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March 2016
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May 2016

Friday Food: No Bake TimTam Slice

SliceI bought the Better Homes and Gardens June 2016 magazine purely for the almost free doughnut tin- it was an extra 50 cents added onto the price of the magazine. I do have one somewhere,  but it was for smaller doughnuts. There is an extra doughnut recipe book, and I plan to make some of the special Doggie Treat doughnuts for The Labradors.  I have stopped buying magazines as I can access them all on my Ipad through the Zinio For Libraries App. They are always there to download and best of all: free! I take screenshots of the recipes I like.

This is all by means of a segue to Friday Food: Choc-espresso Martini slice. Arnott's have brought out more weird and wonderfully flavoured TimTams, and when I say flavoured, I do mean flavoured: there is no actual peanut butter in the Peanut Butter TimTams, no actual banana in the Choc-Banana, no Espresso Martinis in the Espresso Martini Biscuits either. There is some coffee powder and coffee bean, that's something at least.

Timtam weird flavours

You could use any flavour TimTam, or I think any biscuit of the same ilk. Maybe Mint Slice would be good?? There are 9 biscuits in a packet, so the recipe uses 18 in all- 330g. There is no baking, a little heating of chocolate and waiting about while the slice chills in the fridge. It is very easy, and apart from TimTams, the ingredients are basic pantry items. I can't taste it, but what could go wrong with TimTams and even more chocolate???

NB Rather sensibly, an Australian tablespoon is 20ml, or 4 teaspoons

 

No Bake TimTam Slice      makes 24 pieces

  • 2 packets of Espresso Martini TimTams or 330g of a substitute
  • 50g butter, melted
  • 2 1/2 cups pure icing sugar, sifted
  • 2 tbspn (40ml) milk
  • 2 tbspn (40ml) vegetable oil
  • 2 tspn cocoa powder
  • 100g dark chocolate, melted. I used 150g.

 

Grease and then line the base and sides of a 20cm square cake tin with baking paper.

Crumb the biscuits

Using a food processor, pulse the biscuits until they are fine crumbs.

Add butter, refrigerate

Pour into a bowl, add the melted butter and mix thoroughly until all the crumbs are buttery. Press into the tin evenly. I put a piece of baking paper on top and then smooth with a small plastic container. Refrigerate for an hour, or pop in the freezer for half an hour!!

Make the filling

Meanwhile make the filling. Put the sifted icing sugar into a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Add the milk and oil and sift in the cocoa. Mix well so no streaks of white remain.

  Spread the filling               

Take the chilled base out of the fridge and spoon the filling over it. The recipe says to: Spread paste evenly over cooled base using your hands. Well, I found that a spoon dipped in a cup of boiling water did the job quite well thank you BH&G. Refrigerate for another 10 minutes.

Melt chocolate

Melt the chocolate in any way you like, I usually microwave mine in 30 second bursts and stir well in between. I always like the chocolate to be not quite melted and the stirring makes it smooth. It only took 1 minute. I used 150g of dark chocolate as that was what was in the bag, and I do think that is was easier to spread the greater amount over the chilled base: it cools the chocolate as you work.

Top with chocolate

Pour the chocolate over the filling and smooth, or make lines. I like lines. Refrigerate again for an hour and then cut into 24 pieces, they say long thin pieces, using a hot sharp knife. As you can see, straight from the fridge the chocolate shattered no matter how hot or sharp my knife was. It might be worth adding a little oil, coconut oil or copha to the chocolate to stop this happening.

Cracked slice

It will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 5 days.

Timtam slice


Read It And Sleep

Time has just slipped away, and we are almost two thirds of the way through Autumn. Gilly enjoys Autumn.

Autumn gilly

I've been poorly with a cold which turned into a sinus infection, which may (or may not) be gone. Hedy was being a puppy, which required quite a lot of effort, so thank goodness for Lorelai Gilmore. She is A Shining Star of obedience, companionship and puppy-wrangling. Quite a lot of my conversations lately begin with:"I was going to, but then the puppy came."

Lorelai Gilmore and Hedy Lamarr went to visit The GardyGardeners. Hedy tipped out the water bowl twice, and almost chewed the vacuum cleaner.

Visiting gardygardeners

They could run and play in the garden and Hedy loved the large giraffe ornament. Gilly was exhausted before we even went home.

Gilly exhausted

Hedy was exhausted when we came home, and slept with her ears arranged through The Crate.

Hedy exhausted

We went to The Vet to be weighed and Hedy is 8.7kg, so growing nicely. We saw Dr Malcolm and he said she was a cracker of a puppy, and she walked on her lead very nicely. The weather is very warm for Autumn and so there is a lot of playing in the paddle pool, especially after a ride in the car.

Gilly, Hedy and the hose

And this happens:

Two muddy girls

Hedy Lamarr has ears that remind me of Sister Betrille in The Flying Nun.

Hedy ears and mud

Well, apart from Labrador-ing, nothing much else has been happening. I sewed some new shopping bags. I have started numbering them, but I didn't keep a proper record with the photos, but I am about to sew #80.

Bags 767

I sewed the Cat bag for a kind lady at the knitting shop. The cupcake bag was for The Bakers and their new shop. The material was the closest thing to a baking theme I had. I ate the most delicious rhubarb and custard pastry from their shop.

Rhubarb and custard pastries

The apple bag was for The GardyGardeners and I sent The Labrador bag to a far away friend. I only have a little of The Peri & Gilly material left, so I shall have to print some Gilly & Hedy soon.

Bags 789

Hedy started as all The Dogs have, and as she means to go on: helping with the photos.

Hedy starts as she means to go on

Lorelai Gilmore enjoys her walks with her friends, Rafa and Sandy. Most of the time they do parallel play, but at other times,

Ready steady

this happens.

Go

Thank goodness Hedy is able to look after herself a bit more. When I am poorly and spend the day in bed she has to fend for herself with Gilly. I have been doing a lot of reading, I discovered some Georgette Heyer-lite books by M C Beaton and so I have been devouring them as quickly as they come from The Library.

Tonight we are doing Sewing, but with no actual sewing. I am making some apple pastries and not having a glass of bubbly, because I am taking pretend cold and flu tablets.

I do like to try and answer all my comments. It is not a chore and I know it is not a "should", so I shall work my way slowly through them. I appreciate all the lovely comments on my blog. The blogs I read?? Well everyone could have won the lottery and moved to France with a film star as far as I know. I shall slowly catch up on that as well!!!

I think we might have time for a nap before tea time. Actually, there's always time for a nap!!


Friday Food: Sausage and Apple Traybake

S&a bakeIt was a lucky moment last week when I thought to organise an extra Friday Food, because I have been extra poorly this week, and had to go to the doctor and have antibiotics. I thought I felt a little better today, but then this afternoon I had a bit of a relapse. Gilly is with me, and Hedy is somewhere else wreaking havoc, but there is a recipe, so all's well that ends well!!

This Sausage and Apple Traybake recipe is from the May Taste magazine is a complete meal, and it is very Autumnal. It is also a very user friendly recipe with just one pan for browning and one tray for the oven. It can be frozen and then finished off at a later date in the oven as well.

I used the little pork chipolata sausages from Coles. They are delicious and have very little fat, so they don't spit at you from the pan. I bought the sourdough at my knitting friend's new shop in town: how cool is that??! I was able to buy fennel at the supermarket too, and apple cider at the bottle shop next door. My how times have changed. I especially like the way the crispy sage leaves and sourdough bread worked so well with the pork sausages and the apple. It is a perfect combination of ingredients. I do think it makes very decent serves: I made half the recipe but that still meant 8 little sausages per person. I think if you were serving four people, it would even out nicely and there might be leftovers too.

NB  An Australian tablespoon is, sensibly, 20ml.

 

Sausage and Apple Traybake          Serves 4 generously

  • 20ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 1kg good quality pork sausages
  • 1 large leek, pale and white parts thinly sliced
  • 1 large or 2 small fennel bulbs, thinly sliced
  • 50g butter
  • 1 1/2 tbspn plain flour
  • 330ml bottle of apple cider, or unsweetened apple juice
  • 125ml chicken stock
  • 300g small sweet potatoes, cut into wedges
  • 2 red apples, sliced thinly crosswise into discs
  • 1/4 cup fresh sage leaves
  • 100g sourdough bread, coarsely torn

 

Preheat the oven to 180*C/160*C fan-forced.

Tiny sausages

Heat half the oil in a heavy based fry pan on a medium-high heat. Cook the sausages, in batches, for about 5 minutes or until they are golden brown. Place into a large baking dish or tray.

Vegetables

Reduce the heat to medium and add the rest of the oil and then the sliced leek and fennel. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes and then add to the baking tray with the sausages.

Saucy sauce

Melt 20g of the batter in the same pan and when it is foaming, add the plain flour and cook, stirring well, for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and slowly add the combined cider and stock. Add a slosh at a time, then whisk or stir vigorously and thoroughly until it is all combined. Repeat until all the liquid has been incorporated and then return to the heat and bring to the boil. I make a lot of roux type sauces and so I always chance my hand and add the liquid straight over the heat: I like to cook dangerously!!

Oven ready

Strew the apple slices and the sweet potato wedges over the baking tray and then pour over the sauce. I did this the other way around. It still worked perfectly well.

Cover with foil

Cover the tray with foil and bake for 30 minutes, or until the wedges are tender.  Just before you remove the tray from the oven, melt the remaining butter in the pan over a medium heat and fry the sage leaves for a minute until they are crisp. Remove them to drain on paper towel or I used a clean kitchen cloth. Add the sourdough bread and cook, stirring, for a minute and add to the sage leaves.

Sage and sourdough

Now, remove the tray from the over, scatter over the torn sourdough bread and pop back in the oven for another 15 minutes or so, until it is crunchy and golden. Sprinkle over the sage leaves and it is ready to serve.

The bake

The traybake can be frozen after the first 30 minutes of baking in the oven.  Up to a month later, when you are ready to dine, heat the oven to 180*C/160*C fan-forced, cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes, then add the torn sourdough and bake for 15 minutes more and then add the sage.

S and a traybake


Friday Food: Caramel Choc ANZAC Slice

ANZAC sliceThis month's Better Homes & Gardens magazine has what they call an "Aussie" slice on the cover. It's your basic chocolate caramel slice, but with an ANZAC biscuit style base. It is very easy to make, and keeps for a week in an airtight container. I am not really a big fan of fiddling about with the classic ANZAC biscuit, but an ANZAC inspired slice seems perfectly fine!!! I have baked the two classic types of ANZAC biscuits before: I am in the With Coconut camp.

 I often double the caramel layer, but I made it exactly to the recipe, though to be true to my recipe disobedience, I threw a few odds and ends of chocolate into the melting pot so it is probably a thicker layer. I am definitely not in favour of drizzling caramel and chocolate topping over the slice when it is served. All I can think of is icky fingers clouding my enjoyment : if I could eat the slice. Actually, if I left off the chocolate, oh or used white chocolate, I could eat that.

BH&G slice

The ingredients are pretty standard for an Australian kitchen, and desiccated coconut could be used in place of the shredded, which I bought especially. It looks as if there are so many steps to this recipe, but it's actually not that bad, so don't be daunted!! I think the most difficult thing is waiting for the slice to set for six hours, or overnight. I cheated and put it in the freezer so I could cut a piece to photograph.

 

Caramel Choc ANZAC Slice     makes 24 pieces

For the base

  • 3/4 cup rolled oats (not instant)
  • 3/4 cup plain flour
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 75g butter, cubed
  • 1 tbspn (20ml) golden syrup
  • 1/2 tspn bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tbspn (20ml) boiling water

For the caramel filling

  • 50g butter, cubed
  • 1/4 cup golden syrup
  • 395g can of sweetened condensed milk

For the chocolate topping

  • 200g chocolate melt buttons, melted

 

Grease and line with baking paper the base and sides of a 20 x 30 cm tin. Preheat the oven to 160*C.

Dry ingredients

To make the base, combine the oats, flour, brown sugar and coconut in a large bowl. Mix thoroughly so there are no lumps or clumps. Make a well in the centre.

Melting for the base

Put the butter and golden syrup into a small saucepan over a low heat and stir until it is melted. Bring to the simmer. While you are waiting, put the bicarb soda in a small container and boil the kettle. When the butter and golden syrup is simmering, remove it from the heat.

Adding the bicarb

Combine the bicarb soda and boiling water and pour it in. It will foam up. It shouldn't foam too high. I stirred it a little to make sure it was well mixed.

Add wet to dry

Pour this into the well of the dry ingredients and stir until it is a damp and crumbly mixture. Tip into the lined tin and then press down firmly and evenly with the back of a spoon. Bake for 20 minutes, it should be light golden. Set aside to cool for 5 minutes. It will be going back in the oven anon.

Bake the base

Use this 5 minutes to make the caramel layer. Put the butter and golden syrup back into the same saucepan, and over a high heat, stir until the butter is melted. Bring to the boil and cook for 1 minute.

Caramel melting

Reduce the heat to medium and pour in the condensed milk. Cook for 4 minutes, stirring vigorously, and it should still be simmering. The caramel will darken and thicken. Make sure to stir with a pattern that covers as much of the base of the saucepan as you can, so the caramel doesn't have the opportunity to stick.

Caramel condensed milk

Spread the caramel over the base and put it back in the oven for 10-15 minutes. The recipe says 10, I felt mine needed 15. Now the oven can be turned off, and set the slice aside to cool for 30 minutes, or until the surface of the caramel is hardened and not sticky to the touch.

Caramel layer baked

Melt the chocolate in the microwave in 30 second bursts, stirring in between. Mine needed 2 minutes in all, and I always take it out just before it is fully melted and stir until it is smooth.

Chocolate melted

Pour the chocolate over the caramel and then tilt the pan to cover the caramel completely.

Add the chocolate topping

Refrigerate for at least 6 hours, or overnight. Cut into pieces, a hot sharp knife is handy, and keep and left overs (Ha!!) in an airtight container, in the fridge if it is warm where you live.

Anzac choc caramel slice


Friday Food: Upright Pasta Pie

Rigatoni pasta pieI am not exactly sure of the correct name, but I have seen these pasta pies everywhere in Internet Cooking-land. I guess it is a kind of lasagne or pastisto, but with little columns of pasta to fill, rather than sheets of pasta to layer.

There were so many recipes I was overwhelmed so I just kind of made it up as I went along. I expect everyone has their go-to pasta sauce, and that's the one I used. I make my bolognaise sauce with garlic, onion and a little chilli. Of course it can be with, or without, meat.

You need a pasta sauce of some kind, made with about 500g of mince and passata or tomato pasta sauce, some large rigatoni pasta, various cheeses and some eggs. It is a bit of a novelty and looks rather spiffing when you serve it up.

I admit, there is some patience involved, when you stand every piece of pasta upright in the springform tin, but it is worth the effort. The pasta is boiled until it is 2 or 3 minutes away from being ready,  so it is easy to handle and stand up straight. You don't want it wobbly!! Instead of piping or pushing the filling into the pasta, I found if I spread it on top and then tapped the tin on the bench, the filling sank into the pasta. It was easy to see the individual pasta tubes that needed more sauce and I just spooned some on top, and tapped the springform tin on the bench again, until all of the sauce was used up.

It tastes good piping hot, warm, or cold. It reheats well in the microwave and wraps up well to transport. All you need is a simple salad and some crusty bread and you have a great lunch. Or, if you are me, you have it squooshed on toast for breakfast!!

 

Pasta Pie     serves 4-8

  • one quantity of pasta sauce, using 500g mince and 500-750 passata
  • 500g rigatoni pasta mine was about 4cm long and 1 cm in diameter
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese

 

Heat the oven to 180*c and line a springform tin with baking paper on the base and sides. I greased it a little to help the paper stick. I also turn the base upside down. It is a little trickier to close the tin around the base, but it gives a level surface instead of one with a lip.

You need this to start

Mix the ricotta cheese with the eggs. I found I needed 2 1/2 eggs, but the mixture needs to be soft enough to fill the pasta.

Ricotta and eggs

Boil the pasta for 2-3 minutes less than the time recommended and drain well. In a large bowl, mix the pasta and the grated Parmesan cheese. Then starting at the outside, stand each piece of pasta upright in ever decreasing concentric circles. The Parmesan cheese helps the pasta stick together. Spread the ricotta mixture over the pasta and then tap the tin, and continue to do this until all the ricotta mixture is used up.

Upright pasta and ricotta

Then do the same with the pasta sauce, and then top the pasta pie with the grated cheddar cheese.

Pasta sauce and cheese

Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the pie is hot all the way through and the cheese on top is golden and melted.

And it is done

Cool in the tin for about 10 minutes, then remove the springform sides,

The pasta pie
and cut wedges and serve.

Slice of pasta pie


When I Say I Love You, You Say You Better, You Better, You Better, You: Vet.

By the time it was Monday, I decided that we had gone way past the point of Friday Food, and so we gave it a miss. I have an annoying small cold, and we've had a few days in bed. The weather has been blissfully cool in the evenings and nicely warm during the day. I am apparently doing an amazing and death-defying trick when I wear my Star Wars dress without a cardigan!!! I can't work out how to make the self-timer on my new camera work, so I shall have to rely on a real person to take a photo of my Equinox Cardigan for me. I am knitting a scarf. I'm using some Debbie Bliss Rialto Luxury Sock wool. It is a tad splitty, but is knitting up nicely as a scarf. I admit I threw caution to the wind and bought a simple pattern that I should have been able to work out for myself, but I have Puppy Brian Brain (sigh), so I gave myself leave to do it.

The Rialto 2016

I cried off Sewing this last week of school, but I did buy six new Fat Quarters from Esme's for my Star BOM. Mrs Madcage bought me the four fabrics on the left from Central Australia and I just wanted some more. I need about fifteen Fat Quarters in all. The star blocks are all discrete so it doesn't matter that the greens are not all exactly matching. I like them, and that is all that matters.

Quilt fabric

Gilly and Hedy went to The Vet for Hedy to be vaccinated. Hedy Lamarr was extremely well behaved, and so pleased to see all the people everywhere. She had worn her collar, but we had not tried the lead, so there may have been some extra carrying. Hedy weighs 6.6kg and is just right. She has doubled her weight in the three weeks she has lived with us.

Gilly and Hedy's vaccination

The Vet's garden is an excellent place for a wee and full of smells. Gilly was tired of waiting and ready to go home. She has her annoyed ears on.

Gilly annoyed, hedy tardy

Gilly's friend Rafa, and his mum and dad, gave Hedy a lovely toy to welcome her to our house. Hedy loves the toy which has eight rope ends and a squeak.

Hedy LOVES her new toy

Lorelai Gilmore is ever patient and kind and teaches Hedy how to play.

Thank you Rafa!!

And now I am sneezy and snuffly again. The cold isn't bad, but as I can't have any cold and/or flu tablets, it is most annoying. I waft about smelling of Vicks: which is not a delicate perfume!!!

I have felt well enough to read and I have a backlog of books to add to my sidebar. I've also lain sideways on the couch and started watching Star Trek: Enterprise. I barely remember any of it, and didn't ever see the last season, so it is a bit of a bonus all round.

I think I am making progress on answering my comments?? I was quite a way behind and I think I have to click through to the next page back.

All The Labradors are asleep, so I think it is time for a cup of Ginger and Lemon tea while I catch up on the ABC News.