Archive for the ‘Cravings’ Category

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Brownie Goodness

January 21, 2011

I have a soft spot for brownies, I don’t so much like eating them. But, I do like making them. I like soft-gooeness of it all…I don’t really know why, but I enjoy it.

I use Nigella Lawson’s Snow-Flecked Brownies as my base always from Feast. I’ve made them with adaptations many times over. Properly snow-flecked with white choc chips, sometimes with dark chocolate, sometimes with no chips and rather walnuts. They’re just a brilliant base recipe. They make such beautiful moist brownies……I love the gooey!

Make sure you don’t overcook it though, otherwise it will loose its gooey and become a cake! They still nice….but not really brownies anymore are they?

Brownies


* 355g unsalted butter
* 370g chocolate
* 6 eggs
* 2 cups sugar
* 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
* 1.5 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 255g chocolate buttons (white, milk or dark)
* About 2 teaspoons confectioners sugar, for dusting

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Line the sides and base of a 13 x 9 x 2 inch baking pan with aluminum foil or baking parchment. (I used used a muffin tin this time though.)
Melt the butter and dark chocolate together in a large heavy-based pan over low heat.
In a bowl, beat the eggs together with the sugar and vanilla extract. Allow the chocolate mixture to cool a little, then add the egg and sugar mixture and beat well. Fold in the flour and salt. Then stir in the buttons. Beat to combine then scrape and pour the brownie mixture into the prepared pan.
Bake for about 25 minutes. You can see when the brownies are ready because the top dried to a slightly paler brown speckle, while the middle remains dark, dense and gooey. Even with such a big batch you do need to keep checking on it; the difference between gungey brownies and dry ones is only a few minutes. Remember, too, that they will continue to cook as they cool.

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Chicken Pie

July 17, 2010


Continuing with my desire to make pastry I decided I’d make my husband a chicken pie. Originally I wanted to make a Chicken & Leek Pie. However, I had no leeks, and actually I only had one onion. Terrible isn’t it? What’s a girl to do then? Improvise of course! That is of course what cooking is about isn’t it?

I used the recipe as a bit of a guide. A starting point so to speak. My improvisation consisted of a cabbage instead of leek. Bit of another way for me to get the Husband to eat more vegetables, which is very important to me. I also used some baby red capsicums that I had as well, they had been sitting in my fridge for awhile so into the food processor they went. The taste was surprisingly great! And it was sneaky enough that the Husband enjoyed it without any complaints and a healthy appetite.

I struggled a touch with the pastry as usual. I have a bit of pastry problem! I didn’t think about it completely, when assembling my pie. I followed the instructions, but obviously not properly. I put my lid on….after folding the edges down! Arg, these are simple things, but I don’t think of them until it’s all over red rover! So it didn’t look great, but it did taste good. So I guess perhaps I should focus on that? failures in looks aren’t really failures are they? The pastry was from How to be a Domestic Goddess

Chicken Pie

2 chicken breasts
¼ cabbage
3 baby red capsicum
1 bottle of dry white wine
1 can evaporated milk
70g feta – cubed
2 cloves garlic
1T dried onion (yes I know the horror)

Pastry
250g plain flour
125g cold butter – cubed
2 egg yolks
2T cold water
1t salt
1T caster sugar

Slice chicken breast up. Put cabbage and capsicum in food processor and chop up. Pour wine into a saucepan and place all ingredients but the evaporated milk and feta in. Boil away until the wine is reduced. Once reduced, add the evaporated milk and feta, and reduce this. Allow to cool.
Whilst cooling make the pastry by putting the flour and butter in a dish and put the dish in the freezer for 10 minutes. Stir together the yolks, water and salt in a cup and put this cup in the fridge.
Then when the time is up tip the flour and butter into the food processor, add the sugar and pulse to combine – until it looks like something similar to sand. Bind with the egg yolks water and salt, and when it looks like its on the verge of coming together, tip the pastry out and work it together with your hands. Divide into 2 discs, one a little bigger than the other. Wrap in cling wrap and chill in the fridge for awhile.
Preheat the oven to 200C and butter a 22cm, springform tin. Roll out the large of the discs and place in the tin with an overhang. Sprinkle the bottom of this with some breadcrumbs and fill with the cold pie filling. Roll out the other piece of pastry and lay over the top, then fold the overhang and press down.
Glaze the pie with milk and egg and stab here and there. Cook for 10 minutes on the 200C before dropping it down to 180C for 45minutes.
Allow to sit for 10 minutes prior to serving.

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Lamb Ragu Suet Crust Pie

July 15, 2010


I have been cooking up a bit of a storm lately I think, and will be popping it all up over the next few days if I can find the time of course! Not all from Giada though but that’s ok, it is the cooking that I am enjoying I am still working through the cookbook slowly though. This entry is from Giada’s Kitchen – New Italian Favourites though.

I did a bit of an adaptation thing with the recipe though. What I went with was the Lamb Ragu with Mint. Only mine was sans the mint! Let me explain. I had an urge of late, to be making some pastry I like pastry. It may not be my friend so to speak when it comes to the weight loss that I may be wishing to achieve, however I am pretty happy with a small sample. But to make a small sample, it requires me too make pastry and you can’t really do it in small amounts can you? So I decided to make a pie with the ragu as filling.

Now I didn’t make any old pastry, I wanted to do something a little different for me, a different kind of pastry one I’d not done ever. Come to think of it I’m not really good at pastry which is why I’m trying! So I “stole” this recipe from How to be a Domestic Goddess from Nigella’s Steak and Kidney Pudding – the suet crust in fact. And for something a little more different, I steamed it in the slow cooker!

So in terms of what I think about the recipes…..I really liked the suet crust. I could have rolled it out a little thinner; I must admit that in fairness. I didn’t have a large enough pudding basin for my pastry and I just wanted to do it! Plus since I like pastry? The Husband even enjoyed it, just did say that it would’ve been greater if it had been thinner.

The Lamb Ragu….I was really excited about the recipe to begin with. But, once it was completed whilst it was tasty. And I enjoyed it, it seemed to lack the punch I was expecting from it in terms of flavour. I’d want to add some more herbs to it I think. Give it a bit more flavour. But, it’s definitely a good base! Maybe it was just because I was putting it with pastry – it wasn’t a strong enough flavour to cut through the pastry. Maybe if the pastry had been thinner? Who knows…….but I will give it another burl as a ragu sometime.

Lamb Ragu

2T olive oil
2 shallots
1 minced garlic clove
680g lamb mince
½ t salt
¼ t black pepper
1 cup red wine
2 cups Marina Sauce

Marina Sauce

½ cup olive oil
2 small onions
2 minced garlic cloves
2 celery sticks
2 carrots
½ t salt
½ t black pepper
2 cans of crushed tomato
2 bay leaves

Suet Crust

350g SR Flour
½ t salt
175g suet
½ t English mustard powder

Make the Marina Sauce. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over a medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and sauté until the onions are translucent. Add the celery, carrots, and salt and pepper. Sauté until all are soft. Add the tomatoes and bay leaves, and simmer uncovered over a low heat until the sauce thickens, about 1 hour. Remove the bay leaves and discard.

Warm the olive oil in a large pan. Add the shallots and garlic and cook until tender. Add the lamb, salt and pepper. Cook until the meat breaks down and is browned and all the juice is evaporated. Add the wine, scraping up any brown bits from the pan. Simmer until the wine is reduced by half. Then add the marina sauce and simmer over a low heat until the flavours blend and the sauce reduces slightly. Recipe suggested 10 minutes, but I did mine for a bit longer.

Remove from heat and cool whilst making the Suet Crust.

Mix the flour, salt, suet and powder in a large bowl. Then stirring with a wooden spoon, add enough cold water to make a firm dough. Roll out on a floured surface into a large circle about 5mm thick and cut away a ¼ segment from the circle to use for the lid. Ease the circle into a world buttered pudding basin with about a 3cm over hang.

Spoon the cold lamb ragu into the bowl, not letting it come up to higher then 2cm from the rim. Roll out the other segment into a small circle to fit the top and seal it with the overhanging edges. Clip on the lid, and place in the slow cooker. Cook for 3 hours on high, or 5 hours on low.

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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

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Allsorts

October 28, 2009


I have a craving…..don’t even know why..
perhaps just for the sugar?
it is not even quality food!!