Monthly Archives: October 2012

Feeding the Funky Bunch: Little Fruit Buns

Standard

Using the Hot Cross Bun recipe from the EDC, I made these Little Fruit Buns (I just left off the crosses!) for a friend’s birthday brunch today. Enjoyed by kids and grown-ups alike, they were an absolute winner. The sticky sugar syrup glaze made them just a little bit fancy.

The dough comes together very easily and is a breeze to work with. After leaving to prove for an hour in a warm spot, I simply snipped off small portions of dough with my kitchen scissors, roughly rolled them into balls and placed them a centimetre apart on lined baking trays. I then left them to prove a second time for 15 minutes, baked 12 min at 220C and brushed with sugar syrup while still hot. Yummo! My girls are particularly excited that there are a few left over to have tomorrow. I haven’t tried freezing these, but I’d say it would work well. I’ll be whipping up another batch next week to freeze for school lunch boxes.

 

Advertisements

Feeding the Funky Bunch: Moussaka

Standard

This Moussaka recipe is the product of much experimenting on my part.  I wanted to make a really delicious Moussaka that wasn’t too labour intensive, so I’ve eliminated all the fussing and just kept all the flavour. It is a great family meal, packed with veggies and easy to adjust either for meat lovers or for vegetarians. My kids absolutely love this dish.

Ingredients

  • 1 large eggplant or 2 smaller eggplants, thinly sliced (approx 3mmm)
  • 6tbs rice bran oil (to brush slices with)

Many recipes call for the eggplant slices to be salted, left to drain for 20min, rinsed then dried. I never bother to do this and it still tastes great.

  • 20g rice bran oil
  • 2 sticks celery, roughly chopped
  • 2 carrots, roughly chopped
  • 1 small red capsicum, de-seeded and roughly chopped
  • 1 red onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • handful of fresh flat leaf parsley
  • handful of fresh mint
  • 400-500g lamb minced (can replace with red kidney beans or your choice of lentils for a vegetarian version)
  • 2tbs thermomix vegetable stock concentrate
  • 1tsp ground cinnamon
  • 400g passata (tomato puree)
  • black pepper to season
  • Extra 1/2 cup grated cheese for topping

Method

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180C
  2. Slice eggplant and place in a single layer on lined baking trays
  3. Brush eggplant slices lightly with rice bran oil
  4. Roast in oven for 8-10 min until soft then set aside
  5. Make béchamel cheese sauce
  6. If mincing lamb in TMX, place cubed lamb in clean TMX bowl and mince 8-15sec, Sp 7
  7. Set minced lamb aside and give TMX bowl a quick rinse
  8. Place celery, capsicum, carrot, onion, garlic, parsley and mint in TMX
  9. Chop 5sec, Sp 5
  10. Add 20g oil and cook 100C, 5min, Sp1
  11. Place lamb mince in TMX, season with black pepper and cook Varoma Temp, 5min, Rev Sp Soft
  12. Add cinnamon, passata and stock
  13. Cook Varoma Temp, 15min, Rev Sp Soft
  14. Season to taste

Assemble Moussaka

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180C
  2. I use a large 1.6L pyrex dish to bake my Moussaka in
  3. Line bottom of dish with a single layer of roasted eggplant slices
  4. Spread over 1/3 of the lamb and vegetable sauce
  5. Drizzle over 1/3 of the cheese sauce
  6. Follow with layer of eggplant, layer of lamb and vegetable sauce, layer of cheese sauce until all used
  7. Sprinkle grated cheese on top
  8. Bake 30 min, 180C

Non-Thermomix Method

Ingredients

  • 1 large eggplant or 2 smaller eggplants, thinly sliced (approx 3mmm)
  • 6tbs rice bran oil (to brush slices with)

Many recipes call for the eggplant slices to be salted, left to drain for 20min, rinsed then dried. I never bother to do this and it still tastes great.

  • 20g rice bran oil
  • 2 sticks celery, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 1 small red capsicum, de-seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled & finely chopped
  • handful of fresh flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • handful of fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 400-500g lamb minced (can replace with kidney beans or lentils for vegetarian version)
  • 2tbs thermomix vegetable stock concentrate or 1 stock cube
  • 1tsp ground cinnamon
  • 400g passata (tomato puree)
  • black pepper to season
  • Extra 1/2 cup grated cheese for topping

Method

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180C
  2. Slice eggplant and place in a single layer on lined baking trays
  3. Brush eggplant slices lightly with rice bran oil
  4. Roast in oven for 8-10 min until soft then set aside
  5. Make béchamel cheese sauce
  6. Place large frying pan over medium heat
  7. Add oil, celery, capsicum, carrot, onion and garlic, cooking for 4-6 minutes until soft
  8. Add lamb mince, season with black pepper and cook for 5 minutes until browned
  9. Add passata, stock, cinnamon, parsley and mint, and simmer for a further 15-20 minutes
  10. Season to taste

Assemble Moussaka

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180C
  2. I use a large 1.6L pyrex dish to bake my Moussaka in
  3. Line bottom of dish with a single layer of roasted eggplant slices
  4. Spread over 1/3 of the lamb and vegetable sauce
  5. Drizzle over 1/3 of the cheese sauce
  6. Follow with layer of eggplant, layer of lamb and vegetable sauce, layer of cheese sauce until all used
  7. Sprinkle grated cheese on top
  8. Bake 30 min, 180C

Peek in my Pantry: Rice Bran Oil

Standard

Reading about all the oils on the market and their various health risks and benefits can cause your head to spin a little. It is difficult to sift out which oils are good to use and which are not. I am no expert on cooking oils but it is an area that interests me. I have read widely on the internet regarding this topic including looking at work by wholefoods guru Jude Blereau and the wonderful My New Roots blog.

Over the past year we have changed over to using Rice Bran Oil for a lot of our cooking needs. Rice Bran Oil has a very high smoke point so it is stable at high temperatures which makes it ideal for roasting and frying. It doesn’t impart a strong flavour onto your food and it contains anti-oxidants that remain intact and good for you even when it is heated. It is free of trans fats and cholesterol (which are really bad for you), and contains approximately 23% saturated fats (which are not quite so bad for you), 35% polyunsaturated fats and 42% monounsaturated fats (which are better for you).

Ghee or clarified butter is also very stable and has health benefits from the antioxidants and vitamins that it contains. You can cook with butter but it burns at a much lower temperature than ghee. Undoubtable delicious to cook with, ghee can be expensive to buy and often there is not much choice in brands. You can make your own on the stovetop – check out the ‘Ghee Whiz’ post on My New Roots – or in the thermomix – check out the Dairy Substitutes post on Quirky Cooking.

We still use good quality extra virgin olive oil for cold applications like salad dressings but don’t cook with it. Olive oil has a relatively low smoke point so when heated it breaks down and creates free radicals which are carcinogenic, that is, associated with heart disease and cancer.

Another oil I have read about that is considered good and stable for cooking at high temperatures is coconut oil, but I haven’t gotten around to giving this one a try yet.

 

Feeding the Funky Bunch: Tandoori Chicken & Naan Bread

Standard

The other night I decided to have a crack at Tandoori Chicken and Naan from scratch. After a bit of searching on the web I found my way to Tenina’s site. If you haven’t heard of this lady, she was the first official recipe developer for Thermomix in Australia and she has also done a lot of work for Thermomix’s parent company Vorwerk. She has numerous cookbooks and apps for Thermomix and all the recipes I’ve tried to date have worked really well. The Naan Bread Recipe below is from her website and the Tandoori Chicken Recipe is from Tenina’s Dinner Spinner App.

To make this for dinner, it is best to plan ahead a little. You need to make your Naan Bread dough first and leave to prove for 2 hours. Immediately after making the dough, clean your TMX bowl and make the Tandoori Marinade. Leave the chicken to marinade while your dough is proving. Come back later to cook the naan and chicken, have some rice cooking and veggies steaming in the TMX, and dinner is done.

Naan Bread

This Naan Bread is absolutely delicious and the most authentic tasting Naan I’ve had that hasn’t been cooked in a Tandoor. Ideally you want to cook it on a very hot pizza stone or in an electric pizza oven with pizza stone. The recipe makes enough for 8-10 Naan breads. I kept some dough overnight in an airtight container (use one with room for the dough to continue to rise) and cooked it the next day for the kids after school snack. It kept really well and still tasted delicious. Tenina says on her site that she froze it for a few days then defrosted, allowed to prove and then cooked with excellent results. 

Ingredients:

  • 220g milk
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • 2 tbsp olive oil (can use ghee to be authentic)
  • 80g Greek style plain yoghurt
  • 2 tsp instant yeast
  • 550-600g bakers flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Method:

  1. Combine milk, egg, oil, yoghurt and yeast in Thermomix bowl and blend 3sec, Sp 7
  2. Warm for 3 min, 50C, Sp 2
  3. Add flour, salt, sugar, baking powder to Thermomix bowl
  4. Knead for 3 min (closed lid position)
  5. Add a little more warm milk if the dough does not come together
  6. Place into a large oiled bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap and leave to rise for up to 2 hours
  7. Preheat Pizza stone to at least 200ºC
  8. Turn dough onto floured surface and knead by hand until smooth
  9. Divide dough equally into approx  100g per portion
  10. Roll out to 1/2 cm thickness. Stretch by hand into a tear shape
  11. Place onto hot Pizza stone for approx 5-8 minutes
  12. You should not have to turn them over
  13. Serve immediately with toppings of choice

Tandoori Chicken

So many tandoori chicken recipes that I have looked at include ‘3 tbs of tandoori paste’, which pretty much negates the point of making it yourself from scratch. This recipe is completely comprised of ingredients from your pantry, no pre-made paste from the shop. It is brilliant if you have the time to marinate the chicken for a few hours but still tastes mighty good if you don’t plan ahead far enough for that.

Ingredients:

  • 1tbs cumin seeds
  • 1tbs coriander seeds
  • 1tsp black peppercorns
  • 3tbs paprika
  • 1tbs cayenne pepper
  • 2tbs turmeric
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 red chillies
  • 100g onion
  • 2tbs olive oil (I used rice bran oil)
  • 15g ginger
  • 30g lime juice
  • 70g tomato paste
  • 80g greek yoghurt
  • 6 chicken marylands (drumsticks with thighs attached)

Method:

  1. Pre heat oven or grill to 200C or have griddle pan ready if frying
  2. Place cumin, coriander, peppercorns, paprika, cayenne & turmeric in TMX bowl and dry roast 10min, Varoma temp, Sp 2
  3. Mill for 1 min, Sp 10 – a good trick when milling spices in the TMX is to place a single sheet of paper towel across the top of the open TMX then secure the lid over the paper towel. When you mill the spices you can easily shake them off the paper towel into the TMX bowl rather than having heaps stuck in the lid and seal.
  4. Add all remaining ingredients except chicken and blend 10 sec, Sp 4. Scrape down and repeat.
  5. Place chicken in a large baking dish and slash skin in large diagonal strips. Rub tandoori mixture into skin and allow to marinate for 3 hours
  6. Grill or bake chicken for 20-30 minutes or until cooked through, or cook on hot griddle pan

Homemade: Béchamel Cheese Sauce

Standard

Before I bought my thermomix, I spent many years searching for the perfect cheese sauce recipe. Watching Emmanuel Mollois of Choux Cafe Perth make his bechemal cheese sauce on Poh’s Kitchen (an ABC TV cooking show) I finally found it. An absolutely superb cheese sauce. I wanted to replicate this in the thermomix and the end result was fabulous. The basic cheese sauce in the EDC is great and very quick and easy. This sauce takes a tad more effort but is still such a breeze to make. I have included a non-thermomix method below too.

Cauliflower with cheese sauce. Yum!

Thermomix Method

Ingredients

  • 75g butter
  • 50g plain flour
  • 450g milk
  • 100g grated cheese
  • Season with pink salt & black pepper
  • optional – 2 egg yolks (these make a richer sauce that sets a bit more)

This amount is what I usually make for a family dinner – lasagne, moussaka, vegetable mornay. It can be doubled if you need a larger amount.

Method

  1. Place butter and flour in TMX – use the spatula to brush and flour off the blades before starting cooking
  2. Cook butter and flour 90C, 6 min, Sp 1. Don’t be tempted to cook for less time – the sauce tastes so good because the flour is cooked before the milk is added.
  3. Pour in milk and cook 90C, 7 min, Sp 4 (with MC)
  4. Cook at 90C, 1-2 min, Sp 4 while adding grated cheese through the lid
  5. Mix 1-2 min, Sp 4 (no heat) while seasoning with salt and pepper and (optional) adding egg yolks through the lid

Non-Thermomix Method

Ingredients

  • 75g butter
  • 50g plain flour
  • 500ml milk
  • 100g grated cheese
  • Season with pink salt & black pepper
  • optional – 2 egg yolks (these make a richer sauce that sets a bit more)

This amount is what I usually make for a family dinner – lasagne, moussaka, vegetable mornay. It can be doubled if you need a larger amount.

Method

  1. Place milk in a saucepan and heat until boiling
  2. In the meantime make the roux – melt the butter in a saucepan, add the flour and cook for 6 min over gentle heat, stirring occasionally. Don’t be tempted to cook for less time – the sauce tastes so good because the flour is cooked before the milk is added.
  3. Pour the boiling milk into the pan with the roux and incorporate with a whisk. The sauce should thicken rapidly.
  4. Continue to whisk over gentle heat for a further 2 min
  5. Add grated cheese while sauce is still on the heat and whisk until melted and incorporated
  6. Take sauce off the heat, whisk in seasoning and (optional) egg yolks