Category Archives: Cooking

Food Fight Friday – I’m all about the bread baby!

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For the past 6 months or so, I’ve been making my own bread. Why? Well for one thing, with the amount of people that are in this family, I am finding it more and more necessary and for the most part, in my opinion of course, most store bought bread blows… hard. Too big of a price, for too less of a product, and I’m sorry, too many chemicals and preservatives. I wish I could find the picture I took of a loaf of bread my husband took to feed the seagulls a couple of months ago… three weeks later it was still semi soft and mold free when I found it stashed in the back of his car. Yuck!

Anyways, I’ve played around a lot with my bread recipe. I started off with one from Allrecipes.com called Amish Bread. It was awesome, don’t get me wrong, but sooooo sweet! Even when I halved the amount of sugar. And then quartered it. Just not what I was looking for… I need something I can spread with vegemite and enjoy! Not something that is cake masquerading as bread. About two months ago I stumbled upon another recipe, which is to die for. It’s no sweet and so so easy! So, for today’s FFF, I am loading the different steps I took to making the bread that is already half scarfed on my kitchen counter!

First things first… 4 cups of bread flour goes into the mixer along with 3 cups on warm water, 1/2 cup of sugar, three tablespoons of yeast, 4 tablespoons on oil (I use olive oil) and 3 teaspoons on salt. Mix it all together!

 It looks like an odd kind of slurry when you are done. Since it’s getting so cool now, I microwave a cup of water for a couple of minutes, and then stich the rising slurry into the now warm, moist microwave to let it rise for 3o minutes. When it’s doubled in size, it comes out and I slowly add in four more cups of bread flour… I eventually have to hold the entire mixer head up because my mixer is just a little too small for this recipe 😉

I let the mixer beat (knead) it around for a good 10 minutes, before hand kneading it for an additional 5 myself. Then I dump it into a well oiled bowl and it goes back into the warm, moist microwave for another 30 minutes (or there abouts) to double in size again.

Punch down the dough (very cathartic btw), form into three loaves and let them rise for a third time… 45 minutes later, put all three into a 350C oven for about 20 minutes… then this deliciousness! The smell of cooking bread is divine!!

 

Here is the the link to recipe I’ve been using: Grandma VanDoren’s White Bread

Happy eating everyone!! 🙂

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Food Fight Friday – Chocolate Caramel Shortbread

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If memory serves me correctly, my Mum has been making this sweet treat every year for Christmas for as long as I’ve been alive – probably longer. It me, it means it’s Christmas time (or close to it) and is as important to Christmas lunch as the ham, turkey and pavlova. I tried once, in the long distant past (probably about 20 years ago now!!!) to make this and failed miserably. But I finally decided to try it again yesterday and taste test it out on my local guinea pig, Kirsten from Gone Bananas.

Anyways, for the most part, I’d call it a success. It tasted like my Mum’s, which is awesome, but I was not completely happy with the base, so I’ll start tinkering with it now. Maybe some vanilla… I dunno. Anyways, here are a plethora of pictures, of each step in the process and I’ll add the actual recipe at the end. On to the nomminess!!

1. Using the magic bullet to turn regular sugar into castor or ultra fine sugar. 2. Mixing the sugar, butter and flour together.
3. Pressing it out into the baking dish. 4. Baked until golden in a moderate oven (350F). 5. Making the caramel. 6. Poured onto the completely cooled shortbread base.

(Bottom pictures first) 1. Successfully melt the chocolate (Yay! First time for me!) 2. Spread over the top and cool in the fridge forever 😛 3. Slice and enjoy!! 🙂

Taste testing 😉

Chocolate Caramel Shortbread

Base
4 oz butter 1 cup plain flour 1/4 cup castor sugar

Caramel
4 oz butter 1/2 cup castor sugar 3 tablespoons golden syrup 400g tin condensed milk

Chocolate icing
3 oz dark chocolate 1 oz butter

Base: Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Sift flour, gradually add to the creamed mixture
making a firm dough. Press into a greased 11″ x 7″ lamington tin. Bake in a moderate oven until golden brown.
Cool in the tin.

Caramel: Combine all ingredients in medium saucepan with heavy base, stir over low heat until butter is
melted and sugar dissolved; continue stirring, increase heat, bring to boil, reduce heat, simmer, stirring
constantly for about 5 minutes or until golden brown. (I prefer to cook in the microwave, a minute at a time and
stir to check until the right consistency. Much easier to clean and it does not get burnt! Pour caramel over cooled base.

Chocolate icing: Melt chocolate in basin over saucepan of hot water add butter, stir well. Spread chocolate
icing over cool fudge; when set cut into squares. Enjoy!

Food Fight Friday – Oreo Spiders!!

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I was in two minds over what to post this week for FFF… after all I baked bread, cookies, a really banging chicken pot pie and truely awesome roast chicken with scalloped potatoes. However, when Kirsten and I started making these, I couldn’t help but fall in love with their cuteness.

They were so easy too – microwave your oreos for 10 to 15 seconds, remove the top and lay in your pre-cut (by you) twizzlers, put the top back on and use decorating gel for their eyes. Voila! Spider! I do have to comment that you have to use the pull apart twizzlers, or it won’t work. Anyways, these were a lot of fun and the kids sure did love them at our pumpkin carving party yesterday.

Happy Halloween everyone!!

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Food fight friday – Homemade sushi is in the house!

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This week for Food Fight Friday I am submitting this entry on behalf of my husband. He played sushi chef to my friends and I at our monthly dinner club. This months theme was Asian, and we had some really awesome food. However, since I didn’t play a part in most of the food, I am putting in Sean’s sushi awesomeness 🙂

Making Ebi nigiri sushi

Sean with his nigiri sushi - Salmon

Rolling a small cucumber roll

Avocado caterpillar roll - I love the little antenae!

FTFBadge

Over the babymoon and Food Fight Friday!

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The time has come, the walrus said to talk of many things….

And the babymoon is over. Things have been beyond insane here as we all get used to the new family member. It’s hard to except that Gabrielle will be 3 months old next week. She has her own little quirks, but for the most part, a more content, happy little person I couldn’t have asked for. To start off reposting I am going to participate in Food Fight Friday….

Oreo Cheesecake Cupcakes… inspired by a DITL (day in the life) post I saw on livejournal’s DITL community and baked for my monthly meetup dinner club. These were nommy! My good friend Kirsten over at Gone Bananas helped me make these – so she deserves half the credit… she also helped me eat test them 😉

Oreos in the bottom of the patty pans...

You should be proud of me… I managed to only eat three oreos when putting them in the patty pans… that’s great restraint for me!! 🙂

Pans full of cheese cake mix...

Both Kirsten and I managed to hold ourselves back until all the pans were full of cheesecake mix… the leftovers in the bowl were fair game however! Nom!!!

Into the oven they go!

15 minutes and they were done. Super easy and very tasty!

Oreo Cheesecake Cupcakes

Here is the link (Oreo Cheesecake Cupcakes) if you are interesting in making them… they are best left in the fridge overnight in my opinion.


Happy St Patrick’s Day

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St Patrick's Day Cookies

 

Even though we are not Irish, and as far as I know, have no Irish blood, we are still celebrating so to speak – I wore green today, painted my finger nails green, and I also made corned beef, potatoes, carrots and cabbage for dinner. Go me 😉 Happy St Patty’s Day!