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    Sunday, August 23, 2015

    Flavours of Morocco - Pinwheels - Perfect to have with drinks

    Off to a Family dinner. Theme is Moroccan.
    I frequently make my Pastry Pinwheels for pre-food drinks
    Always very popular and I have developed many different flavours, so why not Moroccan
    Here is my little Cooks treat. Yum
     As luck would have it, in my fridge and pantry, I had enough interesting goodies that would deliver what I was wanting
    I haven't put quantities, use as much or as little as you like

    In this case, I had some Goat Feta, the crumbly kind
    But a soft Goats cheese would be best
    Actually that is quite expensive, so I usually use Feta

    For some other flavour ideas of these yummy pinwheels… click Here

    By the way, I used two products from Local Chef’s and I want to mention them, as I find both excellent



       









     Al Browns Orange and Chili Olive Oil










     Simon Gault's Moroccan Seasoning







    Ingredients
    Sheets of Frozen Puff Pastry
    Goats Feta Cheese
    Zest of 1 orange
    Slosh of Al Brown’s Orange and Chili Olive oil

    Black Olives stoned and chopped
    Semi dried tomatoes in oil (I used a tablespoon of this oil as well)

    Simon Gault’s Moroccan Seasoning
    Beaten egg


    Lay out the pastry on the bench
    Mix together, the Feta, Orange zest, Orange and Chili Olive Oil
    Plus  1 tablespoon Moroccan Seasoning
    Beat till you can spread it

    Cover bottom 2/3 of the pastry sheet
    Sprinkle over the olives and the semi dried tomatoes

    Brush the beaten egg over the top third of the sheet
    Refrigerate the egg in a container, to finish off the pastries

    Roll up,
    Press down gently



    Cover and chill for at least 2 hours, overnight is fine
    Heat oven to 200C

    Cut into pinwheels and place on baking sheet covered with baking paper
    Brush with reserved beaten egg, sprinkle over with some more seasoning
    Bake for about 15 minutes, till golden and crisp

    Best served just warm or room temperature to get the best flavour
    Delicious
    And my word, they went very well with
    Helen’s Celery Gimlet, which is divine.
    Bloody fantastic, even if I do say so, my self

    Friday, August 21, 2015

    Red Soup - For The Want of a Better Name



    This delicious soup came about by chance, as many great dishes are evolved
    It was a bleak day, I was bored, spent the afternoon catching up on some food programmes that I had recorded…Too early for a wine
    My oven wasn't working, so it was all stove top cooking in our house
    I had some chicken stock left over and thought I should turn it into soup
    So into the vegetable bin I dove.
    I found  a Red pepper, Red onion. Beetroot. Red chili
    Let's put them together
    What a fabulous colourful soup that would make, and it did
    So good I have made for guests and it got the thumbs up
    By the way I did a little cheating the other day and bought cooked  fresh beetroot from the
    supermarket. It is more expensive but saved me time.
    If you use concentrated chicken stock, dissolve it in the stock produced, by boiling the beetroot

    Ingredients
    For 4 People
    2 tablespoons Olive oil
    2 Red Peppers
    2 Medium Beetroot, roasted or boiled for about an hour, peeled and chopped
    1 Red Onion, chopped
    1 Red Chili, chopped
    4 cups Chicken stock
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    1 tablespoon cider vinegar

    Optional -  slosh of hot pepper sauce 
    Sour cream and dill for garnish
    Method
    So I cooked the beetroot till tender, that can take about an hour
    If boil, don't waste the stock, save it for cooing the soup
    You can either roast or boil
    Peel and chop

    Meanwhile chop the red onion
    The red pepper and the chili

    Sauté the vege in the olive oil
    Season with salt and pepper

    Cover with Chicken stock
    Bring to boil and simmer about 20 minutes
    Add vinegar and hot sauce (optional but I like the kick it gives)

    Into the blender.
    Taste and adjust if needed

    Mix dill with the Creme Fraiche
    and dob it on top
    This is wonderful
    Not only looking fabulous but tasting fabulous as well
    A keeper


    Friday, July 31, 2015

    Best Blinis That I Have Made - Topped with Yummy Cream Cheese and Smoked Salmon

    Our friend Annette had the misfortune to break her leg, so she has ended up in hospital till it is mended. Once a month a group of us have lunch including Annette, we normally choose a cheap and cheerful restaurant and try and find something different each month.
    Seeing as Annette is laid up we decided to take lunch to her.

    I made some little chicken sandwiches, very yummy but the piece de resistance was these beautiful light Blinis
    I know normally Blinis are made with yeast, but here is a recipe, that just uses Baking Powder.
    I think the secret is the amount of BP, plus the resting time in the fridge, before cooking. The mixture really starts to  kick in. They are so light and delicious
    I found it on The Australian Woman's Weekly website
    Ingredients
      1 cup (150g) plain flour
      1 tablespoon caster sugar
      3 teaspoons baking powder
      pinch salt
      2⁄3 cup (180ml) milk
      1 egg
      50g unsalted butter, melted


    Topping
    100 gms Cream Cheese
    2-3 Pickled Gherkins finely chopped
    Zest of a lemon 
    Sea salt and Black pepper


    Smoked Salmon

    Method
    Sift flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a large bowl.
    Gradually whisk in combined milk and egg, then half the melted butter. 
    Refrigerate mixture for 30 minutes.
    It's a living thing
    Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat.
    Lightly brush the pan with a little remaining butter.
    Drop two teaspoons (10ml) of blini mixture into pan.
    Cook for a minute or until browned lightly underneath and bubbles appear on the surface.
    Turn, cook for another  minute, or until blinis are cooked.
    Repeat with remaining butter and blini mixture.

    I made my blinis a little bigger so they took longer than that to cook
    See how fluffy and light they are
    Meanwhile just blend together all of the topping ingredients
    When they are cool
    Top with Cream Cheese mix
    and Some Smoked Salmon 

    If you don't have any smoked, just fionely chop a tomato and add to the cream cheese mix
    Equally as good

    So after I wrote this blog, decided I needed a cure for Cabin Fever
    Popped into my local with my Kindle and had a nice chilled Glass of wine

     Perfect


    Sunday, July 12, 2015

    Lamb Tagine - Perfect for The Cold Weather

    Dinner at our House on Saturday. The weather is so cold. It is Winter of course,  so we need nice warming food. A few weeks  ago I found on my blog... an excellent Fish Tagine, recipe courtesy of Anthony Worrall Thompson.
    I have made that more than once recently. went down a real treat with guests
    Would you believe, he has also got a recipe for a Lamb Tagine?
    So I gave that a go
    Thumbs up from the crowd.
    I bought my meat from the Supermarket and they only had Lamb Shoulder chops.
    I cut off as much of the meat as possible, then I left the bones in.... for extra flavour plus, some of that meat close to the bone is The Best, So don't throw that away

    Ingredients

        1 tsp cayenne pepper
        2 tsp ground black pepper
        1½ tbsp paprika
        1½ tbsp ground ginger
        1 tbsp turmeric
        2 tsp ground cinnamon
        1 x shoulder of lamb, trimmed and cut into 5cm/2in chunks (about 1.1kg/2½lb meat in total) 


        2 tbsp olive oil
        2 tbsp argan oil...Optional I didn't use it

        (Argan oil is a Moroccan oil from the argan tree. 
        You should be able to find it in specialist food shops.)
        2 large onions, grated, I chopped them finely in the food processor    
        3 cloves garlic, crushed
        570ml/1 pint tomato juice, or Passata
        2 x 400g tinned chopped tomatoes
        115g/4oz dried apricots, cut in half
        55g/2oz dates, cut in half
        55g/2oz sultanas or raisins, I used craisins
        85g/3oz flaked almonds
        1 tsp saffron stamens, soaked in cold water
        600ml/1 pint lamb or beef stock
        1 tbsp clear honey
        2 tbsp coriander, roughly chopped
        2 tbsp flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped


    Preparation method
    Place the cayenne, black pepper, paprika, ginger, turmeric and cinnamon into a small bowl and mix to combine.
    Place the lamb in a large bowl and toss together with half of the spice mix. 
    Cover and leave overnight in the fridge.


    Next day
    Preheat the oven to 150C/300F/Gas2.

    Heat 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp of argan oil in a large casserole dish.
    Add the grated onion and the remaining spice mix and
    cook over a gentle heat for 10 minutes so that the onions are soft but not coloured.
     Add the crushed garlic for the final 3 minutes.
    In a separate frying pan,
    Heat the remaining oil and brown the cubes of lamb on all sides then
    You will need to do this in batches
    Add the browned meat to the casserole dish.
    De-glaze the frying pan with ¼ pint of tomato juice and add these juices to the pan.
      
    Add the remaining tomato juice, chopped tomatoes, 
    apricots, dates, raisins or sultanas, flaked almonds, 
    saffron, lamb stock and honey to the casserole dish.
    Bring to the boil, cover with a fitted lid, place in the oven and
    cook for 2-2½ hours or until the meat is meltingly tender.
    Place the lamb in a Tagine or large serving dish and sprinkle over the chopped herbs.
    Serve.

    To accompany this dish. I made a colourful rice dish
    for 6 people
    2 tbs olive oil
    1 red onion finely chopped
    3 cloves garlic crushed
    1/2 yellow pepper, finely chopped
    Sea salt and Pepper
    2 1/2 cups Basamti Rice 

    Handful of shelled pistachio nuts 
    Cup of craisins
    1 tablespoons powdered Chicken Stock dissolved
    in Warm Water approx 5 cups

    Garnish 
    Handful parsley leaves, chopped
    Grated Zest of 1 orange

    Heat the oil in a pan 
    Add onions and yellow pepper cook till soft
    Season with Salt and pepper
    Add garlic, nuts and craisins
    Toss then add rice and cook till slightly toasted

    Add water. 
    There should be enough water so that if you touch the top of the rice
    The water should come up to the first joint of your finger
    Stir and bring to the boil
    let simmer away till holes start to form (about 4 minutes)
    Turn the heat off and
    Cover with a tight lid
    Leave for about 12 minutes
    Remove lid
    Fluff up with a fork and turn into serving dish

    Scatter herbs and orange zest over the top
    Serve
    Some of the satisfied customers
    It warms the Cockles of your heart!!!

    Tuesday, June 02, 2015

    Tasty Flavoured Tomato Butter - Liberally Spread on the Best Cheese Scones - Divine

    Now Here’s A Thing.
    Seriously, I thought there was nothing finer than a good cheese scone.
    BUT I have discovered an embellishment.
    Tomato and Parsley Butter
    Now these are really the Best Cheese Scone

    Friends were coming over for Afternoon Tea, well actually and Afternoon Wine
    Of course I must make food
    So I whipped up a batch of Cheese Scones,
    Normally I would just supply some good butter to spread on them
    This time I decided to flavour the butter

    Take 150 gms of Unsalted Butter at room temperature
    4 Cherry Tomatoes, very finely chopped
    2 tablespoons of chopped Parsley
    Sea Salt and freshly Ground Black Pepper

    Mash the butter
    Add the tomatoes and parley
    Season to taste with S & P


    Spread liberally on the freshly baked scone
    Seemed to go well, with the Champagne and also Chardonnay
    Covers all bases
    Just in case, people cant be bothered looking up how to make the scones… I have added the recipe for the scones from a previous post
    So Pre-heat oven to 220C

    1 cup of plain high grade flour
    2 1/2  teaspoons of baking powder
    Pinch of salt
    Good pinch of Cayenne Pepper
    1 cup grated tasty cheese
    2 spring onions finely chopped
    1/2 cup milk
    Sift the dry ingredient into a big bowl
    Add cheese, stir

    Add spring onions 
    Add milk
    Quickly mix and turn onto lightly floured bench
    Pat into a circle
    Cut into wedges
    Place on a lined baking sheet (you could just flour it if you wish)
    Bake for 8-10 minutes
    Remove
    Break open and put a nice pat of butter on top
    Fantastic

    Monday, May 25, 2015

    The Best Stew - Cajun Style


    Here's a tasty stew.

    Being a “clever” shopper!!! I noticed that there was an amazing  special at the supermarket... about 12 mixed coloured peppers, for only $3.99. That is really cheap at this time of the year
    Also there was beef on special, close to use by date, but that's fine, planning to use it straight away.
    Plus I found an organic chicken cheap as chips,  sectioned that and straight into the freezer.

    Peppers are very much part of Cajun cooking,
    They form part of The Trinity,  Onion, Peppers and Celery
    The main base of Gumbo, Jambalaya Or anything your Cajun heart desires.

    Perfect, so I found some Cajun seasoning in my pantry and started work on this very tasty stew
    Which we ate with mashed potatoes
    The rest of the peppers, I roasted, marinated them in olive oil, and they are in my fridge
    They will last for ages

    There was some Pinot Noir remaining in a bottle
    Good, wine such a good addition to any meat dish

    Ingredients

    500 gms Beef chopped into 1 inch pieces
    2-3 tablespoons flour, seasoned with sat and freshly ground black pepper
    2-3 tablespoons olive oil
    1 x onion roughly chopped
    3 Capsicums seeds removed and chopped
    2 sticks celery
    2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning
    Slosh of wine
    1 can Chopped Tomatoes
    Water to cover

    Toss the chopped beef into the seasoned flour
    Heat the olive oil in a pan till it its hot
    Add the beef and brown the pieces
    Place in an ovenproof dish
    Add the onions to the pan and they will pick up the nice crispy bits
    Cook till soft but not browned
    Add the capsicum and celery
    Continue to cook until they are soft as well
    Add the Cajun seasoning
    Keep cooking for about 5 minutes to cook the spices out
    Add the wine. this will help to deglaze the pan
    Add the tomatoes
    Stir well and then pour over the meat in the dish

    Rinse out the pan with some hot water, so that all the lovely flavours are not lost
    Add to the meat
    Make sure that everything is just covered
    You may need to add some more water

    Bake in 170C oven for about 2 hours
    The meat should be tender and the sauce thickened

    I served with mashed potatoes
    Perfect for a Winter Night

    Of course There was too much for two people and there were left overs
    The mashed potatoes were turned into fish cakes
    And the stew into a lasagne
    Which was layered with Bechamel and some of the roasted peppers

    You could use some of those peppers in the jar, bought from the Supermarket
    Up to you the amount you use

    So, first, I made a béchamel sauce
    2 tablespoons butter
    2 tablespoon flour
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    1 cup milk
    1 bay leaf
    1/2 cup grated tasty cheese

    Melt the butter in a small pot
    Add the flour to make a roux
    Cook for 2-3 minutes to cook out the flour
    Season with salt and pepper
    Infuse the milk with the bay leaf
    I just pop it into the microwave for about1 1/2 minutes to heat it

    Pour the hot milk onto the roux
    Stir, till it is smooth
    Let it simmer away for about 3-5 minutes
    Add the cheese and set aside
    Drain the oil off the peppers
    Open a packet of lasagne sheets
    I like to use these Barilla Sheets, no need to pre-cook

    So to assemble the lasagne
    A spoonful of béchamel
    Lasagne sheets
    The stew

    Lasagne
    Roasted peppers

    Lasagne
    Béchamel
    Lasagne
    Stew
    Lasagne and top with the remaining Béchamel

    Cover with oiled foil
    Cook in a 180C oven for 30 minutes
    Take the foil off and finish off for another 15 minutes

    The top should be golden and the sauce bubbling
    The aroma. so inviting

    What a really tasty dish. Just like a bought one

    Sunday, May 10, 2015

    Stretching Your Dollar - Simple Fish Pie - Don’t Waste Food

    We entertained last night and I over catered a little.

    I peeled too many potatoes, chopped too much parsley. Our friend George, brought up freshly caught Trevally which I cut into Sashimi pieces.
    It was delicious, so so fresh, we just dipped into soy sauce.
    There was quite a lot, so I quickly put the overs in the fridge.
    Now, a day older, I decided I should do something else with it.
    What quickly came to mind. Fish, Potatoes?
    How about a fish pie for dinner tonight?

    I constructed a Bechamel Sauce, popped in the chopped Parsley
    The zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
    Next I added the fish
    Find a nice little pie plate to cook in

    Meanwhile I brought the potatoes to the boil, added some hot milk mashed them up
    Beat it some cold butter

    Spread it over the top
    Voila
    Ready to go into the oven

    Dinner done
    That's tonight sorted

    Tomorrow night the actual leftovers : Lamb, Tomato and Potato Bake with Leeks and Peas
    Tastes a lot better that it looks
    Before we cut into it. Very tasty. tender lamb