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

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Basic Vanilla Pastry

Here is the pastry recipe, as promised!

Before this recipe, I was always afraid of making my own pastry. I had heard that it was finicky, time consuming, and really not that much nicer than store bought pastry.
I tried several times to make my own pastry the 'old fashioned way' (without a food processor) and failed miserably.

This recipe is quick, easy and so delicious you will never want to buy store bought pastry again!

Just a few important tips: (Most of these points are mentioned in the recipe, but I think they are so super important I am going to mention them all again :)

  • Use iced water (just as she says!). My friend showed me the easy way, small jug, water, ice cubes. simple. This advice after several attempts at partially freezing the water in the jug and it taking FOREVER and then forgetting about it so it was rock hard. Haha!

  • Make sure your butter is straight out of the fridge

  • Don't put in all the water Donna says. I just slowly add water until the dough in the food processor forms a ball and then I stop adding water immediately.

  • This is just me, and I know people have been making pastry for years without modern technology, but save yourself the tears and don't even think of making this pastry without a food processor. If you have and it was a success, good for you, you are a far better cook than I.

  • I roll my pastry out between two sheets of glad wrap. It is so easy to work with this way.

Happy pastry making!

P.s. A special shout out must go to my good friend Megan, who without her faithful support I would never have even attempted to make pastry ever again! She walked me through every step that first successful time and I owe her a debt of delicious gratitude <3

Issue 38, Page 118

Rhubarb Tart

Ok, so I go into this post with mixed feelings. This tart, which I made for the first time two weeks ago, and I, have a short but messy history.

So, to the technicalities for a moment,

Everything about this tart is simple and delicious. I use the Pastry recipe found in Issue 38, Page 118. This was the first from-scratch pastry I attempted and it is so wonderful and easy, I don't see the point changing (I will post my thoughts on the pastry recipe later).

Besides baking the final tart a little longer than Donna says (as usual), Everything else is as the recipe states, and it is delicious. Kind of cheesecakey with the scrumptious tartness of the rhubarb. As for where you can find the rhubarb, I'm not sure. I am lucky enough to have a mother who grows rhubarb, which is why I decided to make this recipe in the first place.

Anyhoo, back to our messy history.
I was so impressed with this yummy tart I wanted to share it with everyone I could.
After it being almost demolished at a friends going-away party, I decided to take some to my parents-in-law, who were staying at a local caravan park. Impress the in-laws.
In the car park I dropped the tart, contained in my favourite, vintage, stoneware, tart dish. Right onto my big toe.
While hopping around the car park yelling faux expletives (Miss Three was present) Sweetyboy collected the miraculously unbroken tart dish and the amazingly preserved tart (Thank you glad wrap!).

Three and a half hours at emergency proved that the toe was not, in-fact broken, just crazy sore. A hot needle was inserted to relive a hematoma that had formed under the nail.
The nail is slowly (and painfully) in the process of falling off as we speak.

I ate the remainder of the tart and enjoyed every bite.

So... Make this tart. You wont regret it. Unless of course you drop it on your toe and the baking dish smashes and the tart is ruined.

I just noticed that most of the photos of my finished creations show them partially eaten. This is because 1) I have no self control, and 2) am very forgetful. Usually we have already begun digging in when I remember 'Ahhhh! I was going to take a photo of this for the blog!'

Issue 2, Page. 30

Spiced Snowflake Doughnuts

Well this is a post on behalf of my husband, who likes to try his hand at the occasional Donna recipe (usually the sickly sweet ones!).
He is a prolific Doughnut eater and so was super excited to see these little morsels of sugary goodness get a feature in the Autumn 2011 issue.
I personally would have gone for the Italian Doughnuts, but he wanted to try something a little simpler for his first time.

The majority of the recipe was quite easy, though a little time consuming, definitely for a rainy weekend with lots of time on your hands, which are frequent where we live.

After lovingly and painstakingly, kneading for 10 minutes, and cutting precisely and rising for what seemed an infinite amount of time, they were almost ready to fry.

Then tragedy struck.

I am mostly to blame (as Sweetyboy kindly pointed out) as I had placed them down on a low table since I was making dinner, and there was no room on the bench.
They had risen beautifully, and looking oh so delicious, when Miss Three spied them.
Over half were promptly squashed flat, and I am sad to say, did not rise again.
If grown men cried over doughnuts, I have no doubt Sweetyboy would have shed more than his share of tears.
They did puff a little in the frying, but were no where near the puffy deliciousness of the other non-squashed.

These doughnuts have a very yeasty flavour, which is not unpleasant with cinnamon and sugar, but a little over powering when combined with the ginger and sugar.
I am sure we will make these Doughnuts again but maybe not this variation.

The finished product!

They did taste better than they look (and excuse my messy house in the background!)

Issue 56, Page. 158

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Chorizo, tomato and feta frittata

Morning peeps!

Hope you are all recovering well from the public holiday bonanza! My outlaws are going home today after being here for two weeks, I'm sad to see them go, especially Che's Mum's Chinese cooking, but it will be nice to have Flynn back to myself again!
My attempt to replicate Donna's photo...
Anyhoo, enough of my waffle - this recipe was YUM, even Che who isn't that keen on Spanish food (I think he holds a grudge because he reckons that Spanish tapas is ripping off Chinese yum cha...... :o) crazy fool) liked it. I followed the recipe as is and it really doesn't need any changes. I used feta because goats cheese was really expensive and I was being a cheapskate that week, but I think the goats cheese would make it even tastier. Oh - my one little issue was I wasn't sure if you stirred the egg into the tomato mixture in the pan or not, so I just did a really shallow little stir, not enough to mix it, just enough to make the egg layer not entirely even.... if that makes sense. And that seemed to work. The coriander on it was really good to.

I don't have Donna's photo to add because I'll never get this loaded if I don't do it now, but it's on page 35 of issue 56. I hope this inspires someone else to cook it!

How we ate it, with salad and sauteed mushrooms, yum yum yum!!!