Friday, July 29, 2011

Impromptu Nachos

Don't you just love it when you can pull something great together from remains in the fridge and some pantry items? I didn't think this one would be worth noting but once we had a bite, I had to bring out my camera hahaha! The rocket was a really good accompaniment and not something I would ever have thought to serve with nachos. I'm now converted.

Here is the recipe for my very unconventional, non traditional nachos.

400g mince meat
1 onion (diced finely)
3 cloves garlic (minced)
4 tablespoon Ardmona Pizza Sauce (or you can just use tomato paste but I was trying to use up my bottle in the fridge)
1 can 4 bean mix
Salt & Pepper
1 packet of corn chips (I used Nacho Cheese Doritos)
2 tomatoes (diced)
50-80g rocket
1/2 carton sour cream (150ml roughly)
100-150g chedder cheese (grated)

1. Cook the onion in a hot pan for about a minute, then add the minced garlic. Cook for a further 2mins then add the meat.
2. Meanwhile, spread the chips on a baking tray and place in a heated oven for around 5mins to crisp it up.
3. Once the meat has browned, add the tomato paste and stir it through. Then add the can of beans and salt and pepper, cook for another 2-3mins.
4. Take the chips out and pour the mince mixture on top. Then layer it with the diced tomatoes and the cheese on top. Pop the whole tray in the oven for another 5-8mins or until the cheese has melted and has got a bit of colour to it.
5. Take it out of the oven and dollop sour cream all over and lastly place the rocket on top.

It's hard to go wrong with cheese and sour cream!

It was a big tray for 2!

Time to dig in...

Yeah baby!

Gotta love that stretchy oozy cheese!

The carnage...
At least we ate all our greens ;)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Margaret's Best-Ever Meatloaf Roast for four

Margaret Fulton has been creating these recipe cards recently which are popping up in Woolworths. I've collected a few and this meatloaf recipe was the first one out of the Winter Series I've tried.

I really wanted to love this. And with the name "Best-Ever" I had really high hopes. I've made meatloaf in the past and they never got much praise so I was hoping this one would wow me. But unfortunately it didn't. However my husband liked it. He ate it 4 days in a row! So it's probably just me. I just don't like meatloaf. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't terrible. In fact the glaze was beautiful and extremely simple to make. It was this glaze that made it ok. I suppose I just had high expectations (I'm sorry Mrs Fulton!). Don't rule it out though, like I said my husband really enoyed it.

Margaret's Best-Ever Meatloaf Roast for four. Only $14.09
Prep Time 15mins
Serves 4
Cooking Time 1 hour

750g beef mince
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1 small brown onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoon parsley, chopped
1 egg, lightly beaten
salt and pepper
1/2 red onion, sliced thickly lengthwise
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoon Homebrand tomato paste
1 tablespoon Homebrand vinegar
2 tablespoon Homebrand Australian honey
750g washed potatoes, peeled
50g Homebrand unsalted butter
1/3 cup hot milk

1. Preheat oven to 220 degrees C (180 degrees for fan forced).
2. Combine the mince, breadcrumbs, onion, parsley and egg, with salt and pepper to taste, mixing well with your hands. Shape into a rectangular loaf, approximately 25cm x 11cm on a cheet of baking paper in a large roasting pan. Top with the red onion slices (pressing lightly) and bake for 45mins.

Yeah I forgot to lightly beat the egg first
I literally shaped it into a loaf tin....

3. Meanwhile to make glaze, heat 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan with the tomato paste, vinegar and honey. Bring to a boil and simmer for 3-5 minutes, until thickened and glossy

See the difference in thickness
Back on track, moving it onto a roasting pan instead

4. Remove the meatloaf from the oven and drain away any liquid from the pan. Spoon over some of the glaze and bake for another 15 minutes, until cooked through, basting with the remaining glaze once or twice more.
The glaze before it's been in the oven
Ready to eat. Altough it needs more glaze (I made a second batch later)

5. Meanwhile, cook the potatoes in a large pan of salted boiling water to cover until soft. Drain well and return the potatoes to the pan to dry off any excess moisture. Remove from heat and mash until smooth, adding the butter and milk, and mash until creamy. Serve with thick slices of hot or warm meatloaf.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Steak and Guiness Pie AND Potato, Prosciutto and Rocket Salad

After numerous dinners over at my brother's house it was time to return the favour so I asked him what he'd like us to make. He wanted something Irish. This is an odd request considering he hates potoatoes (except for hot chips) and will faint at the sight of alcohol (ok slight exaggerration but he has turned beetroot red after dipping his finger in a glass of beer and licking it). Still, that's what he wanted so I texted him a few options and asked him to pick. He chose Steak and Guiness pie. Ahh time to pull out a tradition Irish cookbook that my mother-in-law sent me........
By Colin Murphy and Donal O'Dea

Steak and Guiness Pie

1kg round steak, cubed and rolled in seasoned flour
1 tablespoon plain flour
1 teaspoon brown sugar
2 large onions, peeled and finely chopped
50g button mushrooms (I think you need more like 100g mushroom)
300ml Guiness
8 slices of streaky bacon
chopped parsley
1 pack frozen shorcrust pastry, thawed

Steak cubed and rolled in seasoned flour

1. Grill the bacon, cut into pieces and place in a saucespan with the steak.

2. Fry onions and muchroom until golden and add to the saucepan.

3. Add the sugar and the Guiness. Cover and simmer over a low heat for 2 hours

4. Stir occasionally, adding a little more Guiness if gravy thickens too much.
5. Line a deep pie dish with half the pasty and bake at 220 degrees for 10mins.
6. Add the Guiness and beef mixture from the saucepan and cover with the top layer of pastry.
7. Bake for 10 more minutes or until brown.

A winner of a pie! One that would have made my in-laws proud!
I didn't take step by step photos of the salad because I wasn't expecting to blog about it but it was so deliciously good that I had to share. And as quoted by my brother "the best salad I have ever eaten" and my sister-in-law saying "the best meal you've ever made for us". How it saddens me that this was the best meal we have ever cooked for them....I would have thought I'd made better food than this in the past! And the worst part? I didn't make the salad, my husband did! He is now the salad King and I am no longer asked to make my grilled vegetable salad when are invited to bring a dish to outings LOL!

The original recipe is here (we added juice from half a lime to give it that extra punch in flavour).

Potato, Proscuitto and Rocket Salad

6 desiree potatoes
100g prosciutto
large handful of baby rocket (or arugula)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons seeded mustard
4 tablespoons whole-egg mayonnaise
juice from half a lime
4 eggs
ground black pepper

1. Bring a pot of salted water to the boil.
2. Quarter the potatoes and boil for 10 minutes or until tender.
3. Place eggs in a saucepan of room temperature water and heat on medium-high flame for 15 minutes.
4. While potatoes and eggs are boiling, lay prosciutto out on baking paper on a tray and put under a medium-flame grill until crisp. Leave to cool for 10 minutes.
5. Drain potatoes and leave to cool for 30 minutes.
6. Remove eggs from heat, place in cool water and remove shells. Set aside.
7. Break the cooled crispy prosciutto into small shards.
8. Mix mayonnaise, seeded mustard, minced garlic, lime juice and ground black pepper to taste in a large salad bowl.
9. Add rocket, cooled potatoes and half the crisp prosciutto to mayo-mustard mix and toss to coat.
10. Quarter the hard-boiled eggs and arrange on top of the salad. Sprinkle prosciutto, any leftover baby rocket and extra ground black pepper over the top to garnish.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Triple Layer Chocolate Truffle Cake

It's not often that someone offers to make a cake for me, so when my husband said he'd bake something and I could sit back for a change I was thrilled!

He sure knows what desserts I like....a triple layer chocolate truffle cake yum yum. I know this would have been everything I ever wanted in a cake but alas he left out one vital step. And that was to cover the cake fully with cling flim overnight. The moisture was drawn out of the cake by the next day which made it a little on the dry side and missing that moistness. Still, it was lovely and I'm more than happy for him to try it again *hint hint* and I'm sure it will blow my socks off next time : )

Triple Layer Chocolate Truffle Cake
Recipe from Avoca Cafe Cookbook 2

Serves 12
4 small eggs
100g caster sugar
75g self raising flour
25g cocoa

For the syrup
75ml milk
20ml brandy
20ml honey

For the fillings
110g chocolate (70% cocoa solids), melted with 50ml of cream
225g white chocolate, melted with 50ml of cream
500ml double or whipping cream (lightly whipped)

For the icing
350g milk chocolate
75ml whipping cream

Preheat the oven to 18 degrees. Grease and line a 23cm springform cake tin. Whisk the eggs and sugar until thick, which will take about 10mins. Sieve the flour and cocoa and fold into the egg mixture. Spoon into the prepared cake tin and bake for 20-25mins, or until cooked. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack.

To make the syrup: put all the ingredients in a saucepan and heat gently until combined. Do not boil.

Remove the cake from the tin and line the tin with cling film. (Make sure you use enough cling film to cover the cake completely). Cut the cake across its depth into 2 halves. Place half the cake back in the lined tin and brush with syrup.

Make the fillings by combining each of the melted chocolate mixtures with half the whipped cream. Spoon half the white chocolate mixture over the bottom half of the cake. Follow with the dark chocolate mixture. Finish with the remaining white chocolate mixture. Brush the other half of the cake with syrup and place on top. Cover the cake with cling film and place in the fridge to set overnight.

Combine the milk chocolate and craem and heat gently to melt. Remove the cake from the tin and spread the chocolate icing over the top and sides.

I was busy relaxing and didn't take photos of the sponge process but here are some assembly photos:

The syrup

White chocolate mixture

Dark chocolate mixture

Note no cling film AND that doesn't look like "brush with syrup"

Spooning white chocolate mixture onto sponge

Next is the dark chocolate mixture

After setting in the fridge overnight and covered in chocolate icing (or ganache)

Yep, death by chocolate cake!