Monday, 10 March 2014

Almost time!

Well the update on the cook book is that it is finally done!  I just have to do one last edit and then I can submit it!  Yay for me!  I will keep you all posted on further progress.

Now for the latest in my kitchen.  Let's see...  I've made biscuits, huevos rancheros, vege pasta bake, cheese straws and macaroon cake.  I'll start with the baking and then move onto the meals. 

First up, the biscuits.  I saw this recipe on Facebook and thought "Brilliant!  One batch of cookies that makes 100 - that should keep the cupboard well stocked."  Now I must have made mine a bit bigger than theirs, as I only managed to get 75, but still that's a fair amount.  I was able to freeze half so that they lasted for two weeks. 
Basically, this is a plain biscuit recipe that you add your own flavour to.  I made some with choc chips, some with cinnamon, coconut and oats, some with raisins and cinnamon, some with jam, some with cocoa and hazelnuts, and one last batch with 100s and 1000s, choc chips and apricot jam. 
I found them to be a little drier than my usual cookie recipes, but not bad.


500g butter
1/2 C sugar
5 C Self Raising Flour
1 tin condensed milk

Cream butter, sugar and condensed milk.  Slowly add flour.  And ... that's it!  Just add whatever flavours you desire.  Make one batch or separate into several.
You could try peanut brownies - cocoa and peanuts, white chocolate and cranberries, ginger...

The macaroon cake I made was just from the Edmonds.  I've never made it before, but a friend gave me some eggs for baking so I thought I'd give it a go.  Very glad I did!  If you're not a fan of coconut then you probably won't like this though.  It tastes like a stodgier lamington if that makes sense.

Macaroon Cake

125g butter
1/2 C sugar
3 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 C flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
2 Tbsp milk

3 egg whites
1/2 C sugar
1 1/2 C coconut

Cream butter and sugar until light fluffy.  Add egg yolks and vanilla, beating well.  Sift flour, baking powder and salt together and add to the creamed mixture alternatively with the milk.
Spread mixture into a greased and lined 20cm square cake tin.  Spread with macaroon mixture.  Bake at 180C for 30 minutes or until skewer comes out clean.  Leave in tin for 10mins before turning onto wire rack.

Beat egg whites until soft peaks form.  Fold in sugar and coconut.

I was telling my girlfriend how my kids are constantly eating - they're grazers, and that it wasn't always easy coming up with new things to make for them, and she suggested cheese straws - again from the Edmonds (good old favourites!).  I'm so glad she did - they are super simple and super tasty!

Cheese Straws

1 C flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp mustard powder
pinch of cayenne
75g butter
3/4 C grated cheese
1 egg

Sift dry ingredients into a bowl.  Rub in butter until it resembles bread crumbs.  Mix through the grated cheese - I added a little parmesan too.
Add egg and mix together to form a stiff dough.  I used a spoon to start and then my hands to knead it until it was all together.  Roll it out on a floured board.  You want it quite thin.  I also added a sprinkle of parmesan over the entire dough.
Cut into straws or use cookie cutters to make fun shapes.  Place on greased tray.  Bake at 190C for 10 mins or until golden.  Transfer to cooling rack.  Store in airtight container.  Serve by themselves or with dips.

The vege pasta bake is actually one I was going to share last time, but forgot - see I told you I'd remember!  I made it again this week with a few different ingredients.  It's one of those recipes that can be adapted to what you have in your cupboards at the time.
I definitely recommend using the Delmaine chickpeas in curry sauce though, it adds so much flavour.  I have used this both times and the whole family loves it - even my son who was disappointed to hear that we were having veges for dinner - until he saw what it was.

Vege Pasta Bake

chickpeas in curry sauce
you can also use peas, broccoli, cauli, bok choy, I added leftover roast potatoes too and some leftover spaghetti.
1 - 1 1/2 C pasta

Cheese Sauce
1 Tbsp flour
1 Tbsp butter
1 C milk
grated cheese

Put on a large pot of water to boil.  Add salt and pasta and cook until almost ready.  Drain.

In a large frying pan, heat a decent blob of butter until it melts.  Add onion and cook until softened.  Add whatever veges you are using - chopped.  Fry for a few minutes.
Add chickpeas and mix through.   Once heated, add pasta and mix again.  Add cheese sauce and stir through again.  Pour into a greased casserole dish and top with breadcrumbs and extra cheese.  Bake at 180C for about 30mins until bubbling on top.

Cheese Sauce
Melt butter.  Add flour and stir for a  minute.  Add milk slowly, while stirring.  Keep heating and stirring until it begins to thicken - don't have temperature too high.  Remove from heat and add about 1/4 - 1/2 C cheese.

It tastes better than it looks!

Huevos Rancheros is something I had never made before, but as I said, I had been given eggs and this was a good way to use them.  I followed the recipe in Rachel Allens cook book, adding a few extra ingredients as I wanted it to stretch :)  We actually ended up having leftovers that we reheated for breakfast the next morning - A-maze-ing!  Even better the next day.  From what I gather it is usually a breakfast dish anyways, but I thought it was great as a main meal, served on toast.

The amount I made was for four adults - two eggs each.

Huevos Rancheros

streaky bacon
25g butter
2 red capsicum chopped
2 red onion diced finely
2 cloves garlic crushed
1 carrot chopped
1 courgette chopped
pinch of cayenne
2 tsp cumin
salt and pepper
1 tin chopped tomatoes, plus some extra fresh ones chopped
about 1 tsp sugar
8 eggs

I used two frying pans and split the recipe in two, but if you have a giant pan or you're making less then one should be fine.

Heat pan and add bacon until crisp.  Remove and leave on a paper towel to drain fat.
Add butter to the pan and once melted, add the onions, peppers, garlic, carrots, courgette, cayenne, cumin and salt and pepper.  Cook for about 8-10 minutes.
Add tomatoes and sugar and cook until liquid has reduced a little.
Make some holes in the mix and crack eggs directly into each one.  Season with salt and pepper and then cover with a lid.  Cook until just set - keep checking as it is best when yolk is still a bit runny.  Sprinkle grated cheese and cover again for a few minutes until melted. 
Serve on toast.

So there you have it.  Some delicious meals to get your mouth watering.  I hope you enjoy making them as much as I did.  It's always so satisfying to make a new recipe and have it work out.  Have a great week and Happy Cooking!