Thursday, July 30, 2009

Retro classics: Corned beef

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about some of the things that make a classic. Our parents may well have grown up with a particular dish, but in an effort to make things interesting, and steering towards more multicultural cuisines, we often forget that some of the most delicious things are the simple and traditional. With that in mind, and because I’ve never actually cooked it before, I tried corned beef for our Sunday Roast. Technically speaking, it’s not roasted; it’s braised, and emits the most delightful smell whilst it’s doing so. You need to start a couple of hours beforehand for this one.


In a large soup pot, put your silverside, cover it with cold water, and add a couple of tablespoons of vinegar, a couple of teaspoons of brown sugar, 3 to 4 bay leaves, and a whole onion studded with half a dozen cloves. Add some pepper ass well, and cook for 1 and a half, to 2 hours.

Slice, and serve with your choice of roasted vegetables or a salad. (I served with a bit of both!) For this one, I also added a fabulous mixture of sour cream and djion mustard, mixed to taste and heated slightly (a few seconds, just so it's not cold)

Friday, July 24, 2009

Maisie, Maisie...

So I'm looking for some great yo-yo recipes. I'm sure I'll find one or a few! I think they must invlve custard powder somewhere. Anyway, totally not food related - but I had to share this cute picture and remind you why I love Andrew so much (awww!) So we were rushing around doing errands this morning and a dog wanders out onto the road in front of us. Andrew insists on stopping, and rescues the puppy off the road and attempts to call the owners, who cannot be contacted. So he contacts the next phone number on her tag, which turns out to be her vet. So we take "Maisie" down to the vet, all the while Andrew is comforting her, 'cause she looks a bit - well - confused. We then drive back past on the way back to our errands, and see a teenage boy out where we found Maisie, so Andrew gets out and informs the boy where the dog is. And then when the mobile phone owner calls back (she'd had a few missed calls - turns out it was this boys Mum...) Andrew nicely explained the situation and where she could find her puppy!. Such a cutie. Andrew is such a nice man! I am so very lucky.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

This is soo cool

This site! I actually can't stand peanut butter on bread, but the thought of cooking with it makes me want to hug myself with joy. I just wanted to share the love, peeps.

Coconut sweeties

So, I've been going through the choc royale moussey stuff, and noticed that I have an absolute surfeit of condensed milk in my cupboards. What to do? I thought back to a recipe I found on the
Australian Women's Weekly website and made these delightful condensed milk and coconut balls. I'm not sure this is even classed as cooking, but whatever - they're so very very more-ish!


250 g dessicated coconut
395 g can condensed milk
1/4 cup dark chocolate, melted with a little bit of butter and milk until smooth


Mix the coconut and condensed milk
Shape about a spoon full into ball shapes with your hands, and place them onto a plate.
Drizzle melted chocolate over them and leave to set.


The thing about trying to find a decent coffee in the country is...

So, I’ve had the experience of being in a country town and in desperate need of a latte, and all the milky goodness that goes with it. I’ve discovered there are just far, far too many people who have access to an espresso machine and think they can actually use it with some aplomb.

Exhibit A: Modern looking country café that does the worst possible espresso you can imagine. Except, you are so desperate for a coffee by the time you reach them that you will actually choke it down. You’ve tried to pick the most modern looking place in sight, in the hope of actually getting a decent latte. But *sigh* it comes out, as brown as muck. You try it, and then shovel in sugar in an attempt to drown out the taste of the burnt beans, burnt milk, etc.

Exhibit B: Country café that actually can make a decent (and I mean, it’s no artwork, but can be drunk as it should, without sugar!) coffee, and so will charge you $4.50 for the privilege. They have essentially no competition, so gouge those that do visit. Food Critic Andrew and I were at this decent looking café – which I had chosen on the basis that it was relatively busy and therefore must be “alright”. We ordered our lattes and had a great old time reading the paper and hanging around (in fact, we were waiting for a nearby bookstore to open. It didn’t; but that’s entirely beside the point). When I went to pay for our drinks, I mooned around the counter waiting, admiring the various biscuits and gleaning some forthcoming ideas, that you will no doubt see in this blog in the future. Then the bill! $9! For 2 lattes! I was so gobsmacked I actually paid it, and then walked outside looking slightly dazed. I thought it was a mistake, and checked the menu to see if they’d charged me for the wrong table. Oh no – they’re expensive, and they know it. No names, no court martials – but seriously – that is just silly! See what happens when you can make a decent coffee, and really don’t have any competition? The mark-up on a coffee is already insane – it really doesn’t need to be higher that $3 or so.

Exhibit C: Joe Blow with a coffee machine. Bad idea, going to these places. Food Critic Andrew and I were up and on the road early once and eventually found a town - and a bakery with a coffee machine. I asked for skim, he asked for whole milk. As she is foaming the milk, the girl says “I’m jus’ gunna do ‘em both with skinny milk, cause that’s what I had out. Is that alright?” A bit too gobsmacked to protest, we agreed. Then got in the car, tasted the coffees, and promptly had to release them into the wild. I never thought I’d ever say this – but if you’re in the country – there is actually a reason to go to McDonalds “McCafe”. At least they’ve been taught how to make an espresso properly – and have some sort of understanding about actually making what you ask for!

I've not been near the internets in a few days...

So apologies for not updating. I have quite a few posts though!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Gamer food! Hawt dawgs....

Hot dogs, really. Sometimes, there is nothing better than sitting down at your computer, with a beer, and scarfing down a fully loaded hot dog, with sauerkraut, mustard, onions and whatever you want on it. I can't work out whether this makes me terribly uncultured, or the fact that I had to look up the Internets how to cook hot dogs . *sigh*.

Crepes - Gluten free / plain flour versions

So, I've recently discovered the joy (and ease!) of crepes. I remember when I was small my older sister bought this special crepe pan - and I've always had this strange idea that you need special equipment to make them. However, the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to try making them. So over a couple of different nights, I made a gluten free version, with rice flour, and a plain version, which I tarted up with soda water to make even lighter, fluffier crepes. These can be frozen as well, but honestly, they taste even better when they are lovely and fresh!

Here are the gluten free crepes:

1/2 cup rice flour (for gluten free) or 1/2 cup plain flour
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup soda water
2 eggs
butter for cooking with

Toppings of your choice! Suggestions: cream, strawberries, ricotta, honey, chocolate, banana and Nestle top'n'fill (- and cream!) These can also be used for savoury purposes, so you could add chicken, mushrooms, whatever you like!


  1. Mix the ingredients (except butter)
  2. Leave, covered, for half an hour
  3. On a small pan, at med-high heat, melt butter, then add 4 tbsp of mixture to pan and swirl quickly to cover.
  4. When the batter is beginning to brown, turn over and cook the other side. Until each side is nice and cooked
  5. Fold over as you remove it - or alternatively, you could roll them as you add fillings.
  6. Repeat Steps 1-5 with remaining batter.
  7. Fill crepes as desired with toppings of choice.
Here are the plain flour versions - these were the first ones I tried using soda water with. They were quite divine!

banana/Nestle Caramel top'n'fill (also inside the crepes)/whipped cream/piece of dark chocolate

hazelnut praline (also inside the crepes)/melted chocolate/whipped cream/strawberries/dark chocolate

Friday, July 10, 2009

Packet mix review: White Wings Instant mousse

So I found some of this instant mousse in the cupboard, and thought, as a service to you, lovelies, that I would try it out and see if I could make something yummy out of it. The last time I tried this stuff, I don't think I beat it properly, and it was sort of runny. Determined to make a better go of it this time, I duly followed the instructions, and lo and behold - a proper (if sort of bland tasting) mousse was born.

So what did I make out of it? Well some of it is still sitting in the fridge for Food Critic Andrew's consumption. I made 2 slightly different versions of a mousse - the berry version: (I had this one! It was rather delicious)

Mousse/layer of mixed berries/mousse/whipped cream/piece of dark chocolate

And a version with whipped cream and layers of, well more mousse:

mousse/whipped cream/mousse/whipped cream/piece of dark chocolate

This definitely photographed a lot better! After the photos were taken, as an afterthought, I actually added a tiny bit of mint "Ice Magic" (Magic Shell to my North American Friends) to both (Oh! the shame. I just wanted to see how ice magic would go on cream. Rather nicely, as it turns out) Food Critic Andrew was most impressed by the mint taste, actually - and suggested next time a more daring foray into "minti-ness" might be warranted.

I think though, all in all, this stuff was a bit bland - but nevertheless very convenient, and a bit of a novelty, especially if you're not feeling too confident about making homemade mousse. Making homemade mousse? Well, that's another post, lovely! I think I will try a dark chocolate version...already thinking out some recipes...


So, Helen keeps telling me I should be twittering my food ideas. Someone convince me?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Turkish Pizza

So I made these amazing Turkish pides for dinner this evening. I started the dough last night, and put it in the fridge overnight. Honestly, I was a bit worried they wouldn't turn out very well (mostly due to the dough) - but they turned out absolutely amazingly.

So here's the recipe:


7g active dry yeast
1 tsp sugar
1/4 plus 3/4 cup warm water
2 and a 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp plus 1 tbsp olive oil


Sucuk (Turkish sausage, sliced thinly)
Feta cheese
Mozzarella cheese
tomato, sliced
capsicum, sliced
mushrooms, sliced


Firstly, make your dough, the evening or morning before.

  1. Dissolve the yeast in sugar and 1/4 cup warm water and let it froth for 15 minutes in a warm place
  2. Sift flour and salt, add the (now bubbly and foamy) yeast
  3. Add 3/4 cup warm water, 2 tbsp olive oil and mix
  4. knead well for about 10 minutes, until your dough is smooth
  5. Grease a clean bowl with remaining olive oil, and place dough in it. ensure the dough is covered in olive oil.
  6. Cover with a clean damp tea towel, and place somewhere warm
  7. Leave dough to rise for an hour (it should double in size)
  8. Here you can refrigerate overnight.
  9. Place the dough on a floured bench, and punch down to remove any air bubbles.
  10. Cut dough into 4 equal peices, and shape into ball shapes.
  11. Cover each with a clean damp towl for 15 minutes
Toppings and assembly:
  1. Roll out dough to oval/rectangular shape, and place on a greased oven tray\
  2. Sprinkle with feta.
  3. Add your other toppings as you wish, and finish with mozzarella and chilli flakes
  4. Fold long sides inwards, then twist the ends to give a boat shape.
  5. Cook in a preheated 250 degree celcius oven (basically, as hot as your oven will get!) for about 15 minutes, until crispy and cheese has melted.
For another option, just top with loads of garlic and mozzarella. Yum!

Like this? You might also like:
Sucuklu menemen

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Brandy snaps!

So I had a bit of a Monday evening experimental last night, and decided to make some brandy snaps. Oh, the recipe made them seem so easy and quick! Perhaps the chef who wrote this particular recipe had forgotten how difficult they are to make nicely. But it was such an evolution! This is one of the final ones - one of the few that didn't look like a fudgy mess (which - was not thrown away, but will be added to ice cream in the near future. You could do them on a weeknight - but - with the proviso that you've had a good weekend attempt first, to make your mistakes, smash a few and generally make a mess of things. Then you could very well do them on a weeknight for a fresh little dessert. Food Critic Andrew says these are his favourites! even more so than honey joys - which I had made on Sunday evening, but they didn't last long enough to get a photo of!

Brandy Snaps


90g butter, chopped
1/4 cup golden syrup
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp brandy (if you have some; I don't think they'd be any less yummy without it!)
1/3 cup rice flour


300 ml thickened cream
1 tsp vanilla essence
fresh strawberries


  1. Firstly, whip the cream and vanilla essence. Set aside in the fridge.
  2. Preheat your oven to 190-200 degrees.
  3. In a saucepan over medium to high heat, combine butter, golden syrup and sugar and stir until well mixed together and melted. This will take 3-5 minutes
  4. Remove from heat and add ginger, brandy and flour. Mix well. At this point I gave up and went and had dinner - so you can easily leave this mixture to cool if you need to.
  5. Drop onto a lined baking tray, 1 tsp of the mixture. They spread very far, so only 2 or so per tray. You will work out how much they spread after the first couple!
  6. Bake for 5-8 minutes, until mixture has spread and appears "lacy"
  7. Remove from heat, and let them cool a little bit until they are slightly firm.
  8. At this point, you should be able to place the biscuits on a greased, upturned glass, and gently shape them into baskets (if you want to do them as traditional cigar shapes, wrap them around a greased baking spoon)
  9. Put the whole thing in the fridge until cool and firmed, and they should slide off the glass easily. Fill with cream and strawberries, and listen to the accolades!
Enjoy. I had a lot of fun making these.

Cheeky portion note - for mine - I simply had a larger portion of strawberries, and a small dollop of cream. No one even noticed! They were too busy eating theirs.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

I love this site!

It reminds me that there is an entire world of cupcakes to be made! To the kitchen, lovelies!

Caramelised onion and feta tarts..(and baked chocolate parcels!)

Last night I decided to pull some puff pastry out of the freezer and jazz up dinner with some caramelised onions and feta tarts to accompany it. They were absolutely delightful, and I'd certainly make them again, especially as a starter or interesting side: Ingredients: 1 sheet ready rolled puff pastry, thawed 1 onion, chopped 1 or 2 tomatoes
Danish feta cheese (or your preferred feta - I am particularly partial to Danish style)
Olive oil
garlic, salt and pepper to taste
1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 tsp water


Pre-heat oven to 250 degrees Celsius
On high heat, heat the oil and garlic, and add onion and tomato.
Cook onion mix until onion is well cooked and golden

Cut pastry into small squares and prick each one with a fork.
Brush egg over squares
Spread feta onto each square, leaving a small border around each side
Place onion and tomato mix onto squares.

Place on a greased tray into oven on highest shelf, and cook for 12-15 minutes until nicely risen and browned

If you have any leftover pastry squares at this point (like I did!), you could make these divine little chocolate parcels...


Add about a teaspoon chocolate of your choice to each square, (I still have all that hazelnut praline to use up! But you could use chocolate pieces, whatever takes your fancy, really) and roll up or fold over into a triangle.
Fold over tightly so they are sealed.
Make a small slash in each one.
Place onto a greased baking tray, and chill, covered, until just before dessert time.

Bake on highest shelf in oven for 12 or so minutes, until pastry is brown and fluffy in a hot (250 degrees Celsius!) oven.

Serve immediately in a bowl (they are messy!)with whipped cream and broken chocolate pieces on top. Spoon over any chocolate that has escaped onto your baking tray. Yum! A perfect winter dessert.

Naked cupcakes alert! Getting naked on the 4th July - Red white and blue muffins for breakfast....

No, I'm not from the USA, but I love and excuse for baking or cooking, so this morning I made some red white and blue muffins for a tasty breakfast treat! And Food Critic Andrew has requested that we have hot dogs for dinner this evening, depending on whether we have our Gluten Free Guest (if she is staying for dinner, I will be braising some lamb shanks, which is no doubt another post). Anyway, back to the muffins. So yes, I do have strong opinions on muffins, and I do contest that they are not a "general" breakfast food, as they are cakes merely masquerading as a breakfast item. Or they are naked cupcakes. Either way, they're not necessarily healthy little breakfast-ey things that people like to believe they are! But some days, you just have to run with a theme.

So here's my recipe for red, white and blue muffins:


1 and 1/2 cups (225g) SR Flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp (40g) caster sugar
2 tbsp (40g) butter, melted
3/4 cup (190ml) milk
1 egg, beaten
2 cups frozen mixed berries

2 tbsp demerara sugar
strawberry jam
2 tbsp lemon juice


  1. Set oven to 200 degrees Celsius
  2. Mix dry ingredients
  3. Add egg to milk
  4. Add melted butter to milk and mix well
  5. Add milk mixture and berries to dry ingredients, and mix with a knife until just mixed (still lumpy)
  6. Place into muffin pans - this recipe makes about 6 muffins, or 12 mini muffins
  7. Add a spoonful of jam to the batter of each, and briefly mix in with a chopstick or similar
  8. Mix the lemon and demerara sugar together, and sprinkle over each muffin
  9. Bake for 15-20 minutes
  10. Leave to cool slightly
  11. Serve! Whilst singing yankee doodle dandee or the Star Spangled Banner (your choice!)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Deluxe Hedgehog!

I had some leftover chocolate hazelnut praline in the freezer, and some old-ish looking girl guide biscuits in the cupboard, so I made some deluxe hedgehog.... A much better version than my last try (with a recipe). This one was more of a free form effort! I think I've also found the correct consistency for the chocolate topping.....

300g crushed girl guide biscuits (or, use Granita or Marie biscuits.. really, you just need a plain biscuit)
300g chocolate/hazelnut praline
80-100g crushed walnuts

250 g dark chocolate
1/4 cup cream

Mix the crushed biscuits, praline and walnuts together and press into a greased tray. Melt topping ingredients together in microwave for 30 secs - 1 minute, stirring until mixed and smooth.

Refrigerate until set. Slice, and serve to rapturous applause!

Possibly the best ever sultana cake....

I have recently been having cravings for a nice bit of fruit cake, or fruit slice, anything with raisins or sultanas in it. I had been searching the Internets for the perfect recipe. I mentioned this to Andrew over a meal one day, so he promptly called his Mum, Guest editor Shirley, who emailed me the amazing recipe below. This cake was so amazingly soft and tasty, and of course, fruity! Just the thing for my cravings. Food Critic Andrew is (clearly!) already a fan, so there was no winning over to be done there. As Shirley suggested, I used less currants and more raisins and sultanas. I just love this recipe. This will definitely making more appearances in this house! Thanks so much Shirley!

Light Fruit Cake

½ lb (250g) Plain Flour plus 2 good dessertspoons Self Raising Flour & pinch of salt.

4 eggs (beaten) ½ lb (250g) butter

5 oz Currants ½ lb (250g) sugar

5 oz Raisins 2oz Chopped Walnuts (optional)

5 oz Sultanas

Cream butter and sugar until well combined, add beaten eggs, slowly add fruit and nuts , then sifted flour and salt. Place in a lined tin (I use an 8 x8” tin)and bake 1 ¾ hrs for a moist cake – 2 hours at 180 degrees

(You can cut back the currants and make up the difference with Sultanas & Raisins – too many currants will give a cake a burnt taste )

Update: I also should have mentioned that like with all fruit cakes, you need to let this one cool in it's pan before trying to remove! And Shirley tells me that she sometimes ices this with lemon icing..yum...