Saturday, August 28, 2010

Chocolate and cranberry biscuits

Hello everyone, this week's recipe comes from one of my favourite cook books, Epicure Chocolate. These biscuits are lovely and chewy and make a nice big quantity.

Have a happy week. Love from Jane xxx

Chocolate and cranberry biscuits

Makes 35-40

What you need:
  • 200g butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup condensed milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 1/4 cups dried cranberries (you could substitute raisins)
  • 1 cup chocolate bits, dark, milk or white, whichever you prefer (use good quality ones, not compounded chocolate)

What you do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
  2. Cream the butter, sugar and condensed milk.
  3. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  4. Sift the flour and baking soda into the creamed mixture.
  5. Stir in the rolled oats, cranberries or raisins and chocolate bits.
  6. Place tablespoons on greased oven trays and press down with a fork.
  7. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until golden.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Chicken sandwiches

Hello everyone, today I went on one of Maeve O'Meara's fabulous Gourmet Safaris which was an amazing lunch at Azuma Japanese restaurant. We were entertained and informed by Maeve and a gorgeous Japanese woman called Miko, and were fed what seemed to be a never ending supply of delightfully flavoured and delicately presented morsels. We started with a tasting plate of six different items in various dressings and sauces, then progressed to the biggest bento box I have ever seen. It was so hard to decide in what order to try each section as they all looked and sounded delicious from the description we had on our special menus. I think if pressed I would plump for the wagyu beef as my favourite bite, but it was all outstanding. Dessert was home made vanilla icecream, fresh fruit and these amazing starchy dumplings, which you drowned in a black sauce, which was described as a Japanese sugar syrup and tasted like molasses. It was amazing, generous and a lot of fun. If you haven't tried a Gourmet Safari before I really recommend them and you can choose from a huge array of banquets, walking tours and even gourmet holidays!

This week's recipe is something that is very simple but when done well, with very good ingredients, is just the best. It's a recipe from Good Living, and I feel safe in saying the best chicken sandwich recipe I have ever tried.

Have a good week. Love from Jane xx

Chicken sandwiches

Serves four, easily

What you need:
  • 1 roast or BBQ chicken
  • 6 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon freshly chopped tarragon
  • 1 tablespoon seeded mustard
  • 2 sticks celery, washed and finely chopped
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 8 slices sourdough bread
  • 2 large handfuls of watercress or rocket, washed and dried

What you do:

  1. Remove the chicken meat from the carcass and shred finely.
  2. Mix the chicken in a bowl with all the other ingredients except the bread and leaves.
  3. Lay out the slices of bread and spoon the chicken filling onto four slices.
  4. Top with watercress or rocket and the remaining bread slices.
  5. Cut in half and serve.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Warm winter salad of radicchio, wild rocket and feta

Hello everyone, this week I am wondering if you can do something for me. My beautiful cat Bellatrix has gone missing and I am trying to do everything I can think of to find her. She disappeared on Wednesday 11 August from our home in Cromer. I have searched the surrounding streets, calling her name, and done a letter box drop with a flyer with her photo asking for assistance. My brother in law has searched under the house and I have scoured surrounding bushes, surveyed the roof and called her name until I am blue in the face. If you happen to know anyone at all who lives in Cromer, I implore you to direct them to this photo of Bellatrix and ask them to look out for her. Her name, my mobile number and her Vet's details are on a tag on her collar and she is microchipped so any Vet who scans her could contact me. All help very much appreciated!!

This week's recipe comes from the July edition of delicious magazine. It is a Jamie Oliver recipe.


Warm winter salad of radicchio, wild rocket and feta

Serves six

What you need:

  • 3 radicchio lettuces, outer leaves removed

  • 3 slices good quality bread

  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

  • A large handful of pine nuts

  • A large handful of raisins

  • Olive oil

  • 200ml balsamic vinegar (I'd recommend using half this quantity, and taste and adjust if you think it needs more)

  • 75g wild rocket

  • 200g feta cheese

What you do:

  1. Cut radicchio into quarters.

  2. Grill in a dry, very hot pan on top of the stove for 3-4 minutes until nicely charred on all sides. Remove to a large bowl.

  3. Chargrill the slices of bread.

  4. To make the dressing, fry the garlic, pine nuts and raisins in a little oil over a medium heat.

  5. When the garlic starts to colour, take the pan off the heat and pour in the balsamic. Most of the liquid will evaporate when it hits the pan, so you end up with a sticky dressing. Leave to cool a little.

  6. Roughly tear up the radicchio and bread, then place back in the bowl and toss with the dressing.

  7. Divide the radicchio and bread among serving plates.

  8. Top with rocket, any pine nuts and raisins left in the bowl and crumble over the feta before serving.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Spicy meatballs on toast

Hello everyone, I was lucky this week to visit a fairly new restaurant, Neutral Bay Bar And Dining, at which I had an absolutely luscious meal. I was a little tenative, as the owners of this place have another restaurant in Glebe where I was left very unimpressed some years ago with the difficulty in booking, the sittings policy and a lost order. That one was not a great night.

NBBAD was (happily) a completely different experience. It was easy to book and you could arrive any time you liked. The fit out is lovely, with comfy, roomy booths; you don't feel as if the next table is sitting in your lap. The service was charming and efficient, but best of all (again, happily) was the food. It was outstanding! I had the most beautiful roast pork, which had I not known better I would have sworn was cooked by my Mum or my Nana. To follow I departed from my habit of ordering the chocolate dessert (enticing as it sounded) and plumped for the pear and raspberry souffle. Again, absolutely outstanding. I did muse later that it's a funny thing when I am excited about going out and spending a decent amount of money on a meal that I loved because it tasted so home cooked. Maybe because it's more common that you would want to get ordinary food. Anyway, NBBAD has gone straight on to my list of favourite restaurants and I can't wait to go back.

This week's recipe comes from the July edition of delicious and I loved it. You can make the full quantity and freeze portions if you aren't cooking for an entire family. It really works with the toast.

Have a happy week. Love from Jane xxx

Spicy meatballs on toast

Serves four

What you need:
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped, plus 1 halved
  • 4 slices pancetta
  • 2 teaspoons chopped rosemary
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley, plus extra to serve
  • 600g beef mince
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 egg
  • 250g punnet cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 750ml tomato passata
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 8 slices ciabatta bread
  • 1 cup grated parmesan

What you do:

  1. Place chopped garlic in a food processor with the pancetta, rosemary and parsley and pulse until finely chopped. (If you are not that fussed about having everything really finely choppped, you can just do the chopping and mixing by hand).
  2. Place the garlic mix into a bowl with the mince, chilli, tomato paste and egg and mix well with your hands.
  3. Roll into 3cm balls and chill for 30 minutes if you have the time (don't worry if not).
  4. Preheat the oven to 180C.
  5. Heat some oil in a pan over a medium-high heat.
  6. In batches, coook the meatballs for 4-5 minutes until well browned.
  7. Place on a baking tray with the cherry tomatoes; drizzle with oil and season.
  8. Bake for 10 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through and the tomatoes are tender.
  9. Meanwhile, heat the passata, sugar and vinegar in a pan over a medium heat.
  10. Season, then place the meatballs and tomatoes in the sauce and warm through.
  11. Toast the slices of bread, then rub with the halved garlic clove.
  12. Serve the meatballs and sauce on the toast, scattered with parmesan and extra parsley.