A tiny slice of my life

This is a look at my life, and the many things I try to learn and do.

Saturday, April 30, 2011


Now home made pizzas made from scratch aren't to hard to make. You just need to putter about at various times during the afternoon, to start things and then let them take care of themselves.

This is a recipe that I cut from a magazine many years ago. There are 2 versions of the tomato sauce, the one using fresh tomatoes I use when I have plenty of tomatoes in summer. Most of the time I make the sauce using a can of chopped tomatoes.

grated mozzarella cheese and toppings of your choice
Tomato sauce - using tinned tomatoes 1 can tomatoes chopped or whole, 2 cloves garlic peeled, 1/4 onion sliced, 1 tsp dried oregano or 8 - 10 fresh leaves or 1 tbsp fresh parsley

Line a small tray with baking paper, place the garlic and onion evenly in a layer, sprinkle over the dried herbs (If using fresh herbs add to sauce after cooking when you are blitzing it). Pour the tomatoes over top, ensuring that no onion or garlic is exposed. Bake 180.c oven for 15 - 25 minutes, or until most of the liquid has thickened. Remove from the oven carefully pour into a small bowl or jug, blitz with a bamix, or process in a food processor until a smooth sauce. (If using the fresh herbs place with the sauce then blitz together).

Tomato sauce - using fresh tomatoes
6 - 8 medium sized tomatoes cut into half, 2 cloves garlic peeled and flattened, 1/4 onion sliced, 1 tsp dried oregano or 8 - 10 fresh leaves or 1 tbsp fresh parsley, 2 tbsps olive oil, salt and pepper

Line a baking tray with baking paper. Place tomatoes, cut side up on tray. Put onion and garlic in between the tomatoes. Sprinkle with dried herbs, salt and pepper. Drizzle over olive oil. Bake in 180.c oven 20 - 30 minutes, or until the tomatoes start to get wrinkly and collapse. (Depending on the ripeness of the tomatoes it can take more or less time for them to collapse).

Remove from the oven carefully pour into a small bowl or jug, blitz with a bamix, or process in a food processor until a smooth sauce. (If using the fresh basil place with the sauce then blitz together).

Either of these sauces can be made earlier in the day or even the day before, where it can be stored covered in the fridge.

1 sachet fast acting yeast, 1 heaped teaspoon honey, 1 1/2 cups tepid water, 3 cups plain flour - you will need extra for kneading and rolling the dough, 2 tbsps olive oil, pinch salt

Place the water in a small bowl or jug, whisk in honey, then 1/2 cup flour (leaving 2 1/2 cups) sprinkle the yeast over top, leave 15 minutes or until the yeast has bubbled on top.

Place remaining 2 1/2 cups flour and salt into a large bowl, mix together and make a well in the centre. Pour in yeast mixture, start to mix together, this is best done with your hands, when it is nearly mixed together add the oil. Keep mixing in the bowl until it comes together into a ball. Flour you working surface and knead until smooth, this takes about 5 minutes of not very hard kneading.

NOTE If the dough is bit sticky just ensure your work surface is well floured. I have found over the years if the dough is sticky you get a better rise, and a crisper crust.

Now I make this in a metal bowl, which I then wash in hot water then quickly dry it, then spray it with oil, then place the dough in. I then spray the top of the dough, before covering with cling wrap. This gives the dough a good start in a warm bowl. If using another type of bowl continue as above. Leave in a warm place 1 1/2 - 2 hours or until doubled in size

HINT - Now when I cover the dough with the cling wrap. I don't stretch it across the top of bowl, but loosely drape it directly over the dough and up the sides, which creates a mini hot house. This seems to help the dough rise.

Dough before it rises - note I made a double batch of dough this time.

After it had risen

Pre heat your oven as high as it can go.

Tip out onto a floured surface, punch down, then divide into portions for each base. From 1 amount of dough I can get 3 large pizzas, with thin bases, or 2 large pizzas with thick bases. (from double mixture I get 4 large and 3 small pizzas with thin bases). Roll out to cover your trays which have been lightly oiled. Top with the tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese and your choice of toppings. Bake 12 - 15 minutes depending on the heat of your oven. Now when the pizzas are cooked but the base isn't really crisp I slide them carefully from the tray onto the oven rack, where I leave then for another 5 minutes or until the base is crispy. You don't have to do this if you don't wish. Cut into slices, eat and enjoy !

Friday, April 29, 2011

Slow Cooker - Potroast

Now that the weather is getting cooler, it is time to think of warming meals. Which means stews that cook slowly all day and make the house smell wonderful. It also means pot roast.

Now this is an easy meal that once started can be left to cook by itself, you only have to add the vegies at a later time. It is a true one pot meal.

Now my parents gave me a slow cooker as a present a couple of years ago, I am not one to get upset to get cooking implements for my birthday - now an iron would be a different thing you might find that thrown at you - but a slow cooker I am happy with. Now this slow cooker is very large so it is perfect for pot roast and cooking corn beef (silverside).

I used to cook it in a large saucepan, but I usually needed another saucepan when I added the vegies as there wasn't enough room. In the slow cooker it is much easier. It takes 6 hours on high, but you can set it going in the morning on low, but when you add the vegies I would put it up to high, as they will cook in 1 - 1 1/2 hours, also you don't need to cut you potatoes small pieces the size of a tennis ball are best.

Pot Roast
1 piece of topside I used a piece 1 1/2 kgs, you can also use a whole chicken, 2 tablespoons tomato paste, 1 tsp dried mixed herbs, 1 tbsp worcestershire sauce, 50 gms butter & 1/4 cup plain flour (if cooking in a large slow cooker 100 gms butter & 1/2 cup plain flour) enough beef/chicken stock to cover meat (you can do half stock and half water) Peeled potatoes and pumpkin cut into tennis ball size pieces, peeled carrots cut in half lengthwise and sliced into pieces 7 -8 cms long

Melt butter in a frypan, brown meat on all sides, place into the slow cooker (if using a large pot remove meat onto a plate) add flour whisk 1 minute. Add tomato paste whisk 1 minute. Add some of the stock, whisk to ensure that you get no lumps, when smooth add remainder of stock, herbs and worcestershire when boiling pour over meat (or add meat back to pot, bring to the boil cover, reduce heat to a simmer). Ensure there is enough liquid to cover the meat, if using a slow cooker I leave approx 4 - 5 cms room to allow for the vegetables to fit in, without the sauce overflowing. Cook 5 hours in the slow cooker add the vegies cook for a further 1 - 1 1/2 hours. I check after an hour the vegies are usually done. (If cooking in a pot cook 2 hours add the vegies, bring back to a boil then reduce heat to a rolling simmer cook approx 1 hour until the vegies are done)

Next remove the meat slice place on a plate with the vegetables pour over some of the thick sauce and enjoy.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

April Daring Bakers Challenge - Maple Mousse served in a edible container

Blog-checking lines: The April 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Evelyne of the blogCheap Ethnic Eatz. Evelyne chose to challenge everyone to make a maple mousse in an edible container. Prizes are being awarded to the most creative edible container and filling, so vote on your favorite from April 27th to May 27th at http://thedaringkitchen.com!

I created this mousse, but it didn't quite set so it is in a glass bowl, for the container I couldn't come at bacon. So I made meringue nests.

Maple Mousse:

• 1 cup (240 ml/ 8 fluid oz.) pure maple syrup (not maple-flavoured syrup)
• 4 large egg yolks• 1 package (7g/1 tbsp.) unflavoured gelatine
• 1 1/2 cups (360 ml. g/12 fluid oz) whipping cream (35% fat content)

1. Bring maple syrup to a boil then remove from heat.
2. In a large bowl, whisk egg yolks and pour a little bit of the maple syrup in while whisking (this is to temper your egg yolks so they don’t curdle).
3. Add warmed egg yolks to hot maple syrup until well mixed.
4. Measure 1/4 cup of whipping cream in a bowl and sprinkle it with the gelatine. Let it rest for 5 minutes. Place the bowl in a microwave for 45 seconds (microwave for 10 seconds at a time and check it in between) or place the bowl in a pan of barely simmering water, stir to ensure the gelatine has completely dissolved.5. Whisk the gelatine/whipping cream mixture into the maple syrup mixture and set aside.
6. Whisk occasionally for approximately an hour or until the mixture has the consistency of an unbeaten raw egg white.
7. Whip the remaining cream. Stir 1/4 of the whipped cream into the maple syrup mixture. Fold in the remaining cream and refrigerate for at least an hour.
8. Remove from the fridge and divide equally among your edible containers.

Meringue (optional):

• 3 large egg whites at room temperature
• ¾ cup (165 g./5.5 oz) sugar

Directions:1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F/150 degrees C.
2. Put the egg whites in a large bowl. Using an electric mixer beat for a few minutes until the whites become stiff. Now add the sugar, a little at a time, whisking until the mixture is stiff and glossy. You should be able to turn the bowl upside down and the mixture won’t fall out.
3. Place baking parchment on to a clean baking sheet. Using a spoon or a piping bag, dollop the meringue into circles that fit inside the rim of your edible cups. (See mine, I wanted height but they fell a bit...which is OK...freeform art)
4. Put the tray in the oven, then immediately turn the oven down to 250 degrees F/130 degrees C. and bake for 45 minutes.
5. Turn off the oven and allow the meringues to cool in the oven for a few hours.
6. Place meringues as decoration on your maple mousse which has already be spooned into your edible containers.

So enjoy making them.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Easter and Yummy Lasagna

Well a Happy Easter to everybody, and be very careful on the roads.

As Miss Fish and I are off to visit my parents for Easter, Mr CLI is working over Easter. So he will be batching for himself. Being a good wife I am making him some supplies that are easy to heat and eat. I am making home made pizzas for tea tonight, so I will make extra pizzas for him. This morning I made him a lasagna.It is a very easy recipe.

Meat Sauce
500 gm - 1 kg mince beef (depending on how meaty you want the sauce) 1 bottle of tomato passata, 2 cups water, 1/2 stalk celery, 1 medium carrot, 1/4-1/2 onion all finely diced, 1 sachet/1 tablespoon tomato paste, 1 large or 2 small cloves garlic, grated, 1/2 teaspoon sugar, 1 tsp dried oregano or marjoram,

In a large frypan saute for 2-3 minutes carrot, onion and celery in 2 tablespoons of oil. Push to one side add tomato paste stir 30 seconds, then stir into the vegetables. Remove the vegetables add the mince, saute until it changes color. Return the vegetables and stir in, add remaining ingredients. Bring to the boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Make sure that the sauce has more liquid than normal, as we are using non cook lasagna sheets you need the sauce with more liquid to cook the sheets.

Cheese Bechamel Sauce
50 gms butter, 1/4 cup plain flour, salt and Pepper to taste, 1 cup grated cheese, 2 cups milk

Now I make this in a pyrex jug in the microwave, so that you don't have to worry about it burning.

Melt the butter on high 30 - 40 seconds. Add flour, whisk, cook on high 40 seconds. Add milk, salt and pepper. Cook on high 2 minutes, whisk. Cook for further 1 - 3 minutes until sauce thickens add the cheese, whisk until the cheese has melted.

1 - 2 packets of no cook lasagna sheets, depending on the amount of layers use wish to make and the size of the dish you are using.

To construct: cover the base with a thi
n layer of the tomato sauce liquid, place lasagna sheets over, spread some meat sauce then drizzle a little of the cheese sauce over. You don't need a lot of the cheese sauce as it spreads during cooking. Continue creating layers, making the last layer lasagna sheets, making sure that you leave enough cheese sauce to cover the lasagna sheets. Cover the sheets, bake in a 180.c 30 - 40 minutes until a the lasagna sheets are cooked when you insert a knife into them.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Getting ready for Easter

Well Easter is nearly upon us. I have been busy making cards for the family. Miss Fish bought everyone a present, including herself ! As we aren't a large family it isn't too many presents. She then wrapped them and we made little cards using Easter stickers, which she wrote on and stuck to the presents.

So she is organised, BUT the Easter Bunny isn't. Due to her disability we still have the Easter Bunny and Santa. I tried to stop the santa sacks needing to go out a couple of Christmas's ago, but her older sister La Coiffure insisted that they are still needed !

We don't give a lot of chocolate at Easter, just perhaps one small egg but we do give a little present. This is the way it was done when I was a child, I was the child who pulled out of my cupboard the easter eggs to put my christmas presents away.

As much as I like chocolate when I was a child a lot of the Easter egg chocolate left a lot to be desired in the flavour and taste department. Nowadays it is much better.

Miss Fish loves an Easter egg hunt, but if this is held at her Nana's, we need to count the eggs before the hunt, because we have on occasion missed some and found chewed up tinfoil wrappers in the garden.

Do you have any family traditions for Easter, that are being passed down the generations !

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Do you remember when ...

Well one of my other strings to my bow is sewing/craft. This is one of the cushions I have made. I am trying to get all the cushions and quilts finished so I can sell them on the internet.

I have been sewing and into craft since I was about 7 or 8 years old. My Mum would rule the lines on the garment we where making and I would sew it.

Then I learnt to knit and crochet, as my Mum is a leftie, she bought me a book to teach me and she would oversee my knitting and crocheting. My Nana who knitted, crochered and sewed used to help me when I was little. My Pa actually took a pair of metal knitting needles and shortened them so that I had needles short enough to knit with when I was little.

Then along came the seventies, so it was macrame, we had many plants in pots hanging in macrame hangers. It is actually quite therapeutic once you have mastered the knots. I used to sit and watch a movie, while I was knotting away.

Then there was wool spinning . You spend days carding the wool, this is the process of dragging the wool through 2 metals brushes against each other to tease the fibres out so it can be spun into wool. Once spun it was onto knitting it into interesting items like scarves and jumpers. If you have ever spun wool you will know that after you have finished your foot still seems to bob up an down like it is working the pedal.

Then along came the eighties and patchwork. Well my Mum took this up and still to this day teaches a class of beginners how to patchwork. I must confess that I have 2 unfinished quilts from the late 80's early 90's. One is an applique quilt which only has to have the centre square finished, but as I am fussy about the stitching and I never quite like what I have done it is still sitting next to my chair waiting to be finished. The other one has 9 squares of crazy patchwork which are all completed, all I have to do is join them together with borders, back and quilt it.

Also during this time especially when my girls where little, there was doll making, teddies, small rabbits, and who can forget the tissue box covers using metres of synthetic lace. What about cover light shades, I made a few of those in my time, spending days with my fingers stuck together with craft glue.

I have tried to teach my eldest daughter La Coiffure (she is a hairdresser) she can crochet really well, but when it comes to sewing - we have had the sewing machine needle in the finger incident- a she literally gets into a tangle when trying to knit. As she is an excellent hairdresser, her talent with her fingers is being used there. Now Miss Fish if you want something cut from paper she is your girl, it took me 18 months to teach her to use scissors, and now 18 years later she is still cutting things out. Sometimes so quickly that I fear for her fingers. Over the years we have had the odd item of clothing snipped by mistake.

This cushion I have beaded some of the flowers and made the back different it is tied together with ribbon.

I wonder do you have any funny or interesting crafting memories while trying learn or even when you first started to cook ?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Apple Crumble

Now when Miss Fish wants to help me cook, I need easy recipes that she can stir or mix, or even turn on the mixer. Her cutting skills are limited but she can peel and cut the apples into cubes. I 1/4 the apple and remove the core.

Now I love apple pie, I also don't mind making it, but for a quick and warming apple dessert, this apple crumble appears regularly on our menu.

It is a very expandable dessert you can use as little a 3 large apples or as many a a dozen. It all depends on how large you want to make the crumble. I use a mixture of apples, if you only use granny smiths I would add extra sugar. If you are using all sweet apples, you can also add the grated rind of a lemon and 2 teaspoons of the juice, this gives it a slight tartness.

The topping can be altered too, I have in the past added shredded coconut or slivered almonds. You can alter the spices too, I always add cinnamon, but I also have added aniseed, star anise,
cardamom - my favourite. It is up to your personal taste and what you have in your cupboard.

Apple Crumble
6 large apples, peeled 1/4 , cored and cut into 2-3 cm cubes, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon of another spice - I used star anise for this one, 1 cup water

Mix apples with sugar and spices in a microwave proof bowl or jug. pour over water loosely cover with a lid or cling wrap. Cook in the microwave for 5 minutes stir, cook for a further 3 - 5 minutes or until apples are cooked through but not mush. Place it in your dish that you are going to cook it in, judge how much of the syrup you put with the apples. I usually put enough to cover the base. You need just enough so the it bubbles up around the edges when cooked.

1 cup rolled oats, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup plain flour, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 -
1/2 teaspoon of another spice, 2 tablespoons butter - softened

Mix together all ingredients except the butter. Add the butter and rub or I use a fork mix it in till some of the mixture forms clumps. Sprinkle over the apple mixture. Cook 180.c for 15 - 20 minutes, or until the is golden and the juices are bubbling. Serve with cream and/or ice cream.

You can make both the apple and the topping earlier in the day, and leave until you are ready to cook it. Don't place the topping on top of the apples until you are ready to cook as the apples will make the topping soggy.

So easy to make and even easier to eat. Also it heats up nicely in the microwave the next day.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Well I have been unable to make a posting due to the vagaries of the internet. It has crashed, dropped out mid click, and generally given me the pip.

Well here is a simple recipe for spaghetti and meatballs that I have been cooking for years. There is no need to fry the meatballs before cooking them in the tomato sauce. You can even just cook the tomato sauce and have it on pasta, or you could add mince at the first stage after cooking the vegies and turn it into bolognese sauce.

Tomato Sauce
1/2 bottle of tomato passata, 1 cup water, 1/2 stalk celery, 1 medium carrot, 1/4-1/2 onion all finely diced, 1 sachet/1 tablespoon tomato paste, 1/2 teaspoon sugar, 1 tsp dried oregano or marjoram, herbs to finish 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley.

In a large frypan saute for 2-3 minutes carrot, onion and celery in 2 tablespoons of oil. Push to one side add tomato paste stir 30 seconds, then stir into the vegetables. Add remaining ingredients, except fresh parsley. (You can make it to this stage early in the day, then just bring it back to the boil and add your meatballs) Bring to the boil add meatballs, reduce heat simmer, covered 15 - 20 minutes. Add parsley stir then serve.

500 grams mince beef, 2 tablespoons grated parmesan, 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley, 1 large or 2 small cloves garlic grated, salt and pepper, 1 slice bread torn into small pieces placed into a bowl with 1/4 cup milk or I discovered this one day when I didn't have any bread 1/4 cup plain breadcrumbs mixed with 1/4 milk

Now I mix the bread/breadcrumbs with the milk first, so the milk can be absorbed. Place all the remaining ingredients in a large bowl, add the milk/bread mixture (the bread may need to be squeezed if it hasn't absorbed all the milk). The best way to mix this is with your hands so you can squeeze the mixture together. Roll into golf ball size balls. You can make these ahead of time and keep in the fridge.

Now while I am preparing the sauce and meatballs I have the water coming to the boil for the pasta and I generally add the meatballs to the sauce the same time as I add the pasta to the water and the can cook at the same time.

To serve, drain pasta return it to the pot add 2-3 ladlefulls of the sauce, toss. You just need enough sauce to coat the pasta. Place some pasta in your bowls, place the meatballs on top drizzle some more sauce over meatballs and pasta. Top with freshly grated parmesan.

I hope you try this recipe, the bread milk mixture seems a odd addition but makes the meatballs very tender.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

No Bake - Rose Chocolate Cheesecake

My youngest daughter who I shall call Miss Fish, as she is a Pisces and loves everything about fish. Cooking them, catching them, eating them. She has fish pictures, fish ornaments and green eyes like the sea, as they can change color like the sea. We even have 4 very well feed goldfish in a pond in the fernery with a waterfall, they are Nemo, Dory, Bruce and Fred.

So she helps out at a food bank and her wages are some of the food products. She is disabled so this is a job that her work takes her to, so that they can help out. She absolutely loves it.

So she presented me with a large bag of chocolate biscuit crumbs. My first thought is what am I going to do with these, then my second thought was what about a cheesecake.

So this recipe came about I was going to use orange flower water, but failing to find any in the pantry I resorted to my old favorite Rose water.

Now this was very easy I made it in a 23cm springform tin so it isn't very high. You could use a smaller tin or double the mixture for the filling if you would like a larger cheesecake. Now this isn't an overly sweet cheesecake it stir retains the tang from the cream cheese which I like.

Rose Chocolate Cheesecake
Base: 2 cups broken chocolate biscuits, 1/3 cup softened butter

In a food processor, process the biscuits until fine add the butter and process until it is starting to clump together. Dump into the tin and press it flat over the base. Leave aside while making the filling.

Filling: 500 grams cream cheese, 1/3 cup caster sugar, 500 ml cream, 2 capfuls rose water or to taste, this amount gives it a feint hint of rose not a strong flavour - you could replace it with orange blossom water, pure vanilla extract or even 2-3 tsps of lemon juice

Place soft cream cheese in a mixing bowl with a paddle - you could also use a food processor if you wish. Beat until smooth, add the sugar beat until the sugar has dissolved and the colour actually goes whiter, about 3-5 minutes. Stop mixer scrap down sides and add cream, beat until all mixed together and there are no lumps, you may need to scrap the sides and paddle a couple of times. Add flavouring beat until incorporated 30 seconds - 1 minute.

Now this is a quite a thick mixture place it over the base and spread carefully about. Put into the fridge for at least 2 hours.

To serve run a knife around edge of tin then remove the sleeve. Slice and enjoy.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A Lesson Learnt

Missing Puppies Last week I was quitely sitting in my recliner after cleaning up from tea. When I receive a frantic phone call from my daughter, her puppies had escaped. Nine month old Lola - an american staffie and five month old Zara - a minature bull terrier - whose father they think was a wandering staffie. Had broken out of the backyard and taken themselves for a walk. Now as much as I love these 2 dogs neither of them have any road sense or ability to follow their own smell trail back home. So of into the dark I went, by the time I had got to my daughters the oldest dog - Lola had been found 2 streets away and my daughter had collected her. So for the next 3 hours we drove around calling and looking for her mate Zara. I was quite amazed at the amount of cats allowed to wander at night, as I thought that by law they had to be by sunset. We had no luck that night. Well word of mouth and a thing called facebook is an amazing thing as by Tues afternoon hundreds of people new about our escapee Zara. We had reports of her wandering for the next 2 days, in the meantime an ad was placed in the local paper offering a reward. By Friday my daughter had received a call by someone who had "just" found Zara. So at lunchtime on a rescue mission I went. Home she came with me and vey relieved to. She was very glad to be back with her family. When she saw my daughter she was ecstatic. Lessons learnt 1. Have collars with a tag with the dogs name and their owners phone numbers engraved on them. 2. Ensure that your fences are secure. So after the saga of last week I am hoping for a quieter week this week.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Piccolo Restaurant - Warrnambool

Recently my husband went out with his work colleagues for an end of season thank you tea. Now normally this is a worker only event, but this time partners were allowed.

So off we all went to Piccolo. Now I have been hear before for meals and they always been good - except for the salty golden syrup dumplings. Which they chef assured us, via the waitress that the syrup should always taste like salt was added instead off sugar. As that was a couple of years ago now, there hasn't been any repeats of cooking mishaps.

We started the evening with shared plates of warm pita bread and 3 dips, beetroot, hummus and a slightly spicy red capsicum. Very enjoyable.

Then onto mains, my husband ordered the eye fillet with peppercorn sauce, it came out perfectly cooked served with potato and vegies. As it was eaten quite quickly I didn't get a good look, but he did give me a taste of his steak and it was very tender.

I had the seafood risotto it was piping hot with succulent prawns and sweet scallops. Very, very enjoyable.

Now while I was eating I sipped on a Expresso martini. I had had one of the on my last visit, last year and enjoyed them so much, that I recreated them for Christmas Day. Which my Dad and I enjoyed so much that the champagne he brought is still sitting in the fridge.

Now after this food I didn't think I would need desert, but we managed to fit it in. I didn't see what my husband had as he had table hopped and ate it there. I had white chocolate mousse, it was very light and totally delectable.

So if you are ever in Warrnambool, have a meal at Piccolo.


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Chicken Enchiladas - (Enchiladas de Pollo)

While on my Mexican food theme, I had very large flour tortillas, that my daughter had brought home, and was a bit unsure what to do with them. Then the other day I was watching the Mexican episode of Food Safari and came up with the idea for these enchiladas.

It is very simple recipe that can be adapted to suit your tastes.

Chicken Enchiladas
Chicken filling - 1-2 cm cubed chicken breast - I used 2 large breasts, 1 cup tomato passata, 1 tsp each ground cumin and coriander, 1/2 - 1 cup chicken stock

Place all ingredients in a frypan with a lid cook for 5-10 minutes or until chicken cooked and sauce thickened, you may need to remove lid to let the sauce thicken.

Salsa - Finely diced tomato, onion & capsicum, coriander leaves to taste, squeeze lemon or lime juice, 2-3 tsps olive oil. If you would like it hot add either dry or fresh chilli

Mix together.

(I used 4 small tomatoes, 1/4 red onion, 1/4 red capsicum)

Other Fillings - grated cheese, finely sliced onion

To serve: sour cream or greek yoghurt

Heat a griddle pan or frypan heat/grill tortillas until warm with slight griddle marks. Beware that you need to be able to fold them so make sure that they aren't crisp.

Construction while everything is hot. Lay your tortilla on a flat surface place some cheese across the bottom third in a line, but leaving 5cm to the edge.Then sliced onion. Then place some of the chicken mix on top. Fold over the bottom third, away from yourself. Then fold the edges over towards the middle, then roll it up. Place on a heated frypan or griddle plate fold side down. Leave until browned, but not burnt, turn over and toast the other side. It should take only a couple of minutes per side if your pans are hot. Serve with the salsa and sour cream or greek yoghurt.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Chicken Mole - (Pollo con mole)

Firstly I have to apologise for the photo. I dished up tea and started eating straight away, as I was very hungry. When I was just about finished, I realised that I hadn't taken a photo, hence the picture of my husband's lunch.

This is chicken in mole sauce, we saw this on Austar while watching World Kitchen with chef Nicki Wickes. We all were very hungry after watching her cook it, so I found the recipe and decided to cook at the first chance I had.

So last night after food shopping, I rushed home and made it. YUM !!!

Now I didn't have the time or inclination to be cooking the garlic cloves whole, as I had grown garlic myself, they are small and tender. So after a good whack with the pestle I peeled them and pounded them in the mortar, I also added about 2 tsps of oil and mixed it together. Also at the end I stirred in some fresh coriander leaves. I used chicken breasts, which when cooked I removed then sliced into bite size pieces and stirred back into the sauce while I was adding the chocolate.

Mexican Chicken Mole Stew

4 dried chilli, 5 garlic cloves, 2-3cm stick cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon each of dried basil, oregano, cumin seeds (or 1 tablespoon fresh of each), 2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander – leaf and stalk, 3 tablespoons oil (olive or other cooking oil) 1 large onion, chopped, 1 can chopped tomatoes (approx 400g), 1 cup (250 ml) chicken stock , 8 chicken pieces, 40g bittersweet, dark chocolate, 1/4 tsp salt and ¼ tsp black pepper Cooked rice

Heat 1 tablespoons oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat and add the garlic cloves, skin and all. Toast these for 10 minutes until the skins begin to blacken in places and the garlic has begun to soften. Remove from the heat. Blend in a mortar and pestle, or food processor, the garlic, chilli, basil, oregano, cumin seeds and coriander and finally add the oil and toasted garlic from the saucepan. Blend together and if there are any large garlic skins that are easy to pick out then do so, otherwise ignore them.

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in the saucepan and cook the onions on a gentle heat until they are softened. Increase the heat to medium, add the blended spices and cook for 3-5 minutes until the onions begin to brown and the spices give up their aromas. Add the cinnamon stick, tomatoes and chicken stock. Cook the sauce on a vigorous simmer for 10 minutes until it thickens. Add chicken pieces, salt and pepper, cover and bring to a simmer and cook for a further 30-40mins or until the chicken is cooked through. Add more stock (or water) if the sauce thickens too much. Add the chocolate and stir through. Before serving check seasoning and add additional salt, pepper or chilli as desired. Serve with rice and soft tortilla garnished with fresh coriander.


So try it the recipe is actually quite easy, and once it is all together it just cooks itself.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Best Pizzas in Geelong

Sorry about the lack of photos, but when you are travelling on motorcycles space is limited.

I found tps pizzas with attitude by luck. It was in the same street as our motel so we didn't have to travel far. They have great deals we got 2 large pizzas and 2 cans of ice cold Pepsi for $21 ! (We were very hungry)

They have chairs and tables out the front. Both times we sat there and out our pizzas, even though on the second visit it started to drizzle, so we shifted our chairs and table under the eaves of the shop.

But beware if you go after about 6.00 pm it can get very busy, I mean a constant stream of people picking up their orders.

The address is 2 Walls St Geelong, here is a link to a map which will actually make it easier to find.

So if you are in Geelong and want a cheap and filling pizza, try tps pizzas with attitude.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

What to do with four lamb leg steaks

Well I found myself with a problem what can I cook with 4 lamb leg steaks. After a search through a couple of cook books I got an idea to make a Lancashire Hot Pot. I didn't use a specific recipe, but I went with what I thought would work. It is very simple, not many ingredients required, the hardest part was peeling the potatoes.

Lancashire Hot Pot
4 lamb steaks, enough potatoes sliced 1cm thick to cover base and top of of dish, 2 cups chicken stock, 2 tsp chopped fresh thyme, 2 bay leaves broken in half, salt and pepper, 6 juniper berries flattened

Layer the base with with potatoes sprinkle with salt and pepper, place on 2 bay leaf halves. Place steaks in a single layer, sprinkle with juniper berries, salt , pepper and bay leaves. Cover with potato slices. Carefully pour over stock sprinkle some salt and pepper ontop.

Cover with double layer of tinfoil then place on lid if using one. Bake 180.c 1 - 1 1/2 hours. You can remove lid once potatoes are cooked and let them crisp in the oven.

Enjoy !