Kel’s chocolate cake

This is the easiest chocolate cake recipe…  I’ve been making this since I was about 8 or 9 I think.

The recipe calls for dessertspoon measurement but they’re pretty hard to find these days – roughly 2 tablespoons should be about right if you don’t have dessertspoons….

 

Chocolate cake

1 & 1/2 cups S.R flour

3/4 cup sugar

1 cup milk

1 tablespoon melted butter

1 egg, lightly beaten

3 & 1/2 dessertspoons cocoa

1/2 teaspoon bi-carb soda

pinch salt

 

Put all ingredients into a mixer and beat until well combined.  Pour into a lined cake tin.  Bake in a pre-heated oven (150 degrees C) for one hour.

When cooled, top with chocolate icing and sprinkles (if you want to!)

To make this into a simple chocolate pudding cake, use only 1 cup of flour.

Tortilla pie

I was looking through the recipes I have posted so far, and couldn’t believe I hadn’t posted my tortilla pie recipe…  Hubby LOVES it!

The beauty of this recipe is the way you can adapt it for many things – which is actually quite typical of mexican cooking…

Tortilla Pie

500g beef mincewpid-20150106_203604.jpg

1 jar tomato salsa (your choice of mild, medium or hot) alternatively, you could add a packet of taco seasoning mix

1 can mexican chilli beans

cup of frozen corn

grated cheese

4 flour tortillas

Brown the mince in a saucepan, then add in the salsa, beans and corn.  Cook until heated through.  Layer the mince and tortillas in a round casserole dish and sprinkle with grated cheese.  Pop into a pre-heated moderate oven for about 15-20mins until the cheese has melted and started to brown.  Remove from oven and stand for 5-10 mins before serving.   I usually serve this with a big dollop of sour cream….   This dish freezes really well – I cut up the leftovers into portions and freeze for lunches.

Alternatives

Enchiladas – Roll up the prepared mince in the tortillas.  Make a sauce out of equal quantities of tomato salsa and tomato passata mixed together.  Spread some of the sauce over the base of a large baking tray.  Place the enchiladas on top.  Top with the remainder of the sauce and sprinkle with grated cheese.  Bake in a moderate oven for about 20mins until cheese is melted.

Baked potatoes – Top the baked potatoes with the tortilla mince, sprinkle with cheese and serve with sour cream and chopped chives.

Ramekin pies – Grease ramekins, press a tortilla into the ramekin and fill with tortilla mince.  Top with mashed sweet potato and grated cheese.  pop in the oven until cheese has meltedwpid-20150106_184944.jpg.

Eggplant Rolls (LCHF friendly)  – Grill long (lengthwise) slices of eggplant until lightly browned.  Cool slightly.  Place mince mixture along the middle of each eggplant slice.  Roll up and place in an ovenproof dish.  Top with cheese and bake in oven until cheese is melted.  As always, serve with a big dollop of sour cream!

 

 

Chicken, spinach & pumpkin ravioli soup

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Here’s something I threw together tonight, and it turned out so nicely….

2 or 3 chicken thigh fillets, diced

2 or 3 bacon rashers, diced

some frozen spinach

fresh ravioli (about a couple of handfuls

1 can pumpin soup (not the condensed kind)

I browned the chicken in a big frypan, then added in the bacon and spinach.  I then added in the pumpkin soup and cooked it all until heated through.  I then tossed in the cooked ravioli and enjoyed….!

It turned out lovely and chunky (just how I like my soups) but you could adjust the amounts to suit yours.  Quick and easy, and so tasty to boot…

Even better, all for me as hubby won’t eat anything with spinach in it!

Bolognaise with potato bake topping

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Got some leftover potato bake???

 

I made up a batch of bolognaise sauce, cooked up some pasta and tossed it in a casserole dish – topped with the leftover potato bake.  I sprinkled some extra grated cheese over the top and baked it in the oven for about 20mins until the cheese was melted and voila!!!  Yummm…

 

Food for thought…

I made some hot-cross buns today for the first time ever…  Hubby has assured me that they taste lovely.  As I am currently not able to taste anything due to a nasty cold virus, I couldn’t rely on my own tastebuds ( and I’ve never enjoyed hot cross buns before as I don’t like sultanas or raisins).  Sacriledge, I know (others have told me so!).   I added craisins instead.  They certainly turned out beautifully – they rose well, and they are light and fluffy on the inside….

Anyways, the thoughts around tastes, likes & dislikes – also got me thinking.   It’s sometimes hard to work around people’s tastes when it comes to cooking.  My hubby is pretty good with trying new things, but there are certain things he just will not eat!  Mushrooms are one…  And of course, I got to thinking about my childhood and commiserating with my poor mum – I was a terribly picky eater!  Potatoes and pumpkin (if mashed into the potato) were pretty much the only vegies I would eat, and beetroot and cheese was all my salad would consist of.  Needless to say, my parents found many innovative ways to incorporate vegies into our diets…  Luckily, as a child, there were no allergies or intolerances that mum had to work around.

These days, of course, intolerances and allergies seem to be much more prevalent.  I know a number of people who are Coeliacs and I myself have to work with a mild wheat intolerance (luckily, it comes and goes and the symptoms are mild).  I also know of people who have allergies that you rarely hear about.  I know of one lady with an allergy to lettuce.  She often comes across disbelief and ridicule.  Hardly her fault – but it continues to happen, even these days when we hear so much about it on the news etc.  I guess it still comes down to education and understanding, and unless someone you know is affected by it, you just don’t realise how much it can affect those who suffer from them…

For myself, I am lucky as my symptoms are mild and I have learnt how much I can tolerate.  I know that I can tolerate more bread when its toasted.  I am usually ok with pasta, but have learnt to moderate how much wheat I eat during the week.  I can have a couple of pieces of toast during the week, along with pasta and wraps without any side effects.  However, if I eat too much wheat on consecutive days, then I know about it!  For me, it’s just about keeping an eye on what I eat day after day.  When I first learnt about it, I was completely wheat free for about 3 months, then gradually reintroduced some things.  I live in a capital city though, and I have access to specialty shops for alternative flours etc.  In a small country town, it’s going to be a lot harder and possibly a lot more expensive.  I know a lot of these products are available online, but don’t forget, there are still a lot of people who do not have the internet or the skills to use it.  Don’t laugh – computer literacy levels in Australia are not what you think they are! (But I won’t go there just yet, its a topic I get quite passionate about!)

I guess, at the end of the day, when cooking for others (be it a backyard barbie or a dinner party) we need to be aware if our guests are affected by allergies and intolerances and be able to offer up a menu that suits all our guests….  Food is there to be enjoyed, even for those with allergies etc…

Easiest bread recipe ever!!!

I was looking for a recipe for rye bread and came across the easiest way to make bread – no kneading.  It tastes lovely too.  The recipe calls for caraway seeds, but after my first trial, I decided not to add these.  With or without – it tastes pretty damn good!  I found the recipe at the following site…

http://www.peterandrewryan.com/baking/2008/11/deli-style-rye-bread/

Rye Bread

3 cups lukewarm water

1 & 1/2 tablespoons yeast

1 & 1/2 tablespoons salt

1 & 1/2 tablespoons caraway seeds, plus extra for sprinkling

1 cup rye flour

5 & 1/2 cups bread flour

Mix the yeast, salt and caraway seeds with the water in a large bowl.  Mix in the remaining dry ingredients without kneading.  Cover with a towel and allow to rest at room temperature for about 2 hours.

At this point, cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight – comments on the blog suggested that leaving it overnight, rather than baking straight away provided the best results…

Dust the surface of the dough with flour and cut off 1/4 of the dough.  Dust the piece with more flour and quickly shape it into a ball.  Elongate the ball into a oval-shaped loaf.  Allow it to rest and rise on a floured surface for 40mins.  Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C and place an empty roasting pan on the bottom shelf.  Leave the pizza stone in the oven to preheat.  Spray the top of the loaf with water and sprinkle with extra caraway seeds.  Using a serrated edge knife, cut a couple of deep slashes across the loaf.  Pour 1 cup of hot tap water into the roasting pan and immediately place the loaf onto the pizza stone and close the door.  Bake for 30mins.

 

 

 

Anzac biscuits

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In time for Anzac Day – but of course, they’re wonderful at any time of year!!!

The original recipe calls for more ginger, but I reduced the amount as I’m not a big fan of ginger in biscuits…

 

Anzac Biscuits

1 cup plain flour

1 tsp ground ginger

1 cup rolled oats

1 cup desiccated coconut

3/4 cup caster sugar

150g butter

1 tablespoon golden syrup

1 teaspoon bi-carb soda

2 tablespoons cold water

Preheat oven to 170 degrees C.  Grease baking trays and line with baking paper.  Sift the flour and ginger into a bowl.  Add the rolled oats, coconut and sugar and mix together.  Melt the butter and syrup together.  Put the bi-carb into a small dish , crush any lumps, then mix in the cold water.  Add this to the butter/syrup (it will froth up) and add this to the dry ingredients.  Mix together with a wooden spoon until combined.  Put rounded teaspoons of mixture onto the trays, flatten each slightly with a fork.  Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until golden.  They will still be a little soft, so set tray aside for a couple of minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.

 

Lemon cake

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I love this recipe! It’s such an easy cake to make and turns out so beautifully every time!

I got this recipe out of a Super Food Ideas mag a couple of years ago and it’s become one of  my absolute favourites!!!

 

Lemon Cake

125g butter, softened

2 tsp finely grated lemon rind

1 & 1/4 cups caster sugar

3 eggs

1 & 1/2 cups S.R flour

1/2 cup milk

1/4 cup lemon juice

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.   Grease a deep 20cm round cake pan.  Line base with baking paper.  Beat butter, rind and sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in eggs, one at a time.  Stir in sifted flour, milk and juice in two batches.  Beat until well combined.  Pour mixture into pan.  Bake in oven for about 50 minutes.  Stand cake in pan for 5 minutes.  Turn out onto a wire rack to cool.

Icing – I usually ice this with a simple lemon icing.  You could use cream cheese frosting if you want to go a little fancy, but the simple icing is lovely…

I don’t use measurements to make icing but here’s the basics…

Add some icing sugar to a small bowl, add a small teaspoon of softened butter, a dash of vanilla essence, and a dash of hot water (no more than 1/2 teaspoon) and some grated lemon rind.  Mix together with a spoon until combined.  The mixture will seem quite dry but comes together nicely at the end.  If the mixture is too dry, add a little more water.  If it’s too runny, add more icing sugar.

 

Variations – you could use oranges instead of lemons.  I’ve thought of doing this, but the lemon is so lovely, I’ve never tried!