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Food, general thoughts, food…

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Chicken with Thyme Butter Sauce

Originally this recipe did not have the cup of wine/sherry but once I had cooked it I found it quite dry with no sauce to spoon over, and it needed a little something to liven it up. The sherry (it was all I had in the cupboard) did the trick and this was really quite nice over rice.

Chicken with Thyme Butter Sauce
Serves 4

4 chicken breast fillets
plain flour
1/4 cup olive oil
125g butter
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
2 green shallots, chopped
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 cup sweet sherry or white wine

Toss chicken in flour, shake away excess flour. Heat oil and half the
butter in large frying pan, add chicken to pan, cook over medium heat for
about 10 minutes (or microwave on HIGH for about 8 minutes) or until
chicken is tender. Drain chicken on absorbent paper, keep warm. Discard
pan juices.
Heat remaining butter in same pan, add thyme and shallots, stir over
medium heat for about 2 minutes or until shallots are soft. Stir in juice and sherry,
cook over medium heat for 3 minutes. Serve over chicken.



Bloomer Bread

I tried this recipe thanks to Home Made With Mess (click the link to go straight to original)

I read this recipe and just had to try it, of course with all the twists and changes that occur when you are rummaging through your refrigerator and need to make something ‘right now’ without all the proper ingredients.

Here is the original recipe with my notes alongside.

Brie, Bacon and Red Onion Bloomer Bread (mine ended up as provolone cheese, sun dried tomato and roasted capsicum bread)

500ml strong white bread flour
10g salt
7g fast action yeast
40ml olive oil
320ml cold water
2 red onions – sliced (couple of Tbls sun dried tomatoes)
4 rashes bacon – chopped (2 roasted capsicums/peppers diced)
1 tbsp olive oil
200g brie – skin removed and chopped (I used provolone cheese)

Place the flour in a bowl and put the salt in one side and the yeast in the other
Pour the oil into the centre of the flour, along with 240ml of the water
Bring the dough together with your fingertips – you may need to add more water as you go along.
You want to bring the dough together so that it is sticky but not really wet.
Once your have brought all the dough together and cleaned the sides of flour then tip the dough onto
an oiled worktop and start to knead.
Knead the dough for 5-10 minutes until it is smooth and elastic
Lightly oil a clean bowl, put the dough in it, cover and leave somewhere warm to rise. You want it to
triple in size so will take at least an hour and a half
While the dough is rising you can make your filling

Heat the oil in a frying pan and gently fry the onions for 5 minutes to soften
Add the bacon and fry off until cooked and slightly crispy
Grease and line a 20cm taken tin or high sided roasting tin
Ones the dough has risen, remove from the bowl and knock back to get the air out of it.
Knead again for a few minutes to get it back to the smooth elastic consistency you had initially
Divide the dough into three and stretch out so that it will fit the bottom of your prepared tin
Place one of the dough sheets on the bottom and top with half the bacon and half the cheese chunks
Lay another sheet of dough on top and then top with the remaining bacon mix and the brie
Top with the final layer of bread and tuck the sides in
Dust with flour and then place in a large clean plastic bag and leave to rise for an hour
Preheat the oven to 220’C and bake the bread for half an hour
Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly before removing from the tin and setting to cool
completely on a wire rack.
Slice up and enjoy with a thick spread of butter or cream cheese

We ate this hot with no spread straight from the oven. What was left over I had cold slathered in cream cheese over the next few days.
I will certainly do this again and change up the stuffing’s time and time again I am sure.


Pumpkin Rice Quiche

I  had some pumpkin and some sweet potatoes that were near their use by date (even a little past it if the truth be told) but with careful peeling and chopping I was able to salvage 3 cups of mash at the end of the day. You have seen the muffins, now behold the quiche! This is a great way to use up left over rice (and pumpkin/sweet potato). I still have 1 cup of mash left….watch this space 🙂

Pumpkin Rice Quiche
Serves 6

2 cups cooked rice
2 eggs
3/4 cup cheese
2 Tbls chopped parsley
1 Tbls oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 bacon rashers, chopped
1 cup cold, cooked, mashed pumpkin (I used a combination of pumpkin and sweet potato)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup grated cheese
1 Tbls chopped thyme

Preheat oven to 190C.
Grease a 23cm pie dish. Combine rice, eggs, cheese and parsley. Press into base and sides
Of prepared dish. Place on oven tray. Cook for 20mins. Cool
Reduce oven to 180C.
Heat oil and add onion, bacon and garlic, cook until onion is soft. Cool.
Combine onion, pumpkin, eggs, milk, cheese and thyme. Pour into crust.
Cook for 45 mins.

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Pastry Parcels

Pastry parcels, a weakness of mine. Anything is good packaged in pastry. Okay, not everything, but most of anything is good if you bung it in a pie or in a parcel made of puff pastry. The following two recipes are ones I have altered lately to put into triangles of puff pastry. They were both delicious.

Chicken Pie
Serves: 4

1 BBQ chicken, chopped
250 g mushrooms sliced
1 onion, sliced
½ cup cream
2 cups chicken stock
3 tablespoons plain flour
90 g butter
Salt and pepper
Puff pastry cut diagonally into triangles

Preheat oven to 190C.
Cook mushrooms in 2 tablespoons of the butter, set aside.
Cook onion in a little oil, set aside.
Melt remaining butter in fry pan and blend in flour. Cook for 2 minutes, then add the stock, slowly stirring to make a smooth paste.
Stir in cream and season with salt and pepper.
Add in mushrooms, onion and chicken.
Place spoonful’s onto pastry and seal around edges to form parcels.
Bake until pastry is golden.

I made these for Christmas day. They went in seconds. The leftover filling was perfect for pastry parcels.

Bacon And Mushroom Vol-Au-Vents
Makes 36.

15g butter
2 green shallots, finely chopped
2 bacon rashers, finely chopped
100g mushrooms, finely chopped
1 tablespoon plain flour
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup grated tasty cheese
2 tablespoons packaged breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
36 small vol-au-vent cases

Combine butter, shallots and bacon in a bowl, cover, cook on HIGH for 2 minutes,
stir in mushrooms, cover, cook on HIGH for 2 minutes. Stir in flour,
cook on HIGH for 1 minute. Stir in milk, cook on HIGH for about 2 minutes or
until mixture boils and thickens, stir in the cheese.
Place teaspoonful’s of mixture into vol-au-vent cases, sprinkle with combined
breadcrumbs and parsley.
Cover a plate with absorbent paper, place one-third of the filled vol-au-vents
on the plate, cook on HIGH for 1 minute, transfer to serving plate.
Repeat in the same way with remaining vol-au-vents.


A little sweetness

Because of the following kinds of people, I felt the need to make something sweet. That and the fact that I had leftover pumpkin/sweet potato mash calling me from the refrigerator.

I know I am not alone in noticing this, and I can’t be alone in finding it very disturbing but the immediate escalation of nastiness in internet discussions is shocking to me. Is it the lack of face to face confrontation that makes people fly off the handle in ways they would never do normally or are there just those people out there that have little to no self-control and I have just been fortunate enough never to meet them? Silly things like you-tube videos and meme websites or more serious things like immigration debates on twitter, it doesn’t matter the forum, these people just lose it immediately and start throwing around words that decent people just don’t use in company.

It always seems to go thus:
Person 1: Here is my opinion, it may be ill considered and lack fore thought, but I am entitled to it.
Person 2: You are a stupid, ugly, fat $&*@%
Things degenerate from there, sometimes a thinking individual wades in trying to calm things down, in which case they cop a mouthful of abuse also, and it can go on for an age.

If these people are really so quick to anger and so unable to control their impulses I just hope to heaven that I never come across them by accidentally merging into traffic in a way that offends them. I may end up as a hood ornament or worse yet, a statistic. How do these people live day to day in the real world without getting the stuffing beaten out of them on a regular basis? Or are they able to relegate their lack of control to the computer room and act like a thinking part of normal society when they are in public?

I used to have a story book as a child with a picture of a troll inside, it was an ugly, mean, dirty, misshapen looking creature that was described as having little in the way of redeeming virtues. Not so surprising that this word has now been used to describe the type of person I am talking about here.

After being exposed to things like trolls we all need a little sweetness in our lives. Have a muffin…

Pumpkin Muffins

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup mashed pumpkin (I used a combination of pumpkin and sweet potato)
3/4 cup fat-free sour cream (I used Greek yoghurt)
1/3 cup fat-free milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
Cooking spray
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar

Preheat oven to 190C.
Combine flour and next 5 ingredients (flour through salt) in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk.
Make a well in centre of mixture. Combine pumpkin and next 6 ingredients (pumpkin through egg); add to flour mixture, stirring just until moist. Spoon the batter into 18 muffin cups coated with cooking spray.
Combine 1 tablespoon granulated sugar and brown sugar; sprinkle over muffins.
Bake at 190C for 25 minutes or until muffins spring back when touched lightly in centre.
Remove muffins from pans immediately; cool on a wire rack.


Caramel Two Ways

Here are 2 Caramel flavoured slices. This first one I forgot to take a picture of.
The base of this slice was quite biscuity and the topping/filling was a sugary fudgy concoction that went crispy caramel at the edges. It was all good but the edge bits were my favourite. I used a little less chocolate than was called for, I like my chocolate on the thin side when paired with caramel, I don’t like the chocolate taking over.

The second recipe is an un-brownie i.e. it might be a brownie kind of consistency but as you can see from the photo, there isn’t anything brown about it. Is it a blondie? I wouldn’t know, but it was pretty good. I don’t really like baked cheesecake and the topping of this slice is reminiscent of that texture and taste but it wasn’t bad at all. I made it on Saturday and there is one slice left this Monday morning. Quite a few slices made it my way regardless of my predefined biases and that speaks for itself really.
I may not make it again but I can see how it would end up in some peoples ‘keepers’ book.

Caramel & Chocolate Pecan Bars

2 Cups Flour
1 Cup Packed Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Butter, Softened
1 Cup Pecan Halves

2/3 Cup Butter
1/2 Cup Packed Brown Sugar

1 Cup Chocolate Chips

Preheat oven to 180C. Mix all crust ingredients except pecans until fine. Press into the bottom of a 13 X 9 pan and sprinkle pecans over crust. In a saucepan, heat butter and brown sugar on medium heat until entire surface boils, stirring constantly. Once mixture comes to a boil, continue boiling for just 1 minute stirring constantly. Remove from heat after 1 minute and pour evenly over pecans and crust. Bake 18-22 minutes or until whole top layer is bubbly (oven temperatures may vary). Remove from oven and sprinkle with chocolate chips. Spread chocolate chips once they begin to melt and allow to cool completely.

Caramel Un-Brownies

125 g white chocolate
30 g butter
2 eggs
¼ cup sugar
1 cup plain flour
2 tablespoons bottled caramel topping

Cream cheese filling
60 g butter
185 g packaged cream cheese
2 eggs
¼ cup sugar
2 tablespoons plain flour
1 teaspoon vanilla

Melt chocolate and butter in a saucepan over a low heat, cool slightly.
Beat eggs and sugar with an electric mixer until thick and creamy. Stir in sifted flour and caramel topping, add chocolate, stir until combined.
Pour mixture into a greased 16 cm x 26 cm lamington tin.
Cream cheese filling: Beat butter and cheese together with an electric mixer, add eggs and sugar, beat well. Stir in sifted flour and vanilla. Spread cheese filling over brownie base. Bake at 180°C for 35 minutes. Cool in tin, cut when cold.


Sesame Pork with Garlic Cream Sauce

The sesame pork was one of these ‘eh..’ recipes. I didn’t mind it, it was different and interesting. It didn’t grab my husband’s fancy. The garlic cream sauce was exceptional though, as you can see it was thick and clingy and all I could think of is how good this would be in a hot dog maybe with a bit of onion incorporated. I think the pork could use a bit more flavouring, which might make it more interesting still, a marinade or an addition of herbs to the sesame seeds? Anyway it is worth playing around with if you have the time. Meanwhile log the garlic sauce recipe away somewhere and try it on a hot dog, is my advice.

Sesame Pork with Garlic Cream Sauce
6 servings

700g pork tenderloin or pork steaks
2 tablespoons  vegetable oil
1/4  cup  sesame seed

Garlic Cream Sauce
1 tablespoon  butter
2 cloves  garlic — finely chopped
225g package  cream cheese — cut into cubes
1/3  cup  milk
1 tablespoon  chopped fresh chives

Cut pork tenderloin crosswise into 12 slices. Brush pork with oil; coat with sesame seed.
Fry in non-stick pan or grill pork 12 to 15 minutes, turning once, until no longer pink in center.
While pork is grilling, prepare Garlic Cream Sauce. Serve sauce with pork.

Garlic Cream Sauce
Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Cook garlic in butter about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally; until golden; reduce heat to low.
Add cream cheese and milk. Cook, stirring constantly, until smooth and hot. Sprinkle with chives. Serve warm. About 2/3 cup.