Thursday, 31 March 2016

Whats growing in the garden

Hello Dear reader,

I went for a walk last Saturday afternoon around the garden, taking some photos as I went. I love my little garden. It's probably not as productive as it could be but I try my best with the little time I have to give it.

JalapeƱos grown from saved seeds
The Pomegranate has started to bloom again
Bellino Tomatoes grown from saved seeds
These Cherry Tomatoes have self seeded and are growing in gravel
Kaffir Lime Tree
The Red Paw Paw trees are reaching for the sky. I am hoping I have both a male and a female plant so they can cross pollenate!
The Pak Choy I planted from saved seeds have all come up
The Silverbeet is still going

So, tell me, what is growing in your garden at the moment? How do you your excess produce?

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

What we ate this week

Hello Dear Reader,

Well, Easter is over for another year, I know I have said it so many times during these posts, but time is, indeed, just flying by. Another week just gone by in a blink. My dear Mother in law is still in hospital, we are all on a bit of a roller coaster ride at the moment as she gets a tiny bit better then takes a turn for the worst. She is incredibly strong, we just have to wait and see what each day brings.

Over Easter we had the opportunity to have family over for lunch, which was just glorious. I miss my little family so much as we aren't able to get together as much a I would love to. We all have "stuff" that pulls at our attention. It makes our time together even more special.

So, this is what we ate this week

Wednesday -  Takeaway Pizza (Very late night at the hospital)

Thursday - Cheesy Broccoli Pasta Bake


Friday - Leftovers

Saturday - Family Lunch- Fish and Prawn Pie with steamed Green Beans and Snow Peas and Dessert was a Lemon and Blueberry Cake




Saturday - Dinner - Salmon Quiche (Recipe coming soon) with steamed green beans and home grown tomatoes with balsamic dressing

Sunday - Roast Pork with apple sauce, Roast Potatoes and Pumpkin, Steamed Broccoli and Cauliflower Cheese. Dessert was a Steamed Chocolate Pudding with Chocolate Ganache



Monday - Thank heavens for Leftovers (another afternoon at the hospital)

Tuesday - Leftover Roast Pork and leftover Cauliflower Cheese ( It was the biggest Cauliflower I have ever seen!)

So, tell me, what were the eats at your house over the Easter Break? Traditional? Something New?All out Chocolate Feast?

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

The Best Roast Potatoes

Hello Dear Reader,

My favourite part of a Roast is the Roast Potatoes. Over the years I have fine tuned how to get the crispiest Roast Potato and today I will share how I get my roast potatoes crispy, crunchy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside.

Peel and cut up potatoes so that they are all a uniform size
Add potatoes to a large saucepan, cover with water, bring to the boil and turn down to low 
Let cook for about 10 to 15 minutes until just soft and the outside has gone "fuzzy". Drain in a colander and return to saucepan on medium heat. Let the potatoes dry out a little on the heat, for about 30 seconds, moving the saucepan a little to agitate the potatoes. This movement will bash the potatoes up a bit giving you a more crunchy finish
Rosemary and garlic. Mezzaluna and Microplane
Remove rosemary from stalks 
Chop Rosemary very finely
In a large bowl, grate garlic on the microplane
Add chopped Rosemary and oil
Add salt and pepper and mix well
Add cooked and dried potatoes to bowl and mix softly with a silicon spatula, so that the potatoes are covered in the Rosemary and garlic oil. Be careful not to break up the potatoes
Turn potatoes into a line shallow sided baking tray put into preheated oven and cook for about 1/2 an hour one side then turn potatoes over and do the same to the other
Golden, Crunchy Roast Potatoes

Ingredients

How ever many Potatoes you need

Rosemary, about 2 stalks, chopped very finely

3 cloves of Garlic, grated on a microplane

Oil, sorry, I never measure how much I use, but it could be 1/4 to 1/2 a cup (I use Rice Bran Oil)

Cooking Spray ( I use rice bran cooking spray)

Salt and Pepper

Method


Peel and cut up how ever many potatoes you need, when cutting up the Potatoes try and make them all the same size

Put them into a large saucepan and cover completely with cold water, add a good teaspoon of salt to the water

Bring Potatoes to the boil and turn down to low. Cook for about 10 to 15 minutes until the Potatoes are just going soft and the outside of the Potato is starting to go fuzzy

Preheat the oven to 180 C to 200 C, depending how "Hot" your oven is, line a shallow sided oven tray with baking paper

While the Potatoes are cooking, in a bowl large enough to accomodate them later, add chopped Rosemary, grated garlic, oil, salt and pepper, mix to combine

When you are happy with the Potatoes, drain into a colander, and return the potatoes to the same pan and put back over the heat. Increase the heat to medium and dry off the Potatoes, then straight away add Potatoes to the Rosemary and Garlic oil mixture. Toss with a silicon spatula so that the Potatoes are covered in the oil mixture. Now, add still very hot Potatoes to the ready baking tray, and lightly spray tops of Potatoes with cooking spray.

Put into the preheated oven on either the middle or bottom rung, again depending how "Hot" your oven runs

Bake till golden brown and super crunchy (about 30 minutes) on one side then turn over so all sides get the same treatment

There you have it, super crunchy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside

So, tell me, what is your secret to crunchy Roast Potatoes?




Monday, 28 March 2016

Easter Chocolate Pudding with Chocolate Ganache

Hello Dear Readers,

I hope everyone has had a relaxing Easter with lots of time spent with loved ones and cherished moments to remember. Oh and of course, good food!

I wanted a simple but delicious pudding for Easter Sunday dessert this year, and this recipe fits the bill beautifully.

Super easy to make, using one bowl and a whisk for the pudding and the ganache is just heat and mix. I think it will become a favourite.

Butter pudding basin and line lid with baking paper, butter the paper as well
Make buttermilk, it's easier to make up 1 cup as I use powdered milk
2/3 cup of water bought to the boil
1/2 cup of Cocoa
Thickened cocoa and boiling water mixture
Add flour, bicarb and salt to a bowl
Add sugar and whisk to combine
Add oil and start to whisk into flour mixture
Add eggs and vanilla paste and whisk until smooth
Pour in Buttermilk and whisk until incorporated
Whisk until smooth
Add cooled cocoa mixture
Mix well with whisk
Add mixture to buttered pudding basin
Put an upturned saucer on bottom of saucepan
Put lid on pudding basin, put the basin on top of the upturned saucer, pour cold water in saucepan until it reaches 1/2 way up pudding basin. Bring to a simmer and steam for 1 hour and 40 minutes.


Ingredients


Pudding

80 grams of butter, at room temperature (20 grams for greasing the pudding basin and 60 grams for the Ganache)

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1 1/2 cups plain flour

1 1/2 teaspoons bicarb soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup Rice Bran oil

1 1/4 cups sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla paste

2/3 cup buttermilk ( I make mine by adding 1 tablespoon white vinegar to 1 cup of milk)

Ganache

2/3 cup thickened cream

2 tablespoons golden syrup

100 grams dark chocolate (I used Aldi brand Dark organic chocolate with sea salt flakes) broken into squares

Method

Brush the lid and bowl of the pudding basic with 15 grams of melted butter, cut out a circle of baking paper and line the lid then brush with remaining melted butter

In a small saucepan bring water to the boil and add cocoa, turn heat to low and stir until thickened, remove from heat

In a large bowl, add the flour, salt and bicarb, whisk to incorporate.

Add sugar and whisk to combine

Add oil and again whisk to combine

Add eggs and vanilla paste and whisk well until incorporated 

Now add buttermilk and whisk until smooth

Add cooled cocoa mixture and again whisk until incorporated

Add mixture to pudding basin, cover with lid. 

In a large saucepan, lay an upturned saucer on the bottom, put pudding basin on saucer, pour in cold water until it reaches half way up sides. Bring to a simmer, then turn down to low and steam  for 1 hour and 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan bring cream and golden syrup to a simmer. Take off heat and add chocolate, wait 5 minutes then stir in melted chocolate, then add butter and again stir well until smooth and silky 

Carefully take out pudding basin, remove lid and place a serving dish on top, now in one swift action turn pudding basin over so than the pudding comes out onto the serving dish. 

Serve with magical Chocolate Ganache and Vanilla ice-cream








So, tell me, what was your Easter Sunday dessert? Something new or an old favourite?

This recipe is adapted from the Coles Easter magazine 










Sunday, 27 March 2016

Setting the Table

Hello Dear Reader,

I love to set a nice table, a freshly ironed tablecloth, our best plates and cutlery and some flowers. It is simple, but the act of setting the table is one I don't get to do very often. We always take our nightly dinner next door to my Mother in Law and as such we don't set a table. It is easier for her to eat at the breakfast bar, so thats what we do.

Christmas 2014
When I get the chance to have family over, I start with setting the table, then I know it's done and I don't have to worry about it and I can get on with preparing the lunch or dinner, or what ever it happens to be. I have collected some beautiful tablecloths over the years and even though I am not much of an ironer this is something I will do to make it look really lovely. I even have cloth table napkins but I don't always use them.

My Daughters Birthday 2015
Christmas Table 2015


So, tell me, do you set a table every day or is it for special occasion only?

Saturday, 26 March 2016

My Easter Menu

Hello Dear Reader,

With Easter upon us I thought I would share what we have planned to eat and share over the Easter long weekend. We are truly blessed with having access to the freshest seafood. Both my Hubby and Son are wonderful fishermen and prawners. Even though we are not practicing Catholics we still abstain from meat until Easter Sunday.

This is our 2016 Easter Menu

Friday 

Breakfast - Baked eggs on Avocado and Vegemite Toast


Lunch - Freshly made bread rolls with smoked salmon, sour cream and capers, sorry about the blurry photo


Dinner - There was left over Cheesy Broccoli Pasta Bake so we had that instead of the Honey Prawns that was on the Menu.


Saturday 

Breakfast - Poached eggs on Avocado Toast


Lunch - Potato topped Fish Pie with steamed green beans and Lemon and Blueberry Cake for Dessert (Family Lunch)



Dinner - Salmon Quiche with steamed Green Beans and home grown Bellino Tomatoes dressed with a little oil and Balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper (sorry, forgot to take a photo)

Sunday  

Breakfast - Cheese and Ham Croissants (sorry, forgot to take a photo, must be holiday brain)

Lunch- Change of plans, the boys are going fishing so I will just please myself what I have for Lunch and Dinner.

 Well, guess what, the plans have changed again, the moon phase has passed so they have decided not to go fishing so...

Lunch-  Croissants with Smoked Salmon, sour cream and capers



Dinner- Roast Pork and apple sauce, Roast Potatoes, Roast Pumpkin, Cauliflower Cheese and Steamed Broccoli. For Dessert we are having Steamed Chocolate Pudding with Chocolate Ganache




Monday

Dinner- Leftovers

I will add photos and edit as we go through the above menu.

So, tell me, how do you spend Easter, are you home or away?