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Tasty Beany Egg Salad January 15, 2014

Posted by raelenec in Salad.
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Image

Ingredients

6 eggs, hard boiled and diced (if using pullet eggs, add another 1-2 eggs)

400g can four-bean mix, washed

3 spring onions, chopped

1 tb hot chilli sauce (or add to taste)

2 tb mayonnaise

1 tb prepared mustard

3 rashers bacon, chopped and fried till crisp (or use equivalent amount of speck cut into cubes)

4 tb parsley, chopped finely

salt to taste

Method

Prepare all the ingredients above and mix together.  Taste and adjust seasoning. Chill until ready to serve.  Great as part of a BBQ spread.

 

 

Pork thyme & apple meatballs with stir-fried zucchini ‘pasta’ January 13, 2012

Posted by raelenec in Dinner.
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This recipe is fast becoming a weekly favourite at my place.  It’s based on a recipe I tried from Donna Hay’s magazine, with a few adjustments.  I have also stumbled onto a brilliant alternative to spaghetti, that all my carb-avoidant friends are loving….  I know, whenever someone claims they have a healthy alternate to a perfectly delicious carbohydrate , I agree, the result is usually very disappointing.  But you have to try this… zucchini prepared this way is really delicious, and I no longer lament the absence of a toothsome pasta.

Meatballs Ingredients

500gm pork/veal mince

1chunky slice of bread, soaked in milk, and rubbed into breadcrumbs when soft

1 egg (or 2 pullet eggs)

1 red onion, peeled and grated

1 apple, grated (skin on or off ok)

1 bunch fresh thyme (lemon scented works well if you grow it)

1/2 cup finely grated pecorino or parmesan cheese, plus extra to pass around when serving

1-2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 tbsp maple syrup

2 small chillies, de-seeded and finely chopped

700g bottle of Italian tomato sauce

Olive oil and butter

Salt & Pepper

Method for Meatballs

In a large bowl, place the pork/veal mince, the breadcrumbs (squeeze out and discard any excess liquid), the grated onion and apple (squeeze out the excess liquid and reserve), grated parmesan/pecorino, egg, garlic, maple syrup, and half of the thyme leaves (removed from their stalks). Season generously with salt and pepper. Mix with your hands to combine thoroughly, then shape into large balls (approximately 10-12 balls) and set aside.

Heat a generous glug of olive oil and 30gm of butter in a large, heavy-based pot.  Over a medium heat cook the meatballs in two batches until nicely browned on top and bottom.  It is not necessary to cook the meatballs through,you are just looking to colour them up a bit.  Take care when turning as the meatballs will be soft and may fall apart with unless care is taken.  Turn just once when well browned.

Place all meatballs back into the pan in one layer (if possible), sprinkle over the chilli and remaining thyme (on their stalks is fine).  Pour over tomato sauce to cover (I generally put 3/4 cup of water into the bottle, with some chicken stock powder and shake to loosen the last dregs of the sauce and add to the pan).  Reduce heat to low and cover pan.  Simmer for 20-30 mins, occasionally gently stirring to move sauce around meatballs (this is really just inserting the spoon between the balls and giving it a small wiggle a few times).  Fish out the thyme stalks before serving.

For the traditionalists, serve meatballs with cooked pasta, crusty bread, extra parmesan and for the brave… the stir-fried zucchini (below).

Stir-fried zucchini ‘pasta’

To prepare the zucchini, you will need a special gadget you may not have already – a julienne peeler.  You will have to visit your local kitchen gadget shop to buy one, but it’s well worth the effort.  I am not a big fan of gadgets, but this one has turned out to be well worth it.  You will also need a non-stick pan to quickly stir fry up your zucchini with some butter and some crushed garlic.   I have a nonstick wok and generally use this, but a normal frypan will also work.  I toss the zucchini with tongs so I can pick it up and toss it without breaking the strands up.  It may sound complicated but it’s actually fast and easy.  Prep zucchini and garlic.  Heat butter in y0or chosen pan, toss in zucchini and garlic (in that order, so that the garlic doesn’t brown and go bitter), toss briefly over high heat for 1-2 mins until warmed through and just beginning to wilt, serve imediately.

A medium zucchini will make up enough cooked zucchini for one.

Simply delicious!!! Yum… can’t wait to eat it.

Leftovers??  Cold meatballs are delicious in a sandwich.  Leftover sauce can be frozen and used next time you cook this or as a pizza sauce.  Any leftover zucchini can go to the chooks :-).

Meringue Buttercream Icing October 10, 2010

Posted by raelenec in Baked goods, Sweet things.
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And here the icing recipe referred to used in the Devil’s Food cake. It could be used on any cake you like (including as a filling), or on cupcakes or to sandwich macroons together… whatever you’d like. The amount below makes one cup, so double or triple depending on the size of your cake or needs.

Ingredients
1 egg white
55g (1/3 cup) icing sugar, sifted to remove lumps
125g unsalted butter
Vanilla essence, to taste

Method
Beat egg whites with icing sugar in a heatproof bowl above simmering water until mixture is thick and glossy. Beat butter with vanilla until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the meringue mixture until combined and creamy. Add any additional flavourings you might wish to use.

Variations
Chocolate – Beat 50g of melted dark choc into prepared buttercream.
Citrus – Fold the rind of one lemon, lime or orange into prepared buttercream.
Coffee – Dissove 1 tb instant coffee powder in 1tb of hot water and cool. Beat through prepared buttercream.
Honey – Add 1tb to prepared buttercream.
Vanilla – start with 2tb and add more to taste. The addition of some salt (again, to taste) will enhance and strengthen the flavour of the vanilla.

Devil’s Food Cake October 10, 2010

Posted by raelenec in Desserts, Sweet things.
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I’ve been hankering for a wickedly good chocolate layer cake and so searched my cook books last weekend for a devil’s food cake recipe before abandoning them for the internet. Found a few recipes and adapted as follows…. You could bake in two or three separate layers. I did two, as you can see… but the layers were large enough to split into two (so you’d have four layers…). I could have used a bit more buttercream to ice this beast of a cake but for Sunday night dinner at home it was not a cake to be scrutinised by guests… It also would have photographed better cut cold (as the buttercream would have held together better in slicing) … but we were not in the mood really to wait for that to happen. I iced this cake with a vanilla meringue buttercream, but my OH said he’d have preferred chocolate buttercream… maybe next time.

The final cake tasted rich and was quite dense, while still being cakey. By not using milk or cream in the cake mix evidently the taste of the chocolate is not diluted… or so I read when doing research for this… and I’d have to agree that the taste test proved this.

Ingredients
1 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 1/4 cups hot water
3 cups brown sugar, packed
2 1/3 cups cake flour (3/4 cup plain flour + 2 tb cornflour = 1 cup cake flour)
1 1/2 ts baking soda
3/4 ts salt
9 oz unsalted butter
3 large eggs (or 4 pullet eggs)
1 1/2 ts vanilla essence
1 ts red food colouring
3/4 cup water

Method
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter and line base of two-three 20cm cake tins.

Place cocoa and hot water in medium-sized bowl. Whisk until smooth and let it cool to room temperature.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the sugar, flour, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low blend to combine. Add the butter and the dissolved cocoa. Then raise the mixer to medium speed and beat for 2 minutes until light and fluffy.

In a third bowl whisk together the eggs, vanilla, and cold water until combined. Add this liquid to the batter in three additions scraping down the sides of the bowl between additions. Divide the batter among your prepared pans, placing equal amounts in each.

Bake until a cakes tester inserted into the almost comes out clean (for three tins this will be approx 40mins, and a bit longer if you cook in only two). There should be a few crumbs attached still. Cool the cakes in the pans for 15 minutes. Then invert and remove parchment paper and cool completely on a wire rack.

Ice with preferred icing, whether it be a buttercream or ganache. I will post my recipe for meriingue buttercream because it uses more eggs as it suits the purpose of this blog but also tastes decadent and silky smooth.

Enjoy.

Spanokopita July 6, 2010

Posted by raelenec in Dinner, Lunch, Salad.
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Last year on Celebrity Masterchef Australia fashion designer Alex Perry baked a fabulous looking spanokopita.  I actually made it and photographed it at the time but never actually blogged it.  But in searching for the mousse pictures I found these ones and thought the time is nigh get it up.

I have not made it since even though it was lovely.  It made a lot for two (far too much) and I kept a couple of scrolls aside in the fridge to cook on another night but the pastry split with the wet ingredients and so was thrown out as very fancy chook food that week.  It was also quite involved what with making the filling and the dough.  Would be good as part of a spread for Sunday lunch with friends really… or to cut the recipe down to 1/3 and try it again.

It was quite rich and needed a good serving of greek salad and tzatziki.  If you do make this dish – please go to the effort of making the tzatziki from scratch.  It is so much nicer made fresh and very, very easy.

Adapted from http://www.masterchef.com.au/spinach-and-feta-pie-greek-salad-and-tzatziki.htm

Alex Perry’s Spanokopita

Dough

3 cups plain flour

1 tsp salt

½ cup olive oil

½ cup water

1 egg yolk
Filling

1kg English spinach, stalks removed, finely chopped

Pinch salt

1 cup spring onions, chopped

½ cup fresh dill, finely chopped

½ cup flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

500g Greek feta, crumbled (Dodoni)

1 cup parmesan cheese, grated

4 tbs milk

3-4 eggs, lightly beaten

4 tbs melted clarified butter

Salt and pepper

Method

1. Pre heat the oven to 200°C. Grease and line a baking tray.
2. To make the dough, sift together the flour and salt in a bowl and make a well in the centre. Add 4 tablespoons of the oil, water and the egg yolk, use your hands to gradually incorporate the dry ingredients, add the remaining oil. Place on a clean flat surface and knead to a smooth elastic dough. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for ½ hour.

3. Meanwhile prepare the filling, Sprinkle the spinach with a little salt and run under cold water, rub with your fingers. Rinse, drain, and squeeze out the excess water and finely chop.

4. Combine the spinach, shallots, dill, parsley, cheese, milk, eggs, and melted butter in a bowl and season with salt and pepper.

5. Roll the dough into a large rectangle and cut into three, lengthways. Place filling along the edges of each strip of dough and roll up to enclose. You will have three long sausage shape pastries with filling. Scroll each sausage log into a roll (looks like a snail shell) and place onto the lined baking sheet.

6. Mix the egg and milk together and brush the glaze over the pie. Bake 45 -60 minutes, or until golden brown.

Serve with:-

Greek salad (keep it simple – crisp lettuce, red onion, tomatoes, cucumber, olives if you like them – dressed with good grinding of pepper, salt, squeeze of lemon juice and splash of olive oil)

Tzatziki (to a small tub of Greek yogurt add lemon juice to taste, a good handful of cucumber grated and squeezed dry, salt, pepper and finely chopped garlic – stir to combine and you’re done).

Chocolate mousse July 6, 2010

Posted by raelenec in Desserts, Sweet things.
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When I first started this eggy blog I thought there could be no better reason for which to make chocolate mousse.

And I must admit… I have now bought the ingredients for it several times in order to “make it and photograph it” for said blog.  Needless to say I have made it… several times now…  (to use the cream… and before evil husband finds said chocolate and eats it before it is ‘moussed up’) and not really had the time to actually photograph it at the time of making… or taken photos I haven’t liked because they don’t really translate visually how good the mousse is…

I even went and bought a lovely Villeroy & Bosch martini glass to dress up said mousse (with alterior motive of using it on other days for cosmopolitans, preferred drink of Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the City…)… to find that camera battery was dead…

And now many months have passed.  I no longer make the mousse under the guise of photographing it.  I love this mousse for the way only it can satisfy the desire for a truly decadent chocolate hit.  The photos will not do it justice – they have actually been taken on my iphone in both instances (see I really did try to stay true to my original intentions…).

Actually, we have just had this mousse again this weekend – made this time with Lindt’s chilli chocolate and paired with lovely Queensland winter strawberries.  The strawberries are to blame this time.  But… I did cut the recipe down to one third, which made two serves (with leftovers lost as chef’s treat).

It was divine…

Chili Chocolate Mousse for two

Ingredients

100g Lindt Dark Chocolate with Chill**

20g butter

1 egg

2tb caster sugar

100ml single pouring cream

Instructions

Break chocolate into pieces into glass bowl and add butter.  Microwave on high for about 60 seconds and stir to melt chocolate into butter (alternatively you can heat over pan of boiling water, but if you are careful, in the microwave works very well).  Set aside to cool.  In another bowl beat egg and sugar together until pale and thick.  Add cream and whip together.  Add melted choc/butter and whip through.  You don’t want to over whip the mixture or when it sets it will have a firm, almost crumbly texture.  I generally stop when it’s just starting to thicken up.  Pour into small serving glasses (eg a small ramekin, tea cup, small glass, martini glass… whatever you’d like really).  Make each serve small as this is a rich and decadent dessert.

* The ingredients will make enough for at least two serves (if not three or four, depending on the size of the serving you decide on).  This ingredients listed here are 1/3 of the original recipe, so to increase amount just double or triple the ingredients.

** You can use plain best quality dark chocolate instead, but the chili gives it a lovely heat. Orange flavoured chocolate would also work well. Always use best quality dark chocolate – as the core ingredient you will notice the difference if you cheat here.

What my hubby calls “Savories” February 9, 2010

Posted by raelenec in Nibbles.
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I promised to post pics of mini quiches, or “Savories” as my hubby calls them.  These are delicious and very easy to make using the same eggy base provided with my quiche recipe (two cups of the eggy mix will fill 2-3 trays of these -see here for recipe)

You can use shortcrust or puff pastry.  I find that cooking these in the BBQ (no choice – no oven!) with the hood down works brilliantly and I would hazard better than in an oven because the heat from below cooks the pastry through very well without them drying out.

Construction is simple also.


Simply cut out rounds using a large scone cutter just slightly larger than the round in the tin. I use those tins with a small indentation to make these – just make sure you grease the tins well so they pastry doesn’t stick.

Fillings can be anything but keep it simple (two ingredients is all you will have room for).
Such as:-
– ham and cheese (I often use finely grated fresh parmesan, but a melty cheese is also good like gruyere)
– zucchini and corn
– mushroom and zucchini
– zucchini and sliced cherry tomatoes (topped with small drop of freshly made pesto when out of the oven… :-))


When you fill them be careful not to spill over sides as it makes getting them out tricky and if baking multiple lots with same tin, much slower as you have to scrub it clean before re-filling (boring!).

They don’t take long to cook in a moderately hot oven – 10-15 mins is all they need. Remove from tins straight away to cool on a rack.

Delicious hot from oven, warm or cold. I once made over 150 of these for a friend’s engagement party. I have fond memories of making these together with my friend and family, their apartment filled with the aromas of flaky, buttery pastry… and lots of laughter as we toiled away making tray after tray of savories.

Enjoy.

Chocolate & Pistachio Fudge Brownies November 8, 2009

Posted by raelenec in Baked goods, Sweet things.
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I’ve had a hankering for a good fudge brownie, and despite trawling over the internet for an interesting-looking recipe decided to stick with a recipe from childhood.  The recipe called for walnuts, but when shopping was inspired more by the pistachios.  The result… delicious.

fudge brownies

Ingredients
2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla essence
60g dark chocolate
90g butter
2/3 cup plain flour
1/3 cup sultanas
1/3 cup shelled pistachios

Method
To start, grease and line a 20cm square cake tin. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Measure out all your ingredients.

Place chocolate in heat proof dish with the butter, and melt in a microwave or over simmering water.  Set aside to cool slightly and while completing next step.

Place eggs, sugar, salt and vanilla in a bowl. Beat with a whisk until light and frothy.

Add melted chocolate and butter to the egg mixture. Stir briefly to combine. Next add the flour and fold through with a metal spoon. Add sultanas and nuts as just combined and fold through until just combined. You do not want to overmix at this step.

Scrape mix into pan and cook for 20-30mins in moderate oven. The top should be cooked, but will be somewhat squidgy in the middle.  Cool in the pan before slicing.

Rae’s Quiche November 8, 2009

Posted by raelenec in Dinner.
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Corn & zucchini quicheThankfully I have a husband that doesn’t espouse the view that “real men don’t eat quiche”.  He LOVES quiche and we probably have it every other week for dinner.  Pictured is this week’s Corn & Zucchini Quiche, which was rather tasty. As we have no oven in our house, this was baked in the BBQ with the hood down.  The BBQ does a pretty good job of quiche, particularly the pastry base. My husband only likes his quiches with a flaky puff pastry base, so that is what I use (but a shortcrust pastry works just the same) and the heat from below ensures that the pastry comes out crisp.

I have discovered that getting the proportions right for the egg custard is really quite easy, and the flavours and texture are best when filling ingredients are kept to a few.

The following makes a large flat quiche, using your standard (25 cm) quiche dish.

To prepare the dish:-

Butter or oil the dish generously.  My quiche dish needs two sheets of puff pastry to line it, cutting the second in half to cover the dish.  I make sure the pastry as I line the dish sits up above the dish about an inch and then roll or fold this into the centre to make a decent crust at the side that sits just a bit higher than the dish itself.  Done; dead easy.

Making the egg custard:-

Take a 2-cup/500ml measuring container and crack into it 3 large eggs (you might need to 4-5 if using pullet eggs).  Add to this a generous teaspoon of prepared mustard (Dijon or seeded mustard). Season generously with salt and pepper.  Whip up the eggs and seasoning with a fork until well combined (if you wait to do this after you add the cream, then it becomes hard to mix together by hand).  Fill to the 500ml line with cream (lite cooking cream) and stir carefully to finish and your done.

Note- if you don’t want to use cream, then I find you will need more eggs (at least one) to ensure it sets well.  Also, it never tastes as good…  I know cream is BAD, but please try it this way… just have a smaller piece and more salad!  Also, I have discovered that the eggy bit raises high and fluffy when you really whip the ingredients together (such as with an electric hand blender).

Favourite Filling Ingredients:-

  • sliced mushrooms, grated zucchini and diced bacon (or ham)
  • fresh corn (sliced from the cob), grated zucchini and cheese (especially finely grated parmesan or pecorino)

Notes on filling :- You only need enough of each filling to just cover the base each time.  I would generally only use 1 medium-sized (or 2 small) zucchini, 2 ears of corn, 2 rashers of bacon, etc.  I don’t tend to use tomato anymore, because it’s such a wet ingredient and makes the quiche sloppy.  I almost always use zucchini in every quiche as it’s flavour is subtle and helps cut down the richness of other fillings.  For cheese topping or filling I tend to use a hard cheese like parmesan more often than not because it has a strong flavour without making the dish taste overly rich.

Un-frittata November 1, 2009

Posted by raelenec in Breakfast/Brunch.
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I am not sure that this is the most appetizing-looking dish to start this blog of egg recipes, but it’s one of my husband’s favorite breakfasts and certainly delicious.  With a salad topping it makes a brilliant brunch.  When I serve this at home I tend to call this a frittata, but really it’s not a frittata at all… so let’s just call it an “un-frittata” – a fusion of eggs enriched with ingredients such as meats, cheese and vegetables.

un-frittata

This un-frittata (as pictured) contains chorizo sausage, potatoes, cherry tomatoes, red onion, baby boccochini and eggs.  It was just what we had in the fridge, but it’s also good with mushroom, semi-dried tomatoes, bacon, spinach…. whatever you like.  The recipe that follows lists a sampling of ingredients you could use, and I have highlighted those I would generally choose if making a shopping list and planning to do this as a weekend treat or especially for house guests.

Un-frittata – to serve 2

eggs (or more if very small)

1/2 red onion, peeled and sliced into half-rounds (red onion is sweet-tasting and gives this dish more depth)

1 med-large potato, scrubbed and pre-cooked in microwave for a few mins, then sliced into thick slices (you can peel if you like but the skin is good for you)

A generous handful of cheese – baby boccochini (or switch for your choice of fetta, grated cheddar, grated parmesan…)

Semi-dried tomatoes – I would generally always add these (or halved cherry tomatoes) for their sharp taste that complements the richness of the cheese and/or meat

Additional veges of choice – asparagus spears, mushroom, baby spinach leaves, sliced zucchini, red capsicum) – at least two when being virtuous – adjust quantities so that dish includes one serve per person of vegetables.

Some sort of meat… chorizo sausage (sliced into rounds) is probably the favorite, but bacon (sliced into decent-sized pieces) is also good

Toast – you can eat it without toast, but really a slice of toasted bread is great – any bread is ok, but an Italian-style bread like ciabatta or even toasted Turkish bread goes very nicely with it

salt, pepper, olive oil… and butter for your toast

METHOD
Prepare all ingredients before starting, by slicing up as described and precooking the potato.

To cook this I use a non-stick crepe pan heated over a med-high heat.  First add the meat to brown off and get sizzling.  If the meat releases enough oil, I won’t usually add olive oil at this point – but you can if it needs it, or to taste.

Add the red onion as soon as you have turned the meat once, tossing to cook evenly.  I would then add fairly soon after that the potatoes and any other raw veges that might need time to cook, colour or soften (especially mushrooms, zucchini slices or capsicum).

Once everything has started to colour and soften, push the ingredients around the pan evenly (ie you want to make sure the meat, potatoes etc are spread evenly across the pan) and make some space to add the eggs and cheese.  Crack the eggs into the pan, and let run over the filling ingredients so that once cooked everything will hold together (mostly). Add the cheese on top, filling gaps and spreading evenly over the dish.

Turn the heat down to low, and partly cover with a large saucepan lid to steam and help cook off the eggs for a minute or two.  You could also do under a grill, and if using grated parmesan this would make most sense.

TO SERVE
Serve immediately with pieces of buttered toast, salt and cracked pepper at the table. If you wish to increase your vege content further then a salad topping of washed rocket leaves and/or baby spinach leaves (dressed with a squeeze of lemon, drizzle of olive oil, and cracked pepper) goes very well with this too.

Enjoy.