Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Getting stuffed....courtesy of Margaret Fulton!

I have officially discovered my new favourite brekkie. The strawberries at the moment are so big and juicy that I have been buying a punnet to take to work each morning and dipping them in the french vanilla forme yoghurt. It is absolutely delicious. But on Sunday it was cold and wet and rainy and I felt like something that would warm me up so I chopped up the strawberries and microwaved them for a few minutes till they were nice and soft and then I poured my yoghurt over the top and got back into bed with my brekkie, my cup of tea and a book! It was a great way to spend a Sunday morning and I fully intend on doing it again this weekend : )

Last night Mum and Dad came over and I thought it only fitting that I take the nights meals from Margaret Fulton's Encyclopedia of Food and Cookery which they brought me for my birthday. I decided on the Stuffed Eggplant because I had just seen some gorgeous looking eggplants at the supermarket and the Tuscan Tuna Stuffed Mushrooms followed by Golden Syrup Dumplings. The dumplings were not Margaret's...but I had never made them before and wanted to try!

The eggplant took awhile to make because you had to salt it and let it sit for an hour to draw the moisture out, then fry it, scoop out the filling and stuff it before putting it in the oven for 40 mins. The result was well worth it though! And the mushies were dead easy, the filling was easy to make and once you stuffed them, they just went in the oven too. Final results looked something like this:

Pretty impressive I thought!

Stuffed Eggplant

2 large eggplants
1 onion chopped
4 tomatoes de-seeded and chopped
1 clove crushed garlic
1 tbspns chopped parsley ( I used basil )
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup beef stock
2 tbspns butter
1 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated cheese

Cut eggplants in half lengthways and slash edges, sprinkle with salt and let stand cut side down for an hour.
Drain eggplant and dry with paper towel. Spray a fry pan with a light coat of oil and fry eggplant for a few minutes cut sides down. Remove from heat and carefully scoop out flesh leaving a shell.
Combine eggplant flesh, tomatoes, onion, garlic, basil or parsley in a bowl and season with salt and pepper.
Fill eggplant shells and place in a baking dish. Pour stock into dish, cover with foil and bake for 30-40 mins at 180C until eggplant is tender.
Meanwhile melt butter in a frying pan and fry breadcrumbs until crisp and golden. Sprinkle crumbs over cooked eggplant and top with cheese. Return to oven until cheese is melted and golden.

And then there was the Tuscan Tuna Stuffed Mushrooms

4 Portobello Mushrooms
1 x 250g pkt of microwave white rice
2 spring onions chopped
1 capsicum finely diced
2 x small tins of tuna in springwater
1 x tspn of tuscan seasoning (I didn't have any so I used moroccan seasoning)
100g of extra light ricotta
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook rice according to packet directions.
Combine all ingredients, except mushrooms, in a bowl.
Trim stem from mushrooms and if desired, dice finely and mix into filling.
Fill mushrooms with mixture and place in a baking dish with 4 tbspns water.
Bake at 180C for about 20 mins.

Now golden syrup dumplings are something I have always loved but I have never cooked because I was a bit nervous about getting them right and I just associate them with being horribly full because they are usually big heavy doughy balls. Anyway after a few weeks of searching I found a recipe that was reasonably low calorie and decided to give it a try. The dough was easy to make, and made 18 small balls. The syrup was equally easy and once I put the balls into the syrup I was amazed at how they instantly started to puff up. I put the lid on the pot and let them simmer for about 15 mins and when I came back they were so cute! 18 lil balls of dough swimming in a golden syrup sauce. And eating them was even better! The sauce was nice and thick, the dumplings were light and airy, I actually didn't feel like I'd over eaten when I finshed them!

Golden Syrup Dumplings

1 cup SR flour
Pinch of salt
1 egg
Dash of milk
1 tbspn butter
1 cup water
3/4 cup golden syrup (or honey - I used half and half)
1 tbspn butter
1 tbspn brown sugar

Sift flour and salt. Rub in butter and mix to a soft dough with the egg and milk. Roll into small balls - you should get around 18.
Boil the water in a saucepan and add the remaining syrup ingredients. Stir to combine. When boiling add the balls and cover tightly with the lid.
Boil gently for about 15mins and serve at once with cream and / or ice cream.

So very good and so easy!!!

Also, you may have read that OH went to Canberra last week, well he came home on Sunday and look at the beautiful photo album he brought me. We are thinking of using it for our wedding or honeymoon pics and finding a stand to put it on so it's always on display. It's unreal, everytime you look at it the colours change and it shimmers in different shades of green, blue, purple and silver. I am a smidgen spoilt...

Happy hump day people!

Love Em x

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