Sew Grateful

It seems quite a few people had a very disturbed sleep last night. Hedy Lamarr kept us all awake, and even Lorelai Gilmore went into the paddle pool at 3am. Was it a full moon?? I am so very tired, but I was out of bed like a shot this afternoon when the LovelyChemist rang to say there were puppies to be cuddled. 

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There are five tiny puppies and I held the little girl called Brownie, she’s on the bottom right with a brown head. They were so calm and quiet and I could have held her all day.

My sewing machine has stopped working and is being looked at, but I hold out little hope. MrsDrWho lent me her spare machine, she is so very kind, but I was almost brought to tears when the Puppies’ owner, MissHansen, gave me her surplus sewing machine. So many kind people in our lives : we are very grateful.

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Gilly and Hedy were very concerned and interested, maybe it smelled of puppies?

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Ms KN&W gave me some potted mint, and I have managed to keep it alive. I am the kiss of death to plants. I used some mint in my couscous last night, it is so much more minty that mint from the supermarket.

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Arnie came to visit again this afternoon, and the front garden was mowed and trimmed while he played with Gilly and Hedy.


Friday Food: Chocolate Lamington Truffles

4109CF9C-C0C6-4673-8F44-58B76E4E3712I know it is Sunday, but I am determined to post this week’s recipe. I always wander through the baking section of the supermarkets, whether I need anything or not. I love to browse. On Thursday there was a free recipe, and I took one look and decided that I would make the truffles for MrsDrWho and as a trial run for Christmas. There are four ingredients and the truffles are so easy to make: no bake, a little microwave melting and some waiting time in the fridge. I am not sure if you can buy lamingtons in the rest of the world, but you could substitute a sponge with chocolate icing and some desiccated coconut.

A Flake is a Cadbury chocolate bar made from rippled ribbons of milk chocolate, there’s a photo below in the recipe. It used to be very delicate and would disintegrate at the slightest touch. Now it is more robust and quite difficult to crush.

MrsDrWho declared the truffles to be perfectly delicious. I did mention popping a glacé cherry in the centre, and she said they did not need it. I felt the Flake didn’t really work well as a coating. I think some chocolate sprinkles or even just cocoa would be fine. MrsDrWho has requested they be dipped in some dark chocolate and sprinkled with coconut. I think I can do that!!

As I am composing on my Ipad, I am not sure if I can make the text be bold or in colour, so we shall see how that goes. I usually compose here, and then proof read, bold, underline and colour on my computer. We’re all in bed, and I am too lazy to get up again.

In short, these are great and come highly recommmended by MrsDrWho for their taste and by me for their method and ease.

Here is the link to the recipe, which I cannot seem to make into a clicky link. Honestly I am surprised I am let out alone!! -  https://www.cadburykitchen.com.au/recipes/view/chocolate-lamington-truffles/1/

 

 

Chocolate Laminton Truffles      Makes about 40

  • 250g cream cheese
  • 225g dark chocolate melts
  • 250g Lamington fingers, or commensurate cake, icing and coconut
  • 90g Flake, finely crushed

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Melt the chocolate and cream cheese in the microwave until is is almost fully melted, then stir until it is smooth and there are no streaks of white visible.

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Process, or use your food safe gloved hands because that is what I did, to turn the Lamingtons into a crumb.

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Add the melted chocolate and cream cheese to the crumbed Lamingtons and mix until combined. I pressed the truffle mixture into a rectangular container, mainly so it would be easier to portion up later. Refrigerate until it is firm enough to cut and roll.

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I cut the rectangle into 10 more or less even pieces and then each piece into quarters and then I rolled each into a ball. I wore food safe gloves again and it made the whole palaver much less sticky.

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Finally I crushed the Flake pieces and then put them, together with the truffles, into a ziplock bag and shook it about carefully until the truffles were coated. Refrigerate the truffles, until they are needed, keeping them in an airtight container. I have not experimented, but I think they might even keep in the freezer for a longer time.

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They are not pretty, but they are tasty!!


Salad Days

I like like to think that The Labradors have a smaller carbon footprint than many other dogs. I may be deluded!! This morning they ate the end of the salad. It was iceberg lettuce, carrot and cabbage. Tonight I came home from MrsDrWho’s house with the rest of a bag of carrots and sweet potato, and the left-over cooked vegetables for their tea. They also had the rest of the plain yoghurt as a kind of condiment. 

Happy days!!

 


Friday Food: Spicy Korean-Style Gochujang Meatballs

53C9FA92-71AA-481E-997F-6247783F0D4FMy blog has been sadly neglected of late: I had a cold, I spent lots of time with my friends during the school holidays, I had lots of jobs to do and I was tired. I plan to be a more enthusiastic and regular blogger anon!

My lovely Internet Friend From Michigan sends me interesting articles and recipes and when the Crazy Rich Asian film was released she sent me a link to Spicy Korean-Style Gochujang Meatballs. (See link below. I am blogging from my Ipad and I can’t work out how to make clicky links) I’ve not seen the film yet, but I have made the meatballs and they were a revelation!! I didn’t expect to be able to find the Korean chilli paste, but I didn’t even need to go to the Asian supermarket, it was in the regular one. We are multicultural cooks and eaters.

I used half of the recommended amount of chilli paste as I was wary of its heat: so 3 tspn instead of 1 1/2 tbspn. I wasn’t even brave enough to taste it beforehand. All the other ingredients were things I usually have and use in my cooking. 

I read some reviews after I cooked these and lots of people recommended baking the meatballs in the oven without bothering to brown them. When I make these again, I will do that. It is not that they were terribly fiddly, but the idea of popping a tray in the oven and them magically making themselves is too easy to resist.

The meatballs were delicious, I ate mine as a meal with rice, but they are perfect for a nibbles platter, appetisers, and think they would cook well on a BBQ too. I made these a while ago, and the very act of typing up my blog post has made me crave them again. The chilli paste is in the fridge calling to me...........

And now I shall press Publish and be damned. 

NB An Australian tablespoon is 20ml or 4 x 5ml teaspoons.

https://food52.com/recipes/21537-spicy-korean-style-gochujang-meatballs

 

Spicy Korean-Style Gochujang Meatballs      makes 20-24 ish

For the meatballs:

  • 3 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 1 egg
  • 500g beef mince, I bought the one with least fat content
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 1/2 tbspn Korean-Style Gochujang paste
  • 1 tbspn fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 tspn salt flakes or 1/2 tspn ordinary salt
  • 1/2 tspn white pepper
  • canola oil for frying
  • spring onion and sesame seeds for garnish

For the glaze:

  • 1/3 cup apricot jam
  • 1 1/2 tspn Gochujan paste
  • 1 1/4 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 3 tspn soy sauce

 

 

Preheat the oven to 180*C. Preheat the canola oil in a frypan or skillet over a medium-high heat. 

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Put all the meatball ingredients, not the oil or garnish obviously, in a large bowl and gently combine. The recipe recommends being gentle so as not to overmix. I used a 20ml tablespoon to scoop out the meatballs so they were the same size, and I made 24 meatballs. You can make them bigger or smaller!

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Fry the meatballs in batches, so as not to over crowd the pan, if there are too many meatballs they will stew, rather than brown. I turned the meatballs once, and then used the sides of the frypan to prop them up and browned the sides. 

When they are browned, place the meatballs on a tray and bake them in the oven for 10 minutes, or until they are cooked through. 

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While the meatballs are baking, make the glaze. Simply place the glaze ingredients into a small pan and bring to the boil, simmering and stirring if necessary, for 5 minutes.

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When the meatballs are cooked, brush them with the glaze and garnish as desired before serving. Once you have tasted them, you will know whether you want them to have more or less chilli paste. I was planning to make some pasta sauce tomorrow, but I think I will throw the pasta over for some Spicy Meatballs!

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Friday Food: Giant Biscuit/Cookie

Giant biscuitI baked a giant biscuit, and it was a great success! The base of the giant biscuit is eggless and uses sweetened condensed milk. It has Jersey caramels mixed through it and then it is topped with a variety of chocolate. It reminds me of a chocolate pizza! I found this recipe in a New Idea magazine.

I needed a 21cm springform pan and of course I only had 18 and 22.5cm sizes. I used the smaller tin and set aside a little of the dough and baked that in a small loaf tin: a bonus biscuit. I didn’t want the biscuit to be too thick and not cooked through. To live dangerously, just use an ordinary tin and line it with one piece of baking paper and it should lift out easily when the biscuit is cool.

I used chopped white and dark chocolate, M&Ms (because they were cheaper than Smarties) and tiny baking Smarties (because there were no Mini M&Ms). Jersey caramels are caramels with a milky layer sandwiched between the two caramel ones, but any soft caramel would do.

MrsDrWho took some of the Giant Biscuit to school and it was fallen upon and devoured in no time at all: so I can recommend it. It will keep for about a week in an airtight container and I probably wouldn’t freeze it.

I would like to try personalising this Giant Biscuit for someone: maybe Cherry Ripe, dark chocolate and glacé cherries with toasted coconut through the base? Or Toblerone, milk chocolate, nougat and nuts in the base: endless possibilities!

 

Giant Biscuit/Cookie          Serves 12

  • 250g (1 cup) softened butter
  • 110g (1/2 cup) caster sugar
  • 1 tspn vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 150g (1 cup) plain flour
  • 150g (1 cup) self-raising flour
  • 6 Jersey caramels, chopped
  • 1/2 tspn salt flakes, optional 

 

Toppings

  • 50g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 50g white chocolate, chopped
  • 50g packet of Smarties
  • 2tbspn (40ml) mini M&Ms

 

 

Preheat the oven to 180*C and grease and line the base and sides of a 21cm springform tin.

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Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla extract until light and pale. Beat in the condensed milk.

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Fold in the flours, salt and chopped Jersey caramels to make a dough.

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Press the dough into the tin and smooth the top. Collect your chocolate toppings and then adorn the top of the biscuit as desired. 

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Then remove over some of the toppings because there is too high a topping to biscuit ratio. There needed to be more of the dough visible to my eye. When you are happy with the arrangement, gently press the toppings into the dough. Bake for 40 minutes, or until the dough is slightly golden and set. Cool completely in the tin and then gently lift out and slice into wedges to serve!!

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Friday Food: Chocolate Berry Brownies

Chocolate berry brownieWhat to bake, what to bake? I picked up a tin of cocoa and there was a recipe on the label and I decided then and there that that was what I would bake. I have made the brownie three times, once with gluten free flour, and it has been extremely well received. Success!

The cocoa is Dutch processed, and it is best if you use this kind of cocoa for the recipe. Ordinary cocoa can react differently with the other ingredients. I used blackberries in this brownie.

It is a bonus that the recipe is also as easy as pie, and can be whipped up in just ten minutes. I love a good melt and mix recipe. I was also chuffed to find local, spray-free berries freshly frozen at the local healthy food shop. I’ve used both blueberries and blackberries, and I have yet to try raspberries. I think strawberries would not be quite right. The brownie is quite squidgy in the centre and firmer on the edges. The berries have a tartness that contrasts well with the rich chocolate. 

I served the brownie with an easy chocolate sauce, and I will link to it here. The recipe lends itself to doubling and halving. 

 

 

Chocolate Berry Brownies        serves 9-16

  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 2 cups caster sugar
  • 3/4 cup Dutch processed cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup melted butter
  • 3 eggs, lightly whisked
  • 1 cup berries or 1 punnet or 125g: fresh or frozen

 

Preheat the oven to 160*C/140*C fan-forced. Grease and line a 20cm square tin.

And here is the method: combine the first five ingredients.

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Gently fold in the berries.

Spoon into the tin and level the top.

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Bake for about 50 minutes or until the brownie is firm to the touch in the centre. Cool in the tin and then serve with chocolate sauce, cream, ice-cream, berries or any combination of the same!

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Friday Food: One-Pan Chicken

One pan chickenMrsDrWho is not well, so I shall save my new brownie recipe for next week when she feels more like eating chocolate: Though I am sure she would eat brownie, just to appease me!! This week I am making the cover recipe from the August Coles Magazine: One-Pan Chicken with Bocconcini and Olives.

It is heralded as a 15 minute meal, and though it does take a tad longer for normal hot plates to heat up as opposed to a gas stove-top, I think it is a 15 minute meal. Today is rainy, dull and almost properly wintry, and this looked to be a perfect dinner.

I cut my chicken breast fillets very poorly, but this recipe serves four. I used baby bocconcini because they are cute. I dolloped on some basil pesto at the end and served the chicken with garlic bread. I think it needs some salad or greens to make it a proper dinner.  I can highly recommend this recipe, I love the combination of the saltiness of the olives and the smoothness of the cheese.

 

One-Pan Chicken with Bocconcini and Olives      serves 4

 

  • 2 large chicken breast fillets
  • 2 tspn dried oregano
  • 20ml olive oil
  • 1 brown onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 400g can cherry tomatoes
  • 400g can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup (120g)  pitted mixed olives
  • 180g bocconcini, coarsely torn
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup basil pesto
  • garlic bread to accompany

 

Cut the chicken breast fillets in half horizontally, sprinkle with oregano and season with salt and pepper.

Chicken

Heat a pan on the stove over a high heat, add half the olive oil, and fry the chicken for 2 minutes on each side.  Remove from the pan and set aside.

Onion and garlic

Add the rest of the olive oil and saute the onion and garlic for a minute, or until it is softened.

And simmer

Pour in the two cans of tomatoes and bring to the boil. Once it is boiling add in the chicken breasts and any juices on the plate, as well as the olives and bocconcini. Turn the heat down to medium-high and cook for a further 8 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through, and the sauce slightly thickens.

Serve with basil pesto and garlic bread.

Cheesy one pan chicken


Friday Food: Donna Hay Spelt Flour Pancake Mix

2F0BAB12-7497-4382-BDB8-3E796D26E07EThis week I am test driving Donna Hay’s relatively new pancake mix. I normally make my own pikelets/pancakes/hot cakes, but just for the thrill of it I thought I would give these a whirl. MrsDrWho thinks because they have spelt flour and vanilla bean in the mix they might be almost like a home made version.

The pancake mix comes in quite a posh looking bottle, much classier then the usual supermarket  versions, though it is stocked by Coles supermarket here. You simple undo the lid, add milk, butter and an egg and give it a jolly good shake: with the lid on!! And you are ready to go. 

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The verdict? They are pretty good. I think the spelt flour and vanilla bean raises it to the next level and if I didn’t have the time to make my own, I would definitely use this. At around $6 I think this is good value.

The instructions say it makes 8 pancakes @60ml or 1/4 cup each. I made two 40ml pikelet size for my trial run. 

I whipped up a quick strawberry sauce by dicing some strawberries and adding sugar to taste, then microwaving them on High for two minutes. Best to use a deep container, and yes I did, so it didn’t overflow. Of course you can serve these with whatever accompaniments you desire. They are not overly sweet so you could also go savoury: bacon, banana and maple syrup would be my choice.

 

 

Donna Hay Spelt Flour Pancake Mix        Makes 8

  • 1 container of pancake mix
  • 25g butter, melted
  • 250ml milk
  • 1 egg

 

For the strawberry sauce:

  • 2-3 strawberries per person
  • caster sugar to taste

To serve:

  • vanilla bean yoghurt

 

 

Preheat a non-stick pan to medium high. My pan is not so non-stick anymore, so I added a knob of butter when it came time to cook the pancakes.

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Whisk together the milk, egg and melted butter and pour into the bottle of pancake mix. Don’t lose the lid, because now you are going to replace the lid and shake the bottle until you make a smooth batter. Take care when you open the lid as mine went “pop”.

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Pour 60ml, or 1/4 cup, portions into the pan and cook for 1-2 minutes. You can sneak a look at the underside to see if it is golden, or check on top that bubbles have formed. Turn the pancakes and cook for another 1-2 minutes and they are done. I find they take less time on the second side.

Make a quick strawberry sauce by finely dicing the strawberries and adding about 1 tspn caster sugar per person. Place in a high sided container and microwave for about 2 minutes on High. It will be jam hot, so be careful! Cool slightly before serving with some yoghurt, cream or ice-cream and maybe a strawberry as garnish.

 

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Of course someone had to taste the pancakes, so I stepped up, and they were delicious: light, tasty and without the tang I usually associate with pre-made mixes. I am glad I only made two, because if I had made more, I would have eaten them all!!

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Friday Food: Caramel Crown Muffin Brownies

60C1153F-A5F6-4D7C-9D82-786F07284BB9There are lots of biscuit based baking recipes in the August Taste Magazine, and I chose the Caramel Crown Muffin Brownies and I have made three batches, very successfully. A Caramel Crown is a plain sweet biscuit, topped with firm caramel and then dipped in milk chocolate. 

 Your  biscuit just needs to fit inside your muffin tin holes.

I made 15 muffin brownies from the mixture, because the biscuit takes up some of the space in the muffin paper cases. This is annoying, because there are 12 biscuits in a packet. Maybe my muffin tray has smaller holes? The first time I did buy two packets because I topped the little cakes with buttercream and half a biscuit, but the last time I used a Rolo block of chocolate and that looked very posh.

The brownie is melt and mix so it is very easy and quick to make. Each time I ended up baking the brownie muffins for 30 minutes instead of the 25 the recipe calls for. I only made 1/2 or 2/3 of the buttercream as these are very rich. I did heat some up in the microwave to serve with Caramel Crown ice-cream, but MrsDrWho said she preferred the biscuits to be crisp inside the muffin, and not bendy.

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I didn’t use the buttercream recipe as I felt it would be too much chocolate on top of an already choc filled treat. I used a Donna Hay recipe which uses cocoa instead of chocolate: 250g butter softened, 320g icing sugar, 50g cocoa and 60ml milk.  I will included the buttercream as per the recipe here.

I highly recommend this recipe, and I think it will become a favourite. You could substitute other round biscuits, I might try Mint Slices next time. Oh or a Chocolate Royal.....

NB An Australian tablespoon is 20ml, or 4 teaspoons.

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Caramel Crown Muffin Brownies           Makes 12-15

  • 150g butter, cubed
  • 200g dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • 300g light brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 150g plain flour
  • 30g cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tspn baking powder
  • 85g sour cream
  • 2 packets of Caramel Crowns

 

For the buttercream:

  • 300g unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 380g icing sugar mixture
  • 150g dark chocolate, melted and cooled 

 

Preheat the oven to 170/150*C fan-forced. Line two muffin trays with paper cases.

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Melt the butter, chocolate and sugar in the microwave. I use Medium in 30 second bursts and stop just before the chocolate is fully melted and then stir until it is smooth. Cool slightly, and then add the eggs one at a time, whisking well.

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Add the flour, cocoa and baking powder, begin to fold it in, and then add the sour cream. When you can’t see any streaks of sour cream the batter is ready.

I put a tablespoon of the batter into the bottom of each paper case, and then pressed in a biscuit, allowing the batter to rise up slightly around the edges. Through trial and error, I found 1 1/2 tablespoons to be pretty much the right amount so my muffins didn’t overflow.

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Bake for 25-30 minutes, swapping and turning trays half way through. The muffins are baked when they are slightly cracked on top, and a skewer poked into the centre comes out clean.

Cool in the tin for 15 minutes and then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

To make the buttercream in the recipe, beat the butter with an electric mixer until it is pale and creamy: 2-3 minutes. Gradually add the icing sugar on a low speed so it doesn’t make an icing sugar cloud, and finally add the melted chocolate, beating on a high speed until smooth.

Decorate the cooled muffins as desired. I used either a plastic piping bag with the tip cut off, or a star tip, to pipe on the buttercream. To embellish I used half a biscuit or a square of Rolo chocolate bar. These were for the Doctors and Nurses at the vet who looked after Lorelai Gilmore and Hedy Lamarr this week.

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