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    Wednesday, February 22, 2017

    Marinated Tomatoes - A Great Sauce for Pasta

    I love the idea of raw tomatoes over hot pasta
    I saw this recipe for Pasta with Marinated Tomatoes  in The NY Times Cooking Column
    I have adapted it to suit me
    I used Fresh Bocconcini for the protein
    As an alternative you can used good canned Tuna,
    also maybe black olives instead of the green
    It's up to you, anything goes really

    About 400 gms ripe tomatoes, halved or quartered if small, diced if large
    Sea Salt
    1 punnet Fresh Mozzarella Cheese (or Bocconcini ), torn
    1/2 cup pitted Green Sicilian Olives, chopped,
    3 tablespoons capers (optional)
    1 red chili seeded and finely chopped (optional)
    ⅔ cup chopped fresh herbs (basil, parsley, mint, chives, cilantro, scallion tops, or a combination), more for garnish
    Freshly grated zest of 1 lemon (optional)
    About 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
    Freshly ground black pepper
    500 short pasta, like fusilli, farfalle or penne

    ½ cup toasted pine nuts (optional)

    Up to 4 hours before serving,
    Put tomatoes in a large bowl and sprinkle all over with salt.
    Set aside for 30 minutes, then drain off liquid.
    Add olives capers, chili,herbs and zest.
    Add olive oil, pepper to taste and stir gently,
    Cover and set aside at least 1 hour or up to 3 hours, stirring occasionally.
    Break up the mozzarella and mix with the basil and some freshly ground black pepper
    Cook pasta in plenty of boiling salted water.
    Drain very well.
    Add Mozzarella and Basil then
    Tomatoes and pasta, combine well,
    Taste and add more oil, salt and pepper if needed
    Sprinkle with pine nuts, if using,

    Serve immediately.
    It’s pretty good at room temperature I reckon

    Monday, February 20, 2017

    Leftovers - Don't throw them out - Make a Frittata

    I have posted Frittata before but made one this morning
    and thought I should remind people how quick and easy it is
    Put it your Waste not Want not category
    I had some leftover vege,
    I have a guest and like to offer him nourishing food for breakfast
    In fact there was enough for 4 breakfasts, accompanied by some Crispy Vogels Toast
    Freezing some of it for another day

    I do love to add potato, must be fried though... for the wonderful flavour
    Grab some eggs from the fridge
    I used 3 Cherry tomatoes
    The leftover leeks and peas
    A handful of grated cheese

    To make enough for 4 breakfasts
    3 medium potatoes peeled and chunked
    A cup of cooked of vege
    3 Cherry tomatoes cut in half, push the seeds out and slice
    5 eggs beaten
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    1/4 cup grated tasty cheese
    3-4 tablespoons of Olive oil 

    Heat oven to 180C
    Pre cook the potatoes
    Easiest way
    3 minutes in the microwave

    In an ovenproof skillet over medium heat
    Add olive oil
    throw in the potatoes
    Let them cook till a nice crust forms
    Season with a little S & P
    In a bowl add eggs
    Beat and season with S & P
    Add cooked vege, tomatoes and grated cheese
    Pour egg mix into the potatoes
    Get the omelet started a little on the stove
    Into the oven approx 8 minutes
    Cool a little

    Cheap and Cheerful - Filling Ways With Hamburger Mince

    How to make 500 gms of Hamburger Mince into  4 Filling meals for 2 people
    I’ve been cooking up large this morning
    Dinner tonight and the rest for the freezer for the rest of the week
    Not counting the cost of the pasta
    Cost of this food about $15
    Not bad

    Cottage Pie
    This is basically the way my Mother cooked her Cottage Pie
    I’ve made a couple of changes, Ive found if you fry the mince separately to the vege, you get more colour on it and the flavour is excellent

    Both of these meat sauces make perfect pie filings
    Or if you're like our family
    Great on Hot buttered Toast
    Breakfast anyone?

    1 tablespoon oil
    1 onion peeled and finely chopped
    1 stick celery finely chopped
    1 carrot chopped into fine dice
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    250 gms mince
    1 beef stock cube dissolved in 2 cups of hot water Water

    Good dash each of Worcestershire Sauce and Tomato Ketchup

    2-3 tablespoons chopped parsley

    2 tbs Flour mixed with a little cold water

    4 large potatoes peeled and large chop
    a little milk

    Heat oil in a frying pan
    Add onions 
    Season with S & P
    Saute till soft

    Add carrots and celery
    Season again
    Saute about  4 minutes

    Meanwhile in another skillet
    Add oil to a hot pan
    Add 250 gms mince
    Season and break up with a fork and cook till brown

    Add to the vege
    Place everything into a saucepan
    Dissolve a stock cube in 2 cups boiling water
    Rinse out both pan with this stock and add to saucepan
    Bring to simmer and cook about 30 minutes

    Thicken with 3 tablespoon flour mixed with water to a thin paste
    Add to pot, bring back to simmer stirring all the time till it thickens
    Add a good dash of Worcestershire sauce and 2 good dashes on Tomato ketchup
    Add the chopped parsley

    Place in oven proof dish
    You may raise your eyebrow at using a hand beater to mash potatoes
    Delia (for people outside of the UK …Delia Smith is a Kitchen Goddess there) said so!!! and she should know
    It works really well

    Cook potatoes in boiling salted water
    Drain, put pot back on heat to dry the potatoes out
    add 2-3 tablespoons milk
    Let that come to the boil
    Remove from heat
    Using a hand beater ,whip up the potatoes and milk
    Till well mashed
    Add 2-3 good knobs of butter
    Transfer beater to a wood spoon
    and beat by hand
    Taste and season with salt and pepper
    Spread over Meat mixture
    Dot with a little extra butter

    Cook 30 minutes at 180C
    Voila Dinner is served
    Plus one for the freezer
    Now for a change of taste treat
    A Meat Sauce with an Italian flavour
    A Basic Sauce to pour over pasta
    Starts off the same way but turns into something quite different

    1 tablespoon Olive Oil
    1 onion peeled and finely chopped
    1 red pepper chopped
    1 stick celery chopped
    1 large clove of garlic peeled and smashed 

    2 tablespoons dried Oregano
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    1 tin chopped tomatoes (400 gms)

    1 teaspoon sugar

    1 tablespoon Olive oil
    250 gms Mince
    Slosh of wine about 100 mls

    Heat oil in a large deep frying pan
    Add onions season with S & P
    Saute till soft

    Add red pepper, garlic and celery
    Season again
    Saute about  4 minutes
    Add canned tomatoes, add water to the empty can
    about half full

    Tip that in too
    Add oregano and the sugar

    Meanwhile in another skillet
    Add oil to a hot pan
    Add 250 gms mince

    Season and break up and cook till brown
    Add wine to mince
    Let the alcohol vaporize off
    Should take about 3-4 minutes

    Add to the vege tomato mix
    Mix well
    Simmer for about 30 minutes
    It will become lovely and red, rich and thick
    Perfect over Pasta

    Transfer to a container
    In this case 2 containers, into the freezer
    2 meals there

    Thursday, February 16, 2017

    Golden Roast Chicken - Feta Brined

    I found this recipe on The NY Times Cooking Website
    Attributed to Melissa Clark
    Roast Chicken is popular with the Grandchildren, so I cooked it for them last night
    I served it  sitting on a bed of Rocket
    with crushed potatoes on the side
    It was very popular with the kids
    So tender, not a lot left
    Just a Carcass to make some chicken soup


        4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
        3 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
        1 3 1/2- to 4-pound whole chicken
        1 to 2 tablespoons cracked black pepper, to taste
        2 tablespoons dried Greek oregano
        2 large lemons
        ¼ cup olive oil, more as needed
        1 large bunch rocket or other sturdy salad greens, for serving


    The day before serving, combine 2 ounces feta, 
    2 teaspoons salt and 4 cups water in a blender and blend until smooth. 

    Put chicken in an extra-large resealable plastic bag or a container
    large enough to submerge chicken, and cover with the feta brine.
    Refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight.
    Before cooking, remove chicken from brine and transfer to a rack. (Discard brine.)
    Pat chicken dry with paper towels and allow to come to room temperature for 1 hour.
    In a small mixing bowl, combine remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 
    the pepper, the oregano and the zest of the lemons (about 1 tablespoon).
    Liberally cover chicken in herb mix and gently massage entire bird.
    Halve lemons and place 3 halves in cavity (save remaining half for serving).
    Using kitchen twine, tie legs together.

    Heat oven to 220C degrees.
    Place a large ovenproof skillet over high heat.
    Add oil and heat until it just smokes.
    Place chicken, breast-side up, in pan.
    Transfer entire pan to oven.
    Cook, basting once or twice, until juices run clear when chicken is pierced with a knife,
    50 to 60 minutes.
    Remove pan from oven, Place chicken on board to rest
    then stir remaining crumbled feta into juices in pan and stir well.
    Place the chicken  on a bed of greens,
    with feta-laced pan juices on top, drizzled with a little lemon juice from the reserved lemon half.

    Crushed Potatoes

    So so simple
    Just peel your potatoes
    Cook till tender in boiling salted water
    Smash with a good dollop of Olive Oil 

    Add some sliced basil

    Throw some extra basil on top to serve
    Make plenty...there was nothing left
    I should have made more

    Sunday, February 12, 2017

    Best Red Peppers - Stuff them with a Thai Fish Mousse - Perfect Appetizer

    It's my Son's birthday today and we are having Family Dinner
    I'm on  the "Befores"
    Of course, I am making the signature dish of Pizza Flavoured Pinwheels
    Click here  to get the recipe
    The Grandchildren love them
    However we need Grownup Food
    So going back I found this post from 2007

    I reckon this will make an excellent fish course
    So here we go
    I remember having a sort of fish mousse stuffed green pepper at Yum Char we loved them...they are delicious.
    So why not stuff red pepper halves with the a mixture for Thai Fish Cakes
    The fish cakes were from a recipe I had seen Rick Stein prepare.
    so I though I would adapt his recipe.
    A good one too. It's that Thai fish cake texture you are looking for almost a bit rubbery.

    Thai Stuffed Red Peppers

    6 red, or orange or yellow peppers or a combo

    500 gms meaty white fish cut into chunks
    1 tablespoon palm sugar
    1 chili chopped
    3 tablespoons coriander stalks and all,
    2-3 Kaffir lime leaves chopped
    Juice and zest of 1 lime
    1 big teaspoon Thai red curry paste
    2 tablespoons fish sauce
    1 egg

    Coconut Cream

    Put all of the ingredients into the food processor except for cream
    Whiz until it forms a paste
    Add some cream to thin it out a little (1-2 tablespoons)
    Take a spoonful and fry it in a little oil to make a little cake
    Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.
    Tasting pretty good
    Halve and core peppers
    Blanch in boiling water
    Drain on a rack to dry
    Drizzle with oil and massage it in
    Fill with mixture
    Place in an oiled baking tray
    Add ½ cup water
    Cover with foil and bake about 20 minutes at 200C
    You can make these early in the day and refrigerate
    Take out at least an hour before serving to bring to room temperature
    Cut into half and arrange on a platter and garnish with sliced basil and chopped coriander
    I was pleased with this dish.
    It’s quite filling so actually 1 quarter each is enough for hand around.

    Would make a good first course on a bed of dressed greens
    2 quarters each would do.
    Garnish with lime quarters
    Here's the Birthday Boy when he was small, over 40 years ago
    How did we all get to be so old?

    Wednesday, February 08, 2017

    Parmesan Chicken Casserole - Take the time out of Crumbing your Meat

    If you are on Facebook you may know of a page called Casserole Kitchen
    There are some fun, easy ideas.
    My grandchildren love Chicken or Veal Parmesan, it's a favourite 
    I found this method and it got the big 👍 from the kids
    So So Simple,
    Forget spending time, crumbing the chicken, just follow these simple instructions

    4 Chicken Breasts, butterflied
    1.5 cup Panko bread crumbs
    1 cup Parmesan cheese fresh grated
    1 cup Mozzarella
    3 tablespoons Parsley
    1 teaspoon Dried Oregano
    1/2 bunch Basil fresh chopped
    2.5 cups Marinara Sauce
    1.5 teaspoon Sea salt

    Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste

    In an large baking dish
    Spread Tomato Sauce and Basil evenly on the bottom,
     Then layer Mozzarella evenly on top
    Season both sides of Chicken with salt and pepper to taste,
    Then place evenly into pan over Mozzarella
    In a bowl mix Panko, Parmesan, Parsley, and Oregano. 
    Sprinkle evenly over Chicken 
    Then bake at 190 °C for 1 hour
    Serve and enjoy

    Tuesday, February 07, 2017

    Leftovers - Don't Waste Them - Make Frittata

    I had some roasted sweet potato and buttercup squash, leftover from dinner
    There was about a cup
    Cant throw it out, so
    What to do?
    Make Frittata,
    Heat oven to 180C

    To the leftover vege
    Just add a spring onion chopped
    3 Cherry tomatoes halved, seeded and chopped
    Parsley, chopped, about 1 tablespoon
    Plus a handful of cheese
    Toss all of this into 4 beaten eggs
    Season with Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
    Heat a pan with olive oil till just bubbling
    Add the mix
    Let it start to set on the bottom
    just a few seconds
    Into oven for 8 minutes
    Enough for 4 breakfasts for a young hungry man

    Keeps in the fridge for a couple of days and freezes well