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Food, general thoughts, food…

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Candle Roasted Marshmallows

Last night was Oven Fried Chicken, pretty healthy, and French Onion Potatoes, undoing all the good the chicken did. At least it was a balanced meal at that rate.
We added a generous slice of the rosemary bread, just because it was there, and sat down to a tasty meal. Later on we toasted marshmallows on skewers over a candle and discovered that Mr Fussypants enjoys marshmallows but doesn’t like the melted ones sticking in his fur much.

Oven Fried Chicken
Serves 3

6 Chicken Drumsticks
1 tsp salt
1 clove garlic
2 tsps curry powder
2 tsps worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 cup boiling water
2 chicken bouillon cubes
1/4 tsp dry mustard with 1 tb water
1 tsp oregano
2-3 dashes tobasco sauce

Preheat oven to 180C.
Place chicken in shallow baking dish.
Mix remaining ingredients and brush chicken with mixture.
(I marinated it for a couple of hours)
Bake for about 45 minutes, basting often. Bake
until tender. Change oven temperature to 200 for about
10 minutes or broil 5 minutes until lightly browned.

French Onion Potatoes
Serves 4

8 potatoes
300ml cream
1 pkt dried french onion soup

Quarter your potatoes. If they are large quarters,
you might like to chop them in half again.
Put them into a greased baking dish in one layer,
and pour cream over the top.
Then sprinkle a packet of french onion soup mix evenly
over that.
Bake at 180 degrees in a fan forced oven for approximately 1
hour. If your oven is not fan-forced, it may need to be an hour
and a half.


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Rosemary Bread

I have been dying to make this (for reasons unknown, sometimes I am just like that) so I took time out yesterday and just did it. It turned out really well. The egg wash gives it a glazed appearance and the hardest crust ever, but I like the crunchy chewiness of it. The rosemary makes it wonderfully aromatic and tasty. Hot from the oven with lashings of olive oil margarine (I am trying to be at least a little good) it was just great, the perfect afternoon snack food on a cold rainy day.

Rosemary Bread

3 tsps dry yeast
1 cup warm water
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves (I used dried, worked fine)
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups flour
Olive oil
1 beaten egg

In a large bowl, add the yeast to the warm water, add sugar. Let stand
until foamy. This should take 5-10 minutes. Add the rosemary, salt,
and flour. Stir with a wooden spoon until it’s mixed and forms a loose, sticky ball.
Add the remaining more warm water if needed, then turn it out onto a floured surface
and knead about 8 minutes.
Place in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise
for an hour or until it’s doubled in volume. Punch down and knead it
briefly to remove air. Shape into a slightly flattened ball. Place it on
a lightly oiled baking sheet. Brush the loaf with oil. Let rise for 45
minutes or so, until it’s about doubled. Brush it with the egg. Bake at
180C until the top is browned, about 45 minutes, or until it
sounds hollow when tapped. Cool on a rack.

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Beer-Braised Pork Cutlets

I cannot drink alcohol, not because I am somehow against its consumption or I don’t like it but because it does not like me. Not even a little bit.
I have discovered that I can however cook with it. As I don’t drink, I don’t have alcohol in the house often so I squirrel away recipes for times when people leave a bottle of beer or a half bottle of wine (I have tried substituting other ingredients but it just isn’t the same). So any odd bottles that guests leave in my refrigerator are quickly consumed in any recipe that I can find that utilizes it.
I could of course stop being so lazy and drag myself into a bottle shop but that is like a diabetic having to shop in a candy store, it just reminds you of all the good things out there to try that you can’t have, just miserable really.

So here is a bottle of beer that a kind friend left me some time ago, the only way I can enjoy it.
When I think about it that way, it isn’t so bad….

Beer-Braised Cutlets
Serves 4

4 pork sirloin cutlets, tenderized
4 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoons butter
1 cup beer
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons prepared mustard
2 teaspoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons dill weed

Stir together flour, salt and pepper and coat cutlets. In a large
skillet over medium-high heat, melt butter to sizzling and add cutlets.
Saute until golden brown on one side; turn cutlets and add remaining
ingredients to skillet. Bring to a boil, lower heat and cover. Simmer
for 10-12 minutes, until pork is cooked through. Remove cutlets to a
warm platter, boil and stir pan juices until thickened; serve cutlets
with pan sauce.

As you can see, I tossed in a couple of handfuls of baby spinach into the sauce after I removed the pork chops and served with a pile of mashed potatoes. It was very good!

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Biscuits with Love

My Daughter came to visit me this past weekend. One thing we enjoy doing together is cooking.
This is what came of hanging out in the same kitchen late one evening.

Iced Biscuits
Serves: 25-35

1 cup caster sugar
200 g butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or essence
3 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 eggs
Hundreds and thousands sprinkles (or cachous)

2 cups icing sugar
1-2 tablespoons water

Preheat oven to 180°C.
Place sugar and butter in a bowl and mix with electric mixer until well combined.
Add flour, essence, bicarbonate of soda and eggs.
Mix and knead with hands until mixture forms into a slightly tacky dough.
Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Line two baking trays with baking paper.
Lightly flour a surface and roll the dough out to around 5 mm thick.
Cut out with cookie cutter and place onto tray around 2 cm apart.
Repeat rolling, cutting and placing until all the dough is used.
Bake for about 10 minutes or until the cookies start to colour.
Remove from oven, cool slightly before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
Spread the tops with icing and sprinkle on hundreds and thousands.

Love you kid. I enjoy spending time with you, you’ve grown into a wonderful woman and I am very proud to have been part of your life.

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Portuguese Custard Tarts

Yummy! These were just amazing and I found them so much fun to cook.
I love to cook and trying new things is always a big thrill. These little suckers were amazingly good to eat and they taught me a new pastry technique that I had never even thought of. Always a winner!

Portuguese Custard Tarts
Serves: 12

3 egg yolks
115 g caster sugar (I cut down the sugar a little, just used 100g)
2 tablespoons cornflour
400 mL low fat milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 sheets puff pastry (I used 1 puff and 1 shortcrust, combined them following instructions and they turned out great)

Lightly grease a 12 hole muffin tray.
Whisk egg yolks, sugar and cornflour together in a saucepan until fully combined.
Gradually whisk in milk until smooth.
Over medium heat, cook, stirring, until the mixture thickens and comes to the boil.
Immediately remove from the heat and stir in vanilla extract.
Transfer custard to a bowl, cover surface with cling wrap and leave to cool.
(I just left it in the pot and draped over a tea towel)
Preheat oven to 200°C.
Cut pastry dough sheet in half, place one half on top of the other. Do the same with the
other sheet. Set aside to rest for 5 minutes.
From the short end, roll up pastry tightly and cut the ‘log’ into 2 cm rounds (six per pastry
sheet). Lay each pastry round on a lightly floured surface and using a rolling pin, roll out
to 10 cm circle.
Press pastry rounds into the muffin tins. Stir the cooled custard well. Spoon in cooled custard.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until pastry and custard are golden.
Leave the tarts in muffin tins for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool
completely, or if serving hot, serve immediately with ice-cream.

Or if you are like us, grab a burning hot one and go for an evening walk. Walk about the neighbourhood with your mouth wide open trying to avoid 3rd degree burns on the inside of your mouth. Hope to not see any neighbours.

Admittedly they were easier to deal with later that evening, but where is the fun in that?

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Odd Combination

The cat has been out of sorts lately, I was wondering what was up until kitty tray duty this morning. After finding the squidgy bit from the end of my earphones embedded firmly in a little cat nugget the mystery is solved. Even cats gets a grumpy belly when they eat things that are made rather for poking in your ears than in your mouth. He seems to be back to his normal self, thank goodness.

Tonight was left over tomato & bacon oven risotto and sesame chicken.
I had the risotto left over from earlier in the week when I was looking for a recipe to use up the last bits of bacon left over from cooked breakfast at the weekend campsite.
I had chicken out but hadn’t made a plan. Dinner time came around sooner than expected so the sesame chicken recipe seemed a quick and easy way to go.
It was an odd combination but it was all tasty and worth making again, just maybe not together.

Oven baked Rissoto with Bacon
Serves 4

4 pieces of short cut bacon chopped
1 onion chopped
1 1/2 cup rice
400g can tomatoes
2 1/2 cups chicken stock

Preheat oven to 180C.
Brown bacon and onion in an oven proof pan.
Add all other ingredients.
Cover and bake for 30 – 35 mins.


Baked Sesame Chicken
Makes 4 servings

2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 pinch ground black pepper
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
2 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 200C.
Place soy sauce in a dish. In another
dish, mix together the sesame seeds, flour,
salt and pepper. Dip the chicken pieces in the soy sauce
to coat, then dredge in the sesame seed mixture. Arrange
in baking dish in a single layer, then drizzle with olive oil.
Bake at 200C for approximately 40 minutes, or until chicken is
cooked through and tender and juices run clear.
Turn once during cooking time.
Give them a go.
I am off to find more squidgy things to stuff in my ears and to keep them well out of the way of Mr Fussypants, that cat that won’t eat chicken wings.

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Take out at home

Because I have been pressed for time I am discovering that I can dress up products that I originally used for something simple, to be something else entirely.

I had a bottle of plum sauce marinade, which I would normally just dump on some chicken wings and bake as it is.

Last night, having discovered the fabulous eggwhite and cornflour batter that fries up so beautifully, my husband requested sweet and sour pork so here it is in all its unmeasured glory…I have guessed at the quantities, I am really bad for a blob of this a sprinkle of that, nothing is ever the same twice.

Sweet and Sour Pork
Serves 2

500g pork steaks, cubed
3 egg whites
1 ½ Tbls cornflour
½ tsp salt
2/3 of a 375ml bottle of plum sauce marinade
½ red onion, roughly chopped
3 pineapple rings, chopped
1 Tbls cider vinegar
1 Tbls sweet chilli sauce
Cooked rice to serve

Break up egg whites and mix in cornflour and salt.
Throw in pork and mix to coat, it really doesn’t look like it is doing much but it will when you fry it.
Deep fry pork in batches and drain.
Dump all other ingredients, except rice, into a saucepan and heat until sticky and thick.
Serve rice with pork drizzled with sauce.

I did the same thing a few days ago with some freshwater fish we bought home from camping/fishing. It was awesome.
Really, I am never going out for Chinese food, ever again.