Tuesday, July 17, 2012

TWD BWJ - Semolina Bread

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I really love making bread. I love the way the dough feels, the aroma when it bakes and of course nothing beats eating it warm from the oven. Making this bread was also a reminder that I need to read recipes properly because I didn't realise until I started that each step took 2 hours. Oops!

This bread was new to me because it contains semolina which I've never used before. The result was a slightly dense but incredibly flavourful loaf. I didn't love it straight from the oven and thought it was a little too salty. But it was wonderful toasted the next day and I think it would make fabulous garlic bread.

I have no idea if I slashed the top the way I was supposed to. Was it just me or were the directions a little confusing?

We ate most of the loaf toasted with some slow-cooked baked beans (recipe to come!) and it was the perfect accompaniment to soak up all the sauce.

Our hosts this week are Renee of The Way to My Family's Heart and Anna of Keep it Luce. They will post the recipe today so make sure you check it out!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Meatless Monday - Peanut Sesame Noodles

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I just realised most of my vegetarian meals contain chickpeas. We go through a lot of chickpeas in this house! So it's definitely time to try something different.

I've always loved satay but hubby hasn't been keen. So when he mentioned he'd like to try one I jumped at the chance to try this recipe from Smitten Kitchen that I've had my eye on for ages!

The original recipe called for plain tofu but that gives me the heebies so I used a marinated Thai style tofu instead. Sweet chilli tofu nuggets would also be a great choice. The fresh vegetables were lovely and crunchy and honestly, I could have just eaten them with a bowl of the sauce to dip into and been a very happy girl.

Fresh, creamy, crunchy and absolutely delicious!!!

Peanut Sesame Noodles
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup boiling water
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbs ginger, grated
1/2 ts chilli paste
2 ts honey
1 tbs sesame oil
1 green capsicum
1 medium carrot
1 cup firm tofu, plain or marinated
2 packs hokien noodles
3 tbs toasted sesame seeds
1 lime

Place the peanut butter, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, chilli, sesame oil and honey in a large jug. Pour over the boiling water and whisk to combine. Slice the capsicum and carrot into thin batons. Fry the tofu until it is crispy and golden then slice into small cubes.

Cook the noodles in salted boiling water for 2-3 minutes then drain, reserving about 1 cup of the cooking water. Return the noodles to the pot and add the sauce and chopped veges. Stir well to combine and add a little of the reserved cooking water if it looks a bit gluggy (I needed about 1/2 cup).

Serve topped with sesame seeds and a squeeze of lime.

Serves 4 as a main or 6-8 as an entree.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Crepes for Bastille Day and a blogiversary!

Happy Bastille Day! And happy blogiversary to me!

It's been 4 years and 285 posts since I started this little blog. I had zero clue about what I was doing or where I wanted to go with this, all I knew was that I loved to bake and wanted to share that with my little corner of the interwebs. You can find my first post here. Read it and cringe along with me!

I definitely lost my blogging mojo after the boys were born but now that they are a little older I have a bit more time and am committed to posting at least twice a week and broadening my food horizons. To all my lovely readers and followers, thank you for sticking with me!

In honour of Bastille Day today we made crepes for breakfast served my favourite way, with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a sprinkling of sugar. Delicious!

From The Australian Women's Weekly Original Cookbook, ACP 1970 p180

1/3 cup plain flour
3/4 cup milk
2 eggs
pinch of salt
1 tbs oil or melted butter

Place the flour in a large bowl along with the eggs, salt, oil and 2 tbs of the milk. Whisk until smooth then add in the remaining milk and beat well. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Place a heavy bottomed frypan over medium heat. Grease with a small amount of butter. Pour about 1/8 cup of batter into the pan, tilting to cover evenly. Cook for about a minute, or until the top is dry. Flip and cook on the other side for 10-20 seconds. Turn out onto a plate and repeat until all the batter is used. Makes approx 10-12.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Sausage and Bean Casserole

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This was a really delicious dinner so I hope you can look past the horrible photo! We are having a run of very cold weather at the moment and as a result we're all looking for comfort food. This casserole is an easy weeknight meal and with sausages, beans and rice it fit the bill perfectly.

I feel a little ridiculous putting my copyright info on a such a bad photo but I recently discovered that not one but two lowlifes had stolen virtually every post and photo from my blog. It's taken a little while but both blogs and the other sites where they had used my stolen content seem to have all been taken down. I actually feel quite violated by the whole experience.  Anyone else had this problem? How do you protect your work online?

Anyway. You can see that comfort food is most definitely required.

Make this!

Sausage and Bean Casserole

6 sausages of your choice
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 large carrots, thinly sliced
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tin diced tomatoes
1 tin five bean mix (or any beans)
1 heaped ts hot english mustard
1 tbs brown sugar
1/2 dozen shakes of worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup water
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 180 / 160 degrees celsius fan forced. In a large fry pan fry off the sausages until mostly cooked. Remove and place into a 3 litre casserole dish and once cool enough to handle, slice into 2cm rounds.

In the same frypan add the onion, garlic and carrot and cook, stirring frequently until the vegetables are beginning to soften. Add the tomatoes, beans, water, mustard, brown sugar and worcestershire sauce. Stir until well combined. Bring to the boil, season to taste and then add to the sausages. Mix well to combine then cover and place in the oven for approx 45 minutes, or until the vegetables are cooked through and the sauce has thickened.

Serve with rice or crusty bread for a hearty winter meal.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Meatless Monday - Moussaka

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So it's not the most photogenic dish in the world. Trust me it looked worse after it was served up. But this was delicious!!!

I've never made a vegetarian moussaka before and this one was all vegetables, no fake mince, and let me tell you, even my meat-loving husband really loved it! This is a great alternative to lasagne if you are trying to cut back on carbs. Or even if you're not, it's well worth a go and perfect for this time of year.


1 onion, diced
2 carrots, grated
2 zucchinis, grated
2 large eggplants
3 cloves garlic
1 ts mixed dried Italian herbs
1 tin diced tomatoes
1 tin red kidney beans
2 ts chicken style veggie stock powder
2 x 2tbs olive oil

60g butter
1/4 cup plain flour
2 cups milk
125g grated tasty cheese

2 tbs grated parmesan cheese
2 tbs dried breadcrumbs

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees celsisus fan-forced. Lightly grease a lasagne style baking dish and set aside.

To prepare the eggplant - slice crossways into 1cm rounds. Spread the pieces out on 1 or 2 baking trays, sprinkle each piece with salt and leave for around 20 minutes. You should see liquid on the top of each piece. Rinse them well under running water and pat dry.

To make the sauce - heat 1 tbs olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Fry off the onion, garlic, carrot and zucchini until they are soft and any liquid has evaporated. Add the herbs, tomatoes, beans and stock powder, along with 1/2 tin of water. Stir well and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer while you prepare the rest of the dish. Season to taste.

Once your sauce is simmering you can cook the eggplant. Heat 1 tbs oil in a large non-stick frypan over medium high heat. Fry off the eggplant in batches until it has softened and is golden brown on each side.

To make the white sauce, melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Once melted add the flour and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the milk all in one go and whisk well. Keep stirring until the sauce begins to thicken. Add the cheese, stir to combine and set aside.

To assemble the moussaka, place layers of tomato sauce, eggplant and white sauce into the baking dish finishing with a final layer of white sauce. Sprinkle over the breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese. Bake for approx 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and everything is bubbling and golden. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving with plenty of crusty bread to soak up the sauce.

Serves 6-8.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Creamy Rice Pudding

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While I've never really jumped on the '4 ingredients' bandwagon, this recipe does have just 4 ingredients and it takes just 40 minutes of simmering on the stove to get a creamy and luscious rice pudding. It doesn't really get much better than that!

Arborio Rice Pudding

1/2 cup arborio rice
4 cups full cream milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 heaped ts vanilla paste

Place all ingredients in a medium sized heavy-based saucepan.  Bring to the boil then reduce heat to low and simmer gently for approx 40 minutes stirring occasionally to prevent it sticking. Start checking for doneness at 30 minutes, the rice should be soft and plump and the pudding melt-in-the-mouth smooth.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Scotch Eggs

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So Scotch Eggs are pretty retro. I remember them from childhood dinners but I had never attempted them before, partly because I was put off by having to deep fry them. Luckily there are an abundance of  baked versions out there. I took a photo of this recipe from an old Better Homes and Gardens magazine and then promptly lost all other details. 

The verdict? Really tasty! The kids loved the surprise egg in the middle and I loved that they tasted just as good cold from the fridge the next day. Perfect for school lunches or a picnic. I guess some things are a classic for a reason!

Baked Scotch Eggs
Better Homes and Gardens Magazine

6 large boiled eggs
500g pork and veal mince
2 rashers of bacon
1 small onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 ts dried oregano
1 tbs worcestershire sauce
1 tbs tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
olive oil spray

Preheat oven to 180 / 160 degrees celsius fan-forced. Lightly grease a baking tray with oil spray and set aside.

In a large bowl add the mince, bacon, onion, garlic, oregano and sauces. Add some freshly ground black pepper and mix well to combine. Use your hands for best results. Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions and roll each into a ball. 

Using wet hands, flatten out each ball into a large patty, place the egg in the middle and wrap the mince patty around the egg, making sure it is completely enclosed. Repeat with remaining mince and eggs then roll each of them in breadcrumbs and place on the baking tray.

Bake for 20-25 minutes. Serve hot or cold.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Fruit Scones

© food-baby.blogspot.com All rights reservedApart from being absolutely delicious, what I love about scones is that they take no time at all to prepare! There are lots of scone recipes out there, most of which contain cream and most of which I find very rich and a bit heavy. This recipe is one I have been making since I was a kid. It's virtually foolproof. I even make it in a food processor and they still turn out well!

Fruit Scones
Recipe from The Australian Women's Weekly Original Cookbook, ACP 1977, p194

3 cups self-raising flour
1/4ts salt
1/4 cup sugar
60g cold butter, in chunks
1 cup milk
1 egg
1 cup sultanas or dried fruit of your choice (I used mixed fruit)

Preheat the oven to 270/250 degrees celsius fan-forced. Lightly grease a baking tray and set aside.

Sift the flour into a large bowl and rub the butter in using your fingertips. Stop when the mixture resembles rough breadcrumbs. Stir in the sultanas and sugar then add the beaten egg and most of the milk. Use a butter knife to bring the dough together, it should be soft and not too sticky.

Tip the dough out onto a floured surface and gently bring together, patting it out to approximately 2cm thick. Use a 5cm (2 inch) cutter to cut out rounds and place on prepared tray, leaving a centimetre or so between them. Gently press together the scraps and dough and repeat. Brush the tops with milk and bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until they are golden brown and smelling delicious.

Makes approx 12 depending on the size of your cutter.

These are also great to freeze for snacks. Scones do tend to dry out a little when frozen but if you don't overbake them, a quick zap in the microwave will freshen them up. A generous smear of butter also helps!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

TWD BWJ - Biscotti

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I think every baker has something they fear, whether it be caramel, pastry or decorating cakes. For me in the past it has been biscotti. Sounds crazy for something so simple but I have never been able to get it right! So in an attempt to overcome this silly fear I made this week's pick twice (which I never do).

I have a huge bag of raw almonds in the fridge so that's what I went with rather than buying hazelnuts. 

Batch one I made with almonds, vanilla and cinnamon and replaced the booze with milk. The dough mixed up well, looked great when it was baked but then pretty much fell apart when I sliced it. So I ended up with chunky crumbly-edged tooth-breakers. Really tasty dunked in tea but not much good for anything else!

Batch two I made with almonds, cocoa and brandy. I chopped the nuts up more finely and when it came time to slice I used my best serrated knife and took it really slowly. 

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Success!  These were pretty much the perfect biscotti. I got the size right, they sliced cleanly and were lovely and toasty. And of course delicious! I would happy giving these as gifts come Christmas time which is a pretty big tick of approval!

Our hosts this week are Jodi of Homemade and Wholesome and Katrina of Baking and Boys. They will have the recipe for the original hazelnut biscotti on their blogs so make sure you go and check it out!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Meatless Monday - Chole Chaat (Chickpea Curry)

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Chole Chaat is basically a chickpea and tomato curry flavoured with ginger and garam masala. It is hearty and warming and just perfect for this ridiculous cold-snap we are having in Brisbane at the moment. 

It is hands-down one of our favourite meals and both our boys practically lick their plates clean when we have this for dinner, which is a pretty big tick of approval! I honestly don't think I was eating chickpea curry at 19 months old!

Like most curries it tastes better the next day so make it ahead of time, even a few hours, if you can.

Chole Chaat
Adapted from A Little Taste of India, Murdoch Books, 2003 p129

3 cans of chickpeas
2 tbs ghee or oil
1 onion, finely diced
1 ts ground coriander
1 ts ground cumin
1 ts ground turmeric
1 ts garam masala
2 cm piece fresh ginger, grated
2 red chillies, finely diced (or 1/2ts hot chilli powder)
1 tin diced tomatoes
1 tbs veggie stock powder

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat and cook the onion until golden and softened. Add the dry spices and cook 1 minute. Add the ginger, chilli and tomato and stir to combine. Add the chickpeas and 1 tomato tin of water along with the stock powder. Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to the boil then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 - 30 minutes. Serve with brown rice and a sprinkling of fresh coriander.

Serves 4. 

This post is linked with Veggie Mama's Meatless Mondays:

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Sunday Baking - Apple and Cinnamon Muffins

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I've been thinking a lot about healthy lunchbox ideas recently. My husband takes his lunch to work every day (saving us literally thousands of dollars a year!) and always likes a little sweet something to have with his morning coffee. It's now also only a matter of months until Oscar starts kindy next year when having interesting and healthy treats will become even more important. 

These apple and cinnamon muffins are something I've been making for awhile and are a bit of a twist on what can be a sugar and fat-filled indulgence. They stay really moist and are perfect to freeze for lunches.

Apple & Cinnamon Muffins
Recipe by me

3/4 cup self-raising flour
3/4 cup wholemeal plain flour
1/4 cup rapadura or brown sugar
1 ts baking powder
1 ts cinnamon
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup low fat milk
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 ripe banana, mashed
1 large apple, washed and grated (skin and all)
1 egg

Preheat oven to 180 / 160 degrees celsius. Line a 12 cup muffin tray and set aside.

In a large bowl add the flours, baking powder, cinnamon, oats and sugar and whisk to combine. 

In a smaller bowl place the milk, egg, coconut oil and banana and whisk together. 

Add the grated apple to the dry ingredients then pour over the wet ingredients. Using a fork, stir until only just combined.

Spoon the mix into the prepared tray and bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and a skewer comes out clean. Makes 12. Suitable to freeze.

I was pretty happy with this batch but they did stick to the paper cases a bit. Not a huge problem though and Oscar loved eating the extra 'cake' on the paper!
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