A tiny slice of my life

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

Monday, October 31, 2011

The escapee leader.

Well I have had a very few days, helping Miss Le Coiffure shift her two doggies, unfortunately the littlest saw fit to escape, she turned up the next day.

Then the two of them went missing again, but turned up that night. So they are now in jail ! LOL

My parents are up for a visit so I have been very busy filling and emptying the dish washer, normally we spend time under out back pergola, but the weather has been against us.

We are off to the pokies and the shops shortly.

I hope everyone has their horse picked for the Melbourne Cup tomorrow.

Till tomorrow.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Hi Ho on the move I go

Hi, I am not moving , but Miss Le Coiffure is in the process of moving and she has asked if I can help her early this morning to move my 2, 4 legged granddaughters !

So it is an early and short blog today.

The tan doggie in the photo is Lola, she is an American Staffordshire, she is nearly 2.

Now Lola has a lovely nature but would in the human world would be blonde, as these type of dogs don't activate their brains until their about 2, When she was a pup it took bumping her head 5 times under the outside table before she thought to duck ! LOL

Miss Lola as a pup with one of her coats on, waiting for Miss Fish to come home.

Miss Le Coiffure collects waifs and strays the other puppy is Zara she is a Bull Terrier/ Staffie cross. She is just over one. She is the brains of the operation, even though she has little legs she can jump quite high.

Miss Lola has a very large kennel about 1 metre high, one day Miss Le Coiffure heard whimpering outside her bedroom window and couldn't work out what was wrong. When she went outside to check here was Lola on top of her kennel whimpering because she was too scared to jump down ! Yet with her back legs on the ground if she stood up the kennel would only come to her chest. But no the big scardy cat was scared of getting down, so Miss Le Coiffure had to lift the 20 + kgs of scared dog to the ground. lol

The is no such fear in Zara she jumps on top of the kennel in one bounce !

Well I better be off to help move Lola and Zara to their new backyard.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Last Nights Mexican, Ole !

"Well how did the meal go last night" , you ask, "very well thank you".

The corn chips were very nice, not salty like other corns chips and they didn't get real soggy when I melted the cheese on them.

The sauce I used was nice, as I am quite partial to refried beans with Mexican food I really enjoyed the pinto bean sauce, it wasn't very spicy just a hint of warmth.

How did Miss Fish and Mr CLI like them, well Miss Fish ate it all up without any complaints, she even had some of the bean sauce.

Mr CLI, that's another story I think he enjoyed it, but I don't think his mind was on tea when I heard him trying to cut the nachos to eat with a knife and fork. If there was ever a food that you need to use fingers with it is nachos.

He ate it all BUT he was busy thinking of work and looking at his laptop while eating. When asked he said it was nice and he would have it again. Perhaps next time he will actually taste the food, never mind.

So I am off to hang more rotten washing out then getting into some sewing until my back lets me know it has had enough.

So till tomorrow haste le vista bebe ! LOL

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Off to Mexico I Go

A short blog today, as I have been running around town this morning getting some things done including the ingredients for tea tonight. Which if my brain had been working I wouldn't have had to go to 2 supermarkets and still come home missing one ingredient !

For tea tonight we are going Mexican. I will be making my favourite baked enchiladas, which I am going to serve with cheese nachos on which I am going to dollop a refried bean salsa topping that I found in the supermarket today.

The are made by Mission and are white corn unfried tortilla chips. I haven't used them before so I will interested what they taste like.

This is the sauce by Old El Paso - pinto bean, tomato and onion.

On top of the nachos I will also be putting a generous dollop of greek yoghurt with a few drips of Tabasco for some warmth. All of this I be serving a simple salad.

I try to have either salad or steamed vegies every meal.

I will let you know tomorrow what they new foods tasted like.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Runners, runners , runners everywhere

Now it not what you think there are no hairy white legs in shorts running about my house, but there are table runners.

A couple of weeks ago I went to my parents house and I wanted to go to a fabric shop that has cheap fabric, I was looking for specific colours for a quilt I had designed. My Mum said 'why don't we go through my fabric as I have too much", she didn't say this in my Dad's earshot !

So through her fabric we went, well Miss Fish thought it was heaven she came home with 2 large plastic bags groaning under the weight of all her new fabric. I also came home with a large amount. so much so that it is sitting in piles on the spare table in my sewing room ! lol

Some of the fabric that Mum gave me was half or not started at all Christmas projects, so I have been busy last week sewing them together to make some table runners. The runner top above started out as 4 squares of cute puppies dressed for Christmas, I have added to them and now finished a completed top.

This is one of the cute doggies.

Another idea I had was to sew a whole lot of 2 1/2" squares together then free motion applique some holly leave and berries on. Once I got all the squares together it was far to busy and bright for the applique, so I am only going to free motion quilt leaves and berries in a bright red cotton I bought recently.

Lots and lots of little squares.

Another find from Mum's was some fan shaped pieces that I have sewn together to create 2 halves of a flower, these are also in Christmas colors. Mum also gave me a piece of dark green damask, I am going to cut in half and applique the 2 flower half one the other half I am going to applique holly and berries.

This was going to be my enjoyment for today, but I have woken up with my back bent in pain, goodness only knows what I have done to it, some I am restricted to my chair, never mind I can cut out my holly and berry shapes.

This is the runner I made to cover the very ugly mantelpiece in our kitchen/dining area.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Yesterdays Project

Miss Fish modelling her new work bag. In her favourite colour red, the front flap has strawberries on it.

Miss Fish has a fetish for purses and bags, it is nothing for her handbag that she takes to work to be filled to the brim with about 10 or more purses. Once she went into respite and they searched through her purses for spending money and found a total of $24 !!

Well her work bag, which she has been using for a couple of years had started to wear out so I was tasked to buy her a new one, now knowing the trouble I had last year when looking and not finding another bag similar to her current one I was putting off this job, but as luck would have it when we were in the fabric shop in Melbourne last week she found all these large bags made up, so she tested the fit out on herself. She likes a large soft bag that can be filled to the brim !

After much searching we found a pattern for a laptop bag, not that she has a laptop but she needs a large bag for all stuff !

So I made it yesterday with some swearing because the front of the flap is made in oilcloth which is like a vinyl tablecloth so it slipped and slithered on the sewing machine.

I left a lot of the steps out she doesn't need a hard base or bag feet, just a big soft bag that she can throw over her head and fill with her things.

She was very happy last night when she saw it and swapped her stuff from her old bag too her new bag and off she went this morning with it.

I actually bought enough material to make 2 bags so when this one wears out I can make another one for her.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Chicken Caesar Salad

Sorry about no post yesterday, Friday I had Internet problems, yesterday I had Daughter problems, never mind I am back on track today.

With the warm weather we have been having in the last couple of days my mind has wandered to Summer recipes this is one of my core recipes that can be made in a very short amount of time.

You can add more to this salad, I sometimes chop up potatoes into small cubes and cook with the chicken and bacon. You can even leave the croutons out if you don't have stale bread to make them. I did on Monday. You can add more vegies like small tomatoes or steamed asparagus. I know that these don't normally come in a Caesar Salad, but this salad is a vehicle for extra things.

Now there are anchovies in the dressing, Mr CLI isn't that keen on them unless they are on a pizza he ate the dressing without any complaints. You could leave them out, but please try at least one in the dressing as they add an extra something in flavour.

Chicken Caesar Salad - enough for 4 people
Chicken - 1 chicken breast per person, cut into tenderloin size strips, 1 rasher of bacon: fat and rind removed per person, 2 sprigs rosemary, finely chopped, olive oil, stale crusty bread cut into 2 cm cubes as much as you want per person

Salad - cos lettuce, shaved Parmesan

Dressing - 4 anchovy fillets, juice 1 lemon = 2 tbsps, 1/2 cup greek yoghurt or creme fresh, 1 clove garlic, 2 heaped tbsps grated Parmesan, ground black pepper, 3 tbsps olive oil

Dressing - In a mortar and pestle grind the anchovy fillets and garlic till a paste, stir in the remaining ingredients. Taste it may need more pepper, juice or Parmesan.

My dressing in the mortar. Sorry about the sun reflection in photo.

Chicken - Preheat your oven 200.c. Line a baking tray with baking/parchment paper. Place the chicken and bread cubes on the tray, sprinkle with the rosemary, drizzle with oil. Drape the bacon over. Place in the oven check after 15 - 20 minutes the bacon should be cooked and crispy around the edges, but not hard. Remove onto paper towel. Turn the croutons and chicken over. Cook another 10 - 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked and the croutons are crispy, if the croutons are cooking to quickly remove them also onto paper towel. When the chicken is cooked remove from the tray and slice into bite size pieces. Break/cut the bacon into bite size pieces.

While the chicken is cooking make the dressing, tear or slice the cos lettuce into bite size pieces and place into serving bowls. Boil the eggs for 8 minutes, pour off boiling water, leaving the eggs in the saucepan, fill with cool water leave till needed, then peel and cut into 1/4's lengthwise.

To serve top the lettuce with chicken, croutons and bacon. Drizzle with dressing then top with shaved Parmesan.

Monday, October 17, 2011

La Cibo Cafe - Gisbourne - VIC

First of all sorry about no post on Friday but I had internet issues, which are all fixed now.

While we down in Melbourne over the weekend, we meet up with my Sister and her daughter on Sunday as it was my nieces 9th Birthday.

We all meet at La Cibo Cafe, as I haven't been to this cafe before it was a new experience, but my sister has eaten there so often she is good friends with the owner.

They decorated the table with balloons and Happy Birthday streamers.

As we were meeting for brunch we all looked at the breakfast menu.

Mr CLI had the big breakfast which consisted of eggs either poached, fried or scrambled, 2 slices of toasted sour dough bread, 1/2 a tomato fried, mushrooms, 3 chipolata sausages, 3 rashers of bacon and cooked spinach. He managed to struggle his way through the food mountain that appeared on his plate.

I had poached eggs and bacon with mushrooms. The eggs were poached so that the yolk was still runny and the bacon was cooked so there were crisp bits but it was still soft to eat. I hate bacon cooked so hard that it just splinters when you try to cut it.

My Niece had pancakes with lemon and sugar, she got 3 fluffy pancakes with 2 wedges of lemon and a small bowl of icing sugar to sprinkle over. She only managed to eat 2, so Miss Fish volunteered to eat the last one for her.

I must admit that 2 screaming toddlers did put a bit of a dampener on the meal, as we had trouble at times to talk over their noise. But all said and done it was a very enjoyable stop to have on the way home.

We all waddled out of the restaurant very well feed and actually we could have had a little nap, but as we needed to drive home that was impossible.

So if you are driving near Gisbourne, and are hungry think of the La Cibo restaurant for a big breakfast or one of their other meals.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Present for my Mum

Now this is a very belated Birthday present for my Mum, not that I forgot her birthday or anything, but unfortunately her birthday occurred just after our family tragedy, so it wasn't the time to celebrate.

Well we are off to Melbourne this weekend and things have settled some, so I thought it would be a good time to give her, her gift, even if it is a bit late ( her birthday was in June).

What it is is a small quilt that she can either hang on the wall or use as a table topper.

My Mum loves and collects different teapot sets, so I thought it would be nice to make it with different teapot designs. The fabric I used I made her a small wall hanging with, so I know she will like the colors.

These are a couple of the applique squares. I am off to make her a nice card, so I better be going now.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

3 Ways with Chicken and Mango Salsa

This mango salsa appears quite often during the warmer months as it can dress up a plain piece of chicken. I have included 3 different ideas for the chicken breasts, but you can cook your chicken anyway you want to.

I usually serve my chicken and salsa with rice and salad, the rice is particularly good for sopping up the salsa juices.

You can alter the salsa to your liking, I am just giving you the basic recipe that can be added to by you.

All chicken recipes are for 4 chicken breasts cut into strips about the size of the tenderloin, you can leave the breasts whole, but I think the littler strips gives you more area to flavour and enjoy.

Idea 1 - Tandoori
To 2 heaped tablespoons of tandoori paste add 3/4 cup greek yoghurt mix together, add the chicken and coat well.

Leave for at least 20 minutes before cooking.

Idea 2 - Lemon and herb
juice of 2 lemons, 4 tbsps chopped fresh herbs like oregano, thyme, parsley, mint and basil, 4 tbsps olive oil

Mix together add the chicken and leave at least 15 minutes but now more than an hour because the juice can start to cook the chicken.

Idea 3 - Jerk chicken
juice 2 limes, 1/2 tsp chilli flakes, 2 tsps each ground cumin and coriander, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper, 1/2 tsp dried or 2 tsps fresh chopped thyme. 4 tbsps olive oil, 2 cloves garlic grated

Mix all together add the chicken, cover and leave in the fridge at least 1 hour for all the flavours to impregnate the chicken.

Mango Salsa
1 ripe mango, 1 small tomato deseeded and chopped into 1 cm pieces, 1/2 red onion finely diced, juice 1 lime = 1 tbsp, 1 tsp brown or palm sugar, 1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes or fresh chilli finely chopped, 1/4 red or yellow capsicum cut into 1 cm pieces

In a small bowl, peel the mango and dice into 1 cm pieces, squeeze the pip to get some of the mango juices, add the remaining ingredients mix together. Taste it may need more lime juice, chilli or sugar.

You want a sweet and sour flavour with a hint of chilli.

So next time you go to cook your chicken and what to make it more alive think salsa. Ole !

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

3 Ways with Stale Bread

Now in our society we are encouraged to reuse and recycle, this can easily be done by thinking outside of the box when trying to reuse leftovers.

Now most people would throw out stale bread or perhaps turn them into crunchy croutons, but here a 3 recipes for stale bread that might give you inspiration to use it in other dishes.

I have travelled to Italy for inspiration, they seem to have lots of recipes for using stale bread. I have adapted some of Lidia Bastianich's recipes

1 bottle passatta, approx 16 , 2 cm wide slices stale bread, 1/2 tsp salt, olive oil, 2 cloves garlic finely sliced or grated, 1/2 onion finely diced, 1/4 cup chopped fresh oregano - or you can use basil or parsley or a combination of all, 2 cups grated Parmesan or 1 cup of each grated Parmesan and mozzarella

Preheat the oven 180.c

Heat 3 tbsps oil in a frypan add the onion, saute over medium heat till it begins to soften. Add the garlic, saute 30 seconds, then add tomato passatta, simmer 15 minutes or until it thickens. Stir in the herbs then season with salt.

Place some boiling water into a shallow dish. Brush the base and side of a 20cm x 30cm baking dish. Place a ladleful of sauce over the bottom, quickly dip the bread in the water turn over and dip again, this will soften it, place in a layer over the sauce, sprinkle with some more sauce then some cheese continue layering making sauce then cheese the final layer.

Bake for 2- 25 minutes until the lasagna is heated through and the cheese is golden and bubbling.

Rocket, Bread and Potato Soup

750gms medium-size potatoes, peeled, washed, and cut into 1/2-inch slices,7 cups water ,salt, 500 gms rocket,½ cup day-old Italian bread, without crusts, diced, 4 tbsps extra-virgin olive oil, 6 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed, ½ teaspoon crushed chilli flakes, ½ cup Pecorino Romano cheese, freshly grated

In a deep, heavy pot combine potatoes and 7 cups water. Salt the water lightly and bring it to a boil. Adjust the level of heat to medium-high and cook the potatoes, covered, until they are tender, but still hold their shape, about 18 minutes.

Wash the rocket in cool water to remove all sand and grit, changing the water if necessary. Drain the rocket well and cut it into 5 cm lengths. Stir the rocket and bread into the pot. Continue boiling 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a separate pan, heat the olive oil over low heat. Add the garlic and chilli and cook until golden, about 3 minutes.

Scrape the contents of the skillet into the pot. Stir well. Season the soup with salt to taste. Serve in warm bowls, sprinkled with grated cheese.

Now for some thing sweet

Bread and Butter Pudding

75g unsalted butter, 75g sultanas, optional 3 tablespoons dark rum or other liquor of your choice, 10 slices bread approx, optional jam of your choice, 4 egg yolks, 1 egg, 3 tbsps caster sugar, 1 tsp spice of you choice - cinnamon, cardamom, anise etc, 500ml double cream, 200ml full-fat milk, 2 tbsps demerara or raw sugar

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Grease a pudding dish with a capacity of about 1½ litres with some of the butter.

Put the sultanas in a small bowl, pour the rum over, and microwave them for 1 minute, then leave them to stand. This is a good way to soak them quickly but juicily.

Make sandwiches with the bread, with butter and jam if using , you should have some butter left over to smear on the top later.

Now cut the sandwiches in half into triangles and arrange them evenly along the middle of the pudding dish. I put one in the dish with the point of the sandwich upwards then one with flat-side uppermost, then with point-side uppermost and so on, then squeeze a sandwich-triangle down each side - but you do as you please. Sprinkle over the sultanas and unabsorbed rum that remains in the bowl.

Whisk the egg yolks and egg together with the caster sugar, and pour in the cream and milk. Pour this over the triangles of bread and leave them to soak up the liquid for about 10 minutes, by which time the pudding is ready to go into the oven. Smear the bread crusts that are poking out of the custard with the soft butter, mix the spice and demerara sugar together and sprinkle this mixture on your buttered crusts and then lightly over the rest of the pudding.

Sit the pudding dish on a baking sheet and put it in the oven to cook for about 45 minutes or until the custard has set and puffed up slightly. Remove, let sit for 10 minutes - and spoon out into bowls, putting a jug of custard, should you so wish, on the table to be served alongside.

So next time you go to throw out your stale bread have a think about how you can reuse it and make it into something much more tasty.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Egg and Bacon Tart

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaah ! Big sigh everything is back to normal today, Miss Fish is back to work, also as a bonus she goes into respite today until Thursday. So I can just potter for the next 3 days, no driving in and out of town to drop her off or pick her up.

Now to the tart, this really is a cross between a tart and a flan, it is probably a cheek calling it either, as it is a sheet of puff pastry with the ingredients on top then baked.

Not the best photo I admit, I should learn not to take photos in a hurry,but never mind you can see what it looks like, and the taste was wonderful all baconny and cheesy a good combination.

Now you could have it as it is or serve it with a salad.

Bacon and Egg Tart
For each sheet of puff pastry you will need
2 handfuls of baby rocket, 1 cup grated tasty cheese, 2 eggs, 4 bacon eyes - I just used the eye part so you didn't have the fat, salt and pepper

Preheat the oven 200.c.

Line baking trays with baking paper. Place the pastry sheet on the tray. Top with the rocket, leaving a 2cm border around the edge. Whisk together eggs, cheese and salt and pepper, carefully pour over rocket, top with the bacon.

Bake in the oven 15 - 20 minutes or until the pastry is brown and the egg/cheese mixture has set.

Remove from the oven, slice and eat.

I was also busy on the weekend re doing my nails and I am quite proud of my design. The nail polish on my acrylic nails, my own nails are underneath the acrylic.

The red is my favourite - it is by Chi Chi called Mother in law Red, the glitter stripes are silver holographic by CM.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Easy Bean Salad and Another 2 Bite the dust

Not only have I managed to finish one quilt in the last month I have just finished the second one.

I am quite proud of my achievements as I have had some of these quilt tops sitting around for a while as I thought the process of preparing then quilting them to be quite daunting.

But as it turned out it wasn't that hard you just need time to prepare the quilt and make sure you don't spray your ironing starch about with gay abandon as Miss Fish found out last week when she went skidding across the kitchen tiles , and came crashing to the ground. I felt a bit guilty about that I must remember to put a towel under then ironing board first to catch the over spray.

So now just to sell them to fund more quilts.

Now to the bean salad this is what I served with my chicken dish for my Anniversary dinner. It is very simple and only takes about 5 minutes to make. I served it on some sliced baby cos lettuce leaves, the crunch of the leaves went well with the creaminess of the beans. You can use any canned beans you like, I choose a can of 4 bean mix.

Bean salad
1 x 380 - 400 can beans, drained and rinsed, 1/2 stick celery finely diced, 1/4 capsicum finely diced, 1 tbsp finely diced cucumber, 1 tbsps chopped fresh mint, champagne or white wine vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper

In a small bowl mix together first 5 ingredients. Pour over just enough oil to make the beans glisten, approx 1 dessertspoon, season with salt and pepper. Add approx 2 tsps vinegar, stir then taste you want a slight tang but not a biting sharpness from the vinegar.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Poulet en Cocotte Bonne Femme - with a twist

I got this recipe from the book - Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle, Simone Beck, but have adapted it and made a sauce with herbs, lemon juice and capers with the butter and cooking juices.

This dish is very easy a bit of butter melting turn of potatoes and chicken breasts then in the oven for an hour.

The original recipe has chopped bacon and small onions added, you could do this but I didn't fancy a bacon flavour especially when I was going to make the sauce with the juices.

Poulet en Concotte Bonne Femme - Casseroled Chicken with Potatoes, Bacon and Onions
4 skinless chicken breasts, 1 bay leaf, 2 sprigs fresh thyme, 4 tbsps butter

If using bacon and onions - 12 baby onions & 6 rashers bacon rind removed and chopped in 2cm pieces

Sauce - juice 1/2 lemon. 2 tsps chopped capers, 1 tbsp chopped fresh herbs - I used oregano

Preheat the oven 200.c

In a dish that can go in the oven melt the butter, add the potatoes stir to coat in the butter. Salt and pepper the chicken breasts. When the potatoes start to sizzle push to the sides place the chicken breasts in the middle. Turn to coat in the butter. Add the herbs. When the chicken starts to sizzle. remove from the heat, - if you are adding chopped bacon and baby onions add the now then cover with tin foil, then place on the lid.

Bake 1 hour turning the chicken halfway and tossing the potatoes.

When cooked remove from the oven. Remove the chicken, herbs and potatoes. Place the dish on the hotplate on high add sauce ingredients stir until sauce is bubbling, remove from the heat.

The serve slice the breasts place onto the plate with the potatoes. pour the sauce over the chicken.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

25th Wedding Anniversary Dinner

Now yesterday was mine and Mr CLI's 25th Wedding Anniversary.

A major achievement these days, considering when Miss Le Coiffure was at High School most kids parents were divorced, we were a rarity still being married.

Our table set for tea

So what did we do for our Anniversary, I cooked a French inspired tea, I even attempted my nemesis the Gateau Helene that I tried to make as a teenager and failed when I dropped it into the dish water.

I did succeed this time except for one minor problem I didn't read the size of the springform tin needed and used mine which is 12" instead of 2 that are 8". so instead of 3 layers of filling we only got 2.

Now this cake isn't sweet, quite the opposite it has very little flour, but does have crushed unsalted nuts and almond meal.

I also cooked a quite simple chicken and potato dish made in the oven, I did alter it and use the butter and cooking juices to make a lemon and caper sauce. I also served a bean salad with it. Both were very nice and will be made again.

Gateau Helene - Recipe by Greta Anna from Her Book - The Greta Anna Recipes
Cake - 250 gm unsalted butter, softened. 1 1/3 cup caster sugar, 4 eggs separated, 1 cup sr flour, 5 tbs crushed unsalted nuts, 5 tbsps almond meal, grated rind and juice of 2 small oranges, 2 1/2 tbsps milk, 2 tsps vanilla extract/essence, 1 tsp baking powder

Fillings from the book - A 600ml bottle of cream is sufficient for all the fillings plus the piping on the top of the cake.

1- Add to beaten cream 6 tsps icing sugar, 2 tsps instant coffee, 4 teaspoons finely chopped almonds

2- Add to beaten cream 2 tsps icing sugar, 4 tsps drinking chocolate, 3 tsps finely chopped walnuts

3 - enough red current jam to spread across the cake, drizzle with 1 1/2 tbsps brandy, sprinkle across 3 tbsps finely chopped glace fruit.

My fillings were
1 - Add to beaten cream 1 dessertspoon drinking chocolate and 2 tbsps shaved dark chocolate

2 - Add to beaten cream chopped glace fruit - I used 1 pear. 1 slice pineapple and 2 apricots

Chocolate Icing - from the recipe
2 cups icing sugar, 2 tbsps cocoa, 4 tbsps butter. Add enough boiling water start with 2 tsps, to form a thick icing. This makes a lot of icing.

I only used 1 cup icing sugar 2 tsps butter, 1 dessertspoon cocoa.

Grease and line base of 2 x 20cm springform pans, if you don't have springform pans using normal tins but line both base and sides as this cake is quite sticky when baked.

Preheat oven 180.c

In a mixer beat together butter and sugar till light and fluffy 5 - 10 minutes. Add egg yolks mix in. add nuts, almond meal, flour, zest and juice, milk and vanilla. Mix till combined, about 2 minutes.

Beat egg whites till stiff peaks. Add 1 1/3 to mix stir in, then carefully fold remaining whites in, when nearly folded in add the baking powder.

Divide mixture between the 2 tins and bake for approx 45 minutes. Now mine were cooked in 30 because I used wider tins. The cake is cooked when a skewer comes out clean. Remove from oven leave 5 minutes then remove from tins and leave to cool on the cake rake.

Now as I have said before this is a sticky cake so it is best if you peel the paper as soon as possible, taking care that the cake doesn't break. Leave to cool completely before assembling.

Slice the cakes in half then fill each layer with your choice of filling. Top with chocolate icing. Then pipe cream around the edge if you wish.

Picture of the cake from the recipe book

My cake note square and round shapes, lesson learnt read recipe first.

Never mind the cake tasted just as good.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Oh to live in Europe

My all time dream holiday is to spend at least 4 weeks driving around Italy and France to see, eat and cook their produce. My only hope is if we win tattslotto.

I can only do this vicariously at the moment by reading blogs from people that live in France. I recently found 2 blogs for ladies that have houses in France.

Karen Booth lives 6 months in England and the other 6 months in France. Her blog - Lavender and Lovage -has beautiful photos of local produce as well as the recipes using this produce.

The other lady Jude has a house in London and another in Brittany. Her blog is called A Trifle Rushed, what a lovely name.

So while I read their blogs I will wish and want and hope that one day I can get to see these Countries for real.

Monday, October 3, 2011

My Best Ever Potato and Rice Salad Recipes

Well I hope all of you that are into football - not Rugby - have recovered from Saturday's excitement. We happened to be staying in Geelong and besides many cars driving around tooting their horns it was relatively quiet where we were staying.

So with the start of daylight savings arggh !!!!!!!!!!!!!!. I hated as a kid, I hated when my girls were babies and I hate it as an adult why do we need an hours extra heat of an evening when all we won't is cool to rest and sleep. Never mind I will just have to put up with it till it eventually finishes.

Now to cooking I must admit being away for the weekend I haven't done much, but I am planning recipes for this week. Miss Fish likes to know not only what she is eating today but also the days following which can be a bit tiresome when you haven't given it any thought.

I thought today I might give a couple of my favourite salad recipes that I make all the time, in
the vain hope that this nice sunny weather continues.

Potato Salad
1 kg potatoes cut into 3 cm pieces, 4 eggs, 3 rashers of bacon - cut into bite size pieces

Dressing - 1/4 cup each parsley and mint finely chopped, 3/4 cup greek yoghurt, 3/4 cup mayonnaise

Mix together in a small bowl.

Marinade - 2 tbsps good extra virgin olive oil, 1 tbsp champagne or white wine vinegar, 2 tsps dijon mustard

Whisk together in a bowl large enough to hold the potatoes.

Place the potatoes in the bottom of a large saucepan, sit the eggs on top. Bring to the boil, and boil till tender, but still firm. Approx 12 - 15 minutes.

Drain remove eggs and place into a bowl and cover with cold water. Immediately place hot potatoes into the large bowl and carefully stir to cover with marinade. Leave till cool.

While the potatoes are cooking cook the bacon in a frypan till slightly crispy around the edges remove and drain on paper towel.

When the potatoes have cooled, peel the eggs and chop into a 1 cm dice or slice finely. Add most of the egg and bacon, I retain some to put on top of the salad decoration. Add the dressing to the potatoes, the best way to mix everything together is a bit messy but you won't break up your potatoes is by using yours hand to carefully coat all the potatoes with the dressing and mix through the eggs and bacon.

Place into a serving bowl and decorate with the saved bacon and egg.

Rice Salad
2 cups raw rice, 1 medium carrot grated, 1/2 stalk celery finely sliced, 1 very small can corn kernels drained, 2 tbsps fresh parsley finely chopped

Dressing - 2 tbsps each extra virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar, freshly ground salt and pepper.

Mix together in a small bowl.

Cook the rice as you would normally. Place in to a bowl to cool to room temperature. When at room temp add salad ingredients and dressing, you need to do this when the rice is still slightly warm for it to absorb the flavours of the dressing. Taste you may need more vinegar or salt and pepper.