Recently in Food and Recipes Category

Foody Bits

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I made this random meal in January using up stuff that needed to be used up.  Some little pita pockets I'd gotten off Potty a year ago, some cheese, prosciuotto, tomatoes and possibly Kit's tomato sauce.  Stu wanted me to make more the next day so we got through all the little pita pockets.

Pizza pockets

This was a zucchini and cauliflower bake I made to use up a couple of big zucchinis we'd gotten off Kit or Serena

Zucchini Cauliflower bake

And this was a zucchini, potato and sweet potato bake I made to use up a couple of zucchinis we'd gotten off EffanC

Zucchini potato bake

Chicken Dinner

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But not your average chicken dinner.

Remember those little chickies I posted a while back?

Chickies a week old

Four out of the five of them were roosters.  The hen and one of the roosters had been sold by Kit to someone, but since one of them was a rooster, Kit took him back.  

Saturday night a week and a half ago I got to say goodbye to the one that had gone away and come back.

Chicken dinner

For the next day, all four little roosters met their end.  Kit and Ben dispatched them and processed them, with help from Serena.

Last Wednesday night Stu and I were priliveged to join them to eat two of the roosters (the other two were frozen).

Chicken dinner

You can tell the one that had gone away because he'd been fed a lot more corn at his new home and his skin was a lot yellower.

Chicken dinner

What was even more amazing is that of the entire dinner, only the carrots, prosciutto, and the cheese were from a store.  All the other vegetebles and herbs were from Kit's garden.

Chicken dinner

I had to have some of the one I'd said goodbye to.  He was quite tasty.  Him and his brothers had had a good life, a lot better than most store-bought chickens.

Chicken dinner

There was quite a feast!  Kit had plenty of leftovers for the coming days.

Chicken dinner

A Few Foodie Finishes

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A couple more food things from later this year.

This was a cauliflower pizza I made in October.  It turned out ok, but lacked structural integrity so you couldn't pick up the slices (but it did cut very easily!).  I made two huge pizzas with the recipe, but should have made three smaller ones.  Stu liked it but I found the texture a little odd.

Cauliflower pizza

Cauliflower pizza

This was a "chicken carbonara" I made in December.  Just chicken thighs, with bacon, garlic, mushrooms and cream.  Simple but oh so tasty. 

Chicken carbonara

At lunch at Grill'd the other week, Neil accidentally bought a sharing plate of chips, which had sweet potato, potato and zucchini chips.  Pretty good, although I still like the potato chips the best.  I nearly got the hiccoughs from that hot sauce though!

Grill'd chips

So this was the breakfast lasagna I was talking about the other day.  Here's all the ingredients.  Eggs, pork mince, ham, and cheeeeeese!

Breakfast lasagna

18 eggs!  Count them!  Just scrambled lightly.

Breakfast lasagna

500g pork mince cooked through, then add 500g cream cheese and a cup and a half of stock (next time: plain water)

Breakfast lasagna

Cook until the cheese has melted.

Breakfast lasagna

Everything ready to layer

Breakfast lasagna

Layering.  Pretty much just ham, eggs, "gravy", cheese .. times two

Breakfast lasagna

Breakfast lasagna

Ready to bake for about forty minutes or so

Breakfast lasagna

Done!

Breakfast lasagna

This morning I actually got to try some of it.  It was pretty awesome.  Although very salty :(  Too much ham and cheese I guess.

And in other news, I woke up at dentist time this morning and probably only got about another hours worth of sleep all night :(:(:(

Balls

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I made cheesy-bacon and chives balls on the weekend for Stu to have as snackages during the week.  I'd made these before, but kept it simple this time.

* two 250g packs cream cheese (I got the spreadable stuff but you could soften the blocks)
* one 250g pack streaky bacon
* most of a packet of Coles chives

Chop the bacon into little teeny pieces and fry.

Mix with the cheese.

Chop up the chives.

Roll the cheese balls around in the chives.

Very simple and super tasty!

Cheesey bacon and chives balls

Cauliflower Bake

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This is a recipe I don't make anymore because of the salt content.  This particular one I made in July.

This time I used cauliflower, garlic, fetta cheese, tasty cheese, cream and chives - looks very green and white doesn't it!
Cauliflower bake

Chop up the cauliflower, tip in the fetta, mince the garlic, and add the chopped chives
Cauliflower bake

Mix it all together
Cauliflower bake

Add cream
Cauliflower bake

Top with shredded tasty cheese
Cauliflower bake

Bake for I dunno, maybe three quarters of an hour
Cauliflower bake

Enjoy!

I baked a cake

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I never bake cakes.  Just not overly interested in eating them to start with, let alone making them.  So I don't have any go-to recipes.

But I decided we should have one for Neil's 40th.

So it was either raid the books, or try the internet.  I tried one book first, but it wanted complicated things like baking powder and baking soda, and while I think I have them, I'm always a little scared of them because I don't know the difference, and am worried about using the wrong thing.

So internet to the rescue!

In the end I used this recipe - http://www.kidspot.com.au/kitchen/recipes/easy-chocolate-cake-1971

  • 1 cup (150g) self-raising flour, sifted
  • 1/3 cup (50g) cocoa, sifted
  • 1 cup (220g) caster sugar
  • 1/3 cup (80g) butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) milk
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten

Chocolate cake ingredients

  • 1. Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Grease and flour or line a 24cm cake tin and set aside.
  • 2. Place all ingredients into a bowl and using a mixer and mix on high for 4 minutes.
  • 3. Pour into cake tin and bake for 35-40 minutes or until the cake springs back when lightly touched in the centre.

I've cooked cakes in the dim dark past, and had greased tins before, but never thought to lightly dust in flour.  So that was something new for me.

Surprisingly, the cake actually worked!  It might have been a *teeny* bit dry, so I'd go towards the 35 minutes end next time.

Chocolate cake

The icing on the other hand I didn't even consult a recipe for (actually I lie - I did - but only for approx measurement of cocoa, and from there got the idea to use milk instead of water).  Point is, I could probably make icing in my sleep, I did it so often growing up (where we used to make lemon icing to top mum's peanut slice every week or so).  So it was about that much icing sugar (which, incidentally was inherited from my nana, with a best before date of 1997 - shh! don't tell anyone!), a spoon of cocoa powder, a teeny bit of butter, and milk - added in super small amounts at a time so as not to drown the icing.

Tada!

Chocolate cake

Then I piped a message to Neil using the icing from the gingerbread kits from a couple of years ago.

Beans

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On Saturday night we were helping the catering for a club night, and the sweetie decided to do a white bean and ham hock soup.  Except I did most of the preparation.  Which was fine.  And it was pretty well received.  Except there were two kilos of beans and we maybe used a third of them.

So Sunday I went shopping for a bunch of ingredients for a cassoulet.  I'd never cooked one before and I think it turned out ok.  There's a good seven or eight meals of leftovers from that.

Tonight we thought we'd keep it simple - just beans, a big tin of diced tomatoes, and cheese.  Except after an hour the beans were still crunchy.  So they stayed in another hour.  By which time the cheese was pretty much burnt.  So it was a fairly epic failure.  And a meals' worth of leftovers.

Tomorrow I'm thinking using up the other tin of tomatoes, but have them going in the slow cooker all day.  We'll see if that works out any better.  There'll be leftovers for sure from that.

Four nights in a row of beans.  With many meals of leftovers.

And I don't even like beans.

*sigh*

Edit from Tuesday night:
I put the rest of the beans in the slow cooker with another big tin of tomato and some herbs and cheese and put it on low all day.  When we got home the beans were still crunchy.
WTF??
Plus we'd had a big lunch and didn't feel much like dinner.  So I turned up to high for a few hours.  I had salad and cheese for dinner.  The sweetie had cassoulet.
At least all the damned beans are cooked now.

Ingredients

Method

Biscuit Base:

¼ cup rolled oats, processed til fine

1/3 cup SR flour

¼ cup brown sugar, firmly packed

1/3 cup desiccated coconut

1 teaspoon cocoa powder

60g butter, melted

 

Preheat oven to 180C

Line base and sides of 20cm x 20cm baking tray with baking paper

Mix oats, flour, sugar, coconut and cocoa powder

Mix in melted butter

Bake for 10 minutes

Caramel Filling:

395g can sweetened condensed milk

1/3 cup golden syrup

30g butter, cubed

 

In a saucepan, mix condensed milk, golden syrup and butter

Bring to boil, then simmer for 5 minutes or until thickened

Pour over biscuit base

Bake for 15 minutes, then cool

Chocolate Topping:

180g block white chocolate

2 tbsp oil

Melt chocolate and oil together

Pour on top of caramel mix

Refrigerate for an hour, then slice

Options and Notes

Adapted from Women's Weekly Squares & Slices

 Cocoa in the biscuit base is optional, doesn't really make any difference

 

 

Fresh Ingredients Shopping List

Pantry Ingredients Shopping List

Ingredients in stock

Butter

 

 

 

 

 

395g can sweetened condensed milk

180g block white chocolate

Rolled oats

SR flour

Brown sugar

Desiccated coconut

Cocoa powder

Golden syrup

Oil

So that's my official recipe, which I now have printed out.  I adapted this to fit nicely into my square baking tray which is 20cm x 20cm. 

And here's the pictorial story .. :)

Everything laid out
White chocolate caramel slice

Mostly measured out
White chocolate caramel slice

The dry ingredients and the butter for the biscuit base.  I use a food processor to blitz the rolled oats and coconut until fine.  You could achieve a similar effect with a packet of biscuits, but I think this has less salt so would rather do it this way.
White chocolate caramel slice

The caramel filling is simple - just sweetened condensed milk, golden syrup and butter
White chocolate caramel slice

The base pressed into my baking tray.  Cook that up for ten minutes
White chocolate caramel slice

Mix in all the filling ingredients
White chocolate caramel slice

Simmer for a few minutes til it thickens a bit
White chocolate caramel slice

Pour over the cooked biscuit base, then bake this for fifteen minutes
White chocolate caramel slice

After baking, allow to cool.
White chocolate caramel slice

This is with the chocolate topping.  The oil helps keep the chocolate soft and not super brittle.  I think I overdid the red/green colour correction here.
White chocolate caramel slice

And underdid the red/green colour correction here.  It takes probably at least an hour for the chocolate to set, depending on how much you let the filling cool before topping it.
White chocolate caramel slice

I really should make more effort at my food photography.  Like made this nicely squared off... 
White chocolate caramel slice

Oh well.  It still tastes pretty awesome :)

Chicken Kiev

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The other week I had a hankering to cook Chicken Kiev - from scratch.  I'd never done it before.  So I researched lots of recipes, and averaged them together into something I thought would work.  I did this for four chicken breasts - I could easily halve that for two. 

So starting with the garlic butter.  I've got here half a pack (125g) butter, a quarter of a bunch of Coles parsely, and four cloves of garlic.

Chicken Kiev

Chop up the parsely, mince the garlic, and soften the butter.

Chicken Kiev

Mix it all up

Chicken Kiev

Garlicky, buttery goodness!

Chicken Kiev

Lay it out on some baking paper

Chicken Kiev

And roll into a sausage

Chicken Kiev

I stuck this in the freezer for a couple of hours - and it had pretty much frozen.  Didn't stop it all leaking everywhere during the cooking process though!

Chicken Kiev

So now onto the chicken.

We have four chicken breasts, some flour, eggs and breadcrumbs.

Chicken Kiev

Here's the chicken after stuffing with the garlic butter.  This was just a matter of cutting a small hole with a knife and expanding it a bit with my fingers.  Next time I'd sew the hole shut with a toothpick, as they leaked.

Chicken Kiev

Pictured here is 50g flour (seasoned with a bit of salt and pepper), three beaten eggs and 50g breadcrumbs - but I used at least double the flour and breadcrumbs, and you'd probably want even more for a nice thick coating, and probably another egg or two too.  Next time I'd also do the flour and breadcrumbs on a plate, as the chinese containers were a little small.

Chicken Kiev

So the coated chicken.  My fingers got very sticky and I kept pulling bits of crumb off.  Next time I'll definitely do a full two coats of crumbs.

Chicken Kiev

So then fry them for a few minutes each side on a reasonably hot frying pan and a goodly amount of oil to get them golden.

Chicken Kiev

And bake for about twenty minutes.

Served here with asparagus caesar and herbed potatoes.

Chicken Kiev

Definitely a winner of a dish, and I'd like to get a bit more practise at it!

Recipes referred to:

http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/666649/chicken-kievs
http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/4748/modernday-chicken-kiev
http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/wild-garlic-chicken-kiev
http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2012/jun/07/how-cook-perfect-chicken-kiev
http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/chicken-recipes/chicken-kiev/#xDvrhzbwy01Xu8ez.97
http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/29207/classic+chicken+kiev

Kazza's "Boring Life Of a Geek" aka BLOG

IT geek, originally from Sydney, moved to Canberra in 2007. Married to "the sweetie", aka Stu. Prolific photographer, Lego junkie and tropical fish keeper.

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