Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Chicken Yakisoba

When Mr B and I started doing our groceries online last year one of the unexpected bonuses was that it actually saved us money.

As it turns out I am a really bad (or really good depending on which way you look at it!) impulse shopper....

2 for the price of 1 you say?

Half price for today only?

Buy 6 get 1 free?


So it was an absolute mystery to me when two multi packets of instant noodles showed up in the groceries a few weeks ago....at the bargain price of 2 for $5! We don't even eat instant noodles.....

And I was doing so well too......

So this sudden influx of noodles has meant that I have had to increase my noodle recipe repertoire. I started off with these Noodle Omelettes and they are fast becoming a Friday night staple but when I came across this recipe for Chicken Yakisoba on Pinterest I knew I had to try it.

This recipe is so full of flavour, the sauce is really something incredible and I love the addition of the cabbage - definitely a step up from your normal stir fry!

Chicken Yakisoba - Serves 2 

1/2 cabbage, finely diced
1 onion, diced
2 medium carrots, sliced into ribbons (we use our peeler to get them nice and thin)
1 head of broccoli, diced into small florets
1 green capsicum cut into thin strips
1 tspn crushed ginger
250g chicken breast, diced
1 pkt Oriental flavoured 2 minute noodles
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup worcestershire sauce
2 tbspns tomato sauce
Tobasco sauce to taste (roughly 1/2 tspn)
1 tbspn sugar

Cook the noodles as per packet directions - drain and set aside.

Heat a fry pan over medium-high heat and add 1 tbspn oil. Add the ginger, onion and chicken and cook for around 5 minutes or until chicken is sealed.

Add the cabbage, carrots, broccoli and capsicum and cook for 5-10 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Meanwhile, combine the soy sauce, worcestershire, tomato sauce, sugar and tobasco. Pour sauce over vegetables and stir to combine.

Add the noodles and toss well to ensure they are heated and evenly coated in the sauce.

Serve and enjoy!

Mrs B xx

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Creamy Shallot and Mushroom Pasta

Due to a public holiday and a well timed RDO, we were lucky enough to have a 4 day weekend here.

In my head this was the equivalent of a well earned holiday in which I pictured sunny afternoons lounging in the sun, motor bike rides, picnics and general relaxation.

How it actually went down was catching up on mountains of housework, baking and gardening.

On one hand I felt a bit like the we didn't make the most of our time off, but on the other hand we achieved alot around the house and can finely see the front yard through the weeds so I am pleased about that!

Plus on Thursday we managed to squeeze in a lovely brunch with Mum, Dad and my Nan.

There was hot cups of tea, warm banana bread, chocolate biscuits and the cutest little Halloween chocolates!

It was really lovely to just take a couple of hours out and sit around chatting and taking selfies!

When we got home Mr B captured the most amazing rainbow just behind our house. Isn't it gorgeous?

And this morning we went for brunch at Mum and Dad's because this afternoon my Dad was embarking on a big journey.

Earlier in the year he went to Sydney for a training course and came home qualified as a Green Flag Judge. This meant he could go out and judge parks in order to see if they met the requirements for the Green Flag. At the time he didn't think much of it and never expected a call back to actually judge anything. Yet here we are, only a few months down the track and he is currently on a flight to New Zealand where he will spend a week just outside of Auckland exploring and judging several of their parks.

I couldn't be more proud or excited for him......but I am kind of counting down the minutes till he comes home next Friday.

Between 3 days of domestic duties and today's brunch and trip to the airport, I am absolutely buggered and Mr B has been snoozing on the couch since we got home. Easy tea tonight and it doesn't get much easier then this tasty mushroom spaghetti!

Creamy Shallot and Mushroom Pasta - Serves 4

200g spaghetti
1 tbspn olive oil
8 shallots, peeled and cut into wedges
20g butter
375g button mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 tbspn crushed garlic
1 tbspn wholegrain mustard
250ml Philadelphia Cream for Cooking, extra light (you can use normal thickened cream if you prefer)

Cook the spaghetti in a large saucepan of salted boiling water following packet directions. Drain, reserving 1 cup of cooking liquid.

Whilst your spaghetti is cooking, heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 mins or until golden and soft.

Add the butter, garlic and mushrooms and increase heat to high. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, for 5-7 mins or until mushrooms are tender.

Stir in the mustard and the cream. Simmer for 3-5 mins or until sauce thickens slightly. Add the spaghetti and then gradually add the cooking liquid until it forms a nice sauce. Toss it all together and serve!


Mrs B xx

Friday, October 25, 2013

Thick and Fluffy Pancakes

I don't know about you but around here, Friday's call for pancakes.

Especially this Friday.

You see Mr B and I had an RDO today and spent the day weeding, vacuuming, mopping, dusting, baking and frosting.

Pancakes are definitely required to balance out all of the housework. It's the only thing for it.

I have had a major craving for pancakes and maple syrup lately, but it's taken some time to find a really good recipe that makes thick fluffy gorgeous pancakes instead of flat boring pancakes.....if I wanted flat boring pancakes, I would make crepes. Not that there is anything wrong with crepes, but when you want pancakes, you want them thick and fluffy, like these!

Pancakes - Makes 10

1.5 cups milk
2 tspns lemon juice
2 tbspns caster sugar
1.5 cups self raising flour
1/4 tspn bicarb soda
1 egg
1.5 tbspns melted butter

Combine milk, lemon juice and sugar in a large jug and set aside for 5-10 mins - it will start to look a bit curdled, don't be alarmed, that's what it's supposed to do!

Sift flour and bicarb into a large bowl.

Combine egg and melted butter and whisk into milk mixture.

Add milk mixture to flour mixture and whisk to combine. Don't worry if there are still a few small lumps, the key is to not over-whisk the mixture as it will make your pancakes tough.

Leave the batter to rest for 2-5 minutes while you heat and lightly grease a fry pan over medium-high heat.

Pour 1/4 cup of the mixture into your fry pan and once bubbles appear on the surface and begin to pop, flip over and cook on the other side until golden.

Personally I like my pancakes drowned in maple syrup with a dollop of cream on top and Mr B likes his with a bit of ice cream added to the mix so whether you like yours with berries or whether you like them drowned in maple syrup like us, just make sure you enjoy them!

Mrs B xx

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Carlton Dessert

Now you may remember a few weeks ago Mum and Dad whipped up this old family classic - the flummery.

Well at that time Mum told us about her favourite version of this dish which was the 'plain flummery' and supposedly tasted like ice cream.

In my head I was thinking 'pffffft yeah right, how could the plain version taste like ice cream' and actually imagined it having very little taste whatsoever.

But then Mum and Dad dished up the 'plain flummery' last night and I am telling you it was anything but 'plain' not to mention it tastes just like the creamiest vanilla ice cream you could ever imagine.

Cue me being super impressed and Mr B and my Dad demolishing several serves each.....

I will definitely be making this one myself....and not sharing it with anyone!!

Mum and Dad served their flummery up 'trifle' style with layers of blueberry jelly, blueberries and whipped cream.

Carlton Dessert (ice cream flummery layered with blueberries, jelly and cream!)

1 x 375ml tin of full fat evaporated milk
1/2 cup caster sugar
2 tspns gelatin dissolved in 1 tbspn boiling water
Vanilla essence
300g fresh or frozen blueberries
600ml thickened cream, whipped
1 pkt blueberry jelly made up as per packet directions

Using an electric mixer, whip the evaporated milk until thick. Add the gelatin, sugar and vanilla essence and beat gently to combine.

Pour into your serving dish to set.

(Personally I could call it quits here and eat this entire flummery on it's own all by myself. It is just out of this world divine!)

Once the flummery is set, top with diced blueberry jelly. Scatter half of the blueberries over the jelly and top with half of the whipped cream. Repeat with remaining cream and blueberries.

Serve and enjoy!!

However one thing still troubled me - I couldn't for the life of me figure out why Mum kept calling this delicious creation the Carlton Dessert......

I thought it was maybe the original name for it or some fancy dessert I had never heard of.

Turns out it is actually much simpler then that.

When Mum chooses to follow football (which is very VERY rarely) she barracks for Carlton, who's colours happen to be blue and white......

Mrs B xx

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Curried Lentil, Spinach and Mushroom Twist

So it appears I have temporarily lost my baking mojo.

Yesterday I settled in for a day of pumpkin inspired baking which I tend to do around this time each year and I have to say I was really looking forward to it. I had my pumpkin puree ready to go, Mr B was working outside for the day, it was just me and my kitchen.

First off I decided to make my Mum's famous pumpkin muffins.....they came out of the oven flat and pancake like.

Secondly I made my Pumpkin Loaf.....it came out of the oven looking a little over cooked on the outside but still appeared under cooked in the middle.

Thirdly I made Mr B some pumpkin muffins with a maple cream cheese filling and a streusel topping.....I don't even want to tell you how awful these came out.

I mean honestly this is just not on.

The week was not a total right off though because I did manage to make this Curried Lentil, Spinach and Mushroom Twist and it was damn tasty! The addition of the mango chutney is a must and even lentil hating Mr B was impressed!

Curried Lentil, Spinach and Mushroom Twist - Serves 4

2 sheets shortcrust pastry
1 tbspn olive oil
1 onion finely diced
250g swiss brown mushrooms, finely diced
800g canned lentils, drained
150g baby spinach leaves
1.5 tspns curry powder
2 tbspns mango chutney plus extra to serve
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
Salt and Pepper to season
Milk for brushing

Heat oil in a pan over medium heat.

Add the onion and mushrooms and cook, stirring, for 3-5 mins.

Add the lentils, spinach leaves, curry powder and chutney. Season with salt and pepper and cook for a further 3-5 mins or until onion is cooked and spinach wilts. Set aside to cool.

Preheat oven to 180°C and lightly grease a baking tray.

Place the two sheets of pastry on the prepared tray, overlapping about 4cm and gently press together to seal.

Arrange the mushroom mixture in the centre of the pastry leaving a 7-8cm border on all sides and sprinkle with the grated cheese.

Using a sharp knife, make cuts in the pastry on the long sides surrounding the filling at 2cm intervals.

Start by bringing the ends of the pastry up to enclose the filling and then bring alternating strips up and over to enclose completely.

Brush with a little bit of milk and bake for 30 mins or until golden. Serve with extra chutney and steamed greens.


Mrs B xx

Friday, October 18, 2013

Pear and Raspberry Crumble Pots

Fridays used to be all about heading home, unwinding and slothing out on the couch with anything we had in the freezer that was battered or crumbed and a few alcoholic beverages. 

Then at some stage Friday became all about heading home, unwinding in the kitchen with some baking, throwing together an easy dinner and maybe one alcoholic beverage.

Now Friday night is all 'is it too early to jump into bed, watch a movie and eat ice cream from the tub??'

Ok so that's actually pretty much every night lately.

But what I'm getting at here is that recently I've been a) feeling lazy for going the ice cream route for dessert all the time and b) feeling like I would prefer something involving fruit and yoghurt instead.

(Never mind the fact that there is a whopping great big mocha self saucing pudding in the fridge at the moment. Earlier in the week it was 'give me fruit and yoghurt' and by Friday I tend to be more 'give me anything with chocolate!')

I know, I know, shock horror, if Mr B knew I was 'over' ice cream and kinda craving something fruity and delicious and maybe even slightly healthier for dessert he would surely apply for a divorce due to irreconcilable differences. Although on the other hand he might just be grateful I've started to make dessert again because unless Mum and Dad are coming over for dinner I tend to just throw the good ol' faithful tub of ice cream in the trolley and be done with it!

 So when Mum and Dad came for dinner this week (pretty much the only occasion I can get away with serving fruit up for dessert.....) I was keen to try this recipe because it sounded absolutely delicious and so simple to throw together - win win!

And wouldn't you know it - Mr B loved it and ignored the rest of us sitting around having a conversation while he tried to get every last morsel out of his glass, I might just be onto a winner here!

Pear and Raspberry Crumble Pots - Serves 4

1 cup plain flour
120g butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup caster sugar
1/3 cup dessicated coconut
800g tin of pear halves drained and sliced
1.5 cups frozen raspberries, thawed
375g thick vanilla yoghurt (I used Black Swan's Greek Style Vanilla Bean Yoghurt and it was perfect for the flavour combination)

Place the flour in a bowl and use your fingers to rub the butter through until you get a coarse crumb like texture. Add the caster sugar and coconut and quickly mix through still using your fingers. You don't want to over work the mixture or your butter will melt. Place in the fridge for 30 mins.

Pre-heat oven to 180C and line a baking tray with grease proof paper or a silicone mat. Scatter the crumb mixture evenly over the tray and bake for 5 mins or until golden. The mixture will still be soft but will firm up during cooling.

Divide half of the yoghurt between 4 serving glasses. Top with half of the pears. Spoon over half of the raspberries and half of the crumble mixture. Repeat layers, finishing with a generous serve of crumble.

Serve immediately.


Mrs B xx

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Greek Lamb Stuffed Tomatoes

This is another one of those recipes that has been lurking in the depths of my collection for far too long.

You see I love the idea of stuffed tomatoes, but in my head the whole scooping out the insides thing always goes horribly wrong and results in thin shells dotted with holes that leak out the filling and generally look unattractive.

Despite this, I kept collecting various forms of stuffed tomato recipes, tomatoes stuffed with rice, tomatoes stuffed with roast vegetables, tomatoes stuffed with just about anything you could imagine....but I was still not quite confident enough to actually make them.

Until now.

And let me tell you my being wary of making stuffed tomatoes days are over.

Plus it kind of helped that Mr B did the scooping part for me......

These were absolutely delicious and really simple, I have so many ideas for stuffed tomato dishes I want to try now!

Greek Lamb Stuffed Tomatoes - Serves 2

4 large firm tomatoes
1/2 tspn crushed sea salt
1 tbspn crushed garlic
1 tbspn panko breadcrumbs
1 onion, finely diced
250g lamb mince
1 tbspn Gourmet Garden Mediterranean Herbs (or substitute for oregano)
1 tspn lemon juice
1/2 cup cooked white rice plus 1.5 cups extra to serve
Salt and Pepper

Pre-heat oven to 180C.

Using a sharp knife, cut the top off the tomatoes and then using a teaspoon, carefully hollow them out leaving 1/2 to 1cm thick shells. Sprinkle the inside of each tomato with salt and place cut side down on some kitchen paper or a chopping board to drain.

In a lightly greased fry pan over medium heat, add the garlic and onion and cook for 2-3 mins or until softened. Increase the heat to medium - high, add the mince and cook for 5 mins before stirring through the herbs, lemon juice and 1/2 cup of cooked white rice. Season with salt and pepper.

Spoon mixture evenly into the tomatoes and place in a baking dish. Top with panko crumbs. Bake for 25-30 mins.

Season remaining rice with lemon juice, salt and pepper and serve with the cooked tomatoes.


Mrs B xx

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Frozen Tiramisu

Last week when we made our fortnightly journey over to Mum and Dad's for dinner it was a cold, wet, windy and generally miserable evening.

All of a sudden it was like being back in the middle of winter rather then the early throws of spring and I have to say that whilst I like lying in bed listening to the rain falling outside as much as the next person, I do not like having to go out in it one little bit.

So walking into Mum and Dad's wet and severely wind blown, I was all set to get my grumpy on but then Mum put a plate of her vegetarian shepard's pie in front of me and all was right with the world again. This was one of my favourite meals when I lived at home and still is today.

Content with my happy belly I didn't really think much about what we would be having for dessert.

That was my first mistake.

Mum and Dad and Mr B and I have been having this dessert war for months now with no sign of it easing up and when Mum put this Frozen Tiramisu on the table I knew the bar had been raised.

My first clue really should have been when I phoned Dad the night before and he answered the phone with a frenzied 'I can't tell you what we're cooking for tea tomorrow night!'

 ........Ok, well I was only ringing to say hello?

Anyway, yes, FROZEN TIRAMISU!!

It was creamy and chocolatey and coffee-ey and amazing!

Frozen Tirzmisu - Serves 10-12

3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup strong black coffee
135g caster sugar
1 cup water
4 egg yolks
250g mascarpone
300ml thickened cream whipped
10-12 savoiardi  biscuitd
75g dark chocolate grated
Extra grated chocolate to serve

Grease a 1 litre loaf tin with cooking spray and line the base and sides with plastic wrap.

Place the brown sugar and coffee in a small saucepan over low heat and bring to a simmer. Once sugar has dissolved set aside to cool completely.

Place the caster sugar and water in a separate saucepan over high heat until it reaches 120C on a candy thermometer. Place egg yolks in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until foamy. Whilst the mixer is still running, gently pour in the sugar syrup and beat for 6 minutes or until cooled to room temperature. Fold in the mascarpone and cream.

Dip 1/2 of the biscuits into the coffee mixture and arrange in the bottom of the prepared tin. Spread over 1/3 of the mascarpone mixture and sprinkle with 1/3 of the grated chocolate.

Repeat the layers of mascarpone and chocolate and finish with the remaining biscuits soaked in the coffee mixture.

Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for 6 hours or overnight. Remove the loaf from the tin and serve immediately sprinkled with extra grated chocolate and whipped cream.

And I couldn't resist cutting my piece in half to get this shot of the inside!


Mrs B xx

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Homemade Crepes

I think I have mentioned before that Mr B and I do our weekly groceries online and then collect them from the store at a set date and time. Well recently I was doing our regular online order and happily working my way through the list of things we needed.....

'pumpkin, chocolate melts, avocado, crepes.....' but when I found said crepes I couldn't believe how much they were - and not in a good way!

So I did the only thing I could do, I decided to make them myself and I was so pleased with how they turned out (aside from that minor incident when I flipped one out of the pan trying to be all cool and it landed on my thumb.....very hot crepe vs. thumb = jumping up and down whilst waving your burnt thumb in the air...) that I think our crepe buying days are over!

Basic Crepes - Makes 10

125 g plain flour
2 tablespoons caster sugar
A pinch sea salt
2 eggs
300ml milk
30g butter, melted

Place the flour, sugar, salt, eggs and 100 ml of the milk in a large bowl. Slowly add the butter and whisk together until smooth. Gradually add the remaining milk, whisking as you go to ensure there are no lumps. The batter should be perfectly smooth and very runny. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for an hour to rest.

Heat a large, heavy-based frying pan (or crepe pan if you have one) over a medium-high heat. Add 1/2 tspn of butter to the pan and allow it to melt before wiping most of it from the pan using a piece of paper towel.

Carefully pour 1/4 cup of the crepe batter into the pan and swirl it around so that it is quite thin. I used quite a large frying pan and swirled my first crepe out to thinly coat the base.....but it was far too thin and I had no hope of flipping it over so for the next one I used the same amount of batter (1/4 cup) and swirled it out to about 20cm in diameter and it worked perfectly. Cook the crepe for 1-2 minutes or until the surface is no longer shiny and the edges are starting to brown. Carefully flip the crepe over with a spatula and allow it to cook for a further 1 minute or until done.

Slide the crepe onto a plate and repeat with the remaining batter.

I had so many ideas for what I wanted to do with these crepes (and they will most certainly be re-appearing this week filled with strawberries and cream!) but their first mission was these Pumpkin and Ricotta Crepes.

Pumpkin and Ricotta Crepes - Serves 4

8 crepes
800g pumpkin, peeled, seeded and diced
250g light ricotta
500g frozen spinach, defrosted
1/4 cup parmesan
1 cup thickened cream
2 tbspns wet italian herbs
Salt and Pepper to season
Steamed beans to serve

Pre-heat oven to 200C. Place pumpkin in a large lightly greased oven proof dish and roast for 45-60 mins or until tender. Mash until smooth.

Squeeze any excess liquid from the spinach. Combine spinach, ricotta and pumpkin and season with salt and pepper.

For each crepe, spoon 1/4 cup of the pumpkin mixture along the edge of your crepe and roll up to enclose the filling. Place the crepe seam-side down into a lightly greased oven proof dish. Repeat with remaining crepes and pumpkin mixture.

Whisk the cream and herbs in a jug. Pour over the crepes. Top with parmesan. and bake for 15-20 mins or until golden.

Serve with steamed beans and enjoy!

Is there anything that you have decided to tackle yourself because you refuse to pay supermarket prices for it??

Mrs B xx

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Salmon with Brown Rice, Quinoa and Vegetables

A few months ago I signed up to be a 'taste tester' on taste.com.au. It's sort of like a volunteer process where you let them know what your interests are and occasionally they might send you a product to review on their website. I am all for free stuff so even if the chance of them actually sending me something was fairly low I was still keen to give it a try just in case.....

To be honest after I signed up I didn't really think much more of it and had completely forgotten about it by the time a packet of Sunrice 90 Second Brown Rice and Quinoa showed up in the mail box which led to a very confusing few moments wondering why someone had sent me rice......

Once I got over the initial excitement at actually having been sent something to try I entered full blown panic about what exactly I was going to make with it.

After coming up with all sorts of complicated and fancy ideas, the one that was most appealing was actually the easiest one and it doesn't get much easier (or much tastier!) then this simple salmon, brown rice, quinoa and vegetable stir fry.

Salmon with Brown Rice, Quinoa and Vegetables - Serves 2

1 x 250 pkt Sunrice 90 Second Brown Rice and Quinoa
200g smoked salmon ( I use Tassall's Smoked Salmon for Cooking)
1 x head of broccoli finely diced
6 x spears of aspargus trimmed and cut into thirds
1/3 cup diced spring onions
1.5 tbspns soy sauce

In a fry pan over medium-high heat, combine the salmon, broccoli, asparagus, and spring onion. Cook for 5-7 mins stirring occasionally.

Cook the brown rice and quinoa as per packet directions.

Add the soy sauce, brown rice and quinoa to the pan and cook for a further 3-5 mins or until salmon is cooked. Serve hot.

I was really surprised at just how delicious this was but it just goes to show sometimes simple and fresh is the way to go.


Mrs B xx

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Easy Cheesy Noodle Omelettes

We are all about the easy mid-week meals around here and this Easy Cheesy Noodle Omelette has it all.

I must admit that I was anticipating this to be fairly average and was a little unsure about the pairing of noodles and omelette but was pleasantly surprised at just how tasty and delicious it was.

Looking at these photos just makes my mouth water and I can't help picturing the omelette sandwiched between two pieces of buttery fresh white bread - hello leftovers for lunch heaven.....

Easy Cheesy Noodle Omelettes - Serves 2

1 pkt Chicken 2 Minute Noodles
1 zucchini, grated
125g tin corn kernels, drained
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup grated cheddar

Cook the noodles as per packet directions. Drain well.

Gently stir through the zucchini, corn, eggs and 1/2 of the grated cheese. Season with salt and pepper.

Pour the mixture into a large non-stick oven proof fry pan over medium-high heat. Allow to cook for 5-7 mins without stirring. It might look like it's not going to set but just have faith.

Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and place under a hot grill for 2-3 mins or until cheese is melted and golden. Remove from the oven and gently fold the omelette in half. Cut into two and serve with steamed vegetables or salad.

And more flowers! These beautiful roses were a gift from Mum and Dad and I just love the way fresh flowers can completely change the feel of a room.

Mrs B x


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