Saturday, 24 December 2016

Cream of Celery Soup

Wishing a Merry Christmas from my family to yours!  

I hope everyone is prepared for the festivities tomorrow.  Please enjoy a safe and happy Christmas and New Year.

I don't know about you, but I love to bring back old fashion recipes.  This one has been around for a gazillion years and you can even get it in a can, this usually gets added to casseroles etc and is not widely enjoyed in a meal on its own.

Celery is a great vegetable that is under rated on its own, you can add it to about everything from soups, stocks to stews and salads.  

This soup is fantastic and so easy to make.  It is great for one of those Meatless Monday meals you can make on a Sunday and just come home and reheat on a Monday.

1 bunch celery, chopped
1 leak, sliced
1 litre stock chicken or vegetable
1 cup cream
salt and pepper to taste

When you take the celery apart reserve the inner little leave for garnish.

Slice and rinse your leek clean.

Dice your celery, set 2 cups aside for later.

Place leek and all bar 2 cups of celery in your soup pot and with a tablespoon of oil, saute your veg for 5 minutes on a medium heat.

In a separate pan saute the remaining 2 cups of celery on a medium heat for 5 minutes.

Add the stock to the soup pot and bring to the boil, reducing to a simmer and cook for 20 to 30 minutes.

When the stock in the soup pot has come to the boil, ladle 3 ladles full of stock on the the 2 cups of celery and allow to simmer for 20 minutes.

With your stick blender or in a blender puree your soup.  It will be slightly chunky or course, this is good.

Add your salt and pepper to taste and the cream.  Add the separate celery back to the pot and stir to combine.  Heat for a further 5 minutes.  

Serve with a nice crusty bread or a toasted cheese sandwich.  Oh and don't forget to put the middle leaves on as a garnish!

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Chocolate Peppermint Bark

This is such a fantastic recipe and so easy to make with 3 ingredients.  I love the play of the bitter dark chocolate and the sweet white chocolate with the crunchy peppermint candy canes.  

It is such a quick thing to throw together and so nice to eat, even better as a gift or a small treat after dinner with a coffee.

I really should make this more often with different toppings as the family loves it.

This is the only time I use my expensive Callebaut Chocolate it is well worth paying a little extra for the decent chocolate.

My measurements here are purely for the amount I wanted to make, you can make more or less as you need it.

1 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
4 to 6 large candy canes

Either in a double boiler or microwave melt your chocolate.  If you can temper your chocolate ... even better.

Spread on a lined baking sheet and set aside for an hour to harden.

Stick your candy canes either in a food processor and smoosh, yes that is the technical term.

After an hour when the dark chocolate is hardened you can repeat the same with the white chocolate and spread over the dark chocolate.

Sprinkle the candy canes over the top and using a bit of baking paper, gently press the candy canes down into the chocolate.  Allow to harden and stick it in the fridge.   When it is cold it is easy to break up.  Break into pieces and stick into an airtight container in the fridge.  

If it lasts that long!

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Spanish Rice

This went down a treat the other week at a family dinner with our friends.  Our wonderful godson Lawrence gave it a five year old's two thumbs up!  High praise.

This is a great dish to serve as a side dish with a meal or as a quick meal of its own.

It is a very easy meal and would lend itself to lots of tasty additions such as diced capsicum, mushrooms, bacon or small cubes of sweet potato or pumpkin.

1 cup long grain rice
1 onion, diced
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 cup tomato pasata
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 chicken or vegetable stock cube
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 clove minced garlic
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 to 1 teaspoon chili powder (to taste)
1 teaspoon paprika
salt and pepper to taste

Rinse the rice under running cold water to remove the starch.  

In 2 tablespoons of heated oil place the rice, onion and garlic and gently toast for 5 minutes, stirring to make sure the rice doesn't stick.

Stir through he tomato paste and cook for a further 2 minutes.

Add all the other ingredients.

Bring to a boil and reduce to lowest heat and allow to simmer for 30 to 40 minutes.

Stirring occasionally to ensure the rice doesn't stick, you may need to add a little more stock if it dries out too much.

Stir through parsley and a squeeze of lemon juice at the end and serve.

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Raspberry Snickerdoodle Cake

Doesn't everyone love cake?  And isn't cake better when it is still warm, fresh out of the oven?

This cake is best served this way with a nice cup of coffee or tea.  Great cake to make quickly when you have guests or even for a sneaky girls morning tea.

115 gm butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup sour cream


1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup raspberries

Pre heat oven to 180C.

Cream your butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Add eggs one at a time beating for 2 minutes between.

In batches fold through the dry ingredients alternating with the sour cream, until combined.

In a lined 33 cm x 23 cm cake pan spread the cake batter.

Combine topping sugar and cinnamon.

Sprinkle sugar mix evenly over the cake batter.

Spread the raspberries evenly over the sugar topping.  Bake for 30 minutes or until skewer comes out clean.

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Turkey Meatball Parmigiana

I love trying to change things up with meals and keep things from getting boring.  I love things that are quick and easy to make when I get home from work.   Making a batch of meatballs and freezing them, allows me to do this.

I saw a recipe for giant Turkey meatballs and thought, hmmm, I could make normal meatballs with my Turkey mince and make them Parma style.  These were a success with the Crash Test Dummies!

The batch I made was too big for one meal and will do us for 3 meals, however depending on the size of your family it may do for 2 meals.

500 gm turkey mince
1 onion, chopped
1 cup bread crumbs, I used fresh you can use dried
1/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon sour cream or Greek yogurt
1 egg
2 cups tomato passata
1 cup grated pizza or tasty cheese

Mix the milk through your breadcrumbs and set aside to soften.

Chop your onion, it doesn't need to be fine.

Gently cook your onion in a tablespoon of butter until slightly softened,  add your Worcestershire sauce and stock and simmer to reduce by half.  Take off the heat and set aside for 15 mins to cool.

In your mixing bowl place your turkey, bread mix, onion mix, egg, yogurt salt and pepper.   Mix together with hands.  It may look sloppy at the beginning however it will all come together as a bit of a sticky mess.

See a sticky mess.

Scoop into balls and set on a baking paper lined oven tray.  At this stage you can put half in the freezer if you wish, or all of them.

On a baking tray place your desired amount of meatballs in a pre heated 180C oven and bake for 6 minutes.  In your casserole dish place half your tomato passata, place your par cooked meatballs.

Top with the remaining sauce.

Top with your cheese and bake for 30 minutes in your still pre heated 180C oven.

Serve with veg or rice and a nice bread to wipe the plate.

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Slow Cooker Creamy Pork Chops

I am the type of person that doesn't usually win anything.  However I do seem to have good luck at the meat raffles.  

I have a chest freezer in the garage that I have been saying for 2 months that I need to empty (use everything) and defrost it.  Hmm well that hasn't happened!  I keep winning these meat raffles and filling it up.  

With meat as expensive as it is these days ... I'm not complaining!  However it leaves me with some puzzles, we do not eat chops and some of the meat packs have contained pork chops, finding ways to cook foods we don't eat has been a challenge.  This recipe I have adapted from others on the internet.

4 pork loin chops with bone
1 leak, sliced
1 clove garlic, crushed
3 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
100 ml cream
2 tablespoons corn flour

In a heavy based frypan fry your chops, approx 3 mins each side, until brown.  Place in your slow cooker.  In the same pan fry your sliced leak and garlic clove, add water, simmer for 5 mins,  Pour this over the pork in the slow cooker.

In the same frypan combine the stock, Worcestershire sauce and sugar, heat until boiling.

Pour over your pork and turn slow cooker on low.  Cook for 8 hours.

Gently lift the chops out of the slow cooker, you may need to use a spatula or they will fall apart.  Set aside to stay warm.

Ladle the sauce into a saucepan and blitz with a stick blender to smooth.  Allow the sauce to simmer over a medium heat for 5 minutes.  Mix together the corn flour and an equal amount of water to a smooth paste,  add some of the sauce to slacken the cornflour and this prevents from going lumpy. Allow to simmer and thicken for 5 minutes.  Add cream and stir through.  Allow to simmer for another 5 minutes and serve.