Sunday, December 20, 2009

Terrine With Pistachios & Cranberries

I always thought terrine's would be difficult to make. I was wrong!
This is a very simple one I made for our family Christmas bash and everyone said it was terrific, so I guess I'll be making it again. And again

I got this recipe from Delicious Magazine (Dec 08) and yes, I actually followed the recipe because I didn't want to "blow it". I did find though that the quantities given were too much for just one terrine, so we ended up with two.

Let's go...

Put in a large mixing bowl:

800 grams each of pork and chicken mince
2 tablespoons fresh chopped herbs like parsley and thyme
3 eggs
1/2 cup brandy
3 cloves garlic, crushed
3 teaspoons salt
plenty of freshly ground black pepper
about 30 slices of pancetta (I accidentally bought prosciutto) but it worked OK
1/2 cup pistachio kernels
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 180 C.

Lightly grease a 1 litre loaf pan and then line the pan with the pancetta so it overlaps a little and there's plenty overhanging the edges to cover the top.

Place all of the other ingredients into a large bowl and mix with your hands. I always wear disposable gloves when I'm mixing stuff like this.

Pack the mix into the pan and press down. Cover with the overhanging pancetta then cover the top with baking paper and seal well with foil.

Place it in a baking dish and fill the dish with boiling water till it comes about halfway up the loaf pan. Bake for 90 minutes then remove it from the roasting pan and allow it to cool.

I then cut a piece of cardboard to fit the top of the terrine and placed a couple of cans of tomatoes on top to weigh it down so it compresses in the tin. Then I put it in the fridge for a few hours until it was cold

...and this is what I ended up with....and it was absolutely delicious!

It really was worth the effort.
You can also access this recipe at and search for simple terrine

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Champagne Cocktails

Not a recipe as such, but something I really, really like.

There's nothing I like better than an icy cold glass of champers....well there is, it's a champagne cocktail. The one most of us know is a sugar cube, drizzled with a few drops of Angostura Bitters, then topped with champers...

I like a couple of other versions....sugar cube, bitters, a drizzle of Cointreau and champers...
You don't need much, but that little slurp of luscious, orangey liquor makes the champers really special.

Also nice, if you like a bit more sweetness is the usual base with a slurp of Midori.

Have one for me. Cheers!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Mango Tartlets

This would have to be one of the easiest and most delectable little sweet treats I've ever made...and did I say they were easy?

I saw the idea for these in the Herald Sun a few weeks back and thought I'd try them out. I'm really glad I did because they all got devoured.
As usual, I tweaked the original recipe which called for ginger nut biscuits and shredded coconut as well as rum. I'm not a fan of ginger or coconut...and the kids were coming over, so the rum was also omitted.

You'll need:

Pack of butternut snap biscuits
2 mangoes
250g mascarpone cheese

Here's what I did....

I took the biscuits and, three at a time, heated them in the microwave for 20 seconds on high. It makes them nice and pliable so you can press them into small foil tart trays. As you can see I used the handle of a lemon juicer to gently press them down. I used the foil trays because that's all I had, but a small tartlet tray would work just as well.

This is what you end up with...little butternut tarts that you fill with this delectable concoction.

Blend the mascarpone and the chopped flesh of 1 mango together, then spoon it into the cooled tarts

Slice some more mango and place the slices on top.

Then eat!

That's it!

All gone.....

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Christmas Menu #2 - Potato Pancakes

I've had a lot on my mind lately, what with getting Number 3 renovated and cleaning up Number 10. Now, my thoughts have well and truly turned to food. Specifically, Christmas food!

On the Saturday before Christmas, MONT's daughters and their husbands and little ones descend on Number 10 for dinner. It's a night I always look forward to and I like to go all out and do something special.

Back in December 2006, I saw this Stephanie Alexander recipe in in the Age food supplement, Epicure, so I thought I'd give it a try. I was not disappointed and have been making them ever since.

There's only one thing with these though: don't let the mixture sit around for too long because the potato discolours.

Potato Pancakes:

500 grams waxy potatoes
1 egg
2 tablespoons potato flour
pinch salt
oil for frying

Peel the potatoes and roughly chop (do them in a few batches to avoid discolouration), then put in a blender and blend until smooth. You may need to shake the blender around a bit if lumps of spud get stuck in the bottom beneath the blades. Then add the egg, flour and salt and blend again.

Heat a non stick pan, add the oil and drop spoonfuls of the mix in and fry for a couple of minutes on each side. The little pancakes should be nicely browned and quite crisp on the edges.

Drain on kitchen paper, cool and then add whatever topping you like. I usually use cream cheese, smoked salmon, prawns, avocado...or whatever takes your fancy

You can make these pancakes the day before and refrigerate them, then reheat in a moderate oven for a few minutes before allowing them to cool a little and adding the topping.

Thanks Stephanie, I love these and so does everyone else.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Christmas Menu - Glazed Ham

Last Christmas I thought I'd be adventurous and serve a glazed, baked ham....and I'm so glad I did because it not only looks good, it tasted fantastic! ...and this year, I'm doing it again

This recipe is thanks to Donna Hay, Maggie Beer, Stephanie Alexander, and

First off, you need a ham with a good layer of fat beneath the skin.

Image -

Make a slit in the skin with a sharp knife and peel it off gently, easing your hand under it to lift it off without removing any of the fat. The fat's important. Trust me. Leave a little skin around the knuckle though

Preheat oven to 180ÂșC

In a small saucepan, combine:

A large dollop mustard
100 ml port
50 ml brandy
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
1 cup orange juice

Stir over low heat until sugar is dissolved. Bring to the boil and cook for a couple of minutes until the glaze thickens a little.

You'll also need about 1/4 cup whole cloves.

Now, make a criss-cross pattern through the fat and place a clove in each diamond. Place the ham into a baking dish lined with baking paper. Cover the knuckle with a piece of baking paper and tie it with string (so it won't burn)

Brush some of the glaze over the ham and let sit for a minute, then repeat the process. Place the ham in the oven and bake for 1 hour, removing every 15 minutes or so to brush more glaze over the ham

That's it. It's done!

All there's left to do now is place it in the middle of the table, and let everyone ooh and ahhh over it, because it does look fantastic. What's the saying? Something about return on investment? Well, this is certainly worth investing some time on.

This year I'm going to buy an organic/free range leg of ham. I was reading today that you can even order them online. I'll be heading to one of the markets here in Melbourne to select mine.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Friday Night Spare Ribs

Friday nights are easy meal nights at Number 10, which usually means marinated chicken wings and some oven baked chips in front of the TV.

A variation on the theme though is pork spare ribs, which I made last night

The Winter 2009 edition of Donna Hay Magazine had a couple of marinades, but as usual, I play around with what I've got in the fridge and cupboard.

You'll need about 1 kilogram of ribs, depending on how many people you're feeding.

Prepare your marinade about 2 hours before you plan to cook your ribs
In a saucepan place:
1/4 cup whiskey
1/4 cup rum or brandy
1/3 cup soy sauce
good slurp of oyster sauce
1 teaspoon mustard
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 desert spoons honey

Bring the marinade to the boil and let simmer for a couple of minutes to allow it to thicken a little.

Some recipes advise you pre-boil the ribs first. That's a good idea if you plan to do them on the BBQ. You don't want to end up with charcoal on the outside raw ribs on the inside.

Place the ribs in a container and pour the cooled marinade over the top, then cover and refrigerate for at least an hour. Keep an eye on them on the BBQ and brush marinade over them every few minutes as they cook.

If you plan to do them in the oven.

Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius, place the ribs on a baking rack in a tray lined with foil or non-stick baking paper...cook for about 30 to 45 minutes, brushing with the marinade every 5 minutes or so. That's it.

I served these with oven baked chips...but then, I serve just about everything with oven baked chips


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Egg & Bacon Pie

The first time I made an egg and bacon pie was in the 1970's. I was living at home and Mum and I had a bit of a cook-up.

I've made lots since then...and I made one this afternoon so MONT and I could take it to Number 3 tomorrow for our lunch.
I usually use sheet pastry: a shortcrust sheet on the bottom and a puff pastry sheet on the top.

Here's how I make mine.

Preheat oven to 180deg celsius.
Chop up 3 or 4 rashers of bacon and a few mushrooms and fry them off for a couple of minutes. Then chop up some capsicum and some zucchini and add that to the pan and cook for another minute.

Grease the pie dish and arrange the shortcrust pastry on the bottom, then put in 1 cup of grated cheese.

Take a cup of milk, half a cup of cream and 6 eggs and whisk together. When the bacon and mushroom mix is cooled a little, place it in the pie dish on top of the cheese, then pour the milk and egg mixture over the top.

Place the puff pastry over the top, press the edges together and prick the top of the pie to allow steam to escape.
Then bake for about 35 minutes, until browned on top

There you have it...Egg and Bacon Pie...I especially love eating this cold for lunch.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Banana Cake

I've been making Banana Cakes for so many years I forget when I first started. In fact it's got to a stage now that I do it by "feel" rather than measure and weigh all the ingredients.

So I thought I'd post the original recipe, because that's where I started.

As you can see though, even after all these years, I'm still a bit of a messy cook

So here's the original recipe from the Frankston Lions Ladies Club

4 oz butter
4 oz castor sugar
2 beaten eggs
3 or 4 mashed bananas.
3 oz plain flour
3 oz of SR flour
a large dollop of yogurt
1 teaspoon of bi-carb of soda
2 tablespoons of milk

Cream the butter and sugar, add the eggs and mix, if it curdles a little, don't worry, just add a spoonful of flour and mix it up. Add the mashed bananas and mix, then add the flour to the wet ingredients and fold through. At this stage I also added a half cup of All-Bran that had been mixed with a large dollop of yogurt.

Put the bi-carb soda in a bowl (I use the jug I mashed the bananas in) add the milk and the yogurt and mix. It will look like it's expanding and bubbling a little. Pour it into the cake mix and fold through. The final mix should be reasonably moist but not runny.

Pour it into a greased and lined cake tin, then bake in a preheated 180 degree oven for 35-40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre, comes out clean.

I used a loaf tin this time because MONT was taking it on his fishing trip and it was easier to pack in his gear

It's a beautifully moist and delicious cake which is very forgiving if you want to play around with the ingredients. Over the years I've added chocolate, coffee, walnuts, pecans, sultanas, dried apples, dried apricots and fresh apples but not all at once of course.

...and you can also ice it with a cream cheese frosting, or lemon glaze. Yumm!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Bolognese Sauce

Spaghetti bolognese is a fortnightly dish here at Number 10. MONT's home late on a Tuesday night and it's something I can prepare early and dish it up before I head to bed. I start work very, very early Monday through Wednesday

Anyway, I was watching Fast Ed on Better Homes and Garden's last Friday night and he suggested doing the bolognese sauce in the Slow Cooker. GREAT IDEA!

Firstly in a pot on the stove, chop an onion and fry it off, add mince beef and some mince pork...probably about half a kilo each

Break it up as it cooks, then add four cloves of chopped/minced garlic, fresh and dried herbs, chopped celery, carrot, zucchini and whatever else you like.

Looks good huh?
I then transferred it to the Slow Cooker and added 1 can of diced tomatoes and about 4 tablespoons of tomato paste. I then added Ed's secret ingredient. Well I would've if I'd had any . He suggested a good slurp of Soy Sauce. I was all out, so I added these instead.

Then add 1 cup of red wine and stir it in, then a half a cup of milk and give it a good stir.

I set the cooker on high and let it simmer away for about 4 hours. Then turned it down to low for another 3.

The real taste test will be tomorrow night, but it sure looks and smells good.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Custard Apple Pie

Stacey Snacks has some great recipes to try out. The other day I saw her Custard Apple Pie and thought I'd give it a go...and she was right. It was easy and delicious!

Here's my version. I made a couple of very minor changes.

I used two sheets of short crust pastry, I sprinkled about a teaspoon of sugar on one and laid the other over the top so I'd have more coverage of the pie dish.

Peel and quarter four apples. I used Granny Smith's because we like their tartness. Then slice the quarters into three and lay half of them in the bottom of the pie dish

For the custard, I used half a cup of milk, half a cup of cream, 2 eggs and a slurp of vanilla and whisked them together.
Combine half a cup of sugar and some cinnamon in a bowl.
Sprinkle the first layer of apples with half the sugar mix, then pour half the custard liquid over the top, then lay the rest of the apples in the dish, sprinkle them with the rest of the sugar and cinnamon and pour the rest of the custard over the top.

Dot the top with a few small knobs of butter.

Then bake in a 220c preheated oven for 10 minutes, before turning the oven down to about 180 and bake for another 40 minutes.

You may need to place some tin foil around the edge of the pastry to prevent it burning.
But the end result. Scrumptious! Thank you Stacey.

I served it with cream and my home made ice cream