Thursday, 28 July 2011

※ Package From Afar

A friend Scott sent me a package of goodies.


I look forward to cooking up a storm this weekend.I love trying new & exotic spics and ways too cook and I am sure my husband enjoys eating it!

The photos were taken and posted in sequence.
Each time I pulled out an item, Miguel inspected it then looked in the box for the next thing.
He actually tried to get in towards the end, but he is a little too big.

Message from Scott: 
The spices are typical of the Mexican cuisine near the area that
is now New Mexico.  

Each US and Mexican state with indigenous Mexican people has its own traditions
and flavours. They are known for vicious rivalries between green and red chiles loyalists.
Pisole is the traditional starch and the star of my favourite Mexican soups and stews. 
Pisole with braised pork and red (chile) broth served with lots of fresh tortillas is one of my very favourite meals.
The Theo chocolate is from Seattle. They are 100% organic and offer tours.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

※ Vanilla custard

Served with banana pancakes & maple syrup

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup thickened cream
  • 1 vanilla bean (see note)
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon cornflour
  • 1/3 cup caster sugar


Combine milk and cream in a small saucepan. Using a sharp knife, split vanilla bean in half lengthways and scrape out seeds. Add bean and seeds to milk mixture. Place over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes or until hot (do not allow to boil). Remove saucepan from heat.

Whisk egg yolks, cornflour and sugar in a heatproof bowl until well combined. Remove vanilla beans from milk mixture. Pour hot milk mixture over egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly.

Return mixture to saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring constantly, for 15 to 20 minutes or until custard thickens and coats the back of a metal spoon (do not allow custard to boil, as it might curdle).

You could use 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla paste instead of the vanilla bean.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

※ Thanks everybody!

E-mail I just received, THANKS everybody who voted for me over the weekend. 
Lets hope the judges pick me for the top 15 on Sunday. xoxo 

there is still time to vote, and you can vote daily till Sunday.
Click image below to take you there:



Tuesday, 12 July 2011


Seems like everything comes back around, doesn't it? I revamped an old poster I saw a few months ago.

The current locavore and slow food movements have their origins in this vintage U.S. Food Administration poster from the World Wars. The words read:


1 - buy it with thought
2 - cook it with care
3 - use less wheat & meat
4 - buy local foods
5 - serve just enough
6 - use what is left

Don't waste it"

※ Thanks for all the votes!

I reached over 1,000 votes as of this morning in the Lurpak recipe challenge!

Thanks to all those who have voted, I cannot express my gratitude enough. 


Now lets hoping I make it through the next round.

Monday, 11 July 2011

※ Party Planning Worksheet.

These are great to keep track of your party guest list, game plan, favors and food, all on one sheet of paper.

Els xo

※ Maple (Syrup) Butter

Anybody who knows me, knows how much I love pancakes / crepes. We have them weekly in our household. Always looking for different ways to have them. Below is one of my all time favourite butters. You can spice up the recipe by adding 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, all depends on your taste really.

1 cup heavy whipping cream
¼ teaspoon maple extract**
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
Pinch of salt


1. Add your cream to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. It is good to start with a cold bowl (refrigerate for about 15 minutes) and very cold cream. Beat until past the “whipped cream” stage, about 8 minutes. The mixture will reduce in size from when it looks like whipped cream.
2. Add the maple extract, syrup, and salt. Beat an additional two minutes until combined.
3. Place in an air-tight container and chill until ready to use. Store in refrigerator.

Makes: approx 1 to 1 ½ cups of maple butter

As far as I'm concerned, you really have to go natural with maple (or any other) extract. There really is a huge taste difference, and the type of base that the extract is made out of makes a huge difference too. 
** Maple extract is one of a group of concentrated flavorings used in food preparation. As with essences, liquid extracts like maple extract can be kept indefinitely when stored in an airtight container in a cool dark place. This is why extracts are often sold in very dark brown bottles.

Maple extract, as with all extracts, and essences as well, is used to add flavor without adding significant volume or altering the consistency. So maple extract can provide maple flavor as a substitute for adding a larger amount of maple syrup, maple sugar, maple honey, maple cream or butter, or maple-flavored syrup, a substitute that is usually made primarily of corn syrup.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

※ Garlic Roti

Most people are apprehensive to use garlic as a predominant flavour in their cooking. 
This aromatic herb is not only good for reducing cholesterol but it actually aids in digestion.


1/2 cup jowar (white millet) flour
1/2 cup bajra (black millet) flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour (gehun ka atta)
1/2 cup fresh green garlic (hara lehsun), chopped
salt to taste

Other ingredients
2 tbsp oil for cooking


Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and knead into a dough adding warm water as required. This dough will not be very pliable and you will not be able to knead it very much.
Divide the dough into 8 equal portions and roll out each portion into circles approx. 100 mm. to 125 mm. (4" to 5") in diameter.
Cook each roti on a tava (griddle) using a little oil till both sides are golden brown.
Serve hot.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

※ Asian Beef Soup

500gsm  boneless beef sirloin steak or eyefillet
1 tablespoon cooking oil
I litre lower-sodium beef stock
1 cup water
1 cup bite-size strips carrot (2 medium)
1/3 cup long-grain rice
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups coarsely chopped broccoli
1/4 cup sliced green onion (2)
3 tablespoons teriyaki sauce
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 potato diced
Coriander to garnish

Trim fat from beef (if not using eye fillet.) Cut beef into bite-size strips. In a large skillet heat oil over medium-high heat. Cook and stir beef in hot oil for 2 to 3 minutes or until beef is brown. Remove beef with a slotted spoon; set aside.

In the same skillet combine broth, water, carrot, potato uncooked rice, ginger, and garlic. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, 15 minutes or until the carrot, potato and rice are tender.

Stir in beef, broccoli, green onion, teriyaki sauce, sesame oil, and red pepper. Simmer, covered, for 3 minutes.

Garnish with Coriander, serve.

Friday, 8 July 2011

※ Blood Orange & Campari Sorbet

220g (1 cup) caster sugar
250ml (1 cup) water
325ml blood orange juice
40ml (2 tbsp) lemon juice
40ml (2 tbsp) Campari

Prepare sugar syrup by placing sugar and water into a saucepan. Dissolve sugar and then bring to the boil, reduce heat and allow to simmer for 5 minutes.

Mix blood orange juice with lemon juice, Campari and enough sugar syrup to bring mixture to 17 baume.

Pour mixture into a bread pan, cover and freeze.
- After mixture is frozen, puree in a blender or food processor until smooth.
- Put it back in the freezer for about 8 hours to firm up again.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

※ Beef & Guinness Pie


* 1 3/4 C flour
* pinch of salt
* 1/3 C solid shortening
* 1/3 C unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
* 1/3 C ice water
* 1 egg mixed with 1 Tbl of water


* 2 lbs stewing beef, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
* 4 cups of Guinness stout
* 1 garlic clove
* 1 Bay leaf, split
* 1 cup beef stock
* 2 celery stalks, sliced
* 2 large carrots, peeled and slices
* 1 large onion, sliced
* salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
* 2 Tbl minced flat leaf parsley
* bouquet garni**
* 1 Tbl cornstarch
* 1/2 C cold water
* 3 to 4 large mushrooms, sliced (optional)

** (a cheesecloth bag containing: 3 sprigs of fresh parsley, 1 sprig of fresh thyme, 8 to 10 peppercorns and 1 bay leaf) They are available commercially, you may decide to make one yourself.


  • Combine beef, 2 cups of Guinness, the garlic and bay leaves in a bowl and refrigerate for 24 hours.
  • Drain the marinade and discard the garlic and bay leaf
  • In a stockpot or large saucepan over medium, bring the marinated beef, remaining Guinness and the beef stock to a boil.
  • Reduce to medium low, cover and simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until meat is tender (Skim any foam that may rise to top)
  • Add the celery, carrots, onion, salt ,pepper, parsley and bouquet garni and cook until vegetable are slightly tender, about 15 minutes
  • In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch with the 1/2 cup of cold water, mixing thoroughly
  • Stir into the filling and cook for 2 - 3 minutes or until thickened.

  • Combine the flour, salt, shortening and butter in a food processor fitted with a metal blade,
  • Sprinkle with 4 Tbl of the ice water and pulse 4 or 5 times, if needed add the rest of the water and pulse again.
  • If you do not have a processor, mix dry ingredients by hand, cut in fats with a pastry blender and then add water needed.
  • Wrap dough and refrigerate 30 minutes
  • On a floured surface, roll dough out to a 12 inch circle
  • Preheat oven to 375F
  • Remove Bouquet Garni and transfer filling to a 10 inch deep-dish pie plate. 
  • Stir in mushrooms, if using.
  • Cover with the pastry, crimp the edges and cut a few slits in top for steam to escape
  • Brush top with egg wash & bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until top is golden

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

※ Coca Cola Recipe

An edgy public radio show has revealed what it purports to be the secret recipe for Coca Cola a formula which has become the stuff of legend after decades of careful marketing by one of the world's most recognizable brands.

I have looked it up and decided I want to try and make it and see for myself. 


Fluid extract of Coca 3 drams USP
Citric acid 3 oz
Caffeine 1oz
Sugar 30 (it is unclear from the markings what quantity is required)
Water 2.5 gal
Lime juice 2 pints 1 qrt
Vanilla 1oz
Caramel 1.5oz or more to colour
7X flavour (use 2oz of flavour to 5 gals syrup):
Alcohol 8oz
Orange oil 20 drops
Lemon oil 30 drops
Nutmeg oil 10 drops
Coriander 5 drops
Neroli 10 drops
Cinnamon 10 drops 

Brew it yourself

NB. 1 batch of 7x formula will produce three batches cola syrup, or approximately 54 litres of cola.

Step 1: 7x formula:

Using food-grade essential oils, assemble 3.75ml orange oil; 3ml lime oil; 1ml lemon oil; 1 ml cassia oil (nb. reduce cassia content for next production); 0.75ml nutmeg oil; 0.25ml coriander oil (6 drops); 0.25ml lavender oil (6 drops); 0.25ml neroli oil (optional/removed due to high cost).

Using a measuring syringe, measure out the oils into a glass or ceramic container. Keep covered to avoid volatile oil fumes escaping. Then dissolve 10g instant gum arabic (equivalent to 22ml) in 20ml water (low calcium/low magnesium, Volvic is good) with one drop vodka - Cube uses Zubrowka. (Be aware that total quantity of vodka will be 0.0007ml per litre of Cube-cola).

Place the gum/water/vodka mix in a high-sided beaker - stainless steel or glass are best. Using a high-power hammer drill with kitchen whisk attachment, whisk the gum mixture at high speed while your assistant droppers the oils. Mix in steadily with the measuring syringe. Continue to whisk at high speed for 5-7 minutes, or until the oils and water emulsify.

The resulting mixture will be cloudy. Test for emulsification by adding a few drops of the mixture to one glass of water. No oils should be visible on the surface. You now have a successful flavour emulsion, which should hold for several months.

Step 2:The mixers

This makes two allied concentrates, Composition A and Composition B, which can be stored separately before being mixed into cold syrup with the addition of sugar and water.

Composition A

Mix 30 ml double strength caramel colouring (DD Williamson Caramel 050) with 10 ml water. While stirring, add 10ml 7x flavour emulsion (oils/gum/water mix).

Composition B

Mix 3 tsp (10ml) citric acid with 5-10ml water, then sieve in 0.75 tsp (2.75ml) caffeine. Mix thoroughly using a pestle and mortar until caffeine granules are no longer evident. The mixture may behave erratically, turning either white or clear for no apparent reason. If it goes white, add more water. Pass through muslin or jelly bag to remove any anomalies.

At this point, A+B can be packaged separately and later reconstituted into cola syrup.

Step 3: The cola syrup

2 litres water; 2kg sugar

Compositions A & B

Make a sugar syrup (mix in a cooking pot on low heat to dissolve quickly) using 1.5 litres of the water and all the sugar. Filter if unsure. Mix Composition A into the remaining 500ml water. Add Composition B, then the sugar syrup. You now have 3 litres Cube-Cola syrup or approx 18 litres cola.

Step 4: The cola

As required, make up your cola as a 5:1 mix, five parts fizzy water to one part cola syrup. Cube uses 350ml syrup in a 2l bottle of Tesco Ashford Mountain Spring. 

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

※ Chicken Kiev


* 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts , with the mini fillets atatched
* 100g plain flour
* 3 eggs , beaten
* 200g fine, dry breadcrumbs
* sunflower oil or vegetable oil, for frying
* lemon wedges and watercress, to serve
+ Ingredients for garlic butter to make the butter, see post here


# One fillet at a time, lay them smooth-side down and remove the mini fillet. Make an incision down the middle of the fillet half way into it to make a pocket; it is essential that you don't cut all the way through the meat. Lay a piece of cling film over the breast and, using a meat mallet or rolling pin, flatten it out slightly. On another part of the board bat out the mini fillet slightly.

# Divide the butter into four and squash into flattish discs. Stuff each of the pockets that you made with a disc of butter. Cover each with the mini fillet and fold the sides of the breast over it. Set aside.

# Tip the flour, eggs and breadcrumbs into separate shallow containers. Working methodically, completely coat each breast in flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs, then dip back into the egg and finally again in the breadcrumbs. Set aside. The chicken can be prepared the day before and left in the fridge or frozen for up to 1 month - defrost completely before cooking.

# To cook, heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Heat a decent layer of oil in a large frying pan and, once hot, turn the heat down to medium. Fry the Kievs for 2-3 mins on each side until dark golden. Lift them onto kitchen paper to absorb any excess oil then transfer to a roasting tin. Cook in the oven for 20 mins or until the Kievs feels firm when prodded at the widest part. Serve immediately with the lemon wedges and watercress.

Monday, 4 July 2011

※ Garlic Butter Spread II

* 4 tablespoons butter, room temperature
* 1 garlic clove, minced
* 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
* 1 teaspoon parsley
* 1 tablespoon oregano 
* 1/2 teaspoon lemon rind

Place all ingredients in a small bowl and stir until well combined.

It's fantastic to put on a steak just after you take it off the grill. While the steak is resting, the herb butter melts on it and makes a glaze for the steak. The resulting flavor and presentation is fantastic.

Fantastic for garlic breads & baked pita, in burgers, on baked potatoes.

※ Please vote for me.

I entered my recipe in the Lurpak competition.  If you could spare a few seconds, please vote for me. I could win $1500



Sunday, 3 July 2011

※ Gulab Jamon

Sent from heaven, my favorite dessert since I was a kid. My dad grew up in India & introduced me to these at a young age.  Gulab Jamun are a classic Indian dish, they've even become available in supermarkets. However you can't beat fresh home made especially if you have a bit of patience.


To make 18 - 20 jamun

4oz (100g) Dried milk powder (full cream).

2 tbsp melted ghee.

3 tbsp plain flour.

½ tsp baking powder.

milk or water to mix

1 tbsp almonds.

1 tbsp pistachios.

1 tbsp sultanas.

½ tsp ground cardamon.

Oil for deep frying.


9oz (250g) granulated sugar.

7 fl oz (200ml) water

6 green cardamon pods.

Orange food colour. (optional)

Sieve the flour and milk powder into a bowl.

Add the baking powder, ground cardamon and finely chopped almonds, pistachios and sultanas.

Mix together then pour in the melted ghee. Continue mixing and add the milk or water (warmed slightly) until you have a stiff dough.

Leave to rest for 20 minutes. (Don't be tempted to miss this out.)
After 20 minutes the batter will have proved into a dough. Knead this and divide into 18 - 20 even balls.

Heat the ghee. Make sure that it is to temperature but is not too hot. On my electric cooker I use a small ring on no. 2.

Cook the Jamon very gently (in 2 batches if necessary) turning constantly.

If the oil is at the correct temperature, they should rise after a minute or so. Keep turning the Jamon until they are a golden brown all over.

Remove from the fat and allow to cool.
Meanwhile dissolve the sugar in the water with the cardamon pods and a touch of food colour if you like.

When the syrup is completely dissolved, drop in the Jamon and simmer for 5 minutes. Squeeze them gently so they soak up the syrup.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

※ Red Wine Reduction Sauce II

※ Red Wine Reduction Sauce (Marchand du Vin)


* 1 cup full-bodied red wine (such as cabernet sauvignon)
* 1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
* 2 tablespoons Beef Demi-Glace
* 3 thyme sprigs
* 1 bay leaf
* 2 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
* 1/8 teaspoon salt
* 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

* 1. Combine first 5 ingredients in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook until reduced to 3 tablespoons (about 10 minutes). Strain mixture through a sieve over a bowl; discard solids. Add butter, stirring constantly until smooth. Stir in salt and pepper.

Friday, 1 July 2011

※ Sweet Potato & Pumpkin Mash

Beef Eye fillet on a bed of mashed pumpkin, potato, chives & tasty cheese.
w/ green beans, seasoned with salt & pepper.

Potato and pumpkin mash


  • 3  potatoes
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1 pumpkin
  • ½ cup cream
  • 50 g butter
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 cloves roasted garlic

Boil potatoes, a large sweet potato and pumpkin. When tender, drain.
Add 2 oven roasted garlic cloves, 1/4 cup of warm cream, 1 Tablespoon of butter, an egg yolk, salt and pepper. Mash until velvety