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Monthly Archives: September 2010

Mushroom, Rosemary & Feta Bruschetta

For a while, I had convinced myself that I loved winter- loved the cosiness and warmth of being tucked away indoors, enjoying rich, comforting food while it rained and looked miserable and overcast outside.

And then Spring came.

I was suddenly relishing in the sunshine and felt almost like I was betraying my love for the winter months. I felt like I had the heart of a cheater, coveting another one I had professed my love for another.

There is something so refreshing and renewing about the bright blue Spring skies, crisp air and warm sunshine that easily reminds you why it is the season of love, romance and new life.

It’s hard to be grumpy when you wake up to a dazzling clear blue sky and you hear the birds chirping away and kids playing in the street.

Yes, it’s very clichéd, but how could I continue to be mad at The Husband for deleting my iTunes playlists when he synced his iPhone on my computer, especially after the beautiful morning had lifted my spirits-against my wishes? He was saved by the bell this time. Or saved by the sunshine.

After I had realised it was impossible to be in a bad mood today, I set about making breakfast for us. We had a rolled parmesan omelettes, crispy bacon, roasted cherry tomatoes and this yummy bruschetta of mushrooms and rosemary and sprinkled with feta. Mmm, mmm!

For the first time in a long time, I feel refreshed, optimistic and bright. And it was all thanks to a little sunshine on a beautiful spring day.

Ingredients

  • 1 garlic clove, crushed/finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 4 slices sourdough or ciabatta bread, 1/2 inch thick
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped finely
  • 1 1/2 cups mushrooms, sliced (button, oyster and or or shiitake)
  • 2 tablespoons butter (or olive oil)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
  • salt and pepper

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Place slices of bread on a tray and drizzle with olive oil. Pop into the oven.
  2. In a hot pan, add olive oil or butter, garlic and onion, cooking until soft and fragrant. Add onion, mushrooms and rosemary and cook for approximately 8 minutes, until the mushrooms are soft and the onion is cooked through. Turn off the heat and stir parsley through. Season to taste.
  3. Remove bread from the oven once it is golden and looking delicious. Top with mushroom mixture, sprinkle with feta cheese and a lick of olive oil.
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Fluffy Pancakes with Walnuts & Maple Syrup

So, a certain someone celebrated their fourth wedding anniversary on Sunday.

Fourth. As in, four whole years.

I can’t help but feel like I have accomplished something great, in this day and age of quickie marriages and even quicker divorces. My husband and I have been together for almost 8 years and married for four of those and even though there have been times where I’ve contemplated where I would bury him and what I would spend his life insurance on (JOKING!), we really have weathered a lot of change, disasters, moments of happiness and have taken many of those momentous leaps into adulthood together.

Luckily for him, he also shares my appreciation for food, although generally he prefers his doused in a little more sugar than myself.  He loves sugar so much, that he has coined my nickname from his great love. Yes, he calls me Sugar. Let’s all go aww as well as pity him for being so creepy and lame.

So for our 4th anniversary, I had to make his absolute favourite brekkie to start the day- pancakes. You can’t go wrong with a good pancake stack, it was the least I could give him considering he bought me a Chanel handbag. LOL.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups self-raising flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/3 cup caster sugar
  • 25g butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
  • maple syrup, to serve
  • vanilla ice-cream, to serve

Method

  1. Whisk milk, egg and vanilla together in a jug. Sift flour and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl. Stir in sugar. Make a well in centre. Add milk mixture. Whisk until just combined.
  2. Heat a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Brush pan with butter. Using 1/4 cup mixture per pancake, cook 2 pancakes for 3 to 4 minutes or until bubbles appear on surface. Turn and cook for 3 minutes or until cooked through. Transfer to a plate. Cover loosely with foil to keep warm. Repeat with remaining mixture, brushing pan with butter between batches.
  3. Serve stacked with a bit of butter (if that’s your thang), top with toasted walnuts, maple syrup and vanilla ice cream.
 

Apple & Berry Crumble

Ingredients

Fruit

  • 1 (800 g) cans pie apples
  • 250 g frozen berries
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar

Crumble

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup traditional oats
  • 2/3 cup self raising flour
  • 1/4 cup desiccated coconut
  • 1/2 cup butter, chopped

Method

  1. Heat oven to 190c (350f).
  2. Butter an 8 cup ovenproof dish.
  3. Mix first three ingredients together and pour into dish.
  4. Mix topping ingredients together rubbing in the butter with your fingertips.
  5. Squeeze and rub the mixture between your fingers until you have clumps of mix.
  6. Spread the clumps of mix over the pie.
  7. Bake for about 30 minutes or until mix is bubbling around the edges of the topping and topping is golden brown.
  8. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes.
  9. Serve with cream or ice-cream.
 

Spiced Pineapple Toffee Cake

When I was younger, my family and I became great friends with our next door neighbours.
It was very Wisteria Lane, and by that I mean, very friendly and fun, except my mother wasn’t a redhead, wielding baskets of cookies and my neighbours were happy cheerful people from El Salvador, not homicidal people my mysterious pasts, hell-bent on revenge.
I used to spend a lot of time over at the neighbours’ home and as a result, spent many meal times sharing food with them around their tiny table in their cosy kitchen. Over the years, I tried pupusas and curtido, tamales and a wonderful time of pineapple cake/bread, the taste of which stays with me to this day and I often crave. I never did find out the name of it and many hours of scouring the web hasn’t turned up anything that was exactly the same as what I tried, but with this cake that I made recently, it replicated those flavours beautifully- a nice crumb with lovely sweetness and the warmth of the caramelised pineapple on top of the cake and a rich caramel/toffee to finish it off.
It was an experiment to see if I could replicate the flavours and I’m proud to say that it is as close as I will get after all these years.
If anyone out there happens to know the name of the pineapple cake/bread, feel free to post a comment…or even better, a recipe!
A few notes about this recipe: I used pineapple pieces because I didn’t have any rings on hand. I also reserved the juice from the can and used it instead of milk, which the original recipe called for. I also made an extra batch of the caramel/toffee in addition to the recipe to pour over the top as it didn’t come out caramelised enough on top for my liking.
Ingredients

Cake

  • 440g can pineapple thins in natural juice, drained
  • 125g butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp mixed spice
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups self-raising flour, sifted
  • 1/2 cup plain flour, sifted
  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice

Topping

  • 75g butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
Method
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C/160°C fan-forced. Grease a 6cm-deep, 22cm round (base) cake pan. Line base and side with baking paper.
  2. To make the topping, whisk butter and sugar together in a bowl until combined. Pour into prepared pan.
  3. Pat pineapple dry with paper towel. Arrange pineapple over caramel, pressing down into caramel. Using an electric mixer, beat butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition. Add flours and milk. Stir to combine. Spoon mixture over pineapple. Smooth top.
  4. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour or until a skewer inserted into the centre of cake comes out clean (cover loosely with foil if over-browning during cooking). Stand in pan for 10 minutes. Turn out upside down onto a plate and drizzle with extra caramel.

Recipe Inspiration

 
2 Comments

Posted by on September 13, 2010 in Devilish Desserts, Sinful snacks

 

Wild Mushroom & Leek Spring Rolls and Snow Pea Salad

Spring Rolls

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • Canola oil,  for frying
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 red chilli, seeds scooped out and finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup hoisin sauce
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 cup thinly sliced shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 cup thinly sliced assorted wild mushrooms
  • 1 large leek, white part only, washed and cut into strips
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1  packet of  spring roll wrappers
  • 1 egg, beaten

Method

  1. Pour sesame oil into hot wok, cook garlic, ginger, chilli, mushrooms and leek on med-low heat for about 5 minutes until soft and fragrant.
  2. Add the hoisin sauce, fish sauce and soy sauce to the pan and cook for a further few minutes. Remove from heat and set the mixture aside to cool. Season to taste.
  3. When the mixture has cooled, it’s time to start rolling the spring rolls. Lay a spring roll wrapper on a flat surface on an angle so it looks like a diamond. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the filling near the bottom corner of the wrapper and fold up to enclose the filling. Fold in the two sides. Paint the top seam of the wrapper with the beaten egg. Continue rolling up until nice and firm.
  4. Deep fry in a hot wok with canola oil, in batches, until golden and crispy. Drain on absorbent paper.
  5. Serve with a hoisin dipping sauce and snowpea salad.

Snow Pea Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 cup trimmed snow peas
  • 1 carrot, sliced into matchsticks
  • 1 red capsicum, sliced into strips
  • 1/2 spring onion, sliced finely
  • 1 red chilli, sliced finely
  • 1 stick celery, sliced
  • 1/2 cup vermicelli noodles, soaked in hot water and drained
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 3 tbsp sesame oil

Method

  1. Soak vermicelli noodles in boiling water until softened and translucent. Set aside in a colander to drain all liquid while you prepare the salad.
  2. Add 1 tbsp sesame oil to hot wok, stir fry snow peas for approximately 1 minute, remove from wok.
  3. Compile salad ingredients and add vermicelli noodles.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix vinegar, hoisin sauce, fish sauce and sesame oil. Mix well and pour over the salad. Toss to combine.
 
3 Comments

Posted by on September 10, 2010 in Delish Dinners, Luscious Lunches

 

Sticky Orange, Honey & Soy Glazed Chicken Drumsticks

Ingredients

  • 1kg chicken drumsticks
  • 3cm piece of fresh ginger
  • garlic cloves
  • 1/2 tsp orange zest
  • 2 tbsp orange juice
  • 1/2 tsp Chinese five spice
  • 1 red chili
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup mirin (or dry sherry)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce

Method

  1. Score the chicken drumsticks three to four times each with a sharp knife and place in a non-metallic bowl.
  2. Mix together all of the marinade ingredients and pour over the chicken. You could also do this by putting all of your drumsticks in a zip-lock bag and pouring the marinade in and massaging it with your hands. Whichever way you decide to do it, just ensure you leave to marinate for at least 2 hours, or overnight if you can, turning occasionally.
  3. Once it has marinated, place the chicken on the barbecue, cast-iron grill or frying pan medium heat and cook for about 20 minutes, brushing with any marinade left in the dish as it cooks. Alternatively, you can put it into the oven for about 30 minutes while you forget about it and busy yourself doing something else. Like blog-hunting.
  4. If you do decide to bake in the oven, pop them on a lined tray into a preheated oven at 200C, turning a few times. Pour spoonfuls of the marinade over the chicken, basting it until it’s all sticky and golden and there are crunchy little caramelised bits. You can then sprinkle with sesame seeds in the last few minutes of cooking.
  5. Serve with steamed rice and vegetables, or do what I do and enjoy them the next day while standing at the fridge when you think nobody is looking. Hehe!
 
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Posted by on September 10, 2010 in Delish Dinners, Luscious Lunches

 

Parmesan-Crusted Chicken

Who doesn’t love a good old fashioned schnitzel?

Over the years, I’ve tried weird and wonderful in my travels, restaurant hopping and recipe-scouring, but time after time, I find myself indulging in one of my favourite comfort foods, chicken schnitzel.

Everyone you talk to will tell you about their mother/grandmother/aunt/friend/cousin/lady who owns the local cafe and how they make The Best Schnitzel Ev-ah and they will carry on about that extra ingredient or that secret recipe.

Everyone likes to brag that their schnitzel is best. I remember early in our marriage, one of the first ‘silent treatments’ my husband got from me was when I overheard him on the phone praising his grandmother’s schnitzel as “the best schnitzel I’ve ever had”. Guess who didn’t get any ‘special cuddle time’ for a week! Ever since then, my schnitzel confidence was shaky at best.

In the last few years, I found myself looking for ways to introduce new flavours to the good old fashioned schnitzel and am proud to report that we enjoy this delicious parmesan-crusted chicken regularly. Other alternatives we also enjoy are having chopped herbs or pesto mixed in with the breadcrumbs, Moroccan seasoning, lemon rind and garlic mixed through the breadrumbs or ginger and sesame seeds for that extra crunch.

You can serve this with creamed spinach, steamed baby carrots and garlic mash or with a light, fresh and healthy salad.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup plain flour
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup dried multigrain breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 4 (125g each) chicken breasts, skin off
  • vegetable oil, for shallow frying
  • lemon wedges, to serve

Method

  1. Place flour on one plate, eggs in a shallow bowl and breadcrumbs, parmesan, parsley and salt and pepper on separate plate.
  2. Using a meat mallet, pound chicken breast to even, thin schnitzels. Lightly coat 1 schnitzel in flour, shaking off excess. Dip in egg then breadcrumb mixture and set aside. Repeat with remaining schnitzels, flour, egg and breadcrumb mixture.
  3. Pour oil into a large frying pan, enough to deep-fry the schnitzels. Heat over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium. Cook schnitzels for about 4 minutes each side or until golden. Drain on absorbent paper.
 
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Posted by on September 10, 2010 in Delish Dinners, Luscious Lunches

 

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