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Archive for the ‘Mrs Neurotic’s Kitchen’ Category

Banana Muffins

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010



If you buy bananas, there’s a chance your fruit bowl will have some of these occasionally:


And possibly if you’re anything like me… they might be even a little browner. Ok a lot. But you get the idea. Now I do two things with ripe bananas. One is I chop them up and freeze in a zip lock bag to use in smoothies. Two is I bake with them.


Now this recipe has to be the easiest banana muffin recipe in the world. No exaggeration. The other thing about this recipe is that it is extremely kid friendly. It’s one of those dump and mix recipes.


Banana Muffins


Ingredients:


1 1/2 C SR Flour
1 C Sugar
3 Ripe Bananas
4 Tbs Butter/Spread/Marg
4 Tbs Milk
1 Egg


Method:


Preheat the oven to 180C. Add all the ingredients to a bowl and using a stand mixer or handheld mixer combine on a low setting. I don’t even chop up the banana I just break it into pieces and let the mixer do all the work. Once all the ingredients are combined (you can still have a few lumps of banana) divide amongst 12 muffin holes or if you want to make mini muffins you can make about 30 – 40 depending how generous you are with the mix. I use a large ice cream scoop for the regular muffin size and a truffle sized ice cream scoop for the mini muffins. You can also add chocolate chips for a variation. Cook for 18 minutes in a 180C oven for regular muffins or about 10 minutes for mini muffins.


And you should end up with something like this…




Goat & Vegetable Soup

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010



Don’t be afraid.


Cooking goat sounds scary I know.


But really it’s no different than lamb or beef. The flavour is very much like a cross between beef and lamb and it is excellent for casseroles, soups and curries. One of our favourite curries is a Nepalese Goat Curry, recipe to come soon.


For this soup you will need goat curry meat, which is funny because I don’t actually use it for Curry as the bones are such a pain to eat with. But goat curry meat (which is diced goat on the bone) is perfect for soup. The other thing I love about goat curry is it’s extremely affordable. I got a kilo for $6.99 from my butcher.



Goat & Vegetable Soup


Ingredients:

1 kg Goat Curry Pieces (on the bone)

2 Litres Beef Stock

1 Large Onion Diced

2 Large Carrots finely diced

2 Medium Potatoes finely Diced

Seasoning


Method:


Place the goat pieces into a baking pan that has been lightly sprayed with olive oil. Roast in a 250C oven for about 15 minutes or until golden. Heat up your stock, now I make my own stock and freeze it but store bought is fine. Transfer the goat pieces to the pot with the stock and simmer on a very low heat for 2-3 hours. You will need to top the soup up with water to make sure the bones are covered. Once the meat is tender enough that it falls off the bone strain the soup and reserve the meat and bones.  Gently remove the meat from the bones and fork to flake the meat if needed. Taste and season the broth. Put the broth back on the stove and add your diced vegetables (for flavour and colour you can saute the onion if you desire). Add the meat back to the broth and cook for another 30 minutes or until the vegetables are soft. Feel free to skim the fat off the soup at any time. Serve with warm crusty bread on a cold winters night. For this recipe I made 2 Rosemary, Sea Salt & Garlic Oil Focaccia loaves and it went together perfectly.


***Note*** When I make my stock I roast onion, garlic, carrot, celery with some bones and then boil with some herbs for about 3-4 hours. Homemade stock done this way will give a more intense flavour to the soup. If you are worried about the flavour lacking in a bought stock you can add roasted garlic, a bay leaf and a sprig of thyme to the first boil of the goat pieces. Please remember to discard  the herbs when separating the meat from the bones.



Honey Mustard Chicken Drumsticks

Sunday, August 22nd, 2010



Who doesn’t love a good easy homemade marinade? We never buy the stuff in the jar for two reasons it’s expensive and when we do decide to marinade it’s generally a last minute decision so I want to know I can make an awesome marinade out of the ingredients I have in the cupboard. This is one of those recipes. It works great with any cut of chicken, we’ve done it with pieces, wings, breast and thigh. One day I’d love to do a whole chicken and see how it goes.


This is an old favourite in our house. We tend to do it in summer, but yesterday morning upon looking in my freezer I decided to use some drumsticks for last nights dinner and after all this dreary weather we’ve had lately I needed a little reminder of the warmer months. The recipe is tweaked slightly from a recipe from a Cookbook I have called “BBQ Food for Friends” By Jane Lawson and Vanessa Broadfoot. It’s a great book and if you don’t have it I highly recommend it!



Honey Mustard Chicken Drumsticks


Ingredients:


2 kg Chicken Pieces w/bone or 1 kg of Boneless Chicken Pieces

1/2 Cup Honey

1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard

1 Tbsp Wholegrain Mustard

2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil (don’t use olive oil if using the BBQ but you can if baking)

2 Tbsp Tarragon Vinegar (if you don’t have Tarragon Vinegar then please substitute with White Wine Vinegar)

A good handful of Fresh Parsley Chopped (You can use dried if you don’t have fresh, about 2 Tbsps)

1 Tbsp minced garlic (or 3 cloves minced)


Method:


Whisk all the ingredients together and reserve a small amount of marinade for basting (about 1/3 cup).

Place the chicken and the marinade in a large zip lock bag. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours, but if you can overnight is best.

If you are cooking these on the BBQ please take note…I tend to cook them with the hood down, the outside burners on high and the burners directly above the chicken on low, and if I find they are getting too dark I’ll actually turn them off and use the indirect heat to cook them completely. They take about 20-30 minutes to completely cook through, just check the meat closest to the bone before serving. And please make sure you baste before turning as this really helps with the flavour and keeps the meat moist.

Like the book suggests we tend to serve this chicken with Spring Onion Mash, but I have also made these at a bbq and bite size thigh pieces go great in a salad. So really whatever you like to serve.



Now this photo isn’t mine. It’s from the aforementioned cookbook. I do have a photo, however, it seems somebody was a little overzealous with the bbq’ing process last night and even though they tasted awesome they weren’t very hmmm shall we say photogenic. Not unless you like the charred look. [Glares lovingly towards Mr Neurotic] I mean my camera is good, but not even photoshop is that good.



As for Marinades… I have quite a little recipe collection going so I’ll be sure to post more soon…




What’s in my fridge?

Thursday, August 12th, 2010
Following on from “What’s in my Cupboard?” …
  • Milk – Duh
  • Cheddar Cheese – We have slices and grated (although that lives in the freezer)
  • Parmesan Cheese – An absolute MUST
  • Cream – I buy 600ml bottles and keep at least 2 in the fridge at all times.
  • Sour Cream – It’s not really a must if you’re desperate you can use cream and lemon juice/vinegar but it does come in handy!
  • Cream Cheese – Great for baking, mashed potato and don’t forget it’s great on bagels ;) And it lasts a while unopened.
  • Jalapenos – I love Mexican. Need I say more?
  • Ketchup – Notice I didn’t say Tom sauce? No we buy Ketchup.
  • Anchovies – I’m not a big fan of anchovies, but I do like them melted in oil with sliced garlic and used to flavour a pasta sauce. Not to mention my fave pea dish.
  • Fruit Conserves (Jam, Jelly… whatever floats your boat) – Besides spreading on hot crumpets, it’s great to stir through natural yoghurt, or dollop on top of butter cookies or even for scones w/jam and cream (notice I have the ingredients for devonshire tea at all times!)
  • 2 Kg Tub of Natural Yoghurt – Great for cooking, for eating and marinading. My life changed the second I started buying it in bulk.
  • Fruit Juice – We buy apple juice for Bircher Muesli, it’s a great sugar shot when you’re feeling low but it’s not something that we feed our kids because it’s “healthy” because lets face it… it’s not.
  • At least 3 blocks of unsalted butter at any given time – Call me crazy but after I’ve finished making 60 cupcakes and frosting I am practically half way through it.
  • Around 1-2 dozen eggs at any given time – Omlettes, Fried Rice, Quiche, Scrambled Eggs, Mayo/Bernaise/Hollondaise, Carbonara, any baked goods, Meringue, Pancakes… c’mon who doesn’t know what an egg is good for!
  • Mayonnaise – Not just a spread. Great for making dips, or for using as a binder for bread crumbs (get yourself 1/2 cup may 1 tbsp basil pesto and coat 500gms of chicken breast cut into nugget size then coat with some bread crumbs mixed with parmesan and bake in a hot oven till golden and cooked and you’ve got some AWESOME quick and easy chicken nuggets). Do not buy anything other than whole egg mayo… or I may have to hunt you down. Mayo is NOT supposed to be sweet.
  • Mustard – Dijon, Seeded and American. Dijon is great for marinades, Seeded is great for creamy pasta sauces (or even adding to mash!), American I use in my Potato Salad… strange I know but it is awesome. And everyone knows how awesome any mustard is with ham… right?
  • Minced Garlic – Yes it’s good to have fresh… but it’s very handy to have it on hand anytime too.
  • Minced Ginger – See above.


Ok that’s all for now… I may update this as my brain remembers more…


What’s in my cupboard?

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010


Everyone talks about the movement away from packet foods, yet a lot of people are scared when they look at recipes that have 10 ingredients.


One thing you’ll find if you come to my house is a well stocked pantry, fridge and freezer. But is it stocked with packet mixes? Pre packaged foods? No. It’s stocked with staples. All the things I’ll need to keep us going without dashing backwards and forwards to the shop for every meal I decide to make. I rarely need ingredients. And when I shop I restock or I might buy a few things I might need for a certain recipe that I don’t make too often.


What you will find in my pantry:


  • A large range of herbs and spices. From Coriander Seed to Cinnamon with some Star Anise in between (I will post later about my Dried Herbs & Spices collection).
  • Tomato Paste
  • Tinned Tomatoes (these can be used for casseroles, pastas sauces, soups, salsas etc)
  • Passata (for bolognaise or to use as a pizza sauce if you can’t be bothered blitzing some tinned tomatoes)
  • Sweetened Condensed Milk (for baking)
  • Tuna (we have small tins and large tins, I always buy it in springwater, and it is the meat on hand when you have nothing defrosted!)
  • Rice, we have 4 kinds at the moment – Basmati, Aborio, Jasmine and a regular Medium Grain for Turkish Pilav.
  • Flour – Self Raising, Plain, Strong White (for Pizza & Bread), Pasta & Noodle Flour, Cake Flour, Corn Flour. Now you don’t need to have all these flours, you can get away with Self Raising and Plain, but always keep check of stock.
  • Dried Noodles/Pasta – Spirals, Spaghetti, Fettucini, Penne, Gnocchi and sometimes soba noodles or some sort of asian noodle for stir fries and soups.
  • Polenta
  • Oats
  • Yeast – We have the dry active yeast sachets as I find these last longer than the canisters that need to be refrigerated.
  • Oils – Extra Virgin Olive OIl, Vegetable Oil (for frying), Olive Oil Spray, Canola Oil Spray, Sesame Oil, Peanut Oil (for stir fry), A good Olive Oil for Salads, Truffle Oil (it doesn’t have to be expensive and it lasts a long time! Great for eggs, risotto and mash not to mention salad dressings!)
  • Vinegars – white vinegar (great for cleaning and marinades), White Wine Vinegar, Red Wine Vinegar, Balsamic Vinegar
  • Soy Sauce
  • Kecap Manis (ABC Sauce it’s affectionately known as or Sweet Soy) – It’s a sweet thick soy.
  • Fish Sauce
  • Sweet Chili Sauce
  • Dry Sherry (or Shaoxing wine) for asian cooking
  • A Good Dry Vermouth (To quote Julia Child a good Dry Vermouth is better than cooking with a bad white wine) you will always have consistantly good results and it lasts forever.
  • Chocolate – I actually have 2 baking boxes, one for bits and bobs like colourings, gels, patty cases, decorations etc and one for Chocolate. I will have chocolate buds in milk, white and dark as well as the blocks that I keep especially for cooking. They aren’t necessarily cooking chocolate (YUCK!) but it’s not allowed to be “eaten” unless I am baking with it.
  • Cocoa an absolute must.
  • Sugars – I have white sugar, castor sugar, pure icing sugar (please stay clear of that “mix” stuff!), dark brown sugar, light brown sugar.
  • Golden Syrup
  • Honey
  • Salt – I know salt is salt right? No. Wrong. I have maldon and regular table salt as well as grinder salt.
  • Pepper – Same again, I have whole peppercorns, white pepper (for asian cooking), ground pepper.
  • Bicarb
  • Baking Powder
  • Custard Powder
  • Vegetarian/MSG/Preservative Free/Gluten Free Stock Powders – Yes we all should make our own stock and I do. But sometimes you need powdered stock. I have Chicken, Vegetable and Beef on hand at all times.
  • Dried Mushrooms like Porcini or Shitake (Great for when you’re at the end of your shopping week and you need some extra flavour in that sauce or risotto)
  • Tinned Fruit – Apples, Apricots, Peaches, Pears, Pineapple sometimes even Blueberries.


Next I’ll let you know what’s in my fridge…


Did I mention what we do with leftovers?

Monday, August 2nd, 2010


Ok so following on from this post…


This is what we do with our leftovers:



Now that’s not my photo*, but I had to set the scene right? Salivating yet? Mine looks way better and next time I’ll actually take a photo of it.


In order to make the perfect Roast & Gravy Roll you need:


Leftover Roast Meat

Leftover Gravy

Fresh Light Fluffy Rolls


What I do is chop the meat to bite size pieces. There is nothing worse than biting into a roast & gravy roll and half the filling comes out! Then reheat the gravy and once it’s nice and bubbly add the meat and simmer until the meat is cooked and juicy. Then divide amongst the rolls. You can thank me, or kill me, later.


And yes, I do realise I haven’t posted recipes yet. Soon… I promise.


*And I would link to it, but unfortunately the link is broke.



Sunday Roast

Sunday, August 1st, 2010

A very Australian tradition is the Sunday Roast. And no I’m not talking about Nicole and Keith’s little one. One of our very British traditions that we haven’t been able to shake. And I am very grateful.


There is nothing better than to end the week with an awesome roast dinner. And I would have to say next to Steak and a mean Curry it’s up there as one of Mr Neurotic’s favourite meals.


A roast in our house usually consists of a roast hunk of meat. Our faves are Roast Chicken and Roast Pork. Then you’ll have a nice starchy side of Potatoes. Some of our faves are Duck Fat Potatoes, Pan Fried Crispy Garlic & Rosemary Potatoes or The Pioneer Woman’s Creamy Mashed Potatoes. And then there’s the veg usually in the Neurotic household it’s Braised Anchovy Peas. Sounds scary but I promise you that you haven’t lived until you have had these peas. FYI I hate peas. But I love these peas.


So who started the tradition? Well according to Wikipedia:


Sunday Roast dates back to when the squire would treat his serfs to a meal of roast oxen every Sunday to reward them for the week’s work.


A reward hey? I definitely think what I cooked tonight was a reward… or maybe I’m the one who deserves a reward for the awesome dinner… hmmm.


So tonight we had Pastor Ryan’s Herb Chicken, my way. The Pioneer Woman’s Creamy Mashed Potato and Braised Anchovy Peas. Recipes to come. For now, try and keep your saliva off the keyboard.



And tell me do you follow the Sunday Roast tradition?

From Scratch Friday – Lawry’s Seasoning Salt

Friday, July 30th, 2010

Who else likes to know what’s in their food? I know I do. I find that cooking from scratch not only saves me time and money but I feel better knowing what exactly it is that I am eating. I can’t remember the last time I reached for a packet mix or recipe base in a jar.


So each friday I’m going to post a recipe that I use in my kitchen that makes my life easier and that is “from scratch”.


I love Ree Drummond aka The Pioneer Woman. She cooks from the heart and she makes good old fashioned family food. Not always good for the waistline but as soon as I tell Mr Neurotic I’ll be making one of her recipes he salivates in anticipation. So one of my favourite mashed potato recipes is hers.


Photo: Country Living


And the recipe calls for Lawry’s Seasoned Salt.



Now being an aussie girl I had no idea what this was and so I googled. I found a copycat recipe and went to work. It is the most amazing little addition. It really is a magic seasoning. I have used it on meat, fish, soup, potato, rice you name it I love it. I used to make it in single batches but it disappears so quickly that I’ve had to double the recipe and I have no doubt soon I’ll be quadrupling it. The best thing about this recipe. No additives. No MSG. No naughty numbers.

I would love to give credit to the original creator of this awesome recipe, but unfortunately it has been republished so many times I simply cannot find the original author.


Lawry’s Seasoned Salt

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon tumeric
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon corn flour

Method:

Combine ingredients and store in a spice shaker.


So tell me what things do you make from scratch? And what things would you like to make from scratch?

A Man’s Meal…

Saturday, July 24th, 2010

Well it’s our anniversary today so I decided to make him one of his favourite dishes.


Flame Grilled Steak, Sauted Baby Spinach and Duck Fat Potatoes.



Serves 2

Ingredients

3 Large Potatoes (peeled and quartered)

1/4 – 1/3 cup Duck Fat

2 Large T-Bone Steaks

1 Bag of Baby Spinach

1 garlic clove crushed (or 1 tsp)

Salt & Pepper


Method:


First preheat the oven to 220C. Bring a pot of salted water to the boil. Put the duck fat into a small baking dish (big enough to fit all the potatoes) and put into the oven to heat up. Boil the potatoes for 8 minutes then drain. Season and put the lid on and shake to roughen the edges of the potatoes. Carefully place the potatoes into the hot oil, and using a large metal spoon, spoon the hot oil over the potatoes. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes before turning and baking for another 20 minutes. You can cook these potatoes ahead of time and reheat in a moderate oven on a rack till crispy and hot.



Grill the steaks on a BBQ for roughly 5 mins per side (could be more or less depending on your bbq, your steak and how you like it!). Let the steaks rest on a hot plate covered in foil for 5 minutes. During this time you can saute the spinach with a tablespoon of oil and a teaspoon of butter and the garlic and seasoning to taste. Cook until wilted.



Plate everything up and watch your other half worship the ground you walk on…



And hopefully all that will be left on the plate will be the bone…


Deep Dark Brownies

Friday, July 23rd, 2010


Who doesn’t love a good brownie?


I’m absolutely convinced that the way to a man’s heart is a good steak sandwich and an amazing chocolate brownie. Well that’s the way to Mr Neurotic’s heart anway.


So this recipe is a tried and true favourite in our house. It is recipe that was adapted by the Baked boys for the Martha Stewart Show. Their original recipe can be found in their cookbook, named after their Bakery in NYC, Baked – New Frontiers in Baking.



Now in my opinion Ina Garten is the queen of Brownies, and I have a few friends who feel the same way but unfortunately her recipes make a lot of brownies. I also find this recipe is no fail. I’ve made it a lot and never once have I had a problem. It’s fudgey and cakey all at the same time and it can be adapted with blobs of peanut butter swirled in, the addition of nuts or even different types of choc chips (I’ve even done this with butterscotch chips). The other thing I love about brownies is that it’s a stove top recipe which means less mess and no mixing required. Now don’t get me wrong I love my stand mixer but sometimes you just want quick and easy.


So here it is. I assure you that you won’t be disappointed.


Deep Dark Brownies as seen on The Martha Stewart Show


Ingredients


¾ cup plain flour
1 tablespoon best-quality cocoa powder, preferably Valrhona
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup (125gms) unsalted butter, plus more for pan
¾ teaspoon instant espresso powder
140 gms dark chocolate
¾ cup castor sugar
¼ cup light-brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¾ cup chocolate chips (milk or dark or whatever you would like), optional


Method:


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and line a a 18 x 25 cm slice pan with baking parchment.
In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, and salt; set aside. (or you can whisk…)
In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine butter and espresso. Place over low heat and stir until butter has melted. Don’t fret if the coffee powder doesn’t combine completely. Add chocolate, and stir constantly until mixture is smooth, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in both sugars until well combined.
Add eggs and vanilla and continue stirring until well incorporated and mixture no longer appears grainy. Sift flour mixture over batter (or just pour in the whisked flour mixture), and stir until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips, if using. I like to add a tablespoon of the flour mix to the chocolate chips to coat them. This stops the chocolate from sinking to the bottom.
Pour batter into prepared baking pan; smooth top with the back of a wooden spoon or a spatula. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs, 28 to 30 minutes. A tip from Ms Garten herself is when cooking brownies half way through open the door and lift up the pan on one edge and drop it down on the shelf this apparently settles any bubbles and ensures an awesome brownie. I do it, not sure if it works, but I do it. She was a nuclear policy maker for the White House after all. Surely she knows about these things. Be sure not to over bake. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Cut into 9 brownies.



Now my last tip is PLEASE let them cool in the pan. Mr Neurotic is extremely impatient so unless I bake these during the day they end up being hacked up whilst hot and you do not get the perfectly sliced brownie this way. Yes yes they still taste the same but who doesn’t like a bit of symmetry. I also love a brownie that has been left out to cool and the sides go all crunchy. Yum.

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