Sunday, 15 September 2013

Domestic Goddess

Domestic Goddess.  That's me alright!  Look what I made today!!

Homemade Lemon Honey (Good old Edmonds recipe) and Homemade Tomato Relish :) I'm so clever :) even if I do say so myself!  It was actually a lot easier than I was expecting it to be.
Here's how you make the relish.

Tomato Relish

120ml Olive Oil
2 Onions
6 Tomatoes
3 sweet peppers - the ones you buy in a jar
1 apple grated
1/2 small can of tomato paste
1 1/2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
salt and pepper

Heat oil in large saucepan and add diced onions.  Cook on a low heat until onions are translucent.
Meanwhile, dice tomatoes and slice peppers.
Add tomatoes and peppers to pan and cook until juices start to thicken.  Add grated apple.
Add tomato paste and red wine vinegar.  Season to taste.  Cook until thickened.  If you want you can mash it a little so that it is a bit smoother, but it will still have chunks.  Or you could probably put it in the blender so that it is more like sauce.
Pour into sterilised jars :)

I've been quite busy in the kitchen lately actually.  There have been some very tasty meals and snacks that we have enjoyed.  So many, in fact, that it seems like ages ago that I blogged!  Where do I begin??  I think I'll stick with the savoury for now...

This is something so simple and yet really delicious!  I have made these with both chargrilled capsicums and sweet peppers (both bought in a jar).  My favourite is the capsicums - mainly because I can't handle too much heat, but hubby quite enjoyed the peppers.  Basically, you pull them out of the jar and insert a piece of cheese into the middle, place on a baking tray - preferably with sides in case you want to lean them up against it, and to catch any cheese that melts out.  Pop in the oven about 180C and bake until the cheese is melted and oozy.  Allow to cool a little and then devour!

These pizza swirls are a nice easy lunch time meal (or snack between meals!).  In a frying pan, heat some olive oil and add chopped onion, tomatoes and if you have some leftover chargrilled capsicums, some of those as well :) from memory I also added a bit of garlic.  Heat until well softened.
Spread a little BBQ sauce over some puff pastry sheets, then top with the tomato mix (if you want to add some meat you could do so now) and then finally some grated cheese.  Roll pastry up into a log, and cut into 1cm pieces.  Lie them flat on a baking sheet, leaving room for spreading.  Grate a little parmesan over top.  Bake at 180C until pastry has puffed up, and swirls are browning and bubbling.

Chicken and Leek Risotto

2 Chicken Breasts
Garam Masala
Salt and Pepper
3/4C Arborio Rice
2C Chicken Stock
1 leek
Parmesan Cheese

Put chicken breasts on baking paper, season with salt and pepper, and sprinkle garam masala over.  cover with baking paper and tenderise with a rolling pin, making sure it is evenly done.
Put in a preheated pan, medium heat and cook on both sides until cooked through.  Set aside
Using the same pan, add a little oil (unless chicken had a lot of juices) and add leeks to pan.  Cook stirring, until softened a little.  Add rice and stir to coat with the oil and leek. 
Add chicken stock a small amount at a time, allowing the rice to absorb the liquid before adding more.  You have to stir frequently.  This is what gives the rice that creaminess.
Once all of the stock has been absorbed test to see if rice is tender (you can normally tell by looking at it as well - won't absorb anymore liquid) if needed, add more stock.
Break chicken into bite size pieces and add to the pan.  Stir to combine.  Grate some parmesan over top and stir through just before serving. 

It's a great winter warmer meal, and you can vary it by using sausages (chorizo or other flavoursome ones) that have been fried first and change to beef stock instead of chicken.  You could also add avocado to this (chicken one) dish before serving.
Risotto's are one of those meals that people seem afraid to make because they take a bit of time, but really it's no more than half an hour and it's just stirring, it's really not that hard.

Let's see, I think that covers most of the savoury I wanted to share with you this week.  It must be time for some sweet temptations :)

I've actually been baking a lot this week - presents for people, as well as stocking up our cupboards - it feels as though I've been in the kitchen every spare moment I've had!  I made some chocolate hazelnut cupcakes - basically, chocolate cupcakes that you scoop a wee bit out of when cool, and add a dollop of hazelnut spread in it's place, and top it with choc hazelnut buttercream (make a light and fluffy buttercream and then fold through hazelnut spread).

I also made some strawberries and cream cupcakes which I made using frozen berries (a mix, not just strawberries) instead of fresh.  It worked ok, just perhaps a little more moist than normal.  I eventually topped these with a vanilla buttercream.

Believe it or not, I also made another two batches of cupcakes for other people!  Cupcake crazy this week I tell ya!  My girls enjoyed licking the spoons though :)
The recipe I want to share with you, is one that I don't make often, probably because I always think it's a lot of work, when really it isn't.  It's a recipe I got from watching Giada Delorentis (another of my favourites!)  These cookies are super tasty and perfect for when you need a sweet hit.

Oatmeal, Cranberry and Chocolate Chunk Cookies

1C flour (or you could use wholemeal)
3/4tsp cinnamon
1/2tsp baking powder
1/2tsp baking soda
1/2tsp salt
125g butter
1/2C sugar
1/2C brown sugar
1 egg
1/2tsp vanilla
2C oats
1C dried cranberries
4oz dark choc (I like to use the Select Dark Choc Drops)

Combine dry ingredients
In a separate bowl, blend butter and sugars.  Add egg and vanilla
slowly add dry to wet
Add oats and mix again
Add cranberries and mix again
Add choc and mix quickly
Place tablespoons onto baking sheets, press lightly, leaving room for them to spread
Cook at 180C for 15mins
(should make approx 30 cookies)

I use my mixer for the first part and then when adding oats, I start to mix by hand to make sure that every part is mixed in evenly.  These are so packed full of flavour, and with the cranberries it makes me think of christmas :)
(Yes I said it - the C word!  Get used to it, cos I love Christmas and will no doubt share recipes with you for that too!)

Well I think I've probably gone on enough now.  I'll try not to let so much time lapse between posts next time.  Have a good week!  And happy cooking!