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Food, general thoughts, food…

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BBQ pork belly strips

Here is a recipe that I hashed together from several online ideas and what I have in my pantry. The measurements are pretty subjective I, as usual, just kind of bunged in a good blob of this and a spoonful of that until it tasted good to me.
I have added brown sugar to the recipe below although I didn’t use it myself. I have a sweet sticky soy sauce that negates the need for sugar, I actually added a little salt to balance it out.

The rest of the crew ate these with rice, I had broccoli because I like it and I am trying to eat more vegetables (broccoli is my favourite vegetable just in case you were wondering).

BBQ pork belly strips

500g pork belly slices
4 tablespoons tomato sauce (ketchup)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon ready-made barbecue sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon cider apple vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoon prepared Horseradish
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger

Mix all sauce ingredients together.
Marinate pork belly in sauce overnight.
Preheat oven to 200C.
Place pork and marinade into oven proof dish and cook for 45 mins.
Turn once during cooking.
Try for some crispy burnt edges on the skin, it turns caramelly and good.



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Frozen Mocha Cheesecake

Lunch/Dinner today was amazing. I write it like that because I ate it like that. We had a pork roast flavoured with thyme, onion powder and garlic salt, great combination. With rice and roast potatoes, broccoli and gravy (I am not an apple sauce fan) for lunch around midday and then had dessert around 6pm for dinner because we were all so stuffed with lunch there was no room for dessert at the time.

I don’t often make desserts these days but this was one of those ones that just begged to be made. Every time we stop somewhere for coffee my husband orders a mocha so when I came across this recipe in my database I just had to try it out right away. Heaven knows how long I have had this recipe but once it saw the light of day it played on my mind until I made it. It was delicious. I ate an enormous piece and will go back for more in the ensuing days. It is richly coffee flavoured with enough chocolate to give it a mocha bent but not to overpower the coffee. Mmm fabulous!

Frozen Mocha Cheesecake

1 Tbs instant coffee granules
1 Tbs hot water
200 gm chocolate ripple biscuits
125 gm butter melted
200 gm milk chocolate coarsely chopped (gives you a couple of pieces from the block to gobble)
2 x 250 gm cream cheese brought to room temperature
395 gm condensed milk
250 ml thickened cream

Release base from 22 cm pan and line base and sides with foil.
Combine the coffee and hot water and set aside to cool.
Crush the biscuits into a fine crumb, blend in the butter and then transfer to the pan.
Use the back of a spoon to spread and press firmly into base. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and microwave on a low heat until the chocolate melts and is smooth, then set aside for 5 minutes to cool.
Place the cream cheese, condensed milk and 250 mL of cream into a bowl and process until mixture is smooth.
Add the chocolate and coffee mixture to the cream cheese mixture and process until well combined. Pour the mixture over the biscuit base and use the back of a spoon to smooth the surface.
Place in freezer for 8 hours or until firm.
Remove cheesecake from freezer and cut immediately (if you live in Australia and everything melts in seconds flat) or leave out to soften slightly to make cutting easier.
Serve with extra whipped cream and grated chocolate if desired or just indulge in more than you really should then hide the rest back in the freezer and try (unsuccessfully) to forget about it (I swear it is calling my name!).



Ice-cream Bars

I have a house full of kids again. Kids means sugar! I had to make the kids something good and sugary, summery and easy so I went online and went searching for something frozen that I could whip up quickly and have on hand.

Ice-cream slice! I even indulged in a couple of pieces myself, just as a quality control officer you understand. This was so easy that the kids helped me out without making me tear out my hair in frustration. It was a great project for all of us.

I am thinking that a variation that I would like to try at a later date would be peppermint crisp but crunchie was a fabulous starting point. A community service warning though, these are sweet sweet sweet. I think if I were to make a batch to suit my own tastes then I would cut the condensed milk in half, but the kids love them and I should really stay away from them entirely so no sense messing with them really.

Ice-cream Bars

600 mls thickened cream
395 gms condensed milk
3 x 50 gms chocolate bar of choice, crushed (I used Crunchie, a honeycomb style chocolate bar)
2 x 250 gms rectangular biscuits (I used malt flavoured ones)

Line a tray with 1 packet of biscuits. Whip cream.
Fold condensed milk into cream.
Fold crushed Crunchies into cream mixture.
Spoon mixture evenly over biscuit base.
Line mixture with remaining packet of biscuits.
Place in freezer overnight or until set.
Cut as desired and serve.

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Chicken stuffed with Fetta and Spinach

I have mentioned in passing that I was overseas for a period of time recently. I went to South Africa again and travelled around a bit.

Firstly we stayed a few days in a self-catering cabin the mountains in a farming community, beautiful, misty mornings, green grass, cool weather, rocky gardens, horses, dams stocked with bass, just lovely. Not very ‘African’ though, more like England.

We moved on and spent the second half of our visit at a game lodge with much more of an ‘African’ atmosphere. It was called Shayamoya .

Visit the Shayamoya web page!

There were game drives and boat cruises, tigerfish fishing trips or even in house massage available all of which was very enjoyable (except the massages, I don’t go in for all that touchy feely stuff, I am sure if I did they would have been wonderful though, everything else was). The rooms were comfortable and private (with private outdoor showers, which I loved. There is a bath inside if you are not so inclined)

But of course the one thing that I would take note of over all others was the food and it was well worth the notice! The kitchen staff, under their head chef, outdid themselves night after night. Everything that came out of that kitchen was amazing, even on the night that a snake took up residence under the refrigerator and put a real scare into the staff, they danced around it and still managed to prepare a meal fit for kings.

The gardens that the cabins were set in were beautifully maintained and contained a very interesting collection of aloes and other plants, clearly marked with their names and the view over the wetlands was amazing from our balcony.
It was honestly one of the most relaxing and enjoyable holidays I have ever had and I have to shout out a big thank you to Lindy and her staff for making it so lovely and enjoyable. Trust me, I will be telling everyone, if you want somewhere great to spend a holiday that is relatively inexpensive (at least compared to Australia) book yourself into Shayamoya, you won’t regret it for a second. And the food is fabulous!

Chicken stuffed with Fetta and Spinach

2x chicken breasts
Baby Spinach
Chili Marinated Fetta
Parmesan Cheese

Cut a pocket into each chicken breast. Stuff with as much spinach and fetta as it will hold.
Sprinkle with parmesan and pour a little of the fetta oil over each breast.
Bake in a moderate oven until cooked through.

Garlic Butter Beans

Green beans
Salt & Pepper

Cut green beans as desired (slicing them lengthwise is nice if you have the patience)
Boil or steam to your preferred crispness.
Drain and stir in butter and garlic.
Salt and pepper to taste.

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Chicken Stuffed with Peppadews

I couldn’t get to my nice new grocer at the beginning of this week so I resorted to visiting my local supermarket for some fruit and vegetables as I was running low and have been enjoying the fresh produce so much that I didn’t want to run out completely. I did hope that with the new competition showing them how to do it, things may have improved. Sadly I was wrong. The lessons in pricing, ripeness and quality seem to have flown right by unnoticed and produce is still so unripe that it is would take a decent chip out of the wall should I choose to throw it in frustration and still double the price of my new grocer. The notable exception being the grapes that were wet with their own juices as they turned brown where they lay.


Needless to say I grabbed the best of what was on offer, bugger the prices and hightailed it out of there. My daughter has kindly offered to run me to the new grocer today, she isn’t impressed with the pickings in the fridge either. I go with a long list prepared and tomorrow we shall feast again!

One thing I must pick up is a new container of stuffed peppadews. These mild little chillies, stuffed with cream cheese are a new favourite of mine and I have been finding things to do with them other than just popping them in my mouth whole.

Having a freezer pack jammed with chicken breasts right now, I have been stuffing them with all and sundry and crumbing or just seasoning then popping them in the over. The peppadews seemed to lead themselves to this idea so I gave it a whirl. Good choice!

Chicken Stuffed with Peppadews

2x chicken breast fillets
Stuffed Peppadews, halved
Parmesan cheese
Italian herbs
Salt and pepper

Make a pocket in each chicken breast. Stuff with peppadews, as many as will fit.
Place chicken in a tray, rub with a little oil and sprinkle with parmesan and herbs.
Season with salt and pepper.
Place in a moderate oven and bake until cooked through.

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Ham, Avocado and Mango Salad

While this picture may or may not appeal to your sensibilities and tastebuds on sight, please let me reassure you that it is indeed very delicious as well as being the easiest thing in the world to prepare.
That being said, avocados and mangoes are a tiny bit on the preparation heavy side if you consider cutting tomatoes or apples but they do taste so very wonderful that all fiddliness is instantly forgiven.

This is a knock together lunch that I indulge in whenever possible and at this time of year it is entirely possible to indulge on a several times a week basis. I like to use fresh of the leg ham that I cut myself. It is impossible to get slices of it in store here so the only alternative is to buy a whole ham and slice it myself, which I do. This does lead me to distraction on occasion as my other weakness is fresh cut ham on toast and as I am avoiding bread at the moment I do get the odd craving that I have to battle with during the slicing and serving. But I just have to look at my plate full of avocado and mango to feel a little better about the whole thing.

Ham, Avocado and Mango Salad

1 large mango, skinned, seeded and roughly diced (I do the hedgehog thing with mine but cut it how you like)
1 avocado, skinned, seeded and roughly diced
Ham, fresh off the bone, roughly chopped

Mix it all together and grab a fork. I don’t season or dress this with anything, I love it just how it is but feel free to jazz it up with balsamic or pepper or whatever you fancy.

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Zucchini with Ajvar

Just a steak and some simple vegetables. A left over zucchini actually and a couple of less than perfect tomatoes with the nasty bits cut off.
I cooked the steak on the barbeque with salt and pepper whole I prepared the vegetables in a frying pan inside. Super quick, super easy, super yummy!

Zucchini with Ajvar
1 ½ zucchini quartered and then sliced
knob of butter
2x tomatoes diced
2 large dessertspoons of Ajvar (or vegetable relish of choice)
Salt and pepper

Melt the butter in a pan. Add zucchini and tomato.
Cook until vegetables are becoming soft.
Add Ajvar and stir thoroughly until warmed through.
Salt & Pepper to taste
Serve with meat of choice (or on top of spinach leaves like my daughter had it)