Sunday, 19 October 2014

Chicken Garlic Pies

NAME: _Chicken Garlic Pies

INGREDIENTS/UTENSILS:
250g chicken mince
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1 tbsp plain flour
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tbsp dried ground sage
1/2 tsp ground fenugreek
1 small brown onion
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup water, more or less

qty herb and garlic butter
hot water pastry made with 500g flour
1 egg
12 small squares (8mm or so, 2mm thck) cheddar cheese.

METHOD:
Finely dice the onion, fry in a saucepan with the olive oil, once glassy, add the chicken and spices, continue to fry for around five minutes more then add the flour, breadcrumbs, and trickle in water until mixture is barely moistened. Set aside.

Roll out pastry to 2mm thick, cut to size and form cups in a muffin tin. Place a spoonful more or less of the chicken mixture into each case (should fill to the top) and then put a dollop of herb / garlic butter in each, place a square of cheese over to stop top crust falling into the garlic butter. Top each pie with a round of pastry, seal in place with beaten egg, and glaze the tops with egg.

Bake in a hot oven for 30 minutes. (Until pastry tops are browned.)

SERVING:
Serve as a main course with vegetables, mashed potatoes, or what have you.

NOTES:
I wanted to make chicken garlic balls but wasn't happy with the idea of deep fried stuff, besides, where's the fun in making one's own fast food? Isn't that what one pays the fast food place to do? So these pies were born, and they filled the chicken / garlic craving nicely....

ENJOY!

Hot Water Crust

NAME: _Hot Water Crust

INGREDIENTS/UTENSILS:
500g plain flour
200g (200ml) water
125g butter
125g lard
1 tsp salt

METHOD:
Put all ingredients except flour and salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring to combine the fats. Sprinkle in the salt, remove from heat. Place flour in a bowl, add the just-boiled liquid, stir to combine and form a dough. Set aside covered with a tea towel to cool, then use as needed.

SERVING:

NOTES:
Pastry cases made with this dough can be baked blind or filled and baked, this is an easy easy easy pastry - even I can make it!

ENJOY!

Herb N Garlic Butter

NAME: _Herb N Garlic Butter

INGREDIENTS/UTENSILS:
100g butter
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp chopped fresh celery, leaves and stalk
1 cup water

METHOD:
Place all ingredients in a small saucepan and gently bring to boil. Simmer until all water is evaporated, remove from heat.

SERVING:
Used as a dressing or spread.

NOTES:
Just included the recipe for completeness' sake. Vary quantities to suit yourself.

ENJOY!

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Excited To Find Fair Dinkum Seeds

It's not often that I actually do a post for a consideration, but having been round all the usual seed catalogues online and the local nurseries and garden centres, it's rare to find a stockist that's new to me, and has some varieties that have taken my interest.

It's spring here, we're busting to plant the summer / autumn crops. Every year, we have some seeds left over from the last year, some collected self-grown seeds, and a bunch of new seeds to try out. One of the fun things is to find new suppliers, stretch our pension dollars further, and get a variety going. Earlier this year, I came across Fair Dinkum Seeds (http://fairdimkumseeds.com) and decided that the quantities and prices and varieties were just too intriguing and interesting to pass up. While I was assembling my order and waiting for the next pension so I could place it, I found out that Fair Dinkum Seeds (http://fairdimkumseeds.com) are wanting exposure in return for discount on seeds. 

So there's no recipe this time, just a few of the interesting varieties I'd ordered. First up, a plant with the name Black Mint aka "Stinky Roger." (http://fairdinkumseeds.com/products-page/brassica-lettuce-and-asian-greens/huacatay-black-mint-tagetes-minuta/) As FDS explains in the quite informative article about Black Mint, it's THE marigold that all companion planting schemes refer to, whether they know it or not. Our decorative marigolds aren't even in the game as far as insect repellent qualities go. We'd been planting decorative marigolds for years to deter flies and mosquitoes and insect pests and finally decided that some claims may have been over-stated, but now we've hope that by planting a bunch of these we'll end up with several quite useful products. I'm happy that it's an edible as well as a good insect repellent, and this year should see flies avoid our place in droves. Once I have a few of these growing, I'll post Black Mint recipes. 

The other things I'd been looking at were virginia peanuts, hardy basils, and curly sorrel dock. (http://fairdinkumseeds.com/products-page/aquatic-swamp-and-moisture-lovers/curley-dock-sorrel-rumex-crispus/) That latter is going by each tap, by each rabbit watering point, and in my aquaponics because it's as lemony as regular wild sorrel and the big leaves make it a natural for wrapping up the fish from the aquaponics... 

I'm pretty sure I'll have to grow the peanuts in an old kiddy pool because the soil here is generally too much clay, and I'm not about amending the local soil much more than by adding compost, rabbit poo, and mulch. I'll keep everyone posted on results here and on my TEdALOG blog. 

Fair Dinkum Seeds have an impressive range of the more unusual and native seeds as well as good old garden standbys. Well worth a look if you're looking for alternative and easy care varieties. 

Disclosure: I get several packets of free seeds for this post, it is a sponsored post. However, you can think of this sponsored post as demonstrating how much I really love Fair Dinkum Seeds (http://fairdimkumseeds.com) that I'd be bothered to write up a series of posts just to get a hand on some of their product. %) 

ENJOY!

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Cultured Butter

NAME: _Cultured Butter



INGREDIENTS/UTENSILS:
400ml - 500ml sour cream (see Notes)
1 tsp cooking salt

1 food processor or stand mixer
1 bowl (preferably glass or ceramic type, or use the mixer bowl)
jug for holding buttermilk
Spatula or butter pats

METHOD:
Place the sour cream in the bowl and process on low speed. I used a food processor with plastic mixing blade, but anything that will agitate the cream will do. Processing goes in stages.

First, the cream retains its consistency for around three to five minutes, then it will start to stiffen as whipped cream does. If you're going to salt your butter, this is a good time to sprinkle in the salt. Now the stiffened cream will go round and round for what seems like ages, but stay with the machine. All of a sudden, it'll all "break" into butter and buttermilk. Huge splashings of buttermilk and much hilarity will ensue if you didn't have a bit of a lid over the food processor or left the pusher out of the feed tube... %)

Once you have the split cream, that's pretty much it - no need to process further, it really does all break at once. Using a spatula, press the butter up against the side of the bowl, collecting as many flecks of butter as you can into one large clump. Empty the buttermilk into the jug, and proceed to squeeze the pockets and bubbles of buttermilk out of the butter.

This much buttermilk left over after processing.

What the butter looks like right after the cream splits.

Using pats to squeeze buttermilk out of the butter.


Once squeezed out, the buttermilk won't recombine with the butter too easily, so that makes the process relatively easy, just process the butter in small portions, roll and squeeze (either with the butter pats or with the spatula against the side of the bowl) until no more buttermilk droplets weep out, then lay each batch portion on waxed paper or a plate.

Form as desired, refrigerate. (We used tiny 2" loaf tins lined with waxed paper, then put the wrapped portions in the fridge. You can use a butter form, a dish, or anything else you come up with to hold the butter.

SERVING:

NOTES:
"Cultured" butter is made with sour cream and has a tangy taste, ideal for buttering hors d'oeuvre etc. Do the same thing with normal cream or thickened cream for normal butter, and of course, the less processed the cream (i.e. the less thickeners congeners etc it has) the healthier will be your butter and buttermilk.)

Use the buttermilk for cooking, drink it, or perhaps add it to the milk before making cheese - I'm not sure the latter will work, but perhaps someone's done it or knows what would happen, please leave a comment...

ENJOY!

Monday, 6 October 2014

Kottsbulla Recipe

NAME: _Kottsbulla Recipe

INGREDIENTS/UTENSILS:
500g beef mince
500g pork mince
2 cups breadcrumbs
250mL thickened cream
1 small nutmeg
1 medium onion
salt
2 tbsp flour
100g butter
3 cups chicken stock or 3 cups water and three chicken stock cubes

METHOD:
Pretty standard - mix the breadcrumbs with about 1/5th of the cream so that the cream moistens the breadcrumbs, set aside while you grate as much of the nutmeg as will fill a teaspoon. (Should make about a slightly heaped teaspoon or a smidgen more.) Peel the onion and chop to almost minced consistency. Add the two meats, the nutmeg, the minced onion, and around a teaspoon of salt to the breadcrumbs and spoon mix or hand mix until the mixture coheres properly, around five minutes. Try not to let the mixture warm too much as you do it. At this stage you can refrigerate the meat for half an hour or more.

Divide the mixture into four balls, and each ball into about sixteen portions, which you then form into balls roughly the size of a walnut. You should get around 64 meatballs.

Start with around half the butter in a frying pan, and do the meatballs in batches of sixteen, frying until they just get to dark brown. Keep the temperature medium to prevent burning the butter black, and work the batches, adding the remaining butter as needed.

When the meatballs are done, reduce the temperature a bit more, stir in the flour and let it brown a bit, then slowly add the chicken stock, (or water and crumbled chicken stock cubes) stirring as you go to loosen pan dark bits, keep adding the water until desired consistency is reached. Remember the sauce will thicken until all the flour has been cooked. Add the remaining cream, then put the meatballs back in to warm through again.

SERVING:
This serves four to six people. Serve with mashed potatoes, a fruit sauce and pickles if desired.

NOTES:
I generally remove 2/3 of the sauce, and put 2/3 of the meatballs aside at this stage, because there's just too many for two people. The extras will freeze quite well in a ziploc bag or a container, with the sauce included in a separate ziploc bag, and makes two more meals.

Fruit sauce - traditionally lingonberry but I make a sauce with plum jam, pinch of salt, half a lemon's juice, extra water and a smidgen of flour when I forget to go to Ikea to get a jar of the lingonberry...

Free thought of the day:
I thought "kottsbulla" may have derived from the word "bulla" that has to mean balls, right? and "kott" which sounded suspiciously close to the Austrian word for cat. But in actual fact "kott" means meat and "bullar" is a word for buns... Oy, am I ever embarrassed!

ENJOY!

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Mild Mannered Mex Chicken Casserole

NAME: _Mild Mannered Mex Chicken Casserole

INGREDIENTS/UTENSILS:
Around half a chicken
2 cobs fresh corn (or one tin corn kernels)
1 medium brown onion
2 cloves garlic
1 red capsicum or sweet pepper
1 medium sweet potato
2 tbsp lard (or duck fat)
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp olive oil additional
1 tin tomato diced
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp cumin ground
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp coriander seed powder
half a bunch of fresh coriander
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
1 tsp honey, molasses, or golden syrup
salt to taste
1 chicken stock cube

METHOD:
Boil corn cobs for ten minutes, strip kernels. (Or drain the tin of corn kernels.) Peel onion and cut into corn kernel sized dice. Peel garlic cloves and rough chop into rice grain sized chunks. Peel sweet potato and slice about 3mm thin. Remove bones and cut chicken into 1cm cubes. Slice red pepper / capsicum into 3mm thick rings, remove inner pith and seeds. Roughly chop the fresh coriander leaves and stems. Set each item aside in bowls as you prepare it.

Heat the additional 2 tbsp olive oil in frypan, add cumin and fennel seeds, fry for around a minute to start the fragrance, then add the corn, onion, garlic, and chicken meat. Continue to stir and fry until some corn kernels begin to show brown spots, then add the cumin and coriander powder, honey (or other sweetener) and stir and fry for another three minutes. Add the tin of diced tomato, crumbled chicken stock cube, chopped coriander, and salt to taste. Stir and allow to simmer until almost all the tomato liquid is absorbed or evaporated.

Turn out into a casserole dish and level out into a smooth layer, top with sliced capsicum / pepper. Add the remaining fats (olive oil, butter, pork or duck fat) into the frypan, batch fry the sweet potato so that each slice is coated and beginning to show brown spots. Lift each batch from the frypan and arrange in a layer over the casserole dish. Cover the casserole dish and place in the middle zone of a medium oven, check every 20 - 30 minutes for browning of the sweet potato. Once the potato starts to show extra browning, remove casserole from oven. This should take about an hour to an hour and a half.

SERVING:
Top with thin sliced spring onion greens and plate up.

NOTES:
It's always a pleasure when I make up a recipe and it comes up tops. Even more so when my wife asks me to "write the recipe down so you don't forget it - this one's a 'have again' recipe!" It's meant to be sweet - pick as ripe a capsicum or pepper as you can, add more chilli flakes if you like it spicier - but the sweet / coriander / cumin favour is what makes this, and the slight acid of the tomato rounds out the flavour.

ENJOY!

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