Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Pork Chops Perfectly Cooked! Delicious Porky Goodness!

Who doesn't love a perfectly cooked juicy pork chop with home made gravy and steamed fresh vegetables.  What are you having for tea?

Friday, June 3, 2011

Local Butcher Corned Beef And Cabbage

Corned Beef with Cabbage
 This is  real comfort food.  I grew up having corned beef and cabbage with boiled potatoes and carrots.  With the leftovers the next day we had corned beef fritters with home made tomato sauce.

You'll need 1 corned beef brisket, 1 tbsp malt vinegar, 2 large onions, 1 tbsp brown sugar, 6 black peppercorns, 2 bay leaves, 4 cloves, 1/2 a cabbage, 4 potatoes, 4 carrots, your favorite mustard
In a pot large enough to hold the corned beef place the beef, vinigar, sugar, peppercorns, bay leaves, 1 onion with the cloves stuck in, 1 carrot and water to cover and bring to a boil.  Turn heat down to low for a gentle simmer and.  Cook until fork tender - about 2 - 3 hours.  Remove flovourings and all but meat and water.  Cut rest of vegetables into serving sizes and slice cabbage.  Add these vegetables to the pot of cooked corned beef and  return to a simmer until all are tender.  Serve corned beef slices with the vegetables and mustard and some of the cooking liquid.

You may like to make a mustard sauce.  Melt 1/2 tbsp butter and stir in 1 tbsp mustard until well combined.  Stir in 1 tbsp flour until forms a paste.  Cook for a minute to cook the flour.  Remove from heat.  Gradually add 1 cup of the cooking water until smooth then cook while stirring continuously.  Return to the heat and bring to boil while stirring until thickened.  Add 1 tbsp malt vinigar and stir through.  Serve hot over the corned beef.

Note: Corned beef can be very salty.  If you find the meat is too salty for your taste try bringing the corned beef to a boil in plain water first, discard the water then follow recipe above.  If you find a good butcher who corns his meat it should not be a problem!

The Simple Things In Life - Fresh Produce

Some fresh fruit and vegetables simply served - minimal is often the way to go!  Let the produce be the star! Yum!

Tropical Fruits

Vine Tomatoes - on buttery toast with salt and pepper!

What can we make with these?  Minimal prep and serve!

Steamed and served - salt cracked black pepper butter!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Onion, Leek, Bacon and Broccollini Crustless Quiche

This quiche is great to take on a picnic or for a light evening meal.

Ingredients: 1 tbs olive oil, 2 onions, finely diced, 1 leek finely chopped, 1 clove garlic crushed, 1/2 cup chopped bacon, 1 bunch broccollini chopped, 4 eggs whisked, splash of milk, salt and freshly ground black pepper, 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 200°C. Heat olive oil in a large fry pan over moderately high heat. Saute onion, leek, garlic and bacon for 2 minutes or until soft. Add broccollini and toss over a high heat for 3 mins or until just beginning to soften.  Turn heat to low. Pour egg mix over and stir so egg coats everything, season with salt and pepper. Stir through grated cheese. Wait until the base is set - top will still be half cooked.  Place under a hot grill to brown and finish cooking top.  Middle will be cooked but lovely and creamy.

Serve with a salade or crusty bread and butter,
Onion, Leek, Bacon and Broccollini Crustless Quiche

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Nana's Lamb Stew - One of Our Favorites!

This stew is tasty, easy to make and low cost. 
4 Lamb chump chops (can use 4-quarter or neck chops to equal amount), 3 large brown onions chopped, 1 teaspoon of raw sugar, 1/2 cup tomato sauce, 2 teaspoons vinegar.  
Use a heavy based fry pan add a tablespoon of oil and brown meat in small batches so it doesn't 'stew'.  When meat is browned cook the onions in the same pan until soft .  Put meat and onions aside.  Make a gravy in the same pan using the browning and juices.  To make gravy add one heaped tablespoon of flour and mix to paste with juices and remaining oils and any lamb fats. Slowly add one cup of water and blend well to avoid lumps.  Cook until simmering and allow to thicken.  If it seems very thick add another 1/4 to 1/2 cup water then add sugar, tomato sauce and vinegar and mix well.  Return meat and onions to same pan and bring to a very low simmer with lid off.    Slow cook until the lamb is falling off the bone - about one and 1/2 hours.  You can allow stew to continue cooking to thicken and reduce the sauce.  Serve with steamed vegetables - potato, carrot etc.  You can add the cooked vegetables to the stew for the last 20 minutes to warm through.  Serve with peas, spinach, broccoli or your favorite greens.
Same recipe with lamb neck chops - melt in the mouth tender and so tasty! 19th June 2011

September 2013 with 4-Quarter Chops

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Quick and Easy Tasty Tomato Soup

For a quick and tasty savoury tomato soup that warms and comforts!

In a saucepan heat 1 tin chopped tomatoes, 1 teaspoon raw sugar, 10ml quality balsamic vinegar, 150ml V8 vegetable juice I cup water, 1 cup sliced spicey smoked sausage until simmering then turn heat to low.  Cook for 30 to 40 mins.  Remove sausage and put aside (use for sandwich.  Stir through 30ml cream and one tbsp chopped fresh basil.  Add freshly ground black pepper and sea salt to taste.  Garnish with grated extra tasty cheese and serve with a crusty bread.

Smoked Cod. Old Fashioned Favorite!

Haven't cooked smoked cod in a while but saw it while in market and cooked some up.  It was delicious.  I heated some skim milk to a simmer then turned it to very low, placed the fish into the pan and let it sit and cook in the heated milk.  Meanwhile I boiled some Red Pontiac Potatoes then mashed them with warm milk, sea salt, white pepper and a pat of butter. I made a pepper lemon bechamel sauce.

Make a roux by heating 1 tbsp butter over medium heat until melted then add 1 tbsp flour and combine well to form a paste. Add 1 cup of warm milk and keep stirring to combine well until sauce tickens.  Slowly add juice of 1/2 lemon and keep mixing well to prevent curdling.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Heated some frozen baby peas - don't over cook as they only need to be warmed.  Serve on a warmed plate with a little cracked black pepper to finish.  Comfort food.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Corn and Bacon Chowder

1/2 cup chopped bacon or bacon pieces
4 chopped potatoes
1 chopped onion
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups corn - I used fresh cooked whole kernels but tinned or frozen in fine or creamed corn if preffered
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
2 cups of cream

Sauté the bacon until browned and crispy.  Add the chopped potatoes and onions and saute for around two minutes without cooking.  Add chicken stock, corn, salt and pepper. Cover and simmer very gently for half an hour. Stir in cream and heat through.  Don't boil or will curdle.  Serve.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Spring Rolls - So Tasty!

These were quick to make, tasted delicious with spicey tomato & Thai sweet chili sauce!  Yum!

 500 g beef, pork or chicken mince, 1 large sliced onion, 1 cup grated carrot, ¼ cabbage shredded, 1 tbsp curry powder, 1 tsp chicken stock powder.  Spring roll pastry sheets.

Pre cook carrot and cabbage until a little wilted but not fully cooked. Brown onion in 1 tablespoon oil in frypan, add curry powder and stir until fragrant.  Add mince and stir until cooked.  Add carrot and cabbage and mix together.  Add chicken stock powder and stir through.  Cool the mixture.  Taste - add salt and pepper if needed.  It should be a dry mix otherwise it will not cook well and will make the spring roll wrappers to soggy. Place a heaped tablespoon of the mixture onto the spring roll wrapper and roll up.  Seal with a little water or egg wash.  Don't overfill as you want nice crunchy spring rolls!

Deep or shallow fry until golden.  Drain on kitchen paper.  Serve with your favourite sauce.  Enjoy!


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Quick Vegetable and Ham Fried Rice

Make this fried rice to please yourself and your tastes.  The main point is that this is easy and quick so there is no need to buy takeaway foods.  Kids love this as well. Good as a side dish or light main meal.

Add any left over cooked or frozen vegetables or meats.  Add chopped cooked egg - a left over frittata is yummy - or beat one or two eggs with salt and pepper and good pinch of chicken stock powder then make a space and place in middle of wok and stir through until cooked - mix through the rice.  Add ginger and garlic ir desired and chili sauce or chopped chili. Garnish with chopped spring onions / parsley / cilantro. 

Use day old rice as it is dryer and will prevent gluggy fried rice.
Add Thai sweet chili sauce for a little more spiceness.
Any cooked leftovers meats such as bbq chicken or prawns can be stirred through.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Coconut Chicken Curry - Comfort Food!

Easy, tasty and warms the spirit!
Freezes well and tastes even better the next day!

All music used - Country Cue 1, Hoedown and Brookers Blues, created by Jason Shaw -, Released under Creative Commons license 3.0 with credit to "Jason Shaw @"

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Vegetable Farm Soup with Ham Hocks

This home made soup is definitely a meal and is very comforting. It is healthy, cheap and simple to make. After a day or two in the fridge the flavour improves. If you make up a large stockpot full it is good to freeze in individual serves. It would be great to take to the office for lunch and reheat in the microwave as it thaws and reheats well. The delicious aromour will have fellow workers checking you out!

1 and 1/2 tblsp Olive Oil
All vegetables need to be washed, peeled and diced:
3-4 onions (one can be a salade onion - little sweeter), 4 carrots, 1 parsnip, 1 swede, 2 turnip, 2 - 3 small pontiac potatoes (hold shape) and 1/2 bunch celery
1 liter chicken stock - home made is best
3 bay leaves, 6 whole black peppercorns
2 smoked dry cured bacon/ham hocks
Water to cover vegetables plus about 2 inches more
1 can tomatoe puree or chopped tomatoes
1/3 cup pearl barley

Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot, then add the onion and sauté over low to medium heat until onion clear but not brown. Add the carrot, parsnip, swede, turnip and celery. Sauté for a couple of minutes more to sweat the vegetables mixing with a wooden spoon. Add the chicken stock and heat until starting to bubble then add the bayleaves and peppercorns. Add the bacon hocks and submerge then add enough water to cover to about 2 inches above the vegetables. Add the can of tomatoes puree and barley and bring to the boil, then reduce heat to a gentle simmer. Leave uncovered and simmer for about 2 to 2 and a 1/2 hours or until bacon meat is so tender it falls off the bone. Turn off heat and taste - add salt and pepper to taste add salt & pepper to taste. Allow to cool, remove bacon bones and skin and discard (or give to dogs) and break up bacon meat to return to soup. Refrigerate overnight. Next day remove any fats that have solidified. Reheat portion to serve and freeze remainder. Serve hot with buttered bread or rolls!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Bubble and Squeak from Leftovers

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Bubble and squeak is a traditional English dish made with shallow-fried leftover vegetables, usually from a roast dinner, but any cooked vegetables are fine. Main ingredients are usually potato and cabbage, but carrots, peas, brussels sprouts, and other vegetables can be added - basically whatever you have. Cold chopped up vegetables which can be made into patties or left loose are fried in a pan until the mixture is well-cooked and browned. The name comes from the bubble and squeak sounds made as it cooks. Apparently Bubble and squeak was a popular dish during World War II as it was an easy and economical way of using up leftovers. Because it tastes great it has stood the test of time. The ones in a box in the freezer of a supermarket are just not the same!

HOW TO - Bubble and Squeak For One
Knob of good quality butter. Left over vegetables including such things as cooked potato, carrots or any root vegetables - (which absorb butter and create a flavour base - then add onion, cabbage, beans, peas etc. Salt and pepper to taste. Cheese if you wish and bacon or cooked meats if you wish to use up but not necessary.

Equipment: non-stick fry pan/skillet - size of pan depends on amount - don't overcrown the pan or tends to steam and can be 'gluggy'. Warm serving plate.

Slice the potatoes and brown in melted butter over a low to medium heat. Don't need to be crispy just browned for the flawour it adds. If you have left over cooked onion add that. If you don't then microwave 1/2 an onion to soften and add it. Add the rest of the vegetables and slow cook until heated through and slightly browned. The butter should all be taken up by the potato and onion so the overall 'feel' is a dry vegetable mixture with the lovely taste of the browning. This video I cooked to serve one. Some people like a poached egg on top as the soft yolk goes very well with the tast of the vegetables. Serve immediatly.

If using leftover foods and reheating be sure the foods have been stored in the fridge and if in doubt then throw out! Careful hand washing prior to cooking and through the cooking process with hot soapy water and before handling or chopping food. Keep work areas, tools and equipment clean.

Voice at start from music track created by "Jason Shaw @" (creative commons licence).  End title music a Tommy Dorsey original.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Creamy Scrambled Eggs

Ingredients to serve one person.
2 eggs local fresh free range eggs - taste better, 1 tablespoon of skim milk, salt and pepper to taste, knob of good quality butter

Equipment: mixing bowl, non-stick fry pan/skillet - size of pan depends on how many eggs you want to cook. If pan to big eggs spread out thinly, get dry and overcooked! Serving plate.

Cooktown Cook's How to:
Crack eggs into bowl, add salt and pepper to taste, add milk (1 -2 tablespoons) and 'wisk' with a fork until combined. Place skillet on medium/high heat, easier to manage heat with a gas stove, and add the knob of butter. Once butter has melted and sizzles a little and has a little foam add the beaten eggs immediatly so the butter doesn't brown. After adding the eggs to the buttered pan - I use butter rather than oil or cooking spray to add flavour as we like the taste - wait a little until you see the eggs start to 'set' into curds then immediatly stir the set egg to let runny egg spread over pan. Main thing is to prevent eggs getting overcooked. Keep moving eggs in this way until enough of the eggs are set. Remove pan from stove while eggs are still slightly underdone as they continue to cook. If you like your eggs dryer then hold in the pan a fraction longer before plating. Plate up the eggs and garnish if desired with a sprinkle of fresh parsely have buttered toast on the side - we don't like soggy toast so don't put the hot eggs on the toast. If having a 'big breakfast' you may also have cooked vine tomatoes, mushrooms and/or sausages as well. Serve immediatly.

Cleaning up.
When working with eggs they can stick to bowls and cutlery if hot water is used first. Rinse any egg coated dish or pan in cold or tepid water to remove any egg residue then wash well it in hot soapy water. Be careful with eggs as salmonella bacteria can cause food poisoning. Know where your eggs come from. Be sure the eggs you buy are fresh and have always been refrigerated and keep the eggs in the refrigerator until you use them. Serve any foods with lightly cooked eggs immediately, or chill at once to serve cold. Do not let these chilled foods stand at room temperature long enough to warm up.

Careful hand washing prior to cooking and through the cooking process with hot soapy water and before handling. Keep work areas, tools and equipment clean.

Other ways to do scrambled eggs:
Gordon Ramsay and other Youtubers scrambled eggs videos.
Try different methods and see what you like.
Comment with suggestions :-) or links to good cooking videos.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Cooking A Bacon Omelette Frittata

This is my first cooking video. I missed out the preparation! Anyhow I decided to post it and try to get more in the next one as it took a while to edit in Windows Movie maker.  

3 eggs, 2 rashers cooked bacon (brown but not over crispy) , crushed pepper, sea salt, 1/3 cup milk, knob of butter or 1 teaspoon oil.

Whisk eggs and add the bacon, salt and pepper.  Heat pan to medium and melt butter add oil.  Add egg mixture and wait until base of omelette browns.  Remove and place under grill to finish cooking to desired level of doneness.

Debate about high or low heat?  This way of cooking an omelette makes it very tender as it is cooked over a medium-low flame. It is not the only way.

Another style is to fast cook over a high heat, The omelette should take no more than one minute to prepare. Julia Child cooked omelettes on a gas burner with the flame set high, threw in butter and when foaming was barely subsided in went the the beaten egg. This is an excellent way to prepare a delicious moist omelette BUT for unskilled cooks may end in disaster.

This video method is easy and does work. I heat a non-stick small fry pan to medium and put a knob of butter or teaspoon of oil to assist with browning; I pour in the beaten eggs pre mixed with any flavouring such as cooked bacon, cooked onions, cooked vegetables, grated cheese (as you wish) and salt and pepper. Allowthe base to brown and set in the pan then finish under the grill as shown. Depending on how soft you like your eggs if you barely warm the top and fold it over it will still be soft in the centre - it will continue to cook with internal heat so if you like it soft take it off the heat earlier than I did here. In my case as I wanted the egg fully cooked BUT not tough I cooked it longer under the grill and did not fold it. It is more a frittata in this case than a true omelette.

Another great method is using a knob of butter saute whatever the filling is to be onions, bell peppers, chicken, bacon or whatever in the pan first then crank the heat up and add the beaten eggs to the already cooking filling. Stir through so egg coats everything then turn heat down to medium-low and let it set on the bottom then fold over and serve. Also delicious.

Cooking eggs so the diner is happy, especially when everyone likes their eggs differently, means you can cook! Master eggs and master cooking!

Mainly try to remember that high heat for too long makes tough rubbery eggs! Yuk! So for either high or low heat timing is what you need to master.

Happy cooking.

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