Thursday, June 28

Make it for dessert tonight - easy peasy peach cobbler

This is a brilliant recipe because you can make it from pantry and fridge ingredients.  Having tinned fruit in your pantry is a lifesaver for when you feel like something sweet and can't be bothered making anything too laborious after a long day.  Sometimes just some tinned peaches with icecream can make me incredibly happy!   Peach cobbler is a winter dessert for me that just screams 'too easy'.  No mixers, no creaming, it's literally in the oven in 5 minutes after deciding you want to have it.  

You can use any fruit you like for this one - I love it with bananas too, or pears.. if you're doing it with pears, mix in some chocolate chips... you'll thank me later!

80g butter
1 cup plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup caster sugar
1 egg
2/3 cup milk
small tin sliced peaches

Preheat oven to 200 degrees c.  Place butter in the bottom of your baking dish and pop into the oven whilst it heats, it should melt in about 5minutes.

Whilst your doing that - combine flour,egg, baking powder, sugar and milk in a jug.
 Mix with a fork for a minute or so it will easily become a batter.

Take your tin of melted butter out of the oven and pour your batter over.  DO NOT MIX.  Place fruit on top. Again, do not mix!

Place in the oven, it will smell amazing within 5 minutes...

Bake for about 30 minutes until it's golden brown on top.  YUM!

Serve by itself, or with custard or cream...

It's pudding-y custard-y in the middle and crispy on the sides.. gotta love that!

Slowcooker pork loin with instant apple sauce!

When I was feeling poorly last week - the last thing I could face was anything that was going to take me more than 15 minutes to prepare.  I had very distinct short bursts of energy  - so slowcooker came to my rescue with a pork baked dinner that I didn't need to baste every half hour.

Because really with pork you do have the tendency for it to go dry very quickly and the best pork there out there is the pork that's moist without tasting fatty.  Throwing this in the slowcooker delivers that and then crisp it up in the oven for a shorter period gives you the caramelisation you love.

Putting your potatoes and apples and onions underneath your pork also gives it a gorgeous sweet taste and those potatoes and onions get lovely and caramelised too - not to be missed - and your apples become the build in apple-sauce.. I mean how can you lose?

6 red rascal (or any other hard potato) cut in half
1 large brown onion, cut in quarters
2 large pink lady apple, cut in quarters
1 kg pork loin  - if it is stringed or netted, remove
2 sprigs parsley
1 tb dijon mustard
1 tb brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, finely minced

Cut up all your onion, potato and apples..

Scatter them somewhat evenly on the bottom of your slow cooker

Make your rub by mixing together mustard, garlic, roughly chopped parsley and brown sugar.

Place your pork loin on top of your potatoes, onion and apples, then rub the mixture over the top.  Put the lid on and put it on low heat for 3-4 hours or high for 2 1/2 hours.

If your slowcooker insert is oven proof and actually fits in your oven (Can't wait to move to our new house, bigger oven!) transfer dish to the oven

If not, take out your pork loin and then transfer your veges to an ovenproof dish and then place the pork loin on top.

Turn the oven up to 160 degrees (no lid) for 2 1/2 hours.

The crackling will caramelise as will your potato and onion and make a gorgeous apple gravy in the bottom of your tray  - win!

Looks gorgeous right? Leave to rest for about 10 minutes before carving.

Make yourself some greens and dinner is ready!  The pork will need to sliced thick, it falls apart so easily!

Tuesday, June 26

DIY Vanilla Instant pudding mix - quick AND easy!

On a cold winter's evening there's nothing better than a bit of custard or pudding.  This one also translates to summer because it can be refrigerated and made into a cold vanilla pudding.  Since getting my thermomix I've loved how easy it is to make custard but let's face it - not everyone has a thermomix sitting on their bench and everyone loves an easy recipe.   I found this one a while back at Always order dessert - Vanilla beans aren't something that I keep in regular stock either but since I found a great supplier it makes this more do-able.

This now means that hubby can make the kids some puddings for afternoon tea for a treat, or a quick warm pudding/custard to have over tinned fruit whilst I'm not around.  All you need is 2 cups of milk and 1/2 cup of the mix.  Mix together in a saucepan - give it a whisk until it thickens - about 4 minutes and you're in business!   They set in the fridge in a few hours too.

You can use this as a base, and once cooked stir through some cocoa, some stewed fruit or fresh fruit for your own twist!

3/4 cup milk powder
3/4 cup cornflour
1 cup caster sugar
2 vanilla pods
1/2 tsp salt

In an airtight container, place the milk powder, cornflour, caster sugar and salt.

Split your vanilla pod and scrape out the seeds, very easy to to do.

Put the seeds and the leftover pods into the mix.

Seal up the container and give it a good shake..

And if you have extra helpers, pass it around for more shaking.

And there's your mix!  Store in a dry place for up to 2 months.

Now to make your pudding, take 1/2 cup of your mix..

Place into 2 cups of milk...

Whisk over a medium heat until it thickens and can coat the back of a spoon.

Pour into cups/containers/bowl and refrigerate for up to 4 hours to set, or eat it straight away if you love custard (great over cobbler or stewed fruit!)

 I had one extra, little reward for my helpers (and good sharers too I'm pleased to say!)

Monday, June 25

Slowcooker braised lamb chopped with whipped chive potatoes

Hands up who needs one of those recipe that takes minutes to prepare and you can serve it up and feel like you made an effort?  Ok, put your hands down friends because this is one such recipe.  It's one of those recipes you keep for a rainy day - real or figuratively speaking.  Braises to me remind me of my Nan, she's the queen of the braise and I think there's no better accompaniment to braised lamb than mashed potatoes.

It doesn't get any easier than this!  You can double or triple this recipe, it will always turn out - you may need to account for an extra hour cooking time if you do..

Braised lamb chops
Lamb chops (I used 8 lamb loin)
2-3 large cloves garlic, thinly slice
1 small brown onion, peeled and finely sliced
2 sprigs thyme, chopped
2 sprigs oregano, chopped
2 sprigs fresh parsley, chopped

Put half your onion on the bottom of the slowcooker.  Place chops on top.
Sprinkle rest of ingredients on top.  Place lid on slowcooker and place on low for 8 hours or medium for 4-5 hours.
Look at this!  

You also have the option of once you remove all the chops from the slowcooker put 1 tb cornflour diluted in 2 tsp of the stock left behind and then turn up your cooker or move to a hob (if your slowcooker base will do this) and heat for 5-15 minutes until you have a thick-ish gravy.  Easy!

Now for the potatoes, once cooked whip with your mixer... for about 1 minute on a medium speed will do it.

For every kg of boiled potatoes add 1/2 cup sour cream, 1/4 cup milk and 1tb (25g) of butter, plus a pinch of salt.  With some scissors, cut/chop about 3-4 sprigs and throw into the bowl with the potato.  Whip again until well combined.

Serve with some steamed greens - that looks (and tastes) like you went to a lot of effort, but you didn't! Put your feet up and let someone else do the dishes..!

Or doesn't that happen at your place?

Sunday, June 24

Christmas presents or your own private stash - DIY Vanilla Extract

I'm sure most of your would have seen this or be aware of it - with the amount of vanilla extract I've been using lately and the great source of madagascar vanilla beans I found I thought it best to start making my own Vanilla extract.  It really couldn't get any easier than this.

When I think that 100ml of quality vanilla extract is anywhere from $9-12 - that is $90 - $120 a litre.  YIKES.

So I've made 3 litres of vanilla extract:

$15 vanilla beans
$72 vodka
$12 bottles (I'm guestimating, I've had them for ages and re-use them)

$99 for 3 litres.  Beautiful.   I also plan on dispensing some of these into little bottles to give to family and friends over Christmas. Cheap homemade pressie - and USEFUL!  If I give just over half of my stash away and give away 200ml bottles of vanilla extract (x8) that makes them even with $1.50 bottles and printing of labels of around $5 each.

If you want to make these for Christmas - get onto it this week - it's best if it steeps for 6 months or so, though 5 months should be fine to decant it.

All you need to do is:

Clean and dry your airtight bottle.
Split 12 vanilla beans for each litre of vodka

Put the vanilla beans in the bottle.

Fill up with vodka.

Put somewhere dark and dry for it to steep.   Don't worry if it's not brown yet a few hours later I dropped in on mine and they were already looking like weak tea.. given them a gentle shake every couple of weeks or whenever you remember.

Saturday, June 23

Sunday baking project: Lemon sour cream pound cake

It's been a sick ol' week here at the house of frills.  Well just me actually.  I've spent most of my week flat on my back in bed.  Anything more than an hour out of bed made me dizzy and exhausted.   Attention span of gnat too.  Very frustrating for someone like me who likes to keep busy but I think your body just tells you when enough is enough, and well - this time - I listened.

During the week I've had the opportunity to look at a few of the cookbooks I've collected over the past year and hadn't really had an opportunity to have a proper look at - this one being one - I bought this both for my sister and myself...

Not only is it beautiful to look at - all the recipes are achievable and there's a lot of new ideas mixed in with traditional favourites.  I like that it also gives you tips on how to make it your own by making variation suggestions.

So given that my attention span is poor and so is my supply of school treats I thought I would give it a spin.  All ingredients I had in the fridge - no rocket science processes and something I know the kids will love.  This is a perfect afternoon tea cake - with a cuppa of course.. but also will easily make 10 full or 20 half slices (as I do) in lunchboxes.  Not a bad pay off for the effort involved!

1 1/2 cups plain flour
1/4 tsp bicarb soda
1/4 tsp salt
185g butter at room temperature
1 cup caster or white sugar
2 eggs at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
zest and just of one lemon
1/2 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 190 degrees c
In a bowl, mix your flour and baking powder.  Set aside.

Cream your butter and sugar together until it is pale.  Add vanilla and 1 eggs, beat until well combined then add your other egg.  

 Beat once again.  Then add lemon juice and zest.

Then add half the flour mix and until just combined. Lastly add sour cream and rest of flour, mix for about 30 seconds until light and fluffy.

At this point you may want to try some.  Recommended.

Spoon mixture into greased loaf pan.  This is the bit where you or your eager assistants can lick the bowl.

Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes.  Look at THAT!

It's gorgeous!  Give it a try for afternoon tea or your lunchbox stash!  (Those of you having babies can also freeze this whole and have it on hand when people drop by!)


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