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August 2013
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October 2013

For Your Ice Only, Only For You.

I can't eat chocolate and so Onyi selflessly volunteered to test the Recipe to Riches chocolate fudge biscuits for me. I received this excellent review. Sadly, I couldn't work out how to make the review appear here along with the picture, so I used a photo I took at home instead. I am sorry I am a semi-Luddite Onyi!! I am not quite sure how that apostrophe works: Sweet Billie's whats???? She isn't owning anything really.

 

The  Sweet Billies were $6.99 for 4 large biscuits. They are fudgy brownies, 7cm in diameter with a yummy “frosting” in between. They had to be defrosted for one hour before we could eat them, it was hard to wait. I shared them with some colleagues for an end of term morning tea treat. Overall it seemed the males enjoyed them more than the females.

Sweet Billie's

The Wiz has been learning how to critique food and was able to describe his experience in detail. He felt trepidation at his first look, The Wiz expected sickliness. However, this was quickly replaced with joy at its lightness and that the chocolate flavour had not been skipped on. He wanted to keep eating it rather than put it in the bin as he’d expected to do. The sugar sprinkles gave a nice crunchy contrast to the softness of the biscuit. He was very disappointed I’d given the other three away rather than giving them to him.

 Captain Awesome described it as “Sex on legs! I would not hesitate to buy more.” He thought the price was absolutely worth it and they’d make a great dessert substitute with a cup of coffee after a meal.

 The Lovely Lunching Ladies, three older ladies ending up sharing one biscuit, they misunderstood and thought I’d baked it. They thought it was okay but a bit too rich. The frosting was the best part in their opinion.

 I thought they were quite nice but they had a bit of a weird after taste. I’m guessing it was to do with the additives that were in the factory version. I’d love to try the original non-factory created version as I am a big fan of home-made cakes and biscuits. I’m also keen to see if I can find a recipe for the apple pie dumplings that came second.

And on to other frozen treats: ice-creams that are a tad special that I can eat. They are coconut ice ice-creams. The vanilla ice-cream is coated with raspberry ice-cream and then dipped in coconut. They are small, eight to a packet, but moreish and The Labradors love them!!! Not that they are allowed to have one, but I let them lick the stick.

Ice cream
Yesterday (Saturday) was the football grand final, AFL, and there is always a party next door. Peri and Gilly went to the party all afternoon. There were no treats to be had, but when I looked for them, Gilly's ears said that if there had been treats and she would have eaten them regardless!!!

Gilly tells she's at the party
Peri peeped through the greenery at me. Her eyes look worried, she's a funny girl.

Peri football fan
Tasmania pays millions of dollars to Hawthorn to play a few games here each year and because they won, we are giving them an extra $300,000. I am very cross about the whole football money thing, becasue I think at least the $300,000 could go to nurses or police of teachers. But once again men's sport is king. I do understand the tourism and business benefits, but not the bonus.

Party pups
Today (Sunday) I finally got my sewing act together and made a toile for a new dress. I followed carefully the Craftsy Adjust the Bust class I bought and I think the bodice fits me very well. Except that the side seam is not sewn up. It's easier to get in and out of that way.

1652 and bodice
I made a toile and a half actually. Whether I am an Inverted Triangle shape (veering towards and Apple) or not, a gathered or pleated waist just doesn't seem right to me. I drafted a full circle skirt pattern and attached that to the bodice and I think it works. I MUST clean the mirror, but the second and third photos were taken at dusk. At every photo session I was ably assisted by Peri and Gilly.

Dress toile times 2

I think the whole dress sits better, even though I am holding the sides together. I think the length is not too bad either. Of course the material is not helping, but I think I am going with this style. I have a lot of the material I am thinking of using so I won't run out. I also want to make a petticoat to help the circle skirt be fuller. I found this tutorial, and I love the ribbon trim, it's my favourite part and I can have a green petticoat!!! I would like to point out that I am getting much braver with my photos, still won't show my face though.

I subscribe to Amy Herzog's newsletter and there was an invitation to be part of Custom Fit, where you input your measurements, and those of your tension square, and out pops a personal pattern for a cardigan or jumper. I am terrible now, if my iPad 'bings' after 7am I check my emails. IN BED. I know, it is very bad, but I am beastly careless. I am modern. I sent back my reply almost immediately as the email arrived after a little time had passed.

On The Ravelry people were posting to the thread about their number in the queue. I was very sad, as I didn't have a number. But wait, I read backwards and found out that if you didn't receive a number, then you are in the first 250 people. Excellent!! Of course that means I have to dedicatedly knit something....

OK, at this point last night my keyboard gave up the ghost. I tried to continue by cutting and pasting individual letters with my still-functioning mouse, but that was a Herculean task. I have a new keyboard and mouse now. Yay.

I am also one of the 10,000 founding members of the new Climate Council, replacing the organisation shut down by the new government. I feel happy about that. Happy and empowered.

Teachers are like vampires, they can't have lunch in the real world with real people in the Sun during term time. But it is the school holidays so I am catching up with friends. I am having lunch with Bella's Mum today. Our friend MrsMauritius is in Tuscany.

MrsDrWho has left Niagara Falls and is in Washinton. I begged for a photo of the Lincoln Memorial with apes from the end of Planet of the Apes 2001. No apes, but a photo anyway. I shall imagine apes....

Lincoln
And a photo of The White House from ID4. I am all about the blockbuster sci-fi films, and not government!! Washington is going into shut down so MrsDrWho and friends have to try and fit all their activities into one day.

ID4

Wow, that was an unexpectedly long post.

Weather-wise we are expecting 20*C, sun,wind, rain and then snow: four Seasons in one day.


Friday Food: Ginger Braised Beef with Pineapple

Bromelain is the enzyme in fresh pineapple that tenderises meat. It is the same thing that stops fresh pineapple jelly from setting. This recipe is from the free Coles magazine, and one of Curtis Stone's Feed your family for less than $10 meals. I am not going to think about the cost, but we have fresh pineapples in the shops, well as fresh as they can be after an aeroplane trip from Queensland, and pineapple recipes are popping up in all the cooking magazines.

This is a recipe UK TV cooks and chefs would love. They are always cooking things on the hob or gas or Aga and then popping them in the oven and finishing them off on the hob or gas or Aga.

Electric hotplates just don't work the same way, so I cooked first in my lovely frypan on the stove and then transferred everything to my large saucepan. My pans can go into the oven for temperatures up to 200*C, which is a bit of a bonus and a trap...Note to self: must remember that handle and lid will both be volcanically hot!! I was worried I would lose all the nice sticky dark flavoured bits from the bottom of the frying pan, but because the braise is simmered, I was able to loosen and transfer them.

I feel there is a lack of greens in this recipe, and when I eat the rest of the frozen portions I will wilt some baby spinach or stirfry some pak choy.

Other than that, this is deliciously easy and easily delicious. At the end you can add coriander. I dislike coriander intensely so I used parsley. Feel free to waft coriander about to your heart's content.

 

Ginger Braised Beef with Pineapple  serves 4

  • 500g chuck steak cut into 5x4cm chunks
  • salt and pepper to season
  • 40 ml olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped into 2cm dice
  • 4cm piece of ginger, grated
  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1/4 fresh pineapple, peeled, cored, cut into 3cm pieces
  • 1/4 cup Hoisin sauce
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 potato, cut into 2cm dice
  • long grain rice to accompany
  • parsley or coriander leaves

Preheat oven to 160*C or 140*C fan-forced

Heat a heavy based casserole or oven proof pan over a high heat and then add half the olive oil. Season the meat well and then cook in 2 or 3 batches. It is important that the meat is sautéed and doesn't stew in its own juices. Cook for 5 minutes or until well browned on each side.

Meeeeaaat
Add the remaining oil, the garlic, ginger and onion and cook for a few minutes more.

Add these
Stir in the Hoisin sauce, vinegar, water and stock.

Sauce and vinegar
Bring to a simmer, add the pineapple and stir well. Cover and cook in the oven for about 1 1/4 hours.

Pineapple and oven
You will know it is ready to remove from the oven when the meat easily falls apart when pulled.

Place onto a medium to low heat on the stove, add the potato and stir well. Simmer uncovered for 20-30 minutes. The potato should be tender and the sauce reduced and slightly thickened.

You say potato i say potato
Serve with the rice, remember to spoon over the sauce and sprinkle over some parsley or coriander.

Braised beef
This makes 4 generous serves and I think it does need some greens, and I'm not just saying that because green is my favourite colour. I genuinely like green vegetables!!!


But Moses Samosas Erroneously

I've been thinking about the Ant Halloween Costume I'm making for Wee MrSingapore. This is the ant I have to work with, it's from the Anthill iPad game. So far I've sewn a small cushion insert into the shape of the abdomen and made the red shapes.

Ant
I made two more blocks for my 2013 quilt. It is almost complete. I made two new blocks inspired by this quilt. It was a fabulous idea for using up all the ends of the fat quarters.

Last few blocks
And here's the quilt where I just placed blocks in a kind of pattern. I have to make another of the circle blocks in aqua and back my quarter fan in the pale green variegated fabric. I am also going to make the present from the Fat Quarter Decade The Halls quilt.

Quilt 2013 perhaps
I will have only five of the mainly aqua blocks, and that makes me happy, because it's one for each row. I am seriously thinking of making the lattices red. Red features quite prominently, and they will only be thin. Green and red are complementary colours after all.

Last week's winner for World Food on Recipe to Riches was Vegetable Samosas, 360g, 8 samosas for $5-99. They need to be heated in the oven for 15-20 minutes. They are nice and spicy, but a little dry. I would like a sauce with them. I'm not sure what, but they need something. Thus far, none of the products have cried out 'pick me, pick me, pick me'. Am I too spoiled and choosy???

Samosas
You can see that Peri and Gilly are the biggest stickybeaks ever. The lady who walks two other dogs had left the door of her truck open. I wasn't sure if it should be shut or not, but The Labradors gave it a thorough sniffing.

Sticky beaks
There was actually quite a lot of sniffing at the dam today. The GardyGardeners aren't coming tomorrow, so Peri and Gilly may have a special extra walk.

Smelly synchronicity
I bought a day dress at Coles from their Mix Apparel. It was only $19 and I had no idea if it would fit me or not, but it did. It is nice and cool and swirly. The stripes are lime, but they don't show up very well in the fading light and dirty mirror. I've been fiddling with a FBA for my new dress. I am waiting for the Craftsy tutor to answer my question about the weirdly shaped armhole.

Swirly dress, is really lime green Pattern

Yesterday was our Spring Equinox, but we've almost had a month of Spring. The weather has been very warm, 20*C, but we are expecting a cool change with rain. Of course we are, the white camellias are blooming.Camellias
Gene Kelly and Donald O'Connor!!!


Friday Food: Pizza (Pie)

Jamie Oliver has a new show. It is in response to many people who exclaimed that his recipes were too expensive to cook. I concur to some degree. We have seen three episodes of Save With Jamie and he has had recipes that are inexpensive, tasty and make lots of left overs. He also has a section that focuses on takeaways and how to save money.

In my never ending quest to conquer Yeast In Cooking I decided to try his Pizza Pie. Fear not, there is no pastry, it is rather a deeper dish pizza. I pretty much followed Jamie's recipe because I had all the herbs, but you could use whatever was on hand: BBQ chicken, salami, ham, bacon and a multitude of cheeses and herbs.

You really can make 4 pizzas with meat for about $12, well $11-65 in my case. This assumes you have some olive oil, salt and pepper, chilli, garlic and breadcrumbs, so let's say $14?? I expect most people would have these things. The sauce and sausages are divided amongst the 4 pizzas.

  • pizza and bread flour $3-50
  • 1 sachet of yeast 40 cents
  • tin of crushed tomatoes $1-65
  • mozzarella cheese $2-50
  • other cheese $1-00
  • red onion 30 cents
  • 350 of Italian pork sausages $2-30

I made my pizza without the pork sausages and I froze the three pieces of dough and left over sauce.I bought flour specifically labelled for bread and pizzas. It cost a little more, but it was just on the normal supermarket shelf. It has more protein I think, and so makes a better dough.

I have trouble finding a warm spot for dough to rise. I had a bit of a brainwave and I preheated the oven on Defrost and then turned it off and popped the dough in to rise. It worked like a dream!!!

This is a long and wandering post. Basically, the dough and sauce here makes enough for 4, but the cheese and onion is just for ONE.

 

Pizza (Pie)   One pizza serves 4-8 people, depending on the meal

  • 1kg bread/pizza flour
  • 1 tspn salt
  • 1 7g sachet dried yeast
  • 600ml tepid water
  • 2 tbspn olive oil (40ml)
  • 1 440g tin crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tspn dried oregano
  • 1 tspn brown sugar
  • dried chilli as desired
  • pinch of smoked paprika
  • 1 tspn crushed fennel seeds
  • 1/4 red onion thinly sliced into rings
  • 50-100g cheese: mozzarella, parmesan, cheddar etc
  • breadcrumbs of some description
  • extra olive oil

NB This is enough sauce and dough for 4 pizzas. The onion and cheese is just enough for ONE.

I know this recipe has a long list of herbs,but use whatever you have, or like. I keep my opened dry herbs and spices in a ziplock bag in a dark drawer because I usually buy bags rather than bottles.

I used my new easy grip 24cm Pyrex pie dish, which was on sale for $7!!!

To begin, pour the yeast into the water, and mix. Leave for a few minutes.

Yeast and flour
Put the flour and salt into a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Pour in the yeast water and 40ml of olive oil. Mix well with a fork and then use your hand to form a dough. Jamie put the yeasty water, olive oil, flour and salt into his food processor and used that to mix.

 

Dough knead rise
Knead for about 5 minutes until the dough is smooth.
Place in a bowl, cover with a cloth and leave to rise in a warm place for an hour. It should double in size.

The topping
While it is rising, make the sauce. You can use your food processor, but honestly, I just mixed everything together in a bowl: the crushed tomatoes, herbs and spices, garlic, brown sugar, salt and pepper.
I used the end of some Ashgrove tasty cheese which is for melting and I bought some baby bocconcini mozzarella. A small tub is $5 and I used 1/4 of the cheese, which was way too much.

Risen dough
When the dough is risen,  and look how well it rose,

One pizza of dough
knead lightly and divide into quarters. I used 1 quarter and froze the other 3. I did a pizza-y thing and made a disc of the dough and then held it up and used it like a steering wheel, and went round and round, holding onto the top, letting the weight of the dough make it larger. Just roll it out really!!

Dough in the dish
Use the extra olive oil to grease your pizza pie dish and sprinkle with breadcrumbs, or polenta maybe. This will give the pizza crispy base.

Press into the pie dish, making sure it comes up the sides and let it rise again for about 20 minutes.

Make and bake
Preheat the oven to 190*C. When the dough is risen spoon over 1/4 of the sauce, the cheese and onion and whatever else you fancy. Jamie used about 90 of pork sausage at this point. He squeezed them out of their skin and then popped small pieces of the meat filling in and around the other toppings.

You can prepare the other 3 pizzas up to this point and then freeze them.

Put the pizza in the oven for 15-20 minutes. The sides of the pizza dough will be risen and golden and crisp, but you can ease a flat knife under and check to see that the base is cooked. Let it cool for a few minutes. I know this because I could not contain myself and I ate a slice straight away and burnt the roof of my mouth and made a blister.

Pizza pie
And there you are, a home made pizza for about $4-00. You know what's in it, it is healthy and very tasty. I love that I have three more bases ready to go. If I had made the extra effort to prepare the other three pizzas, Jamie says they can be cooked from frozen, but the cooking time will be 50-60 minutes.

With a great salad, this would make a fabulous proper meal, but imagine feeding a horde of footy fans four pizzas!!! You could vary the toppings, and all for less than the cost of one takeaway pizza.


Rock Around The Block

I knew I shouldn't be cutting out patchwork blocks last night, but I felt the need to sew. I managed to cut out two blocks worth of shapes, and half of them were wrong. Then this morning in attempting to fix my mistake I made another. Oh dear!! By then I had had enough and so I just sewed two wrong pieces together, cut a correct one and sewed the block regardless of the extra seam.

The first block is what it is supposed to look like, and the second block is what I made. I always make two of each block, so I shall think of it as a variation on a theme.

Good and not so good
My cardigan is in a pile ready to sew up. There is a spare ball of wool for the bands. Now I just need to print out the relevant pattern pages and set to work.

Cardi I must finish
 I could not work out why Peri was Sandy's dad's best friend all of a sudden.

Peri's nose
Sometimes Sandy runs away and he won't come back. Unbeknownst to me, Sandy's dad had put some treats in his pocket to encourage Sandy to return. Peri knew. That's why she was extra friendly!!!

Peri's nose is clever
Eventually everyone else worked it out too.

Everybody wants a treat
When it was time to go home, we had an extra dog. Rafa thought he might come too. Gilly doesn't mind, but Peri looks surprised and a bit put out.

An extra dog
And some time later on.....

Seeing as I just slept the afternoon away, all my good cardigan-sewing-up intentions went up in snores. I daren't do it tonight after my block sewing fiasco. I shall pull out the Red socks instead, I have more faith in my knitting-at-night ability!!


And The Times They Aren't A-Changin'.

I have been feeling extra tired lately. I was wondering why. Then I took a moment to think about what I did yesterday:

  • walk The Labradors for 30-40 minutes, albeit slowly
  • make everyone breakfast
  • do a load of washing and hang it out
  • weed the garden for 15 minutes
  • potter about and tidy the spare room for 15 minutes
  • go grocery shopping
  • take some things to MrsDrWho's school for her
  • make tea for everyone
  • talk to my mum for  2 1/2 hours on the phone

No wonder I was so tired yesterday afternoon and last night. I am planning on taking things a lot easier today. I know that if I am feeling even a little bit well, and I am since my cold went away, I take the opportunity to tackle things that need to be done. I must stop that.

Gilly loves to play with Rafa. He has taught her sheep dog ways, and she stalks slowly towards him when they meet and then they both take off like the clappers. Peri is running back to me. Rafa tries to play with her, but Peri's not for playing on her walk.

Gilly Rafa Peri
So today I have walked The Labradors, made breakfast, read a book and played with my iPad. I like the Awakening games, and have played all that are available. Now I am waiting for #5. MrsSingapore has recommended Anthill. I am solving murders with Dana Knightstone in the meantime. Her game is made by the Awakenings people. I cooked a slice. I have made it before: this time I put half the amount of choc chips and used caramel flavour, made my own caramel, cut the marshmallows in half for the topping and only used 30g of chocolate instead of 70 for the drizzling.

Slice
MrsDrWho, MrsHouseOf, MrsReno, WeeJock and Bessie's Mum and The DressUp Lady are all winging their way to the US of A as I type. I am hoping for photos of aeroplane food. I love aeroplane food with all its little boxes and sachets and plastic wrapped cutlery. Maybe the food will even taste nice??

Peri continues to improve. It is a month today since her operation. With Dr Tim's approval I am rubbing Vitamin E cream on her scars, and on Gilly's belly because she can't miss out.

Peri one month on
Last week's Recipe to Riches winner was a smoked chilli and garlic sauce. It is not really very smoky at all, mainly chilli and garlic flavoured. It is quite hot which I don't mind, but probably isn't family friendly. I think the flavour of the home-style smoking was not carried through with the commercial smoking. 250ml of the sauce costs $4-99.

R2r week 3
On the organising front, I have organised my shoes. The most important thing is that I am making an extra big effort to put them away in the hanging shoe organiser. That way, I won't be hopping around the house in one shoe, unable to find its partner. I hope.

Shoe storage
I have pretty much exhausted the new green shoe supply in town. The second pair of Homyped shoes I ordered arrived last week in a lovely pale green with a leather flower. Now I just need an emerald pair of sandals with lowish heels. I have not given up hope!!

New shoes again
I bit the bullet today and cancelled my Delicious Magazine subscription. I never really cook anything out of it any more. It is more of a bedside table book. I can borrow it from The Library and I'll do that in future. I have all the issues up till now, I think I will donate them.

I am pleased to have made a start, however small, on my Spare Oom-soon to be Sewing Room. I really do want to sew two or three dresses while people are away on holiday. The forecast temperature for Thursday is 19*C and I was wearing my dresses last week when it was 13*C. I turned on the air-con in the car too.

Here's a happy picture of Peri Naughty and Miss Lorelai Gilmore. They are outside together eating grass and checking out the passersby right now.

Peri and Gilly are lovely
I can't help but comment on our newest Federal Cabinet: one woman in the nineteen person group.

It's as if the Liberal/Nation Coaltion won the election and whisked us back to the 1950s. If there truly are no women in their party able to take on a senior portfolio, shame on the parties.


Friday Food: Macaroni Cheese Pies

Nice, but weird: That's MrsDrWho's considered review of the macaroni and cheese 'hand' pies from the new Taste.com.au magazine. I agree, they are quite nice, but  like the rice and potato croquettes from Recipes to Riches, I'm not sure the mac'n'cheese belongs in a pastie. Because it is a pastie, not a pie.

These are quick to bake and would make a good weekend or school lunch. The 'pies' are also quite healthy, using reduced fat milk, hardly any cheese and short cut bacon. I circumvented this by using extra bacon, adding some Parmesan cheese and using real milk from a cow that lives 45 minutes away.

No fresh mozzarella was to be found in our supermarkets, so I bought some baby bocconcini and used those instead. I only needed 2.

I think most people would have the ingredients of the 'pies' (which in my mind I always say the same way as they do in Blackadder, for Mrs Miggin's Pie Shop) Or, you could just have macaroni cheese and bacon for lunch with a salad, which is what I did.

 

Mac'n'Cheese Hand Pies    serves 4

  • 1 cup dry macaroni pasta
  • 1 tspn olive oil
  • 5 shortcut bacon pieces, diced
  • 15g butter
  • 20g plain flour
  • 3/4 cup reduced fat milk
  • 35g or 1/3 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 4 sheets of puff pastry, partly thawed
  • 30g or 1/3 cup grated fresh mozzarella cheese
  • 1 egg, whisked

Preheat oven to 220*C (200 fan-forced) Grease and line two oven trays.

Cook the macaroni
Cook the pasta in salted boiling water according to the packet's instructions. Drain and set aside.

Cheese!!
Prepare the cheeses!!!

Bacon and roux
Heat the oil in a small saucepan and cook the bacon for 3-5 minutes, or until browned. Drain on kitchen paper.In the same saucepan, over a medium heat,  melt the butter and add the flour. Stir to combine and then cook so it sizzles for about 1 minute. This cooks out the floury taste. 

White sauce
I heat the milk in the microwave before I add it to the pan. It is a bechamel, or white, sauce and the butter and flour makes a roux. Off the heat, slowly add the milk and stir like crazy as you do. The aim is to stir out any lumps that might form. As more milk is added, you can pour more quickly.

Place back on the heat and stir until the sauce boils and thickens. You will know it is ready if you can draw a line across the pan with the spoon or spatula, and it stays there. But once it boils, it's ready.

Makin' mac and cheese
Add the grated cheese (I added extra Parmesan here), macaroni and bacon and stir to combine.

Pie
Cut 22cm circles from each sheet of pastry. It is a normal dinner plate, but anything that fits onto the pastry sheet works. Remember to remove the plastic backing!!! Sprinkle 1/4 of the mozzarella cheese on one half of the pastry, then 1/4 of the pasta mixture.

Baking the pies
Fold the pastry over to cover the filling and fold and pinch the edges together. Brush with the egg, and then bake for about 20 minutes. Swap and turn the trays half way through. The pastry should be nice and golden. And it is!!!

Mac and Cheese pie


Friday Food: Macaroni Cheese Pies

Nice, but weird: That's MrsDrWho's considered review of the macaroni and cheese 'hand' pies from the new Taste.com.au magazine. I agree, they are quite nice, but  like the rice and potato croquettes from Recipes to Riches, I'm not sure the mac'n'cheese belongs in a pastie. Because it is a pastie, not a pie.

These are quick to bake and would make a good weekend or school lunch. The 'pies' are also quite healthy, using reduced fat milk, hardly any cheese and short cut bacon. I circumvented this by using extra bacon, adding some Parmesan cheese and using real milk from a cow that lives 45 minutes away.

No fresh mozzarella was to be found in our supermarkets, so I bought some baby bocconcini and used those instead. I only needed 2.

I think most people would have the ingredients of the 'pies' (which in my mind I always say the same way as they do in Blackadder, for Mrs Miggin's Pie Shop) Or, you could just have macaroni cheese and bacon for lunch with a salad, which is what I did.

 

Mac'n'Cheese Hand Pies    serves 4

  • 1 cup dry macaroni pasta
  • 1 tspn olive oil
  • 5 shortcut bacon pieces, diced
  • 15g butter
  • 20g plain flour
  • 3/4 cup reduced fat milk
  • 35g or 1/3 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 4 sheets of puff pastry, partly thawed
  • 30g or 1/3 cup grated fresh mozzarella cheese
  • 1 egg, whisked

Preheat oven to 220*C (200 fan-forced) Grease and line two oven trays.

Cook the macaroni
Cook the pasta in salted boiling water according to the packet's instructions. Drain and set aside.

Cheese!!
Prepare the cheeses!!!

Bacon and roux
Heat the oil in a small saucepan and cook the bacon for 3-5 minutes, or until browned. Drain on kitchen paper.In the same saucepan, over a medium heat,  melt the butter and add the flour. Stir to combine and then cook so it sizzles for about 1 minute. This cooks out the floury taste. 

White sauce
I heat the milk in the microwave before I add it to the pan. It is a bechamel, or white, sauce and the butter and flour makes a roux. Off the heat, slowly add the milk and stir like crazy as you do. The aim is to stir out any lumps that might form. As more milk is added, you can pour more quickly.

Place back on the heat and stir until the sauce boils and thickens. You will know it is ready if you can draw a line across the pan with the spoon or spatula, and it stays there. But once it boils, it's ready.

Makin' mac and cheese
Add the grated cheese (I added extra Parmesan here), macaroni and bacon and stir to combine.

Pie
Cut 22cm circles from each sheet of pastry. It is a normal dinner plate, but anything that fits onto the pastry sheet works. Remember to remove the plastic backing!!! Sprinkle 1/4 of the mozzarella cheese on one half of the pastry, then 1/4 of the pasta mixture.

Baking the pies
Fold the pastry over to cover the filling and fold and pinch the edges together. Brush with the eggm, and then bake for about 20 minutes. Swap and turn the trays half way through. The pastry should be nice and golden. And it is!!!

Mac and Cheese pie


Chille Con Can't

Bah, I have a head cold and I am taking the pretend drug, which is all I can have, and sleeping a lot.

Peri and Gilly came to vote on Saturday. They are so cute!! We met another lady in the line who had a Black Labrador.

Labradors waiting worried
I wondered why they looked a little worried, until another person pointed out that there was a sausage sizzle at the othr end of the quadrangle. Peri was voting 1 for a sausage, and I bought one and they had the ends and the bread as a special treat.

Voting for a sausage
We sewed our last blocks for our quilt till after the school holidays. I just made templates for giant Drunkard's Path blocks and we made our own arrangements.

Drunkards path blocks
I bought new shoes: some Homyped sandals with jewels on top for only $50, which is a very good bargain, and some lovely lacy leather sandals.

New shoes
Peri is feeling very well, and loves being able to run freely on her walk. She likes the extra pats that she had as an invalid, so we're keeping that up. With cuddles thrown in as an extra bonus.

Peri well now
Lorelai Gilmore is being a bit naughty. She took the cake carrier off the bench outside, opened it, and ate the icing sugar that was left over from the cronuts I took to afternoon tea on Sunday. I forgot to take a picture of the cronuts until the end.

Cronuts again
Lorelai Gilmore is now a tad over excited from the sugar. She has also taken over the rolling in something smelly role when we go for a walk.

Gilly has taken over the grubby roll
Last week on Recipe to Riches the winner was Chille Con Carne. It cost $5-99 for 300g and there was a small tub of chilli and some corn chips. You defrosted the corn chips onthe bench while the chilli was in the microwave. The chilli itself was quite tasty, not too spicy for me, or too mild. There wasn't very much though. In reality it was more like a dip than a meal. To make a meal for a family you would need one for each person, some salad, tortillas, guacamole, sour cream and salsa.  It works out to $20 a kilo, and for just a few dollars more you could buy a kilo of beautiful local salmon. I wouldn't buy this again, mainly because of the price. The programme tonight is about condiments. I like a good condiment, so I am looking forward to it.

Chilli recipe to riches
Tomorow my car is off to be serviced, and then I plan to sleep again. I think I can sleep my way right through my cold.


Friday Food: Zucchini and Parmesan Frittata

Zucchini are cheap at the monment here, only $2 a kilo, so The Labradors and I are taking advantage. Today I cooked the zucchini frittata from Matt Preston's 100 Best Recipes book.

It is just some grating, a little slicing and some whisking and Bob's your uncle. Don't think, as I did, that the cheese has enough salt in it, I definitely needed to add some salt when I went to eat it. The notes in the recipe say that some feta would be nice added to the mix and I concur.

I used Philly's Cream for Cooking instead of thickened cream. My three zucchini made 600g of grated vegetable.

 

Zucchini and Parmesan Frittata   serves 6-8

  • 6 eggs
  • 250ml thickened cream
  • 60ml vegetable oil
  • 100g grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 spring onions, white part only, chopped
  • 1/2 cup mint leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves, chopped
  • zest of a lemon
  • 3 zucchini, grated
  • 1/2 cup plain flour
  • salt and pepper
  • extra zest of a lemon, 1/2 cup mint, small clove of garlic

Preheat oven to 190*C and line an oven-proof frypan or dish with baking paper.

Whisk the eggs, cream and oil together.

Add the grated cheese, spring onion, mint, basil and lemon zest.

Mixing
Mix well and add the grated zucchini and flour. Season with salt and pepper.

More mixing and cooking
Pour carefully into the pan and bake for 30-40 minutes or until firm and set.

Cool slightly before cutting.

Baked and gremolata
Serve with a gremolata made by mixing the zest of a lemon, 1/2 cup chopped mint and a small clove of garlic, grated.

I ate this warm, but it would be equally yummy piping hot, or cold the next day for lunch.

Zucchini frittata