Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Get stuffed! (shells that is)

Sometimes you just need to whip up something quick, tasty, but oh so pretty (and cheesy!). I had leftover ricotta and a batch of those jumbo pasta shells.
With a top up of some frozen spinach, a jar of tomato pasta sauce (nice one from Aldi), a dash of garlic, an egg and a grand helping of cooked bacon, dinner was on its way.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

To market, to market

It just wouldn't be Sunday without a trip to the markets. The Canberra trash 'n' treasure markets that is.  First up, is the Jamison markets. It takes hubby and I a good 25 minutes to get there but its a great market.  First to greet you as you walk through the main entrance is the man selling all things poultry. Live ducks and chooks greet you with their gobbles and cawwwws. I don't think I have ever seen someone buy one of these creatures, but he is there every week.  After that, there are row upon row of mainstay stall holders, selling all manner of fruits, vegetables, plants, honey, seedlings, shoes etc etc. There are always a smattering of 'newbies' sometimes selling for the first time. Lots of house clean outs, garage sale remainders and "I just need my space back!".  I only purchased one item at this market - a book titled "iced - 180 very cool concoctions" for a mere $3 from a couple of lasses having a cookbook/magazine clean out.  

While driving to the next markets at Woden, we were stopped by traffic control as a cycling event was being held.  Waited a couple of minutes near Scrivener Dam, only to see a virtual peloton of cyclists whizz by in a humming blur of lycra, rubber and metal, followed by a seemingly endless convoy of support vehicles, and a couple of motorcycle police for good measure.  Once that was sorted, off to the Woden markets we went.  

Lots to look at today. Lots of 'newbies' selling homewares, books, nick knacks and the like.  A lovely lady was selling bags of lemons. Fresh, yellow, beautiful lemons. I just HAD to have me some. I thought they would be perfect for some lemon butter. Some of a regular fruit and veg seller's produce also caught my eye - asparagus!  He grows it on his farm in Young. I bought a bunch, with thoughts of some sort of ricotta tart floating through my head.

It is great to buy Australian asparagus, and not the stuff from Peru that can be found in the local supermarket. I shudder at the amount of food miles the Peruvian stuff racks up!

Markets done. Next stop - the supermarket. Stocked up on a kilo of ricotta for the tart I just had to make. 

So, the kitchen frenzy today resulted in a delicious amount of lemon butter, some prepped dinners for the week now nestled in the freezer, and a wonderful ricotta and asparagus tart.  I got the main recipe for the tart from the Fine Dinings Lovers website, but tweaked it up by adding cooked leek, chicken and prosciutto. I just loved how the pastry turned out! I am not a dab hand with pastry by any stretch, so was chuffed with the result!

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Sunday baking adventure > Banana Bread

Banana bread ingredients

Banana bread. So simple to make, easy to bake and even easier to eat. 

I had a handful of ever-ripening bananas staring at me from the fruit bowl, just begging to be made into something tasty.  My banana bread recipe is as follows:

125ml vegetable oil
280g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp bi-carb of soda
2 eggs
150g palm sugar (grated)
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 ripe bananas (mashed)
125ml yoghurt

Preheat your oven to 160 degrees fan forced, or 180 degrees regular.  Spray a loaf tin with oil, then line with baking paper.
Sift the flour, baking powder and bi-carb into a bowl and set aside. 
In another bowl, combine the grated palm sugar and the eggs. Beat using an electric mixer until the sugar and eggs are well combined and creamy. Add in the oil and vanilla and mix well.  Add in the mashed bananas and stir them through.
Add a little of the banana mixture to the flour, and add in a little of the yoghurt. When combined, add in the remaining banana mixture and remaining yoghurt.
Pour into the loaf tin, and cook for around 45 minutes. The bread is ready when an inserted skewer comes out clean and the bread has come away from the sides of the tin.
Leave in the tin for a few minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool.

Pop the kettle on, cut yourself a slice, sit back and enjoy your handiwork.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Orange Pineapple Gin Fizz

A summer cocktail, on an early spring evening? no problem.

Take a handful of pineapple pieces, and crush with a stick blender.

Add to this the juice of two navel oranges, 30ml of Solerno Blood Orange liqueur, 15ml of good quality gin and a top up of lemonade. 

All you need now is the sun!


Sunday, 7 September 2014

Mmmm doughnuts...

You know the bakeware you have kicking around in a cupboard, seldom used, that you bought at a market, or a closing down sale, or just at a sale, and you thought, "I must have that, I'll use it someday...".  Well I have two pans that fit that category perfectly.
Doughnut pans. 
They looked so cute, and they are good quality 'Bakers Secret', and they were brand new (bought them at a market stall) and I just had to have them.  Well they have never been used... until today.

I hit up Google with the search terms 'doughnut recipe baked' and out popped one from Ina Garten, the one and only Barefoot Contessa, courtesy of the Food Network.  I admit I tweaked the recipe right off the bat, by dropping the amount of sugar in the batter down from 1.5 cups (!) to a mere 1/3 cup. I also dropped the step of dredging the little babies in butter before their cinnamon/sugar sprinkle bath, and the coating still adhered to their lil brown coats just fine. 

The delicious end result, which made the house smell like a doughnut van had just parked outside my kitchen window... 

So, so easy. Dangerously easy. Will definitely make these again : )