Sunday, July 22, 2012

Rhonda's Muffins ....

I had some very sad looking bananas left in the fruit bowl so I decided to make Banana Choc Chip muffins using Rhonda's recipe from her Down to Earth book...
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BASIC MUFFINS
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1/4 cup olive oil
1 egg
1 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups SR flour
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Use this basic recipe on its own or add things like 1 cup apple pie filling, 1 cup mashed banana, drained tinned cherries, frozen berries or choc chips...
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1. Preheat oven to 180C and prepare muffin tin - I use patty pans so they don't stick.
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2. Combine the oil, egg, milk and sugar in a mixing bowl. Mix thoroughly with a
fork or wooden spoon.
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3. Pour in the flour and mix. Do not over work the batter, just make sure there is no dry flour. At this point, add in any other flavourings and mix gently.
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4. Spoon the batter into the muffin tin and bake for about 20 minutes until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool in the tin before turning out on a wire rack.
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I will freeze most of these and Gus can take one for smoko now and then. They make great road-trip snacks too.
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(the blue and white china plate and cup and saucer are from my first dinner set, c.1986)
Ah, fresh muffins and a cuppa ... bliss!
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Another lazy Sunday here for me - a bit of laundry to do but not much else.
Cheers - Joolz

Creamy mushroom, leek and chicken casserole...

Gus is truly amazing. He knocked up this casserole (his first) last night and I thought I had died and gone to Paris! So rich and so French - so cooked to perfection!
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It's in this book and it goes like this:

CREAMY MUSHROOM, LEEK AND CHICKEN CASSEROLE

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 kg chicken thigh fillets, trimmed and quartered
3 rindless bacon rashers, chopped coarsely
40 gms butter
3 medium leeks (1 kg), trimmed & sliced thinly
3 stalks celery, trimmed & sliced thinly
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh thyme sprigs
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons plain flour
1.5 cups dry white wine
1.5 cups chicken stock
400 gms buttom mushrooms
1/4 cup cream
1/2 cup coarsely chopped parsley
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1. Preheat oven to 160C/140C fan-forced.
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2. Heat oil in large ovenproof pan (dutch oven) - cook chicken in
batches until browned all over. Remove from pan.
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3. Cook bacon, stirring, in same dish until browned lightly.
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4. Add butter and leek: cook, stirring occasionally, until leek softens. Stir in
celery, garlic, thyme and bay leaves. Stir in flour, then wine and stock;
bring to the boil, stirring.
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5. Stir in chicken and mushrooms; transfer to oven. Cook about 20-30 minutes or until
chicken has cooked through and sauce has thickened slightly.
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6. Return to stove top, discard bay leaves; stir in cream and parsley. Simmer, uncovered, until casserole is heated through. garnish with fresh thyme leaves.
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Serving idea - accompany with crusty bread. Baby potatoes would also be nice. It is a beautiful, rich dish.
(cooking times may vary so just make sure your chicken is cooked and tender)
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Cheers - Joolz

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Lazing on a Saturday...

It's been a loungy sort of day here. Bonnie found a warm spot, sitting in this pot out the front of the house. This past week has been so hectic - It's great that our business is busy but gee, by Friday the sound of the phone ringing really does my head in!
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Pictures from this week - this is left over Thai Green Chicken Curry that I made on Monday - even better for lunch the next day!
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These are the poor insipid looking tomatoes that are on offer at all supermarkets in our town. Because Queensland has had such cold temperatures, they just aren't sun ripening like they should. I have been avoiding them in favour of sun-dried in the jar tomatoes for salads and sandwiches.
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Another treasure find was this Chicken Lasagne that I remembered I had frozen last time I made it. Score! I just had to pull it out of the freezer, bake and...
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... ta dah! Homecooked and delicious! ... and the picture is sideways, oops!
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Apricot Chicken on Thursday night (and I think this pic is upside down - what's going on, Blogger?).
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Ugh, time to tidy the kitchen this morning ... get stuck in and ...
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It doesn't take long!
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I bought this old table a few months back and today I started the restoration...
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I am not an expert so don't judge me. It may end up with a few coats of cream paint and shabby chic'ed but my plan is to strip most of it and give it a walnut stain/varnish to restore it to its former glory. With my dodgy shoulder, all I did today was the top - working with metholated spirits and fine steel wool to remove the lacquer (and coffee mug rings). I plan to take it slow so I don't injure myself. When it is sanded back a bit more, it will have a nice grain to it. Stay tuned.
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Another manicure and a lovely shade of nail polish - Midnight Affair by Revlon...
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Still sitting in the pot, ho hum!
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I've done the ironing...
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Picked up this dishcloth and did several more rows. I was in complete silence, no TV on, just sitting wrapped in a blanket. Nice...
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The very worst part of this week was on Thursday afternoon when I realised that I had LOST the diamond in the centre of my engagement ring! Sob! It wasn't a big diamond but it was MY diamond - a Bluefire 144 (.11 carat) diamond. Bluefire diamonds have 144 facets instead of 58 so it was really sparkly. I've had it on my hand since 2nd November, 1984...
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I put a new vac bag in the vacuum cleaner and was horrified when I cut it open to look for the diamond. Can you believe, this is the fluff, dirt, grit, grime and hair that was vacuumed up after only one week? The house gets vacuumed thoroughly every Friday!!!
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Anyhoo, no diamond in the ruff so I will consult my insurance agent this week to see how I get a replacement... now I did say it was a 1.11 carat diamond, didn't I?
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Off to bed with my new bed socks on... I have a recipe or two to share tomorrow...
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Cheers - Joolz

Friday, July 20, 2012

Lots of bits and pieces...

Angus made these yummy satays and the peanut satay sauce...
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Inspired by Enchanted Moments, I decided to make this dessert. In the good old Green and Gold Cookery Book there is a recipe for a Champagne Crust - you stew whatever fruit you like - fresh plums would be lovely but I had crisp Granny Smith apples from the Adelaide Hills so I stewed them up with some brown sugar and cinnamon until they were tender.
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Prepare the cake mix topping and while the fruit is still boiling hot, top it and smooth over. Bake in a 180C oven for about 30-40 minutes until a skewer comes out clean.
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Dust with icing sugar and serve with cream or icecream. Definitely a winner! I can imagine strawberries and rhubarb next time!
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With Brianna home, she requested my Chicken & Corn mornay which we had in toasted bread cases (cut crusts from bread, butter one side then put buttered side down into a muffin tin, bake in a 180C oven for 10 minutes or so until they are just toasty - watch so they don't burn).
Serve with a tossed salad.
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Another week night we had Chicken & Bean Enchiladas - I just used the taco mix to flavour and added red kidney beans (love).
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Friday, Kirby arrived home from the city so she requested COW! Angus made a dry spice rub to rub into the meat - best left for a couple of hours.
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Texas Dry Rub
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2 tablespoons paprika (used mild or smoked)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 tablespoon cracked pepper
2 teaspoons granulated garlic
2 teaspoons granulated onion
1 teaspoon ground cumin
a few good cracks of ground dried chilli flakes or to taste
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Mix all ingredients together with a pestle and mortar or a spice grinder. We spray or wipe over our steaks with a little olive oil/cooking spray then rub the mix into both sides of the steak. Leave for flavours to infuse then cook on the grill.
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I like to double the mixture so there is enough for next time without the effort - store in a screw top jar. Also great on chicken fillets...
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Saturday was my 48th Birthday - wow, that's a serious number!
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Poached eggs were the order of the day for my birthday breakfast (and Kirby's).
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I asked my mum, sister and niece to come out for a coffee in the afternoon. My other 3 sisters could not attend so it was just a small gathering. Then I got stuck in and made ham, cheese and corn scones...
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Yum!
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Bri whipped up these cute mini pavlova nests (pretty pink eh?) ...
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Tah dah!
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I cut out star shaped cheese to put on the scones, sprinkled with paprika...
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I also made chocolate cup cakes (I cheated with a Betty Crocker chocolate fudge cake mix) but did my own frosting ...
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Afternoon tea, anyone?
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I got very spoiled with some lovely presents ...
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This is my bounty! My dear hubby and children gave me a Ipad and swanky cover for it (OMG - very excited!). Mum gave me some lovely wine glasses and some cash to spend ( I think I need a new hand bag), from my sisters - Marilyn gave me the picture book, Janine gave me the big glass jar candle, Sue gave me the salad book and the Eco glass vase and cream rose, Leanne gave me the coffee mug, shower gel, mini fragrance diffuser, 3 slabs of chocolate and some raspberry chocolate bullets (so naughty!) and my friend Helen gave me the Roses chocolates and a sweet little ceramic night light which has an oil burner in the top so you get fragrance and light! My mother-in-law gave me 2 new cream bath towels and matching hand towels. I am one spoilt girl!
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Marilyn and my niece, Mel put the book together using Snapfish - basically you work out what pictures you want to put in the book, upload them, add text and order it!
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Isn't it cool?
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Each family has their 2 pages featured plus lots of old family pictures. I love it!
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My coffee mug matches the calendar I have in my office too!
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This is my favourite photo at the moment - I just snapped the rainbow as we got out of the car - on my iphone!
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We went out for lunch on Sunday but I won't bore you with the food pictures. Needless to say, we had a lovely lunch and the food was magnificent.
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Well, that takes us up to last weekend. I will be back later with the next installment to bring you up to date on my rivetting life! Lol!
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Cheers - Joolz

I promse...

I will be back tonight with a blog post - I can't believe its been 12 days since my last. I turned a year older, maybe that's my problem!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Coconut Chilli Chicken & Chocolate Impossible Pie...

All the ingredients assembled for the dish...
(links to both recipes are in my previous post)
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Lemongrass, garlic, ginger, red chillies, fresh coriander and lime zest go into the food processor...
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Then add fresh tomatoes, oil, fish sauce, soy sauce. I made the paste ahead of time so the flavours could 'get to know each other' ...
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Heat oil in a pan and gently brown the chicken thigh fillets. Remove from pan and add in the spice paste and cook off for 2 minutes.
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Nestle the chicken back into the sauce and add the coconut milk. Simmer for a further 20 minutes. Finally add juice of a lime, about 12 apricot halves (fresh if you have them) and toss in more fresh coriander. Let simmer a final 5 minutes ...
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Serve with steamed rice. Gus had just driven home 400 kms and was looking for a hearty meal. He loved it and kept saying how fantastic it was. Just what every wife wants to hear, eh?
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Onto dessert - this recipe had me running all over the kitchen. Food process the egg yolks, butter and sugar. Sift flour, salt and cocoa together in a bowl. Add flour then milk to butter mixture. Add in coconut, vanilla and cream. Beat egg whites to soft peaks in another bowl. Tip chocolate mixture into egg whites and fold in. Phew! I guess I need to read the recipe a bit better. I would have done the egg whites first and measured out things ready to go instead of doing each thing as I read it...
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I made the pie before I started the chicken dish. It was souffle light when it came out of the oven and I think it's one of those dishes that is best served up straight away.
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We had it about an hour after it came out of the oven so it had sunk a bit and lost it's lightness but it was still delicious. A tad too much coconut for my liking so next time I will knock it back to about 1/2 a cup of coconut or less. Brown sugar would also make it richer, I think. Will definitely be doing this again.
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Well, I got out and pruned my standard roses out the front and do you know, it only took me about 20 minutes. All that putting off and BAM!, over in no time flat!
~I tidied up the outdoor pots too, weeding etc.
Do you like my sign?
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Finally, a sunset from a few days ago - this is actually looking in the opposite direction to the setting sun - the clouds picked up a beautiful pink light.
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I'm off to relax now - that 20 minutes of bending out in the cold has told me my back did not like it. I want to catch up on a MasterChef episode I missed on Thursday so it's couch time, baby!
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Cheers - Joolz
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