Saturday, January 29, 2011

Mozzarella Strips

Finally!  Something that isn't gelatinised, cold and meaty, or tripe.  In my opinion, anything deep fried tastes good.  For example, churros, fries, Mars bars, prawns, springs rolls, zucchini, the list goes on.  This would make good party food since there is nothing particularly offensive about cheese, unlike Brandy Pate. 

I don't know which one I would want to eat more, mozzarella strips or crispy frankfurts, I do love processed meat.   
australian women's weekly aww recipe card mozzarella strips

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Apricot Health Candy

As a mother to two little girls I'm obsessed with their poos, ahem, BMs (bowel motions). To all the mums out there, "Aren't You???" Maybe it was my upbringing. I remember every morning I had to report back to HQ (mum). Was it a 10/10, a 5/10 or an 11/10? Fiber was a big deal in our home, and so will be for my two little girls. You pity them? So do I.

For the sake of adding more fiber into our collective diets, I'd like to share this recipe I found in the AWW recipe box. As an added bonus it tastes good too. Hurrah for young and old.

This would also be a nice substitute for supermarket confectionery. The health candy is sweetened by honey which we all know is better than white sugar. I also like the inherent flexibility of this recipe since you could substitute with whatever dried fruit you have on hand.

You could also include nuts and seeds for an added boost of fiber, omega-3 and protein. This certainly will be my go-to toddler and adult snack recipe.

What healthy snacks do you feed your children?

125g dried apricots
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup blanched chopped almonds
1 teaspoon lemon rind
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon orange juice
1/2 cup honey
1 cup skim milk powder
1 tablespoon wheatgerm
1/2 cup chopped dates
1/2 cup coconut, plus extra for rolling in

1. Chop apricots and then combine with water and honey in saucepan. Simmer for 10 minutes, or until tender. Keep the liquid.
2. Add the remaining ingredients to the saucepan and mix well. They are now ready for shaping. The recipe card asked to roll into a log. But we turned them into little balls instead.
3. Roll the balls in the extra coconut as a coating. Ready to eat straight away, or you could store them in the fridge for later.

Tripe in Parsley Sauce

Tripe may have been a cheap way to get your protein 30-40 years ago, though I don't think that is the case nowadays.  Who eats tripe now?  Do you?  If you do then my hat goes off to you, sir/madam! Although I could be wrong since Wikipedia gives an extensive list of dishes that feature tripe, it seems to be a dish that is widely eaten in many countries.  

Personally, I do not like the texture of tripe - soft, spongy, it sets my gag reflex off.  However  it does absorb flavour well, I'll give it that.  Here tripe has been paired with a creamy sauce and plenty of parsley.  Let me know if you do happen to eat this (and like it!) or you had a crack at making it.  You will forever be my hero.

aww australian women's weekly recipe card tripe in parsley sauce

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Apricot Sour Cream Pie

Today we trialled an easy straightforward dessert, Apricot Sour Cream Pie. The hardest part about this dish was taking the photos! You see, we live in an apartment which is in the shade for most of the day. In fact, it's so dark that while in the car I have to squint. It is a shock to see that it can be bright outside! So you see working in a darkened room would be a challenge. And mental note to self: "Go outside more".

The photo taking process was laborious. We spent several hours, getting increasingly hot and frustrated, playing around with reflectors (i.e. foil), artificial lighting (i.e. one lonely reading lamp with baking paper wrapped around it), and backgrounds (i.e. white pieces of material). Each shot, we improved on the image but golly gosh it was hard work. Why? Because we are newbs. It really boils down to that.

We took a photo of how all the props were placed.  Position of lamp in relation to picture on wall. Check. State of scrunched up baking paper. Check. Where Mabel stands with said lighting in relation to corner of bed and chair. Check. Wait up...isn't this all going to change depending on the time of day, and amount of light filtering in? Oh Nooooooooooo. I foresee many more hours spent tilting, straightening, checking and shining. I found it fun nevertheless. But that goes without saying, since Mary did do most of the hard work, hehehe. The joys of being the big sister!
We couldn't wait to eat the pie!

Apricot Sour Cream Pie (Adapted from Australian Women's Weekly)
For the base
185g plain sweet biscuits e.g. milk arrowroot
150g butter, melted

For the filling
Biggest tin of tinned apricots you can find (ours was 820g), drained of syrup, and chopped roughly
4 tablespoons sugar (3 tablespoons for the apricot and 1 tablespoon for the sour cream)
1 tablespoon plain flour, mixed with 1/4 cup water
1 tub of sour cream (we used a 250g tub)
1 egg
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind (optional)

1. For the base, crush biscuits finely. I placed the biscuits inside a freezer bag, and smashed it with the end of a rolling pin. Beware of holes in bag.
2. Combine crushed biscuits with the melted butter. You know you have enough butter when the mixture does not crumble when you squeeze it together in your hands. Don't worry about the fat content. Take the pie to work, distribute to your neighbours. That's what I do.
3. Press biscuit mixture into a springform pan. Try to press some of the mixture up the sides of the pan.
4. Put into fridge, while preparing the filling, which now follows.

5. Combine the drained chopped apricots and 3 tablespoons of sugar in a saucepan. Stir until sugar is dissolved.
6. Now it's time to thicken the apricots with the flour and water mixture. Blend flour and water first in a separate bowl. Pour into saucepan slowly and stir vigorously to avoid lumps. Take off the heat and cool.
7.  Meanwhile combine the sour cream, egg, lemon rind and 1 tablespoon sugar in a separate bowl.
8. Now onto assembly. Spread apricot mixture over biscuit crumb crust. Bake in a 180°C oven for 10 minutes.
9. Then, take it out of the oven, spread the sour cream mixture on top of the apricots, sprinkle some nutmeg on top and bake for another 20 minutes, or until the cream has set. Ours was wobbly in the centre when you shook it but had actually thickened enough to cut. That's it. Enjoy.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Broccoli with lemon sauce

I'm not sure about teaming lemon sauce with broccoli. I googled this dubious combination and I do get hits for it though. I see this is another dish that I was missing out on while growing up.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Awwful Dinner #1 - Part 3

Finally, if you survived the sauce, then be prepared for some more orange goodness.

This dessert was very easy to make and is great for hot weather.  We served ours with evaporated milk, the creaminess of the milk cut through the sweetness of the jelly which is good if you are not partial to sweet things.  And if you don't like the richness of panna cotta, this is a good alternative.

As my sister pointed out, it has the texture of mango pudding that you get in yum cha.  Make it with mango flavoured jelly (or mango nectar), spoon some evaporated milk over it and blam!, you can pretend you are in a busy Chinese restaurant where the conversation is loud and the trolley ladies glare.

aww recipe card passionfruit fluff

Passionfruit Fluff (adapted from Australian Women's Weekly)
Serves 2
1 packet lemon jelly crystals
1 cup boiling water
2 passionfruit or half a 170g tin of passionfruit pulp
2 tablespoons chilled evaporated milk
passionfruit fluff jelly ingredients
  1. In a bowl, dissolve the jelly crystals with boiling water and stir in the passionfruit pulp.  
  2. Chill the liquid until it is partially set.  
  3. Add the evaporated milk and beat until it is light and thick.  
  4. Pour into a serving dish or glasses and chill until set.

passionfruit fluff mixing

passionfruit fluff jelly

Monday, January 17, 2011

Awwful Dinner #1 - Part 2

Every meal needs some protein.  How about some chicken?  Yes.  How about slathering your chicken with some hideous, glossy, lumpy, burnt orange coloured sauce?  Yes!  Here is Part 2 of the Awwful Dinner.  

About that sauce, you have to strain it.  As soon as you add the flour, lumps form and no matter how much you whisk and stir, it it still lumpy.  If you are lazy, I suggest you add a cornflour and water mix at the end to thicken it up.  Or you could mix the flour into a paste instead of dumping it into the saucepan dry.

On the other hand, the stuffing inside the chicken was nice, tasty and not too doughy.

aww recipe card stuffed chicken legs
Stuffed Chicken Legs (adapted from Australian Women's Weekly)
Serves 6
12 chicken legs
3 cups fresh breadcrumbs (approximately 1/2 loaf of bread)
6 chopped shallots
1/2 teaspoon chopped basil
1/2 teaspoon chopped oregano
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
salt and pepper
60g butter, melted
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 cloves garlic, minced
60g butter, extra, melted
1 tablespoon oil
6 small onions, peeled

for the sauce

2 tablespoons plain flour
1 1/4 cups water
1 chicken stock cube
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 teaspoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon basil

stuffed chicken legs ingredients
  1. In a bowl, mix the breadcrumbs, shallots, basil, oregano, parsley, salt and pepper until  combined.  
  2. Add 60g melted butter, egg and garlic and mix until well combined.  
  3. Cut down the length of the chicken leg until you reach the bone.  Scrape the meat away from the bone to create a space for the stuffing.  
  4. Place a tablespoon of the stuffing into the space, do not overfill. 
  5. Secure the opening with toothpicks.  (Remember to tell your guests how many toothpicks to remove to prevent choking and Heimlich manoeuvres)  stuffed chicken legs make
  6. Add the extra 60g butter and oil into a baking dish then add the stuffed chicken legs.  
  7. Bake in a 180°C oven for 1 hour, basting the legs with the pan juices every 15 minutes.  
  8. Add the onions halfway through baking.  

for the sauce
  1. Heat the pan juices in a saucepan until  hot.  
  2. Add the flour, stir and cook until is dark golden brown.  
  3. Add the water, crumbled stock cube and white wine.  Although it is futile, whisk like mad.
  4. Whisk until the sauce boils, reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.  Stir or whisk occasionally 
  5. Add the tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce, simmer for 1 minute. 
  6. Pass the sauce through a sieve.
  7. Spoon the sauce over the legs, sprinkle some basil on top of the sauce.
stuffed chicken leg sauce make

orange sauce

stuffed chicken legs with sauce

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Awwful Dinner #1 - Part 1

Hello, hello, hello, this is Mary here.   This is the first post for me too.  :D  I will be occasionally posting about recipes that we have made and eaten (or attempted to). Occasionally because there is only so much 'vintage' food I can handle per week, I would say my limit is 0.8 vintage meals per week.

This second roadtest of AWW recipes puts to the test THREE AWW recipes.  Ambitious?  Yes.  Without further ado, I introduce to you Awwful Food's first Awwful Dinner.  The epicness of this feast will be split into three parts.  Here I introduce you to Part 1 - the Vegetable Rice Ring.  May your appetite be whetted or destroyed, and may Worcestershire sauce be your new soy sauce.  

aww recipe card vegetable rice ring

The directions for this recipe were strange.  I have never cooked rice in boiling salted water and then drained it.  Don't pretend it's pasta.  Also, "moderate oven" is not a specification of heat.

The final result was cheesy (good) and a little soggy (bad).  Onions don't grate well, onion juice sprays everywhere resulting in a crying Mary, so to spare you the pain I would suggest you use a food processor, finely chop it or just omit it.  Overall, this is edible and is actually nice.  Try it, I dare you.

Vegetable Rice Ring (adapted from Australian Women's Weekly)
Serves 4 as a main dish
3/4 cup long grain rice
1 onion, grated
2 medium carrots, grated
2 sticks celery, finely chopped
1 green pepper, finely chopped
2 eggs, lightly beaten
125g cheese, grated
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
packaged dry breadcrumbs

vegetable rice ring ingredients
  1. Cook rice according to the directions on the packet.  Let the rice cool until it is warm.
  2. In a bowl, combine the vegetables, rice, eggs, cheese, fresh breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, parsley, milk and the Worcestershire sauce.  Mix until it is well combined.
  3. Grease and line a 20cm cake ring or a medium loaf tin (255 x 145 x 60mm or thereabouts).
  4. Sprinkle the bottom with dry breadcrumbs to help absorb the liquids from the vegetables.
  5. Bake in a 180°C oven for 45-50 minutes until the top is dry looking and starting to brown a little.  Serve this as a side dish or top with cheese sauce and serve as a main dish.  
vegetable rice ring mixing
Admire my baking tin lining skills.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Apple gingerbread

I knew nothing about gingerbread growing up. The closest thing I had were those ginger nut biscuits that you risked breaking your teeth on every time you took a bite. Which food scientist decided they should be this hard?

But I do know about some of the nutritional qualities of ginger itself (thanks mum). I can tell you two things.  Whether they are based on any scientific basis, I can't say.
  1. We could only wash our hair during winter time with ginger water. Specifically, you collect as much ginger skin as possible, boil it in water, and then wash your scalp with it. The more heat you can withstand the better. The ginger was supposed to prevent the cold from seeping into the scalp. You'll notice a common theme here with my mum - she was obsessed with stopping the cold from entering our body. Wearing a jumper just will not cut it.
  2. During my one month confinement after giving birth to Baby, I had to eat pig trotters and eggs cooked in sugar, vinegar and ginger (lots of ginger). The ginger is supposed to get rid of the "wind" in my body. Thankfully the stuff tasted good, so I was happy and mum was happy. 
And that's the end of the story.

Here's the recipe before you fall asleep.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

AWW Recipe Cards commercial

I discovered the original ad for the recipe cards on youtube. I remember those monthly instalment plans fondly. As a child I started collecting an encyclopedia, but stopped once I realised how onerous the cost would be if I continued. Thank goodness someone out there decided this box was a good investment. And thank goodness I stumbled upon the same box in Salvos. The rest as they say is history.

Summer Brawn

I never heard of brawn until now. So I wiki'd this. Brawn, also known as head cheese, is a meat jelly dish made traditionally from parts of a pig or calf's head. The eyes, brains and ears are sometimes removed (thankfully). It is flavored with all sorts of yummy things. It looks truly awful, but maybe won't taste as bad. Hey, I've devoured pig's ears, cow tongue and pig's heart. What's a little natural animal gelatine? Perhaps with the interest in head to tail eating, meat jelly might be the new thing? Move over macarons.

This recipe sounds a bit more palatable then the traditional method. It sort of looks like corned beef that you can get in a can. Mmm...corned beef scrambled eggs.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Brandy Pate

I grew up thinking pate was raw meat. Coming from a home where nothing was eaten in its raw state, except for some fruit (mum even steamed paw paw), pate was a horrifying idea. Mum upheld the rule that cold foods "cooled" down the body. I accepted this as a cardinal rule, never to be questioned. Since becoming an adult responsible for my own diet, I've delved into raw meats, namely sashimi which I adore (Tsukiji fish markets in Tokyo = heaven), and have discovered that pate is not made from raw meat. I've even ventured so far as to cooking a sort of pate for my toddler with chicken livers and onions, which we didn't mind at all. It was even sort of nice.

So I thought it was fitting that for our inaugural appetizer should be one Brandy Pate. Note the mousse-like consistency and the layer of melted butter to extend the life of the pate. It looks dreadful!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Sausage cakes with mushroom sauce

To kick things off, I tested sausage cakes with mushroom sauce. The picture on the recipe card looks dubious, but I like sausages and I like mushrooms so it can't go too wrong, can it?

The thing I notice with these AWW recipe cards is the emphasis on crumbed deep fried goodness, meat slathered in sauce and tomatoes. This recipe meets the last two criteria.

This dish was very straightforward and turned out surprisingly well. The ultimate test though: did Princess eat it?  She originally only wanted broccoli (this is a good thing) but in the end conceded to trying the sausage cake with the promise of a candy cane. She ate it.  This recipe gets my thumbs up. 

I like how AWW recipes only require a few ingredients, and thankfully usually use fresh ingredients rather than canned goods. Is using canned and dehydrated goods cooking or convenience? The beauty of this dish is you can make it as cheap as you want. Sometimes sausages go for $4 per kg. This dish could easily come in under $5 to feed four people. Now that is awwful. 

I forgot mushrooms in this shot.

I made a few adjustments to the original recipe. I omitted onion as it's one of those things I eat only if it has been cooked till soft and mushy.I used fresh herbs because that is what I had on hand. For next time, to avoid the lumps (mmm...lumps) in the sauce, I will employ the asian cooking technique of thickening with cornstarch and water at the end of the dish.

Sausage cakes with mushroom sauce (adapted from Australian Women's Weekly)
For the sausage cakes
500g pork sausages
1 egg
1 clove garlic, chopped finely
1 tablespoon fresh basil, rosemary and parsley, chopped finely
Butter, for browning

For the mushroom sauce
30g butter
120g mushrooms
2 tomatoes, skinned and chopped
1 tablespoon parsley, chopped finely
1 cup + 1 tablespoon water
2 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 teaspoon cornflour

1. Take the skin off the sausages - I cut a little downward slit in the skin and then the skin can be peeled off.

2. Mix all the ingredients together for the sausage cakes i.e. pork, egg, garlic, and herbs. If the mixture doesn't bind together add in one teaspoon of cornflour. Add more flour if necessary.

3. Now you are ready to form the sausage cakes. Make sure your hands are wet to prevent sticking. Form little patties with your hands. I used a tablespoon as a rough measure. Heat the butter in a non-stick frypan and brown the cakes on both sides. I like to flip the cakes when the sides are starting to look cooked. Set aside and drain unless you like all that greasy goodness.  

4. For the mushroom sauce, first saute the mushrooms in butter. Once soft, add in the tomatoes, soy sauce, vinegar and 1 cup of water (the extra tablespoon of water is for the cornflour - see below).  Bring sauce back up to the boil, then simmer sauce for 2 or 3 minutes.

5. Final step is to mix the cornflour with about one tablespoon of water, just enough water so the flour is not lumpy. Pour cornflour mixture into the sauce while stirring. Stir constantly otherwise the dreaded lumps will appear.  Add in your sausage cakes. Bring it back up to the boil, boil for one minute, then add in the parsley.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Jellied Wine Grapes

The first recipe card for the year. This is a good one.  Introducing to you an adult version of jello: Jellied Wine Grapes. Feast your eyes on this, in particular the state of the grapes. Did you notice the brown streaks on the grapes, in particular around the stem area? I must say that food photography has come a long way. Would you eat this?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

NY2011 Resolution

When I was growing up in the 80s, I always wondered what my classmates ate at home. We only ever had home cooked Chinese food. Don't get me wrong, mum was a great cook but as they say: The food always tastes nicer at your friend's house. I felt like I was missing out, but not anymore. I am now armed with the tools to fill this blank in my childhood in the form of a complete Australian Women's Weekly (aww) recipe box circa 1970s.  It contains well over 1000 recipes with such lovelies like pate, brawn and devilled kidneys. Also the usual bakes, stews, casseroles, and sausages. My eating adventure into awwful food begins! (That's a pun, not a spelling error.) 

It is my resolution this year to cook one dish per week from this box and share with you our adventures. I also want to know if my two year old toddler, Princess, likes this food.  At least she can grow up knowing that she has not missed out!

I can only roadtest 52 recipes during 2011 but I will also post up other interesting looking recipes during the week. When I say interesting, it could mean awful. You're warned. What dish reminds you of your childhood?
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