Monthly Archives: August 2012

Big Batch Banana Choc-Chip Muffins

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More often than not these days, I find myself in need of inexpensive and simple recipes that can be made in massive quantities. I’ve realised this is because I don’t have enough time to bake or cook for just one purpose: whatever is on the go has to meet the need of a freezer requiring a terms worth of school little lunches, morning tea for church or suppers for Bible study. I also find it’s much more cost-efficient. So when my friend Kim gave me this bumper recipe for 60 banana choc-chip muffins I was over the moon. Now that bananas have come down in price (it seems it’s not too hard to get them for $2 per kg), now is a great time to make these moist and fudgey treats. If you don’t need 60, this recipe is easily halved. An important tip about these muffins: feel free to use homebrand choc-chips. They’re much smaller than their more expensive counterparts and actually work better in this recipe. Depending on the price of bananas, all up this huge batch of deliciousness costs approximately $20. Thanks for sharing, Kim!

  • 15 very ripe bananas (approx. 4kg)
  • 3 1/2 cups sugar (700g)
  • 5 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 375g butter, melted
  • 5 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 7 1/2 cups self raising flour (1.2kg)
  • 4 x 250g packets choc-chips (1kg)
  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius and distribute muffin cases across as many muffins trays as you have and will fit in your oven.
  2. Put all the bananas in the bowl of a food processor and blitz until creamy.
  3. Put all dry ingredients in a huge bowl or plastic 6L all-purpose basin (see picture).
  4. In a large mixing bowl combine mashed bananas, sugar, eggs and melted butter. Tip this wet mixture into the dry ingredients and mix until combined, but don’t over do it.
  5. Using two dessert spoons, dollop one heaped spoon worth of mixture in each muffin case. Bake for 15-20 minutes until brown and cooked through. Enjoy!

Biryani

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Recently a friend posted this yummy recipe on my facebook wall and tonight I tried it out. Before finishing his second mouthful my husband asked me to make it again soon! As promised, this Biryani recipe originally from Super Food Ideas was dead easy to make and the smell of it that permeated the house whilst cooking was divine. Including the yoghurt but not the pappadums, this meal cost an affordable $11 to make 4 large serves, though you could use less chicken to make it cheaper if required. Thanks Katrina, for this terrific contribution.

  • 750g chicken thigh fillets, trimmed, cut into 3cm pieces
  • 1/2 cup Tikka Masala curry paste
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 large brown onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup thick Greek-style yoghurt
  • 1/3 cup mint leaves
  • 8 small pappadums, cooked, to serve
  1. Combine chicken and curry paste in a ceramic bowl. Cover. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or overnight if time permits (I didn’t have time to do this and didn’t pre-marinate at all. It was still good!)
  2. Preheat oven to 180°C. Heat oil and butter in a frying pan over medium heat until sizzling. Add onions. Cook for 15 minutes or until caramelised. Transfer chicken to an 8-cup capacity ovenproof casserole dish. Spoon onions over chicken.
  3. Place rice into a sieve. Rinse under cold water until water runs clear. Sprinkle rice evenly over onions. Place stock into a microwave-safe jug. Microwave on HIGH (100%) power for 2 minutes or until hot. Pour stock over the back of a metal spoon over rice. Cover with foil then cover with a lid. Bake for 1 hour 45 minutes or until rice is tender (Start checking from 1 hour – mine didn’t need nearly as long as this). Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Place yoghurt into a bowl. Finely chop 2 tablespoons of mint leaves. Stir through yoghurt. Spoon biryani into bowls. Top with yoghurt mixture and remaining mint leaves. Serve with pappadums.

Massive Massaman Curry

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My friend Julie contributed this lovely mild curry recipe and I’m so pleased with the result! Originally from Charmaine Solomon’s Hot & Spicy Book, the whole thing was very easy to make and so tasty. It cooks on the stove for quite a while but pretty much uses just the one pot – and it was no trouble to do other jobs around the place while this yummy curry simmered away. The recipe that follows cost around $25 to make but made no less than 3L, which, served with rice serves approximately 15 people. This recipe is delightfully freezer friendly and can be made in advance for church dinners, weekend hospitality or keeping in the freezer. Thanks for sharing, Julie!

  • 2 kg of chuck steak, cut into chunks
  • 2 tins of coconut milk
  • 5 tbsp massaman curry paste
  • 10 baby potatoes or 1kg potatoes peeled and cubed, whole OR 1 kg of pumpkin peeled and cubed
  • enough small onions for one per person or 4 large, cut into chunks
  • 4 tabs fish sauce
  • 4 tabs lemon or lime juice
  • 1 1/2 tbsp palm sugar (at all Asian grocers) or 4 tabs brown sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted peanuts (easily left out in the case of allergy)
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves

1. Put chuck steak in large saucepan or stovetop casserole pot with one tin of coconut milk and one tin of water. Add more water if the steak is not covered. Simmer on very low heat with lid on for one and half to two hours, until steak is almost tender. Remove beef from saucepan and set aside. Keep all the liquid.

2. In the same pan heat one tin of coconut milk until thick and oily and slightly reduced. Add curry paste and cook until fragrant.

3. Add meat and liquid back in with sauces, sugar, onions and potatoes and cook approximately 45 mins until potatoes are cooked and liquid has reduced and thickened slightly (If using pumpkin, don’t add until 20 minutes before serving).

4. Add peanuts and basil leaves just before serving. Serve on rice with green beans or broccoli.

Fast Portuguese Tarts

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Recently my friend Anna reminded me of this recipe I’d used lots a few years ago. The recipe is my take on Portuguese Tarts, morphed into its current form from a Stephanie Alexander Lemon Tart recipe. These little custardy wonders are dead easy, really yummy and make a very affordable morning/afternoon tea or dessert when served with a dollop of cream or a scoop of ice-cream. They’re quick to make and store for 5 or so days in an airtight container. This recipe makes 36 tarts and costs around $5.

  • 4 sheets of ready rolled puff pastry
  • 6 eggs
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 300ml cream
  • 2 tablespoons real vanilla extract

1. Cut pastry rounds big enough to fit muffin sized tins, with a little extra to go up the sides. Should get 9 out of 1 sheet of pastry.

2. In a bowl combine all the other ingredients with a whisk. Pour liquid into a jug.

3. Fill pastry cases to almost full and bake at preheated oven at 180 deg for 20 mins or until browning on top. Tarts will have risen and look huge, but will fall again when cooling (which is what you want).

4. Cool on wire racks and serve either warm or cold on a platter with them all piled up and dusted with icing sugar. Makes 36.

Chicken & Leek Rice

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This one pot dinner was contributed by Louise a few months ago, but I’ve only just got around to giving it a go tonight. And I’m so glad I did! This was such an easy, yummy and affordable meal – exactly the kind of recipe this blog is about. Originally from Good Taste magazine, this tasty recipe made oodles and will definitely be one I grab when I next need a fuss free meal for a fair few people. As well as all these things, what I really like about this recipe is the fact that you probably already have all of the ingredients in the cupboard and it utilizes only one pot, so there’s not much washing up. And one more thing: to increase time spent with guests, you can prepare this recipe to the end of step 1 up to 2 hours ahead. Store in the fridge until ready to finish if off. Total cost is around $10 and serves 6+ adult size portions.

  • 6 (about 1kg) chicken thigh cutlets
  • 1 tbs plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp Chinese five spice
  • 60ml (1/4 cup) olive oil
  • 2 carrots, peeled, coarsely chopped
  • 1 leek, ends trimmed, halved lengthways, washed, coarsely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 600g (3 cups) long-grain rice
  • 1L (4 cups) chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup fresh continental parsley leaves
  1. Place the chicken, flour and Chinese five spice in a sealable plastic bag. Season with pepper. Seal and toss to coat.
  2. Heat the oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook for 2-3 minutes each side or until browned. Transfer to a plate.
  3. Add the carrot, leek and garlic to the pan and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until the leek softens.
  4. Add the rice and stir to combine. Add the stock and stir until well combined. Return the chicken to the pan. Cover and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, for 12-15 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed. Set aside, covered, for 10 minutes to stand. Season with extra salt and pepper and sprinkle with the fresh parsley leaves to serve.

Thai Chicken and Corn Cakes

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I made this modified Ainsley Harriott recipe for the first time last night and everyone loved it. The kids devoured these yummy Thai chicken and corn cakes and I loved them not just for taste but also for simplicity: everything just goes in the food processor for blitzing. And it was so affordable: the total cost being less than $10 (and it made 20 rissole sized cakes which is two dinners worth in this house). Next time I make hot finger food I’m going to roll them into little balls to dip in its sauce using a toothpick for a yummy starter. These Thai chicken and corn cakes are freezer friendly, which makes this recipe my new favourite.

  • 3 skinless chicken breasts or 5 thighs (approximately 750g)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp Thai red curry paste
  • 50g breadcrumbs
  • 1 x 400g tin corn kernels, drained
  • half bunch fresh coriander leaves
  • 4 spring onions, sliced
  • 2 tbsp sesame or peanut oil

sweet chilli sauce

  • 4 tabs sweet chilli sauce
  • 1 teasp soy sauce
  • 1 teasp fish sauce
  • 5cm piece cucumber, peeled, seeded and finely chopped (optional)
  1. Roughly chop the chicken breasts and put all ingredients (minus the oil and sauce ingredients) together in the bowl of a food processor. Process until combined evenly, though ingredients should still be visibly distinct to the eye.
  2. With wet hands, pat mixture into 20 rissole sized cakes and pan fry on each side for 3-5 minutes, in a very hot fry pan using sesame or peanut oil.
  3. If desired, combine sauce ingredients in a dish (though sweet chilli sauce straight from the bottle is great with this dish too).
  4. Serve with mashed potato and steamed vegetables or a salad of asian greens. Makes 20 cakes, and serves 6+ adults.

Tandaco Southern Fried Chicken

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Though it’s true I’m not the biggest fan of packet mixes (they aren’t that cheap really, and often don’t taste that great), this Southern Fried Chicken coating mix is simply awesome. It doesn’t have that hideous packet mix ‘fake’ flavour, it goes a surprisingly long way and best of all, it’s one of the fastest ways get a decent dinner done at the drop of a hat. I tend to keep multiple packets of this in reserve for when the day ends much more crazily than was first planned or when the opportunity to have people over arises out of the blue. Use this shaker chicken mix on any type of chicken you like – drumsticks for affordability – wings for hot finger food that pleases a crowd – or thighs and breasts for a quick meat and three veg dinner. Simply coat chicken pieces in the mixture and roast in a very hot oven in a roasting dish splashed with olive oil and/or butter, at around 200-220 degrees, making sure you turn them before they burn. The chicken should develop a lovely brown stickiness all over. 1 packet of this Southern Fried Chicken coating does a bit more than 1kg chicken. Enjoy!