Monday, April 30, 2012

I saw this recipe in my latest Cuisine magazine. The recipe used apples but since we have feijoas dropping to the ground literally every few minutes I decided to give it a go replacing apples with feijoas.
Mine didn't get serves with creme Anglaise as suggested but I did add some brandy to custard to pour over it so it was almost there.

These little desserts were great. I made them in a silicone jumbo muffin pan. The recipe easily did 6 and probably could have down 7 because I over filled them.
I think they would probably freeze well too.

Ginger and Apple Puddings

For the puddings
2 large apples, peeled, cored, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon mixed spice
3 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
120g butter
4 tablespoons golden syrup
3⁄4 cup brown sugar
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons baking soda
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Liberally butter 6 ovenproof ramekins or cups and half-fill each with apple slices. Reserve.
Put the mixed spice, ginger, cinnamon, flour and baking powder in a bowl. Mix well then set aside.
Put the butter, golden syrup, sugar and milk in a saucepan. Place over low to moderate heat until just about boiling, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Stir in the baking soda – it will foam up, but this is as it should be.
Add the baking soda mixture to the dry ingredients and mix well. Spoon this mixture over the apple slices in the ramekins, filling each ramekin almost to the top.
Place the ramekins on a baking tray then bake for 25-30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the puddings comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and stand for a few minutes before running a small knife around the sides of each pudding to unmould. Turn out on to plates and serve with the creme Anglaise.

Calvados creme Anglaise
300ml full-cream milk
100ml cream
3 tablespoons caster sugar
5 egg yolks
4 tablespoons Calvados (or whisky, brandy or rum)*
Put the milk, cream and sugar in a saucepan and bring to the boil.
Meanwhile, put the egg yolks in a heat-resistant bowl and beat lightly.
Pour a little of the hot milk mixture on to the egg yolks, whisking continuously to combine, then slowly pour in the remainder of the mixture, stirring continuously.
Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and stir continuously until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of the spoon. Strain and allow to cool. Stir in the Calvados then refrigerate until ready to serve.
* Calvados is a French apple brandy.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Cheese and Bacon Puffs

I saw this on the Good Morning Show website. The comment about getting your oven on fast because they are so quick to make really appealed to me!
Of course anything with cheese and bacon is usually pretty good too.
To make it really fast I used my mini blender to grate the cheese. The mixture really was ready before the oven had time to heat up!

The are really just little scones and would make a great snack or addition to a soup meal.
Mine were a little bit. The teaspoon measures need to be quite small.

These delicious little morsels disappeared VERY fast!

June 2012 - I made these again for a function. I sliced them in the middle and added to some a pesto and cream cheese mixture and to the others cream cheese and capsicum. They disappeared quickly and I had lots of very good feedback!

Cheese and Bacon Puffs
Makes about 24
Ingredients 1 cup flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 and 1/2  cups grated cheese (tasty is best)
1/2 cup chopped bacon
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup milk
Method Get your oven to 200C first.
This is so fast that it'll barely have time to pre-heat.
Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl.
In a separate bowl, whisk the egg till it goes frothy.
Tip the egg, milk and cheese into the flour and mix well.
Chuck teaspoon sized balls of the mixture on a lined tray
Bake for 10 - 12 minutes.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Slow Cooker Sweet and Sour Chicken

Another slow cooker recipe. This was an interesting one and I made lots of changes to the original recipe.
The quantities and times were just not right. Maybe it was a difference in slow cooker between countries?

I've made the changes and additions to the recipe below but if you want to check out the original go to the blog 'Cooking Classy'.

I did really enjoy it though. A good addition to my slow cooker repertoire. This will be one I make prepare the night before, turn on when I go to work, then thicken and finish off when I get home.

I tasted the sauce before thickening it and added more vinegar and some salt. I didn't use the tabasco because I had a little person eating the meal but would have love to.

While I always make sure our meals have a good proportion of vegetable, I'm on a bit of a mission at the moment to add even more. My thinking is that if the vegetables are part of the 'meat' part of the meal, them not only bulk it out but are virtually unnoticed.
You could also add broccoli, celery and carrots to this dish get more colour and a greater variety of vegetables in it.

I think I'll experiment next time and use the pineapple juice and try to reduce the amount of sugar in the dish.

The recipe made quite a lot. I served it with rice and vegetables and still had the other half to freeze for another meal.

Slow Cooker Sweet and Sour Chicken
6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into chunks
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup white vinegar (you may need to add more later. I did, but I like a strong vinegar hit)
3 Tbsp lemon juice
3 Tbsp soy sauce
3 Tbsp tomato paste
2 cloves of crushed garlic
1 tsp of finely grated ginger (or 1/4 tsp of ginger powder)
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 - 1 tsp tabasco sauce (optional)

1/3 cup chicken stock
2 tbs cornstarch
1 tin diced pineapple (you could use the juice but it is quite sweet already)
1 onion, cut into chunks
2 capsicums cut into chunks (I used a red and green for difference in taste and colour)
1/2 cup cashew nuts

Place diced chicken in a slow cooker.  In a mixing bowl combine, 1/2 cup chicken broth, brown sugar, granulated sugar, vinegar, lemon juice, soy sauce, tomato paste, garlic powder, ginger, pepper and optional hot sauce.  Whisk until well blended.  Pour mixture over chicken in slow cooker, press chicken into sauce to cover.  Cover slow cooker with lid and cook chicken on low heat for 4-5 hours. 

This is a good time to check a piece of chicken is cooked and to adjust the flavour...vinegar, tabasco, salt.

In a small mixing bowl, stir together 1/3 cup chicken broth and cornflour.  Whisk until well blended then gently fold cornstarch mixture into chicken mixture (chicken will be very tender that's why I say "fold").  Fold in diced pineapple, cashews onion and bell pepper.  Cover slow cooker with lid and cook mixture on low for an additional hour until sauce thickens and fruit/veggies are slightly tender.  Serve warm with white or brown rice.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Feijoa and Apple Muffins

Yes, another feijoa recipe! I have to use them up! I can't possibly waste them!

This recipe took quite a few and while meant for a cake made amazingly soft fluffy muffins.
I couldn't stop eating them.

What I really liked was that is was pretty much all made in the food processor.

feijoa & apple cake


  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups raw sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil (not olive)
  • 1 cup white flour
  • 1 cup wholemeal flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 ½ cups sliced feijoas
  • 1 ½ cups sliced cooked apple (tinned is fine)
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  •  ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
  1. Set oven to 180ºC. Grease or spray a 25cm tin or 12 deep muffin tins.
  2. Break eggs into processor bowl then add sugar. Pulse for a few seconds and leave sitting while you assemble other ingredients.
  3. Sift white flour, baking soda, ginger and salt together then gently stir in wholemeal flour. Set aside
  4. Add lemon zest to chopped and measured feijoa and apple flesh.
  5. Process the sugar and egg combo for a further couple of minutes. With the motor, running dribble the oil very slowly down the feed tube.
  6. Process for another couple of minutes, remove lid and add half the dry ingredients, pulse, add the remainder and pulse again.
  7. Add the fruit to the mixture and pulse briefly until just combined.
  8. Spoon mixture into prepared tins and bake small versions for about 25 minutes or about an hour for the large cake.

Chicken Shepherd's Pie

Hard to believe but I have never made Shepherds' pie, possibly because I have a potato topped chicken pie that I make that is really good. I'm obviously in comfort food mode as it started to get a bit colder so recipes like this one are really appealing.
This pie was fantastically good and even better the next night when we had the second half.

I made this (or at least a variation of the recipe) with just a plain potato top.
I pretty much doubled the first part of the mix but not the chicken and made loads of mashed potato for the top. It did make it heavy on potato but no one seemed to mind.

The version I made produced two reasonable sized trays. This meant I could give one to a friend who has been helping us out a lot at the moment - although John suggested just keeping it for us after a few mouthfuls of his dinner!
I used disposable aluminium trays which is a bit lazy but I have a few floating around from the BBQ season.

The recipe came from the website Simply Delicious

Shepherd's Pie
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3 celery sticks, finely sliced
1kg Chicken Mince
1 tin cherry tomatoes or chopped tomatoes
1tbsn tomato paste
2 bay leaves
salt & pepper to taste
handful fresh parsley, chopped
200g (7.05 ounces) potatoes, peeled and roughly quartered
300g (10.58 ounces) sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into chunks
300g (10.58 ounces) butternut, peeled and chopped into chunks
2tbsn butter
1 cup warmed milk
1 cup mature cheddar, grated
1/2tsp nutmeg, grated
salt & pepper to taste
  • Fill a large pot with water and place on high heat. Add the potatoes, sweet potato and butternut.
  • In a large saucepan, fry the onions, garlic and celery until soft and translucent.
  • Add the chicken and fry until the meat starts to brown.
  • Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, bay leaves and 1/2 cup water and turn down the heat. Cover and allow to simmer for 10 minutes. Uncover and allow to simmer for 10 minutes.
  • When the vegetables are soft, drain and mash with the butter and milk. (I used my handheld mixer which worked incredibly well to get rid of all the lumps and only took a minute)
  • Add the cheese and seasoning and mix through.
  • Spoon the chicken mixture into an oven-proof dish and top with the mashed vegetables. I like to take a fork and make patterns on the mash but you can just dollop it on if you don’t feel too creative.
  • Place in a pre-heated (200°c) oven and cook for 10-15 minutes until the vegetable layer is slightly browned.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Maple Mustard Baked Chicken - easy and yum!

I found this recipe on Pintrest last night. What I loved about it was how super incredibly easy it is. It literally took me less then 5 minutes to prepare and then cooked on its own, only needing basting once in the process.

The blog is called 'Witty In The City'. I really like the no nonsense writing style of the author.
What really amused me was the name she had given to the dish. It was called Man-Pleasing -Chicken because her male partner was so impressed by it.
The males in my house were pretty impressed and I liked it too!

While the ingredients - dijon mustard, maple syrup, vinegar (and chicken) are really strong distinct flavours, my diners could not immediately identify what the ingredients were. The sauce was almost like a sweet peanut sauce.

I made the sauce the night before and marinated the chicken during the day but I'm sure this didn't make to much difference.
The cooking time was about 10 minutes less than suggested. I just tested the chicken a few times. The beauty of using chicken breasts is that they are pretty hard to dry out.

Maple and Mustard Chicken 
( Man-Pleasing -Chicken)
To make this chicken, which you should absolutely do immediately, preheat your oven to 450ºF. 
Then, mix together 1/2 cup of dijon mustard, 1/4 cup of maple syrup, and 1 tablespoon of rice wine vinegar. 
Put a 1.5 pound package of chicken thighs (I used 6) into a foil-lined, oven-proof baking dish. I used boneless, skinless thighs. Six came in my package, which made enough to serve 3 people. 
Then, salt and pepper the thighs. Pour your maple mustard mixture over them, turning the thighs in the mixture so they are fully coated. 
Put the chicken thighs into the oven, and let them bake for 40 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 165ºF.
Baste the tops of the chicken with more sauce half way through. I find that a meat thermometer is essential in cooking because it allows me to check for doneness without cutting into the meat and losing its precious juices.
Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Plate the chicken, making sure to spoon some extra sauce over the top. 
Sprinkle over some fresh rosemary. If there is ever a time to use fresh herbs, THIS IS IT! The flavors are just so good together. Enjoy the savory goodness of this meal!
I adapted this recipe from “The I <3 Trader Joe’s Cookbook” by Cherie Mercer Twoky. 
Shopping list:
  • Chicken thighs- 1 package
  • Dijon mustard- 1/2 cup
  • Maple syrup- 1/4 cup
  • Rice wine vinegar- 1 tablespoon
  • Fresh rosemary

Monday, April 23, 2012

Slow Cooker Chicken With Chicken, Bacon and Tomato

I really like using my slow cooker but have the problem of overcooking chicken in it due to the need to turn it on when I leave for work and being away too long during the day.
I wasn't at work today so was able to reduce the time a bit better and the result was fantastic.

This isn't an exact recipe. I make it either in the slow cooker or in the oven and the ingredients change depending on what I have in the house. In the past I have also added one for more of the following; capsicum, olives, mushrooms, capers...and do it with or without bacon. I always use onion, garlic  and tomato.
If making in the oven the liquid will evaporate. I'd suggest using more stock. The chicken does well starting out covered in the oven but it is ok for some of it to reduce during cooking as long as it does not dry out totally. I'd cook it with the lid off in the oven.

I browned the chicken, bacon, onion and garlic (separately) first in a frying pan. I really think it makes a huge difference to the final product. It's a bit of a pain doing it and seems to defeat the purpose of cooking everything together easily to me, but worth it. Luckily I have a new larger slow cooker ordered that has the ability to brown before the slow cooking process starts...I can't wait!

When using the slow cooker, I often drain the liquid at the end of cooking and thicken it in the microwave then add it back or pour it over after serving.

I served this with a new potato dish - Crispy Sliced Potato Bake.

Slow Cooker Chicken With Chicken and Tomato

All ingredients except liquids, wine and tomato
Chicken pieces with bones in (I used about 8 pieces - wings, drum sticks, breasts)
4-5 slices of bacon chopped into small pieces
1 onion roughly chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic chopped (I really like garlic so use lots...but most recipes would say 1-2 for this amount of chicken)
1 tbsp olive oil (if needed for browning...bacon may produce enough)
1/2 cup of red wine
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 400g tin of tomatoes in juice
1 bay leaf
6-8 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 sprig of rosemary
salt and pepper

Brown bacon in frying pan, then set aside bacon leaving any residual fat in the pan.
Brown chicken pieces a few at a time, then set aside.
Slowly brown onion and garlic in pan, then set aside.
Use stock to deglaze the pan. Reserve stock and pan juices.

Layer chicken into slow cooker so that the pieces are close together to ensure the liquid (stock, wine and tomatoes) will cover the chicken.
Evenly distribute bacon, onion and garlic over chicken. Add bay leaf and thyme.
Pour over stock mixture, red wine and tinned tomatoes.

Cook on low for about 4 - 5 hours. Check the chicken after about 4 hours to determine if it is cooked through.

When ready to serve, you may wish to carefully pour off the liquid and thicken it, then either return to the slow cooker or pour over the chicken when serving.

Crispy Sliced Potato Bake

Last night I came across this recipe on a website called Prevention Rd which has some great recipes that are 'healthy options'. There was this potato recipe that looked good. I just LOVE potato dishes...a wee bit too much.

One of my favourite side dishes is Duaphinoise potatoes. I even came across a more healthy version made with stock instead of cream. Patrick (18 years) makes a potato dish and I vaguely remember my mother making that I know as 'hassle-back' potatoes which is a real favourite in our home.

I thought I'd give it a try because it looked so easy. It was!
My mandolin has been a really good time saver in the kitchen.
I initially took out a few to allow space between for the oil/butter mixture to seep in, but as they cooked the shrunk away so I would pack a bit closer next time.

Everyone really loved it! I think I might have cooked it too long and I basted it during cooking and it ended up quite greasy. I'd probably cut back a bit on the basting.
Two dishes - two types of potato

Crispy Potato Roast 
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
3 lbs russet potatoes
4 shallots, thickly sliced lengthwise (I used garlic slices)
1 tsp coarse sea salt
8 sprigs thyme
Preheat oven to 190 degrees C In a small bowl, combine butter and oil. Brush bottom of a round 9-inch baking dish with some butter mixture. With a mandoline or food processor, slice potatoes very thinly crosswise.
Arrange potato slices vertically in dish. Wedge shallots throughout. Sprinkle with salt and brush with remaining butter mixture. Bake 1 hour and 15 minutes. Add thyme and bake until potatoes are cooked through with a crisp top, about 35 minutes more. Yield: 8 servings.
Nutrition Information (per serving): 175 calories; 6.1 g. fat; 0 mg. cholesterol; 288 mg. sodium; 31.1 g. carbohydrate; 3.6 g. fiber; 4.8 g. protein
Result: Tender and crispy potato slices seasoned with salt, pepper, thyme, and a small amount of olive oil and butter. Though this bakes for quite some time, it was very simple to make and requires very few ingredients. While a mandoline is helpful, this can certainly be done with a great knife and some patience 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Pizza Scrolls

These are a winner with children and adults. The version I made today was made with children in mind with just tinned spaghetti, pineapple and cheese but I have made smaller more adult versions that have been gobbled up pretty quickly...(cheese, olives, bacon, sun dried tomatoes...)

I use a basic bread mixture in the bread maker and then roll it out and spread the toppings over.
The next step is to roll the flattened bread up (like a sponge roll), then carefully slice the scrolls and place flat on a baking tray to rise, then bake for about 15 minutes.

I  used half the mixture for scrolls and the other to make a simple white cob loaf.
These were a bit overcooked but still really yummy!

Feijoa Vodka Liqueur

I've seen this recipe over and over when I have been hunting for feijoa recipes, so I figure it must be ok.

Unfortunately you don't get to try it for about 3 months, so the verdict is out for now.
Surely you can't go too far wrong with vodka, feijoas and sugar?

I suspect the feijoa fruit that is the left over from this recipe will be pretty amazing...and potent!

I wonder how many volunteers there will be for the first tasting three months from now?

I can confirm that this stuff is amazing! It is a sweet syrupy liqueur that is very easy to drink on its own. Ive also tried it with lemonade. 
I used really cheap vodka and the end result was still great.
Next feijoa season I will be making many many jars of this!

Feijoa Liqueur 

Two thirds fill a large glass jar with ripe, peeled feijoas cut into rings. Add one cup of sugar. Fill the jar with Brandy or Vodka. Put on lid and stand the jar on a window ledge. Shake every day until sugar has dissolved, approx one week. Store in a cool dark place for at least three months. Then consume. The alcohol soaked fruit can be used for ice cream topping or with apples in a strudel.

Feijoa Cake

As warned this is another feijoa post.
This recipe appealed to me because it had almond meal which reduced the amount of flour.

What I didn't read carefully enough was the unusual cooking method...cook for 50 minutes, then turn the oven off and leave in for another hour. Not ideal when making a cake late at night!

We had the cake on its own. It was nice but really needed greek yoghurt or something to give it a bit of a sharp bite. The base was quite dense as you would expect from an almond meal recipe. I suspect it would be better warmed up. Perhaps for my next slice?

This one is an Annabelle White recipe

Feijoa Cake
125g butter
200g white sugar
2 eggs - No. 6s are fine
165g white flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/3 tsp salt
30g ground almonds
225g sour cream
1 tsp almond essence (opt)
Approx 400-500g ripe feijoa - Cut in half/thirds
1 heaped tbls coarse grained sugar (Demerara is ideal.)
A pinch of ground ginger
Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
Line the base of a 9" cake tin with baking paper and anti-stick spray the paper plus the sides.
Cream together the butter and sugar very well. Beat in eggs one at a time until well combined, then lastly the essence.
Sift dry ingredients over mixture and add at the same time the sour cream and almond meal.
Fold in carefully until well combined. (Mixture is quite thick.)
Spoon into prepared pan and very lightly press in the cut fruit (cut side up).
The fruit should be quite crowded but in a single layer.
Sprinkle Demerara sugar/ginger evenly over fruit and put cake into oven and immediately set temperature to a reduced 180 degrees Celsius.
Bake for 50 minutes, turn oven off and leave in oven for an hour.
Serve warm.
1. You can use other stoned fruit (plums, peaches, apricots) instead of feijoa and if using fresh figs change the almond essence and use rose water instead. If making it an apple cake - add cinnamon to the Demerara sugar.
2. Freezes well. Cut into portions before freezing.
3. Serve with a "side" of some of the same fruit - poached - and a dollop of either whipped cream or yoghurt.