RandomBacon & MargarineFlowers

Food, general thoughts, food…

Leave a comment

Fish Bites and Lemon Butter Rice

So, today I googled ‘why are rabbits called bunnies?’ This is an example of the things that cross my mind whilst eating my breakfast. There was no string of thought that led to this curious subject; it just suddenly concerned me deeply from out of nowhere. I know now what the accepted reasons are and I can sleep tonight secure in that knowledge. I will not bore you with details, you may google it yourself if you are interested in the answer.

An excellent combination. Fish and lemon is classic and always works well.
The fish was lightly battered and shallow fried and the lemon rice (surprisingly fast to cook) made the perfect accompaniment.

Fish Bites

White fish fillets, cubed
3 egg whites
1 1/2 tablespoons cornflour
Salt and Pepper to taste.

Beat egg whites lightly to break up.
Add cornflour and salt and pepper.
Dip fish in batter and shallow fry until golden.
Drain on kitchen paper prior to serving.

Lemon Butter Rice

2 Tbls Butter
1 onion, finely chopped
1 cup white Rice, uncooked
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
Grated rind of 1 lemon
To make the rice, Melt butter, add onion and cook over moderate heat
for about 2 minutes.
Add rice, toss in butter and cook for 1 minute. Add stock.
Bring to the boil, stir, cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until tender.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Add lemon rind, fork lightly and allow to stand 5 minutes before serving.


Leave a comment

Oven Baked Mince and Cheese Risotto

I wasn’t convinced that this recipe was going to be so great but I have two kids who would eat mince and pasta every single night if they were given the option. I came across this recipe and it involved much the same sort of flavours albeit with rice in place of the pasta. I like risotto but this seemed like the uncultured cousin and I wasn’t sure it would be a good fit for us. It just goes to show that you need to try it before you say you don’t like it. This was a really tasty meal and the whole dish was gobbled up by the four of us, regardless of the fact that it could have fed 6 people.

I will be adding this to our ‘cook it for the kids’ menu, without a doubt.

Oven Baked Mince and Cheese Risotto
Serves: 4 (in our house anyway, I think you could stretch it to 6 with no trouble)

1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon oil
500 g beef mince
1 tablespoon soy sauce
6 cups beef stock
2 cups rice
1 cup tasty cheese, grated
2 tablespoons butter

Fry the onions and garlic in the hot oil. Add the soy sauce and mince.
Cook until the mince begins to brown and the liquid from the meat has evaporated.
In a saucepan, bring the beef stock to the boil and add the rice.
Cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes until the rice is almost cooked.
Mix the meat mixture with the rice and add the cheese.
Oil the inside of a casserole dish and pour in the mixture.
Press down on the surface until it is even then place small pieces of butter on top.
Bake at 180°C for 30 minutes, until a crust forms on top.

Leave a comment

Spinach Rice with Cheese

I hate to waste food and rice in particular always seems to be leftover in our house. I often make a quick, stove top rice pudding out of it but sometimes there is that much that I need to make a main meal just to use it all up. Being on my own for a few days again I was able to consider using a few ingredients that wouldn’t have been appreciated by my husband, such as an entire bag of spinach (I used fresh because I had it, even though the recipe called for frozen). I also used up a tin of cream of chicken soup that was lounging in my cupboard doing nothing useful but working its way steadily towards the use by date (I hate canned soup on its own but it makes a handy ingredient for a quick and easy recipe or two so I normally have a can or two in the pantry)

It is not necessarily pretty to look at but this could be a tasty side dish with a steak or sausages. I was happy to have it for dinner on its own and it made enough for several meals if you have company or don’t mind eating the same thing for a few days.

Spinach Rice with Cheese

1 1/2 Tbls butter
2 cups cooked rice
1 tsp crushed garlic
2 chopped green onions
1 can cream of chicken soup
280g package chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
Melt butter. Stir fry garlic, rice and onions until onions are tender, stir often , about 4 minutes.
Add soup and simmer until heated through.
Add spinach, simmer until wilted. Remove from heat, add cheese.

Leave a comment

Baked Pumpkin and Bacon Risotto

I found this recipe on the net the other day and was immediately taken with it. I don’t have a photograph of my attempt simply because we ate it all before I thought of it. I found it here Baked Pumpkin and Bacon Risotto on Best Recipes (they have pictures).
I love risotto, any which way you cook it, and this was a tasty combination. Of course I changed things, my recipe is below but it is very similar to the original just a few ingredients swapped out for what I had available.

This was readily (and surprisingly) devoured by an incredibly stubborn pumpkin hating 10 year old boy and even given the nod of approval from my 95 year old Grandmother who happily accepted the leftovers when I brought them down for lunch the next day. I’ll be making this again and again, probably swapping out ingredients each time to create something new.

Baked Pumpkin and Bacon Risotto

4 bacon rashers chopped
1 red onion diced
1 1/2 cups rice
2 1/2 cup vegetable stock
1/2 cup white wine
60 g butter
1/2 butternut pumpkin peeled diced
1/2 cup parmesan cheese finely grated
1 pinch salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 190C. Lightly pan fry bacon until crisp, and cook onions in bacon
fat until transparent, about 5 minutes.
Place rice, stock, wine, butter, pumpkin, onion and bacon in an ovenproof dish and stir
gently to combine.
Cover with foil or lid and bake for 30 minutes or until rice is soft (took about 1 hour).
Stir in Parmesan, salt and pepper, then serve.

Leave a comment

A new kitchen toy

I bought a new microwave. There was nothing wrong with the old one (it will find a new lease on life when my daughter gets her own place) it just didn’t fit in the microwave recess in the new house’s kitchen. For the past 5 months I have filled the recess with odds and ends and lamented the amount of bench space lost to the microwave. Last week we decided to just go out and do it, downsize and get a new microwave and put the old one out to pasture.

Of course, new oven, new cook book!

As I have a freezer full of fish at the moment (my husband was very successful on his last trip out) I decided to make sweet and sour fish and team it with a new rice recipe from my new microwave cook book. This actually made tons of rice, which I have been enjoying for the past few days with anything and everything. I think it could have used a touch more salt or stock powder and I think I might even change it up a little with some curry powder and make a curry rice this way. It was a fantastically easy way to do flavoured rice and I will certainly try it again.

The fish, by the way, was Australian Salmon. A lot of people think this is just a sport fish and not at all good to eat but I particularly like it. It is a firm white fish, although there tends to be quite a bit of darker meat also. It lends itself to being cubed and deep-fried like this and also works well as fillets. It is also a largish fish and so provides a good amount of flesh for the time and effort it takes to catch and clean, which is also a bonus in my book.

So a few easy recipes for today:

My ‘go to’ easy Sweet and Sour Sauce, great with chicken, fish or pork.

Sweet and Sour Sauce

1 Tbls plum jam or 1/2 cup plum marinade
1 Tbls cider vinegar
1 Tbls mild chilli sauce

Place it all in a pot and stir to mix well.
If using a thinner marinade then let boil down to desired consistency.


My ‘go to’ easy light batter

Light Batter

3 egg whites
1 1/2 tablespoons cornflour

Lightly beat egg whites and mix in cornflour thoroughly.

I used this same batter on a recipe previously (see Lemon & Ginger Chicken) and it works well for anything that needs a light batter.


My new ‘go to’ easy and quick rice recipe, thanks to my new Panasonic Microwave cook book.

Fragrant Coconut Rice 
Serves 6

1 onion, chopped
2 cups long grain rice
500ml chicken stock
400ml coconut milk
1 tsp turmeric

Place all ingredients in a 3L casserole dish.
Cook on full power for 15-18 mins.
Cover and let stand for 10 mins before serving.


Leave a comment

Simple and satisfying seafood

Husband is away. I take the opportunity to indulge my love of prawns. He loves fish but despises all other things seafood. Luckily my Daughter also enjoys prawns and she chose this combination for dinner last night. I must say it was quick and easy to prepare and a real winning taste combination. The lemon rice is something we have made for years and teamed with almost everything conceivable but it does go best with seafood. The prawns were crisp and succulent and the rice lemony and buttery. I even have left overs for lunch today that I have been fantasising about since about 7am, it is now 9am and am not sure I will be holding out until lunch time.

Simple Garlic Prawns

24 green king prawns (who am I kidding, I used a whole bag of prawn meat and adjusted the rest accordingly)
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
Peel and devein prawns, leaving tails intact. (if you like that kind of thing, I use already peeled prawn meat)
Combine olive oil and butter in a pan, melting the butter.
Stir in garlic, cook for I minute. (I added a good handful of chives here also)
Stir in prawns. Cook until pink.
Sprinkle with parsley.


Lemon Butter Rice

2 Tbls Butter
1 onion, finely chopped
1 cup white Rice, uncooked
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
Grated rind of 1 lemon
To make the rice, melt butter, add onion and cook over moderate heat
for about 2 minutes.
Add rice, toss in Margarine and cook for 1 minute. Add stock.
Bring to the boil, stir, cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until tender.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Add lemon rind, fork lightly and allow to stand 5 minutes before serving.


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.