Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Pretty Little Cupcakes

Recently I bought some cute little cupcake decorations so decided today was the day to make cupcakes..plain, old vanilla ones with a buttercream frosting...none of the fancy schmancy cupcakes you see in other peoples blogs, or blogs totally dedicated to cupcakes. Don't get me wrong, they are awesome!!!

I just wanted to get back to basics and make something simple!!

This is the recipe I used, I didn't have to change a thing and they worked out perfectly, so I recommend this recipe from they tasted very yummy too... ;)

Thursday, 4 October 2007

Creamy bacon and garlic pasta

This was a quick lunch I prepared for the kids and I - very basic but yummy at the same time.

This is the recipe (hello Mel, hope you are taking notes LOL!)

drizzle of olive oil

4-5 rashers of bacon, diced finely

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1/4 C white wine or chicken stock

150g light sour cream

1/4 C milk

2 tsp plain flour

2 Tb fresh grated parmesan cheese

sea salt

cracked black pepper

250g pasta (I used elbow macaroni)

Drizzle a bit of olive oil into a pan and add the diced bacon, stirring to avoid sticking, once it starts to brown, add minced garlic and stir until aromatic.

Deglaze with some wine or stock, allow liquid to reduce and add sour cream.

Stir flour into the 1/4C of milk, and add to the sauce (this is to thicken the sauce)

Simmer until thickened, add fresh parmesan, S&P, stir through cooked 250g of pasta, add extra parmesan and cracked black pepper to serve!

As an afterthought I thought you could probably add some grated zucchini, or spinach, mushrooms of course and maybe even some corn to the sauce for some extra colour and veg..Anyway..hope it turns out as well for you Mel as it did for me!

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Quick Fried Rice - chop! chop!

When I make my fried rice, I like to use jasmine rice as I really like its fragrance! I make the rice early on in the day and then once it has drained well, I refrigerate it uncovered so it can dry out somewhat, and become nice and cold..THIS is the secret to a good, homemade fried rice!

Another tip I'd like to share is, with the eggs, I like to add a ½ teaspoon of turmeric to them before making an omelette with them. This gives them a nice extra yellow colour. It is mainly just a visual thing - but thought I'd share the tip anyway! I LOVE food that LOOKS good, as we all know, food isn't just about the taste, it involves all the senses.

I also make a large amount, as it is great as leftovers/lunch the following day, in fact, I find the flavour actually improves.

2 C jasmine rice
4 eggs
3 Tb vegetable oil
4 bacon rashers, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
4 shallots, trimmed, finely sliced
1/2 cup frozen peas and corn, thawed
3 Tb soy sauce, plus extra to serve

Cook the rice in a large saucepan of boiling water for 12 minutes or until tender. Drain, refrigerate until required.
Using a whisk, lightly beat eggs in a small bowl, adding ½ tsp of turmeric to enhance the colour. Heat oil in non-stick wok or large frying pan over medium heat. Add eggs. Swirl over base to form an omelette. Cook 2 minutes. Turn over. Cook 2 minutes until set. Transfer to a chopping board. Set aside to cool slightly. Cut into short strips.
Add bacon to wok. Cook 4 minutes until light golden. Add carrot. Stir fry 1 minute. Add shallots, peas and rice. Cook, stirring, 3-4 minutes. Add egg and soy sauce. Stir until heated through. Serve immediately, with extra soy.

You HAVE to try this!!

Next time you are wandering about the spice aisle in your local supermarket, try and see if you can find this product..
It is called "Table of Plenty" Spanish Spice Rub and ooohhhh boy, it is just delicious. It is presented in a cute little brushed aluminium box cube and cost me under $3.00 and looks so funky sitting amongst my spice rack.
It contains spanish smoked paprika which has the most wickedest flavour...I made some t-bone steaks for our dinner last week sometime, and I rubbed the meat with some olive oil, sea salt and cracked black pepper and then massaged some of this spice rub into the meat prior to cooking.

The entire kitchen smelt so exotic and spicy, we couldn't wait to tuck into our steaks, and they were so nice and tender!

So, try and find this product, I highly recommend it!

Classic Pancakes

Lennon requested some pancakes the other day, so I looked for a quick and easy recipe on the internet and this one seemed really good, the kids gobbled them down quick smart. I think pancakes or pikelets make such a great little treat for the kids, because they do not have any preservatives in them or anything particularly bad if eaten in moderation, and they can wander about eating them (without any jam etc on top) and they drop no crumbs so are relatively mess free.

Here is the recipe I used.

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Anna Pavlova

So was it the Aussies or the Kiwis that can lay claim to this delicious dessert that was named in honour of the famous ballerina, Anna Pavlova, who toured Australia and New Zealand in the 1920's?? You can read more about the Pavlova debate here.

Again, my Kenwood Patissier got a good workout, but beating eggies until they form soft peaks is nothing for this powerful machine. I remember years ago, when I first moved out of home (1994) I owned an electric handmixer and even that used to take me eons to make the egg white form soft peaks..but with my darling Patissier, I turn my back on it for 2 minutes, and before my eyes, soft, white, voluminous and billowy egg whites!

So ingredients and quantities, here we go...
6 egg whites
1 1/2 C caster sugar
1 tsp cream of tartar

Put egg whites into your mixer, and beat on high until they form soft white peaks.

At this stage, add 1 tsp cream of tartar, and slowly add the 1 1/2 C caster sugar, the mixture should now have a really dense and glossy appearance.

Line a tray with some baking parchment, and mound the pavlova mixture into the centre, smoothing out until you have a rustic circle, it doesn't have to be all pretty and perfect.

Bake at 150c for 30 minutes and then reduce the temperature to 120c for an hour.

When done, allow to cool in the oven with the door ajar.

Once completely cooled, mound some whipped cream on top and all around and some fruits on top..I used strawberries and kiwi fruit..but you can use banana, peaches, roasted macadamias, carambola or 'star fruit', blueberries, raspberries, passionfruit etc etc etc - let your imagination run WILD!

Pasta Fresca

Felt like making some fresh pasta yesterday, so out with the pasta machine, the flour, eggs and water...a couple hours later, I ended up with some lovely fresh fettucine. There really is nothing quite like fresh pasta.

I used 500g Tipo '00' flour, (which is basically, an extra fine flour imported from Italy which is especially good for pasta making, and I also make my pizza and focaccias with it as well) 6 eggs organic preferably..I use 2 whole eggs and 4 yolks (reserved the whites and made a pavlova with it - recipe and pics for that to follow!) and water.

Placed eggs and flour into the Kenwood Patissier with the dough hook, and mixed it until it resembled breadcrumbs and then added water - just until it all binds together nicely. Then I took it out, and kneaded it until it was smooth and elastic and placed it in the fridge to allow the dough to 'rest'.

Then, just run it through you machine and presto! Fresh pasta...lovely!