Monday, 25 July 2011

Roasted garlic and pumpkin risotto

Donna's Roasted Garlic and Pumpkin Risotto

Making good on my every Monday commitment, even after an internet problem that I fixed myself!! (the old turn off / turn on trick - my old IT work colleagues would be proud) is one of the first Donna's I ever made - her Roasted Garlic and Pumpkin Risotto, from issue 14, page 138. I should thank Crystal for this - she made it once years ago and it has been a favourite of my family's ever since! It is super easy, the only bother is the time standing at the stove while you stir the stock in, probably about 20 minutes. And it is very open to personal touches - the last time I made this (which isn't the photo below because we ate last weeks batch before I remembered to take a photo) I added sliced swiss mushrooms about halfway through adding the stock. I had planned to saute them and stir them through at the end with the pumpkin however our stovetop was already rather full because along side this risotto I was making a, ahem, breast milk risotto for Flynn. Which by-the-by he loved! But cooking the mushrooms in with the risotto worked well anyway.

This photo does not do the taste justice!
But back to the Donna - my top tips:
  • I always throw a few extra garlic cloves into roast then the 8 she recommends because roasted garlic is LOVED in this house!
  • I normally use dried oregano because I rarely have fresh in my crisper and it's still good
  • I would recommend using a semi-decent stock rather then the powdered version/stock cube if you can, but it is still nice if you powdered is all you have. I used the new stock paste in a tube and it was good.
  • If you put the pumpkin and garlic into the oven before doing anything else, it tends to be ready just as the risotto is ready. Nice!

Let me know if this is a regular in your house, or if you try making it for the first time.

And a question - has anyone made the dark chocolate and caramel pudding the the front of the last issue's cover? If so, is it worth cooking?

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Classic barbecued pork ribs - Mr C.T.Sanger

Erm hmmm, hi (sheepish).
Sorry about the HUGE delay between posts, but a small technical difficulty (where I nearly lost the photos from Flynn's first 3 months of life PANIC in the disco but luckily the lovely Che fixed it) was followed by a rather large motivation difficulty... but I hereby state (ohhh the commitment scares me so) that apart from about 3 weeks in September when I toddle off to the UK I will post at least every Monday.
Classic barbecued pork ribs alla Donna

Anyways, enough with the babble. This will be short and sweet because I didn't even cook this (what a cop out for the first post back!) the lovely Mr C.T.Sanger did. Donna's classic barbecued pork ribs from issue 45, page 112. AH-FREAKING-MAZING. Or maybe it just happened to hit the spot at the time. But it was very more-ish, easy (well.... it was for me (o: ) and didn't take too long at all. Che added a little cumin and smoked paprika to the recipe, just because he likes the spices, and he couldn't see the cider vinegar right at the front of the cupboard so used half white wine and half balsamic, and said next time he would use all balsamic. It was also too cold to bbq outside so we ovened it on .... hmmm will get Che to let you know that one in the comments or this post will never get done..... a heat, I'll guess 200/220. Anyway, it's a recipe you can play around with and it is still YUM. The pre-boiling made the pork realllyyy tender and juicy and it didn't have a fatty feel or taste to it, just mouth watering bbqy goodness, it had a smokey taste even without actually barbecuing it, though both Che and I are keen to cook this again and try it on the bbq to compare. We served it with potato wedges and mayonnaise... and that was it. So bad! But sooooo good :o)
Classic pork ribs alla Che
I hope this inspires you to cook this, as warm wintry comfort food it was arrrgghhhh (homer drool). For those on a diet...... maybe see the beautiful post previous to this one :o)
Issue 45, page 112

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Leek, Zucchini + Couscous Soup

With added Chicken
Soup, soup, a tasty soup, soup!
A spicy carrot and corriander!!
[Chilli Chowder!]
Crunchy friends in a liquid broth!
I am dispatchio, oh!
I am missala soho.
Misso misso,
Fighting in the Dojo,
Misso misso...
Oriental friends in the land of SOUP!
- The Mighty Boosh :)

↑ Donna's and Mine ↓

My first post! :)
This soup really caught my eye, I had never cooked with Israeli/pearl couscous before and I absolutely love anything with thyme.

If I make a soup in my household, I'm skating on thin ice. In my husbands words "soup is not a real dinner"! so if I make one it better be pretty tasty and hearty. So I thought I'd add chicken to mine, to beef it up, plus my Husband's all about the meat :)
The recipe says 2 leeks and one zucchini, but I did the opposite as I wanted to save my other leek for another dish, and I didn't think 1 zucchini was enough for a big soup. I put two sliced garlic's in too.

Once all ingredients were in the saucepan and brewing nicely I added my chicken breast and poached it, let it cook and then sliced it up thinly and returned it to the soup.

I put in a heap load of Thyme because if it's not bursting with flavour I'm not happy. I picked thyme and put it in and also left some on it's stem, purely because when I look at it in the pan it looks sexy and makes me happy while it's brewing away - hah! Also, the stems are quiet potent so I think it definitely infuses more flavour.
I didn't have any spinach to top it with, I don't think it really needs it. The Parmesan finishes it off nicely, also a fresh loaf of sourdough soy and linseed bread from Bourke St Bakery complimented it beautifully.

I personally found this soup really delicious and so did the rest of my family - yep, even the Husband! :)

Harper kept saying "mmm" the whole way through, and yelling "kinni (zucchini)"! Really loud with a big grin, so cute :)

From issue 56 Page 32

Maple Pear Tarte Tatin

My foodie friend and I, (whenever I write foodie friend, you should always assume I am talking about Megan!) Were drooling over these awesome looking tarte tatins the other day and lamenting that we didn't have suitable fry pans to cook them in. I remembered today, that my mother has a suitable pan, so I raced up to her house to borrow hers :)

The reason I decided to make this yummy dessert solast minute is because these beautiful beurre bosc pears, that I had as the centre piece on my dinner table, were moments away from being inedible. I noticed one had a big rotten spot on it tonight. I was surprised because fruit doesn't usually last very long in this house. I asked Sweetyboy why he hadn't eaten them before now? He said "I thought they were just for decoration!". Classic.

Flipping this bad boy onto the serving plate was amongst one of the scarier things I have attempted in the kitchen. Super hot cast iron fry pan, ready to splatter molten caramel all over me, plus I didn't want to chip or break my ceramic cake stand with the heavy frypan, and what would I do if the tart stuck?

As you can see we had success! Yay!

It really looks amazing. As for the taste, I can't say because I haven't actually eaten it yet! So, toodaloo!

Issue 32, page 114.

Holiday Food!

Roasted Cauliflower, Sage and Almond Risotto

Ahhh, I love risotto. Just thinking about risotto makes me feel all warm inside, like you have just eaten a huge bowl of... risotto.
There is nothing more delicious after a cold winters day.

The photo of this recipe in the magazine actually never appealed to me. The risotto looks watery, the food looks a little too rustic, almost comfort food (which is good), yet almost some overcooked slop of questionable origin, you might be served at a friends house, who is an equally questionable cook (which is bad).

I had a cauliflower and was looking up recipes on Donna Hay's recipe index online (which is quite helpful by the way, I'll post the link bellow).
The name of this recipe got me and when I looked it up in my mag I thought 'Augh, it's that horrible looking risotto' but I gave it a chance.
And, wow, did it impress. I am officially in love! As soon as cauliflowers drop again to a decent price I will certainly make this again!
So... tips.
I added the sherry at the end, because I didn't read the recipe right and that is what Donna usually does with her risotto recipes, but it worked fine.

If you have never made risotto before, I must mention that you basically have to stir it the whole time it is cooking. quite tiring. My friend and I took turns stirring.

Oh, and I couldn't find taleggio cheese at my local Deli, which is odd because it is a very well stocked deli. The risotto was still delicious.

We enjoyed our risotto after a long, beautiful, Autumns day at Seal Rocks, down near Forster, New South Wales.
The water was crystal clear, the breeze cool and the sun scrumptiously warm. We even went swimming (well some of us did! It takes blazing temperatures and lukewarm water to get Sweetyboy in!). There's Sweetyboy on the beach with the darling, building sand castle cars. :)

Issue 44, page 106.

Oh, Donna

So I have this friend, right, who is a nanny, and her boss's son is in the same class at school as Donna's son! Haha! Talk about 6 degrees of separation! I really am a sad case!
I have to admit, though I don't get star struck very easily, if I ever met Donna Hay, I think I might be a little excited.
So, who have you always dreamed of meeting? Ever had an awesome encounter with someone famous? Any crazy coincidental 6-degrees-of-separation type stories?

Monday, 30 May 2011

Salmon Nicoise

Ok, the above title is deceiving. I have never made the actual Salmon Nicoise recipe, I just make the dressing, which, is basically the extent of my creative dressing attempts! I mostly wanted to post this recipe because I always have trouble finding it when I need it, but now I can just look it up here!

Has anyone made the actual recipe? Where would one find quail eggs? I had pet quails as a child, there eggs are really small!

Most of these photos are just to show off the awesome Depression Glass bowl I found at an op-shop last weekend :)

Issue 12, page 164.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

After spending most of our Sunday at the football fields, watching some friends play, I was feeling particularly unmotivated as it drew nearer to dinner time.I announced to my friends as I was leaving, I was going home to make a 'pancake dinner', as that was all I had the motivation for.
On arriving home, I realised I had defrosted the chicken for this dish the day before, and due to work schedules and family dinner at my parents, it HAD to be made TONIGHT.
We were also due to go out again after dinner, which gave me approximately an hour and a quarter to cook dinner AND eat it.

I do this to myself all to often :|

Well, this meal was surprisingly quick and easy to make. Besides the one tantrum, when I over 'softened' the butter in the microwave, and then had to put it in the freezer to re-set it a little, it went off without a hitch.
My husband bolted it down, mostly due to time constraints, but MOSTLY because it was so delicious! He did comment that he felt like he was eating 'possibly the most unhealthy bread in the world', as he happily chowed down the crispy, butter soaked sourdough from under the chicken. Haha!
I will definitely make this again!

I Just wanted to add, I was super stoked that I actually had all the herbs I needed for this recipe growing in my sad little garden! They look pretty, so I took a photo :)
Herbs are so expensive, so it is always great when you don't have to buy them.

Issue 44, page 116.

Vanilla Rice Pudding

Not much to say except that this dessert is awesome, and muscatels suck.
They have way too many seeds for pleasant eating. Plus they are expensive. So if you want, you could just put plain old raisins on top, and, though it may not look as spectacular, you will get the same taste for half the price and half the annoyance.
The best feature of this dessert is the marsala syrup. It is so delicious! It single handedly turns a plain rice pudding, into a classy and interesting dessert. Love it!

Issue 32, Page 144.

The Perfect Winter Breakfast

I love breakfast! I wish I took more time to make delicious breakfasts more often, but I also love sleep :)

For my birthday this year I decided in lieu of a party, I would take some time away with my family, somewhere I hadn't been before, with good op shops and great food.

My awesome foodie friend and I schemed up all manner of delicacies, though we only made a few.

Breakfast was my favourite:

Winter porridge with Donna Hay's Sherry poached pears, and brown sugar.
Seriously the most heart warming winter breakfast you will ever eat!

Issue 32, Page 144.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Banana cake with passionfruit icing

Donna's donna
Morning all! Yesterday I had lady finger bananas to use up (I stupidly forgot I don't like lady finger bananas when I bought them) and some frozen passionfruit too so this recipe was perfecto for my cause! It's from issue 21, page 170, and it was very straight forward, I didn't change anything apart from baking the cake about 10 minutes longer but thats fairly usual for our oven.

The missing slice is PFB's husband tax
The cake without any icing (when PFB's tax was charged) was a little on the dry side... but that may have been my fault because it was a little under cooked when the timer went off so I put it back in and promptly forgot about it until the next add break in Offspring.... :o) But once it was iced it was perfect so maybe it was for the better anyway! Oh and I didn't have time to wait for the lemon juice and passionfruit to cool completely before adding the icing sugar so the icing was a little runny, but that's my fault, not donna's!

And by-the-by, this recipe taught me the difference between allspice and mixed spice - I had mixed spice and was going to substitute it but when I googled the two and realised they weren't the same I changed my mind. I'm glad I did because I think it's the allspice in this cake that gives it a really nice flavour (well, apart from the banana of course!!). The link is below for anyone else interested

Thursday, 12 May 2011

The Night of the Donna Feast

I had people over for dinner last night and thought I would show off my Donna skills and do a whole Donna feast!

Here's what I made;
  • Pumpkin and goat's cheese crumbles. Issue 54, page 140.
  • Roasted potatoes with green beans and speck. Issue 54, page 142.
  • Butterscotch walnut tarts with homemade Basic vanilla pastry. Issue 32, page 81. and the pastry from, Issue 38, page 118.
  • Mint, vinegar and honey-glazed roast lamb. Issue 26, page 119.
Yes it was quite hectic, but not as stressful as I had imagined.

Use the cooking time for the roast leg of lamb (on the same page) if that is what you are using! The recipe I used was for smaller cuts of meat, and my meat didn't cook in time.
We ended up having the roast veggies for entree and the meat for main. This might have been a little bit embarrassing if they weren't such close friends (all you can do is laugh!). You might also like to ask your butcher about cooking times when you purchase your meat.

Use nice sweet moist pumpkin. Mine was a bit dry and didn't do the dish justice.
Donna doesn't say how to make the sourdough bread crumbs. I just put our grill on low a couple of hours before, and slowly dried out slices of sourdough, turning occasionally.

Besides the homemade pastry (which I wouldn't change for anything!) These butterscotch walnut tarts were super easy!

Besides a few little hiccups I think it all went quite well, and our friends were sufficiently impressed :)

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Creamy Cauliflower Soup

I only discovered cauliflower soup recently (how embarrassing!) but I now love it! Cauliflowers just feel so nutritious :)
Anyway, I made this soup the day before I wanted to eat it so I would have a quick dinner for after work the next day, so I made it with none of the frills and garnish (the parmesan cauliflower crumbs). It was just a yummy, simple, meal.

My only tip is DO NOT blend the bay leaf into the soup. I know this is really a no brainer by I forgot, and was picking woody, leafy bits out the whole meal :(

Issue 51, page 102.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Asparagus and ricotta pizza

Donna's version - classy!
I really do want to sound, well if not posh, but like my life is a little polished, but I'll be honest, I made this recipe because we had asparagus that had been in the fridge for a week- ok I'm not going to lie, I think it might have actually been two weeks, but it was fine! I promise! Just a little bit limp, but not throw out-able or anything! I was being, you know, environmental, non food wastey etc....

Our audience - Pete and Rarfy
 Anyway, so I searched on "asparagus" in the recipe index on the website and found this little gem in issue 41, page 32. It is full of ingredients I like which is always a good start! We (this was a joint effort between PFB and me) followed the recipe apart from adding artichokes, which if you decide to do the same, don't do what we did and put them on the pizza before baking as they burn before the rest of the ingredients are ready and you have to pick them off and eat them as a entree :o)

Final verdict - it was tasty, a tip: make sure you spread the ricotta around evenly (unlike my trying to be artistic blobs), otherwise the bites without ricotta are quite dry. The lemon ricotta mix is really nice, I'm trying to think of something else I could use it in as I really liked it.


penne with wilted rocket and salami

Page 27 of Off the Shelf

This is one of my staple dinners, it is so easy to make and I always seem to have the ingredients.
Last night I made it with spaghetti, becuse the kids love it more! Also I added a punnet of cherry tomotoes.
On other occassions I substiute the rocket for baby spinach.

In the recipe it says only to cook for about 5 mins, I hae found if you cook it for a little longer on a low heat the oil starts to caramlise a little more in the bottom and makes the sauce a little bit yummier.

So as it turns out I haven't really stuckto the recipie much at all, but that is what I about this one the most you can use it as a base and add lots of different stuff and it still tastes great!

(Photo to come, I can't find the cord for the camera)

Monday, 9 May 2011

Red Wine and Tomato Lamb Shanks

Man I am a sucker for comfort food! That is why I spend all summer working off the excess fat I put on in winter, only to put it all back on again :/

This is a super easy and super yummy winter dish.

I never know what to serve casserole-type dished with, as my mother was never a big casserole maker. I guess it would be great with classic mashed potatoes or soft polenta, but I chose to serve mine with couscous, because I LOVE couscous.

As with most of Donna's 'simmer until thickened' recipe's this one did not. Who puts a tight lid on something to reduce/thicken it?! Plus, I think that the flour you use to coat the lamb shanks, is suppose to stay in the bottom of the pan to create a base for a gravy, but there was so little flour in the bottom of the pan when I removed the lamb shanks. I added a table spoon extra to the pot but it still didn't thicken like Donna's appears to have in the picture :(

It still tasted divine though and I guess that is where the couscous came in handy; it soaked up all the excess liquid.

I give this an 8/10 and I will certainly make it again.

Issue 33, page. 144

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Lemon Cake with Passionfruit Syrup

I decided to make this cake since I had been given some delicious passion fruits from a dear friend with the charge, 'make something magnificent!'

I'm not sure if this cake could really be classed as magnificent, but it is quite yummy.

Now, as things usually go, when I finally decided to cook something with these yummy passion fruits, certain members of my family had eaten almost every last one. There were 3 left.
Having already started making the batter I sent Sweetyboy to the supermarket to bring back some passion fruits. From the amount I scraped out of the ones I had I guessed I probably still needed about 8 passion fruits. Passion fruits were $1.69 at IGA. Woah!

So I ended up buying the passion fruit in syrup that comes in a can. not as classy, but it did the job.

After the allocated time, I checked it with a skewer. The skewer came out covered in batter so I put the cake back in the oven, and promptly forgot about it :(

The verdict: Be careful not to overcook this cake. I did and it was a little dry. I am sure if cooked for the correct time it should have been lovely and moist.

It is still yummy though.

Issue 2, Page 30