Saturday, October 31, 2009

Pink Ribbon Day

It was Pink Ribbon Day on Monday to raise money for breast cancer research.  My work held a huge morning tea with a pink theme.  I made these cupcakes.  Everyone did a fantastic job and we raised well over $1000.00.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Gourmet Steak Sandwiches

I was recently buying meat at our local butcher and they had recipe cards on the counter. This recipe was one of them.  I had it stuck on the fridge for quite a few months before I decided to make it.  I served it with home made hot chips and it was a hit with Jared and our neighbour Steve on a Saturday afternoon.  I made them again yesterday and we're about to have the leftovers again today!

I changed the aioli quite a bit.  The recipe asks for 6 cloves of garlic and 1.5 cups of olive oil.  I found it was way too much of both.  So the recipe below is what I did:

4 pieces rump steak, malleted flat
600g brown onions, sliced
2 tablespoons butter
1 heaped tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
8 thick slices of bread

2 egg yolks
2 cloves crushed garlic 
1/4 cup Warrick Grove Olive Oil
Juice 1/2 lemon

Slice the onions thinly and cook slowly in butter for 20 minutes.  Add the brown sugar and continue cooking for another ten minutes until they are a rich brown colour.  Turn up the heat and add the balsamic vinegar.  Cook for a few minutes until the vinegar has evaporated.  Set aside.

Season the rump steak with salt and pepper and sear  on both sides on high heat.  Spread the aioli generously on both sides of the bread.  Then on one slice, place some rocket, then the steak and lastly the onions.  Top with the other side of the bread.  Cut in half and serve.

Beat the egg yolks with the crushed garlic until the yolks are pale and thick (about 5 minutes).  Gradually add the olive oil, beating well after each addition.  At the end, add the lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Maud's Ginger Apricot Crunch

This is another recipe from my new favourite cookbook The Blue Ribbon Cookbook by Liz Harfull. She kindly sent me a signed copy and I am now an avid follower of her blog The Blue Ribbon Cookbook

This slice was made by Gwen Smart of Maitland and is named after her mother Maud.  There wasn't a photo of the slice so I wasn't sure what to expect.  I absolutely loved the flavour but I wasn't too sure about the texture.  It was very biscuity and almost crunchy, but then would have the chewy texture of the chopped apricots.   I think next time I'd cut the apricots even finer.  But the ginger flavour was delicious.  Ginger Nut biscuits remind me of my nana and they are the best for dunking in a cup of tea.  (Next to Yo-Yo Biscuits).

125g butter
1/2 cup (125ml) sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoon golden syrup
375g ginger nut biscuits, crushed finely
60g pecan nuts or walnuts, chopped finely
16 dried apricots, chopped finely

Grease a 24cm square pan with cooking spray and line with baking paper or alfoil.

Place the butter, condensed milk and golden syrup in a small saucepan and cook over a medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture is smooth.  Bring teh mixture to the boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for 3 or 4 minutes, until the mixture thickens slightly.

Place the biscuits, nuts and apricots in a bowl.  Pour over the condensed milk mixture and stir until well combined.  Place the mixture into the prepared pan. Refrigerate until set.  Cut into squares with a sharp knife.


Monday, October 12, 2009

Broccoli & Cauliflower Bake

I don't like cauliflower at all.  It's probably my least favourite vegetable; but I had it in the fridge becuase I got it into my head that I was going to do some "3 day, lose 5kg diet".  The diet lasted all of about 12 hours and the cauliflower was still in the fridge waiting to be used.  The only way I've ever eaten cauliflower and half enjoyed it was in a bake, covered in cheese and crumbs and broccoli and anything else that can disguise its boring taste!  So I did just that - Broccoli and Cauliflower Bake.  And it was actually really yum.  I totally overcooked the veg, so I'll know for next time to chill out on boiling it for 10 minutes.  But I think cauliflower will become a regular visitor in our fridge!

4 cups broccoli florets
3 cups cauliflower florets
1 medium onion chopped
2 tablespoons butter
1 tin condensed cream of chicken soup
80g grated cheese
1/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon dry basil, thyme or marjoram, crushed
3/4 cup soft bread crumbs

In a large saucepan cook broccoli and cauliflower, covered, in a small amount of boiling lightly salted water for 6 to 8 minutes or until vegetables are almost crisp-tender.  Drain well.  Remove brocolli and cauliflower from pan, set aside.

In the same saucepan cook one onion in 1 tablespoon melted butter over medium heat until tender, stirring occasionally.  Stir in the soup, cheese, milk and herbs.  Cook and stir over medium-low heat until bubbly and cheese melts.  Stir in cooked broccoli and cauliflower.  Transfer mixture to a small casserole dish. Toss together the bread crumbs with 1 tablespoon melted butter.  Sprinkle over vegetable mixture.

Bake uncovered in a 180 degree oven for about 20 minutes or until heated through.


Monday, October 5, 2009

Ritzy Chicken Nuggets

Jared first made these nuggets on Christmas Day last year when we had lots of friends over at the end of the day.  They were gone within minutes.  He made them again soon after but tried to recreate them as chicken shnitzels for dinner.  They weren't as good.  So we've been saying every since then that we must make the nuggets again.   And yesterday that time came. 

There was a plan for a few of Jared's mates to come over after golf for some drinks.  I didn't think it would happen as we'd all been out the night before and none of us were very tidy.  But just in case, I made them.  I didn't get to marinate the chicken for two days, I only did 4 hours, and to my delight it made no difference.  In the end everyone bailed on coming for drinks so Jared and I were lucky enough to eat them all to ourselves.   They really are unreal and really easy and an absolute hit.

2 chicken breasts cut into small pieces
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup oil
1 3/4 cups Ritz cracker crumbs

In small lots, place the chicken breast pieces into a freezer bag.  Bash with a rolling pin until the chicken is quite thin, and then take it out and slice into about 6 to 8 slices. Repeat with the other chicken breast. This is easiest done with scissors.

Put the slices into a freezer bag with the buttermilk and leave in the refrigerator to marinade for up to 2 days.

When you are ready to cook them, heat the oil in a large frying pan.

Tip the cracker crumbs into a wide shallow bowl, and then shake off the excess buttermilk from the nuggets and dip them in the crumbs. Coat them well before lying gently in the hot oil, and cooking for about 2 minutes or so a side until they are golden brown. Transfer to a kitchen towel on a plate to blot the excess oil.

Alternatively, you can lay the crumb-coated chicken nuggets on a lined baking sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes. They can also be frozen once marinated and crumbed. If cooking from frozen, add 5 minutes to the oven cooking time.