Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Making the most of your ingredients!

Good day to you kind people of blogland :) I hope you have been having a wonderful week and are enjoying the sunshine.  I have been rather busy in the kitchen of late, and have many things to share with you.  I was lucky enough to be given a bag of black boy peaches which only had a few days left in them.  I was able to make Peach Jam and Peach Sauce with those.
I made lasagne - with my own home made lasagne pasta, the Malteser Slice that you may have seen floating around on Facebook, oh and the Lemon Meringue Pie also from Facebook.  Satay Pork Meatloaf with BBQ Sauce (I know right?!),  and a Roast Chicken, apricot, cranberry and camembert pie.  Oh my mouth is watering just thinking about it all again!

So let's get started! 
Malteser Slice - this one was shared on my Facebook page as a suggestion for me to make :)

 250g pkt milk arrowroot biscuits (or other sweet biscuit)
• 2 cups rice bubbles
• 125g butter
• 400g tin condensed milk...

• 2 Tbsp cocoa
• 185g pkt maltesers, cut in half
• 200g white chocolate

1. Line a slice tin (18cm x 28cm) with baking paper.

2. Place biscuits in a zip lock bag & crush with a rolling pin to a fine crumb consistency. This can also been done in a food processor to save time. Pour into a large bowl along with the rice bubbles & ¾ cup halved maltesers.

3. In a saucepan over medium heat, add butter, condensed milk & cocoa. Whisk until melted together & smooth. Cook for 1 minute.

4. Pour over dry ingredients & mix until combined. Press into tin.

5. Break white chocolate into a bowl & heat in microwave in 30 second bursts, stirring each time until smooth.

6. Pour over slice. Press remaining maltesers into the chocolate. NOTE: if you intend to refrigerate or freeze the slice for longer than 1 day, press the maltesers into the chocolate with the cut side down. They will stay crunchy. Refrigerate/freeze until set.

Tips: to keep your white chocolate glossy & stop it from cracking, add 1 Tbspn melted copha to the melted chocolate prior to pouring onto

Storage: In fridge for up to 1 week.

Ok, so this was super yummy, however, I think perhaps cornflakes may work better than rice bubbles.  They go kind of chewy and I think maybe cornflakes might be a bit crunchier and more afghan like.  I also used less chocolate - it's sweet enough without the extra, I probably used about 150g at the most - just eyeballed it.  You really only need to cover the slice, not have a thick layer.  And our big bags of maltesers are 155g not 185g so I used less of those too.

Lemon Meringue Pie - I saw this on Facebook myself, and as this is my husbands favourite dessert, I thought I had better try it!  It's way easier than making a curd for the inner and very tasty, again super sweet though.  The recipe called for a pre-bought pie crust, but I had pastry in the freezer so used that instead - I semi pre cooked it, which worked fine (so I didn't let it brown, it was in for about 10minutes).  If you used a digestive biscuit base or something similar, it may be less sweet.

1 Tin Condensed Milk
3 Large Eggs
½ Cup Lemon Juice...
½ Cup Castor Sugar...

1 x As Easy As Pie Crust


1. Heat oven to 160 degrees
2. Separate egg whites and yolks into 2 different bowls
3. Whisk egg whites until stiff - (Must be able to turn bowl upside down without it falling out!)
4. Add castor sugar slowly and continue whisking – set aside
5. Mix egg yolks and then add tin of Condensed Milk
6. Measure half a cup of lemon juice and add to yolk mixture
7. Beat for about a minute – mixture will start setting
8. Add egg mixture to READY MADE PIE BASE
9. Top with Meringue and spread evenly on top
10. Bake at 160 for 25 minutes.
11. Cool pie on oven rack

So with this one, I whisked the egg yolk and condensed milk together until combined before adding the lemon juice.  I also served this warm instead of refrigerated.  I did find that there was syrup at the bottom of the pan - but hubby just tipped that over top!

I won't share my Peach Jam recipe as it turned out similar to the Apricot Jam I made earlier in the year - a bit runny.  It still tastes awesome and could double as a dessert sauce, but it just didn't set as well as I wanted it to.  I know that peaches aren't a good setting fruit and need pectin and acid, I added lemon juice and tartaric acid to the pot, but I'm not sure if I just didn't add enough, or needed more sugar or what it was. 
My Peach Sauce (savoury) turned out great though!

Approx 2kg Black Boy Peaches chopped and stoned
2 green apples peeled and chopped
6 small tomatoes chopped
2 small onions chopped
2 cloves crushed garlic
750ml malt vinegar
60ml Raspberry Vinegar
1 Tbsp Salt
1C sugar
1tsp cloves
1tsp ground ginger
pinch cayenne pepper
black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a large pot and bring to the boil - I didn't bother peeling the peaches or grinding the cloves as it all goes through the sieve later.
Keep it boiling for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally.  Pour through a wire sieve and push it through to get all the liquid - does require a bit of time and elbow grease.
Return to the heat and simmer until it has reached the consistency you like.
Pour into sterilised jars/bottles.

Satay Pork Meatloaf with BBQ Sauce

This is a combination of two recipes I love.  My Mums recipe for meatloaf has this amazing BBQ sauce that you pour over, so I have used this, with my satay pork meatball recipe (with a bit extra)turned into meatloaf.  Brilliant!
Now because we have allergies in the family, I split it into two loaves and made one satay and one without.  So you can do the same, or make one loaf by doubling the recipe of each loaf.  You would also need to allow extra time for cooking if making just the one loaf.

Satay Pork Meatloaf       (enough for 2-3 adults)                                                         
250g pork mince
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1/2 carrot, grated
1/2 courgette grated
1 egg
1/2C breadcrumbs
salt and pepper
3Tbsp peanut butter
2-3 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp sweet chilli sauce

*to make it without the satay, just omit peanut butter and add a smidge more of the sauces.

Combine ingredients - best way to get it all mixed together is with your hands - best tools in the kitchen!  Form it into a loaf shape and place in a greased 1" (min)deep casserole dish.  Bake for 20 minutes at 180C.  Remove from oven and pour BBQ sauce over.  Return to the oven for a further 35-40 mins until cooked through.  Baste it regularly during that time.  When you serve it, spoon a little extra sauce over top too.  Great with mashed potato.

BBQ sauce: In a small saucepan, combine - 25g butter, 1/2C water, 1/2C tomato sauce, 1/4C Worcestershire sauce, 2Tbsp vinegar, 1 tsp coffee powder, a squirt of lemon or lime juice, 1/4C brown sugar.  Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 mins.

Lasagne is really quite easy to make.  If you can make a Bolognese sauce then you're half way there.  I did use homemade pasta, but obviously you can also use bought pasta sheets.  The fresh stuff does taste better though.
Basically, you cook onions, garlic and mince  until brown.  Add tin of chopped tomatoes in puree, 2 Tbsp tomato paste, salt and pepper and simmer.  You can also add grated veges, herbs, spinach, whatever you fancy.  You also need to make a thick cheese sauce - I'm hoping you all know how to do that.  It's really not hard and everyone should be able to make this - much better than that packet stuff!
You then layer everything in your casserole dish - mince, cheese, pasta, mince, cheese, pasta.  Pour over cheese sauce and top with more cheese - bake for 45minutes until golden and bubbling.

I wasn't even going to include this one, but hubby made me take a photo as it was so awesome looking!

Roast Chicken, Apricot, Cranberry and Camembert Pie

We had a roast chicken with stuffing (homemade again) flavoured with dried apricots and cranberries.  The leftovers are what I used to make this pie and it was fabulous.
You can add leftover veges, gravy and stuffing for extra flavour.

First up, cook some onion and garlic in a little oil until softened.
Add leftover chicken, stuffing and veges.  Heat through.  Add leftover gravy and/or chicken stock - I used both so roughly 1/2C gravy and 1C stock.  Stir and heat through.
Line a deep dish with pastry and pour mix in.  Lay some camembert chunks around the top and place pastry over top.  Seal and slice top.  Bake for about 3/4 hour at 180C

And that's all folks!  I hope you all have a great weekend and get into that kitchen!  Happy cooking!