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Food, general thoughts, food…


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Vanilla Slice

I am not a huge fan of Vanilla Slice from the bakery, not because it isn’t nice, indeed it is very nice. It is also difficult to eat, that is what makes me choose something else every time. I have never met a vanilla slice that is easy to eat, it always squishes its custard filling out all over the place making you look like you have been eating by yourself for about 9 minutes…unsuccessfully. This one is no exception, its saving grace was that I could eat it at home and not worry about the impression I was making on those around me. I was happy that it tasted as good as its bakery counterparts although I would use less icing in future, I will make it again as long as I can eat it quietly at home without others.

I let mine sit for a good 24 hours prior to consuming. I thought this might make the pastry a little easier to deal with but not really…

Enjoy!

Vanilla Slice

2 sheets puff pastry
½ cup caster sugar
½ cup custard powder
1½ cups cream
2-2½ cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
Icing
2 cups icing sugar
1 teaspoon butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
Hot water

Place puff pastry on lined oven tray. Prick with a fork and bake for 10-15 minutes at 220°C.
Put sugar, custard powder and cream into a saucepan and stir over a medium heat until it starts to thicken.
Add milk ½ a cup at a time and whisk continuously until the custard is thick.
Let everything cool slightly.
Place in a 22 cm square tin, pastry, custard, pastry then icing.
Icing: Place icing sugar, butter and vanilla in a bowl and add enough hot water to make
thin to medium textured icing.

Recipe notes
Best after 12-24 hours in the refrigerator but can be eaten in as little as 3 hours.

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Banana-Apple Muffins

The ubiquitous left over bananas were joined this week by a couple of wizened apples that had most definitely reached middle age, some time ago if I am to be honest.

I didn’t have a suitable recipe on hand that used both so I replaced the blueberries (which I am not terribly fond of if the truth be told) in a Banana/Blueberry recipe with apple. What a good idea! Worked well, tasted good, was no hassle and was all eaten up within 2 days.

That is success! Enjoy!

Banana-Apple Muffins

2/3 cup  milk
1/4 cup  vegetable oil
1/2 cup  mashed ripe banana (about 1 medium)
1 egg
2 cups  all-purpose flour
2/3 cup  sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons  baking powder
1/2 teaspoon  salt
1/4 teaspoon  ground nutmeg
1 cup  chopped apple

Heat oven to 200C.
Grease bottoms only of 12 medium muffin cups, or line with paper baking cups.
Beat milk, oil, banana and egg in large bowl. Stir in remaining ingredients except
apple just until flour is moistened. Fold in apple.
Divide batter evenly among muffin cups (cups will be almost full).
Sprinkle with sugar if desired. (of course it is desired!)
Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.
Immediately remove from pan.


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Italian Pork Tenderloin

The last of the pork tenderloin has been used. It was delicious and I don’t regret buying 7 trays of it and freezing them one bit, even though I had never cooked pork tenderloin previously. Sometimes you just have to take an opportunity when it presents itself and trust that you will make something good out of it.

This was the last of it and I wanted to make it count. This was a super tasty meal that I will make again should the opportunity present itself in the form of more tenderloin on sale. I might even try it substituting chicken, it should still hold up well.

Italian Pork Tenderloin
4 servings

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup chopped bacon
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped onion
750g pork tenderloin, cut into strips
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
Saute the bacon, sage, parsley, sun-dried tomatoes, and onion 5 minutes, until onion is tender.
Mix the pork strips into the skillet, and brown about 10 minutes, turning once.
Stir the broth and heavy cream into the skillet, and season with salt and pepper.
Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened.


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Coffee & Date Slice

I enjoy nerdy jokes, science, philosophy, physics jokes (I don’t get maths ones, I am not geared right for those). Unfortunately I am the only one in my household that does. I also really enjoy absurdly silly kids jokes. Like my taste in music, my taste in jokes is very eclectic and, seemingly, a bit out of the ordinary. This both amuses and irritates the people around me as they are either peppered with utter nonsense or having jokes lengthily explained to them. As we all know, once you have to explain a joke it isn’t really that funny anymore but I am compelled to share my amusement even at the cost of said amusement.

Anyway, there you have it, a small snippet of my personality duly doled out and shared. Lucky you 🙂

The below recipe, by the way, really really really good! The coffee icing brings it to a whole new level.

Coffee & Date Slice
Makes 24 pieces

2 eggs
1 cup brown sugar
175g melted butter
1 1/2 cups plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup milk
1 cup chopped dates

Coffee Icing
2 cups icing sugar
2 Tbls hot coffee
1 Tbls softened butter

Preheat oven to 150C.
Grease and line a lamington pan.
Mix together all slice ingredients, stir until well combined.
Transfer to pan and bake for 35-40 mins.
Cool on wire rack, top with coffee icing when cool.

Mix all icing ingredients together. Top cooled slice. Cut slice when icing is set.


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Baked Chicken

I used drumsticks (as you can see) for this recipe. I think I could have added a little more salt to the flour mix to bring out the flavour a little more. Other than that it was a very pleasant and simple way to prepare chicken pieces.

We had ours with broccoli and roasted crushed potatoes.

I imagine that any soup sachet that you have on hand would be suitable to substitute for the tomato. Even 2 or 3 tsps of powdered stock would work at a pinch.

Baked Chicken
Serves: 4

750 g chicken thighs
1 cup flour
1 x 50 g sachet tomato cup a soup
All purpose seasoning
Seasoning, to taste

Mix flour, soup sachet and seasoning in a plastic bag.
Dip chicken into water.
Place chicken, a few pieces at a time, in coating mixture.
Shake to coat.
Place on baking tray lined with baking paper and sprayed with oil.
Once all chicken has been coated, spray with oil and bake at 180°C for 30 minutes until golden brown, turning once.


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Chilli Pork with Basil and Coconut cream

I finally got around to using some of those little chillies that randomly grew in my patch. They are still happily growing and producing bundles of hot little morsels of pain ready to use in the kitchen. Last year they were quite mild, this year they seem to have come into their own and give quite a punishing kick if you happen to stick a raw one on your tongue to test the heat. I, of course, know this by experience. They also sting like nothing else when you get them in your eyes, also by experience (I can’t be trusted in the kitchen). Who knew that washing my hands with soap and a scrubbing brush twice would have no appreciable effect on the eye watering properties of chilli?

They do add a real pizazz to a meal though so I think I will try to keep them in my cooking and definitely try to keep them out of my eyes.

Chilli Pork with Basil and Coconut cream
Serves 4

2 Tbls oil
1 onion, chopped
1 Tbls finely chopped chilli
1 red capsicum sliced
500g pork tenderloin, cut into strips
1 cup shredded basil
2 Tbls fish sauce
1 Tbls finely chopped lemongrass
1 cup coconut cream

Heat oil in wok. Add onion, capsicum and chilli, stir fry for 3 mins.
Add pork and cook for further 4 mins. Add basil, fish sauce
And lemongrass and cook for 1 min. Stir in coconut cream.
Heat through and serve with rice.


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Oven Baked BBQ Pork Belly

I have house guests so I am cooking a lot recently but have not been very good with keeping up the posting. I will try to catch up over the next few days.

My house guests are incredibly brave people who have immigrated to Australia with a suitcase each and a dream of a better life. I cannot but wonder at their bravery and support their hopes and dreams. I was fortunate enough to have been born here, if not for that accident of birth I may have been in their position. I am grateful every day for the fact that I am fortunate enough to be able to walk freely in the streets without risk of attack, injury or death. We, in Australia, are indeed lucky and I have seen enough of the world to know and appreciate it.

Oven Baked BBQ Pork Belly

4 Tbls tomato sauce
1 Tbls ready made BBQ sauce
1 Tbls Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbls oil
1 Tbls cider vinegar
1 Tbls sweet chilli sauce
2 Tbls Kecap Manis
1 tsp mustard powder
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp minced ginger

500g pork belly strips

Mix all sauce ingredients.
Place pork in a baking dish.
Pour over sauce and marinate for a few hours.
Preheat oven to 200C
Cook for 45 mins or until cooked and crisp.
Serve with rice or vegetables.