Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Rocky Road

Another Easter of way too many chocolate bunnies and eggs for the kiddies, so what to do with the excess. Last year it was chocolate chip cookies, but this year I decided to create this rocky road. I haven't a clue about the quantity, let me see...

two gigantic football eggs,
2 doz small chocolate egg size eggs,
two bunnies,
other assorted eggs & bunnies

all melted in a large bowl on a low heat in the microwave. Once melted I added:

Shredded coconut - approximately half a packet;
a packet of unsalted peanuts 200grams?;
turkish delight - about 200 grams (could have done with more of this too!);
marshmallows 1/3 of a very large packet (should have used more).

I lined a 9cm cheesecake tin with a freezer bag which I cut in half and poured my RR into that and rechilled in the fridge for about an hour. I turned it out on to a board and chopped into into nice big chunks.

Those chocolate eggs are much more palatable now and very morish - maybe I shouldn't have found something that we enjoy more than plain chocoate.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Fish Pie

Easter Sunday Fish Pie

I spent last Sunday night at my mother's place. I decided that as she had looked after my children for the week, I would make at least two meals in return for the favour. The first meal on Saturday night was home-made pizza, and the second meal was this Fish Pie.

I found the recipe for this pie, some time ago, in Nigel Slater's appetite and kept waiting for the exact right time to make it. Well, the exact right time should really have been Good Friday, however we had to go to a birthday party and not being strict observers we ate what was on offer, which happened to include non-fish dishes.

So I took the next opportunity and late Sunday afternoon, started work on this pie. It uses smoked cod, mussels and some gorgeous big prawns that mother bought. Being the wonderful comfort food that it is of course it used some creamy mash potato. I decided to combine my mash potato with some mashed pumpkin as well. I also embellished the top of the pie, with some left over baby mozzarella, and anchovies from the previous evening's pizza toppings.

It was a lovely meal, served simply with the peas, and I managed to cut down on the time consuming steps by using some frozen New Zealand mussel meat rather than the fresh ones in the shell. I think it is to be enjoyed with a lovely musty white wine, but not that night unfortunately for us.

I thought that this pie was a rather heavier and more comforting version of the seafood chowder I made not long ago. Except you bake it and put the potato on to much like a cottage/shepherd's pie. I have decided my winter repertoire will have to include either of these dishes from now on as they certainly satisfy my desire for seafood and lots of it. I probably get the seafood urge about every eight to twelve weeks - and it has to be a seafood marinara - blanc of course, or now the chowder or the pie.

Recipe (adapted from Nigel Slater's appetite)

Mussels (500g frozen NZ mussel meat)
white wine ( a glass full)
smoked cod 1 kg
bay leaves 2-3
milk 500ml
butter 50g
plain flour 4 tablespoons
green prawns 500g peeled

potatoes - 4 large

I defrosted and cooked my mussel meat in the white wine for about 5 minutes. Remove the mussels and reserved the white wine.

Put the smoked cod into a saucepan with the bay leaves and added milk and some water to cover the fish. I brought the fish and milk to the boil and then let it simmer for 5 minutes.

Test the fish by seeing if the flesh can be easily pulled from the skin and then remove the fish from the milk and pulled the flesh apart into large chunks, check for and remove bones and skin. Set the fish aside and reserve the milk.

Peel the potatoes, and cut into large chunks. Boil the potatoes in some salted water till they can be pierced easily with a fork. Mash the potatoes adding some butter and the reserved fish cooked milk, mash till fluffy. I also mashed some pumpkin and combined it with some potato to give it some structure.

Melt some butter in large pot (suitable for the oven and stovetop) Stir in the flour, letting it cook over a low to moderate heat until it is biscuit coloured and nutty. Pour in the wine reserved from cooking the mussels, and the rest of the milk from the smoked cod, then leave to simmer with a regular stir to stop it catching, for ten minutes.

Turn on the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

Add the fish, mussels and prawns to the large pot and grind in lots of black pepper, check seasoning and add some sea salt if necessary. Add some finely chopped Italian parsley - I like lots.

Pile the mash on top of the fish mixture. It will sink a little, but the top can be smoothed with the flat side of a spoon.

I topped mine with a few anchovies and the baby mozzarella and baked for about 50 minutes. It is to be expected that the luscious seafood sauce will ooze and bubble to the top of the pie.

Serve simply with some peas.

Fish Pie

Monday, April 17, 2006

Nanaimo Bars

I have been tempted to make these Nanaimo Bars for ages. I found them on my favourite place on the web its certainly becoming a habit. Then I have had the ingredients in the cupboard for about four weeks but I guess the main impetus for finally making them, has been the fact that my sister and her son are in Vancouver at the moment.

Her visit is bringing back memories of when P and I were in Vancouver and when I first tried this slice. I can recall it was very sweet, I guess that means it fulfils its purpose. But I have always thought that maybe something is missing, like peanut butter or caramel. Nevertheless I will make them again, I love that they are such a regional slice that few people will get to try here in Brisbane or remember them unless they have spent a little time in British Columbia as we did.

The link above will get you through to the recipe, however as this is a reference resource for me too I will replicate the recipe.

Nanaimo Bars
Ingredients bottom layer:
1/2 cup (1 stick) (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 to 1/2 cup castor sugar
1/3 cup (30 grams) unsweetened cocoa
1 large egg, beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups (200 grams) Granita crumbs
1 cup (65 grams) dessicated coconut
1/2 cup (50 grams) pecans, coarsely chopped

Method bottom layer :In a saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. Stir in the sugar and cocoa powder and then gradually whisk in the beaten egg. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens (1 - 2 minutes). Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract, biscuit crumbs, coconut, and chopped nuts. Press the mixture evenly into the prepared pan. Cover and refrigerate until firm (about an hour).

Ingredients Filling:
1/4 cup (56 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 - 3 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons vanilla custard powder
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups (230 grams) icing sugar

Method filling: Cream the butter. Beat in the remaining ingredients. If the mixture is too thick to spread, add a little more milk. Spread the filling over the bottom layer, cover, and refrigerate until firm (about 30 minutes).

Ingredients topping :
4 ounces (115 grams) semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon (14 grams) unsalted butter/copha

Butter (or use a cooking spray) a 9 x 9 inch (23 x 23 cm) pan.

Method top layer : In the microwave melt the chocolate and butter/copha. Spread over the filling and refrigerate.

TO SERVE: To prevent the chocolate from cracking, using a sharp knife, bring the squares to room temperature before cutting.

Soft Polenta, parmesan and baby spinach.

About Me

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Mother of two with one of each. Wife of one.Dogless. Busy working five days a week, baking and cooking when time allows. Writing rarely these days. Wishing I had time to read more often.