Sunday, March 30, 2003

Cherry Ripe Muffins

Yesterday, I found that Cadbury has brought out a range of packet muffin & cake mixes like Fruit & Nut Muffins & Top Deck Cake. I bought the Cherry Ripe Muffin pack, 'cause I was feeling lazy, but am a little disappointed with the results - not because they're bad, just 'cause they taste... packet -, so here's my made-up version. If someone tests it & has suggestions to make, please email me.

Makes 12

Pre-heat oven to 170ºC.

Mix:
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
1 1/2 cups self-raising flour
1/2 cup dessicated coconut
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup red maraschino cherries
1 teaspoon salt

Add:
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup milk
1 egg

Beat well with a wooden spoon, then add:
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1/2 cup boiling water

Beat again. Spoon into a greased muffin tray & bake for 20-25 minutes or until cooked.

Sunday, March 23, 2003

Baby Apple Upside-Down Cakes

Serves 6

12 teaspoons golden syrup
2 small Pink Lady apples, cut into 6 x 1cm slices
120g caster sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
160g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
120g unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 180ºC.
Place 2 teaspoons of golden syrup in the base of 6 greased 1/2 cup capacity non-stick muffin tins. Place an apple slice on top of the golden syrup (you may need to trim the slices to fit flat in the muffin holes).
To make the cake, beat the sugar, eggs & vanilla using an electric mixer for 4-5 minutes or until thick & pale. Fold in the sifted flour & baking powder, & melted butter, until just combined.
Spoon the mixture over the apple in the muffin holes & bake for 18-20 minutes or until golden. Cool for 5 minutes before turning out.
Serve warm with thick cream or vanilla bean ice cream. Mmmm!

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

Tasty Peruvian (Fried) Rice

People are always asking how I cook rice, 'cause it's so tasty, so here's the (v. rough) recipe.

Makes about 2 cups

vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon crushed garlic
pinch of salt
1 cup long grain rice (I use Basmati)
1 1/2 cups water

Put enough oil in a saucepan to just cover the bottom & place over medium-low heat.
Once the oil is hot, put in the garlic & salt, stirring to fry it, but making sure it doesn't burn (about 2 minutes).
Add the rice, mixing well to coat all the grains with the oil (about 2 minutes).
Turn the heat to high, then add the water, mixing to make sure no rice is stuck to the bottom of the pan. Leave till the water is boiling.
Turn the heat down to low, stir well to unstick the rice again & cover the saucepan with aluminium foil & then a lid to create a tight seal. Leave for about 15 minutes or until rice on top is dry.
Serve with whatever you like! This rice is also great cold or reheated, so don't worry about making too much.

Variations

Because Peruvian rice is made in the 'fried' style, you can add whatever vegetables you like to make it more exciting.

My mum often adds chopped onion with the garlic & salt, stirring till it is soft & golden before adding the rice.
She also adds peas sometimes ("for a bit of colour"). If you use fresh peas, add them with the garlic, but if you use frozen peas, cook them separately in the microwave first & only add them once the rice is ready.
The same goes for any vegetables you want to add.

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

Steak with Red Wine Mushrooms

Specially for Mel & Ann.
Notes: I can't eat shiitake mushrooms, so I just use 200g regular ones; I always end up with a lot of sauce, so you might want to halve the amounts of stock & wine.

Serves 4

1 tablespoon oil (for frying)
4 thick sirloin or fillet steaks
1 tablespoon butter
4 shallots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
100g shiitake mushrooms
100g small field (ie regular) mushrooms
1 cup beef stock
1 cup red wine
1 tablespoon thyme leaves
cracked black pepper
mashed potato to serve

Heat oil in a frypan over medium heat. Add steaks to pan & cook for 3 minutes on each side or until cooked to your liking.
While steaks are cooking, heat butter in another frypan over medium heat. Add shallots & garlic to pan & cook for 1 minute. Add mushrooms to pan & toss for 1 minute. Add stock, wine, thyme & pepper to pan & allow to simmer until mushrooms are soft & sauce has reduced by half.
To serve, place mashed potato on warmed serving plates. Top potato with steak & pour over mushrooms & sauce. Serve immediately.

Chicken Skewers with Lemon Thyme

This was a bit hit with my cast on Sun night.
Note: I couldn't find lemon thyme, so I just used regular thyme.

Makes 12

12 short bamboo (or wooden) skewers
2x200g chicken breast fillets, trimmed
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon thyme leaves
sea salt & cracked black pepper (to taste)
vegetable oil for frying

Soak skewers in hot water for at least 10 minutes.
Cut chicken into strips approximately 5mm thick & thread onto skewers.
Combine the lemon juice, lemon thyme, salt & pepper in a non-metallic dish. Add the chicken skewers & toss to coat with the marinade. Cover & refrigerate for 10 minutes.
Heat a non-stick frypan over medium-high heat. Brush the pan with oil. Cook the chicken skewers in batches for 2 minutes each side or until cooked through.
Serve just with lime mayonnaise (recipe below) as an appetiser, or add rice & salad to make a meal.

Lime Mayonnaise

This is also great as a spread on sandwiches.

Makes 1 cup

1 cup whole-egg mayonnaise (none of that processed, low-fat crap!)
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon finely grated lime rind

Place the mayonnaise, lime juice & rind in a bowl & stir until combined.
Too easy!

Saturday, March 15, 2003

Chocolate Filled Biscuits

Makes 22 filled biscuits

65g cold butter, chopped
1/4 cup icing sugar (do not use icing mixture!)
1/2 cup plain flour
2 1/2 teaspoons cornflour
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 egg yolk

Chocolate filling:
200g dark chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup (single) cream

Preheat oven to 180ºC.
Place the butter, icing sugar, flours, cocoa & egg yolk in a food processor & process until a soft dough forms (you might have to add a bit more butter if it isn't smooth enough). Wrap in plastic wrap (Gladwrap) & refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Line a baking tray (or two) with non-stick baking paper (Gladbake). Roll a teaspoon of the biscuit dough into a ball & place on the tray, then use your hand to flatten it to 3.5cm diameter. Repeat with the remaining dough to make 44 small biscuits. Bake for 5-7 minutes or until the bases are lightly cooked. Cool on the trays.
To make the chocolate filling, place the chocolate & cream in a small saucepan over low heat & stir until melted & glossy. Refrigerate until cool. Spread half the biscuits with the filling then sandwich them together with the remaining biscuits.
These will go in a flash!

Sunday, March 09, 2003

Baked Chicken (Poule Rôtie)

This takes time (including day-before prepping), but is definitely worth it!

Serves 6

1 large (>2kg) chicken

Stuffing:
1/4 cup very finely chopped onions
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon ground cayenne (red) pepper

Seasoning mix:
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne (red) pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup very finely chopped onions
3/4 cup very finely chopped green capsicum
1/2 cup very finely chopped celery
3 cups double-strength chicken stock (if you use cubes/powder, just double the amount of concentrate used)
1/2 cup finely chopped spring onions (tops only)
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley

In a small bowl, combine the stuffing ingredients & mix very well.
Using a knife, cut 12-16 slits in the chicken, all the way to the bone, to form pockets; make most of the pockets in the meatiest parts, & make each pocket 2-3cm long. (Be careful not to cut slits all the way through the cavity wall.)
Fill each pocket with some of the stuffing, using it all; or rub any excess stuffing over the surface of the chicken.
Combine the seasoning mix ingredients thoroughly & sprinkle evenly over the chicken, using it all & pressing it in by hand.
Cover chicken & refrigerate overnight. Keep refrigerated until just before ready to bake.
Place 1/4 cup of oil in a large, heavy, ovenproof pan. Drain chicken & rub well inside & out with the extra 1 tablespoon oil.
Place chicken in pan, breast side up; cover & bake at 200ºC for 1 hour.
Remove pan from oven & turn chicken over; return to oven and bake uncovered for 20 minutes.
Remove pan from oven & remove chicken from pan. Skim most of the fat from the pan juices.
Put chicken back in pan breast side up & put the onion, capsicum & celery around the chicken. Return pan to oven & continue baking uncovered for about 10 minutes.
Remove pan from oven, turn chicken over again & stir pan juices well. Add stock & sprinkle spring onions & parsley over chicken. Cover pan & continue baking until chicken is tender, about 1 hour.
Remove pan from oven, transfer chicken to a serving platter & cover loosely with aluminium foil; set aside.
Place the pan with the juices over high heat & reduce the pan gravy to about 2 cups, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Skim fat off gravy if desired & serve immediately, spooned over carved chicken pieces.
Mmm-mmm!

Wednesday, March 05, 2003

Lemongrass Creamed Rice

Makes a delicious dessert or breakfast/brunch alternative.

Serves 4-6

100g short grain rice
1L milk
1 stalk lemongrass, bruised
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
sliced fruit of your choice to serve (guava & red papaya are the recipe's suggestions)

Rinse the rice in a colander until the water runs clear. Drain well.
Place the milk in a saucepan, add the lemongrass, sugar & vanilla, & heat until the liquid is about to boil.
Add the rice & stir for 1 minute or until the liquid returns to the boil.
Reduce the heat & allow to simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally or until the rice is tender.
Remove & discard the lemongrass.
Put the rice into bowls & top with sliced fruit. Serve immediately.