugar, egg, flour and milk in small bowl with electric mixer for a few minutes or until smooth and changed in colour. Pour into greased, oven-proof dish, top with peaches. Bake in moderate oven 40 minutes (or microwave on HIGH 8 minutes). Pour combined cream and extra eggs over peaches, sprinkle with combined sugar and cinnamon, bake in a moderate oven further 15 minutes or until set (or microwave on MEDIUM HIGH 5 minutes).

When askedf what he thought of it, DP replied "I'm still eating it aren't I?" Not a high compliment, but when he was done, he did concede it was "nice". I'm thinking the leftovers are going to be breakfast.


Don't look at me like that - there's fruit in it!

Oh... no... I wasn't going to give it to the kids. This is my breakfast.

Menu Plan Monday

Monday Fettucine Bolognese
Tuesday Roast Chicken (slow cooker)
Wednesday Roast Chicken Calzone
Thursday Beef Olives with mashed potatoes (slow cooker)
Friday Pea Soup w/ homemade rolls, and Croquettes
Saturday Orange Baked Chicken
Sunday Jaegerwecken

On Wednesday I'm using the leftover chicken for Calzones, and also making stock with the bones in my slow cooker, to be frozen in 1 cup bags. Sunday we are going to my niece's 13th birthday for afternoon tea, so it's sandwiches for dinner. Austrian sandwiches, for a blog event I'll post more about later.

Please come back on Thursday to join in with Kids Cooking Thursday - I'll break out the Mr Linky! Remember, you don't need to post photos of your children cooking, just get in the kitchen and have fun! This is my first attempt at hosting anything, so I'm hoping you will all join in!

As usual check out I'm an Organizing Junkie for literally hundreds of other menu plan blog posts.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Braised Steak & Onion Jaffles

A while ago, I made Steak & Onions in the slow cooker. I froze the leftovers, and tonight we had it in jaffles for dinner. I get a lot of questions about what jaffles are from my American readers, so here's the simple step by step.

Butter two slices of bread. Place sandwich toppings on unbuttered side. Place in a jaffle maker.

This is a jaffle maker

Cook until golden and crunchy. Then eat.

This is a jaffle.

It's basically just a toasted sandwich, but the press seals the edges of the sandwich while toasting, so you can put things like baked beans, or canned spaghetti in there, and it doesn't squoosh out during cooking. Every type of jaffle tastes better with cheese. Except perhaps a banana and peanut butter jaffle, but then only my DP would eat that. And maybe Elvis. Ok, choc chips with a sweet jaffle, cheese with savoury. Doesn't metter what you throw in, if you stick with that it'll taste good.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Monthly Mingle - Fruit & Chocolate

August is not summer here in Australia. It's cold, and frequently wet (unless we are in the middle of a drought... again). It's not a time of year that makes me think of summer fruits, although you can always get canned of course, and watermelons are starting to show up in the stores - not that you feel like eating them when it's only twelve degrees (Celsius). But Meeta choose summer fruit & chocolate for last months theme, and since I saw the post with a week to go, I thought I'd sneak an entry in. I figure that grapes and strawberries and apricots are all summer fruits right? So if I were to get hold of dried versions, wouldn't that be an acceptable winter version? I just can't bring myself to pay import prices for, or to make summery type foods with, the fresh sort.
I was going to use the recipe post as my entry for MM, but I just couldn't make up my mind which one to use. Did I go with the chicken mole, because it's different and unique, or with the fruit and choc scones the kids made, because the fruit has more of a role to play? Or the dark chocolate berry brownies, which are my clear favourite, but most of the fruit flavour actually comes from the chocolate. All of these recipes hit my menu plan with the thought of entering one for MM. But which one? It was a difficult decision. I couldn't make the decision. So instead of posting an event notice at the bottom of one of those posts, I'm putting it here, with photos, and links back to the original posts for the recipes. Because really, when it comes to fruit and chocolate, you can never have enough right? So, following that logic, you really should also check out the round-up.

Chicken Mole

Wheely Scones

Dark Chocolate Berry Brownies

Triple Choc Berry Brownies

I have the most kickass brownies recipe in the world. It gets better the longer you leave it, which is great incentive not to eat the whole batch all at once,(though if you taste them still warm and squishy fresh from the oven (ok, half an hour cooled, so you don't burn yourself on the chocolate bits) you'll find it hard to believe they get better.) and it's so easy to change the recipe around to make different flavours. These are the fudgey sort of brownies, but they are cakey enough to satisfy my sister who loves her own very dry, crumbly, cakey brownies. I modify the recipe almost every time I make it, to change flavours, and take advantage of new things I've found in the supermarket - who ever knew they made dried strawberries? Here is the recipe as the kids and I made them today, so you don't have to go flipping between this page and the original recipe. Sorry I have no cute kids cooking photos, but I couldn't really stop in the middle for fear of ingredients disappearing into little mouths!

185g (6 oz) butter
185g (6 oz) mixed berry flavoured dark chocolate, chopped
3 eggs
1 1/4 cups caster sugar
1 tbsp vanilla
2/3 cup plain flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup dried strawberries, roughly chopped
1/2 cup milk chocolate drops or roughly chopped
1/2 cup choc coated sultanas

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Place butter and dark chocolate in a
metal bowl over a pot of simmering water and stir until smooth.
Allow to cool. Place the eggs and sugar in a bowl and beat with a electric
mixer (or wire whisk) until light and creamy. Add vanilla. Fold through chocolate and butter mixture. Sift the flour and cocoa over the mixture and mix to combine.
Add strawberries, sultanas, and chocolate and pour into a 23 cm(9 inch) square pan that has been lined with cooking paper and sprayed with cooking spray.
Bake for 35-40 mins or until set. Check with a knife. Allow to cool and then cut into squares. Chill overnight or for two days for best results.

Dried strawberries = nice touch. I've sent a boxful (the pictured boxful actually) to my parents place tomorrow with one of my sisters, so I will see what the reaction was when I get my container back. I have a smaller box to take with us to DP's parents (less chocolate eating people there) and an even smaller box here for us to eat (like I need the extra chocolate!) and I really liked them warm, but I'll see how these "age".

Friday, September 5, 2008

Flickr Friday - Blue

I finally get around to joining in Flickr Friday, and it's the last one for a while. :(
At least Miss Two is happy, blue is her favourite colour. Go over to Picklebums for more Flickr Friday.

1. When I'm sleeping..., 2. Berlin blues, 3. blue and white...2008, 4. Crystal Blue Persuasion, 5. Untitled, 6. Blue, 7. Drákōn, 8. Blue Balls, 9. You Look Good in Blue

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Kids Cooking Thursday goes interactive!

So here's the deal. Starting next week, I'm throwing open Kids Cooking Thursday open to the people. Your little people. Every Thursday, at the bottom of my KCT post, I'll have a Mr Linky. Just put the url of your KCT post (permalinks please!) in, and you're done. No waiting ages for round-up, no guilt if you are a day or two late. This is a weekly event, one that I blog regardless of if anyone comes, but it would be nice to have some variety in our kitchen.

So, the rules. (*repressing urge to make obscure Labyrinth quote here*)
1. You need to get your kids into the kitchen. (You don't need to post pictures of your kids, or post their names, but ages would be nice - my four year old won't be up to cooking what your eight year old makes! If you don't have kids, borrow someone else's, or post things you know kids can cook. Things you made with your mum, many moons ago, for instance, would make a great post.)
2. Kids Cooking Thursday is open to anyone with a blog that wants to join us by linking up to their child related cooking post.
3. So that things stay tidy and easy to find, please leave a permalink to your post, and not just the blog URL. You can get your post URL (permalink) by clicking on the heading of your KCT post, then copying the full URL from the browser bar.
4. Please mention Kids Cooking Thursday in your post and link back to my weekly KCT post here.

Feel free to use the banner or button on the sidebar too!

Kids Cooking Thursday: Wheely Scones

The kids have been asking to make 'wheely scones' since tuesday last week, when Justine made them on Playschool. I'm not sure the kids will really eat them, but we need more afternoon teas for them in the freezer and I thought if I let them cook it, they'll stop asking.

You'll need:
scone dough
chopped dried apricots
choc chips
a lot of patience

Roll the dough out into a rectangle. We split the dough in half and made two rectangles, ensuring no fighting over sultana placement. Scatter your toppings across the dough. Starting from a long end, roll up like a swiss roll. Slice into desired thickness and bake at 190°C for 15 minutes or until risen and golden.

I'm not a big scone fan, but the fruit stopped these from being too dry and tasteless. All the same, the kids are in no danger of me trying to pinch these off them. Maybe if I liked scones. I'm just weird like that. I don't like muffins either.

Now, throwing this one open for comments from the peanut gallery (now that's an odd phrase really, I wonder where, apart from my dad, does it originally come from?): if I were to whack a Mr Linky on the end of my KCT post next week, would anyone join in with me?

Slow Cooking Thursday - Chicken Mole with Quinoa

1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 tsp oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
30g dark chocolate, very finely chopped
2 cups chicken stock
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
4 chicken thighs
3/4 cup sultanas

Fry the first 4 ingredients in a pan over medium heat until onion is golden and soft. Put into a food processor with everything else except the chicken thighs and sultanas. Blend to a smooth paste. If your paste is more like a sauce, add 2 corn tortillas torn up. I didn't have any of those, which is why I didn't write them in. But I also didn't drain my tomatoes. So I added three slices of wholemeal bread to the blender. It helped a little. Make sure that your chocolate is in very small pieces or that your food processor can handle hard chunks. Mine didn't like it much, and combined with the excessive amounts of liquid, had a hissy fit and spat all over my bench. it was only a little bit, but considering the colour, it still didn't look pretty.
Place in the slow cooker with the chicken pieces and stir to coat. Add your sultanas. Cook on low for 6-8 hours - NO STIRRING!

I wasn't terribly impressed with this. I've never eaten or cooked a mole before, but pictures on the internet led me to expect something more dark brown, and less... well, technicolour yawn pink is the only way to describe it. But it smelled good, and tasted nice raw. I took all the chilies out of the recipe I used, because we really don't eat anything even mildly spicy. I was going to buy some chili flakes and add in a 1/2 tsp of that, but I forgot to buy them. If the chicken turns out to need a touch of spice I'll add it in next time. Next time when I make the sauce the night before. And perhaps melt the chocolate. And drain the tomatoes. Perhaps I'll use my hand blender and a jug to process the sauce next time... it's a lot less dishes than my food processor. Hey, maybe I'll make a double batch of sauce and store some - this would be super easy if the sauce was in a jar in the fridge. Then all I'd have to do was throw chicken and sauce and sultanas in the slow cooker - now that's my idea of slow cooking!

Mmmm, look how fluffy this is!

Quinoa is really easy to cook, and this made a nice side to the mole, just something a little special.

Rinse 1 cup quinoa in a small strainer or sieve. Place in a medium saucepan with 1 cup water and 1 cup stock (of course you can use 2 cups water, but if you have stock on hand its worth using it for the extra flavour). Bring a boil, add 1-2 cups of frozen corn kernels, bring back to the boil, then simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until water is absorbed. Quinoa is cooked when the germ ring is visible - ie, the grains look like little condoms. Yeah, I know. I'm sure you didn't need that image in your head when you are about to eat this. But I read that online somewhere years ago, and it's stuck with me. I think of it every time I eat quinoa... and now you will too. Aren't I generous? The kids loved this. Mostly just saying the word, but Master Four ate all of his, pinched some of Miss Two's and mooched some off DP. Miss Two ate most of hers, but I think I served up far too much for everyone - even DP couldn't eat all of his. So this much quinoa would probably feed 8 people as a side dish.

I liked the cooked Mole too. It did need the chili, it came out sort of bland, but still nice without it. A recipe to tweak, but definitely try again. At least the colour changed to a darker, more brownish pink.