Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Mongolian Beef with Rice

This is going to be our new take out. Sorry local Golden Dragon but there is a new feast night meal in town! My husband made this tonight and apart from being quick it was so amazing tummy pleasing. Our 4 year old ate 2 helpings!

So simple simple

This Serves 2   (Should have made more)

You will need;

Vegetable Oil / Olive Oil
280g Steak, Fat Removed, Sliced Thin
1 tsp fine diced fresh Ginger
3 cloves fine diced garlic
110 ml soy sauce
110 ml cold water
120g Sugar
30g Corn Flour, To toss Beef Pieces
3 Spring Onions, Sliced
Some Long Grain Rice

Get your rice cooking!

Heat 2 tbsp oil in a pan
To cook the beef you need to lightly brown the beef first.
Make corn flour paste by mixing a little water to the flour at a time until you have a smooth paste
Lightly coat each strip in the corn flour and place in the hot pan. Cook very lightly until the outside of the strips are brown but the inside is uncooked. Move to some kitchen towel to drain

For the sauce, use the oil left in the pan or add another tbsp if needed and gently cook the ginger and garlic
Add soy sauce, water and sugar. Bring to the boil and simmer for 3-4 minutes

Return Beef Strips to the pan and cook through

Once the beef is cooked add the Spring Onions and mix through. These don't need much cooking

Serve on a bed of rice

Most importantly... ENJOY!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas Preparations

Christmas is most definitely my favourite time of year. I don't know what it is about it but I always feel a tremendous sense of hope for the future and know that I will get to make my loved ones very happy be it with food or presents. I love the lights, the smells, the giggles. I love the chill in the air, the dark days and the smell of everyone lighting warm fires...

I of course love the food. I cannot claim to not induldge at Christmas. I enjoy how warm the kitchen is while cooking and I think it's a great excuse to stay creating in the kitchen. Normally Christmas dinner is a big even in our house. We love to challenge ourselfves every year, to create new ways of serving the best feast of the year. Some things don't change. Everyone has their traditions. One of ours is the stuffing. I have been making the same one since I took over from my mom when I was about 15. It's very simple. Nothing fancy involved but it is true Christmas for me. The second I smell it I know it is without a doubt going to be a great meal. This year Jamie Oliver has provided some foodspiration for us and i'm looking forward to putting it all together.

This year we are also having family over this Sunday for a little pre Christmas get together. I say "we" are having people over but in reality I have taken on a lot because Mr Big Red has to work (darn chefs) so all the preparation has fallen to me. Knowing I won't be able to spend a huge amount of hours in one day in the kitchen (4 year olds tend to become destructive after a while) I am preping what I can in advance.

This morning in My Big Red Kitchen we made our Cookies for Santa! I have taken my inspiration from many sites and without a recipe wasn't sure these would actually turn out but they did! I'm sure Santa will just love them!

                                           Peppermint & White Chocolate Cookies for Santa!

I also prepared something I have been wanting to make for a few year but never have. An alternative to mince pies. Lets call them... mince swirls? I'll work on the name...

Before I go on YES I took the lazy route and used store bought puff pastry and store bought mince meat. Why not cut corners?! If you plan on enjoying more than a few glasses of wine over the season (as I do) you really don't want to be worried about the little things. Except maybe keeping an eye that that wine glass doesn't empty!

Simple spread the mince meat over the pastry in a thin layer and roll carefully from either side towards the middle. You will end up with something like this
Next trim off the ends. It's not hugely important to do so but it does make it easier to judge how many even pieces you will be able to cut.
**Make sure your knife is sharp AND dust it with flour between each slice to avoid sticking**

I got 12 pieces. I'm sorry I don't have a delicious golden finished product to show you yet but these won't be cooked until tomorrow night. They will then cool over night and drizzled with a water/sugar Glace Icing. I'll pop them into the oven @ 180F for about 15 mins/until golden and crispy.
                                                              Waiting for the oven

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Toffee Coffee Cupcakes

Oh yes indeed....

These are amazing! Get your finest coffee out everyone it will not be wasted here. These really taste like more and seem like a perfect family treat on a cold Autumn day. The coffee taste isn't over powering and the soft as air buttercream will melt in your mouth.

Go on...Try one

These are SO quick and simple!

You will get 12 - 16 depending on cases

175g self-raising Flour
175g caster sugar
175g butter, room temp
3 eggs
45ml espresso or your favourite blend

100g butter, room temp
100g icing sugar, add more to taste
1 tbsp butter vanilla or vanilla extract
Toffee Sauce to drizzle in delight!

Pre heat oven to 180C/356F

Large bowl, add flour, butter, sugar, eggs
No sifting or messing about
Whisk like there is no tomorrow!

Once all is soft and fluffy, gently fold in the coffee with a metal spoon
Or you can add while whisking

Pop into muffin cases/cupcake cases and bake for 15 mins
Move to a wire rack to cool

With the buttercream you are going to whisk it on high until it is air in a bowl. I want to be able see the air bubbles from here!
Again nothing fancy, butter, sugar, flavouring into a bowl and whisk, whisk, whisk!

Use a piping bag to add a little to each cupcake. You don't want to add too much because the buttercream will over power the coffee if you do. Pop into the fridge for a few minutes to set the buttercream a little.
Drizzle (with delight) the toffee over the top and enjoy!

They are the fastest cupcakes you've ever made right?!

R  x

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Vegetarian Nut Loaf

Wow, wow I've been trying to post this recipe for ages but I couldn't find the piece of paper with my notes on it and I just could not remember one of the ingredients! Finally I spotted them while doing this weeks food shop and I am now able to share this meal!
This is a vegetarian take on the traditional meatloaf. As I've mentioned before our little foodie is not a meat fan and I want to make sure we're not forcing her to eat something she really doesn't want to SO along came this Nut Loaf. I hope you try it and your family loves it! I served with mashed potatoes, carrots, corn, peas and some gravy. We used beef gravy which is obviously not vegetarian friendly but a vegetable gravy would be just as nice! R x

Serves 6

You will need;
Vegetarian Nut Loaf
175g Butter
1 lrg Brown Onion, chopped fine
1 Garlic Clove, crushed
100g Mushrooms, your choice, chopped
100g unsalted Cashew Nuts, crushed
100g Brazil nuts, crushed
225g Brown Breadcrumbs
2 Eggs, beaten
4 tbsp Fresh Cream
Salt & Pepper
1 tsp Dried Thyme
3 tbsp Fresh Parsley, chopped (dried can also be used)
1 Lemon, juice & zest

Grease and line a loaf tin. I use silicone cookware for this like this which cuts out the lining. Yes I can be lazy at times :)
Pre heat the oven to 200C / 400F

In a hot pan, cook the onion in half the butter until the onion is soft

To chop the nuts, you can use a food processor or if you don't have one, a Ziploc back and a rolling pin does the job. Also helps to get out any pent up frustration you may have

Pop the nuts into a large bowl with half the breadcrumbs.
Add the onions and any remaining butter
Stir in eggs and cream and season with salt & pepper

Melt the remaining butter in the pan and cook the mushrooms and garlic until soft
Add the zest of the lemon and the juice to the cooked mushrooms

Add the remaining breadcrumbs, thyme, parsley and season with salt & pepper

Back to your tin

Press HALF the nut mix into the bottom of the tin

Top with the mushroom mix, spreading evenly

Add the remaining nut mix and press down well using the back of a spoon

Cover with foil and pop into the oven for 45 mins

After 45 mins, remove the foil and return to the oven for 15 mins to brown

Leave to stand before removing from the tin

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Organic Carrot & Thyme Soup

I'm sitting in my garden writing this post. The evening is cool but not cold. Just enough to pop something around your shoulders. I'm sitting at a wooden bench surrounded by my pots & crates where we are growing our veg. My 3 year old is sleeping soundly, my lovely husband is at work and our dog is throwing a toy at me wanting to play...again...

I did an awesome food shop this week. Loads of fresh, organic produce that I found at great prices. We only have one meat dish on our menu this week so that also helped stock the house with lovely fresh smelling veg. My daughter doesn't eat much meat and we decided to not try and encourage her but instead to up her intake of vegetarian meals which she happily eats. So do we! Lately my mini foodie has a love for fresh made soup. This week I made her a carrot soup and she ate two bowls with some brown soda bread :) So I decided I would share the recipe with you :)

R x

Of course you don't have to use organic produce!

You need;

1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 lrg brown onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped fine
750ml vegetable stock
250g carrots, ends removed, washed & chopped
1 tsp (roughly) of thyme, dried or fresh
Salt & Pepper

Heat the butter and oil in a large soup pot

Add the onion and cook until soft. When making a soup, don't worry about chopping the onion too carefully because you will be blending it at the end

Add garlic & thyme

Add stock & carrots soon after and bring to the boil

Season with salt & pepper

Reduce heat and simmer until the carrots are soft. This took about a half hour

Once the carrots are soft you can blend the soup. Be careful if transferring to a standing blender because it will be hot. No burns on my watch!

I served with some garlic croutons/brown soda bread

I also left the remaining soup to cool and portioned it into Ziploc bags and popped them into the freezer. I'm planning on building up a soup stock for winter. You know, for those days when it's more appealing to snuggle under a blanket watching a movie than to potter around the kitchen.

**I didn't peel the carrots to retain (in my opinion) goodness in the soup**
**You will need a hand blender or standing blender**

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Healthy Pizza Night

Hi foodies!

Wow it feels like forever since i've posted. My desktop is FULL of pictures awaiting posting with recipes. Life its very busy right now and time is running away from me. Our little chef starts pre school in a months time and i'm trying to soak up all I can get before the big wide world gets its hands on her.

So I am going to try post at least some until September when I will give you all the attention you deserve! After I shed some tears because i'll be missing my baby girl!

Here is something I put together for dinner tonight. It's pretty simple but really fresh.

I hope you like it!

R  x

You will need;

Ready rolled Puff Pastry (store bought, lets take it easy)
1 courgette (zuccini), sliced thin
400g cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 large red onion, sliced thin
1 tsp fine grain sugar
Olive oil
Handful Feta cheese, crumbled
Handful fresh basil, torn
1/2 fresh lemon

Add roughly 2 tbsp of olive oil to a hot pan and cook the onions until soft
Add tsp sugar and heat until melted. Only a few minutes
Set aside

Cut puff pastry into what ever shape you like. I usually do a small circle for our little chef and a large for us to half
Using a fork, pierce the base several times

Leaving a thin edge, spread the onion over the base

Top with tomatoes and courgette

Sprinkle the feta and drizzle with olive oil

Pop into the oven @ 200C
It will take 25 - 30 minutes to cook fully

After about 15 minutes take it out and add the fresh basil
Return to the oven until the pastry edges are golden

Before serving, drizzle with fresh lemon juice

Friday, June 22, 2012

Toblerone Cheesecake

Oh yes... What a gem this is. Not if your trying to trim down that's true but this is worth the extra run or zumba class. I'll admit I didn't use a recipe for this. A lot of the time when making desserts I go off the feel/taste as I'm making it. Be sure to taste this as you go to make sure it's as sweet or not to sweet. However you like it. Also beware of the base. If you like a nice hard base you'll want to add enough butter to make your biscuit very wet. Personally I like a very light base that crumbles in your mouth. Especially pleasing with the special base I made.

Personally this turned out to have the perfect balance. It wasn't too sweet but didn't have a strong cheese bite either. In the words of my husband "It's the best cheesecake I've ever tasted" OK technically he swore (Australians what can ya do) but it's rare for him to make such a comment so I was over pleased with myself. I think even if you wouldn't be toblerone's biggest fan, you'd still enjoy this. For presentation I drizzled with chocolate sauce and pipped some whipped cream on top. Hey what's a few more calories right? ;)

So here it is my Toblerone Cheesecake

You will need;

400g cream cheese
2 lrg heaped tbsp mascarpone
100g butter
6 hobnobs (or similar oat based biscuit)
5 rich tea biscuits (or similar plain biscuit)
200g Toblerone
1/4 cup icing sugar

Silicone dish or baking tin with removable base

Grease your dish using a small amount of butter. Make sure and get into the edges of your tin so you don't have a last minute disaster

Pop your biscuits into a Ziploc bag, remove air and seal
Take out your frustration with a rolling pin
Don't go too crazy. You want to keep a good textural base

Melt butter over a hob or in the microwave

Add more of less butter depending on how you like your base. I like it to stick but not to become hard
Mix gently in a bowl

Press gently into the base of your dish

Pop into the fridge

If you have a food processor this is a good time to dust it off.
You want to break up the toblerone. You can also use the good old rolling pin and Ziploc trick
Using a sieve, remove any fine powder that comes off while crushing
Set aside

In a large bowl, whisk the cream cheese until it holds a peak

Add mascarpone and whisk again

Add sugar, whisk again (you get the idea)

This is easiest if you use a hand mixer. You want to get as much air as possible into the mix. You want a very light fluffy mix when you're done.

Now you want to very gently fold in the crushed toblerone. Using your spoon, draw a line down the center of your mix and gently fold a side by turning from underneath. Gently repeat until the toblerone is mixed evenly. Take your time with this because you want to retain as much air as possible.

Gently pop into the dish on top of the biscuit base. Careful to not press the air out

Leave to set in the fridge. I left this for about 5 hours before I gave my husband some when he came in from work. Best left over night if you can.

That does seem like a rather long post but I hope I've remembered my own actions and passed on a few useful tips. Please let me know what you think and contact if you need any help :)

R x