Archive for November, 2009


Honey & Five Spice lamb with buk choy

November 30, 2009

I enjoy when flavours work well together, and this recipe provided that. I was drawn to this recipe because I don’t use Five Spice that often, so I thought I’d give it a go. The other thing I loved about this recipe was that it worked well for an after work dinner. I do finish early most days which is great, I love that aspect about my work, but because of that I can schedule other things into my day after work instead of having to do it on the weekend like some. So on days like that I need something that can be done quickly and efficiently but still have a depth of flavour to make cooking worthwhile.

This is my final entrant in my Flavour of the Month for November. It has been enjoyable to use 1000 best-ever recipes from AWW there were many things to choose from obviously, it meant that I got to cook dependent on what I craved.
I have chosen my December Flavour of the Month and of course it could only be one thing. Essential Christmas Cookbook it’s technically not my book; it’s borrowed from my SIL. But I am claiming it for the month, whilst she’s away on holiday! And I’m very excited, I am such a Christmas addict – but in the sense that I like good food and the time spent with family. I like to make things and give them I like the joy of the season. I don’t believe in the fancy Christmas lighting, or the hundreds of dollars people spend on gifts. Keeping it simple is the way it should be!

Honey & Five Spice lamb with buk choy

¼ t five-spice powder
¼ cup oyster sauce
2T honey
2T rice vinegar
2 cloves garlic
600g lamb sliced
1T sesame oil
2 fresh red chillies, sliced
2cm piece of fresh ginger, cut into matchsticks
1 medium onion, red, sliced
500g buk choy
¼ cup coriander
1T crushed peanuts

Combine five spice, sauce, honey, vinegar and garlic in small bowl.
Combine lamb with 1T of mixture in a medium bowl.
Heat oil in wok, stir fry lamb in batches until browned. Return to the wok add remaining five-spice mixture, chilli, ginger and onion. Stir fry until onion softens. Add buk choy stir fry until hot.
Serve sprinkled with coriander and nuts.


Cranberry Loaf Goodness

November 28, 2009

So today I will head out to see the Husbands cousin who just gave birth to a beautiful baby girl Ariel. So that would make the little bundle of joy my second cousin by marriage. I am going with my MIL and SIL so that will be lovely; doing things with family is always nice.

The birth was a fortnight ago now, so lots of the visitors and support has started to dwindle down, not out of lack of love, but out of simply the nature of baby births. Has anyone else noticed that in the first week people are inundated with support but then a few weeks later it all disappears? The new baby glow disappears.

So naturally when I visit I will go baring food gifts! On second thought it is not overly practical, perhaps a casserole would’ve been better? But whilst I enjoy cooking at a heart I am a baker and I can’t help it! It can be eaten as a breakfast or as a snack so it is a diverse food still and its delicious! Though admittedly it isn’t overly pretty with the whole in the side! next time I will do better with that!

Cranberry loaf

• 50g rolled oats
• 300ml milk
• 240g wholemeal self-raising flour
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 170g dried cranberries
• 75g soft brown sugar
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 3 tablespoons maple syrup
• 1 large egg, lightly beaten

Put oats in a bowl and pour milk over them. If your dried pears are a bit on the tough and leathery side, then add them to the bowl to soak and plump up a little before baking.
Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease and line a 1kg loaf tin with baking parchment, or if you have some ready-made greaseproof liners then those are fantastic.
Stir remaining ingredients, reserving 2 tablespoons of flaked almonds, into the soaked oat mixture. Mix together well and spoon the mixture into the prepared tin. Sprinkle the top with the reserved flaked almonds.
Bake for 45 minutes, until the top is golden brown and it is cooked through (ie a skewer comes out clean.) Cool for 5 minutes in the tin, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe adapted from A Spoonful in Sugar


Gluten Free Steamed Christmas Pudding

November 27, 2009

My grandmother is coming for Christmas this year. And, for years now she’s been unable to eat wheat. She’s not a traditional gluten free-ite, she can still have oats for example, but she cannot have wheat. So, we have to improvise for her. She also can’t have dairy and is a vegetarian so at times that can make life extra difficult. But having said that, the challenge is also good – I enjoy that as well.

We traditionally make a pudding for the family of course it’s been done already as well. It is being fed every now and then to keep it moist. But, it didn’t seem fair that we would all benefit from pudding and that my grandmother would have nothing. So I thought I’d try my hand at a pudding, which made me a little apprehensive because sometimes these things are dense and solid and difficult to digest. You can’t however, let these things stop you can you? Of course not!

So hunted and searched, merged a number of recipes together and came up with the below recipe! I didn’t have a great day so I needed the challenge to make me feel better. I set to work, well… Kitchen Aid really set to work, I just added things together and let it go but that was enough to make me feel better. And I was truly happy with the result, I had a little nibble and it was good!

Not dense at all, well the right amount of dense – because it is a Christmas pudding after all! Not gritty either, basically just good!

Christmas Steamed Pudding

225g Gluten Free Flour mix (I used a combination of Almond Meal, Rice Flour and a mix that I’d done previously of Corn Flour, Tapioca and Soy)
1/2 tsp each ginger, cinnamon and mixed spice
1/3 cup golden syrup
2 cups mixed dried fruit – whatever you like best
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
3 eggs
125g butter or margarine (1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons olive oil)

Cream butter (if using, otherwise mix oil), sugar and golden syrup together.
Add the eggs, one at a time and beat well.
Add all other ingredients and stir well to mix.
Place in a greased pudding bowl. I used 4 little individual custard cups/ramekins. However, any kind of heat-proof pudding basin will do fine. I have to cover with greaseproof paper, then with foil, and secure the covering well. Place the bowls in a large saucepan with hot water reaching about half way up the sides of the bowl, and bring to the boil. Keep the saucepan covered. I use my pasta cooking saucepan so I can lift out the bowls easily at the end.
Reduce the heat and steam for 2 hours. Keep the boiling water about half-way up the sides of the pudding basins. You will need to check it from time to time and top up with boiling water.
Will keep for a little while like normal puddings, but needs to be warm, so to serve do the same for about half an hour again.
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November 27, 2009

I feel like I have had some success this time! It is exciting!

The November 2009 Daring Bakers Challenge was chosen and hosted by Lisa Michele of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives. She chose the Italian Pastry, Cannolo (Cannoli is plural), using the cookbooks Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and The Sopranos Family Cookbook by Allen Rucker; recipes by Michelle Scicolone, as ingredient/direction guides. She added her own modifications/changes, so the recipe is not 100% verbatim from either book.

Success had! I was a bit apprehensive about this to begin with; I’ve always looked at them but never made them because I am always apprehensive of things that are fried. I did see the option of baking them, which I may try next time. This time though I thought I would go the traditional route, I didn’t have the tubes to begin with so I went and bought some. I understand that we did not have to buy anything to complete these challenges, but I didn’t have a broom handle, and I’d actually wanted to make these for some time now, so I used it as a bit of an excuse.

I only got 1 size, not a good idea because I was a little disappointed with the size. Would’ve liked a smaller cannoli actually but the taste was good all the same. And, it looked good which is great for me after the past failures. The cannoli was nice and bubbly just like it was meant to be, I was so pleased with myself.

The dough was a bit stiff like others have commented on but I used my pasta roller to roll it out which I think helped. I only made two types both custard, one chocolate custard. I dipped them with walnuts after because I had some left over from a salad I’d been making for dinner that night. I seem to cater to the taste loves of the Husband a lot when given the opportunity. He’s not a fan of ricotta nor is he a lover of mascarpone so not quite traditional but it was delicious all the same.

It was a great challenge, I loved it, and I liked the challenge a lot. I plan to give a savoury a go sometime very soon. These are not a normal thing to be able to find here in Australia, at least not anywhere in my local area. I am aware that there is some places in the inner city area that sell them but you really don’t see them very often. So it was a lovely special treat.


Chow Mein

November 26, 2009

I love chow mein, it’s my favourite Chinese dish. I know it’s something simple, but it’s my favourite. I prefer it as a chicken dish. But I do like it as a beef dish as well just have a preference – doesn’t everybody?

I am not even sure what it is that I like about it, obviously it is to do with the flavour. But there should be more to it than that, shouldn’t there? Perhaps not really, if you think about why you like most things it usually boils down to “because it tastes good” so that should be enough!

I think Chow Mein tastes good!

Chow Mein

1T vegetable oil
500g lean beef mince
1 medium brown onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic
1T curry powder
1 large carrot, chopped
2 trimmed celery stalks, sliced thinly
150g mushrooms, sliced
1 cup chicken stock
1/3 cup oyster sauce
2T soy sauce
450g noodles
½ cup frozen peas
½ cup frozen green beans
½ small wombok, shredded

Heat oil in wok; stir-fry mince, onion and garlic until mince is changed in colour. Add curry powder, stir-fry until fragrant. Add carrot, celery and mushrooms stir-fry until vegetables soften.
Add stock, sauces and noodles, stir-fry gently until combined; bring to boil. Add peas, beans and wombok, reduce heat; simmer uncovered tossing occasionally for about 5 minutes or until vegetables are just soft.

Flavour of the Month for November is nearly over now and soon we will say goodbye to for now, 1000 best-ever recipes from AWW


Balti Beef

November 24, 2009

The inventive ways you learn to sneak things past people right? I’ve learnt many. To give the Husband wholemeal grain bread I create toasted sandwich. If I want to give him some kidney beans, I mush them up and he’ll eat them. There are more, but those were the first to come to mind.

So for this entry into Novembers Flavour of the Month 1000 best-ever recipes from AWW I just simply called the dinner “Balti Beef” I didn’t use the word curry because the Husband traditionally thinks of curry as “curry powder” and this is far from that! The little kick it provided made him smile so how could it go wrong?

Balti Beef Curry

1T Vegetable oil
750g beef steak, cut into 2cm slices
1 clove garlic
1 medium onion, chopped
2cm piece of fresh ginger, grated
½ cup balti curry paste
410g tinned tomato
¾ cup water
½ cup buttermilk
½ cup chopped coriander leaves

Heat half the oil in large deep frying pan and cook beef in batches, until browned all over.
Heat remaining oil in pain, cook garlic, onion and ginger stirring until onion softens. Add curry paste; cook, stirring until paste is blended with onion mixture.
Return beef to pan with undrained tomato and the water; bring to the boil. Reduce heat, simmer, covered for 45minutes. Uncover simmer for about 10 minutes until beef is tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in buttermilk
Sprinkle curry with coriander
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Potato Wedges with sloppy joe topping

November 23, 2009

Another Flavour of the Month 1000 best-ever recipes from AWW entrant!
Made for the Husband with love, something he enjoys a lot. He’s not a big fan of mince, but he does enjoy this. So when you find something the one you love enjoys you make it don’t you?

Potato Wedges with sloppy joe topping

Potato Wedges
1 clove of garlic
1 large onion, diced
1 small green capsicum, diced
1 trimmed celery stick, chopped
400g lean mince
1 T mild American mustard
1 T cider vinegar
1 tin tomato
30g bocconini

Preheat oven to 200C. Roast potato wedges for 30 minutes.
Cook garlic, onion, capsicum and celery, stirring until vegetables soften. Add mince; cook, stirring, until changed in colour. Stir in mustard, vinegar and sauce; bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer until thickened.
Serve wedges topped with sloppy joe mixture, and sliced bocconini.