Tuesday, 27 February 2007

Sausages, Brown Onion Gravy & Mash

Are these not gorgeous looking sausages? Chunky Lamb and Hand Cut Italian. I got them at a butcher in Belgian Gardens, Townsville. This is the best butcher I have ever seen. They have so much quality meat and gorgeous ideas. I will be doing a post on them soon for you.

This is an old favourite with my own personal touch. My family just loves it and it is real home comfort food. It is very easy and a sure fire winner.
All you have to do is make mash potatoes the way you like them. I like them with a good knob of butter, a good splash of cream, salt and pepper. Start your sausages off in a fry pan that has not been preheated with a splash of olive oil. Bring them up to heat slowly, fry them until they are cooked all the way through. Turn up the heat and let them brown. Remove from pan and keep warm, or zap them in the microwave for 30 secs before plating up. Now for the gravy.
Fry 3 brown onions, 2 shallots and 3 cloves of garlic with a good pinch of salt flakes, in the fry pan you used to cook your sausages. If there is to much fat in the pan from your sausages, drain a little bit away. But remember, fat is flavour, and it is nice to have the residual flavour from the sausages in your gravy. Cook until nice and caramelized. Add 500 mls of cold water and bring up to the boil. Reduce liquid by half. Then add 2 tablespoons of Brown Onion Gravy Mix or similar, 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce and stir well. Allow the gravy to bubble and thicken. Taste for seasoning and your done.
To plate, just put a good blob of mash on the plate, place desired number of sausages on the mash. Then top with a generous amount of gravy. This gravy also goes well with roast beef and Yorkshire Pud. I hope you like it. Can you tell we are making up for all that road food?

Sunday, 25 February 2007

Beef Wellington & Salad

I love Beef Wellington. There is something just a bit special and sophisticated about eating a Beef Wellington. I have always felt a bit intimidated by the thought of actually making them. They seem so delicate, so classy and scary to make for the average cook. Silly Hey? But that's how I felt about it. Some things, stupid recipes I have issues with trying. There is no reason for it, just the fear of failure may happen upon me. I don't like to cook bad food or make mistakes in the kitchen. I am a perfectionist. It is the same with Chocolate Mousse. I don't know why, can't do it and wont go there, just yet. I remind myself that I don't want to end up like one of those people on that TV show Maury Povich. Afraid of alfoil and kittens or even stupider things like, butterflies and sunflowers. C'mon, sunflowers really? Sorry I have digressed again. So I did it and they turned out fantastic. No recipe, just what I had seen on TV and cooking mags. I felt my way through the process and hopefully this is just a stunner of a recipe for you, as it was for us.
I started with bought puff pastry sheets, then some excellent quality fillet steak, 500grams of mushrooms and a couple of cloves of garlic. I placed 500mls of beef stock into a saucepan with 1 cup of red wine, 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and a tablespoon of brown sugar. I brought these to a simmer and reduced the liquid to a syrupy consistency. Then I allowed it to cool. While that was reducing I had finely chopped the mushrooms and garlic. I fried them in a pan with a splash of olive oil and a good pinch of salt flakes, once all the moisture has evaporated from the pan remove them to cool also. Then mix the sauce and the mushrooms together.
Then you need to sear the fillet steak quickly, on each side, in a fry pan. I'm talking quick high heat. In and out. Allow them to rest while you arrange your pastry. Arrange the desired amount of sheets on your bench top and your set to go.
Place a dollop of the mushroom sauce in the centre of each sheet. Then place a fillet on top of each one. As you can see by the pics. You need to cut the corners out of each sheet of pastry. Fold them in like wrapping a present and use the discarded pieces of pastry to decorate. You can brush with egg yolk or spray with olive oil lightly. Bake in a fan forced oven on 200 degrees or 210 degrees for a non fan forced. Bake for 15 to 20 Min's or until pastry is golden. Serve with a nice green salad, ranch dressing and croutons.
Gee they were scrummy. I surprised myself yet again. The sauce was so rich and flavourful. The pastry was so crisp and buttery. The steak just pink in the middle and so tender. It melted in your mouth. Chopper nearly wet himself (lol). We loved them. Ohhhhhhhhh ahhhhhh yummo. I am telling you, you must try them. So not so scary after all. Sorry Maury but you will have to find someone else for your show. http://www.mauryshow.com/

Saturday, 24 February 2007

Friday, 16 February 2007

Thursday, 15 February 2007

Wednesday, 14 February 2007

Anal Eggs

See now, who says you can't have brekky at dinner time. For some odd reason I have been craving eggs at dinner time. Why is that? Maybe I am lacking in some type of protein or something. I don't know. This gave me the fix I wanted, also used up some more food in the fridge before we leave for Townsville on Friday. Thick sour dough toast, fried mushies in garlic, par fried poached eggs, grilled crispy bacon and those gorgeous little pork sausages. What more could you want?
The eggs were a new method I tried, that I saw on Melting Pot on Lifestyle Food. They were not as soft as I normally like them. So I think I will give it a miss next time. The method is to place oil in a hot fry pan and just add as many eggs as you require. You fry them for a minute, you add a tablespoon of water, pop a lid on the top and cook them for a couple of minutes, so the tops are poached. They come out like a dinner plate egg shaped feast. Then you cut them into individuals and Walla your done.
When it comes to cooking eggs, I am totally anal. I like them the way I like them and that's it. I cannot even stand them slightly overcooked. But I hate the whites runny. So there is a fine line between when they are ready and disaster for me. I bought myself a little fry pan ages ago with a little lid, on recommendation by the chef at the Sheraton on Hyde Park in Sydney. He actually taught me. Yes, at the brekky buffet in front of everyone. But who cares. They come out perfect every time. The lid creates a lovely steaming effect with the eggs and they set perfectly on the top. Gorgeous runny yellow in the middle. The fry pan is the perfect size for two eggs.
I am not the only person who is anal about their eggs. There are heaps of us egg freaks out there. We must go through 2 dozen at least a week. Not all fried and poached of course, but through the course of lots of baking and other things like sauces. Without the humble egg I think I would be lost when it comes to cooking. I love them :)

Saturday, 10 February 2007

Well Looky What We Have Here!

These photos were taken by Little Miss Moi. My new friend that is living in Kyiv, Ukraine. She has vision and spunk. Honestly her blog just totally makes me laugh. She is a fellow Brisvegas girl, missing home lots and lots. Little Miss Moi has made my Mars Bar Slice over there with one difference, Little Miss Moi has used chocolate condensed milk. Awesome. I have never heard of it and if anyone knows where I can get it in Australia, please let me know? Little Miss Moi just couldn't tell whether it was cooked or not, due to the fact that the chocolate condensed milk was already dark in colour and she had trouble telling whether it was gold and bubbly. A little under done, but herself and Mr Moi loved it anyway. Well done Sunshine :)
Please check out her blog. It is an excellent read and it makes you feel like you are there with her. This very intelligent and fabulously funny woman has created a fantastic blog for us to share and I urge you to have a latte, a piece of Mars Bar Slice and sit back and enjoy the magic that is Little Miss Moi!
This is my favourite post of hers so far,
Don't go to Australia. It's too dangerous
Cheers and I hope you laugh like I did :)

Thursday, 8 February 2007

Lemon Pasta Alfredo with Prosciutto & Eschallots

Jingilli Olive Oil - I adore it!

I have never made this before. First time fluke.
I wanted to do a fresh twist on an old classic.
I think that I achieved it tonight.
This was so easy and tasted gorgeous.
The layers of flavour that came through my mouth as I devoured it.
Just stunning.
If I do say so myself.
  1. 500gms Orecchiette Pasta
  2. 400mls of Thickened Cream
  3. 1 cup of finely grated Grana Padano Cheese
  4. 2 teaspoons of finely grated Lemon Rind
  5. Juice of half a Lemon
  6. 8 slices of Prosciutto cut into shreds
  7. 1 cup of chopped Eschallots
  8. Shaved Grana Padano & a good drizzle of best Olive Oil for presentation
  9. Salt & Pepper

Big pot of boiling salted water to start. Throw in your pasta to cook and give it a good stir. Cook until aldente. In a heavy based fry pan pour in the cream, add a good pinch of salt flakes and a good grind of black pepper. Bring to a simmer slowly. When the cream is simmering add the grated Grana Padano, grated lemon rind, lemon juice and simmer for another two minutes or so. Sauce should not be to thick in texture. Taste for seasoning. Drain pasta well. Stir all of the sauce into the pasta with the Prosciutto, Eschallots and allow to sit for a minute so that the pasta is able to absorb some of the sauce. Dress with shaved Grana Padano and drizzle with good olive oil. We added extra ground black pepper at this stage. We love lots of pepper. As they say in Top Chef, we are pepper monkeys ;) Serves 4. So Easy. Enjoy.

Wednesday, 7 February 2007

Mars Bar Slice - My Way

I know I have been promising you this recipe for a while now. So here it is. It is fantastic. It is always gone before I know it and it is extremely fattening, which I love and goes great with a latte. I hope you enjoy as much as my friends and family do? So Easy :)
  1. 4 Mars Bars ( I like the king size because I am a chocoholic) sliced into pieces.
  2. 1 Tin Condensed Milk
  3. 1 Packet of Chocolate backed Scotch Fingers ( I use home brand, makes no difference)
  4. 100 grams melted Butter
  5. 300 grams melting Choc Buds ( dark for the adults)

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Crush biscuits and then add melted butter, press into a slice tin. Arrange Mars Bar pieces on top of biscuit base. Pour over evenly tin of condensed milk. Do not lick the lid OK. I know it is tempting but it is really dangerous for your tongue. Trust me, I know. Bake in the oven for 25 to 30 Min's, until golden and bubbly. Allow to cool and refrigerate. Then melt the choc buds in the microwave on a medium setting ( 450 watts) Allow to sit until the chocolate sets. Then cut into pieces. I always cut of the edges off so that the slice pieces are even and pretty. Don't worry there is always someone around to take the edge bits of your hands. Refrigerate and eat at will. I have absolutely no idea how long it lasts in the fridge, as it disappears like magic. Enjoy. So Easy :)

Tuesday, 6 February 2007

Burlingtons Asian Supermarket.

OK so what do you think all this set me back? Your probably thinking I have spent a fortune. But all this only cost me $136 total. Including the Mortar & Pestle and that was only $52. Cool huh. I have been wanting one of those big heavy ones made of granite for ages. So now I have one. In those high class foodie stores this one would cost you about $120 but not at Burlington's Asian Supermarket, The Valley, in Brisbane.
Chopper and I are stocking up for the move to Townsville and seeming we have not had the opportunity to figure out where the Asian grocers are there yet, I thought, I would stock up and stock up well. Most of these spices were between $2 and $4, they are big sizes also. The quality, as you can see, is excellent.

Who wants little anemic bottles of spices that cost $4 to $5 a pop when you can get 200 to 500 grms for the same money. It totally amazes me at how cheap they sell them for. I love Asian grocers, they are fantastic with all their gastronomic delights. So things are gonna get a little spicy in Townsville people, as now I am going to get it on with the dried ones. Oh, as well as the fresh.
Don't the pictures just inspire you to want to cook with more spices.

Sunday, 4 February 2007