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Monthly Archives: January 2007

Valentines Day Romantic Breakfast

Yeah I know.

We’ve barely gotten through Christmas and the New Year and already I’m talking about Valentines Day? Hey, if you think I’m bad, go and have wander down to your local supermarket and have a chat to them about the EASTER EGGS they’r

e filling the shelves with.

So anyway, back to Valentines Day. It’s approaching rapidly and for those of you lucky (or unlucky) enough to be in a relationship, it’s a great opportunity to do something special for your other half. You know, to show them, you, like, care and stuff.

You know the saying. The way to the heart is through the stomach. This is especially true for men and poor people. Could there be a way to lavish some attention upon your special Mr. or Mrs. than to cook them up a delicious, seductive breakfast and eat it together? Hell NO! Hey, you never know, you might be able to negotiate some morning hanky panky. Now that’s a great start to the day. Like I always say, you can thank me later.

Now the whole idea behind this romantic breakfast is requires a little planning. You don’t just casually roll out of bed at 11:45am, scratch your genitals and look in the pantry and hope you have something. No. You actually need to leave the house and go to the supermarket. You need to have money. To buy stuff. Like milk.

Decide before you go what you’re actually going to make. Now you can go as fancy-pants as you like or you can just be laid-back about it. A huge factor influencing what you decide to whip up is the season. If it’s the middle of summer, you’re likely to want a refreshing, fruity brekkie. In winter, however, it would be fantastic to serve up your smoked salmon scrambled eggs, baked beans and sourdough toast.

Now I’m assuming you’re going to do the breakfast in bed thing. If not, set the table nicely with a pretty tablecloth, clean napkins and a romantic centrepiece. Flowers are always a winner, but if you’re a tightarse, a decorative glass bowl of loveheart candy or pink M&Ms would be equally nice. Don’t do candles if you don’t want to look like a dick.

If you’re planning to enjoy the fruits of your labour in bed, then find an appropriate breakfast tray, pop some cute fresh flowers in a little bud vase or sprinkle with pink and white rose petals.

As for the food, there is no limit to the kinds of stuff you could make. You can put as much or as little effort into it. Some popular suggestions:

* Strawberries and cream

* Chocolate dipped strawberries

* Scrambled eggs on sourdough toast, crispy bacon and grilled tomatoes.

* Blueberry pikelets

* Croissants filled with ricotta, honey and raspberries.

* Bagels smeared with cream cheese and morello cherry preserve.

* Omelettes with a variety of fillings like smoked salmon, tomato and basil or ham and cheese.

* French toast drizzled with honey

* Pancakes with any kind of topping, whether it be chocolate fudge sauce, honey or fresh fruit.

* Fresh fruit salad with honey yoghurt.

* Sauteed mushies on thick cut sourdough toast with wilted spinach, grilled tomato and poached egg.

* Crepes

I’m getting hungry just thinking about it all.

 

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Posted by on January 16, 2007 in How To, Inspiration

 

Teriyaki Chicken Skewers with lime dipping sauce

Teriyaki Chicken DelishDinnersWith the Japanese cuisine explosion a few years, things like teriyaki, sushi and yaki soba, which had never been heard before suddenly became all the rage.

Now I know teriyaki has been done to death. Now we’ve all tried it and decided if we like it or not, the quest is on to find a fabulous teriyaki recipe.

If you’re the type of cook to pour your marinades out of a bottle, welcome to my world. However, occasionally, I like to be bold and try and impress my husband so he will buy me things.

This recipe was a hit last night. I suggest you give it a try next time you have your eye on a new pair of shoes that you want for your birthday.

The magic ingredient in this recipe is Mirin, which is a sweet rice Japanese cooking wine. If you cannot get Mirin, go for some sake mixed with sugar.

Ingredients for teriyaki sauce

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/2 cup Mirin

2 tbsp sugar

For skewers

4 chicken breasts, sliced lengthways, fat and junk removed

For dipping sauce

1/3 cup fresh lime juice

2 tsp lime zest, grated

1/3 cup toasted sesame oil (if you only have vegetable or olive, that will do)

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon sugar, to taste

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated

2 tbsp water

Method
Pour all ingredients in a pan.

Stir the mixture well.

Put the pan on low heat and simmer for a couple of minutes.

Remove from the heat and cool the mixture.

Store the sauce in a clean bottle in the fridge.

When you’re ready to use the sauce, pour it into a bowl.

Add sliced chicken breast and mix to coat thoroughly.

For best results, marinate, covered in the fridge overnight. However, if you’re time-poor, marinate for 30 minutes in the fridge prior to cooking.

Thread chicken onto skewers. Some people like to do this before they marinate. The choice is yours.

Cook skewers on a hot grill, turning occasionally until cooked through. The sugar in the sauce will cause it to caramelise, then burn quickly. You will have crunchy sweet black bits on the chicken, this is my favourite part!

To make the dipping sauce, mix all the ingredients together and that’s all there is to it! Enjoy!

 

Sultana Tea Cake

This is one of my all-time favourite recipes. It reminds me of the first every packet of cake-mix that I made. Back in the old days. *Sigh*.

Tea cake is classic. It’s light enough to enjoy with a cup of tea of coffee during your afternoon break and special enough to cut a slice and pop it in your loved one’s lunchbox and send them off to work.

The trick is soaking the sultanas in boiling hot tea. They soak up all that beautiful flavour and become all plump and juicy and delightfully delish.

I’ve decided to bake mine in a loaf tin because occasionally when nobody is looking, I like to cut a thick slice and smear it will naughty butter and eat it in secret. However you, being the more normal of the two of us, will probably like to bake it in a round springform pan or something like that.

Here is the recipe. It’s all over the place and measurements are very approximate. I was never good with measurements.

Ingredients

1 cup sultanas

8 oz of unsalted butter, room temperature (this works out to about 3/4 of the block you buy the unsalted butter in)

1 cup caster sugar or other fine sugar

1 tsp vanilla essence

2-3 eggs. You decide.

2 1/2 cups S.R flour

2 black tea or Earl Grey teabags

Pinch of salt. Not sure why, just do it.

Method

1.   Preheat your oven to 200 degrees C. In a heatproof bowl, pour in one cup of boiling water. Add two teabags, soak for three minutes and stir.

2.   Add sultanas to tea and allow to soak for about an hour if time permits. It not, ten minutes will do. Remove them from the tea, drain and allow them to dry on a flat surface.

3.    In a large bowl, use your special power blender thingy to cream the butter and sugar together. Add the vanilla essence, then the eggs, one at a time, mixing well in between each egg.

4.   Add the flour and salt to the sultanas. Toss them around so the sultanas are coated well. This will stop them from sinking straight to the bottom of the mixture.

5.   Mix flour mix with butter and egg mix. Stir until well combined.

6.   Pour your batter into a greased loaf pan lined with baking paper. Make sure the baking paper extends over the edges- this will help you lift out the cake later. (I separated my batter between two loaf pans because I felt they were overly full).

7.   Bake for 30-45 minutes depending on your oven. The cake is ready when it is a lovely golden colour and when you poke a skewer through the middle, it comes out clean.

8.   Leave it to cool in its tin before lifting it out. Don’t even attempt to move it or slice while still hot, it is extremely delicate.

This cake will store well in an airtight container for a few days after baking.

Enjoy!

 
 

Afternoon Tea is cool again

Haven’t you heard?

That’s right, afternoon tea is back in vogue.

It’s no longer for old fuddy duddies or Ladies Who Lunch.

Afternoon Tea technically never really went out of fashion, it’s just that people didn’t really have the time or the patience to spend the afternoon talking over freshly baked pastries, scones, tarts and hot tea and coffee.

Afternoon Tea had resurged in popularity as many people find it’s the perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon, meet up with the girls for an afternoon of gossiping and laughs or even as the theme of your bridal or baby shower. Why not throw one for your friends next weekend? Tell them it was my idea.

The big ritzy hotels in almost every city on earth offer fancypants Afternoon Teas complete with waiters in cute little gloves, brandishing fancy little tongs with which to serve up your scones and cookies.

Now there is a difference between afternoon tea and grabbing a quick afternoon snack. High Tea generally takes place at around 3pm in the afternoon. So what separates afternoon tea from a Quarter Pounder at McDonalds at 3pm? It’s the ritual, the tradition and the food.

Wherever you go, High Tea will always comprise the same basic rituals, foods and traditions.

It is usually set in sumptuous surroundings, whether that be a beautiful rose garden, an elegant ballroom in a hotel or a stately library in a beautiful home. A cozy living room will do the trick, as will a patio or deck during the summer months. To be frank, it doesn’t really matter where you do it, I mean, I’ve had afternoon tea on a cruise ship in the middle of the South Pacific, as long as the spaces gives off a certain feel of luxury, quiet and elegance.

Before you even consider the idea of throwing an impromptu afternoon tea gathering, make sure you have all the good stuff. A decent teapot (no Lipton tea bags hanging over the side of mugs, thankyou very much!), little serving jugs for milk and cream, a tiered goody serving thing or some really noice plate thingies to put yer grub on. No mugs. Nobody wants to pretend to be sophisticated whilst nibbling on cucumber sandwiches and sipping tea from your Dreamworld Tasmanian Devil mug. Okay?

Every afternoon tea will consist of scones, cookies, baked pastries, tea sandwiches, tarts, cakes and of course, lots of cups of perfectly brewed tea! Remeber, when considered what you’re going to make for your high tea, make sure it can be held with two fingers and isn’t too messy. This probably isn’t the right time to be showing off your skewering skills with satay chicken or serving up a hearty pudding. Keep it simple, keep it nibbly.

We’ve already talked about scones, so I’m assuming you’ve figured out how to make a decent batch. If not, drop everything, turn this computer off and get in the kitchen. Scones are the staple of afternoon tea, without it, afternoon tea is a fraud, kind of like the TomKat marriage.

Scones are best served warm, split in half and spread with lovely tarty jam and clotted cream. If you pull out that whipped stuff in a can, you’re going straight to hell. Don’t stop, don’t collect $200.

Buy some loose-leaf tea and learn how to make it correctly. The last thing you want is to invite all your people over and pour out some dirty dishwater into their teacups. Trust me, I’ve been there.

In my humble opinion, the sandwiches are the best part of afternoon tea. So many different varieties, all so deliciously scrumptious.

The general rule is to allow about 4-6 sandwich servings for each guest. Any more than that and you’ll be rolling them out the door with a wheelbarrow.

The whole idea behind the success of tea sandwiches is to get some good white bread. This isn’t the time for an Aldi 99c loaf of white. Go for the posh bread (you know, the one you buy when you know people are coming over, so you can display it prominently on your bench and hope they think you’re posh!) and DON’T, listen to me, DON’T use them bum ends. Who the hell eats those anyway? They’re the mould gates as far as I’m concerned.

Now I’ve done my research on tea sandwiches, aren’t you lucky. First of all, NO CRUSTS. But the trick is to cut the crusts off after you’ve filled the sandwich. Lop off the ends with a nice sharp knife- this keeps it all neat and good looking like the pictures you’ve drooled over seen.

I’ve also read that no matter what you are slapping in the middle of them, the bread slices should always be buttered. And that’s unsalted butter. If making in advance, the secret to avoid soggy bread is to spread the butter right to the ends of the bread. Don’t know if that’s true, that’s your homework.

Now if you’ve read this far, I’m assuming you know that you don’t just serve up a big fricken sandwich. These sandwiches are little. When they’re made, cut them in half diagonally. And then again.

Some interesting (and traditional) fillings for tea sandwiches:

  • Chicken Curry (chicken breast, celery, mayo, curry powder)
  • Cucumber (cucumber, der, alfalfa sprouts)
  • Egg (Hard boiled eggs, mayo, chopped dill)
  • Smoked Salmon (slices of smoked salmon, minced onion, capers, mayo, cucumber, dill)
  • Tuna and Cucumber (tuna flakes, diced cucumber, mayo and finely diced red onion)
  • Ham and Mustard (slices of honey leg ham with a lovely Dijon or wholegrain mustard, maybe even a slice of cheese)
  • Chicken and avocado (Cooked, diced chicken breast, mixed with mayo and avocado until a gluggy delicious mess)

Next, let’s focus on the sweets. Here, your options are endless.

Cookies are a great start. Choc-chip, lemon cookies, orange nut cookies, shortbreads, anything delicate and delectable is spot-on for a great afternoon tea.

Muffins and cupcakes are easy to buy if you can’t be arsed making them yourself. And they look so cool on those tiered tray thingies. Just make sure they’re decorated with all those pretty little things on top and you’ll be right.

Slices, mini – cakes, trifles, carrot cake, sponge cake, fruit cake, you name it, it’s on the table.

There you have it. Afternoon tea- yet another excuse to have another meal in the day!

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Posted by on January 14, 2007 in General, Inspiration

 

Crunchy fruit kebabs

This recipe is a bit weird at first glance, but the more I read it, the more I am certain that it’s fricken genius.

Some of you will have a husband kid who won’t do the whole cereal and fruit thing in the morning.

Maybe you were that kid who grew up and still can’t do the whole cereal and fruit thing. Maybe it’s laziness, maybe it’s because you know that fruit and cereal are healthy and you are subconsciously boycotting your body and your waistline?

This recipe is a lot of fun because you can use whatever fruit or cereal suits you. The whole idea is to put a spin on regular fruit skewers by coating the fruit in crunchy cereal or muesli  and then dipping in yummy vanilla and honey yoghurt.

Ingredients 

2 cups of your favourite cereal, crushed finely (cereals like cornflakes or muesli and any other cereals that would make a nice crunchy coating for the fruit are ideal)

2 apples, chopped into chunks

1 can of pineapple rings, cut into chunks

1 punnet strawberries, hulled and halved

2 bananas, cut into chunks

1 cup vanilla yoghurt

2 tsp honey

Method 

Place cereal in a bowl.

Dip chunks of fruit into cereal, making sure it’s coated well.

Thread chunks of fruit on to skewers. Eat this whilst running out the door, 15 minutes late for work or arrange decoratively on a platter if trying to impress.

In a separate bowl, mix vanilla yoghurt and honey until well combined. Serve alongside fruit kebabs.

Yummity yum.

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Mushrooms on sourdough toast

I happen to love mushrooms.

Not everyone shares my affection for the fungus, but there is nothing I adore more than yummy sauteed mushies on a slice of thick sourdough toast on a lazy Sunday morning.

You’ll enjoy this recipe if you’re a mushie lover, if not, then BUGGER OFF and grow some tastebuds!

This recipe is apparently intended to serve four people, after they eat throw up their hearty lettuce leaf dinner from the night before.

 

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon thyme leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 lemon, rind finely grated
  • 4 large flat mushrooms, stalks trimmed
  • 4 thick slices sourdough bread
  • 40g Boursin herbs and garlic cheese

 

Method

  1. Preheat grill on high heat. Combine oil, garlic, parsley, thyme, lemon rind and salt and pepper in a small bowl.
  2. Place mushrooms, stem-side down, on grill tray with bread. Brush mushrooms with herbed oil. Grill for 3 minutes.
  3. Turn mushrooms and toast over. Brush mushrooms with remaining herbed oil and crumble over cheese. Grill for further 3 to 4 minutes or until mushrooms are just cooked and bread is toasted. Season mushrooms with pepper. Serve on toast.

 

Source


Super Food Ideas – June 2006 , Page 27

Recipe by Julie Jansen

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Posted by on January 5, 2007 in Beautiful Brekkies

 

Falling off the cupcake bandwagon

Remember how I was enthused about cupcakes for like, five minutes, a while ago?

Well, after a costly trip to Coles, an assortment of piping bag tips and a vast array of coloured patty cases, I am officially OVER IT.

I’m not very good at baking at the best of times, which is why I usually bake when I’m depressed.

My husband knows that the moment he comes in and smells the aromas of something sweet baking in the oven, that something is UP.

Well, my attempt at becoming a cupcake goddess was pretty lame. I mean, the cupcakes themselves tasted good. I was very precise with all my measurements, for the first time, like, ever.

But my patty cases were a little too cheap  floppy and they sort of didn’t retain their nice round shape. And I didn’t put enough mixture into each case.

And then the icing. Oh boy. I just don’t want to talk about it.

Now I have all these bloody baking and icing supplies- but I doubt I will be getting back on the cupcake bandwagon in the near future.

You should have seen the way I iced these things. They were hideous.

 
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Posted by on January 5, 2007 in General

 
 
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