Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Recipe review: Ciabatta

I love simple and easy. This is both. Also tasty!
The recipe is simple and instructions are easy to follow. 

What Caroline Cooked - Ciabatta

In the interests of giving her credit, use the link to get the ingredient amounts.
I used her quantities, but doubled the yeast as mine is a little old.
This is the dough (made about ten pm) at 7:30am, so a 9.5 hr prove.
The dough turned out easily with a big of help (wet your hands) and I made a slim log, then cut into 8 pieces. I could have easily shaped them a little more neatly but I still hadn't had my coffee by now. I'd add more flour to the tray and use baking paper next time.

22 minutes at 225 Degrees, with plenty of water sprinkled around the tray for added steam. I did some in the oven and some in the airfryer, and I was happier with the oven ones, probably because it was just a little hotter than the 200 max of the airfryer.

This recipe made enough for breakfast and lunch for 3 kids. I'm about to go make a double batch and I'll pull one batch of rolls out a little early so they can be reheated in the air fryer for breakfast straight from the freezer. Win!

Monday, February 02, 2015

Budget Dinners #1

Presenting: Budget Dinners! These are ideas, not specific recipes, because the idea is to use what you have.

Dinner #1: Noodle Surprise.
I don't like Pork. There. I said it. So I drown it in flavour.
This is also super quick.

300g Pork mince (languishing in the freezer for 6 months!) cost=nil
2 cloves garlic, minced = 15c
Vegetables (the rest of the frozen peas about half a cup; One carrot, sliced finely) = 50c
3 blocks Noodles (homebrand 2 minute, discard flavour sachet) = 60c
1/2 tsp fish sauce = nil
1 massel stock cube =40c
Spices = Nil
1T Coriander whole
2T Sesame seeds

1T Cumin seed
1/2 tsp ginger powder or use fresh if you have it 
oil for cooking.

Method: Grind or blender the spices together until the coriander is broken up a bit .Brown the mince. Add oil and fry off garlic and spices. Meanwhile, Cook the noodles in barely enough water to cover them and the stock cube.
Add Veggies, just use whatever you have, then add the cooked noodles and the stock water, which should have cooked down to not a lot. Sprinkle over the fish sauce and add a dash of sweet chilli or soy if you wish, or just season with salt pepper and vinegar. Don't mix it too much or your noodles might start to break up. Garnish with fresh herbs if you have any. I didn't.
Voila! Filling meal for 3 adults or 1 adult, 3 kids, with some nutritional value.

Notes on the protein. Use whatever you can find. Chicken, beef, pork mince, Eggs first cooked into an omelet, then rolled and stripped and sprinkled over the top. You can even use leftover meat from last night's dinner.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Hazelnut Brownie Petit Fours

Bite sized, rich and dense softness.
These are PERFECT.

150g unsalted butter, chopped
200g 60% dark chocolate

125g caster sugar
50g hazelnut meal
250g plain flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten

50g Dark choc
50g Nutella
20g unsalted butter
whole or halved toasted hazelnuts (optional)

Preheat the oven to 160c fan forced.
Grease 24 cup mini muffin pan.
Melt butter and chocolate together over gentle heat until smooth.
Stir in sugar, and continue to stir over gentle heat until sugar begins to dissolve.
Scrape into a bowl. Set aside for a few minutes until cool.
Stir in hazelnut meal, then sifted flour and eggs.
Half fill each muffin cup. Tap pan on the bench firmly to ensure large air bubbles rise to surface, pop with knife tip or skewer.
Bake at 160 until barely set, about 10 minutes. Let sit for 5 minutes, then turn out to cool.

Topping: Melt in a glass bowl in the microwave in short bursts until just melted. Let sit 1 min then stir gently until combined.
(or use your thermo cooker on 70degrees speed 2, if you have one)
Dip bites into bowl of slightly cooled topping and place on rack with a tray underneath to dry.
If it's not working, try drizzling with the topping instead. Add nut on top if using.

 - Mini muffin pans vary greatly, so this may make more or less than 24!
 - I made these for a function, so I made in a sheet pan and cut them out with a small round cutter, then put them in tiny paper cases before doing the topping. But for at home it's really unnecessary and time consuming!
 - You certainly can make the mix in a thermo as well but it's honestly just as easy without.

Minestrone. Slow cooked, on a budget.

This is a "feed the family plus leftovers" recipe :)

4 full rashers middle bacon, rind removed if tough, sliced into 1cm strips.
1 large leek, large dice
3 crushed cloves or 3 teaspoons jar Garlic
3 big Bay leaves
2 medium carrots large diced
1 hefty or 2 delicate ribs Celery halved and sliced
2/3 cup DRIED great northern beans
2/3 cup DRIED borlotti beans
1 bottle passata
Chicken or vegetable stock, approx 3L
1/4 head savoy cabbage
1 400g tin tomatoes
Dried mixed herbs
Balsamic Vinegar (trust me!)
Fresh basil and parsley to serve

Preheat slowcooker.
Rinse your beans, set aside.
Fry off bacon until fat renders. Add leek, then garlic. Once leek is soft and starting to colour, deglaze pan with balsamic and scrape into slow cooker. Add beans, bay leaves, carrot, celery and passata. Add stock til almost full. Set SC to auto, cover and leave overnight/all day. Add cabbage and herbs to taste 1hr before serving.

Right before serving, check for seasoning and use pink himalayan salt, fresh pepper and balsamic vinegar to get the flavour balance right. I can pretty much guarantee 1T of vinegar will be the minimum you need.

Ladle into prewarmed bowls and add a good handful of basil and parsley. Serve with plain warmed crusty bread if you wish.

Mulled wine the lazy way.

So I like mulled wine, but it's taken a while to find a convenient method and recipe that suits both of us. Fiddly isn't his thing and too simple isn't mine. So, all you slow cooker fans... Lazy mulled wine.

I may have forgotten to take a pic
as it was cooking. Oops!
1.5 L Aldi 'soft red' cask wine aka Aldi Red goon.
150ml (a good splodge) Aldi Tawny Port.
1 blood orange, halved and crushed
1 decent juicy lemon, quartered. We use grandpas Meyers.
2 whole cloves
1 stick cinnamon
1/2 a star anise
100g brown sugar
250ml hot water

Chuck it all in, put on auto. Leave for a few hours. 

Mix brown sugar into hot water. Add to slow cooker.
Check the flavour and remove spices if necessary or add more if you want to. Leave another 20 mins after a good stir.

PS: I've recently discovered where Aldi Port comes from. No wonder it's good, shame I can't share who makes it, but it's good!

Marshmallow Bubble Bars

There's a bunch of recipes around for this. It's one recipe you might have to tweak on the fly, these ingredients can vary wildly in water content.

Marshmallow Bubble Bars (LCM knock off)
110g butter
250g marshmallows 
275g rice bubbles/cornflakes/Cheerios etc

Chop up marshmallows up a bit with scissors or thermo. 
Melt with the butter, either in microwave or thermo.

While it is melting, measure out your bubbles or other cereals into a bowl sprayed with cooking oil.
Lightly spray a silicon spatula too. Line a slice tray with silicon baking paper. 

Pour melted mix over bubbles, and mix gently but quickly. Turn it all over and through the middle until evenly coated. If there's too much sticky stuff then add more cereal quickly. Pile it into the lined tin, then press down with damp or greased hands. Chill in the fridge to set, then cut into bars.

Adulteration notes:
Add any choc chips, nuts, sprinkles etc on top or mix through.
Add 1.5T cocoa powder to the melted mix before pouring over. 
Add 2T psyllium and 1T linseed meal before mixing to make yourself feel a little better about this sugary treat. Add 1/2 cup coconut and reduce bubbles to 250g if you can if you go this option to explain the textural difference to the kids.