A tiny slice of my life

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

Friday, September 30, 2011

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree . . .

I did start this blog yesterday, but Miss Le Coiffure needed my help so the day slipped away without me getting back to finishing it.

Now you must be thinking I am mad talking about Christmas, but when we turn the calender over on Saturday we are into the month of October. Which means we are on the slippy slope towards Christmas.

Now I love all things Christmassy but I don't love that madness that surrounds it. In a shop recently I was buying a couple of things for my girls as stocking fillers - yes they still have their Santa sacks - I tried and failed last year to convince Miss Fish that we don't need to put out Santa sacks - because of her disability she still believes in Santa. I had her nearly convinced when Miss Le Coiffure told her that they can still put their sacks out !- anyway I mentioned to the the lady serving me that they were presents for Christmas, she commented that she wasn't that organised but she had a lady in the day before who had not bought all her Christmas presents but had wrapped them as well !!!

I ask you doesn't that take the fun out of wrapping presents after you put the Christmas tree up and putting them under the tree. I have a bit of a game with Miss Fish as to whose presents are under the tree, everyday after she gets home from work her bottom can be seen sticking out from under our tree while she reads the cards to see if any presents are for her !

So I put the presents out under the tree over the month of December to keep the surprise going.

Not only do I buys presents over the year, but I also think of foodie type presents that I can make.

Like the Asian style nuts I make

Or chocolates which can be put into nice boxes or even lovely cellophane bags and tied with Christmas ribbon.

Or even shortbread, which can be made ahead of time and stored in airtight containers till needed.

Also don't forget the container that you give your foodie present in make sure it is useful after it is empty, so you are really giving two gifts.

I hope this gives you some ideas for the upcoming celebrations.

Ho, ho, ho . . .

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Tips for your kitchen

I am going to have a bit of soapbox moment today, as I think people need to go back to the basics in food storage so when can reduce our garbage and also be able to buy and store food that has been grown for flavour not length of storage.

As Mr CLI says about most of the tomatoes on sale "they are grown for travelling not eating."

Now I must admit that we seem to have raised a generation of adults, those in the 18 - 25 year old category, that don't seem to know how to keep their food fresh for longer. Or even how to store their food properly. I am not saying all are like this, but from what I have seen there seems to be lack of education.

They seem to just piff the food in the fridge or cupboard and when they have the annual fridge clean out, which seems to be either when the fridge has no more room or there is a funny smell, it all gets thrown away.

While we are trying to eat seasonally and not eat to much processed food, we need to be aware how to store food properly to keep it at its best.

So here are some of my tips, I am not saying that these are the only way to keep food, but this is what I do and what I have taught my 2 daughters- even Mr CLI for that matter.

Cold Meat - Now as soon as you get home remove it from the packaging it has been wrapped in, especially if it is a plastic bag. Place paper towel in the bottom of an airtight container, then place the meat in. Place more paper towel on top. Then seal with the lid.

Now the reason I do this is so that the paper towel absorbs any moisture that might come from the meat which will stop it from sweating.

Feta Cheese - When you buy a piece of feta, not the feta in oil. I place it in a sealed container with fresh water and a teaspoon of salt. This creates a brine to store it in. You just needs to change the water every 2 -3 days.

I have kept the feta for over a week this way.

Jam - Now you may think what do you need to know about storing jam, but you would be surprised how many people use a dirty knife to get their jam out then are surprised next time they open it to find it all mouldy.

Please use a clean knife.

Cheese - Wrap your cheese in either tin foil, baking/parchment paper or even cling wrap, don't leave it partially covered in the fridge as when you get it out next time all the exposed areas will be dry.

Leftovers - These seem to be some of the major fridge tragics that get left behind at the back of the fridge, to be forgotten.

It is pretty simple if you don't really want to eat the leftovers the next night, pop it into a container and put it in the freezer for another time. Don't leave it in the fridge for a week then think "I should freeze that", when it is too late.

Sometimes I will make up a meal with these leftovers and they can be quite good a bit like a buffet on a plate.

You can even add to them to make them some thing else. Like I had leftover meatballs in tomato sauce, what I did was make some more plain tomato sauce broke up the meatballs added this to cooked pasta mixed in some cubed mozzarella, popped it into a baking dish with some more grated cheese on top and baked it till hot.

So what started out as some leftovers became a yummy pasta bake that we thoroughly enjoyed.

So please give some thought to how you store your food to make it last better and help reduce the waste.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Daring Bakers Challenge September 2011

The Daring Bakers go retro this month! Thanks to one of our very talented non-blogging members, Sarah, the Daring Bakers were challenged to make Croissants using a recipe from the Queen of French Cooking, none other than Julia Child!

Now I must admit the last time I made puff pastry I was in high school. Which actually was quite successful.

So I didn't mind making a slightly different type of puff pastry this one has yeast that has to be activated and risen, before you add the butter as in puff pastry. The result was vary buttery croissant nothing at all like what you buy in the shops. I would only consider making it again if I wanted it for a really special occasion, because there is a lot of waiting involved with this.

Servings: 12 croissants
Note from Lis: Sarah took so many gorgeous and helpful step-by-step photos for this challenge, that I found the best way to display them is at the bottom of the recipe. Each photo is notated with what you are looking at. :)
¼ oz (7 gm) of fresh yeast, or 1¼ teaspoon (6¼ ml/4 gm) of dry-active yeast (about ½ sachet)
3 tablespoons (45 ml) warm water (less than 100°F/38°C)
1 teaspoon (5 ml/4½ gm) sugar
3¼ cups (450 gm/½ lb) of strong plain flour (I used Polish all-purpose flour, which is 13% protein)
2 teaspoons (10 ml/9 gm) sugar
1½ teaspoon (7½ ml/9 gm) salt
½ cup (120 ml/¼ pint) milk (I am not sure if the fat content matters. I used 2%)
2 tablespoons (30 ml) tasteless oil (I used generic vegetable oil)
½ cup (120 ml/1 stick/115 gm/¼ lb) chilled, unsalted butter
1 egg, for egg wash
1. Mix the yeast, warm water, and first teaspoon of sugar in a small bowl. Leave aside for the yeast and sugar to dissolve and the yeast to foam up a little.
2. Measure out the other ingredients
3. Heat the milk until tepid (either in the microwave or a saucepan), and dissolve in the salt and remaining sugar
4. Place the flour in a large bowl.
5. Add the oil, yeast mixture, and milk mixture to the flour
6. Mix all the ingredients together using the rubber spatula, just until all the flour is incorporated
7. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, and let it rest a minute while you wash out the bowl
8. Knead the dough eight to ten times only. The best way is as Julia Child does it in the video (see below). It’s a little difficult to explain, but essentially involves smacking the dough on the counter (lots of fun if you are mad at someone) and removing it from the counter using the pastry scraper.
9. Place the dough back in the bowl, and place the bowl in the plastic bag
10. Leave the bowl at approximately 75°F/24°C for three hours, or until the dough has tripled in size. (Photo 3)
11. After the dough has tripled in size, remove it gently from the bowl, pulling it away from the sides of the bowl with your fingertips.
12. Place the dough on a lightly floured board or countertop, and use your hands to press it out into a rectangle about 8 by 12 inches (20cm by 30cm).
13. Fold the dough rectangle in three, like a letter (fold the top third down, and then the bottom third up)
14. Place the dough letter back in the bowl, and the bowl back in the plastic bag.
15. Leave the dough to rise for another 1.5 hours, or until it has doubled in size. This second rise can be done overnight in the fridge
16. Place the double-risen dough onto a plate and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Place the plate in the fridge while you prepare the butter.
17. Once the dough has doubled, it’s time to incorporate the butter
18. Place the block of chilled butter on a chopping board.
19. Using the rolling pin, beat the butter down a little, till it is quite flat.
20. Use the heel of your hand to continue to spread the butter until it is smooth. You want the butter to stay cool, but spread easily.
21. Remove the dough from the fridge and place it on a lightly floured board or counter. Let it rest for a minute or two.
22. Spread the dough using your hands into a rectangle about 14 by 8 inches (35 cm by 20 cm).
23. Remove the butter from the board, and place it on the top half of the dough rectangle
24. Spread the butter all across the top two-thirds of the dough rectangle, but keep it ¼ inch (6 mm) across from all the edges.
25. Fold the top third of the dough down, and the bottom third of the dough up.
26. Turn the dough package 90 degrees, so that the top flap is to your right (like a book). (Photo 19)
27. Roll out the dough package (gently, so you don’t push the butter out of the dough) until it is again about 14 by 8 inches (35 cm by 20 cm).
28. Again, fold the top third down and the bottom third up.
29. Wrap the dough package in plastic wrap, and place it in the fridge for 2 hours.
30. After two hours have passed, take the dough out of the fridge and place it again on the lightly floured board or counter.
31. Tap the dough with the rolling pin, to deflate it a little
32. Let the dough rest for 8 to 10 minutes
33. Roll the dough package out till it is 14 by 8 inches (35 cm by 20 cm).
34. Fold in three, as before
35. Turn 90 degrees, and roll out again to 14 by 8 inches (35 cm by 20 cm).
36. Fold in three for the last time, wrap in plastic, and return the dough package to the fridge for two more hours (or overnight, with something heavy on top to stop it from rising)
37. It’s now time to cut the dough and shape the croissants
38. First, lightly butter your baking sheet so that it is ready
39. Take the dough out of the fridge and let it rest for ten minutes on the lightly floured board or counter
40. Roll the dough out into a 20 by 5 inch rectangle (51 cm by 12½ cm). (Photo 24)
41. Cut the dough into two rectangles (each 10 by 5 inches (25½ cm by 12½ cm)) (Photo 24)
42. Place one of the rectangles in the fridge, to keep the butter cold
43. Roll the second rectangle out until it is 15 by 5 inches (38 cm by 12½ cm).
44. Cut the rectangle into three squares (each 5 by 5 inches (12½ cm by 12½ cm))
45. Place two of the squares in the fridge
46. The remaining square may have shrunk up a little bit in the meantime. Roll it out again till it is nearly square
47. Cut the square diagonally into two triangles.
48. Stretch the triangle out a little, so it is not a right-angle triangle, but more of an isosceles.
49. Starting at the wide end, roll the triangle up towards the point, and curve into a crescent shape.
50. Place the unbaked croissant on the baking sheet
51. Repeat the process with the remaining squares of dough, creating 12 croissants in total.
52. Leave the tray of croissants, covered lightly with plastic wrap, to rise for 1 hour
53. Preheat the oven to very hot 475°F/240°C/gas mark 9.
54. Mix the egg with a teaspoon of water
55. Spread the egg wash across the tops of the croissants.
56. Put the croissants in the oven for 12 to 15 minutes, until the tops are browned nicely
57. Take the croissants out of the oven, and place them on a rack to cool for 10 minutes before serving.

So give it a go, but remember it isn't anything that can be hurried.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Another One Bites The Dust

I am a bit late in blogging this morning as I have been busy being a taxi service, Mr CLI to the Doctors for his torn muscles in his hip and Miss Fish off to her School Holiday Program.

I am now back in a quiet house, so I can relax till this afternoon when everyone returns.

I have been busy in the last couple of weeks working on my quilts the photo is of another quilt that I have finished.

It is made using Kaffe Fassett fabric, he is a designer from England who started out designing very bright and interesting knitting patterns, then he got into designing fabric for patchwork. The one thing you can say about his fabrics are that they are not shy and retiring, but bright and bold.

I also designed this quilt and the stitcheries that I placed amongst the squares.

Here is one of the stitcheries.

On our trip the other week Mr CLI found a piece of material with different birds in gold, fawn and dark red. I have been working on a quilt using them all last week and finished the quilt top on the weekend. It is in creams, fawns, aqua blue and dark red.

Mr CLI says it is too nice to sell, but the colors aren't what I am decorating my house with so we will see if I keep it. I really enjoy the designing and crating process and don't mind selling them as I can then justify buying more fabric and making more quilts. Also I have quilt tops to finish that I have made for my house.

Anyway I better get a wriggle along so I can put another quilt together ready to free motion quilt tomorrow. So till then bye for now.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Cheats Chicken and Sundried Tomato Pasta Bake

Now I must confess first off the only cheaty part of this is that I used bought pasta sauce. The rest of the dish I cooked myself.

The reason I resorted to bought sauce is that at the moment I have pulled/torn muscles under my right armpit down to my waist so cooking is a bit difficult at the moment.

You could make your favourite tomato pasta sauce and add a little cream, because I find straight tomato sauces in this a bit acidic.

This is one of those recipes you can add anything that takes your fancy. I have only used 7 ingredients in total to make a truly mouthwatering dish. Mr CLI even asked for seconds, and decided that I could make it again !

The pasta sauces I used were both pasta bake sauces by Dolmio one was - Creamy Tomato and Mozzarella and the other was - Creamy Sundried Tomato and Garlic.

My assistant Miss Fish helped, while my back was turned added water to the dish. I normally add some water to the jars replace the lid and shake because these sauces are very thick and the all don't come out. She saw me do that and while my back was turned nearly filled the jar with water and poured it in.

There were some tears from her and nearly by me, but it turned out all right, as for a pasta bake you need it to be quite saucy because the noodles drink up the sauce and if there isn't enough the dish can become dry. So alls well that ends well.

Chicken and Sundried Tomato Pasta Bake
2 jars pasta sauce or home made sauce totalling 1080 grams, 1 cup water, 350 gms dried pasta I used ribbed penne, 2 chicken breasts chopped into 2 cm pieces, 4 tbsps chopped fresh parsley, 20 kalamata olives pitted and sliced in half, 20 semi sundried tomato chopped

Topping - grated cheese of your choosing, I used about 1/2 cup of grated tasty

Preheat fan forced oven to 200c.

Bring water to the boil and cook the pasta until al dente.

While the pasta is cooking heat 2 tbsps oil, add the chicken saute until starting to brown. Add all remaining ingredients except pasta. Simmer for 5 minutes.

When pasta is cooked drain then place into baking dish, mine was approx 20cm x 40 cm. Pour over sauce, mix together. Top with grated cheese.

Bake for 15 minutes, it should be bubbling and the cheese will have melted and started to brown.

I served mine with a bit of grated parmesan on top.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Golden Mountain - Chinese Restaurant - Ballarat - VIC

On our recent trip to Lorne we came home via Ballarat were we stayed the night at our favourite Motel. The Begonia City Motor Inn in Sebastapol.


Now as luck would have it about 3 minutes away is my most favourite patchwork shop - Gail's Patchwork Emporium. So of course Mr CLI took me there. Unfortunately being on a motorbike did restrict me in what I can buy, but I still had fun and of course bought a large bag full of material, with even Mr CLI finding a lovely piece with birds on it which I am at the moment turning into a quilt top.

Miss Le Coiffure also came with us so we all went out to our favourite Chinese Restaurant the Golden Mountain. Now we have been going to this restaurant for nearly 20 years. The same people run it, and now their children are on duty at the front counter.

Now this restaurant is nothing grand about 6 small tables with chairs, but the steady stream of take away tells you that the food is good.

There dim sims and spring rolls are to die for, nothing beats them. Mr CLI made the suggestion to get extra fried rice and dim sims for tea the next night when we are home.

There food is plentiful tasty and no MSG in sight. So if you are ever in Ballarat. try the Golden Mountain restaurant, I am sure you won't be disappointed.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Simple Supper - Welsh Rarebit

Now I must admit that I don't usually start cooking food late at night, but last night I was starving. So I got to thinking what could I cook that was quick filling and didn't make to many dishes. The idea came to me what about Welsh Rarebit.

The dish originated in 18th century Britain. If you put a poached egg on top it becomes Buck Rarebit.

Not many ingredients all melted together in a small saucepan, then placed onto toast and grilled.

A word of warning even though the sauce is thick when it goes under the griller it turns very liquid and some slides off the toast, so make sure that you cover your tray with baking/parchment paper.

This recipe is enough for 2 slices of toast. Older dryer bread is best at it doesn't soften to much.

Welsh Rarebit
3/4 cup grated tasty cheese, 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, 2 tsps worcestershire sauce, 2 tsp dijon mustard, 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, 1 dessertspoon butter, 1 dessertspoon either white wine, beer or I used verjuice, 2 slices bread

Place bread on a tray covered with baking/parchment paper. Grill one side then turn over top with sauce, return to grill. Grill until bubbling and the sauce has started to brown. Carefully remove from the grill. Place toast onto a plate a scrap any sauce on paper onto toast. You will find by the time you sit down and let it cool so you can eat it the sauce will set a bit which makes it a bit easier to eat.

Sauce - Place all ingredients in a saucepan stir over heat until melted.

Now next time you get the munchies and want something quick and tasty think of Welsh Rarebit.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Summer Eating

With the warm weather over the last few days, we won't mention the torrential rain that we got last night.

My mind has been wandering towards Summer eating. Now Mr CLI loves to BBQ, not the run of the mill sausages and chops, we rarely have that, but cooking roasts in his hooded BBQ or his Webber.

His Webber is as old as our eldest daughter, on her first Christmas he decided to cook Christmas lunch, luckily I had pre thought and made entree's because it was a very late lunch. Not the thing you need with a 3 month old baby.

Anyway he has the timing done perfect nowadays, so he enjoys cooking on his BBQ. We were lucky when we bought this house to have a large cemented area at the back of the house, with an outside toilet, so we only had to put up a pergola to create a large eating area.

We have now extended it to go to the fence line, in this area we created a fernery including a fish pond and waterfall, that contains 4 very large goldfish. They were only 4 cm long when we got them they are probably close to 15 cms now ! They are Miss Fish's, fish.

So in the warmer months we use it a lot, we even have breakfast out there on the weekend. It is nothing for me to cook a batch of pancakes for breakfast, which we leisurely eat and enjoy the morning.

Other ideas are
- I bone a leg of lamb then rub it with a mixture of ground coriander, ground cumin, chopped fresh mint, olive oil, lemon juice, a sweet paprika. Mr CLI cooks it till tender, he also heats up some flour tortillas .

I make hummus and a greek salad, we spread the hummus over the wraps then some salad finally some sliced hot lamb. Roll it up and eat. Very yummy and actually very good for you.

- Another idea is to spatchcock a chicken and marinate that in fresh juice lemon or lime, olive oil and what every fresh herbs and spices that you fancy. Cook it till falling apart, basting occasionally with its juices. Then serve it with either salad, fresh bread, hot vegetables what ever you fancy.

There are plenty of other things. I have made home made pizzas , which Mr CLI has cooked in the hooded BBQ.

I even make a pineapple upside down cake which is cooked in the residual heat after Mr CLI has used his Webber.

The sky is the limit. So when you get your BBQ out this Summer don't just think sausages and chops. Try recipes that you would cook inside and adapt them for your BBQ.

Now I must go make a cuppa to warm me up with the cold weather today it is needed, but I will sit and think of the warmer days to come when we can once again wear skirts and sit outside till late enjoying the weather.

Till tomorrow good bye.

Monday, September 19, 2011

No Churn Ice Cream & Semifreddo

Well I am very pleased to announce that I have had my second Article published on the internet.

It is on "The Daring Kitchen" site in their Food Talk area.

Here is a couple of the recipes from the article.

To read the full article follow the link below.

Base Ice Cream Recipe

1 cup heavy + ¾ cup icing (powdered) sugar

Beat together until soft peaks form, add flavourings. Put into an airtight container. Freeze for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Base Semifreddo Recipe

2 cups thickened cream, 1 cup icing (powdered ) sugar, 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Beat all 3 ingredients together and pour into prepared loaf tin. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze over night.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Inspiration in the Kitchen

I must admit there are days that I don't have much enthusiasm to cook, this is usually when I don't want to cook the same old meals. I need some inspiration.

How do you get inspired when you have days like this, what I usually do is think of what meat or vegetable I want to cook for a meal, then get the cookbooks out, especially the ones that you haven't cooked from very often, if that fails hit the Internet.

For instance tonight I have a chicken to cook I don't want to do the same old roast, so I browsed my recipe books and saw a picture of a spatchcocked chicken, this gave me an idea of making a spice rub using limes from tree, there juice and rind. I will also add garlic ground cumin and coriander, perhaps a little bit of smoked paprika, and for a little bit of heat some Tabasco sauce.

I will let the chicken hang about in its marinade in the fridge this afternoon. Before cooking on high to crisp the skin then I will turn the temperature down to cook the chicken through.

What to serve with it, I have lots of little potatoes Miss fish found in our vegie bed the other week, I also have some feta and olives. I think I will make a warm salad with a balsamic dressing.

The dressing is easy 1/3 balsamic, 2/3's a good olive oil + 2 tsps dijon mustard, you just need to whisk or shake it together.

When the potatoes are hot I will drizzle them with some of the dressing. Then when the have cooled to room temp I will add the other ingredients, toss with more dressing and serve.

Right there you go just writing about inspiration has given me ideas for tonight's tea.

So I hope I have inspired you to think of other ways to cook the same ingredients.

Happy cooking

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Microwave Lemon Curd

Now if you have ever wanted to make lemon or lime curd but was concerned about the eggs curdling, this is the recipe for you.
As you make it in the microwave you have a much better control over the heat, therefore you shouldn't scramble your eggs.
Once made and cooled in an air tight jar store it in the fridge.
The are plenty of uses from filling little tart cases, then putting meringue on top to make mini lemon meringue tarts. Or drizzle it over whipped cream in a sponge. Or just on bread is good.

Microwave Lemon Curd
1 cup caster sugar, 3 eggs, finely grated rind + juice of 3 lemons, 126 gm unsalted butter, melted
Before starting fill 2 small jars with boiling water and cover the lids as well, they can steralise while you make the curd.
In a microwave bowl or jug whisk together the sugar and eggs, add the lemon juice, rind and butter. whisk together.

Cook for 1 minute intervals, whisking after each minute. Continue to cook until thickened. This can take approx 5 - 6 minutes.

As soon as it has thickened, carefully drain the jars, placing them on a tea towel, pour in the hot curd and seal straight away.

When cool store in the fridge.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Chatby Lane - Lorne - VIC

Well we are back from our little trip away to Lorne. For those of you that don't know Lorne it is on the Great Ocean Road between Anglesea and Torquay.

The weather unfortunately wasn't to kind to us, we had rain and cold winds, which tend to make it a bit miserable when you are riding a motorcycle.

The comforting thought on these rides is that we would be coming back to very nice B & B accommodation in the form of Chatby Lane it is set on a hill looking towards the sea. Like most of Lorne all the buildings are set into or on top of hills, not an easy place to ride a motorcycle.

We have stayed here before and thoroughly enjoyed it. We had the room with the 2 person spa, which wasn't a luxury when you need to defrost and sooth aching bodies.

The room has a kitchenette, table and 2 chairs a 2 seater lounge and a very comfortable queen size bed. The owners Doug & Karen can't do enough for you.

So if you are ever heading along the Great Ocean Road give Chatby Lane a thought.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Kitchen Etiquette

Now I am going to start today's blog with a warning I am going to have a bit of a rant about etiquette in my kitchen.

There seems to be a group of people that I never see or hear, that sneak into my kitchen to cause mess long after I have cleaned up after tea.

They leave empty packets and wrappers on the sink above the cupboard that has the rubbish bin in. Their hands must be tired from all the lolly eating.

They also take their dirty dishes as far as the bench in the kitchen, but not the extra 2 metres to the sink.

They also sneak empty food containers like peanut butter back into the pantry, and when they find no new one they grumble that whomever does the food shopping should get all the food that is needed !

I have a sign on my fridge which reads

- Complaints to the cook is hazardous to your health -

Does anyone take note, no they still grizzle.

They are also good at drinking the last from a bottle of drink, but never replace it with a new one in the fridge, but guess who has the last laugh - me - yes because I am not the one that has to drink warm lemonade they are. Do they learn from this no they do it again next time.

Well enough complaining from me. Do you have these sneaky people in your kitchen as well ?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Worlds Easiest Chocolate Coconut Slice

Now I have made this recipe more times than I can remember, it is very easy to put together. You can have it made and in the oven in about 10 minutes. Once it has cooked I leave it to cool in the tray then ice it.

The slice keeps well for at least a week in an airtight container.

The original recipe comes from a Women's Weekly Cookbook - The Big Book of Beautiful Biscuits. It is many years old as I only paid $4.98 for it.

This is the cover of my copy, I think there is a new version out.

Chocolate Fudge Bars
1 cup plain flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 cup dessicated coconut, 1 tbsp cocoa, 185gm butter - melted, 1/2 tsp vanilla essence, 1 egg

Chocolate Icing
1 cup icing sugar, 2 tbsps cocoa, 30 gm butter - melted, 1 1/2 tbsps hot water, extra coconut

Sift icing sugar and cocoa into a bowl. add melted butter and half the water, mix together. Slowly add remaining water till icing a good spreading consistency.

Preheat oven 180.c. Line a 28cm x 18cm lamington tin with baking/parchment paper.

Bars - Mix together dry ingredients, add butter, vanilla and egg. Mix together well. Press in prepared tin. Bake 20 minutes. Cool in tin then ice and sprinkle with extra coconut.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Getting Ready ...

Now for anyone who enjoys cooking, you would know that nothing beats fresh produce to make even the simplest of meals outstanding.

So to me that means growing as many vegetables as possible, as we have had the wettest Winter I haven't attempted to grow anything, but as the days are getting longer and the sun is with us again, it is now time to get our vegetable garden ready.

So on the weekend Miss Fish and I proceeded to give the garden bed a good weed, I found a rogue fennel that had grown by itself. Miss Fish found a small colander full of potatoes.

So after a couple of hours of hard weeding the bed looks much better. When we return from our little trip, we will all be off to Bunnings to buy mulch and seedlings to get our vegetables in ready for Christmas.

Talking of Christmas, yes I know you weren't thinking about it yet, but believe me, you mark my words by next week the Christmas decorations and candy canes will begin to appear in the shops.

Now for people like me that color theme their tree every year, I don't mind the early arrival of decorations because I can buy them over several months. Having said that I must get the Christmas balls out of the cupboard that I bought last year to see what color theme we are having this year.

I must say that I am a big Christmas fan there is never to many lights or decorations to be had, but it makes it a bit hard when you live with the Christmas Gringe, who has no Christmas ho ho ho !

So after our garden has been endowered with its new seedlings surrounded by a new blanket of mulch I will post pictures and give you updates.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Fathers Day

What are you doing this year for your Father. As mine lives 4 hours away I won't be seeing him on the day, but I did make a card and send it to him.

This is the design that I got of Martha Stewart's web site.

Instead of a hanky I folded money a put it in the jacket pocket. My Dad likes getting money because he is always saving for something for his computer.

This is the design from last year.

Mr CLI isn't having a big Fathers Day as Miss Fish is going horse riding again on Sunday, also MR CLI and I are going away later in the week for a 5 day motor bike trip. So that will be his Fathers Day celebrations.

Maybe those that love cooking can make your Dad some home made goodies, like pickles or chutneys. Chocolate is always good, or even cook him his favourite cake.

I am sure what ever you do your Dad will love it.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Chicken with Tamarind Glaze

Now this is another recipe that I make to have with rice it also goes well with steamed rice.

You can cook the chicken on your BBQ.

These pods in the photo are what tamarind looks like.

Chicken with Tamarind Glaze

2 tbsp vegetable oil ,1 tbsp cumin seeds, toasted in a hot pan and crushed, 4 chicken breasts, 100g tamarind paste 250g brown sugar, 1 tbsp coriander seeds,1 tbsp cumin seeds, 1 tbsp fennel seeds, 3 green cardamom pods, small knob of fresh ginger , peeled and roughly chopped, 1 green chilli , roughly chopped - optional, large pinch of chilli powder, pinch of ground ginger, large pinch of garam masala

First make the tamarind glaze. Put all the ingredients except the ground ginger and garam masala in a medium saucepan with 500ml water. Boil for 20 minutes, stirring frequently, until reduced by about half and slightly syrupy. Strain into a bowl to remove all the spices, stir in the ground ginger and garam masala and leave to cool.

Pour half the glaze into a large bowl and set another 4 tbsp aside to serve (The rest will keep in the fridge for up to a month for a sauce or marinade.) Whisk in the oil and cumin and add the chicken. Cover and marinate in the fridge for half an hour at least - overnight is ideal.

Preheat the oven to fan 180C. Lift the chicken breasts out of the marinade and lay on a roasting tray. Roast for 30 minutes, basting with the cooking juices and the leftover marinade every 5 minutes until the chicken is lacquered and sticky.

To serve, mix the reserved glaze with 1 tablespoon water and drizzle over the chicken breasts on 4 plates. Serve with steamed rice or rice pilaf and poppadums.