Monthly Archives: January 2014

Ice-cream Slice

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Many a Moore College family between the years 2008 and 2011 will remember Julie Morrow’s Ice-cream slice, often served up at the weekly-free-for-all college playground dinners. Always a hit, several people have mentioned how great the recipe is for hospitality and have replicated it many times long since their time at college has come to an end. And for good reason: it’s really fast to make, tastes terrific and serves at least 21 people for a total cost of $13, though much less if you stock up on biscuits and chocolate bars when on special. Thanks for a great recipe Julie, and thanks for reminding me to give it a go, Jess!

  • 1 x 375g tin condensed milk
  • 600ml cream
  • 3 x 52g chocolate bars of your choice (I used cherry ripe), roughly chopped
  • your choice of food colouring (I chose to keep mine white this time)
  • 1 1/2 packets of plain biscuits such as Malt-O-Milk (I used Morning Coffee)
  1. Line a 20x30cm slice tin with foil and put down a layer of biscuits wrong side up. Make sure they fit in the tin nice and snugly.
  2. Whip cream until thick, add condensed milk and whip again. Gently stir through chopped chocolate bar and food colouring, if using. Spread cream mixture evenly over biscuit base and then top with another layer of biscuits, right side up this time.
  3. Cover with foil and freeze overnight. When ready to serve, tip slice out using a board to keep it stable when up-ending it. Remove the last layer of foil and cut into biscuit sized portions using a large sharp knife. Eat and enjoy immediately!

TIP: If you don’t eat it all when you first serve it, cut slices into individual portions before returning left-overs to the freezer. This will make it easier to access and serve next time round.

Donna Hay’s Thai Lime and Lemongrass Chicken with Noodles

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“Do you have plans tonight? Wanna come over, make me dinner, and watch a movie?”. That was my text to my old friend Sheridan one Sunday night at the end of last year. My husband was away and all the end of year ‘lasts’ – functions/events/things, had left me exhausted. And although normally under such circumstances, breakfast cereal is the dinner time option of choice around here, I couldn’t face another such dinner for the 5th time that week. Generous and hospitable as she is, even at my place rather than hers, Sheri came over and made this delightfully easy and tasty Donna Hay dish, which just happens to be gluten, egg, wheat and dairy free. Her food, good company and contentment with not much chit-chat that night were real blessings to me. And we’re still laughing about how from now on she’s going to have to read my sms invitations carefully to check who’s doing the cooking! Super simple to make, fresh and healthy too, this noodle dish is perfect for cooking for yourself or friends straight after work and can easily be multiplied for a larger group. And all of the preparation can be done quickly and hours ahead of people coming over – once they’ve turned up and have a cold drink in their hand, just stir fry everything from start to finish in 10 minutes. If you purchase your herbs from a grocer rather than a supermarket, this dish costs no more than $10 to make and serves 4. Thanks for this terrific recipe, Sheri.

  • 2 teaspoons vegetable or sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, finely chopped (or, as I do, a good squeeze of Gourmet Garden lemongrass in a tube)
  • 1 teaspoon chilli flakes
  • 500g chicken mince
  • 1/4 cup lime juice (I use lime squeeze from the fridge)
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3/4 cup coriander (cilantro) leaves
  • the stalks of the coriander leaves, washed and chopped finely
  • 3/4 cup basil leaves
  • 4 green onions, shredded
  1. Put a large pot of water on the stove and bring the boil for cooking egg noodles.
  2. Heat a frying pan or wok at high heat. Add the oil, ginger, coriander stalks, lemongrass and chilli and cook for 1 minutes. Add the chicken mince and cook, stirring for 6-7 minutes or until cooked through, breaking up any large lumps of chicken as you go.
  3. Add rice noodles to the boiling water and cook according to instructions on the packet and when soft, drain in a colander.
  4. Stir through the lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, coriander, basil and green onions. Serve stir-fry in bowls on top of freshly cooked rice noodles.

Nigella Lawson’s Greek Lamb Chops with Lemon and Potatoes

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Today is Australia Day so I’m pretty excited to be sharing this lovely lamb recipe with you, not only because in my family Australia day equals eating a good deal of lamb, but because this dish, adapted from a terrific one by Nigella Lawson, pointed in my direction by my friend Amy, is all the things this blog is about: easy, tasty, affordable and delightfully do-able when having people over. Using either lamb loin or chump chops, simply place all the ingredients in a roasting dish at the same time and stick it in the oven. You don’t even need to turn anything! Just add something green to eat it with, perhaps a salad or steamed green beans, and whack the lot, straight out of the oven, onto the middle of the table with a fresh loaf of bread for mopping up the yummy juices. The lamb turns out oh so tenderly and the chopped fresh parsley makes the flavours come alive. This recipe is easily doubled using two roasting dishes and which can both go in the oven together – no problem: that’s 12-16 people fed for the cost of one at a nice restaurant! Even better is the fact that this delicious one-pot feast is gluten, egg, wheat and diary free. Using the quantities below, this recipe serves 6-8 and costs no more than $15 to make. Thanks for this one, Amy.

  • 12 lamb chops, either loin or chump
  • 3 baking potatoes, adding up to approximately 650g
  • 45ml olive oil (approximately three tablespoons)
  • 2 teaspoons dried mint
  • 1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes (a little less if substituting with chilli powder)
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 lemons
  • small handful of roughly chopped parsley
  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees celcius. Put the lamb into a roasting dish
  2. Cut clean potatoes into wedges (don’t bother peeling them) and place them in the gaps around the lamb.
  3. Drizzle the oil over the lamb and potatoes and sprinkle with the dried mint, chilli flakes and salt.
  4. Zest 1 lemon over the roasting tin and then juice both lemons and pour the juice over everything in the tray.
  5. Season well with salt and pepper and cook in the oven for 1 hour, not bothering to turn anything over. Pull the tray out of the oven when everything looks quite brown (don’t let anything burn), and if it looks like it’s very brown before the end of the cooking time, cover the tray in foil and return to the oven.
  6. Serve everything in the middle of the table for a yummy and casual feast.

Peppermint Delight

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Years ago, in another life before having kids, my husband and I lived in Queensland and made friends with a couple called Sacha and Leigh-anne after we joined the Bible study group they hosted. Sacha and Leigh-anne were down to earth, funny, outdoorsy types who loved to go camping and listen to Garth Brooks in the car (Steve could only just tolerate the Garth Brooks bit, but I loved it). Each week we’d all bring our takeaway dinner to their house, share the highs and lows of the week, study the Bible and pray together. Their home was always open, they never bunged anything on for any of us (Sacha was often in the bath when we arrived) and they didn’t mind one little bit if you made yourself a cup of tea. In that season of life, we all grew lots spiritually and had lots of fun times together. These days we all live a long way from each other, but some friends from the town we now live in, Gavin & Chantell, have moved to their town – and to our delight have found good friends in each other. Last week, while on holidays we got to have the second annual Three Family Get-together, and just like old times shared with both families, it was delightful: a relaxed catch-up, fun and games as Sacha kept us entertained with his stories, all the while sharing simple but yummy food. Chantell brought this tasty dessert that went down a treat with everyone and I had to give it a go myself and share it with you. Hardly ‘cooking’ at all: it’s more like assembling a salad from a bunch of ingredients, this versatile dessert costs about $17 to make, but it does serve 15 people. For a smaller group, simply halve the quantities, which also halves the cost. As all the ingredients (except the cream) can be stored in the pantry for when you want them, I recommend buying them up when on special to make this even more affordable. Thanks for the recipe, Chantell.

  • 4 Peppermint Crisp chocolate bars, chopped roughly
  • 1 can of Nestle Caramel Top’n’fill
  • 2 x packets of Nice biscuits (or other plain biscuits)
  • 900ml cream, whipped
  1. Choose a medium sized casserole/pie/oven dish, and spread a thin layer of caramel on the bottom. Place a layer of evenly spaced biscuits over the top of the caramel, followed by a layer of cream. Sprinkle 1/4 of the peppermint crisp over the layer cream. Repeat this series of layers until all the ingredients are finished or the dish is full.
  2. End the layers with cream and the remaining peppermint crisp. I had some leftover malteasers in the pantry so popped them on top too – feel free to improvise.
  3. Place in the fridge for 24 hours to allow for softening and setting. Enjoy with ice-cream or without.

Pauline’s Chilled Lemon Cheesecake

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Yesterday was my husband’s birthday and he requested this lovely cheesecake for birthday cake. It’s a recipe my mother-in-law Pauline gave me when Steve and I were first married and it has become something of an identity marker for our little family, a tradition that we’ve made our own for special celebrations. What we have always loved about this chilled cheesecake, is the light but creamy texture of the filling that comes from not using gelatine and its faint taste of lemon. And it’s so versatile flavour-wise: yesterday we enjoyed it topped with fresh mango pieces and raspberry sauce and in the past it’s been lovely with drizzled melted chocolate on top. These extra serving options are totally unnecessary though, because the cheesecake is just delightful all by itself. There are a couple of simple but essential tricks to making this cheesecake successfully: the first is not to forget the fresh lemon juice – it’s what makes the filling set and unfortunately, this won’t happen if you replace it with lemon squeeze either; and the second is not use lite versions of cream, cream cheese or condensed milk – the setting factor of the filling is determined by interaction of the citric acid, fat and sugar content. But with these factors in mind, this cheesecake is super simple to make because it doesn’t require baking, and cost-effective because it easily serves 10-12 people – Pauline’s cheesecake costs around $10 to make.

  • 250g cream cheese, full fat, softened to room temperature
  • 1 x 395g tin sweetened condensed milk, full fat, (home brand is fine)
  • 300ml thickened cream, full fat
  • 1 x 250g packet of Nice biscuits
  • 190g butter, melted
  • Juice of 1 fresh lemon, yielding 60ml of juice
  1. Select a loose-bottomed pie tin or springform cake tin, 20-25 cm in diameter and spray lightly with canola spray.
  2. Place biscuits into the bowl of a food processor and blitz until a rough crumb. The biscuits need to be well and truly crushed, but don’t go too fine with them.  Remove blade and add melted butter, mixing through. Using clean hands and spoon for pressing down firmly, place biscuit mixture into the tin to form the base, which should come up the sides 3/4 of the tins height. Place in freezer to set.
  3. Using electric beaters, beat the cream cheese to a paste, continue mixing and add the condensed milk. When thoroughly combined, continue mixing and add the cream and lemon juice. Beat a little longer to ensure the mixture is well-combined. Remove the now set base from the freezer and gently fill the base with creamy filling. Place the cheesecake in the fridge for 4-6 hours to set.

Eton Mess

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The heatwave continues in our neck of the woods, the perfect time to try this no cook summer dessert, suggested to me ages ago by my friend Amy. And what a winner! Each component is able to be purchased or made ahead of serving time with almost no fuss: all that needs to be done beforehand is to make the simple berry sauce and whip the cream – both of which just go straight back into the fridge until you’re ready for dessert. Not only are these individual possets of cool berry yumminess easy to make, all of the ingredients can be kept close at hand for dessert at short notice: frozen berries in freezer, packet meringues in the pantry, and cream and yoghurt are constants in my fridge. The recipe that follows is my adaptation of Valli Little’s, originally published in Delicious magazine, but do whatever you like with the ingredients: more or less of each item according to what you like to taste most of. The residents at my place have requested more meringue next time! Similarly, the yoghurt can be completely left out, just increase the amount of cream to replace it, which also lowers the cost a little. Using fresh strawberries and the quantities below, this recipe serves 6 and costs less than $10 to make. Assemble just before serving in whatever takes your fancy: tumblers, ramekins or martini glasses – whatever, and enjoy some stress free time with your guests.

  • 150g frozen raspberries, thawed
  • 1/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1 punnet of strawberries, hulled and thinly sliced (use when affordably in season, otherwise frozen mixed berries work well and are cheaper)
  • 200ml cream, whipped
  • 200ml greek yoghurt, (optional, and any kind is fine)
  • 50g mini meringues, roughly crumbled (half a 100g box)

1. In a small bowl add sugar to defrosted raspberries and mix through. Using a stick blender, puree the mixture and pass through a sieve and discard seeds. Add sliced strawberries to raspberry liquid and mix through.

2. In another bowl, whip cream, again using a stick blender. Just before serving, add crumpled meringues, yoghurt and berry mixture to the cream, gently combining each ingredient, but don’t over mix!

3. Divide mixture evenly among the six glasses and eat immediately.

Slow Cooker Chicken with Cashews

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This week where I live we’re having a heat wave, the temperature staying in the 40s for what feels like days on end, so I thought it worth sharing some more slow cooker recipes people have been kindly sending in. Huh? Slow cooker meals on ridiculously hot days? Have I gone mad? While it’s possibly true that I have, let me tell you why this makes sense: meals cooked in the slow cooker don’t heat up your kitchen on sweltering days, you can fill them up to make enough dinner for an extra night or two, and if you serve your slow cooked yumminess on rice, having cooked it in a rice cooker, with some greens quickly steamed in the microwave, you’ve managed to completely avoid adding to the heat in your house. Ages ago, my friend Sam sent me this very simple and tasty recipe which is perfect for hospitality: just put it on in the morning, when friends are coming over for dinner after work or church, or just divide into batches of family sized portions for freezing – for your own family or to grab at short notice when someone is in need (but do check that there are no cashew allergies among your recipients!). Doubling the recipe below two thirds fills a 5.5L slow cooker, and using the quantities below costs around $16 to make, even less when chicken breast are on special. Thanks Sam for a healthy, tasty, cheap and easy recipe. Serves 6-8.

  • 3 boneless chicken breasts (approx. 750g), cut into thin strips
  • 2 tbsp butter (optional, I don’t use it)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 chopped green onions
  • 200g sliced mushrooms (I prefer to cop my own, the thin sliced ones from the shop end up too small once cooked)
  • 1 x can condensed cream of mushroom or cream of chicken soup (undiluted)
  • 2 sticks celery, sliced
  • 1 ½ tbsp. soy sauce
  • ½ cup cashews, (approx. 100g, pre-roasted is a little nicer, but not necessary),
  • 1/2 cup white wine (optional)
  • salt and pepper
  • handful of fresh parsley, roughly chopped

1. Combine chicken, butter, garlic, green onions, mushrooms, soup, celery, soy sauce, and wine (if using) in the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low 6 hours, or high for four hours. Alternatively, cook in a large heavy based casserole dish with lid on at 160 degrees for 2 hours.

2. Half an hour before the end of the cook time, add the cashews into the chicken. Season well with salt and pepper. If necessary, thicken with a little cornflour suspended in water, then add to chicken, stirring well. If desired, add chopped fresh parsley just before serving. Serve on steamed rice with a side of greens.