Monthly Archives: March 2012

Zucchini Soup

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What do you prepare when you are going out to dinner and leaving the babysitter in charge of feeding the sprogs?  It’s got to be quick and easy to make, and preferably healthy.  Soups are a great option: they are quick and easy to make and they are very forgiving – you can cheat a bit on ingredients and they are almost impossible to over-cook or burn. You can also buy up big on whatever is cheap, or use up ageing vegetables from your fridge.   This soup is another of my liquid energy pellets and you will feel virtuous for having eaten it.  Because it gets blended, you can chop all the ingredients roughly. 

Recipe

  • 1 lg onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3 stalks of celery
  • 1/4 sm cauliflour
  • 8-10 zucchini
  • 1/2 t dried oregano
  • 2 litres chicken stock
  • 2 T fresh basil, chopped
  • generous handful fresh spinach
  • 4 T sour cream
  • 1/2 c grated parmesan cheese

Saute onion and garlic, add chopped celery.  Add zucchini, cauliflour, oregano and stock and cook until all vegetables are soft.  The longer you can cook, the better, for the flavours to infuse.  Add basil and spinach as you turn off the heat.  Leave to cool enough to blend.  Blend in batches with a bit of the sour cream and cheese in each batch.  Serve with toast.

Summer Fruit Pavlova

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I made a hollandaise sauce yesterday, so of course that means I must make a pavlova now.  Otherwise those egg whites will go to waste, which just won’t do.  A lot of people cheat when they want a pavlova and they buy the meringue and then decorate it. Making your own is actually pretty quick and easy, and so SO much nicer.  This recipe will give a pav with a hard crunchy shell but a soft spongey inside.

Recipe

  • 4 egg whites (preferably from large eggs)
  • 1 c caster sugar

Beat egg whites (using completely dry bowl) until stiff peaks form.  Gradually beat in caster sugar and beat until sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture becomes very smooth and shiny. Pour out onto baking sheet with baking paper.  Shape the edges of the meringue with a spatula or blunt knife. The pavlova will settle a bit, but should retain the shape you mould into it. Cook on low heat (140-150 C) until slightly golden and crisp. Leave to cool in the oven with the door ajar for 15 minutes, then cool completely out of the oven. Once completely cooled, decorate.

Topping

  • 1 c cream
  • 1 T honey
  • 1/2 t vanilla
  • 1 banana
  • 2 c mixed berries 

Whip cream with honey and vanilla until stiff peaks form. Spread across top of pavolva.  Arrange banana slices on top of the cream. Drop berries over the top.

BBQ Pork Chops with Roquette Salad and Hollandaise Cauliflour

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Every Monday morning my plan is to cook up a storm and get meals prepared for the week ahead.  Every Monday afternoon I find myself rushing to the shops looking for inspiration and supplies.This afternoon as I unpacked the shoping, my kitchen counter looked like the the contents of a Masterchef mystery box had been spilled across the counter.  Wal and the sprogs were starving and getting scary, so something had to happen fast.  In these situations it is good to find something that Wal can help with – more because it stops him asking if it’s ready yet, than for the help itself! So, since the only thing he can actually do to help is grill, BBQ pork is suddenly on the menu.

BBQ Pork Recipe

  • 4 good size pork chops

Marinade

  • 4 T honey
  • 1 T kecap manis
  • 2 T rice wine vinegar
  • 4 T soy sauce

Mix marinade ingredients together and marinate the chops for at least 30 minutes.  Cook on the grill on medium heat.  Take care not to overcook – pork gets tough very quickly.

Roquette Salad

  • generous handful of roquette
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 beetroot
  • balsamic  vinegar
  • olive oil
  • salt

Boil beetroot in its skin until just soft, and then peel. Roughly chop. Chop tomatoes into similar size squares as the beetroot. Add both to roquette.  Drizzle with vinegar and oil and add salt to taste.

Hollandaise Cauliflour

  • 1/2 small cauliflour
  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • 10 button mushrooms

Cut cauliflour into chunks, and divide asparagus into thirds. Steam.  Strain and place in bowl. Saute mushrooms and add to bowl

Hollandaise

  • 4 egg yolks,
  • 5 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 125 g cold butter, chopped roughly

Mix yolks, lemon juice and 1/2 of butter together.  Heat over very low heat stirring often. Once well mixed add remaining butter in two batches.  Stir constantly until sauce has reached desired thickness.  Poor over vegetables.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Chocolate Chip cookiesI know.  Recipes for chocolate chip cookies abound.  They are a regular feature of fairs, fetes and church bake sales.  This is my grandmother’s version of the recipe, and it is a bit different to the others that I have.  What I like about this one is that it gives light crisp cookies with the right amount of substance and body.  Don’t be frightened by the volumes – this recipe makes a lot of cookes.  My grandmother always halved the recipe (although I don’t know how she resolved the 1 egg part… perhaps just a very small one).

Recipe

  • Chocolate Chip cookies

    1 c softened butter

  • 1 c granulated sugar
  • 1 c brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 T milk
  • 2 t vanilla
  • 1 c peanut oil (other oils will work but this gives a nice hint of nuts)
  • 3 1/2 c plain flour
  • 1 T baking soda
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 350 g dark chocolate chips
  • 1 c Sultana Bran or cornflakes
  • 1 c rolled oats
  • 1 c chopped nuts (optional)

Beat butter and sugar until fluffy, add egg, milk and vanilla and mix well. Slowly add oil and beat until well mix.  Blend in sifted flour, soda and salt. Then add chocolate chips, sultana bran and oats, and mix well with a wooden spoon.

Drop mounded teaspoons onto baking paper lined trays, 3 cm apart.  Cook at 185C for 10-12 minutes or until a light golden brown. Leave on trays for a few minutes before moving onto racks to cool.