Our latest feast

Friday, June 13, 2014

Broccoli and Brussels Sprout Gratin

I haven’t really ever ventured out the square when it comes to Brussels Sprouts – I normally only ever serve them with a roast and gravy. I love Brussels Sprouts but sadly not everyone else in the household is as big of a fan.

We love Cauliflower au Gratin and must say it is one dish that is on the menu frequently. So it was a no brainer for me to give this recipe a shot as cheese sauce and crunchy breadcrumbs do win friends and influence people at our dinner table. Just wasn’t quite sure how they would take to the cauliflower being replaced by green vegetables.

Surprisingly it was enjoyed all which saddened me as I was hoping to take some for lunch tomorrow.

Broccoli and Brussels Sprout Gratin
(recipe adapted from Weight Watchers Magazine July 2014)

Serves: 4
ProPoints per serve: 3

1 ½ cups skim milk
1 ½ tablespoons cornflour
1 ½ tablespoons water
2 teaspoons seeded mustard
60 grams 50% reduced fat grated tasty cheese
ground white pepper
300 grams broccoli, cut into florets
12 Brussels sprouts
1 slice wholemeal/wholegrain bread
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

Bring the milk to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat. Dissolve the cornflour in the water. Stir into the milk along with the mustard. Cook, stirring constantly, for 2 – 3 minutes or until thickened. Stir in the cheese until melted. Season with salt and pepper.

Steam the broccoli and Brussels sprouts over a saucepan of boiling water for 2 minutes. Transfer the broccoli and Brussels sprouts to a prepared baking dish.

Pour the cheese sauce over the broccoli and sprouts.

Place the bread in a food processor. Process until coarse crumbs form. Sprinkle on top of cheese sauce. Spray lightly with cooking spray.

Bake for 20 minutes or until lightly golden.

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Chilli Barbecue Sauce

A beautifully chargrilled steak needs to be accompanied by a nice sauce.  Normally Noel and I would choose a Creamy Blue Cheese or Creamy Peppercorn sauce, however sometimes our favourite purchased sauce, Byron Bay Coconut Chilli Sauce.  Tonight however I wanted to make something totally different so off on my little mission I went.

Upon flicking pages of a gorgeous little cookbook I was given, Mayonnaise Hollandaise Bernaise - A Cook's Book of Sauces, I came across this Chilli Barbecue Sauce recipe that was not only quick to make but very easy.

Seriously just by adding spices to purchased Barbecue sauce and Sweet Chilli Sauces the outcome was delicious.  A hint of indian, smokiness of the paprika lacing a barbecue sauce with chilli undertones was actually really suited to the chargrilled steak we had for dinner.

Chilli Barbecue Sauce
(Mayonnaise Hollandaise Bernaise - The Cook's Book of Sauces)

Serves: 6
ProPoints per serve: 1

20 grams reduced fat butter
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
1/3 cup ready-made barbecue sauce
1 tablespoon sweet chilli sauce
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

Heat the butter in a small saucepan over low-medium heat. Add the cumin, coriander and paprika and cook for 30 seconds.

Add the barbecue sauce, sweet chilli sauce and Worcestershire sauce. Mix well.

Serve with barbecued steak, lamb or hamburgers.

(Click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Yorkshire Puddings

YES I know... it's definitely time I posted our Yorkshire Pudding recipe!!

Many of you who know us are aware that the humble Yorkshire Pudding, while it is such a simple addition to a roast beef, would have to be one of our ALL TIME FAVOURITE FOODS to eat.  They have caused arguments, tears and smiles!!  Yes I am being very serious arguments have been born from the last one being eaten especially if it is going into to someone elses mouth.
Yorkshire Puddings are a savoury batter puff served traditonally with Roast Beef.  Some prefer to make it in a large pan and cut into pieces others used muffin tins.  The mixture can also be used to make Toad in the Hole, another dish that I am very fond of from my childhood days.

The second argument is who's pudding is better??  Yep you read correctly - who's is better!!  With both Noel and I being of British origin but obviously from two different countries there is a long standing arguements with some families - on the top of the list is Yorkshire Puddings and Mushy Peas.  Both mams make them differently and at times Noel and I have been able to achieve a happy medium between the two styles of cooking.  Being Welsh we grew up with a dense cake like pudding whereas Noel's English upbringing had him eating light and at times hollow centred pudding... either way they are good!!  Our House of Murray serves them light and airy and lots of them ......
The three key tricks to making these deliciously light and fluffy is:
  • have a very hot oven
  • ensure that the oil is sizzling hot

Yorkshire Puddings
Serves: 12
ProPoints per serve: 3 
285 ml skim milk
115 grams plain flour
3 eggs
pinch of salt
white pepper
4 tablespoons vegetable oil

Mix all the ingredients except the oil in a large bowl with an electric whisk or hand beater until all combine and mixture is light and fluffy.  Set aside in a cool area for 30 minutes before using the batter.
Preheat oven to 250 degrees Celsius.
Put 2 teaspoons oil in each well of a 12 capacity muffin tray.
Place in oven and heat until the oil is very hot.
Working quickly, open oven door and slid the tray out halway.  Carefully pour even amounts of mixture into the muffin holes. 
Close the door and cook for 15 - 20 minutes or until golden.  DO NOT OPEN THE DOOR.
Serve immediately with roast beef, vegetables and gravy.

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Roasted Pumpkin and Carrot Soup

Pumpkin soup is our second favourite soup in the Murray house.. the first being Chicken and Sweet Corn and then Pumpkin Soup

Pumpkin was on special this week so I have two large pumpkins sitting on the bench top just staring at me and me staring back wonderful what is something else besides good ol' pumpkin that I could make with them. 

I came across this recipe with an Indian inspired influence on the flavours and thought well we all love pumpkin soup and we all love Indian so it should be a winner - right?

Not only did it still have the homely thick texture of pumpkin soup but it was laced with the undertones of a mild curry which went together perfectly.  I didn't add chilli while cooking as I wanted to assess the flavours.  To be honest it doesn't need the chilli unless you would like a little extra "kick". 

This soup is well worth trying.....

Roasted Pumpkin and Carrot Soup
(recipe adapted from Taste.com)
Serves: 12
ProPoints per serve: 1
2 kilogram Kent pumpkin, peeled, deseeded, cut into 1cm pieces
1.5 kilograms carrots, peeled, cut into 1cm pieces
60ml (1/4 cup) olive oil
4 brown onions, halved, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tablespoons mustard seeds
1 tablespoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
¼ - ½ teaspoon chilli powder (optional)
8 cups salt-reduced vegetable stock
4 cups water

Preheat oven to 210 degrees Celsius.
Line several baking trays with non-stick baking paper. Place pumpkin and carrot in lined pan. Drizzle over 2 tablespoons of oil and toss to coat. Roast for 30-35 minutes or until golden and tender.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion. Season with salt. Reduce heat to low. Cook, stirring often, for 20 minutes or until soft. Add garlic, mustard seeds, coriander, cumin, turmeric, cardamom and chilli powder, if desired. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until aromatic and the mustard seeds start to pop.
Add the pumpkin, carrot, stock and water to the saucepan. Increase heat to medium. Cover and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low. Cook, covered, for 15 minutes. Uncover. Set aside for 15 minutes to cool slightly.
Transfer the pumpkin mixture to the jug of a blender. Blend until smooth. Transfer the soup to a clean saucepan. Repeat with remaining pumpkin mixture.
Place over low heat and cook, stirring, for 4 minutes or until heated through. Ladle among serving bowls.  Serve with low fat cream or low fat natural yoghurt if you would like a creamier soup.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Home Made KFC (Original Fried Chicken)

The secret to the famous 11 herbs and spices for the original Kentucky Fried Chicken has never actually been revealed although many claim to have and shared the ingredients that everyone has no doubt tried to identify with every mouthful of the delicious take away chicken.

I originally swore that Big Bucket in the Sky Chicken was the healthiest alternative to Kentucky Fried Chicken but after trying this recipe for one of my favourite takeaways I have that the taste of this chicken is the closest to KFC it is fantastic.

The kids and their friends were wrapped with the chicken. Ollie told me that the only difference between my version and KFC was “it’s missing the grease Mam”. He’s a very funny boy but it was so true. I thought I was eating KFC that just wasn’t greasy.

Adapting the recipe I found from About.com Home Cooking was easy to ensure that it was lower in fat.  I swapped the buttermilk for a home made version using a combination of skim milk and lemon juice.  The fact that I didn’t cook the chicken in lard or oil as suggested was one sure way to do that. I oven baked it - it was still crispy and tender. Obviously the change in cooking style takes longer but you will be amazed at the outcome.

Home Made KFC (Original Fried Chicken)
(recipe adapted from About.com Food Home Cooking)
Serves: 8
ProPoints Per Serve: 9

1 cup skim milk
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 egg, beaten
1 kilogram chicken thigh fillets, skin removed and fat trimmed
1 kilogram chicken drumsticks, skin removed and fat trimmed
1 cup plain flour
1 teaspoon ground oregano
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon dried sage
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
1 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons salt
2 Tablespoons paprika
1 Tablespoon onion salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

Pour milk into a small jug and mix in lemon juice.  Allow to stand for 10 minutes before using.

Combine the egg and milk in a large bowl. Soak the chicken pieces in the mixture.

Add the flour to a separate bowl and fold in all the herbs and spices. Roll the chicken in the seasoned flour until completely covered.

Place onto baking trays lined with baking paper.  Spray with cooking spray all over.

Cook for 20 - 30 minutes or until cooked through, turning chicken pieces over once.

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Char Siu and Orange Beef Ribs

Ribs are by far an indulgent food - so rich and so satisfying with meat that tender it falls of the bones and melts in your mouth.... mmmm drools!!

These Asian inspired ribs were magnificent - the delicate taste of Chinese Five Spice masked in a citrus Char Siu juice that had a hint of chilli were a feast for us on a Sunday Evening.  We are normally at the football club on Sunday evenings with awards and dinner service (both Noel and I cook dinner for approx 100 people each Sunday to raise money for the Club) so being at home mid football season is such a pleasant change.

I found this recipe in The Women's Weekly The Cooker Cookbook - a cookbook specifically for using Rice Cookers, Pressure Cookers and Slow Cookers.  I love my Slow Cooker everyone knows that and I am experimenting with both the Rice Cooker and the Pressure cooking.  I also used the large thick cut beef ribs, which are obviously meatier than the short cut but also tend to have less fat on them.

This recipe is actually one for the Pressure Cooker but I have adjusted it a little for the Slow Cooker.  I haven't cooked it in the Pressure Cooker but either way I have to say that the flavour was fantastic, the aroma that filled the house was vibrant enough to set off the taste bud sensors when opening the front door and there was an argument as to who was taking the left overs for lunch at work the next day.

Char Siu and Orange Beef Ribs
(recipe adapted from Women's Weekly The Cooker Cookbook)
Serves: 8
ProPoints per serve: 10

2 teaspoons five spice powder
2 kilograms beef spare ribs
cooking spray
2 cloves garlic crushed
1 fresh long chilli, chopped finely
4 cm piece fresh ginger
1/3 cup char siu sauce
¾ cup orange juice
freshly ground black pepper
2 spring onions, sliced thinly

Rub five spice all over beef.

Coat a large frying pan with cooking spray over a medium heat. Cook beef in batches, until browned. Remove and place in the slow cooker dish.

Place garlic, chilli, ginger, sauce, juice and sugar in a jug and stir to combine. Pour evenly over beef ribs in the slow cooker dish. Cover and cook on low for 6 – 8 hours stirring once to ensure all ribs are coated.

Remove beef from cooker, cover and keep warm. Skim excess fat from sauce mixture. Season to taste.

Serve beef drizzled with sauce mixture and sprinkle with sliced spring onion. Partner with steamed rice (add 3 ProPoints per ½ cup) if desired

(click here for a printable version of this recipe)