Monthly Archives: September 2013

Strawberry Oatmeal Bars

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strawberry Oatmeal Bars Plated

 

When it’s school holiday time, we seem to eat so much more as a family than we usually do. It’s taken me by surprise how frequently my kids want to eat and with the extra time to spend with them at home, it’s been nice to do a little baking. But I’m no super spontaneous, indie, ‘let’s get creative’ type mum so adventures in this area still need to be simple enough to keep the fun levels high for all of us. This recipe sent in by Emily Yap totally fits the bill, who recommends it for lots of reasons: they’re tasty, cheap, easy to make and all the ingredients are standard pantry items – cause who likes having to make an extra trip to the shops just to do some baking? This recipe, adapted from a blog called The Pioneer Woman Cooks makes 15 squares of yummy-ness and will cost around $4 to bake.

  • 200g cold butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cup oats (quick or regular)
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed firm
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 x 370g jar of jam of your preference, I used IXL Strawberry Conserve
  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees, then grease and line a 20 x 30 cm lamington tin.
  2. Put all the dry ingredients in the bowl of a food processor, blitz for just a moment until everything is just combined.
  3. Add chopped butter to the mix and process until mixture resembles crumbs with large/obvious chunks, roughly the size of rice grains. Be careful not to over-process.
  4. Divide mixture in half and press one half of the mixture firmly and evenly into the bottom of the lamington tin.
  5. Heat the jam in the microwave at 50% for 40 seconds and give it a good stir. Pour gently over the crumb base and use a spoon to spread evenly.
  6. Gently tip the rest of the crumb mixture on the top of the jam and spread evenly. Using clean fingers press down as firmly as possible without destabilising the jam.
  7. Bake for 20-30 mins until brown on top. Cool in the tin and use a sharp knife to cut into squares.
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Dill and Smoked Salmon Frittatas

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The warmer weather has well and truly arrived and as usually happens, I find myself craving lighter meals such as these delightful Dill and Smoked Salmon Frittatas. The basic recipe for these was given to me by my friend Kara who makes them as finger food, baked in mini muffin tins and topped with a small piece of salmon and dot of sour cream. And if you’re looking for a yummy and easy finger food option, I heartily recommend making them that way. But seeing as this blog is all about easy hospitality, I tried making these a little less labour intensive and with a view to serving as a main. The recipe that follows is Kara’s basic frittata recipe, but with a slightly different methodology. Make these ahead of time and freeze for quick lunches at home or for 6 people coming over for lunch – simply thaw gently and warm a little in a low set oven. Serve with a side salad and some crusty bread. The good thing about these little babies is they are the perfect thing to serve those on a sugar free and carb free diet (minus the side of bread) and they’re also gluten free. Making 12 regular muffin sized frittatas or 48 mini muffin sized hors d oeuvres, this easy, do-the-whole-thing-in-the-food-processor recipe will cost around $13, though less if you purchase the herbs at a green-grocer rather than the supermarket, and the ricotta from the deli rather than the fridge section.

  • 8 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons dill
  • 3 tablespoons chives
  • 1/3 cup cream
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 x 415g can smoked salmon, drained with the majority of skin and bone removed.
  1. In a food processor, put in dill and chives and process until finely chopped.
  2. Add ricotta, eggs and cream and process again.
  3. Exchange the chopping for the grating blade and grate half a cups worth of parmesan onto the top of the mixture. Season the mixture with salt and pepper.
  4. Grease muffin trays well with spray oil and pour mixture in until 2/3 filled.
  5. Distribute salmon in chunks over the portions and top each with the remaining parmesan cheese.
  6. Bake at 160 degrees for 20 mins if using mini muffin tins. If using regular sized muffin tins, bake at same temperature for 20 mins, plus a further 5 with the oven cranked up as far as it can go. This cooks the frittatas further and allows them the brown on top.

Jamie Oliver’s Chicken Korma

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I’m not exactly sure why, but until a few days ago, I have struggled in recent months to want to cook anything new. With no headspace for it, I’ve been in a season of sticking to: old faithful recipes, porridge and weetbix and making one thing last a few nights. But my drought seems to have broken. Perhaps it’s because the weather has turned warmer, or because the kids are on school holidays, but today I tried this blog-worthy recipe, adapted from Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food via my friend Kara. It’s all the things this blog is about: not foody-ness – but taste, ease and affordability so that having people over isn’t too stressful. And what a terrific recipe this turned out to be! It can be made ahead of time, or in that last hour between getting home from work and people turning up – because once everything’s in the pot, it’s a simple case of simmering this gluten free meal while doing other things. Depending on the type and price of the chicken you use, this dish will cost between $10-$13 to make and serves 6-8 with rice. Add to this dollops of greek style yoghurt and fresh coriander leaves. I’m loving eating it, even as I type! Thanks for pointing me towards this bonza recipe, Kara.

  • 800g chicken thighs or breasts, cut into 2-3cm pieces
  • 2 medium onions, halved and sliced thinly
  • 1 fresh green chilli, optional (only if you like spicy curries. I left it out)
  • A 3cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped finely
  • 1 small bunch of fresh coriander, washed, leaves removed and stalks chopped finely
  • 1 x 400g tin of chickpeas, drained
  •  rice bran or vegetable oil
  • Knob of butter
  • 1/2 x 290g jar of Patak’s korma curry paste
  • 1 x 400ml tin of coconut milk
  • A small handful of flaked almonds, plus extra for serving
  • 2 heaped tablesoons desiccated coconut
  • salt and pepper
  • Greek style yoghurt, for dolloping

1. Put the oil in the pan to heat and add onions, ginger and coriander stalks. Stir constantly for ten minutes to ensure it’s become fragrant and hasn’t burnt on the bottom. If using chicken thighs, throw them in for browning now, otherwise if using breasts, hold off til end of step 2.

2. Add the korma paste, coconut milk, half the flaked almonds, chickpeas, desiccated coconut and sliced chicken breasts. Half fill the empty coconut milk tin with water, pour it into the pan, and stir. Let the whole thing simmer away for about half an hour. This is so easy – now just walk away and do other things, like putting the rice on in the rice cooker.

3. Season carefully once the chicken is cooked and become tender. Serve with boiled rice, adding a few spoonfuls of Greek yoghurt dolloped on top. Sprinkle over the rest of the flaked almonds and coriander leaves.

Gluten Free Chocolate Brownie

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A while back the girls in the weekly Bible study group I’m part of were asked to help cater for desserts for an evangelistic event. We needed to provide a variety of easy desserts that involved little serving hassle, tasted great and cared for the needs of those with allergies. When my friend Jacinta said, “I’ve got a gluten free chocolate brownie recipe that works every time and tastes great”, we all praised God! And she was right. The group got together for a big baking session the night before and everything came together, in part due to this terrific recipe. Unlike many brownie recipes, there’s no expensive ingredients here and the whole thing cooked evenly without drying out the edges. I’m going to be using this one for many years to come! You’ll find gluten free flour in the health food section of most supermarkets and the whole recipe will cost around $5 to make.

  • 240g butter or margarine
  • 2 cups raw sugar (can substitute with caster or white)
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups gluten free plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon bi-carb soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • pinch of salt
  1. Mix in 1/2-3/4 cup of any of the following, if desired: berries, jersey caramels, chocolate chips, walnuts or peanuts.
  2. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius, 160 degrees if fan-forced
  3. line a large baking dish or two 25×25 square pans with baking paper
  4. Melt margarine in glass jug or saucepan
  5. In a large bowl, combine sugar and cocoa, mix in melted butter, eggs, vanilla and salt.
  6. Sift bicarb soda and flour together and fold into the mix. Beat the mixture well by hand or with an electric mixer.
  7. Pour into tin/s and bake for 25-30 minutes, though start checking earlier. It should fee; ‘just set’ on top. Remember: it will continue to cook as it cools, so don’t overcook.
  8. Cool in the tin and serve by itself or with cream, icecream or raspberry sauce.