Friday Food: Choctella Cupcakes

A choctella cupcakeThis week I had medical appointments every day except today, when I had a social appointment. There was a lot of sleeping in the afternoons. I started making the frozen caramel slice from the cover of the March Delicious, but I slightly lost the will to continue. Instead, I baked the incredibly quick and impressive Choctella Cupcakes from the March Taste Magazine.

I changed one thing: I only used 85g of butter and I substituted vegetable oil for the remaining 15g. The oil helps to keep the cake moist and gives a nice texture, while the butter adds flavour.

I know there are some people who do not like to use Nutella, as it contains palm oil. There are recipes to make your own Nutella: eg here and here. I don't eat chocolate so I don't eat Nutella, but I am conflicted. I bought another brand, Nutino, which rated a B on the Shop Ethical site.

Baking crisis averted. I can highly recommend this recipe. When I moved the cupcakes to the cooling rack I accidentally tore a little piece from the top of one and I ate it!! It was delicious and I thought a fingernail size piece wasn't going to hurt me!!!

 

Choctella Cupcakes       makes 12

  • 140g (2/3 cup, firmly packed) brown sugar
  • 100g butter, room temperature, cubed ( I used 85g  butter/15g oil)
  • 75g dark choc (I used 70%) chopped
  • 125ml (1/2 cup) water
  • 2 eggs
  • 150g (1 cup) self raising flour
  • 50g (1/3 cup) plain flour
  • 2 tbspn (40ml) cocoa, (I use Dutch processed)

To decorate

  • 240g (3/4 cup) choc-hazelnut spread
  • 300ml cream, whipped
  • 12 Ferrero Rocher chocolates ( hazelnut chocolate confections)
  • chocolate sprinkles or grated chocolate

 

Preheat the oven to 180*C/160*C fan-forced and line a muffin tin with 12 paper cases.

Everything but the dry

Put the sugar, butter (butter and oil), chocolate and water into a pan over a low-medium heat and stir for 2-3 minutes until smooth. I microwaved mine for 2 minutes on medium, stirring half way through. Cool slightly then add the eggs and whisk.

And the dry

Sift over the flours and cocoa and fold gently through.

Fill and bake

I used a 1/4-ish cup ice-cream scoop to fill the paper cases. The recipe filled the 12 cases perfectly. They should be about 3/4 full. Bake for 20 minutes. The cupcakes are cooked when a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Put them on a cooling rack straight away. When they are cool, swirl on some choc-hazelnut spread, dollop on some whipped cream, add a Ferrero Rocher and chocolate flakes. The cupcakes look, and taste, fabulous!!!

Choctella cupcake


Friday Food: Pineapple Coconut Cake Slice

Pineapple coconut cakeHow lucky we are, it was only 24*C today, so it was nice weather for baking. I chose to bake the March 2017 Better Homes & Garden Pineapple Coconut Cake Slice, which can also be **muffins. I shouldn't have used the blender part of my food processor. I really should have used the bowl, but after some poking and prodding (with the machine off I hasten to add) everything went swimmingly.

All the ingredients are added in turn and blended and then spread into the tin and baked. It is nice and easy. There is not much pineapple, just a 225g can, nevertheless it is very tasty. The cake really is a slice, quite thin, but you have a pleasing icing-to-cake ratio. The icing uses the juice drained from the tin of pineapple. I drizzled passionfruit over the top and its sharp tanginess contrasted well with the sweeter cake. Icing sugar mixture contains cornflour or something similar. It helps the icing to set more quickly, but it isn't gluten free. Pure icing sugar is, but it needs far more sifting.

The recipe says it takes an hour to cool after it is baked, but it took far less than that. The cake/slice serves 18, and I think this is an accurate estimation. I don't think this is a cake for keeping, it is a cake for eating right now, or in the immediate future. I have decided to think of it as the scone of cakes: it only takes 5 minutes to prepare and mine took 20 minutes to bake.

BH&G suggests several different toppings for the cake/slice: blueberries, toasted coconut chips, diced pineapple, passionfruit, mint leaves and edible flowers. The cake has a very delicate pineapple flavour, and I really enjoyed it. I did actually eat a piece from the stack in the photo because, (Sad!) the icing on top was spoiled by being stacked!!

**To turn the cake batter into muffins, use a 12-hole muffin tray and fill the paper cases 2/3 full and bake for 20 minutes.

 

Pineapple Coconut Cake Slice       serves 18

  • 225g can of pineapple pieces/slices in juice,
  • 125g unsalted butter, softened and cubed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 1/4 cup desiccated coconut, I used shredded coconut
  • 1 1/2 cups self-raising flour
  • 1 1/2 cups icing sugar mixture for the icing

 

Preheat the oven to 180*C and grease a 20 x 30cm tin and line it with baking paper. Drain the juice from the can of pineapple and set it aside, you will need 1/4 of a cup later on.

Pineapple butter eggs

Put the pineapple in the bowl of a food processor and puree, add the butter and eggs.

Sugar

Blend again and then add the sugar.

Coconut and flour

Almost done: add the coconut and pulse a few times and then finally the flour. Pulse gently. If the cake batter is worked too much it will become tough. If in any doubt, scrape the batter into a bowl and gently fold in the flour.

And bake

Spread the cake batter into the tin and smooth the top. Bake for 20-25 minutes. The cake is cooked when a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean, the cake comes away from the side of the tin, and the top is golden brown.

Cool in the tin for 15 minutes and then place on a rack until it is completely cold.

Icing

Add 1/4 cup of the drained pineapple juice to the icing sugar mixture and whisk until there are no lumps. I thought the icing was far too runny and added at least another 1/2 a cup of icing sugar. Here is where you can add further toppings, it's where I spooned on the passionfruit. Set aside for maybe 15 minutes for the icing to set.

And then ice

Cut into 18 pieces and eat with gusto.

Some pineapple coconut cake


Bedly Nightshade

And so it goes, every morning and every night: The Labradors play on the bed. Lorelai Gilmore feels so well that she is imbued with a new enthusiasm for play. And a biscuit as well, if possible. This is her "Hopeful Biscuit" face.

Gilly is thinking about a biscuit

The best new toy is a hair elastic: it stretches, it pings, it flies, it can make a noise- best toy ever. Tonight they played for most of the 100 minutes I was talking to MrsDrWho on the telephone about her first two days with her new class. They played with the hair elastic, a plastic cup and then the leg of the dinosaur toy. Hedy used to have the upper hand, but Gilly has learned her wily ways and gives as good as she gets. It does make the bed a dangerous place for people who don't want to have their stomachs bounced on unexpectedly, or find themselves staring at a Labrador's belly as their head lies on the pillow.

Hedy's new harness

I let Hedy Lamarr wear her new Walking Harness so I could take some photos. She loves to wear it, as you can see from her proud stance, she thinks it is a delight!! And she walks like a good girl on her lead, so it is a bonus all round.

Gilly's paddle pool play

Lorelai Gilmore has spent rather a lot of time in the paddle pool. The weather has been very humid for the last few days. I know it has not been 45*C, but here 19*C overnight with humidity is a heatwave for us. Gilly likes to dip, turnaround, maybe have a drink and then hop out. Her belly is still a little pink where her fur has not fully grown back yet.

Caramel biscuits

Last time we went to The Vet I took these Donna Hay Caramel Biscuits. They are sooo easy to make and use so few ingredients I am not sure why I haven't made them again.

Neil diamond and video chat hats 2017

I have finished two new hats: The Neil Diamond (Michele) and The Video Chat (Skyping Beanie) hats. Neil Diamond was finished in time for MrsDrWho's God-Daughter's birthday tea. The colour is not right, the grey is much nicer. The Video Chat Hat is an excellent pattern and though I look terrible in most hats, this one might be OK. It isn't for me, it is a hat to knit when I talk on the telephone with the headset on. I didn't have any short 3.25 KnitPro needles and so I cast on fewer stitches for the band with 4.5mm ends and then increased. It means the ribs don't line up from the band through to the hat. I must remember to get new needles.

New timtam flavours

There are four new flavours of TimTam biscuits, made in collaboration with Gelato Messina, which I must confess I have only vaguely heard of. Oh, when I clicked through I recognised some of their gelato cakes from MasterChef. I cannot comment on the flavours as I can't have chocolate, but I shall ask MrsDrWho about the : Salted Caramel & Vanilla, Black Forest, Choc Mint and Coconut & Lychee.

Bags 106 107

What a surprise!! Bags #106 and #107 for my friends MrsMauritius and Bella'sMum. We met about twenty-nine years ago and after we transferred to other schools we continued to catch up over the years. Now we are all retired and we had lunch in town on the first day of school. I am lucky to have such good friends. I made an Australian wild flower bag for MrsMauritus and a "dogs with hats on" bag for Bella'sMum. Bella is a black Labrador.

Hedy stole the zucchini

WeeJock and Bessie's Mum left a zucchini in a bag on the gate. Hedy hasn't had a lot of zucchini and last time she ate some she was sick. Apparently it wasn't the zucchini. I put it on the bench inside the back door, and then later on went outside to find Hedy Lamarr had stolen it!! It is very yummy. I rescued it and Gilly and Hedy had some later on with their dinner.

I must confess that I haven't done any posting. I have spent the better part of every day asleep over the last week. I think because it is cool, I did too much: three social outings in a row and then sewing and knitting and baking: all too much. And I have a slight niggle of a toothache. I have a dentist appointment next week, but I always worry. Dentists are so expensive and my teeth have suffered from all the drugs I have had to take to keep me alive: hmmm, good teeth or being alive?? No doubt it will be something hideously expensive. Still, I must look after my teeth and gums. They are a source of horrid germs, and germs and I don't get on.

I have no idea what I will be baking for Friday Food tomorrow. It will be much cooler, I am making a curry, and maybe something banana or the Better Homes & Gardens super quick and easy pineapple slice?? And it is 11pm so it is time all good (and naughty) Labradors were in bed............


Friday Food: Salmon and Pea Potato Patties

Salmon pea potato pattiesAnd so the end is here. Teachers officially go back to school on Monday and this is the last of the Lunch-box  recipes.  Once again, this is a really easy recipe, the most onerous part is peeling the potatoes. The potatoes should be floury and for mashing, not waxy. There are so many types of potatoes, but perhaps there is a helpful information label at your shop?? I swapped out tuna for salmon. I much prefer salmon and even if these aren't for me, I still prefer the smell of salmon. I left out the dill and added extra chives and parsley. This recipe allows you to change the ingredients to suit your taste: you could use sweet potato and maybe zucchini instead of peas.

Panko breadcrumbs are a Japanese style breadcrumb. We can buy Australian ones in our supermarkets, there are usually some in the Asian section too, but ordinary breadcrumbs are fine. You can make the patties right up to the panko breadcrumb stage and then freeze them for cooking later on, but they will also freeze once they are cooked. I like this, because you can take one out and defrost it in the microwave and heat it up. I like salmon patty on toast!! I used an ice-cream scoop to portion out the patties and I made 15 instead of 16. I suspect if I had been a little more careful I would have easily made 16.

There is a 30 minute wait while you refrigerate the patties. This is an important step, because the patties are less likely to fall apart when you fry them if they are very cold. I sometimes cheat and do 15 minutes in the freezer. They are delicious with a good squeeze of lemon juice, with or without tartare sauce.

 

Salmon and Pea Potato Patties     makes 15-16

 

  • 700-800g floury potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 425g can salmon in springwater, drained
  • 1/3 cup frozen peas
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
  • 2 tbspn chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tbspn chopped fresh dill
  • 2 teaspoons of lemon zest
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • 1/2 cup plain flour
  • 1 egg
  • salt and pepper
  • 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • extra virgin olive oil for shallow frying

NB: An Australian tablespoon is rather sensibly 40ml, or 4 teaspoons.

Potatoes

Peel and chop the potatoes into chunks. Put them in the saucepan and cover with cold water, and bring to the boil. Put the lid on, turn the heat down and cook for about 10 minutes, or until tender.

Boil and mash

Drain and return them to the hot pan, to dry the out as much as possible. Mash well and set aside until cold.

Combine it all

Meanwhile put the drained salmon, herbs, garlic and lemon zest in a large bowl. Mix together. Add the cold potato, egg and four and combine. Strangely, I have no photo of this, but I remember I used gloved hands to mix it all together and I suspect I just forgot.

Patties and breadcrumb

Form patties using a 1/3 cup measure or an ice-cream scoop. Shape and then toss in the panko breadcrumbs. There is no flour and egg wash and the crumbs stick well.

Refrigerate and fry

Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Heat the olive oil in a large fry pan over a medium heat and cook the patties in 3 or 4 batches for 4 minutes a side. They should be golden and heated right the way through. Drain on paper towel. Serve hot, warm or cold.

And so ends the Lunch-box recipe series:  Banana Apple and Muffin Yoghurt Slice, Broccoli Bacon and Zucchini Slice and Banana Coconut Nutella/Chocolate Bread. Happy Back To School!!!

Salmon pea and potato patties


Waffle On. Waffle Off.

There has been much socialising and, ergo, much sleeping ensued!! We walked at the dam this week, but we slept all day and all night. Twice. I think today we have caught up at last. Private school teachers are already back at work and State school teachers return next week, so there has been some determined catching up. MrsDrWho had a BBQ and I made Donna Hay ice-cream waffles. Oh they are so easy and look pretty fabulous. I made all three kinds:

  1. Raspberry and white chocolate ice-cream with raspberries from MrsReno's garden, dipped in dark chocolate and coconut.
  2. Mashed banana and peanut butter with vanilla ice-cream dipped in milk chocolate and pecans.
  3. Chocolate ice-cream with choc bits, a few pretzels and a smear of Nutella, dipped in nothing as they were chocolaty enough.

Waffle ice creams

I bought frozen waffles and filled them and froze them for two hours and then did the chocolate dipping. We had a little heatwave of 30*C so I didn't want to bake. I didn't taste any because I can't have chocolate, but the BBQ people said they were delicious. And as a bonus they keep in the freezer for ages if you don't eat them!!

The next night we went to the posh restaurant at the Casino and then on Sunday I had a long and leisurely brunch with Judy-May. I came over all faint and woozy as it was hot and she kindly reorganised the seating and I spent the bulk of the time over the air-conditioning vent, feeling soooo much better. How kind!!

Rey zippy pouch

I sewed a Rey Zippy pouch. I am a big Rey fan, Rey from Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

I have been buying material at The BlackSpot of Doomlight (TM) Their Christmas material is on sale for $2-50 a metre, or $1 if you buy the rest of the bolt and with member discount it comes down to 75 cents a metre. I may have been back three times. I did buy some material to make my Rey dress. Now it is home I am not sure it is right.

Rey and matching fabric

There was a better khaki colour but it was plain, and I always spill things on the bodices of my dresses. The Rey material has a tiny bit of green on her outfit, a bronze/khaki colour. I think I might wait and see if there is a better colour later on. This green will not go astray!!

Neil diamond hat one ball

I am racing against time to knit a hat. Today I suddenly remembered a vague promise to knit a hat for MrsDrWho's god-daughter, and it is her birthday tomorrow. We are so old that a god-daughter is perhaps thirty??!!

I need to knit 250 metres by tea time tomorrow. I have knitted a ball so far this afternoon. I've made this hat before, it is the Michele hat, and I have named this The Neil Diamond Hat and I am using Merino Magic 8ply from Heirloom. I am knitting as fast as I can. The slip stitch pattern is easy: one row K6 Slip 1, the next row just K to the end.

Labradors on our walk

Such good news for Lorelai Gilmore at the vet. Her results were excellent and from a starting point of 3 1/2 blue tablets every day, she is down to 1/4 of a tablet every second day, and an Imuran(sp?) every second day too. Dr Tim was very pleased and Gilly seems so happy, playful and normal again. The days have been delightfully cool, but sunny in the afternoons and so Gilly likes to lie on her cushion and soak up the warmth.

Gilly rests outside

Hedy Lamarr pulls like all get out when she walks on her lead so Dr Tim suggested a new harness. I don't have a picture, but as soon as she put it on, she walks like a good girl. MrsDrWho bought Hedy a rope toy for her birthday last week, and she loves to fetch it. I also think it is hefty enough to survive her sharp chewing teeth for quite a while. We are making Hedy work when she wants to play: she has to sit and not bark. She learned to sit in no time flat but she is contrary and barks if throwers are too slow for her. Sadly, that means she has to wait even longer.

Hedy and the rope toy

We haven't really done very much at all, what with all the sleeping and resting in bed. We are very grateful for the cool weather, it even rained this afternoon!! The poor people in Sydney have been suffering from the heat with the hottest month ever in January, but Cooma has had 36 straight days over 35*C. Now I must go back to the couch to watch The Weekly and knit, knit, knit......


Friday Food: Banana Coconut Nutella/Chocolate Bread

Banana coconut choc loafI am so tired. I have done too many things today, so thank goodness this Lunch-box loaf recipe, from the January Super Food Ideas, is so easy.  If you are going to freeze the loaf, don't swirl Nutella on top, instead sprinkle with dark choc chips. I decided I would swirl Nutella through the centre and sprinkle choc chips. It makes a huge loaf, which serves 10.

 

 

 

 

Banana Coconut Nutella/Chocolate Loaf     serves 10

  • 1 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 1 cup self-raising flour
  • 2 tspn ground cinnamon
  • 1 tspn bicarbonate of soda
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 over ripe bananas, mashed
  • 165ml canned coconut milk
  • 1/3 cup golden syrup
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup Nutella and/or 1/3 cup dark chop chips

 

Preheat oven to 180*C/160*C fan-forced. Grease a 7 x 9 x 25cm loaf tin and then line with two layers of baking paper.

Dry ingredients

Mix together the dry ingredients: flours, cinnamon, bicarb soda and sugar.

Wet ingredients

Whisk together the wet ingredients is a separate bowl or jug: mashed bananas, eggs, coconut milk, golden syrup and olive oil.

Combine wet and dry

Combine the wet and dry together, mixing well. I added half of the choc chips here.

Swirl nutella

Spoon half the batter into the tin, and I tap it on the bench to even it out. Dollop on the Nutella and swirl through.

And bake

Spoon the remaining batter over the top, smooth and level out. If you will not be freezing the loaf, swirl Nutella on top, if it will be frozen sprinkle on the rest of the choc chips and bake for 60-70 minutes. I tested at 60 minutes and it definitely needed the extra 10 minutes. It is cooked when a skewer poked into the centre comes out clean. Rest in the tin for 10 minutes and then turn out onto a rack to cool completely. I love the way the loaf looks with the Nutella swirled through the centre. I think this would be lovely warm from the oven, but great cold as well.

Banana coconut chocolate loaf


Rogue Won

There will be spoilers, so if you don't want to know what happens in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, don't click on that clicky link, and/or scroll way down to my review.

Last week I decided to give away the 100th shopping bag I sewed. And it is now 9-35pm on Tuesday 24th January and I am doing the draw right now. Hold on....

Bloss wins!!!

I wrote the names on pieces of paper, folded them twice, popped them in the hat, closed my eyes and drew out a name: Bloss has won!!! She will be able to take the 100th bag shopping!!

Oprah would be proud

But wait, there's more: you win a prize, and you win a prize, and you win a prize......

Oprah would be proud. I sewed some small buttoned pouches in my favourite, and pretty much trademark, green with a Labrador appliqu├ęd to the front and a nice green button that closes the pouch with an elastic loop. I hope you all enjoy some Labrador happiness. Thank you so much for your kind wishes for Gilly's birthday and the 100th bag. There are eight little pouches, I thought maybe no-one wanted the back end of Labradors walking away, so there are some repeats!! I will send an email anon to everyone. Can't promise it will be tonight.

Happy Hedy loves her walk

Happy Birthday Hedy Lamarr. Hedy is a big One Year Old Puppy Dog. She is so happy to be One!! Her little knees are dirty because she is such an enthusiastic stick fetcher that she skids on her knees when she comes close to it. How lovely it is to have two Labradors at our house, and it makes us very happy that they like to be together. I think, to be fair, there should be a give-away next week for Hedy's birthday too!!

Labrador afternoon naps

Gilly and Hedy ate their delicious birthday chew bones.

2017 Gilly's birthday chew bone

2017 Hedy's birthday chew bone

Lorelai Gilmore has been secretly spending time in Hedy's Little Box, which is what we call her crate. I came into the dining room and there was Gilly, looking very at home, if a little worried whether she should be there or not.

Gilly in the little box being worried

I am catching up on Christmas presents. I sewed a set of three Star Wars bags (102, 103, 104) for MrsDrWho, The gold is very gold, almost brassy and very striking.

102 103 104 Star Wars set

I knitted a Pussy Hat for me. It is green, it has two tiny stripes of pink near the top. I used some Vero for the ribbing and then couldn't find the other balls and had to buy some Kureyon for the body of the hat, hence the pink stripes. Of course this afternoon I found the rest of the Vero. The hat really makes cat's ears on your head, but I could only wear it for a few minutes because it has been hot. It was 30*C yesterday.

I shall try and be restrained and not go on and on about it. I am just very grateful to live here and mindful of the "First They Came.." poem. I must speak out if I can, and saying that I don't want to be annoying sounds hypocritical, but some people are not interested or it is not high on their agenda. I like to be aware of what is happening in politics, especially when it affects women and minority groups. I can't do very much, but I vote and I like to learn all I can.

Hats

The other hat, the Markedly Striped Hat, is for MrMadcage's birthday. It is the end of the Kureyon and some Rowan 10ply. I love that it looks like I have made a lot of striping effort, but it is just two rows of plain, one row of Kureyon until the crown, where they alternate - one row of each.

A present from Singapore for the fish

I fed MrsDrWho's mother's fish when she was away on holiday. There were nine when she left and nine when she came back: I am very proud of that. Sadly, now there are only seven. MrsDrWho's mum brought me back four metres of marvellous green fabric. It has a border on each side and it is light and airy. It will make a very cool Summer dress, which is my next project.

When it was 30*C yesterday we didn't know. After our walk we were so tired we slept till 2-23pm. When we woke up, the heat outside was terrible. Inside it was cooler, and The Labradors had the paddle pool for cooling down. MrsDrWho and I went to see Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. It was not in 3D, apparently we do not warrant 3D. Or Gold Class, even though they insist on showing all the happy Gold Class people all over the rest of the continent.

I was enthralled by the film the and the two and a half hours flew by. Also I cried at the end. Several times. It was a sad film, but war is hell and people die, even in the Star Wars Universe. I saw Star Wars, now called A New Hope Episode 4, when it was first released and this film takes place primarily a few days or weeks before Episode 4 begins. There is a lot of chopping and changing of setting and at first I had no idea what was happening, but all becomes a little clearer as the film progresses. The characters are all very interesting and there is a great diversity: human and non-human. I loved that the actors seemed to keep their natural accents, more or less: Ben Mendelsohn (Director Krennic) falls in and out of his Australian/generic world accent, as do others. I was chuffed to recognise at least two Australian actors.

The action is fast and furious and people die. Lots of people die. Many things are unexplained and maybe the stories will be fleshed out later on, or maybe they are told in some of the books. It did not matter. I am glad that the film ended the way it did, there is no more of their story to be told. But it is a worthy part of the Star wars Universe. MrsDrWho told me that there are fans who are disappointed or angry. I am neither. I love the film, maybe even a little more than The Force Awakens. There, I have said it. I like these side stories and I would like to see more, as well as The Last Jedi, which follows The Force Awakens.

It was not only a marvellous film, it also whiled away almost three hours in air-conditioned comfort. When we came out it was sultry and cooler and we had rain by 10pm. I want to see Rogue One again, it is on for another two days, I may be able to squeeze it in.

Tomorrow we are off to The Vet for Gilly's blood test. She seems well, and even a bit naughty, so fingers crossed her numbers are good. We also need to investigate a new lead for Hedy, who pulls like a train engine and it all strength and determination. And then lunch with MrsMadcage for her birthday. It will be a lovely day.

And now I am just pressing the Publish button and being damned. And spelling or grammar errors will have to wait for tomorrow to be fixed.


Friday Food: Broccoli, Bacon & Zucchini Slice

Broccoli and bacon sliceThis is the second in my Lunch-box series from the January 2017 Super Food Ideas magazine. This is so easy to make, and very tasty. I would pack a salad of tomatoes, cukes and maybe some carrot sticks to go with the slice. Once again, I baked in my very nice green 20 x 30cm slice tin. It is about 5cm high and the slice does rise a little.  I bought the vegetables specified in the recipe, but I prefer broccolini and maybe baby spinach or peas. You could omit the bacon and use ham, chicken or a tin of salmon.

We never really thought about refrigerating our lunches when I was at school, but when I was teaching I would have kept this in the fridge all morning. This can be served warm or cool, and it makes 15 generous pieces which will keep in the freezer ready for a lunch-box emergency!!

Nothing else to say really, it does need a little cooling time in the preparation and also after baking. Oh and I think I would add extra parsley sprinkled on top, because it makes it look more appetising. I like parsley with everything: I made Nigella's pasta snails with garlic butter yesterday and had lots of parsley in that!!

 

Broccoli, Bacon & Zucchini Slices   makes 15 serves

  • 125ml extra virgin olive oil, separated into 40ml and 85ml
  • 1 onion, finely chopped, I used a red onion
  • 4 rashers of bacon, trimmed and chopped
  • 1 head of broccoli, divided into little florets
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves, torn - or parsley!!
  • 3 zucchini, grated
  • 200-250g tasty cheese, grated
  • 1 1/2 cups self-raising flour
  • 8 eggs
  • 125ml milk
  • 100g feta cheese, crumbled
  • salt and pepper to taste

 

Preheat oven to 180C/160 fan-forced. Grease and line a 20 x 30 x 5cm high baking dish.

Saute

Heat the 40ml of olive oil over a medium-high heat and fry the onion and bacon for 5 minutes, until the onion softens. Add the broccoli and cook for another minute and the garlic and cook 1 minute more. Set aside to cool for 10-15 minutes.

Eggs milk oil

Whisk together the eggs, milk and remaining 85ml of olive oil. I added salt and pepper here.

Dry ingredients

I really need a large bowl, I ended up using my large square pan as a mixing bowl. Transfer the bacon mixture to a large bowl, along with the self-raising flour, grated zucchini, basil leaves and 1 1/2 cups of the grated tasty cheese. Mix well, I used my hands.

Combine wet and dry

Pour over the wet ingredients and mix thoroughly until well combined.

Top and bake

Pour into the baking dish, smooth the top and then sprinkle over the rest of the tasty cheese and the crumbled feta. Bake for 40 minutes, I left mine for 50 minutes by accident, so it is more than a little golden on the edges. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes and then it is ready to serve immediately, or cool and portion for freezing.

Broccoli bacon zucchini slice


The Truth, The Hole Truth.....

This is Gilly's life with Hedy

Sometimes this is what Life feels like: you are just sitting there, minding your own business, and suddenly.... Hedy!!! And not just Hedy Lamarr, but Hedy Lamarr woofing in your ear and being very annoying.  Poor Lorelai Gilmore, but every night when we go up to The Forbidden Zone to do a wee before bed, Gilly comes in the gate herself and back down the steps leaving Hedy trapped by the dastardly gate, and when I ask where Hedy is, Gilly wags her tail and runs up the steps to show me where the puppy is. Gilly is all wriggly and I give her lots of pats, even though Hedy tries to muscle in, and she is as pleased as punch with herself for rescuing Hedy.

Gilly cooling off

It has been cool, warm, humid, raining and cold today. In that order. Gilly took some time to drink the paddle pool. Since only 1% of our $900 yearly water bill is for actual water, I don't mind filling up the paddle pool for The Labradors. There is no incentive to be water conscious. We don't go overboard, but a Labrador can't drink murky water that's been paddle in by paws that have been who-knows-where.

Hedy ate too much

Hedy is handy, today she stood up on her back legs and chewed open the new bag of dry dog food that was on top of the freezer in the laundry, and I imagine she and Gilly stood under the hole while dog food poured into their mouths as if manna from heaven. I worked this out, Sherlock style, by observing Hedy's very round belly after dinner. Celery and carrot doth not a round belly make. She's too sated with food to move.

I have been doing jobs with money: new tyres and servicing the car. Thank goodness, all my worry about something leaking under the car was not needed. My rear shock absorbers (???) may need replacing but they are not urgent. Gilly has a new appointment at the vet and I need to make one at the dentist. We feel very happy that ominous tasks have been completed and turned out not to be so bad.

101 bag zippy chip

Look!! Shopping bag #101, with Christmas Koalas, because of course when you think of Christmas you think of koalas!! And a new zippy chip bag. I have remembered not to press the lining before I top-stitch the zip, because it slightly melts the plastic and it is never the same again, no matter how careful I am.

Face washers

I have been watching many and various things: the new series of Sherlock, Travelers (sp is American), Murder She Wrote (totally up to date) and The Librarians. I'm watching lots of other things like Fringe, The West Wing, Designated Survivor, Frequency, Shannara Chronicles, Enterprise, Taxi Brooklyn, The Delivery Man, The Wrong Mans(not a typo), Billions, Ray Donovan, iZombie, Younger: when the show starts to get a little bit frightening or I don't like the way it seems to be going I stop watching and change to something happy and good. Later on when I feel ready, I go back and start watching again.

Whilst watching many and varied things I have been indulging in a little more knitting. Small things so as not to make myself hot underneath them. Three face washers, because that's what we call them here, not facecloths, and the third leaf I managed to eke out of the teal cotton. I used Cottonwood 8ply and it is lovely to knit with, it doesn't make my fingers hurt.

Three colours....

The hydrangeas at the dam are looking beautiful: pink, blue and pale blue/lavender.

Hydrangeas

All the colours are on the one plant, though I think each flower is actually hundreds of tiny flowers.

Tomorrow I am going to make some more boozy fudge with Kirsch and dried cranberries, because I can't find dried cherries. We don't go for a walk on Wednesday so we can sleep in and maybe read in bed for a while. No-dog is going to need a big breakfast after The Incident in the Laundry!!! The weather forecast is for 21 and 20 until the weekend. I heard a scientist talking about heat stress on the ABC Radio a few weeks ago, and realised that what I experience in Summer is not just hating the hot weather but heat stress: headache, nausea, dizziness, irritability, thirst, weakness- but not heavy sweating. Apparently, some people do not experience heat stress and this is why they enjoy the hot weather. They just don't feel the effects of heat stress. I am happier knowing that what I am feeling is a proper thing, that I am not just a hot weather Moaning Myrtle. This Summer has been much cooler, with fewer consecutive days of very hot temperatures. The hottest day was 31.5*C, mostly it has been around 25, which is just right!!

 


Friday Food: Banana Yoghurt & Apple Muffin Slice

Banana apple sliceI am very lucky to be able to have whatever I want for my lunch. At noon I think about what I would like to eat and set about making it. Not so when I was teaching: you had to prepare lunch the night before. Not all schools have a canteen, so tasty and efficient-to-eat food is a must. Over the next four weeks I am baking lunch box treats: savoury and sweet. This recipe is from the January issue of Super Food Ideas magazine.

It is the simplest of recipes, just combine wet and dry with spoon, and very generous too. If you are doing the whole no sugar thing, it uses maple syrup. Of course maple syrup is a sugar and you could substitute brown sugar in the recipe. I "may" have gone slightly overboard with my maple syrup drizzling over the oats!!!

I accidentally bought coconut yoghurt, so I added two teaspoons of vanilla extract. I didn't peel the apple, I like the skin, and I diced it finely instead of grating.  I only used one banana, because it was huge. The slice will freeze well and otherwise should be kept in the refrigerator if your weather is warm.

This is a delicious and moreish slice. It is not overly sweet and I like the maple syrup flavour. I shall definitely make this again.

 

Banana Yoghurt & Apple Muffin Slice    makes 20 pieces

 

  • 2 1/2 cups wholemeal self-raising flour
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 3 tspn cinnamon
  • 1 tspn ground ginger
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup vanilla yoghurt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 over ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, grated or finely diced
  • 1/2 cup traditional rolled oats
  • 40ml maple syrup extra

 

Preheat the oven to 180*C/160*C fan-forced and grease and line a 20 x 30cm tin. Mine was about 5cm high and the slice didn't rise higher than that.

Dry ingredients

Whisk the the flours and spices together.

Wet ingredients

In another bowl mix the maple syrup, eggs, oil, yoghurt, milk,

Add the fruit

apple and banana.

Combine wet and dry

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and fold together until just combined.

Bake and cool

Pour the batter into the tray, smooth the top and sprinkle over the oats and drizzle with maple syrup. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes in the tin and then cover the cooling rack with baking paper and turn the slice out onto it, right side down. Allow to cool completely and then cut into slices. Eat right now, or put it in your lunch box!!

Banana yoghurt apple muffin slice