Thursday, January 31, 2013

Asparagus and Camembert Quiche

Where are the days going? So far 2013 feels like one of those cartoons where the pages just fly off the calendar, one second it’s January and a split second later it’s February!! That’s ok though, I plan to make every minute count this weekend with lots of baking, relaxing afternoons full of buttery shortbread dunked in cups of tea, some quality Mr and Mrs B time exploring the outdoors, and general lounging about. We also have a giant trailer load of wood chips to spread around the front garden too but at this stage I'm choosing not to think about that.

Do you know what is a great meal if you have general lounging about planned, or if you need a quick pick me up after excess wood chip shovelling? Quiche. Super easy to throw together, can be eaten hot, cold or in a sandwich (trust me....) and assuming you can drag yourself off the couch or away from your book for say 10 mins to throw it all together, you’re good to go!

Mr B and I had some of our home made camembert leftover last week so we were looking for a recipe to use it up in, I was thinking asparagus, I was thinking quiche and we were extremely impressed with the results, this quiche has a tonne of flavour from frying off the bacon and the onion first and when you get it out of the oven the camembert will be all gooey and melty and awesome. I would even go as far as to say this quiche was even better the second night (but aren't they all!)

Asparagus and Camembert Quiche - Serves 4

You will need:

1 tbspn olive oil
1 bunch of Asparagus, trimmed
1 onion, finely diced
5 eggs
1 tspn Dijion mustard
½ cup milk
150g (3-4 slices)shortcut bacon, diced
60g Camembert, thinly sliced

Pre-heat oven to 180C.

Heat oil in a frying pan. Add the onion and bacon. Cook for 5-7 mins or until onion has softened and bacon is cooked. Remove from pan and set aside.

Add the asparagus to the pan and cook for 2-3 mins or until softened.

Whisk the eggs, mustard and milk together. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the egg mixture into a quiche dish.

Arrange the camembert and asparagus on top of the mixture.

Bake for 30-40 mins or until set and golden. Serve with steamed vegies and / or salad.


Mrs B xx

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Marshmallow Dessert

Happy Australia Day everyone!!

Mr B is currently out with his friends (in the wind and the cold) floating down the Derwent River....some of them are in inflatable boats, some of them are in kayaks....either way, I am curled up on the couch with a hot cup of coffee and a cheese puff fresh out of the oven and wouldn't switch places with him for the world!

So today I thought I would share Mr B's favourite dessert ever with you because I think it would be the perfect dish to take along to an Australia Day BBQ or picnic, plus it's so very easy!

I will admit that when Mr B first told me about this dessert we hadn't been together very long and I thought he was out of his mind, I mean hello, sour cream and mandarins do not make for a nice dessert, but I was trying to be a nice girlfriend so one night when Mr B's Mum made it for us, I gave it a go and was very pleasantly surprised. The sweetness of the marshmallows mixed with the sour cream and the tart juicy mandarins makes for a pretty delicious dessert and I can understand why Mr B and his brothers and sisters always fight over who will get to take home the leftovers!

To make this Marshmallow Dessert for yourself this is all you need:

500ml tub of full fat sour cream
250g of marshmallows
310g of mandarin segments, drained
1 tspn gelatin
2 tbspn boiling water

In a bowl, combine the sour cream with the marshmallows and mandarins.

In a small jug, mix the gelatin and boiling water until the gelatin has dissolved.

Stir the gelatin mixture through the marshmallow mixture until everything is well combined.

Smooth the surface of the marshmallow mixture and place in the fridge overnight to set.

Overnight, the marshmallows will change to like a cheesecake consistency and you end up with this beautiful creamy marshmallow dessert with these pockets of juicy mandarin. And if you're not normally a fan of mandarin, don't let that bother you because normally I'm not either!

Well I best be off anyway, I have to go see if I can find Mr B floating down the river somewhere!!

Mrs B xx

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Home Made Paneer Cheese

Since Mr B brought me some DIY cheese kits late last year, we have been right into this whole cheese making thing. It's just so easy and the end result is so much nicer then anything you buy in the shops. A few weeks ago, we made some Paneer cheese and last night, we decided to try it in a lamb curry. It was beyond awesome and totally took over as the star of the meal. Normally paneer is quite a bland cheese and simply soaks up the flavours of whatever you cook it in, but this home made cheese is made using lemon juice so the end result is soft, creamy and has just the slightest hint of lemon! Best part is, you don't need any fancy gadgets or equipment, just a big pot and some butter muslin (which you should be able to buy at any craft shop). Home made cheese is totally not scary, it's delicious and the end result is very satisfying!! 

Home Made Paneer Cheese

3.8 Litres of whole unhomogenised cow's milk
8-10 tbspns of lemon juice

In a large pot, heat the milk to a gentle boil, stirring often.
Reduce the heat to low and drizzle in 8 tbspns of lemon juice. Cook for 10-15 seconds.

Remove from the heat and stir gently. Allow the mixture to sit for 5-10 mins. If the mixture has not formed large curds in this time, return to the heat and add the remaining 2 tbspns of lemon juice. Basically just keep adding lemon juice gradually until you notice the curds visibly separating and leaving the whey behind. If the whey still looks milky, keep adding the lemon juice.

Remove from the heat and allow to sit for 10-20 mins.

When the curds have settled below the whey, ladle them into a colander lined with butter muslin.

Tie the corners of the muslin in a know and hold the bag under some gently running warm water for 5-10 seconds. Gently twist the top of the muslin to squeeze out any extra whey.

Hang the bag to drain over a bowl for 2-3 hours. Once the bag has stopped dripping, unwrap the cheese. Eat right away or refrigerate for up to two weeks.

Edit - if you like a firmer paneer, instead of hanging the cheese to drain, place it in the colander, still wrapped in the muslin, with a heavy object (such as a bowl full of water) on top for 3-4hrs.

Now before you go anywhere....don't tip the whey down the sink or do anything stupid like that. While it's fresh, use it to make the best ricotta you have ever tasted!

To make the ricotta, simply measure out how much whey you have and adjust this recipe accordingly.

For every 5 litres of whey you have you will also need:
2 cups of full fat, homogenised milk
40ml of white vinegar
Any herbs you may wish to add

Heat your whey to 60C, stirring frequently.

Add the milk and continue to heat until the mixture reaches 90C. Continue to stir.

Once the mixture hits 90C, add the vinegar.

Leave the mixture to stand over low heat for 5-10 mins. Gently scoop off the layer of curd that has risen to the surface into a colander lined with butter muslin. If you wish to add any herbs or flavourings, now is the time to do it. Tie the ends of the muslin up and hang over the bowl for 2-3 hours. Once the mixture has stopped dripping it is ready to eat or to store in the fridge for a week.

Just like with the paneer, this is such a beautiful soft, creamy totally won't last the week!


Mrs B xx

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Savoury Cheesy Pumpkin Patties

I am lucky enough to have today off work, which means I am sitting in bed, cup of coffee in hand, plate of toast at my side, writing this to you. Normally my day off falls on a Friday, as does Mr B's, and we spend the day together, but last Friday I had to go into work and Mr B got to spend the day doing his own thing which is lovely for him, but crappy for me. In my opinion, there is nothing worse then dragging yourself out of bed at stupid o'clock to go to work whilst your partner remains all snuggly and warm and sleepy under the covers. In saying that though, today it was quite nice to be the one who got to stay in bed whilst Mr B got up in the early morning hours and went to work for a change! 

These Savoury Cheesy Pumpkin Patties are so simple to make and so tasty! And the best thing is they are fantastic in hot or cold which makes them great for dinner or for lunchboxes!

Savoury Cheesy Pumpkin Patties - Makes roughly 10-12

2 cups cooked mashed pumpkin
150g vintage cheddar, cut into small cubes
1 medium onion finely diced
1 tpsn crushed garlic
1 stick of celery finely diced
1 cup rolled oats
Salt and Pepper to season

In a fry pan over medium heat, combine the onion, garlic and celery and cook for 5-7 mins or until onion has softened.

Add all the ingredients to the bowl of a food processor and process until everything is well combined.

Lightly grease a fry pan over medium heat. Place heaped spoonfuls of the mixture into the pan and flatten out using the back of your spoon. Cook for 2-3 mins on each side or until golden brown.

Now Mr B and I had these fresh out of the fry pan in some salad rolls for dinner, however, I had one cold the next day and I definitely recommend it, don't get me wrong, they are super tasty and delicious when they are hot, but when they are cold you just get so much more flavour from the cheese and the pumpkin and the celery and it's just Mr B had no idea the oats were in there at all so that's a bonus if you have fussy eaters to deal with!!


Mrs B xx

Monday, January 21, 2013

Old-Fashioned Apple Tea Cake

Last Thursday night, Mr B lined up a lunch date with his Grandfather for Friday and seeing as I was going to be at work that day and unable to attend, I did the next best thing - I baked them a cake!

Now on Friday night when I asked Mr B how it was, he broke out some serious descriptive words like 'cakey' and 'appley'...oh and let's not forget 'great,' meanwhile I'm sitting there saying...'but was it moist? dense? light? fluffy? damn it I need to know!' My final understanding, after quite some time, was that it is a beautiful light butter cake, topped with a appley goodness....I'm good with that.

Old-Fashioned Apple Tea Cake

You will need:
180g butter
2/3 cup caster sugar
3 eggs
1 cup self raising flour
1/2 cup plain flour
1/3 cup milk
2-3 apple
2 tbspns boiling water
1 tspn gelatine
2 tbspns apricot jam (or orange marmalade works just as well)

Grease and line a 20cm deep cake tin or springform pan. Pre-heat oven to 180C

Beat the butter and sugar together using an electric mixer until pale and creamy.

Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.

Add the flours and milk and beat until just combined. Pour the mixture into your prepared cake tin.

Peel, quarter and core the apples. Cut into thin slices. Arrange the slices on the top of your cake. Sprinkle with cinnamon if you want.

Bake for roughly an hour or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Stand for 5-10 mins before removing from pan.

While cake is still warm, combine the water and gelatine in a jug. Stir well until gelatine is dissolved. Stir in the jam. Brush over the top of the cake.

Allow to cool completely before serving.

This cake makes a lovely afternoon tea on it's own, or if you're feeling a little bit fancy, it would be heavenly with a dollop of whipped cream too.

On Friday night, Mr B and I went out for a romantic Italian dinner for two! We went to a little old local restaurant called Don Camillo's and the food (and the company) was perfect. Plus it gave me a chance to wear my new dress (partly purchased with a voucher Mr B gave me for Christmas!)

On Sunday the sun was shining and for a change the wind wasn't blowing so Mr B and I took the opportunity to jump on our bikes and go for a ride. We headed down the highway to Huonville where we hired a pedal boat and went for a paddle up the Huon River. It was a beautiful day for it and cruising up the river was quite peaceful and relaxing.

On the way home we rode up through Cradoc, Cygnet and Margate, and on the way we passed a big strawberry farm, it seemed like all we could smell for miles was fresh strawberry jam! A quick rest (read thickshake) stop later and we were home.

Another hectic, but lovely weekend in the Mr and Mrs B household!

Mrs B xox

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Mediterranean Tuna and Rice Bake

I'm tired. Easy meals are super high on my priority list right now, but they can't just be easy, they have to be easy, nutritious, tasty and economical too! I don't ask for much hey....

This recipe here is all of the above. The other thing I love about this dish is that it is comforting and delicious straight out of the oven, but equally (if not more) tasty when served cold the next day. That versatility, plus the fact it is beyond easy to put together, make this a must cook summer meal. 

You will need: 
1.5 cups cooked long-grain white rice
2 x 185g tins of tuna (I use John West Oven Dried Tomato and Basil, but I think it would also be nice with a Lemon Pepper flavoured tuna as well)
3/4 cup grated cheddar (plus extra to top)
100g semi-dried tomatoes, coarsely chopped
100g fetta, crumbled
1 large zucchini, grated
2 tbspn fresh basil, finely chopped
3 eggs, lightly whisked
Salt and Pepper to season

Pre-heat oven to 180C

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.

Spoon into a greased and lined loaf tin and top with extra grated cheese.

Bake for around 40-50 mins - it will be puffed and golden when done and if you stick a knife in the middle, it should be reasonable firm and not 'eggy.' Remove from the oven and allow to sit in the pan for 5-10 mins - it will firm up a little more as it cools.

Remove from the pan, slice and serve with salad (or cool completely and wrap up for lunchboxes!)


Mrs B xx

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Raspberry and Cream Cheese Muffins

Yesterday I had a full day of baking planned and it was so very good to get back into my kitchen - don't get me wrong, the break over the Christmas has been lovely, but yesterday while I was getting my bake on, music up, dancing feet on, I was definitely in my happy place. One of the goodies I baked yesterday was these Raspberry and Cream Cheese Muffins. They smell delicious and Mr B tells me they taste awesome as well! 

Raspberry and Cream Cheese Muffins

You will need:
2 cups plain flour
2 tspns baking powder
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
100ml sunflower oil
125ml milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
180g fresh or frozen raspberries
110g cream cheese

Pre-heat oven to 180C and line a muffin tin with 12 paper cases.

Place all ingredients, except the raspberries and cream cheese, into a large bowl and mix to combine.

Add the raspberries and just fold through the mixture gently.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared cases, filling them about 2/3 full. Place a small spoonful of cream cheese into the centre of each muffin. Now the cream cheese I had was straight from the fridge and fairly solid, so I used a melon baller to get equal sized portions.

Bake for 25-30 mins or until the muffins are golden and bounce back when touched. Allow to cool in the tin before removing to a wire rack to cool.


And have a look at these little ginger-dead men I made for Mr B's lunches using some cookie cutters Mum and Dad brought me for Christmas. I admit I did squeal and dance around clapping my hands when they came out of the oven - they are just so cute!!

Mrs B xx

Thursday, January 10, 2013

One Year On....

It's hard to believe that Mr B and I have been married for one whole year!  So much has happened in the last twelve months that in one way the wedding seems like a lifetime ago, but in another way, it seems like only yesterday.  And I will be honest, I did spend the whole weekend while we were away going '....this time last year we were just having the ceremony run through....this time last year we were just making the wedding cake.....this time last year I was just leaving the hairdresser....' and so it went on. I'm sure Mr B got quite over it by the end of the trip, but I do like to reminisce!

Our trip started on Friday and it turned out to be one of the hottest days on record for our state. Some terrible bush fires took hold during the day and several of these are still going. None of the areas we travelled to were effected so we were very lucky, but the fires were never far from our mind the whole time. 

After stopping at Kingston and stocking up on the essentials (water, alcohol, bread, sausages, bacon and eggs....) we set off for our destination - Southport. Southport is the southern most town in Tassie and also home to the Ida Bay Railway which has been on our list of things to do for quite some time. 

Unfortunately when we arrived at the caravan park, it was so damn hot the only thing we could really do was set up camp and seek shade.  This was our home away from home! It was actually quite cosy and comfy! 

And this was where we slept - in the back of the ute! Box of shapes and carton of eggs are not essential camping sleeping equipment, but I highly recommend the box of Shapes....

When the weather cooled off abit, we walked down to the nearby beach and Mr B went for a bit of a dip to cool off. 

That night Mr B cooked up a stella BBQ of Lemon and Dill Ocean Trout Sausages and eggs....I think pretty much every meal we ate for the first 3 days involved a BBQ, bread and bacon and at some point in the midst of a BBQ / bacon fuelled haze I believe I declared that in future if a meal could not be cooked on a BBQ, it would not be welcome in our home.....

It's very civilised eating dinner outside, reading a magazine until it's dark and then crawling into the back of the ute to go to bed - being an absolute non-camper I was slightly (read as HIGHLY) concerned with how I was going to survive, but as it turns out, I loved it! Not much sleep that night though because it was just TOO HOT! 

We were up reasonably early the next morning, BBQ bacon and eggs for brekkie and then off to the Ida Bay Railway. The railway is roughly a 2 hr round trip journey past some of Ida Bay's historic sites and at the end you stop at the most beautiful secluded beach and have about 20 mins to wander and relax and breathe it all in before you head back to the train station. 


That afternoon we packed up camp and headed up to another camping ground in Cygnet. It was quite late by the time we got there so we just set ourselves up, had a drink, read some more, possibly had a snooze and cooked our BBQ before going for a walk and finally heading to bed.

The next morning we were up fairly early to catch the ferry to Bruny Island for the last leg of our trip! We stayed in this little cottage in Adventure Bay and it was just gorgeous. And whilst I really enjoyed camping and sleeping in the ute, I have never been so happy to have a shower or sleep in a bed in my whole life.

Bruny Island has lots of local producers so on our first afternoon we stopped at the Bruny Island Smokehouse and brought some beautiful smoked salmon for our dinners, then we stopped at the Bruny Island Cheese Company, the Bruny Island Fudge Factory (I was raised to believe that if you were going to treat yourself to a relaxing bath or spa you should always do so with chocolates and a drink so buying fudge to have in the spa on our anniversary was mandatory) and then our final stop was the Berry Farm where we indulged in as much ice cream as we could cram into a waffle cone. 

The next day was our actual anniversary so we slept in and Mr B whipped us up one of his awesome bacon and egg breakfasts while I attempted to work the coffee machine. We spent most of the day paddling in Adventure Bay and around at Alonnah in our kayaks. I will admit that it did take some convincing to get me out in the ocean, but Mr B went out first and after 10 mins he hadn't been eaten by sharks or tipped up by a wave so I decided it was safe. I'm so glad I did because soon enough, while we were just casually paddling about, a pod of dolphins started to play in the bay and it was just one of the most amazing things we have ever seen, plus being so close to it made for a pretty specky anniversary! 

We even managed to fit in an evening game of frisbee on the beach! It's been years since I've thrown a frisbee around, but like a couple of kids, we spent hours throwing it around, talking, laughing and just taking some time out.

We did stray from our BBQ routine while we were staying on Bruny though. Both nights we made up a platter of toast, biscuits, tomato, cucumber, pepper cream cheese, tasty cheese and smoked salmon (with a side of bacon) and it was spot on. 

Whilst we were enjoying our dinner on the last night, we got to watch the elusive white wallaby just out the front of our cottage. Wallabies are fairly common down here, on any given night we can have 12 in our backyard, but neither Mr B or I had ever seen a white wallaby and whilst we had heard they could be seen hanging around this little cottage, we didn't actually expect to see one!

So that was our trip - there was lots of lounging around, lots of relaxing, even more laughing, lots of exploring, walks on the beach, paddling in the water, games of frisbee, good food and incredible company. We returned home the following day, exhausted, relaxed, grinning from ear to ear and even more excited to see what the next 12 months has in store for us...

Mr and Mrs B xx

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Potato Wedges with Chilli Con Queso

Where does the time go!?

It's been ages since I've posted a blog, but it seems like just yesterday and I'm not entirely sure where all those days in between have gone?

Anyway, moving on, I'm back now....although I'm going away again tomorrow....but it's only for 5 days and IT IS Mr B and my first wedding anniversary so I think that is a fair excuse....

Moving onto other things, it has been super hot today, like melting hot, like it's too hot to do anything but lay on the couch in your underwear and drink. And speaking of drinking, last night Mr B bottled his latest batch of home brew ginger beer and he is tipping that this one will be a knock your socks off, kick you in the teeth, tip top brew.....we are resting all of our hopes on some ginger soaked in brandy so fingers crossed!

The happy brewer!

How cool do these labels look! I got them made for Mr B's birthday and seeing all the bottles, filled, capped, lined up and labelled, they just look so professional! 

So tonight, to celebrate our pending holiday (and because it's too damn hot to cook a big meal and we just wanted something easy....) we made these Potato Wedges with Chilli Con Queso from a Tex-Mex cookbook that Mum and Dad gave Mr B for Christmas. They were super easy and even more delicious!!

This served Mr B and I easy for dinner, but you could serve it as an entree for 4 people or for 2-3 people with some salad for a main.

You will need:
5-6 large potatoes

Place the potatoes on a baking tray and bake in an oven pre-heated to 220C for around an hour.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Now you can do this the night before like I did, saves you a hell of alot of time!

Once the potatoes are cool, cut each one in half and scoop out the flesh, leaving a thin layer of potato still in the skin.

Place the potatoes in a large pre-heated fry pan with some oil. Allow them to cook until they are golden and crispy. You will need to turn them after about 7-10 mins. Once they are done, remove them from the pan and allow them to drain on some paper towel.

For the Chilli Con Queso
30g butter
2 spring onions, finely diced
1 tspn crushed chilli
1.5 tspns crushed garlic
3/4 cup sour cream
1.5 cups grated cheese

To make the chilli con queso, start by melting the butter in a fry pan over medium heat. Add the garlic, chilli and spring onions and cook for 2-3 mins. Remove from the heat and add the sour cream and cheese. Return the pan to the heat and stir until smooth. You don't have to stir it constantly, but just be conscious of it.

For the Guacamole:
1 large avocado
1/2 tbspn lime juice
1/2 tbspn lemon juice
cracked pepper

To make the guacamole, start by cutting the avocado in half and removing the seed. Scoop out the flesh and place in a bowl. Add the lemon and lime juice and season with the pepper. Place in the fridge until you are ready to serve.

For the Tomato Salsa

2 tomatoes, finely diced
1/2 tbspn lime juice
cracked pepper

To make the tomato salsa, combine the tomatoes, lime juice and pepper in a bowl and mix well. Place in the fridge until you are ready to serve.

Now to put it all together, fill each potato skin with the chilli con queso, top with some tomato salsa and guacamole, sit down with a tequila and enjoy!!

Mrs B xx


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