Tuesday 16 July 2024

Lemon, Green Chilli And Cheddar Tart

This recipe is from Easy Wins by Anna Jones, an English cookbook writer, well-known for her focus on vegetarian food.  Yep, another Cookbook Club book!  Mr P. and myself were vegetarian for a decade back in our younger days. 

I became one (at 16) because my friend became one, and she became one because her older brother became one!  Not sure why hubby was one :=)  It was pretty trendy back in the day.  And boy, did we live with a lot of vego and vegan crazies back then.  (He now tells me it's because I was one when he met me! - vego not crazy, hopefully.)

Mr P. had a harem living with him at the time I met him.  He had to teach more than one young woman how to cook, and live as an adult basically.  Thankfully, my mum taught me (and my sister) how to cook when we were wee sprogs.  And I could definitely change a lightbulb already!      


myself and Mr P. when youngsters

I decided to add sliced potato to this tart to make it a bit more substantial!  So slice the tatties, and either steam them, or bake them in the oven till just tender - or both! as in, steam then bake as I (probably) did.


herby, cheesy, potato-ey deliciousness

Serves 4:

ingredients:

(Action your spuds first!)

2 sheets of butter puff pastry, mostly thawed (but not completely)

1-2 Tbs of milk of your choice

150g./5 hefty ounces Cheddar cheese, grated   see Notes

1 red medium onion, finely sliced

1 lemon, thinly sliced

1 Tbs EV olive oil

1-2 green or red chillies, finely sliced (heat level of your choosing)

2-3 medium potatoes, thinly sliced, and steamed or baked (optional)

1-2 big handfuls of herbs, chopped or torn - I used parsley (and dried mint)  see Notes

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Method:

Place the sheets of pastry on a baking paper-lined tray (or 2), prick their little bottoms, score the edge about 1 cm/0.4 inch in, brush the bottoms with a bit of (oat or almond maybe) milk then bake them at 180C/360F for about 20-25 minutes till golden

Let them cool off for a bit (after pressing down gently on the middle to get rid of any puffage), while you grate the cheese and slice up the onion, lemon and chilli

Toss the lemon slices with 1 Tbs of EV olive oil and a big pinch of salt

Up goes the oven to 200C/400F, while you scatter the cheese over the bottom of the pastry, then you add the onion, potatoes, lemon and chilli slices

Bake for about 20 minutes till it's golden and the cheese is bubbling

Throw on the herbs and seasoning, and some olive oil if you fancy

Serve with salad or veg.

Notes:

Anna says to use a mature Cheddar; here in Australia, we call it a Vintage or Tasty cheese

She also says to use 15g/0.5 oz mint and also of parsley and/or coriander (half a bunch of each) but I was happy with a bit less of the green stuff

Anna also says to first bake the pastry at 200C for 20-25 minutes, then when the toppings are on, to bake at 220C for another 15 minutes, but I found the slower temp. just fine - but you choose


slice up your tatties!

get slicing and chopping, my friends

put that tart together over the pre-baked pastry sheet :=)

and bake again with the cheese, onion, potatoes, lemon and chilli

throw on your herbs and seasoning

eat with a salad or two - we had coleslaw, and chickpea and couscous salad



c. Sherry M.

Tuesday 9 July 2024

Fragrant Coconut Chicken

Regular readers know I am a huge fan of Belinda Jeffery's cookbooks, and of her own lovely self.  I've done several cooking classes with her, before she moved to the Central Coast.  Some readers may remember that I sliced into my finger at one of her classes and swooned like a young lady from Pride and Prejudice (or Bridgerton?).  I had to go lie down and recover my senses.

I made her Fragrant Coconut Chicken one night 'cos it's easy and delicious, especially if you use chicken thighs rather than a whole chook!  I have to watch myself when it comes to cutting up a whole bird.  I fear my fingers would not survive - hehehehe.


splosh on some yoghurt and mango chutney ...

Start this recipe the day before (or at least early in the morning) you want to eat it!  It needs to sit and ruminate in the fridge for at least 6 hours but overnight is better (says Belinda using a whole bird).


Serves 4:  

ingredients:

1.5 kg/3.3 lb skinless, boneless chicken thighs (or cut of your choice - wings, drumsticks, etc or a mixture) Or a whole bird if you feel like dismembering it!

Marinade:

1 small onion, roughly chopped

4 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped

2 Tbs fresh ginger, chopped or grated

2 Tbs Korma curry paste - you choose your fave   see Notes 

1 dessertspoon of tamarind paste = 2 tsp (optional)

250 mL/9 oz/1 cup coconut cream or coconut milk

1-2 small red chillies, finely chopped

2 tsp ground cummin seeds

2 Tbs lime or lemon juice

1 tsp sea salt flakes

Garnish:

freshly torn or chopped herbs (coriander leaves for instance)

lime wedges

Plain Greek yoghurt, for serving

Chutney, for serving (optional)


Method:

Chop your thighs into bitesize pieces and place them into a large food-safe plastic bag

Gather the marinade ingredients and bung 'em into a food processor or blender, and whizz the heck out of them

Once you have a lovely, thick purée, you pour the mixture into the bag with the chicken and give it a good shake and squeeze (make sure the bag is very well sealed first)

Stick the bag into a container, and let it sit in the fridge for as long as you can be bothered to wait, giving it a gentle toss every so often

Take the bag out, and let it come to room temp. (unless your room is sizzling hot or freezing cold)

Your oven goes on to 190C/375F to heat up, while you grab a large baking dish, and spread 1-2 Tbs of EV olive oil over the base

Tip the marinated chicken pieces into the dish, spread them out, cover the dish with alfoil, and bake for 25 minutes

Then take off the foil, and give it another 20 minutes

Take it out of the oven, and let it sit for a few minutes

And serve with the herbs, lime wedges, yoghurt and chutney

Steamed rice could be a goer here too


Notes:

I am giving Belinda's recipe in full, though I halved it for myself and Mr P.  (I used 850g. of thighs - ok so a wee bit more than half)

Belinda suggests Tikka Masala paste though I used Korma - a fabulous fresh paste from Tasmania (those supermarket ones are disgusting!!)


chop up your thighs

pour in the marinade and give it a big shake

spread your thighs and cover with alfoil

smells delicious, my friends!

throw on some herbs

and eat with yoghurt and chutney


(Joining up with Min for her #WWWhimsy linkup on her blog Write of the Middle)


c. Sherry M.

Monday 1 July 2024

In My Kitchen - July 2024

Well - halfway through the year already, my friends.  Crumbs, I feel like it should be March at the most.  Mr P. and I had a lovely break, doing a roadtrip into country New South Wales.  I'm always amazed at how expansive and wondrous it is out in the Aussie bush.

We have a German friend who used to come out, and just drive off into the blue in his beach buggy.  He got stranded once driving across the top of Australia, and was very luckily towed all the way to Perth (or was it Broome?) by a kind, random stranger.  He adores the wide expanses and empty roads.  As do we.  His beach buggy did not :)


the moon rising as we drove along a gravel road for many kilometres!

We saw kangaroos (dead and alive), wild goats, wallabies and some stray cows.  Happily the crazy goats leapt across the road just before we got to them :=)  Anyways, here's looking at my June kitchen.  I am looking forward to seeing yours!


In My Kitchen:


limes bought from a roadside stall on one of our country drives

I love the way people have roadside stalls out the front of their property, and you just stick your money in the honesty box!  I bought the hot sauce at the pub where we had lunch one day out in the sticks.  And who can resist a ceramic chook?  Not this little black duck.


yep, another visit to the Japanese store!

I made a frittata (cherry tomatoes for the hubby of course)

delicious biscuits and chocs from our local providore Mumbleberry

interesting soft drinks and some organic chicken stock powder too

wondrous birthday gifts from my cuz!

a Scottish clan tea towel from my sis.  See the Mackay clan?

and another gift from the cuz.  These AWW cookbooks are the best!

So many recipes I want to make from this book!  The Australian Women's Weekly cookbooks are a staple of every Aussie kid's childhood.  Their birthday cakes cookbook is owned by most mums!


the curveball - a print by Poh Ling Yeow

Poh is an artist who became well-known from her stint on Masterchef Australia.  Her life is now a mix of art and cooking.  I love her work - in both arenas.  Framing is so darn expensive these days, I do it myself.  I buy the frame, drill the holes, add the screws and tie the wire on.  A painting this size would probably cost $500 to get framed!  I buy a $30 frame and it's a DIY!  Looks pretty good!


c. Sherry M.

Be a part of our friendly IMK community by adding your post here too - everybody welcome!  We'd love to have you visit.  Tell us about your kitchen (and kitchen garden) happenings over the past month.  Dishes you've cooked, preserves you've made, herbs and veg. in your garden, kitchen gadgets, and goings-on.  And one curveball is welcome - whatever you fancy; no need to be kitchen-related.  

The link is open from the first of the month to midnight on the thirteenth of the month, every month.

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Sunday 23 June 2024

Pineapple Coconut Scones

Mr P. loves his carbs!  Even though his waistline does not.  We have been on a low-carb eating plan for a couple of years now, and we have both lost some of the avoir dupois from our waists.  Luckily for me, I am not a huge fan of breads or pasta so I didn't mind cutting down on the carby stuff.  Poor Mr P. though ...  Carbs are his bread and butter - literally :=)  (Or should that be metaphorically?)  If you were a baker, for instance ...

I'm always on the lookout for interesting scone recipes since I have been part of Tandy's annual scone blog-fest on her blog Lavender and Lime.  I can't remember how I came upon this particular scone recipe.  It's from a blog called Amy's Healthy Baking; she uses all sorts of low-fat, dairy-free, gluten-free ingredients.  I did not go down that route :=)  (Nor did Dino the baby dinosaur - hehehe).  


Dino watching over the (remaining) scones :=)


ingredients:

180g./6.5 oz./1.5 cups wholemeal flour - I used half wholemeal and half plain, but use whatever you have

1.5 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp sea salt

28g./1 oz. butter, cold and diced

120g./4.2 oz. plain Greek yoghurt

3 Tbs/45 mL pure maple syrup

55 mL/3 Tbs + 2 tsp milk - use your fave; I used regular cow's milk  see Notes

 1/2 tsp coconut extract (or use extra vanilla if you'd rather)

1/2-1 tsp vanilla extract

70g./2.5 oz. diced or crushed (tinned) pineapple, well-drained and chopped into (very) small pieces  see Notes

12g./2.5 Tbs/0.5 oz shredded, unsweetened coconut


Method:

On goes your oven to heat at 220C/425F

Grab a baking tray and baking paper, and line the tray

Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together in a medium bowl

Use a pastry cutter (really useful) or a fork or your fingers to combine the butter into the flour, till you have fine crumbs

Then you will stir in the yoghurt, maple syrup, the 3 Tbs of milk, and the 2 extracts

And gently fold in the pineapple and shredded coconut

Pat the dough (tenderly) into a rough round (in the mixing bowl), and then place it onto the baking tray  (mine was quite a wet dough)

Then shape it into a 2cm/0.75 inch high mound on the tray, and brush with the extra 2 tsp of milk

With a sharp knife, cut the mound into 8 triangles (leaving them closely packed on the tray) 

Bake for 18-21 minutes till lightly golden on top

Leave 'em sit on the tray for a few minutes to cool, then place on a wire rack

Serve warm, with lots of butter!


Notes:

NB. I am using 15 mL tablespoons in this recipe (= 0.5 oz.)

Use whatever milk you fancy, tho' I think a full fat milk is best

Divide the milk into the Tbs and the tsp amounts

The recipe says to drain the (tinned) pineapple well; but you could get away with a light pressing thru a sieve, I think :=)


ingredients gathered

cut the butter into the flour mixture

stir in the yoghurt etc

and fold in the pineapple and coconut

a kinda (moist) loose dough! Pat it onto the tray, and cut 8 triangles

golden and warm and delicious

see the pineapple peeking out?

Mr P. about to hoe in - with a wee bit of butter

Dino the dinosaur keeping an eye on the rest!

Oh, and did I mention it's my birthday?  Yep, Mr P. and I are on a short break, doing a bit of an art gallery tour.  We headed west and south to Armidale, where the nightly temperature is minus 2!!  My Queenslander bones are a wee bit frozen :=)  Then heading back to the coast to check out another gallery, then home!


c. Sherry M.

Sunday 16 June 2024

Roasted Onions With Blue Cheese And Walnuts

I love onions! Give 'em to me roasted, sautéed, fried or turned into beautifully battered rings!  Any way you please.  I am a huge fan of the allium family in all its guises, really.  I just don't get to cook with leeks as Mr P. doesn't eat them.  Even though it took about 30 years before he told me this!  Always something new to learn about a spouse, I guess.  

Speaking of onions, when our French nephew was small, we bought a children's book about onions (yes, onions!) to read to him on his visits here.  Ever since, Mr P. and I have quoted lines from it to each other, the most enduring being: "Où sont mes oignons?"  Yes, Jean-Claude the French onion seller from Dieppe had lost his onions!  He takes the ferry across the English Channel to sell them but somehow they vanish.  Only to be found again when the English cat Quizz was found to be sleeping on a bed of onions!  Pourquoi?  Who knows, my friends? :=)      

This recipe is from Danielle Alvarez's Recipes for a lifetime of Beautiful Cooking.  She is a Sydney-based chef and cookbook author (co-author of this book is Libby Travers).  She uses blue cheese and walnuts here, but as Mr P. does not like blue cheese (he says it tastes like ants!) I used fetta in its place (and pecans 'cos I had them in the pantry). 


good enough to eat :=)

Serves 4:

ingredients:

4 small red onions

2 Tbs EV olive oil

1 Tbs honey

1 Tbs white or red wine vinegar

60g/2.25 oz. blue cheese (or fetta!)    see Notes

80 mL/2.7 oz. single (pure) cream

sea salt flakes


For the garnish:

freshly-ground black pepper, amount of your choosing

40g./1.4 oz. walnuts or pecans, toasted and roughly chopped

1 Tbs chives, chopped (or use your fave herb)


Method:

On goes your oven to 180C/350F to heat up

Slice your onions in half from root to tip, and peel 'em

Line the baking tray with baking paper, then coat the paper with the EV olive oil

Place the onion halves cut-side down onto the lined tray

Weigh them down with another baking tray, and bake for 30 minutes

Then take out the tray, flip the onions over, and bake again (sans the other tray) for 20 minutes

When finished baking, leave them to cool for a few minutes

Cut off the root ends, and separate the onion layers

Now drizzle with the honey and the vinegar, sprinkle on the salt, and back into the oven for 8-10 minutes till beautifully browned

Then take the tray out of the oven, whack up the heat to 210C/410F

The blue cheese or fetta gets crumbled over the onions, and then you are going to pour over the cream

And back into the oven for 7 minutes, then to be finished off with a fabulous amount of ground black pepper

Sprinkle with the chopped nuts and chives, and eat!

(I served these with bought-in chicken skewers)


Notes:

I used a delicious marinated Greek fetta in this dish!  Tho' you could use any type of fetta you fancy

Danielle suggests frying the onions first in an oven-proof pan, then putting the whole pan into the oven, so feel free ...

 

ingredients gathered

halved, peeled and ready to bake at 180C

glistening and glorious

on go the cheese and cream

throw on the chives and nuts

succulent :=) and served with chicken skewers



c. Sherry M.


oh yes indeed! Where are my onions? :)


Sunday 9 June 2024

Raspberry Vinegar

I love raspberries and most other berries, maybe not so much with the blueberries, but blackberries are my very fave.  So yes, feel free to use your fave berry here; I just was not able to get blackberries when I made this.

I've told my blackberry tale previously; how my sister and I would go hunting for wild blackberries to sell to the local jam factory.  Still amazed that our parents let two little girls go into the bush on their own!  And fairly amazed that the local jam factory accepted any old buckets of berries that the local children had picked.  So if you have ever lived in Victoria and eaten Monbulk jam, just be aware that the berries were wild and free before being hunted down :=)


that's me in the middle!

My sister and I weren't much older than this when we went a-blackberry hunting!  Look at those splendid haircuts!  This was at the front of our grandparents' house up in the hills.  Yep, we were hillbillies :=)


Makes about 700mL/24 oz:

ingredients:

500mL/17 oz white wine vinegar

80g.-120g./3- 4 ounces caster sugar

375g./13 oz berries of your choice - I used raspberries  see Notes


Method:

Pour the vinegar into a medium saucepan, stir in the sugar and bring this just to a gentle boil, then immediately turn to a low heat

Let it simmer gently for a few minutes, cool for about 5 minutes, then pour it over the raspberries, which you have already placed in a large jar (which has a lid)

Give the mixture a good stir with a wooden spoon, seal the jar with the lid, and let it sit for up to 1 week (I let it sit and ruminate for 6 days)

Then grab yourself a colander that you have lined with muslin or a super-clean Chux; place the colander over a large bowl, tip in the berry mixture and allow the fruity liquid to drip thru for an hour or 2 - if you squeeze it out, the vinegar will become cloudy, but if that doesn't worry you, go ahead and squeeze, my dears!

Then pour into jars or bottles with lids, seal and store in the fridge for up to 6 months, tho to be honest I have kept it for longer!


Notes:

You can even use frozen berries in a pinch; just let them thaw out on a baking-paper-lined tray first

If you want to make a smaller amount, just use 350mL of vinegar, 250g. of fruit and 80g. caster sugar

And yes I did get a wee bit impatient towards the end of the dripping thru muslin, and gave the fruit a good squeeze

This is great in salad dressings, or even as a refreshing drink with sparkling water (tho if you use the lesser amount of sugar, it won't be as palatable)


(3) ingredients gathered

stir the sugar into the vinegar and bring to the boil - just!

pour the hot liquid over the berries

let it do its thing for up to a week!

and let it drip thru the muslin for an hour or so

You caught me out! I pushed it thru with a spoon at the end

you end up with several bottles of delicious raspberry vinegar


c. Sherry M.