Super Quick Breakfast – Tomato and Kale with Egg.

ImageFancy a quick and healthy breakfast?

Its really easy, chop up a stalk of kale and dice up a small tomato. Throw them into a small fry pan with a small knob of better and a tiny drizzle of olive oil. Sauté on a medium heat for about 3 minutes then pour over a couple of lightly whisked free range eggs.

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Season with a little salt, a grind of pepper and a sprinkle of sweet paprika.

You can either practice your tossing skills and flip over the omelette or simply place it under a hot grill.

Serve with toast and coffee or juice or tea or water or…………

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Enjoy…

Birthday Dinner – Beef Lasagne

It’s my husbands birthday and this is one of his favourite dinners.

I did however make fresh lasagne sheets instead of using packaged by kneading together 1 cup wholemeal flour, 2 eggs and 1 tablespoon olive oil until smooth and elastic. Let it rest for 30minutes then roll out very thinly and cut into wide strips.

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BEEF LASAGNE

(serves 4)

Bolognese Sauce

Olive oil

2 medium onions – finely diced

5-6 cloves garlic – minced

500g minced beef

440g tin crushed tomato

3-4 tablespoons tomato paste

Salt, pepper & cinnamon to taste

1½ tablespoons dried mixed herbs (basil, oregano, tarragon, etc)

250g large lasagne sheets

Béchamel Sauce

4 tablespoons butter

½ cup plain flour

pinch of  salt

1 litre milk (skim or soy are also suitable)

Topping

250g grated cheese

Optional: Zartar (a Lebanese herb mixture of thyme, sesame and sumac)

Bolognese Preparation

Put 3 tablespoons olive oil in a medium, heavy based saucepan with onion and garlic. Gently cook for about 2 minutes until onion is soft but not browned. Add mince and seasonings and brown, stirring. Pour in crushed tomato and tomato paste. Stir until combined. Add about ½ cup water, continue stirring. Cover tightly & simmer on lowest heat for 1 – 1½ hours, stirring occasionally.

Béchamel Preparation

Melt butter in medium saucepan on medium heat. Add flour and salt and stir until combined (it should be crumbly). Cook stirring for 1 minute. Remove from heat and very slowly add milk (½ a cup at a time), stirring continuously to avoid lumps. Return to heat and stir continuously until thick and bubbling.

Lasagne Assembly

Put thin layer of Bolognese on bottom of a deep square oven tray (about 25 x 25 cm). Cover with a layer of lasagne sheets, then Bolognese, then béchamel. Continue until ingredients are finished or tray is full, finishing with béchamel sauce. Cover with grated cheese and sprinkle zartar over the cheese. Bake in moderate oven (180º) for 30-40 minutes until brown. Leave for about 15 minutes before cutting and serving.

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And for dessert…..

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Prince  Regent cake.

Happy Birthday.

What’s your favourite birthday dinner???

Chocolate Cherry Mud Cake..

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So, as promised, here is the recipe for the chocolate  cherry  mud cake I made  the other week for my sisters birthday…

(“Can I Really Eat It??”  Gluten Free Caramel and Prune  Mud Cake)

This is NOT one for those who opt for sugar-free baking, but a sliver of this cake is just heavenly.

In a saucepan over low heat gently melt 250g butter with 200g dark chocolate, 300g castor sugar, 220g syrup from a 670g jar of pitted morello cherries and 60g brandy, stirring often until smooth.

Once melted take of the heat and allow to cool for about 10 minutes.

Then stir in 3 lightly beaten free range eggs.

Now stir in 225g plain flour along with 15g baking powder and 50g cocoa. Then gently stir through the drained cherries from the jar(I think it came to about 300g of cherries)

Pour the mix into a lined deep cake tin and bake @ 150c for between 1  1/2 to 1  3/4  of an hour.

Let it cool completely before decorating with fresh cream, a few cherries and some chocolate shavings.

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This was a very moist, luscious cake. Went down well with a strong cup of coffee.

Enjoy…

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Seasoned Chicken with Asparagus Sauce.

Well, I finely managed to get a copy of Jane Grigson’s English Food. Thankyou very much Mr Brian P. for lending it to me.

This is the November book for The Cookbook Guru challenge.

Let me tell you, there are some pretty interesting recipes in there. I’ve bookmarked a few pages with recipes containing ingredients that I’ve never cooked with but am definitely up for trying.

Tonight though, I’ve picked something easy. Asparagus Sauce.

Dinner tonight is going to be free range chicken breast which I’ll season with salt, pepper, cumin, sweet paprika, cinnamon and sumac.

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I’m going to pan fry the meat to give it a lovely golden colour then i’ll put it in the oven (200c for about 10 – 15 minutes) to finish cooking.

In the meantime I’ll be roughly chopping 2 bunches of fresh asparagus spears, leaving a few whole spears for garnish, and steaming them in a little water until they are cooked through. Then pop them in the blender, with a little of the cooking liquid, and purée.image

Once the chicken has finished cooking lift it onto a plate and keep it warm (I put it in the microwave oven and close the door), then pour the asparagus purée into the same fry pan that you cooked the chicken in. All those lovely spices and juices left behind end up flavouring the sauce. Add 30g butter and let it gently melt in.

Now, Jane’s recipe calls for sour cream but I don’t have any so I added some Greek style yoghurt instead, about 3 tablespoons.

Heat through gently and adjust the seasoning if you need to.

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This meal went down well with a glass (or two) of  Four Sisters  Sauvignon Blanc Semillon.

Enjoy…

Pasta with Eggplant and Tomato…

Eggplant has got to be one of my favourite vegetables. You can do so much with it.

This particular recipe is actually a Lebanese meza dish that I’ve made into a pasta sauce.

The original recipe is cooked and then eaten cold as part of spread of dishes called a meza. Lots of plates with lots of tasty food spread out on a table and shared between family and friends. Its a very social way of eating.Image

And this is a very simple recipe….

To a large fry pan add 2 tbls olive oil and sauté 1/2 an onion that you’ve finely sliced. Once the onion has softened and started to brown a little add some eggplant (one medium sized or two small) that you’ve chopped into large pieces. Let them cook for a few minutes, stirring often so they don’t stick to the fry pan then throw in two diced large tomatoes, 2-3 chopped cloves of garlic and if you like it spicy, a couple of finely sliced chillies.

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Season with salt and pepper, add a couple of tablespoons of water, stir well, cover and let simmer gently for about 20-25 minutes or until the eggplant is cooked.

I like to add a few kalamata olives and a bit of fresh basil in at the end.

Boil up your favourite pasta, stir it through the sauce and serve.

So simple, so delicious.

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Enjoy…

It’s easy eating greens….especially when your mum’s neighbour grows lots of it.

Spinach and Feta Pie

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My mums across the road neighbour has a green thumb and a generous hand to go with it.

No matter what she pushed into the dirt, it grows and so my mum gets all these wonderful freshly harvested veggies.

Last week there was bags of silverbeet, kale and lettuce on my mums kitchen table when I went to visit.

‘Take what you want’ is all I needed to hear and I descended on those veggies with a bag of my own.

And so a wonderful filo pastry pie is on tonight’s menu.

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Unfortunately I didn’t really measure ingredients for this recipe but I’ll approximate.

After washing and draining maybe half a bunch of silverbeet and half a bunch of kale I finely sliced them up and added them to a large bowl with 2 thinly sliced spring onions (mostly the green parts, the whites I put in the salad), 200g fresh ricotta cheese, 120g crumbled goats feta (cows feta works well too), a little sprinkle of salt (the feta can be salty, taste it), 1/2 tbls coarsely ground black pepper(put less if you not a big fan of pepper, we are), 1 tbls fennel seeds (yum), and 4 free range eggs.

Mix really well until thoroughly combined.

Next, melt some butter and brush a sheet of filo pastry with it, cover it with another sheet and brush with butter. Repeat this with another 4 sheets of pastry. Fold the buttered sheets in half and line a buttered deep medium oven proof dish.

Spread the spinach filling over the pastry and butter another 6 sheets as before. Cover the filling and tuck in the sides and edges. Brush liberally with butter and bake in a pre heated 180c oven for 45-50 minutes or until lovely and brown.

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Serve with a fresh salad and for the grown ups a chilled glass of white wine.

Mmmmmm…

Enjoy…

“Can I Really Eat It??” Gluten Free Caramel and Prune Mud Cake.

imageMore birthdays this week.

The youngest siblings are twins and its their birthday.

We had a sibling night out on Friday and went to the local bistro (Grumpy’s in Hurlstone Park) celebrating birthdays, new jobs, and returns home from holidays. There was seven of us (one sister couldn’t make it but a niece could) Six girls and one boy. Quite the mad gang we are when we get together too.

I love the way we each order a separate meal and while eating cut of  chunks of our own meals and drop them into each others plates Or simply reach over and help ourselves to each others plates and meals.

We then ordered 5 different desserts, plonked them in the middle of the table and went for it. Forks clashed and flew I tell you. Luckily we had one of the beer gardens to ourselves. We had a great time.

Yesterday was cake making day. I spent most of the day trialling and making dessert for more family madness at mum and dads  today for family lunch.

Two birthdays means two cakes. One sister chose a Choc and Cherry Mud Cake  while the other (being a celiac) requested a Gluten Free Caramel Mud Cake.

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So lets go with the GF cake this time and I’ll do the choc cherry next time…..

To a medium saucepan add 185g butter, 150g white chocolate, 320g milk (I used soy), 100g glucose syrup, and 200g chopped pitted prunes and 50g chopped pitted dates. Put it over a medium heat and gently melt it all together, squashing the dates and prunes with a spoon on the sides of the saucepan.

Once the butter and chocolate has melted and the whole lot is smooth, take it off the heat and let it cool down for 10 minutes.

Now beat in 2 eggs and then fold in 250g Gluten Free Plain Flour mix (I use Orgran) and 20g gluten free baking powder.

Pour the whole lot into a lined deep 22cm round cake tin and bake at 150c for 55-60 minutes.

I let that cool overnight. This morning got up and made caramel ganache for the topping.

Simply heat 200ml cream to just before boiling and pour it over  a combination of 300g of white chocolate and caramel baking buttons. Leave it for a couple of minutes then stir until smooth.

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Let it set for a couple of hours or until its the consistency you want it to be and then spread it over the top of your cake.

Happy Birthday Jacky and Vicky.

Enjoy…image