Sunday, June 29, 2008

Vvvv- vabulous Veal!

Posted by MANDI at 7:32 PM 3 comments
Yeah, that was pushing the bounds of alliteration just a little. LOL.

Hubby has a rotten cold and can't taste a thing so this meal was absolutely wasted on him but as far as I'm concerned it was delicious. Really, where can you go wrong with veal, mushrooms and cream? The recipe book suggested serving it with pasta but we were in need of some vegies so vegies it was.

I'm off to Red Dirt Central for work for a couple of days so I'll be MIA until later in the week. Then I'll have news of our next holiday!

Veal with Mushrooms and Mustard Cream Sauce
Short-Order Cook

1 tablespoon olive oil
8 veal steaks
10g butter
1 clove garlic, crushed
150g button mushrooms, sliced thickly
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard
1/2 cup cream
1/4 cup chicken stock
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (I used dried thyme and added it earlier)

1. Heat oil in large non0stick frying pan; cook veal, in batches, until browned both sides and cooked as desired. Cover to keep warm.
2. Melt butter in same pan; cook garlic and mushrooms, (I added the dried thyme here) stirring until mushrooms just soften. Add wine and mustard; cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Add cream and stock; bring to boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, about 5 minutes or until sauce thickens slightly. Stir in thyme.
3. Divide veal equally among serving plates; top with sauce.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Best Line

Posted by MANDI at 11:14 PM 2 comments
I was writing up a job application tonight and Hubby was watching Bones. Right at the end I heard Brennan deliver the best line I've heard in ages - probably since the brilliant lines in Buffy.
"Marriage sounds like having someone who'll slap your enemies and then help you throw a dead body off a plane."
Sounds like a good definition to me!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

My Birthday Boy

Posted by MANDI at 9:33 PM 6 comments
Who would have thought that this tiny little boy (being cuddled by his Nan)....

Would turn into this gorgeous big kid at 6?

Happy Birthday to my beautiful, special, clever, gorgeous, funny boy. You make me laugh out loud, scream with frustration and want to share every little thing you do. I love you, dude!

Monday, June 23, 2008

A Yummy Dessert

Posted by MANDI at 8:18 PM 4 comments
As you'd have guessed from the previous post, we had ourselves a birthday party over the weekend. Offspring #1 turns 6 tomorrow so we had a party on Sunday. I decided that I just wasn't up for a full-scale production birthday party at the moment so it was a fairly simple affair - just a family lunch for 25 or so (okay, there were a couple of extras), an easy menu, a few party games and lots of fun.

I settled on lasagna, salad and garlic bread for the main course - I made two of the biggest lasagnas you've ever seen and we had just enough left for the four of us for dinner last night. Perfect! Dessert was also simple. A delicious pavlova, a fabulous new baked cheesecake and the brilliantly executed and very yellow Star Wars birthday cake.

I have absolutely no idea where the cheesecake recipe came from. It was hand-written and in the ugly binder - probably a long-ago library loan. It was next to a recipe I used at #2's christening so it's been floating around for a while. This was decadent and delicious and, unlike a lot of baked cheesecakes, it was surprisingly fluffy. It went down a treat at the party and Hubby and I just enjoyed the last piece after putting the kids to bed.

Baked White Chocolate Cheesecake
Serves 10

180g good-quality white chocolate
150g granita biscuits (didn't have them so used Marie's instead)
80g butter, melted
500g cream cheese, softened, chopped
300g sour cream
3/4 cup caster sugar
3/4 cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 eggs, at room temp
Thick cream to serve (I used whipped cream)

1. Preheat oven to 160C. Line base and sides of a 7cm deep, 22cm springform pan with baking paper.
2. Break half the chocolate into pieces. Place in food processor and process until roughly chopped. Transfer to a bowl. (My processor went on strike and I ended up grating the chocolate.)
3. Place biscuits in processor and process until fine crumbs form. With the motor running, pour butter down feed tube. Press biscuit mix into base of lined pan/ refrigerate for 30 minutes. Wash and dry food processor.
4. Place cream cheese, sour cream, sugar and vanilla in food processor. Process until well combined and smooth. With motor running add eggs - 1 at a time, processing well after each addition. (Again, the processor was on strike - I used the hand held electric beaters and they did a fine job.)
5. Pour cream mix over prepared base. Sprinkle chopped chocolate over top and swirl through filling (oops, I added it to the mix and gave it a good stir). Bake for 50-60 minutes or until just firm in the centre. Allow cake to cook in oven for 2-3 hours. Refrigerate for four hours.
6. Spread cream over cake. Grate remaining chocolate and sprinkle over on top (I used some milk chocolate too - the all white was a bit boring!).

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Guess What We Did Today?

Posted by MANDI at 5:26 PM 3 comments

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Make This!

Posted by MANDI at 9:30 PM 3 comments
Last night we had the tv on while I was getting dinner sorted. A Current Affair (news/current affairs type sensationalist tv show that generally really annoys me, for those out of the country) was blaring away in the background and the piece they were playing was going on about how much food is wasted in Australian households. One of the points made was that people today don't know what to do with leftovers - our grandmothers made entire meals, meals entirely different from the original, from leftovers - and now, rather than being used, they just get thrown out. I was almost overcome by feelings of virtue and house-wifely-ness - our meal last night consisted almost entirely of leftovers and they formed the basis of a different dish! Then I yelled at the kids and the warm glow kind of disappeared.

I should point out that I agree that waste is terrible and I do try really hard to use up leftovers, make soup of stuff in the fridge that needs using up and give myself a good talking to when I'm forced to throw things out. We'll have chooks again soon and I can't wait!

Anyway, we had a roast Sunday night and, as this dish was on the menu, I cooked a few extra vegies so I had enough 'leftovers'. This was delicious! We all loved it and I will definitely make it again - probably the next time I cook a roast. I served it with a little leftover lamb and the remnants of cauliflower/broccoli cheese. Yum.

Chorizo and Roast Vegetable Frittata
from Cheap Eats

6 eggs
1/2 cup cream
1/3 cup coarsely grated cheddar cheese (I just grabbed a handful, so probably a bit more than was called for)
1 chorizo sausage, sliced thinly
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped leftover roasted vegies
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (couldn't find it in the cupboard so just used salt and pepper)

1. Preheat oven to 180C. Oil 19cm square cake pan; line base with baking paper, extending paper slightly about edges.

2. Whisk eggs, cream and cheese together in large jug.

3. Cook chorizo in medium frying pan, stirring, until browned and crisp. Drain on absorbent paper.

4. Place vegetables in pan; top with chorizo. pour egg mixture over chorizo; sprinkle with cayenne.

5. Bake in oven about 30 minutes or until frittata is set; stand 10 minutes before cutting.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Ummm... Well She's Cute

Posted by MANDI at 8:37 PM 7 comments
But not so bright!

I bought offspring #2 some footless tights today. I had planned that they would go under a little denim overall dress she has. As we unpacked the goodies from our shopping trip #2 pounced on her tights and before I knew it was attempting to don them.

First she put them on upside down. Don't ask how! I was laughing way too hard to even consider a photo at that point but soon the blogger and scrapbooker in me won out and I choked back the laughter and grabbed the camera.

By then she had them on the right way but wasn't quite sure how far to pull them up.

I think she might need a bit more practice.

But the laughter was contagious.

Eventually she worked out that her feet were supposed to come out the other end.

Yep. Both of 'em.

Like I said, cute but not real bright.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Best. Pie. Ever.

Posted by MANDI at 8:05 PM 4 comments
This was fantastic, delicious and scrumptious! I can't think of any other way to describe it. Just make it. In fact, it tasted so good I left the photo taking till after we'd polished off more than half of it. And just because we're gluttons, we had it with custard, ice-cream and cream!
Note: I did add lemon juice as directed but, not wanting to tempt fate too much I added rather less than the recipe asked for. I could still taste it and it definitely added to the taste.

High Top Apple and Sultana Pie
from Donna Hay Magazine, April/May 2008

12 Granny Smith Applies, peeled, cored and chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice (I used a little less, closer to 1 1/2 teaspoons)
1/2 cup caster (superfine) sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sultanas
1 quantity basic vanilla pastry (see below)
1/3 cup almond meal (couldn't find it in the pantry so used hazelnut meal instead)
1 eggwhite, lightly beaten, for brushing
granulated sugar, for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 180C. Place the apples and lemon juice in a large, deep frying pan over medium heat. Cover and cook, shaking the pan occasionally, for 6-8 minutes or until just tender. Set aside to cool. Add sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and sultanas and mix to combine. Set aside.

Halve pastry and roll out each piece to 3mm thick. Line the base of a lightly greased 22cm metal pie tin (I used a ceramic pie dish) with a piece of pastry. Sprinkly over the almond (hazelnut!) meal and pack the apple mixture tightly into the pastry shell. Top with remaining pastry. Press the edges to seal and trim the excess. Cut several slits in the top of the pastry, brush with eggwhite and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until pastry is golden and crisp. Serves 8

Basic Vanilla Pastry
1 2/3 cups plain (all purpose) flour
1 tablespoon caster (superfine) sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
180g cold butter, chopped
1/3 cup iced water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place flour, sugar and baking powder in a food processor and process to combine. Add butter and process until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. With the motor running, gradually add the water and vanilla and process until the mixture comes together to form a smooth dough, Wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes before using.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Up, Up and Away...

Posted by MANDI at 8:36 PM 2 comments
I'm off to Port Red Dirt for work. It's only overnight but it'll be a long two days, starting at 4.30am tomorrow morning! Urrkkk. I'll be staying in the same time zone but I still think jetlag might hit me.

See you in a few days.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

A Tasty Tart

Posted by MANDI at 1:47 PM 4 comments

Hubby and I loved this savoury tart. The kids had eggs on toast - they probably would have eaten it, I just wasn't up for a fight! I had a couple of little issues with the recipe - it says to boil the kumara, I tend to find this makes vegies very soggy if you're wanting to put them in a pie or tart so I steamed them and was happy with the result. It also doesn't say anything about cooking the pancetta/bacon before putting it in the tart - I followed the recipe and while the pancetta obviously cooked in the tart I think it would have been nicer if it had been pan fried before adding it as it would have provided a bit of crunch. That said, the tart was delicious. It was also easy to make and, for me, that's a winning combination.

Kumara and Pancetta Tart
from delicious. April, 2008

250g kumara (sweet potato), peeled, cut into 2-3cm pieces
4 large (70g) eggs (I used 5 x 50g eggs)
1/3 cup thin cream
1/3 cup milk
2 tablespoons gruyere cheese
Pinch of nutmeg
5 flat pancetta slices or bacon rashers, rind removed, cut into 1cm-wide strips
1/2 cup wild rocket leaves

1 cup plain flour, sifted
75g chilled unsalted butter, chopped
3 tablespoons chilled sparking mineral water

For the pastry, whiz flour, butter and a pinch of salt in a food processor for about 10 seconds until it forms coarse crumbs. Gradually pour in mineral water, pulsing for 1-2 minutes, until it forms a ball. Enclose in plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour.
Cook kumara in boiling salted water for 15 minutes or until tender. Drain and cool. (I steamed mine so it didn't get too soggy).
Preheat oven to 180C. Place pastry on a floured surface. Cover with plastic wrap to prevent sticking. Roll out to about 5 mm thick and use to line a 20cm loose-bottomed tart pan. Trim excess. Prick base with a fork, line with baking paper, then fill with uncooked rice or pastry weights. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove paper and weights then bake for 5 minutes or until golden and dry. Increase oven to 190C.
Beat eggs, cream and milk with a whisk until just combined. Stir in cheese and nutmeg then season. Arrange pancetta and kumara in pastry case, then scatter with rocket. Pour in filling and bake for 30-40 minutes until set. Serve warm.

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