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February 2014

Friday Food: Ginger and Onion Wings

The New Modem has landed and we have lift off. This is the only thing resolved, but we are relieved to have The Wireless and The Broadband after sixteen days. You may remember last time there was an Internet Conniption I initiated my Five Word Blog Comment Attack Plan. I am instigating this plan again, so watch out for some pithy, concise comments over the next few days!!!

I know it was madness, madness I tell you, to turn the oven on when the temperature was going to top 30*C, but then perhaps I am a little mad??? Actually I bought the chicken wings fresh and I just wanted to use them up as my freezer is full and I have to somehow fit in the coconut ice cream I'm making tomorrow....

This is a Sarah Carey recipe and I have a cooking crush on her right now. The wings were 'delish' (her word) even without the flavouring and I must remember not to faff about with bits and bobs and just bake the wings and be damned.

Peri and Gilly were very happy because they had chicken wing tips in their dinner.

A win all round.

I made half the recipe, but it would be just as easy to double the full amount. You do need a blender or whizzing thingy, but the rest is easy-peasy.

 

Ginger & Spring Onion Wings      makes enough for 6???

  • 2kg of chicken wings- I like to buy mine from the nice we-have-happy-chickens place
  • a little vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 8 spring onions, top and tailed
  • 1/4 cup more of vegetable oil
  • 1 tspn of salt (she's mad about salt, I like less) and a little pepper. I'm a rebel.

 

Preheat the oven to 230*C, that's hot, but I followed the instructions and my oven is fan-forced and everything was fine.

If you are beastly careless, drizzle two oven trays with the 'a little vegetable oil', or if you are me, line the trays with thick foil and then drizzle with a little vegetable oil. Trim off the wing tip and cut the wings in half with a sharp knife. Put them on the tray, coat in the oil, add salt and pepper and bake for 35 minutes.

Wings and ginger

Peel and chop the ginger. I learned that the tip of a dessert or tablespoon is an excellent tool for peeling the ginger.

Spring onions

Top and tail the spring onions and chop into even lengths.

Put the onions, ginger, salt and 1/4 cup vegetable oil into the blender and blend until a smooth-ish paste. I added a little more oil as there wasn't really enough in the blender to blend well. Spoon into a large bowl and wait till the wings are ready.

Blend

After 35 minutes the wings should be crispy and you will want to eat them. Don't. Take them out of the oven and put them all into the bowl with the ginger and onion mixture. Mix well to coat. Then put them back into the oven, on just one tray, and bake for another 10 minutes. Or until the ginger and onion has crisped up a little.

Wing it

And now put them on a plate and eat them. You won't be able to resist. Pretty sure I burnt my tongue. These are so easy and really 'delish'. I love the fact that you can put them in the oven and walk away for half an hour and do anything you like. Go ahead and wing it!!!

Ginger and spring onion wings


Friday Food: Blueberry Ice Cream Slice

My internet is inter-mittent. I am wireless-less. It has taken nine days for my ISP to get back to me, after 14 requests for help, and now it will be at least another week before a new modem arrives. And no guarantee that the problem will be fixed. I was forced to Cry On The Phone with Anger. You can't complain to the TIO until your issue is not fixed. Not contacting a client is not 'not fixing' an issue per se. Sigh.

Anyway, continuing with last week's iced theme, today I made Donna Hay's Blueberry Crumble Ice Cream Slice from the Feb/March magazine.

It is a great make ahead dessert. I used some frozen organic blueberries and made half the recipe. I like that my ice cream layer was thicker. You could skip turning on the oven and gently simmer the berries. Any berries would do, and stone fruit too. I added some of my frozen lemon juice and extra zest because I like it.

The recipe calls for the ice cream to be beaten with an electric mix-master on low. I bought the ice cream, drove 8 minutes home with it in a cool bag, and popped in in the freezer while I made the base and started off the jam. I was able to spoon the ice cream out of the carton very easily. I think softening it in the refrigerator is much easier than using electric beaters.

That's it: short, sweet and Summery. And yummery!!

I am also desirous of making the other ice cream bars and slices:

  • apricot and blackberry
  • chocolate and caramel
  • raspberry ripple cheesecake
  • coconut and banana lamington
  • peanut butter and chocolate brownie and
  • apple strudel

I could just cook my way through the delicious sl-ice creams.

 

Blueberry Crumble Ice Cream Slice    serves 12

  • 250g fresh blueberries - I used frozen
  • 2/3 cup caster sugar
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 4 wide strips of lemon zest, made with a peeler
  • 2 1/4 cups sifted plain flour
  • 1 1/2 cups desiccated coconut
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 200g unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 litres of good vanilla ice cream

Preheat the oven to 160*C. Put the blueberries, 2/3 cup caster sugar, the lemon peel/zest and juice into a deep baking dish. (I used my new little enamel dish. I love it) Mix well and bake for 20-30 minutes. It should have reduced and have a jammy consistency. As my blueberries were frozen I drained off a little of the excess liquid. Set aside to cool completely. If you used the four strips of peel instead of grated lemon zest, remove it from the jam.

Jammy layer

Make the base and crumble topping by putting the remaining caster sugar, flour, coconut and melted butter into a bowl. Mix well with a fork. Press half into a 20 x 30cm slice tin lined with baking paper. Smooth with the back of a fork. Set the other half of the crumble aside.

Base and crumble

Now spoon over the softened ice cream. Use as much or as little as you like. Again smooth the top and then keep in the freezer until the blueberry layer is cold.

Base ically ice cream

Pour the cooled jammy layer over the ice cream and then sprinkle generously with the crumble-as much or as little as you like. Press gently into the jam layer. Refrigerate for at least 4-5 hours.

Jam and crumble

Overnight is best. Mine was perhaps not quite firmly set, but it was delicious and the jammy blueberry layer has a concentrated flavour so I like the extra thick ice cream to cut through the richness.

Blueberry crumble ice cream slice

I did try to make mine look like a little like the magazine photo!!

Magazine


Friday Food: Cheat's Iced Tea

It is as hot as Hades, too hot to cook. Today I boiled the kettle and made some Cheat's Iced Tea. Andrea put the idea into my head. We always seem to meet in the supermarket and have the nicest of chats!!

With this recipe, instead of making a syrup, you partially freeze lemonade and use that. Take care, our lemonade mostly comes in plastic bottles, but if you leave any full bottle in the freezer for too long it can explode or leak.

Next time I am going to make lemonade iceblocks and tea iceblocks and then I can add them to some fridge chilled lemonade for iced tea that is even more of a cheat.

I added lemon and mint, but you could use lime, orange, ginger, apple, pineapple: whatever you fancy. I think I'd like peppermint tea too. I made half the recipe because my brain was too hot to work out if the jug would hold a full batch- it would have. A 2 litre jug or container is perfect, I think that's 1 1/2 pints??

Instead of leaf tea, I used tea bags. It saved me the trouble of another step: having to strain the tea leaves out. I'm avoiding every extra effort. I chose Darjeeling, but any strong black tea would do- Orange Pekoe or Breakfast eg.

 

Iced Tea   makes 1.25 litres

  • 750 ml lemonade
  • 2 black tea bags
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • half a bunch of mint, finely sliced

Put the bottle of lemonade into the freezer for a couple of hours. It will depend on how cold and fast your freezer is. You want the lemonade to be slushy.

Half frozen lemonade

Meanwhile, add the teabags to the boiling water and let them steep for 5 minutes. Add the sliced lemon and chopped mint and cool, then refrigerate.

Tea

When the lemonade is slushy, pour 750ml into the tea mixture and mix well. Serve at once.

Add lemonade

The jug's spout stopped the lemon slices from pouring out so I just added a few to the drink afterwards. It is very refreshing and I may have added an extra squeeze or two of lemon juice.

Quick iced tea


Clear And Birthday Present Danger (Quite Safe)

Huzzah!! The Labradors' presents arrived today: The Cool Mats. They are quite heavy and amusingly covered in swimming pool print material!! At first Peri and Gilly were not sure about The Cool Mats. It did not take them long to work out what they were for!!!

Peri loves the cooly mat

Peri proceeded to loll about and be cooled, and then Gilly decided she wanted to be cool too.

Gilly on the cool mat

I am so pleased with The Cool Mats and if The Labradors aren't lying on them, I may be!!! I shall also be wearing The World's Most Unflattering Dress, well on me at least. And there will be no modelling pictures. Ever. But it is made of voile and it is as cool as all get out.

Wmud

The pattern is McCalls 6115 and I made View B. I found the voile at The BlackSpot of Doomlight (tm) for only $5 a metre and I used less than 2 metres. If there could be a more accident prone sewing project, I am yet to meet it. The dress was too long even though I folded out 5cm, so I leaned over and thought 15cm seemed right and cut that off the bottom. Oh dear, it made the dress into a top. I salvaged some of the leftover fabric and made a band to add to the bottom. Gilly likes to help me sew, whether I like it or not.

Gilly helps me sew

I shall never wear this outside the house, and so all the work on French seams and a facing instead of just turning the neck under is slightly wasted. Still, it is lovely to wear and the coolest item of clothing I own. It's going to be 38*C, or 100*F, on Wednesday. I think with The Cool Mats, my new dress and cold sprinklers and showers we may just make it through.

Last week I sewed with MrsDrWho's niece again. We used the good zipper foot and made a pencil case and then a simple shoulder bag. She's planning on making a hat next. I think she has the sewing bug.

More sewing

Peri and Gilly met Rafa and Jet on their walk and everyone shared some pup cakes. They were very popular!!

All the dogs

Peri is looking extremely cute at the moment. Everyone's hay fever has cleared up and we are feeling much better. Oh, and that's Rafa's tail. It is cool in the morning and Peri runs flat out: just running for fun.

Peri and rafa

Summer fruit is at its best right now and I bought some plump, juicy local cherries. None for The Labradors, I ate them all myself.

Local cherries

MrsDrWho has confirmed that the Spelt Chocolate Brownie was delicious. She didn't even know that it was made with spelt flour. It was just a yummy brownie. Good to know really.

I have a new sunshade for my car. It was on super special and only cost $5. No-one wanted the green one.

Sun shade

Th hot weather has forced us to stay inside and I have caught up on the fifty or so episodes of Deep Space 9 I had saved on my DVR: everyone talks quite slowly so I can watch it in one third fast forward. Today I watched season 3 of Luther. Tomorrow I might start The Good Guys, or maybe Star Trek: Into Darkness.

I know there are lots of people who love Summer, but I long for the coolness of Autumn. I don't want to wish my life away, but April is looking better every day!!!


Friday Food: Dark Chocolate Spelt Brownie

My Guilty Pleasure this year is the digital edition of Living (Martha Stewart) I am not a fan of Martha per se, but I do love the twiddly bits of craft and baking, the fussiness of detail and the theme-iness of it all. When I spotted spelt flour in the deli at the corner the stars aligned, and so I baked dark chocolate spelt brownies.

Spelt is an ancient grain related to wheat. It is not gluten free, but has a low GI. It is a strong flour and can be used to make bread. It was used from the Bronze Age until Medieval times. It has become popular of late (ie trendy) and I read it is good for flatbreads, so I may make Jamie's pizza pie dough. The spelt flour from the Callington Mill is organic and is not always available. It costs about $10 a kilo. Spelt absorbs more liquid than ordinary wheat flour, but I didn't find the mixture too dry.

Spelt

I made half the recipe and used my new tin, which was a gift from Linda in Michigan. She bought it at a jumble/garage sale affair. I love it!!! It is extra special and was made in Wisconsin.

I used spelt flour and Dutch cocoa. I had to use choc bits as I can't for the life of me remember where I hid the dark chocolate so The Labradors wouldn't find it if they broke through the baby gate into the kitchen- which they did last week. This is a one bowl brownie, so not much washing up either.

Dark Chocolate Spelt Brownies    makes 16 pieces

  • 125g unsalted butter, cut into large pieces
  • 170g 70% dark chocolate, chopped
  • 3/4 cup caster sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup Dutch cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tspn salt
  • 3/4 cup spelt flour

Preheat oven to 180*C or 350*F

Bring a saucepan half filled with water to the boil and then turn down to a simmer. Put the butter and chocolate into a heat-proof bowl and place over the simmering water. Allow to almost melt, stirring, and then remove from the heat and stir till smooth. Add the sugars and mix well.

Melt then sugar

Whisk in the eggs one at a time.

Add eggs

Add the cocoa powder, salt and then then fold in the spelt flour.

Cocoa salt flour

Grease and then line a 20cm/ 8 inch square tin. (I used my little bar tin for half the recipe, it is 7 x 3 inches) Spoon the mixture in.

Tin and baking

Bake for about 35 minutes, mine took a few minutes more. "Living" says it is baked when a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out with moist crumbs.

Done

Cool in the tin on a rack and cut into squares. It looks very moist and smells delicious, but I shall have to wait till MrsDrWho eats some and gives me her verdict.

  Spelt brownie


Happy Birthday, Sweet Seventeen!!

Yesterday Lorelai Gilmore turned 5 and tomorrow Peri turns 12 (That makes 17). They had a shared birthday today and I baked them some Pumpkin and Apple Pupcakes. Actually, they could be cupcakes for people. I used my new bag of spelt flour. Peri closed her eyes and made a wish:

Wishing a birthday wish

And then magically their birthday cupcakes were ready to eat!!!

Birthday wish answered

They could hardly wait to wolf them down.

Labradors love pup cakes

We had a lovely birthday walk this morning. The weather is starting to heat up: 28, 28, 29, 28, 33, 35 for the next six days. I hope The Labradors' cool mats arrive before they melt. I may have to commandeer the mats before I melt too!!!

 

 I can't believe Gilly is 5, but I can believe even less that Peri is 12. I still think of her as the naughty little pup who destroyed the cane washing basket!!! What a good big girl she is now, and a good big sister to Gilly. Gilly has turned out rather well too!!!

I helped MrsDrWho's niece sew her first skirt. We chose the pattern and the material one day and then on Monday we cut it out and sewed it in one fell swoop. It looks great and fits perfectly!! She is a bit of a natural when it comes to sewing. Tomorrow we are sewing a penciil case so I can show her how the zipper foot works, and maybe a simple bag. We'll see how I cope with the heat.

Strawberry skirt

It is a simple pattern with just a yoke and four panels for the skirt: Simplicity 2609. I think she likes it, as she wore it out into the world where real people could see her.

This week has been busy: blood tests, a specialist appointment, High Tea with my Knitting friends, an accidental vegan platter (the new waitress meant to order vegetarian) with MrsDrWho's sister and children and WeeJock and Besse's mum, and tomorrow I have the exercise physiologist. I shall need a long cool nap at the weekend.

I plan to make some roti and a nice curry for my tea and then perhaps an early night would be sensible?  I do have to think about what I shall cook for the first Friday Food of 2014. I have the new BH&G magazine, so maybe inspiration will strike?

Oh I made a snowglobe ornament:

Snowglobe ornament

and young MrDutch made Narnia in an upside down bottle for his mum- complete with working lamp post. How cool is that???

Narnia in a bottle


Year: Comes The Sun And I Say It's All Right.

It is all right too. I made it through last year to this year: a feat in itself I think. I went out to New Year's Eve tea with MrsDrWho and her family and had steak on a hot rock. I know we all have the hot slab of rock purely for the amusement factor.

Nye dinner

We heard the fireworks when I got home and then we went to bed at 10pm. We then slept twenty hours out of the next twenty six. I was really tired and well, The Labradors are trained to nap. Let's just say they were really ready for their Thursday walk!!!

Labby New Year

Poor Peri and Gilly, and me, have hay fever. I looked on Gilly's ointment (still in date) and last year she had the same thing on 9th of January. So I am anointing them pre breakfast and dinner so they don't lick the ointment off. And we are having regular face wiping to remove any pollen or yucky things from their faces. Thank goodness for fragrance and soap free baby wipes.

Over the last few days I have been doing some Thank You baking for the Vet and other places I frequent with helpful, friendly and kind people.  There is no Friday Food this week so I will put some links under the photos if you need some inspiration.

Treats

From top left in a clockwise fashion:

  • Plum Pudding Shortbread - add cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg to shortbread, brush with egg-whites and sprinkle with demerara sugar. I have the recipe in a little pullout book from BH&G.
  • Fruit Mince Cupcakes- use a plain cupcake recipe and add a jar of fruit mince. I made a red fondant snowflake for the top!!

I used my very cute Christmas cello bags and made Labrador tags and tied them with ribbon.

More treats

I left one at The Library. The Librarians were busy so I just left it on the counter. I didn't sign my name, but they know me well and when I came home there was a lovely email. They are great detectives!!!

I have been sewing some bags: a patchwork-ish knitting bag for my mum and two grocery bags with Christmas owls and cats. I sewed a few more but forgot to take photos.

Bags I've sewn

The weather has been wild and windy down South, but here is has been a bit windy and coolish. The bedroom has been the coolest place. I often look for Peri and find her in one of two places: in the full Sun, panting and hot, or in the dark, cool bedroom fast asleep. The forecast for the next week is deliciously cool, 18*C which is so nice. I saw on the News tonight that we had six straight days of above 30*C temperatures in March. So I am not counting my chickens.

I have decided that this year I am saving up to buy an air conditioner for the bedroom. We can pretty much camp there for days on end if the weather is hot and Peri finds the heat of a night especially trying. I have used some of my Christmas money to buy The Labradors a cooling mat each. There is only one in stock so I am waiting for there to be two, so no-one misses out and is jealous.

Tomorrow I am going to The Harvest Market with MrsDrWho's Niece and then we are shopping for a skirt pattern and material. I decided to break the Sew a Skirt activity into two parts, so we'll cut out and sew the skirt on Monday. I haven't sewed my reindeer dress, but there is a whole year left to do that and I will wear a Christmas Reindeer dress any time, not just at Christmas.

The Labradors and I wish everyone a Happy New Year!!!