A tiny slice of my life

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

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Mouth Watering Lamb Curry

Now I am not a fan of tongue burning hot curries, I can't see the enjoyment of killing my taste buds with heat from the curry which causes you to loose the flavours of the dish.

This curry isn't like that it has a mellow warmth that gets you mouth begging for more. It is a really good recipe that you can cook long and slow.

You will know when the lamb is cooked , when you taste a piece you will find that it literally melts in your mouth.

The original recipe is from Rick Stein, but I have altered and simplified it over the years. I always serve rice pilaf with it that I have cooked in the oven, you could serve it with steamed rice.

This is a dish that really needs lots poppadoms or a good roti bread, as it really is a dish best eaten by dipping roti or poppadoms in it. I also serve it with a good dollop of greek yoghurt, the coolness of the yoghurt goes well with the warmth of the curry.

Lamb & Potato Curry

100g unsalted butter, 2 - 3 onions, chopped, 2 tbsps fresh ginger, finely chopped, 6 cloves garlic cloves, chopped, 1 tsp dried chillies, 2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes or 1 bottle tomato passatta, 12tbs ground turmeric, 2 tbs ground cumin, 2 tbs ground coriander, 4 tbs sweet paprika 2 kg lean lamb (such as leg), skin and excess fat removed, cut into 4cm piece , 400ml can coconut milk, 300ml water , 2 tspn salt, 1kg potatoes , peeled, cut into 2-3 cm pieces, 2 tbs black mustard seeds, 1 bunch (about 80g) coriander, roughly chopped, plus a few extra leaves to garnish

Melt the butter in a large heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, ginger, garlic & dried chilli flakes, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 - 15 minutes until the onion mixture is soft and lightly browned. Spoon the onion mixture into a blender or food processor and blend to a smooth paste.

Return to the pan and add the tomatoes, spices, lamb, coconut milk, water and salt, then bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer,covered, stirring occasionally, for 1¼ hours, or until the lamb is tender. It seems the slower and longer you cook this the more mellow the flavour is.

Stir in the potatoes & mustard seeds, cover and continue to cook for 20-25 minutes until potatoes are tender. You may need more water, because this is a wet curry. Stir in the coriander and more seasoning, if necessary. Sprinkle with extra coriander leave to garnish.

Serve with steamed rice or rice pilaf.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Well It's Finally Finished

Miss Fish the reluctant quilt holder she kept moving so I had to take several photos to get all the quilt in the photo.

After 4 days of intense free motion quilting it is finally finished. This is the first quilt that I have free motion appliqued and quilted.

After watching a DVD by Deborah Louie, several times I felt confident enough to give it a go and it is complete. Now to sell it so I can buy more batting to finish some of the other quilt tops.

This is a close up of a leaf free motion appliqued.

The flowers

The quilt is for sale on ebay.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Daring Bakers Challenge August 2011

The August 2011 Daring Bakers’ Challenge was hosted by Lisa of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drive and Mandy of What the Fruitcake?!. These two sugar mavens challenged us to make sinfully delicious candies!
This was a special challenge for the Daring Bakers because the good folks at http://www.chocoley.com offered an amazing prize for the winner of the most creative and delicious candy!

Now when I read this months challenge I was thrilled, why, because each Christmas as well as making home made ice cream I also make home made chocolates.

As I have never tempered chocolate I usually melt and pour or dip, I thought terrific I would give tempering a go, but the days slipped away from me so I never did give it a go, but I did make some chocolates.

I made dark chocolates filled with liquor cherries and some dark chocolate bark topped with shredded coconut, dried craisins and slivered almonds.

For the liquor cherries place some glace cherries , in a bowl, mine were large so I squashed the flat to fit into the moulds. Pour over some liquor about 1 teaspoon per cherry , and leave for about 1 hour. Now I don't use brandy as I find that to harsh for these cherries I used some Marsala, any sweet dessert liquor that isn't fine is fine. When filling the moulds don't add any of the spare liquor, as I learnt the hard way if there is excess liquor in the mould it will A/ leak out of your chocolates and B/ cause the chocolate that you are pouring over the seal the chocolates to set to quickly. So just add the cherry then cover with chocolate.

Now some suggestions if you are going to make ganache for a truffle. Last year I heated the cream and in half I steeped some dried lavender, in the other half of the ganache I added rose water. I made these into white chocolate ganache, which I dipped in white chocolate. I topped the rose ones with a dried rose petal and the lavender ones with dried lavender.

I also made filled chocolates using bought fondant which I flavoured, with coffee, kahlua, orange, strawberry and peppermint flavourings especially created for this. These can be bought at any cake decorating shop, I actually buy mine from Spotlight.

With the leftover chocolate I added chopped glace cherries, shredded coconut, slivered almonds and marshmallows that I had chopped into small pieces. I dropped teaspoonfuls into tiny cases, like little cupcake cases, and let them set.

So don't be afraid of making chocolate. just melt some coat the mould, let set in the fridge for a few minutes, add a filling, top wit more chocolate. Let set again then unmould and eat.

Handmade chocolates make a terrific present for Christmas.

Chocolate melting over simmering water

The first coating of the moulds. I just use a teaspoon and spread it around.

The most important thing is to have a thick layer at the bottom to hold the filling in.

With the cherry in a filled with more chocolate.

Even though the chocolate wasn't tempered, they did come out shiny and cracked when bitten.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Coconut & Jam Slice

This slice is one of Mr CLI's favourites. It is very easy to make and quite yummy to eat.

In an effort to eat even better I bought a tub of Anathoth Jam, as we don't use jam very often I consider the extra expense worth it for a product that has only 2 ingredients fruit and sugar.

I used the 3 berry one, but you can use any flavour jam that you like.

Coconut & Jam Slice

Base - 1 1/2 cups plain flour, 160 gm butter, 1/2 cup icing sugar

Jam Filling - 1/3 cup jam

Topping - 2 eggs, 1/3 cup caster sugar, 2 cups desiccated coconut

Topping - In a bowl whisk together the eggs and sugar, stir in the coconut.

Preheat oven 180.c . Line a slice tin, mine is approx 20 x 30 cm, with baking/parchment paper. In a food processor, process base ingredients until they start to form a ball.

Tip into the tray and flatten. I find that if I dust my hand with a bit of flour, you shouldn't stick to the dough.

All ready for the oven

Bake for 5 minutes of until golden. Remove from the oven leave for 5 minutes then spread over jam.

Covered in its jammy glory.

Then drop the topping over and spread out with a fork.

Bake 15 - 20 minutes or until golden on top. Remove from the oven leave in the tray till cold, then remove and slice.

As you can see mine could have been baked for only 15 minutes, it is very golden on top.

Make yourself a cuppa and sit done and enjoy a slice.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Another Best Ever Recipe for Mini Pavlovas

Following on from yesterdays theme here is my all time best recipe for pavlovas. I always make small ones, as they can stay in an airtight container for a week. So you can enjoy them for longer.

I always make these for Christmas , I then make home made vanilla ice cream, some of which I add crushed peppermint candy canes. Nothing says Christmas to me than pavlovas and rich home made ice cream with the flavour of peppermint.

You can also make a quick fruit sauce by putting some frozen berries and caster sugar in a saucepan, bring to the boil simmer for about 5 minutes or until the juices have thickened. Leave to cool then pour over whipped cream or ice cream.

Now this recipe can be multiplied by the number of egg whites.

2 egg whites, 1/2 cup caster sugar

Preheat the oven 120.c .Line baking trays with baking/parchment paper.

Beat the egg whites in an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Slowly add the sugar and continue beating until thick and glossy.

Drop large spoonfuls onto the baking trays, flatten the top a little to form a dip for putting ice cream or cream in when serving.

Bake for 45 minutes - 1hour or until firm to the touch, turn off the oven, then leave the pavlovas in the oven. Leave the door ajar until the pavlovas have completely cooled.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Easiest and Best Sponge Recipe Ever !

Now for many years I tried and failed to create the perfect lighter than air sponge, so I gave up.

Then one day I saw this recipe in a Delicious Magazine, and thought I would give it a go. Most of the work is done by the electric mixer, you just have to sit and wait, it couldn't be easier.

What was the result, a high and very soft sponge, beware if you go to slice it in half to fill it that you don't squash the cake that's how light it is.

This recipe is even higher and lighter if you use fresh ducks eggs.

Easy Sponge
3 eggs, 3/4 cup caster sugar, 3/4 cup cornflour, 1 dessertspoon self raising flour, 1/2 tsp cream of tartar, 1/2 tsp bi-carb of soda

Preheat oven 180.c . Grease and line a 20cm spingform tin.

Crack the eggs in the mixer bowl, beat on higher for 10 minutes until light and fluffy. Gradually add the caster sugar and beat for a further 5 minutes, until thick and pale.

Sift together the flours, bi-carb & cream of tartar. Use a large metal spoon or knife gently fold in the flours.

Pour into the prepared tin. Bake 15 - 20 minutes or until golden brown and skewer inserted comes out clean. Remove from the oven, beware the top can deflate a little. Leave for 5 minutes then carefully remove from the tin. Cool on a wire cake rack.

Fill with cream, lemon curd or fruit. The choice is yours you can top it any way you want. I generally dust it with icing sugar.

Now give this recipe a go as you can see all of the work is done by the beaters, and you won't fail to impress your guests when you serve this up to them.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Crumbed Chicken with a pesto filling

Well after a day of sewing yesterday I managed to cook something new for tea. A chicken breast with pesto in the centre and a home made bread crumb topping.

It is incredibly easy, the hardest part was to whizz the bread in my small processor attachment for my bamix, to much bread at once. But with a little help from Miss Fish I had it processed ready for topping the chicken.

I took the photo above and didn't realise I had the scallop potatoes at the front, the chicken is a the back.

Pesto Stuffed Chicken with a fresh breadcrumb topping
For each chicken breast
1 heaped tsp pesto - I didn't have any basil pesto I used sundried tomato.

Topping - enough for 3 fillets - 2 tbsp grated Parmesan, 1 tsp grated lemon rind, 1x 2 cm wide slice stale ciabatta was enough for 3 chicken fillets, olive oil to moisten crumbs

Process together until coarse coarse crumbs, add enough oil to just moisten so that the crumbs will hold together. For 3 fillets I added 2 tsps of oil.

Preheat the oven 200.c . Slice the chicken lengthwise down centre,
but don't cut all the way through. Open out and smear the pesto all over, fold back together. Place the chicken on a baking tray. top with crumbs. Drizzle with a little oil.

Ready for the oven

Bake 20 - 30 minutes or until when you carefully lift the top half of the chicken the centre is cooked through.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Not much cooking going on

Good Morning on this sunny Monday. What a beautiful weekend we had here. It was that nice on Saturday I managed to get 3 loads of washing, washed and dried. Wouldn't life be more enjoyable if we didn't have to worry about the mundane things like washing.

As Mr CLI spent most of the weekend at work sorting out one problem after another our meals were a bit disjointed, but Miss Fish and I were lucky as Mr CLI took us out to tea on Saturday night.

What I did spend most of the weekend doing was sewing a quilt, when it is finished I will post a photo.

I am making it to sell, I have come to the conclusion unless I really need a quilt or I have made it for a specific purpose it would be better if I get the enjoyment out of making them, then sell them to finance the next ones.

This quilt is pushing boundaries of my normal, quilt making . I have free motion appliqued areas and I will be free motion quilting the quilt. Also I have never ironed a quilt so much as this one, I am a true believer that the iron should only come out to iron quilts and cushion covers, not clothes. Luckily Mr CLI's work clothes are wash and wear !

Anyway I had better get back to it or I will lose my enthusiasm.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Minestrone Soup

Now it is just Mr CLI & I for tea tonight, Miss Fish has started to go out with a ladies group on a Friday night. Last week she went to a local hotel for tea - guess what she had ? yes chicken parmigiana - then listened to a band. I have to pick her up at 10 pm so no more getting into my nightie and dressing gown after tea.

So I was thinking what is easy for tea also flavoursome and filling that doesn't take long to cook, and also there will be leftovers for the weekend. It came to me minestrone soup, I haven't cooked it for a while.

Now there are many recipes for this soup this is my version, sometimes I will start the soup with some diced bacon or pancetta if I have it, otherwise I leave it out.

I don't put zucchini in it, nothing puts me of minestrone soup than if I get a spoonful of zucchini chunks Yuk.

Most minestrone recipes use kidney beans, but any can of beans can be used, what ever you have in the cupboard.

I can get it cooked from when I start to cut up the vegetables to when I am ladling it in the bowls in about 30 - 35 minutes, so it is really good recipe for when you are in a hurry.

Minestrone Soup
1 380-400 gm can beans, drained & rinsed, 3 stalks celery finely diced, 2 medium carrots finely diced, 1/2 red onion very finely diced, 2 tbsps tomato paste, 2 litres chicken stock - if you want to make the soup more hearty use beef stock, 2 cups tomato passatta, 1 tsp dried parsley or 2 tbsps fresh parsley chopped, + 2 tbsps fresh chopped parsley, 3/4 cup dried pasta, small shells or noodles, 2 large potatoes peeled and diced into 2 cm cubes - you can use more if you like lots of potatoes, salt & pepper to taste, 2 cloves garlic finely chopped or grated, optional - 3 rashers bacon rind remove or 4 thin slices of pancetta, cut into lardons

In a large pot heat 3 tbsps olive oil, add celery, carrot onion & bacon/pancetta if using. Cook 4 -5 minutes or until the vegies start to soften and the bacon has started the brown. Make sure you stir it to ensure that nothing burns.

Push the vegies to the sides, put the tomato paste in the centre, stir for approx 1 minute, then stir into the vegies. Add the potatoes & garlic stir to coat with tomato. Add stock, parsley & passatta, bring to the boil, reduce heat cover and simmer for 5 minutes.

Add pasta continue to simmer covered until potatoes and pasta are cooked. Ensure you stir frequently once pasta has been added so it doesn't sink to the bottom and stick.

Once pasta is cooked add beans, salt & pepper. Simmer 2 -3 minutes. to ensure the beans are heated through.

Ladle into deep bowls sprinkle with extra parsley, have chunks of crusty bread for dipping sit down and enjoy.

Now you can grate parmesan over the top or if you add a generous dollop of pesto it becomes soupe au pistou, the choose is yours.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Thai Jelly Desserts & Pandan Custard

Now on one of our trips to Adelaide I bought up on packets of Thai jelly's and custards. Into the back of the cupboard they went to be used for a special occasion.

When I had my Chinese banquet the other week I thought why not try to make some of the layered desserts you can get in restaurants.

So Miss Fish and set about making layered jelly and pandan custard.

Pandan custard packet

Now for those of you that have never heard of or tasted pandan it has the most divine flavour, a flavour that isn't strong it is very hard to describe. It is refreshing without being overpowering.

Now these are very easy to make all the jellies it is just a matter of bring the jelly powder and water to the boil, whisking to make sure that the powdered has dissolved. As they have agar agar in them by the time I had poured the first jelly into the bottom of my different moulds the first mould had set.

Thai fruit flavoured jelly

It was just a matter of making the jellies one at a time then layering them. I made coconut, fruit and almond. They unmoulded quite easyily, but for some reason some of them the layers separated, but I just slid them back together.

For the pandan custard it was just a matter of mixing the powder from the packet with water and stirring for 30 seconds and I had custard.

Almond flavoured jelly

Now would I bothered with little moulds next time probably not, I would do as you see in the restaurants pour them into a large baking tray and make several thin layers then cut into shapes.

So next time you are in an Asian grocers look for the different jellies and custards they are not very expensive and are quite easy to make, especially look out for the pandan custard it is divine. I have actually got some pandan essence that I have never used I now have to think of ways of using this flavour in other desserts Yum !!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Southrn' Style Jerk Chicken Rice 'n' Peas

Now if you are like me and don't like cooking the same recipes all the time, you will probably do as I do and look through your cookbooks looking for inspiration, or even cruise the internet.

I was having one of those days the other day, I wanted to make something different and interesting. As I was looking through all the recipes I had printed of the internet I found a page of jerk chicken recipes. The light bulb went off this is what I am going to make.

It is actually quite easy once you have whizzed the sauce, it is just a matter of the chicken strips hanging about in the fridge covered in the marinade, then being cooked. You do need to save some of the marinade, don't pour all of it over the chicken this is for the jerk sauce. Also I cook all my rice in a rice cooker, gone are the days of rice boiling over and overcooking and becoming gluggy. So that is another easy step everything in the rice cooker and set it going.

I have allowed 1 chicken breast per person, because once you have tasted this you will want more.

Jerk chicken - Rice 'n' Peas

1 chicken breast per person

Jerk Marinade Sauce - 2 bay leaves, 1/2 tsp ground allspice or 12 whole allspice, 2 cloves garlic peeled and flattened, 1 2 cm knob ginger peeled and sliced, juice 3 limes approx 3 tbsps juice, 1/4 tsp chilli flakes. 1/2 red onion roughly chopped, 1 spring onion cut into 3 cm pieces, 3 tbsps olive oil, 3 tbsps light soy sauce, 2 tbsps water

Whizz all ingredients together in a food processor, Place 1/2 cup aside for sauce, pour the remainder over the chicken.

This is the marinade it doesn't look very exciting, but wait until you taste it.

Jerk Sauce - To the 1/2 cup of marinade kept aside add 3 tbsps tomato sauce and 3 tbsps light soy sauce. Bring to the boil and pour over cooked chicken.

Cut the chicken into tenderloins, place in a flat bowl/dish cover well with the marinade. Cover and put into the fridge leave at least 1 hour and up to 3 hours.

Chicken hanging about in the marinade

Rice 'n' Peas
2 cups jasmine rice, 3 cups water, 1/2 cup frozen peas, 2 tsps liquid chicken stock or 1 stock cube

Place everything in the rice cooker, stir around set going. If you don't have a rice cooker cook your rice as you would normally.

When the rice is nearly cooked heat a griddle pan or a large frypan. Drizzle with a little oil place the chicken on, cook 3 - 4minutes or until nice grill marks on the chicken. Reduce the heat to medium, then turn the chicken cook 3 - 4 minutes or until cooked through. Serve with rice 'n' peas and jerk sauce.

All nicely griddled

Monday, August 15, 2011

Inside Out Pizzas !

What do you get when your husband is confined to bed with a cold and your daughter wants to be feed continually and with interesting meals ?

You search through the freezer for odds and ends to make up meals. What I found was a partially used container of shredded ham, a fossick in the fridge found at the back a jar of sun dried tomato pesto, and a look in the pantry produced a packet of flour tortillas.

With Miss Fish peering over my shoulder I suggested that I make quesadillas using what I had found. Yes was the reply.

Now these are very easy I found that I had to warm the tortillas up in the microwave for 20 seconds so they were more pliable.

All you need to do is heat a frypan beware don't make it too hot or you will burn the tortillas, then smear a teaspoon of pesto over one tortilla top with grated cheese, then ham. put another tortilla on top.

Carefully place in the frypan flatten with your hand to bring the heat into the cheese to melt it. When the bottom has browned flip over press again, leave about 1 minute max, then remove and slice into wedges.

The verdict from Miss Fish was that they were yummy and she would have them again, even Mr CLI commented as he wandered past that they smelt nice and he would like some when he was feeling better.

I had mine with a dollop of greek yoghurt on which I drizzled some tobasco sauce.

So next time you are trying to think of something interesting and quick to eat, do what I did search about for different ingredients and see what you come up with. You never now you might be creating your families next favourite thing to eat.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Chicken Parmigiana

Now the other morning Mr CLI, Miss Fish and I were having a discussion about what was for tea that night, I announced I was going to use chicken fillets. Miss Fish came up with her all time favourite - at the moment - chicken roll ups, Mr CLI asked why can't I make homemade chicken parmigiana, as we haven't had it for a while. OK I said, "done".

Miss Fish looked as if she was going to complain, but I reminded her that she loves a parmigiana - any time she eats out that is her first choice - she looked at me with her big green eyes thought about it for a second OK she said so it was settled.

Now this is how I make chicken parmigiana, I make the sauce sometime during the day then after it has been blitzed I leave it in a microwave jug to heat when the schnitzels are ready. I even if I can be bothered crumb the chicken and leave in the fridge then it is only a matter of cooking them and putting the dish together at tea time.

You can serve them with what ever you like but I always pop some potato, carrot and pumpkin in the oven to roast, it makes it easier that I only have to worry about cooking the chicken right at tea time.

Chicken Parmigiana
Tomato sauce
1 380 - 400gm can whole tomatoes, 2 cloves garlic - peeled, 3 thick slices onion about 1 cm wide, 2 tsp dried herbs, oregano, marjoram or basil, or 2 tbsps fresh herbs

Preheat the oven 220c. Line a small tray with sides with baking/parchment paper. In the centre place the onion & garlic. Pour over the tomatoes ensuring that the onion and garlic are covered. Place in the oven cook 15 minutes, check to see if most of the liquid has evaporated and the onion & garlic are soft. If not leave in oven a bit longer. I have found depending on the brand of tomatoes it can take anywhere from 15 - 30 minutes.

Once cooked remove from oven, while still hot carefully lift up paper and tip into a microwave bowl or jug. Add herbs blitz with a stick blender leave until needed.

2 chicken breasts this is enough for 3 people, 1/2 grated parmesan & 1/2 cup grated tasty or mozzarella cheese mixed together

Crumbs - 2 cups dried bread crumbs, 2 tbsps grated Parmesan, 2 tbsps finely chopped parsley

you will also needed 2 eggs, 1 cup plain flour

Beat the eggs with a fork in a dish wide enough to dip you chicken in, place the flour on a plate. Mix together the crumb ingredients and place on another plate. Line a plate with baking/parchment paper to put the crumbed schnitzels on.

Slice the chicken breast across the length of the fillet to make 4 pieces, then using a meat mallet flatten till about 1/2 cm thick.

Dust each slice in flour, dip in egg then cover with the breadcrumbs, making sure that you press them into the crumbs to get a thick coating. Put onto plate then into the fridge to set them. You don't need to do this I have cooked them straight after I have crumbed them, but you needed more oil to ensure that the crumbs don't fall off.

To cook - In a wide frypan heat equal amounts of olive oil and butter, I used 4 tbsps of each, when the butter starts to bubble place the schnitzels in. Leave until they are browned on the bottom 4 - 5 minutes. Turnover, when I do this I always turn the heat do so a/ the crumbs don't burn & b/ the chicken can cook through. Cook for another 3 - 4 minutes.

While the second side is cooking heat the sauce in the microwave 2 minutes should be enough. Also line a plate with paper towel.

Once the schnitzels are cooked and the sauce has heated, working quickly to keep everything warm. Transfer the schnitzels to the paper towel, once drained place then on the serving plates top with cheese, then pour over some tomato sauce, the heat from the sauce will melt the cheese.

Now before I do this once I have turned the schnitzels over I dish up the roast vegies so everything is ready to eat while it is hot.

You should find that the chicken is moist and tender. It really is an easy meal that can be broken into 3 steps the sauce. the crumbing then the cooking.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Humble Hummus

Now by no means is hummus a minor dish in the kitchen it is actually a very versatile dish.

The original recipe is chickpeas, tahini, garlic, salt, lemon juice and olive oil, all processed together until a smooth paste. But the variations are many and varied. Miss Fish has brought home tins on mixed chickpeas and corn kernels which have been sitting in my cupboard while I pondered what to do with them.

After reading Not Quite Nigellas recipe for hummus using a can of 4 bean mix, I thought mmmm why don't I do the same using one of the cans of chickpea/ corn combo, and I did.

The result was a very creamy hummus without a hint of the corn. So I got thinking could hummus be made with any type of tinned bean, yes it can my corn/chickpea combo worked at treat. A quick search on the Internet found many varied recipes using a variety of ingredients from



and even zucchini

Now you don't have to only use hummus as a dip, spread it on warm souvlaki wraps place on you favourite salad ingredients like lettuce, tomato, cucumber, onion and even some crumbled feta then top with cooked lamb cubes or slices of roast lamb a squeeze of lemon juice, then roll it up and enjoy.

You can even replace the lamb with slices of chicken which have been cooked with slivers of red capsicum and slices of onion. Once again smear some hummus over warmed souvlaki wraps top with sliced lettuce then the chicken mixture, perhaps a dollop of greek yoghurt, roll up and eat.

There are many ways to enjoy hummus only your imagination holds you back. So next time you go to pick up a container of hummus from the supermarket shelf, think again go to the tinned bean isle grab a tin, get a jar of tahini - it last forever in the cupboard, then go home and whizz up a batch. When you taste it you will wonder why you didn't make your own all the time.

Now I processed mine in the little processor I have for my bamix blender, but you can use a normal blender, a mortar and pestle or even grate the garlic into a bowl use a fork to mask the beans the mix the other ingredients in well.

I also don't add olive oil, but if you find your hummus is a bit dry add a little oil.

1 can of beans drained, 2 cloves garlic, 1 heaped dessertspoon of tahini, juice of 1 lemon approx 1 tbsp, 1/2 tsp salt

Process in any of the ways mentioned above, taste add more salt or lemon juice as needed.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Apple & Cinnamon Tarte

Now this would have to be the easiest recipe that produces an amazing result. There are only 5 ingredients it only took about 5 minutes to put together and in total it took 16 minutes to cook.

The recipe is one that I have torn out of a magazine, I believe Gourmet Traveller.

Now the apples are sliced on a mandoline. If you didn't have one perhaps a wide vegetable peeler would give you the super thin slices you need.

Apple & Cinnamon Tarte
3 apples sliced on a mandoline, leave the skin on, 1 sheet puff pastry defrosted, 30 gm raw sugar, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 20 gm butter

Heat the oven 220.c. Place tray in to heat.

Place the sheet of pastry onto a piece of baking/parchment paper big enough to cover you baking tray. Using a fork prick all over the base.

Mix the sugar and cinnamon together. Layer the apples leaving a 1 cm border. Sprinkle over half the sugar & dot over half the butter. Remove baking tray from the oven, carefully place the sheet of paper with the tart on the tray.

Ready to go in the oven

Bake for 8 - 10 minutes or until the edges of the pastry are starting to brown. You may need to turn half way to ensure even browning.

Remove from the oven sprinkle with the other half of sugar and dot with the remaining butter. Return to the oven and bake for further 10 - 15 minutes, or until the pastry edges are puffy and brown and the apple slices are cooked.

Remove from the oven slice and serve with cream or ice cream or both if you are feeling decadent.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Pasta Frittata

This is an idea I have had for a while, but I usually don't have a lot of pasta leftovers to make it. I suppose I could cook pasta especially for it, but as most frittatas are based on using leftovers it doesn't seem quite right some how.

Now if you would like a more eggy frittata you could add more eggs, but I found that 6 was enough to set all the ingredients together.

You can use what ever vegetables that you want, I just used what I had in the fridge. You could also add more bacon or even use ham. If you what a vegetarian one you could leave it out all together.

Pasta Frittata
4 cups cooked pasta, 2 cups chopped vegetables - I used a bunch of asparagus, 1/2 red capsicum & frozen peas - 1/2 cup grated parmeson, 1/2 grated tasty cheese. - plus extra grated cheese for the top - 6 eggs. salt & pepper to taste. 4 rashers bacon

Preheat the the oven 220.c

In a bowl mix together the eggs, 2 cheeses, salt & pepper, using a fork.

Remove the rind if any, then cut the bacon into 2cm pieces, place into a frypan that can go into the oven, add about 1 tbsp oil, when the bacon starts sizzling add the vegies stir 1- 3 minutes or until they start to soften. Add the pasta toss around to distribute the vegies and bacon evenly. Remove from the heat pour over the egg mixture.

Lower the heat and return the frypan, leave on the heat until the edges start to sizzle and you can smell the egg on the base starting to cook, this takes about one minute.

Remove from the heat sprinkle with the extra cheese place into the oven check after 10 minutes, mine took 15 minutes to cook. The egg should be set and the cheese should be melted and golden.

Remove from oven carefully, don't forget that the handle will be hot. Slice and serve.

You could serve this with some crusty bread or a salad. It is also a good dish eaten lukewarm, also it is terrific to take on a picnic.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Apple Muffins with a Crumble Topping

Now I must admit I am not a big fan of muffins, you would never see me buy one from a shop, but a home made muffin straight from the oven is a different matter.

The original recipe for these muffins was from a book - Scones, muffins & teatime treats by Family Circle.

These muffins aren't particularly sweet, but the crumble topping gives you a boost of sweetness,

You can alter the topping by adding chopped nuts or shredded coconut, but you need to keep 3 of the basics ingredients the flour, sugar and butter.

Apple Muffins with a Crumble Topping
Muffin - 2 cups plain flour, 1 tbsps baking powder, 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ground star anise, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1 apple grated - you don't need to peel the apple, 1 egg, 1/3 cup oil, 2/3 cup apple juice

Crumble topping - 2 tbsps each of plain flour, brown sugar, rolled oats & butter, 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Soften the butter a little - 10 seconds in the microwave. Using a fork mix the other ingredients into the butter. It should resemble a crumble topping.

The mixture makes 12 muffins.

Heat the oven to 180.c. Place a silicone muffin tray on a baking tray or line a normal muffin tray with paper muffin cases.

In a bowl mix together all the dry ingredients. In a measuring jug whisk together with a fork the wet ingredients, pour into the dry ingredients, using a wooden spoon mix gently until just combined, about 1 minute.

Place spoonfuls into the prepared tray. Then place heaped teaspoons of crumble on top.

Bake for 15 - 20 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted comes out clean. Cool on a cake rack.

Now I must admit that these are best eaten while still warm.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Dim Sims

Dim Sims ready for steaming.

Now as part of our big Chinese Banquet the other week I made home made dim sum (dim sims).

They are actually very easy to make, you just mix the filling ingredients together, place a teaspoonful in the centre of the wrappers, fold or gather wrappers as you want then steam.

I had circle wrappers so I placed the filling in the centre and gathered the sides up to form an edge around the filling. Also it is best if you steam them on baking paper, so that they don't stick to your steamer basket.

These are the wrappers I used, you can also get square ones

I must admit that I have bamboo steamer basket which I use to steam the dim sims, but a normal steamer works just as well.

Dim Sim
250 grams pork mince, 1 desertspoon very finely diced celery, 1 desertspoon finely diced water chestnuts, 1 spring onion, finely diced - white part only, 2 button mushrooms finely chopped, 1/4 tsp ground white pepper. 2 tsp oyster sauce, 1/2 tsp sugar, 2 tsp light soy sauce - you can also add 1 tbsp finely shredded cabbage

chopped ingredients before adding the pork mince

Mix all ingredients together. Place a heaped teaspoon into wrapper of your choice, fold as you wish. Place on parchment/baking paper. Steam 15 minutes. Remove from heat, then eat.

You can also bring all the edges together to create what is called a purse

Or using square wrappers fold the points together to create this shape

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Prawn Cocktails

Sorry about no blog yesterday, but Miss Fish returned home on Tuesday with the start of a cold. So Nurse Mum had to come to the fore, and I have been a bit handicapped.

Not much cooking done in the last 2 days, as Miss Fish wants simple meals.

One of the things that she wanted to eat was prawns, she has followed my tastes in liking all things seafood, except raw oysters, so I can rely on her to eat seafood with me, where as Mr CLI only likes flake, he did eat oysters till he got a bad one from a restaurant and hasn't been able to at a oyster again.

So of to the shops yesterday I went and bought some cooked and peeled prawns. Which we are having for lunch as a prawn cocktail.

Now I don't use cream a lot in sauces but I just have to use it in the Rose Marie sauce, I have tried it with mayonnaise, but it didn't have the really nice mouth feel that cream gives you. I also only use iceberg lettuce very thinly sliced. You need the crispy crunch against the softness of the prawns.

Prawn Cocktail
iceberg lettuce, thinly sliced. peeled & cooked prawns, lemon wedges to garnish

Rose Marie Sauce - 1 cup cream, 2 tsps lemon juice, 1/4 tsp ground white pepper, 1 tbsp tomato sauce, tobasco sauce to taste

Mix together all sauce ingredients, taste adjust flavour as needed.

Place lettuce in the base of the serving bowl, I quite often use a martini glass to make it look more special. Place prawns on top, as many as you want, drizzle with sauce. Garnish with a lemon wedge.

Sit down put your feet up and enjoy.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Quinoa Burgers - Greek Style

Why Greek Style, because I served them with a deconstructed Greek salad on Turkish bread.

What is quinoa (pronounced keen-wah ) it is a grain like crop that is very good for you containing essential amino acids like lysine and and good quantities of calcium, phosphorus and iron. Also it tastes very nice, with a slight nutty flavour.

I got the original idea from a Martha Stewart recipe, then adapted it to my taste and the ingredients I had to hand. Note the recipe stated that you need 3/4 cup of water to cook the quinoa, it actually needed 1 cup to cook the quinoa properly.

The recipe was enough for 8 decent sized patties. You could even serve the burgers without the turkish bread, but with a large sized greek salad.

Quinoa Burgers
1 cup water, 1/2 cup quinoa, 1/2 medium or 1 small carrot, peeled, 3 small spring onions, with dark ends removed, 1egg, 1/4 cup plain flour or breadcrumbs, 6 button mushrooms, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp ground pepper, 1 tbsps ground cumin, 1 tbsp fresh coriander leaves, 1 400gm tin beans, drained - any sort I actually used chickpeas, 1 very small can corn kernels, drained

To serve - Turkish bread, ciabatta bread, rolls or even thick slices of country bread.

Greek salad - lettuce, thin slices of cucumber, thin slices of tomato, feta, crumbled, thin slices of red onion

Dressing - enough for 2 burgers - 2 tbsps yoghurt , 2 cloves garlic, grated, 1 tbsp lemon juice

Mix together.

Bring the water to the boil, add the quinoa, reduce heat and simmer 10 12 minutes or until cooked. Remove from heat and let cool, about 2o minutes.

Cooked quinoa

Chop the carrot in half lengthwise then into 2 cm pieces, chop the spring onions into 5 cm lengths. While the food processor is running drop in the carrot and spring onions, process until finely chopped. Turn of the processor and add remaining ingredients Pulse until all the ingredients are combined. Form patties and place into the fridge to set.

Finished mixture, it doesn't look good, but is was very tasty.

Heat 3 - 4 tbsps olive oil in a frypan, brown patties on both sides and until centre is hot. Approximately 4 minutes per side. Remove and place onto paper towel.

While the patties are cooking slice the turkish bread in half then layer lettuce, cucumber, tomato, onion, then the patties - 2 per serve - drizzle some dressing on top.

Pop on the lid then eat and enjoy. Note Mr CLI found it easier to eat using a knife and fork, because I had made them so high.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Room Six - Port Campbell VIC

Now as it was such a beautiful day yesterday, blue skies and sunshine. Mr CLI thought it would be a good time for some extra riding experience and we would come home via Port Campbell.

Now as I was enjoying being on my motorbike, I said why not. So after many kilometres of windy roads, that aren't very good we arrived. After parking the bikes we looked for somewhere to eat.

After discounting some of the places we had eaten at previously, we spotted across the road Room Six, so off we wandered to have a look at the menu. Now when on the motorbike I never eat very large meals because you become to lethargic and you must have your wits about you to ride a bike safely.

The had 3 $10 lunch specials - beer battered fish with chips and brandy seafood sauce, steak sandwich or a veggie burger. Mr CLI & I decided on the fish, Mr CLI didn't fancy the seafood sauce so he got tartare, which came in those squeezy packets.

Now the fish was a large piece of Whiting, my all time favourite fish, served with a mountain of crinkle cut chips. Now the seafood sauce had a very strange flavour so after dipping one chip in I decided I didn't like it and left it. Mr CLI enjoyed his fish immensely with his tartare sauce.

On the neighbouring table they got the steak sandwich, which looked a brute of a thing served in Turkish bread standing about 15 cms high.

So after a lovely lunch we were well rested to take the road along the coast towards home.

If you are ever in the area try Room Six for a filling and cheap lunch time meal.