Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Jethro has found the cookie dough ....

Jethro doesn't miss a thing ... I actually thing he has a built in cookie dough radar! Look what I have found him making for dessert ....


Monday, March 29, 2010

Choc Chip & Peanut Cookies

This has been a family favourite forever.   I use to make up double batches of the recipe and freeze the cookie dough.   That way I could bake as many cookies as I needed whenever we felt like them!  

One morning I went to the freezer to get the cookie dough and the container was empty.   Upon asking the kids who knew where the cookie dough went my then 5 year old son says "oops ... sorry mum I just love frozen cookies"!!!   My little sweetie wasn't waiting for them to be baked, just pinching them from the freezer!   He only looks innocent ...

Choc Chip & Peanut Cookies
250g butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla essence
2 cups (400g) firmly packed brown sugar
2 eggs
3 1/2 cups (525g) self raising flour
250g packet choc bits
1 cup (140g) crushed nuts

Beat butter, essence and sugar in small bowl with electric mixer until smooth.

Add eggs, beat until well combined.

Add sifted flour, choc bits and nuts (you can omit the nuts and add extra choc bits), press ingredients together using hands.

Divide mixture into 3 portions, roll each portion into two 30cm logs. Roll each log in baking paper or foil, refrigerate 1 hour or overnight.

Cut logs into 1 cm slices with serrated knife. Place slices on baking paper lined oven trays, about 3 cm apart.

Bake in moderate oven about 20 minutes or until browned lightly.

Makes 60

Note: By using White Wings Gluten Free Flour and Gluten Free Choc Bits (most choc bits are gluten free - but do check) it is easy to convert to being Gluten Free Cookies.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Not Feeling Like the Cooking Angel

Oh my gosh ... I think I have spent way too much time in the kitchen this past week.   As much as I love cooking, I do get to a stage where I want to boycott the kitchen for a few days!!!   Yesterday was one of those days.

Here is what the few days leading up to Sunday looked like:

Thursday:   Lunch Packs for 100 girls at Sisterhood to raise money
                 for A21 Campaign.

Friday:       Supper for 100 people

Saturday:   Made lunch for the next day (we were going to friends)
                Made 100 cupcakes (pink and blue)
                Fruit platters for 100 people
                Slices for 100 people

                This would have been all fine after a relaxing day, we decided to have an impromtu dinner with family and I didn't start my catering prep until 9pm!!    Cooking spaghetti bologanise at midnight just doesn't seem right!!!

After all this cooking and baking, by the time we got to our friends place on Sunday and all I needed to do was cook gluten free spaghetti and turn cupcakes into fairy cakes I was NOT feeling like the Cooking Angel.  

I turned the spaghetti into what could only be described as a pot of glue, and even when I "cheated" and bought dollop cream to do the cupcakes it wasn't dollop cream at all and still needed to be whipped ... not that it was hard, I just wanted it to be simple!!!   Then while reheating the bolognaise in the microwave it "exploded" and splattered sauce all over Vicki's microwave ... arrrghhh!!!!    I really needed to get out of the kitchen!!  And it is probably worth mentioning that Vicki is married to my husband's boss!!!

So last night for dinner my family made their own toast !!!   And I just wanted a cup of tea.

So there you have it even the Cooking Angel has disaster kitchen days.

Here's to a much better week ....

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Chocolate Cupcakes

Over the weekend our friend's were celebrating their son's 18th birthday.   We were invited with family and friends to a fantastic backyard bbq.   So, now I was faced with the question "what do I give Josh for his birthday?".

Easy ... CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES ... of course!!!

If you would like to order cupcakes for any occasion, please feel free to send me a message.   

Thursday, March 18, 2010

BBQ Lamb w. Garlic & Herbs and Salt & Pepper Pumpkin

On the menu tonight ... BBQ Lamb w. Garlic & Herbs : Salt & Pepper Pumpkin : Jacket Potatoes w. Sour Cream : Stir Fry Vegies.

I have been wanting to make use of the BBQ before the weather starts getting cooler, and there is nothing better on the bbq than Lamb ... I am Aussie through and through.

One of my favourite finds is ....

and it is even better when it is "reduced".

It is a sensational butterfly cut of lamb ... you will be totally "hooked" once you've tried it.    There are a few different ways to cook it - instructions are on the packet.  

I simply heat my hooded bbq to 200 deg. C.    Then with the lid open I char grill both sides of the lamb (brushed with oil) for approximately 10 minutes. 

Turn off the burner directly under the meat, close the lid and let it cook for approximately 15 - 25 minutes.  

The lamb then needs to come off the bbq and rest for about 10 minutes.

To make the Salt and Pepper Pumpkin.    Cut your pumpkin into chunks, drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt & pepper.  

Place in a preheated 200 deg C oven and cook for 25 minutes or until cooked through.


With the lamb cooking nicely on the bbq and the pumpkin sizzling in the oven, I took the opportunity to enjoy the last light of the day... while lying on the trampoline of course !!!   It was really therapeutic to take a few moments out just to relax.

"Dinner is ready ...."

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Confessions of a Cooking Angel

Ok - I must confess .... I don't always stick to my Menu Planner.  Sometimes life just happens and I don't feel like cooking to the plan.   Last night was one of those nights.   I had an early morning catering job ... Breakfast for 25 people - I had a heap of domestic jobs to do - then afternoon tea with my sister, parents and family ... and Andrew was out at a work function.  

On the way home from my sister's, the kids and I took a vote and decided to have a simple dinner - Scrambled Eggs!!!   Katie ate her dinner while doing her homework (she is such a good girl!) and Jethro and I curled up on the lounge together and chatted.  It was fun just to hang with him!

The planned FAJITAS will now get bumped to the next menu planner.

BUT I'm not being a slack angel ... last night was Date Night for Andrew and I.    One night a week we "blob" on the lounge together in front of a good DVD.    I decided to prepare a little treat for us ...

Yummo!!!  I am sure that cheese & chocolate where created in heaven ... just for me!

My treat platter included:

Hint:  I leave cheeses to sit for 1 - 2 hours at room temperature before serving - brings out the flavour.

I love semi dried tomatoes and fetta ... unfortunately we don't have a good deli nearby so I settled for a Woolworths prepackaged variety ... not too bad.

I think South Cape Crispbread is one of the best crackers to serve with cheese ... they are light and don't overpower the cheese.   You really want to taste the cheese NOT the cracker!!

I have to confess as much as I love cheese .... I LOVE CHOCOLATE ... so what cheese platter would be complete without a few pieces ...

And I couldn't think of a better accompaniment to the whole night ....

So, I confess ... I LOVE DATE NIGHT WITH MY MAN xxoo

Chicken with 40 Garlic Cloves

My menu planner is off to an extraordinary start with Chicken w. 40 Garlic Cloves  [courtesy of http://www.taste.com.au/].   Hubby and the kids were very impressed and the leftovers were a delight for lunch today!    I love cooking with garlic ... the smell brings back childhood memories growing up on the farm.   The man that lived next door "Jock" grew garlic and his barn was full of bags and bags and bags of it.   Everything about Jock ... his clothes, his house, his barn, his ute, EVERYTHING smelt like garlic!!   

The recipe is simple to follow, so don't hesitate for a second - add it to your menu planner!

You will need:
1 lemon
1 large (about 1.6kg) free-range chicken
2 bay leaves
40ml (2 tbs) extra virgin olive oil
1 tbs finely chopped rosemary
40 garlic cloves, skin on
300ml chicken stock
300ml white wine

What to do:

Preheat oven to 190°C.

Cut the lemon in half lengthways and place in the cavity of the chicken with the bay leaves.

Tie the legs together with kitchen string to secure, then rub with the olive oil and sprinkle with the rosemary.

Place the chicken in an ovenproof casserole dish, add the garlic cloves, stock and wine and bring to the boil on the stovetop over medium heat.
Cover with a lid and transfer to the oven for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Remove lid and roast for a further 20 minutes or until the chicken is golden brown.

Remove the chicken from dish and set aside to rest. Use a slotted spoon to remove about 16 of the garlic cloves and set aside. Place the baking dish on the stovetop over high heat and simmer for 5-6 minutes to reduce to a sauce, pressing the garlic to release the flavour. Strain.

Serve the roast chicken with the reserved garlic cloves and drizzle with a little sauce.

I served the chicken with mashed potato & beans.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Menu Planner Inspiration

This fortnight's menu planner has some family favourites ... some of the new recipes I tried last fortnight have become instant "hits" and so have reappeared ... except for the Paella of course!

I will be posting some of the recipes during the week ... especially tonight's Chicken with 40 garlic cloves!!!

Thanks to those who are following my menu planner ... and a BIG welcome to all my new followers from TASTE ...

Here's to a great week of gathering our families around the table!!!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Oven Grilled Nectarines

Over the weekend I noticed that there were an abundance of nectarines in our fruit bowl.   I didn't want them to go to waste and I knew it would be impossible to eat them all, so I decided to turn them into dessert.

Oven Grilled Nectarines in Port

1. Cut the nectarines in half, removing the seed.   Place in a baking dish, flesh side up.

2. Sprinkle with brown sugar (probably a bit more than just a sprinkle)

3.  Place in a preheated oven, with the grill on.

4.  Bake for approximately 10 - 15 minutes.  Until the sugar has caramelised.

5.  Serve with vanilla icecream and drizzle with the juice from the baking dish.  Yummo!

And the leftovers???

Place in steralised jar and fill to the top with Port, Rum or Brandy.

Store in the refrigerator.

Keeping enjoying!!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Perfect Poached Eggs

My gorgeous man got motivated in the kitchen this morning and made the family poached eggs for brekkie.   He always makes me a great cappuccino in the mornings  but he outdid himself this morning with the most perfect poached eggs.

Well done Babe xo

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Wedding Cakes

A few years ago my love of Cupcakes turned into my love of creating wedding cakes.   Why should these amazing small cakes been reserved for every other celebration in life but get so easily forgotten on your Big Day?!

Not only do they taste amazing, they look amazing and they are hugely popular as dessert.   So we said "no" to that tiny slither of cake you get as you leave a wedding reception and we said "YES" to amazing cupcakes created to celebrate your new chapter in life and to be enjoyed by you and your guests with coffee for dessert.

Classic roses ..

Frangipanni's galore ...

Contemporary ...

One Pan Wonder : Chicken, Prawn and Tomato Paella

Tonight I tried Donna Hay's paella recipe.   Mmm... not quite sure how this one went.   I've decided to post while it is still "raw" so to speak ... not when I feel a bit better about it tomorrow.

It started out well ... the recipe looked great ...

How hard could a "one pan wonder" be???  I heated the oil ... added the chicken and prawns ...

I cooked up the onion, garlic, chilli and parika ....
The smell was amazing ... was very impressed with my effort so far ...
I then added the rice, tomato and stock.   Still smelling amazing ...

Simmered for 25 minutes and the result ....

So, I called the family "dinner is ready ... come and get it".   I served up, what I thought was a pretty good first attempt at Paella.   I was sure it was looking impressive and therefore the hubby and kids would be singing my praises ...

Everyone was chatting and digging into dinner, so I thought I would prompt for some feedback ... music changed ... maybe I should have kept my mouth shut and enjoyed my dinner quietly.

Hubby:  "It's nice" ... I wasn't happy with that so I pushed for more feedback ... "well the chicken isn't that good ... too plain for such an exotic dish" ... now my ego was bruised.  I knew he didn't really like it.   Note to self ... don't use leftover catering chicken for paella - only ever use Lenards Tender Gold Chicken Breast! Sorry babe!

Daughter: "Mmm.... not my favourite ... sorry"

Son: "It's ok ... I'd eat it if I was stuck on a deserted island!"

Son's friend:  "This chicken tastes like the food we give our cat"!

Well that was it for me ... I've shut up kitchen for the night ... no treats for anyone!   And if you want a cup of tea ... make your own!!!