Friday, April 30, 2010

Flash Game Friday


A simple numbers-army game.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Argentine Beef Stroganoff Alfredo Risotto

Just something I whipped up as I went along. Ended up being quite tasty.

Argentine Beef Stroganoff Alfredo Risotto
1/2 cup butter
2 raw argentine hamburger patties
130g fire roasted capsicum strips
1 1/2 cup aborio rice
1 pkt Xtra Full Beef Stroganoff Cup-a-soup
1 pkt Alfredo pasta and sauce
1 carrot, diced
1 cup frozen corn kernels
as much boiling water as needed, one kettleful will do

Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Put the patties in the pan, over high heat, breaking up with a wooden spoon while browning. Add the capsicum, and the rice. Fry until the rice is toasty and golden. Throw in the soup mix, the carrot, and the contents of the pasta packet. Pour in boiling water, enough to cover everything in the pot, and cook on a low simmer until absorbed. Keep adding, and cooking off, water until the rice is tender. Throw in the corn and cook for a minute or two more, just to defrost the corn.

Serve with a sprinkle of grated cheese, and a grind of freshly cracked pepper.

It got the blurry stamp of approval!

Kids Cooking Thursday: Chocolate, Orange, and Chocolate Chunk Muffins

Chocolate, Orange, and Chocolate Chunk Muffins
from Mad about Muffins by Diana Bonaparte

120g butter
100g dark chocolate
2 oranges
a little milk
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
285g plain flour
200g light muscovado sugar
1 tsp bicarb soda
1/8 tsp salt
150g milk chocolate, roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to 190°C. Grease and flour 12 muffin tin sections or line with paper liners.

Melt the butter and the chocolate together in a bowl over a pan of simmering water until smooth.

Grate the zest from the oranges into a medium sized bowl. Squeeze the juice from both fruit.

Make the orange juice up to 190g with a little milk and combine with orange zest. Add in the egg and vanilla and mix well, then whisk this mixture into the melted chocolate and butter.

Sift the flour, light muscovado sugar, bicarb soda and salt into a large bowl. You will need to push the light muscovado sugar through the sieve with the back of a spoon.

Add the butter and chocolate mixture to the flour mixture and fold everything together until just blended. Fold in the chocolate chunks.

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tin sections. Bake for 22-25 minutes until the muffins are well risen and the tops spring back when gently pressed.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool a little before eating.

This was Master Five's choice for a birthday 'cake' for his sixth birthday party. We made them ahead of time, letting them cool completely to room temperature before freezing them. I took them out of the freezer the night before the party, slapped a thin coat of Betty Crocker's Chocolate frosting (sure it's premade and full of ingredients known only by numbers, but it tastes so damn gooood!) and topped them with pirate foam shapes from the scrapbooking aisle. Because I am not so good with the freehand icing drawing.

A few little changes in technique and ingredients, we used brown sugar instead of light muscovado, and Valencia oranges, which were so juicy, we had 190ml from one orange, so Master One and I drank the leftover juice, and we didn't need any milk. One thing I found, with the brown sugar, was that if we tipped it all in a bowl and throughly mixed it through the flour first, it was easier to sift, because it didn't stick to itself so much. And as always, I melted my chocolate and butter in the microwave - it's fine if you use low temps and know what you are doing. ;)

This was an entry for
The Cookbook Challenge: Week 24 - Chocolate.

If you'd like to join in with Kids Cooking Thursday please leave a permalink to your own Kids Cooking Thursday post, as per the rules.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Slow Cooker Chicken Stew

Stew was on the agenda for lots of blogs last week. The Daring Cooks April challenge of Brunswick Stew conquered the blogosphere, the air redolent with hearty stew aromas. I was flat broke and just couldn't fit it into the budget unfortunately, so I had to miss out, and tonight's dinner is my 'almost' challenge stew. As in, I bought a bunch of things, then ran out of money for the meat side, and now have to use up the ingredients. Plus, since it's no longer for the challenge, I'm throwing in a bunch of other things too. Like fresh from the garden pumpkin my mother grew, and some French Onion soup mix, because I'm a nut for that stuff.

Not-Quite-Brunswick Stew
850g peeled, seeded pumpkin, cut into chunks (you could obviously use less, to personal preference, or depending on how big your pumpkins are.)
500g new potatoes, cut into quarters
2 carrots, cut into chunks
2 onions, cut into 12ths (or chunks, however you like)
2 sticks celery, cut into chunks
500g chicken (I used thighs)
400g can whole peeled tomatoes
400g can butterbeans
40g pk French Onion Soup mix

Throw everything into your slow cooker and cook on HIGH for 4 hours. I find chicken goes stringy if you cook on LOW for 8 hours, but if you don't mind that, or need to be out of the house for longer, feel free to cook it that way instead.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Staffordshire Fig Pudding

The April 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Esther of The Lilac Kitchen. She challenged everyone to make a traditional British pudding using, if possible, a very traditional British ingredient: suet.

Staffordshire Fig Pudding Taken from TheFoody.Com
450g (1lb) Figs
340g (12oz) Flour
170g (6oz) Suet, finely chopped

Mix the suet with the flour and make into a smooth paste with milk.
Roll it out to the thickness of about 1.3cm (½ inch).
Cut the figs in small pieces and scatter over the paste.
Roll it up, make the ends secure.
Tie the pudding in a cloth.
Boil it for 1½ to 2 hours.

I was going to steam mine in my crockpot, since I don't have a steamer, or a pudding cloth, or anything at all that would have made this challenge even slightly easier. I made up my pastry, topped it with fresh figs (from my mother's garden!)and then gave it a little sprinkle of brown sugar, just for luck (and because I wasn't sure the kids liked figs!)

Then I folded the pastry edges over the top and prepared for steaming.

I had located the old steamer basket we used to used for vegies, to go under my bowl and keep it from the bottom of the slow cooker, I had cleaned the slow cooker, invited a British friend over for dinner to help eat it all (in case the kids weren't too enthused), I had 6 hours left until dinner time, I was all set. Except when I went to get the alfoil out of the drawer, I found Master One had played with it all. So, no pudding for dinner that night, since I would run out of time for the steaming, by the time I'd picked up Miss Four from kinder, and made it down to the shops and back.

No problem, I thought. I'll whack it into the fridge, and go and get some foil early tomorrow. The bank account was a little dry, only $10 left for another week, but as I had enough food for dinners and the like, that was just for milk, and we could squeeze in a pack of alfoil. So the next morning, get to the shops, and I thought, I better check my balance at the atm before I get to the register, so I know how much I can spend. Only, instead of $10, I had negative $1. Stupid unexpected transactions. So it was a week before I had money again. I have alfoil now, but no more suet or figs, and the pudding has been sitting neglected in the fridge far too long to contemplate cooking. To tell you the truth, after all that, I'm not sure I'm game to try again, my slow cooker might catch fire, or my kitchen roof cave in. It just seems it's not meant to be. Pity, because I was looking forwards to seeing flaky golden pastry emerge from a steaming process...

Here's hoping I have better luck (and less dramas!) next month with the Daring Bakers.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Menu Plan Monday


DP's favourite potatoes, Spanish Style


Smoky Ranch Pasta


Slow Cooker Chicken Stew


Argentine Beef Stroganoff Alfredo Risotto


Simple Tomato Pasta




Scrambled Egg Sandwiches

Check back during the week for the recipes, and as usual, check out I'm an Organizing Junkie for literally hundreds of other menu plan blog posts, and please come back here for Kids Cooking Thursday when we make Chocolate, Orange, and Chocolate Chunk Muffins, ready for Master Five's birthday party.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Chocolate Sticky Date Pudding with Butterscotch Sauce

This fortnight for Cooks Club we made a cake/pudding taken directly from The only slight change I made was to use 'Maya Gold' flavoured chocolate, from Green & Black's, to add a hint of orange and spice. While it was baking (and my MIL agrees with me) I thought that it might be nice with a hint of ginger added as well. Don't be stingy with the sauce when serving, it really makes this dish! (Especially if you make this the night before and serve cold and cake-like, as I did)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Leaf Challenge: Polenta & Parmesan Chicken Noodle Salad

I had all intentions of making something for this week's challenge. It took me forever to find something that seemed to fit, and then I thought of the chicken salad I made for Hay Hay It's Donna Day a while ago, and thought it would be really nice for the chilly season if I added hot hokkien noodles to it. Unfortunately, with the limited time I had left, and Master Six's birthday, and party, and the resulting cooking for said party, I didn't quite get around to it. So I'm joining in only in spirit this week :(

This would have been an entry for
The Cookbook Challenge: Week 23 - Leaf.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Flash Game Friday

Warzone Tower Defence

I know I've linked to a Tower Defence type game before, in fact, it was the second Flash Game Friday post I ever did, and I do still love that version best of all.

But lately a friend of mine has been posting her scores for this one as her facebook status, and out of curiosity, I thought I'd try it out. Then Master 5 saw me playing, and wanted to try. (Best quite of the holidays so far, after dying twice in quick succession (he wasn't using the gun towers, just bricks) he turned to DP and said "oh, this is harder than I thought it was!" Perhaps it was just the way he said it, or just the suprising honesty for a change, but I thought it was funny.) Then DP thought he'd give it a try, and spent two days solid on it. Thank goodness for long weekends. Once you get into the swing of it, it can be quite time consuming. DP and I average a score of about 70,000 - which is 130+ waves... over an hour of real time per game. I think I was better off playing Bejeweled Blitz on Facebook... at least that only goes for a minute!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Kids Cooking Thursday: Butterfly Biscuits

Just a basic butter biscuit, of which you can use your own favourite recipe. But boy, did they have fun making them!

It was Miss Four's idea to make these, as she wanted to try out the new butterfly cutters I got for my birthday last year. They came with a set of icing mats, which made the fancy line work you can just barely see.

We didn't get to ice these, as they were all eaten warm for afternoon tea!

If you'd like to join in with Kids Cooking Thursday please leave a permalink to your own Kids Cooking Thursday post, as per the rules.

Because nothing makes me happier than mocking stupid people

...or stupid statements, I'll be taking part in Boobquake on Monday. (No, there will not be pics) While my modestly sized breasts might have a bit of bounce to them, they are hardly the stuff earthquakes are made of, covered or not.

"Many women who do not dress modestly ... lead young men astray, corrupt their chastity and spread adultery in society, which (consequently) increases earthquakes," Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi was quoted as saying by Iranian media.

Really? I thought it was due to the movement of the tectonic plates? Shows what I know.
Just to make a point, thousands (seriously thousands - over 22,000 have rsvp'ed to the facebook event page!) of women are planning on wearing their favourite immodest outfit on Monday, to see if we really can 'make the earth move'. There are so many bad puns that could be made from this that I can't pick just one, and think I better refrain all together.

Hope to see you all attending (in spirit) to advance the cause of science and boobs everywhere!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: New Pyjamas

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Which They Might Be Giants album are you?

Usually I don't post this sort of thing, this is a food blog, not myspace, and I'm not 15 either. But I couldn't resist posting this result for a quiz based on one of my favourite band's albums. And it's a azy dinner night anyway :P

Which They Might Be Giants album are you?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Menu Plan Monday


More food than is good for us at my Mother's birthday


Oven baked croquettes with Garlic Pumpkin-Potato mash


Mac n Cheese


Chicken Kiev, with Mashed Potato Balls and steamed veg


Creamy Lemon Pasta


Spinach Pesto Scrolls


Lunch @ MILs, with Chocolate Sticky Date Pudding for dessert

Because of Easter and the school holidays, not a lot of cooking got done until the end of the week. I hate lazy cooking weeks. I got back into the swing of things near the end of the week though, and even knocked out some baking on Saturday that will double as school lunches when Master Five gets tired of sandwiches.

Check back during the week for the recipes, and as usual, check out I'm an Organizing Junkie for literally hundreds of other menu plan blog posts, and please come back here for Kids Cooking Thursday when we make Butterfly Biscuits.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Rolling with ma homies...

Recently, I changed my site design. In an effort to 'clean up' the look of the side bar, I deleted the long list of blogs I follow, leaving only the links to the blog rolls for which widget display is a requirement of membership. Though I don't seem to be getting any traffic from them anyway, so perhaps I should just swap it back.

At any rate, there are blogs I follow, as well as blogs I keep in a folder for times I want to search through things, or want some "extra" food blog reading, but don't follow all the time. I try to keep the list of blogs in my reader down to one length, without needing to scroll the names, but I'm not very good at that. Every now and then I'll do a cull, keeping only the regular posters, and those most relevant to me, and moving the others to my blog bookmark folder.

I thought tonight, instead of my usual inane lazy dinner night link to something kooky online, I'd share with you my massive list of blogs I like (but don't necessarily read all the time! ;) ) Grap yourself a cuppa first, and perhaps consider making yourself a bookmark folder for some of these to get back to later... it's a looong list!

In no particular order...

The food blogs
Sunday Hotpants

The Pioneer Woman Cooks

Here's Something I Prepared Earlier

Nummy Kitchen

But I Had A Tiara

Canela and Comino

Natalie's Killer Cuisine

Dispensing Happiness

Hold The Beef

Mummarat's Nest

Laws of the Kitchen

Culinary Delights

David Lebovitz

Cookie Baker Lynn

What's For Lunch Honey

Kitchen Wench

Notitie van Lien

A Year of Slow Cooking

The mixed blogs
MEL: HOT OR NOT Restaurants and other things in Melbourne

Taylor Made In Oz TalesCraft, and personal stuff

Planning With Kids Cooking, craft, and organising

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Spicy Chickpea Casserole with Quinoa

I wasn't sure how well this would be received - my children aren't picky eaters by any stretch of the imagination, but they are all under 6. I needn't have worried though. Miss Four thought "chicken peas" was hilarious, and after I told them that chickpeas were the main ingredient in hummus, which they all adore, Master Five couldn't get enough of his "hummus nuts"! Pictured is DP's serve, which had less tomatoes than was really proportionate, so it doesn't look as red as it should, but this was a fitting meal for the Cookbook Challenge "Red" week.

In turn, I love this cookbook, all slow cooker recipes, with a lot of attitude, and hilarious mum talk asides that had me bookmarking quite a few pages.

Spicy Chickpea Casserole with Quinoa (from How to make Love & Dinner at the Same Time by Rebecca Jager)
1 red pepper [capsicum], chopped
1 red onion, chopped
2 carrots, thinly sliced
2 [425g] cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 [400g] cans diced tomatoes
1/3 cup quinoa, uncooked
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp pepper

Combine all the ingredients in the slow cooker.
Cook on LOW for 8 to 10 hours, or on HIGH for 4 to 5 hours.
Remove the bay leaf, and serve.

This was an entry for
The Cookbook Challenge: Week 22 - Red.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Flash Game Friday

Daymare Town

A problem solving game in the style of Myst, or those other collect things and solve the mystery games. It has a cool scribble art style, and links to several walkthroughs right on the home page if you get stuck.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Spinach and Ricotta Lasagna

Time for another Cooks Clubs Challenge from the forums!

Spinach and Ricotta Lasagna
Serves 4 – 6
Dried instant lasagna sheets or fresh ones
500g tub ricotta or cottage cheese
Bag of fresh spinach or box of frozen spinach
3 -4 spring onions
2 - 4 cloves garlic – according to taste
Ground black pepper
1 Egg (optional but tends to keep its form better, hence easier to serve)
2 tbsp grated parmesan
Tomato pasta sauce – homemade or jar
Shredded cheese – cheddar, tasty or mozzarella or a combination

In a food processor, combine the spinach, (prepared as per pack if not fresh) roughly chopped spring onions and garlic, process until combined, add the ricotta or cottage cheese, egg, parmesan and a generous grind of nutmeg, a good grind of black pepper and process until combined.
Smear a layer of tomato pasta sauce on the bottom of a suitably sized baking dish. Cover with a layer of pasta. Then layer the cheese/spinach mixture alternately with pasta. Cheese layers should be approx ½ inch deep each.
Top with a layer of pasta then pour over the remaining tomato sauce.
Sprinkle with grated cheese
Bake at 180c for approx 40 minutes.

Fresh from the oven

My "proper" sized dish is in the freezer full of mac n cheese, so I had to be crafty with alfoil and a roasting tray. It still was a little too big though, so I only had enough tomato sauce for the half layer under the first layer of pasta, and one full layer in the middle. So there was no tomato sauce over the top, just a generous layer of grated tasty and mozzarella cheeses.

Check my funky loaf pan 'divider'!

It didn't suffer from that lack, although me forgetting to buy parmesan, and just skipping that DID make a difference - our spinach mixture was a little bland, but the Parmesan would have prevented that. We did use the egg, and it kept it's form wonderfully. All three kidlets wolfed this down, and I quite liked it too. If DP likes it, we have a make again dinner to add to the list. This was so easy and quick to make!

Kids Cooking Thursday: Chocolate Crackles - by request!

Our friend Nick is planning on coming down from Melbourne to terrorise the children, and requested we make him some chocolate crackles. Now, I could have made the "proper", more traditional, recipe, but I don't really like copha, and I think my recipe is a lot nicer. Easier too. (For all my Northern Hemisphere readers, when I say Mars Bars, I mean Milky Ways, or any generic chocolate coated, caramel topped, whipped fluffy nougat type confection. And Coco Pops are chocolate flavoured Rice Crispies.)

Mars Bar Chocolate Crackles
200g chopped Mars Bars
70g chopped milk chocolate
50g butter
3 cups coco pops

Melt first three ingredients, either in the microwave, or in a saucepan over low heat. Stir frequently to ensure a smooth mixture, and prevent burning. Plus, it will give everyone a turn to stir.

Master Five going so fast you can't see the spoon!

Master One looking adorable

Don't let the mixture cool down too much during stirring, or it will start setting too early. Mix in the coco pops.

Miss Four having fun

Place spoonfuls into patty cases, and refrigerate until set, about 2-3 hours.

Makes 20 mini ones, and 6 full sized ones

If you'd like to join in with Kids Cooking Thursday please leave a permalink to your own Kids Cooking Thursday post, as per the rules.