Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Tis the season of tropical fruits in Australia. During summer my fridges are stocked with pineapples, watermelons, kiwis, bananas and many more. Most of these fruits are eaten as they are, chilled and raw from the fridge. Nothing beats a wedge of icy watermelon or a cool slice of pineapple on a hot day. Absolute refreshing bliss.
As the second month of Summer draws to a close I realised that whilst I had devoured many fruits, I haven't made that many into anything else. So I thought for the last month of Summer I shall try my hardest to eat them not only raw, but also to make them into a sweet treats or refreshing drinks to be enjoyed by everyone.
prep time: 15mins.
cooking time: 30mins.
taste: 3.5/5. Only because it turned really custard-y - which may have been because it was 42C today. Otherwise the flavours were absolutely gorgeous together, will have to make something with blueberries, pineapple and coconut again.
would I make it again: Yes, when the weather is under 30C.
Muffins really are one of the best snack foods in the world. They are just the right size for easy portability. They cope well in most weather conditions and are truly delicious. They can be sweet or savoury, small or gigantic and most of all, they can be eaten any time of the day. Man I love muffins.
About 70% of the time I normally make some kind of banana muffin as there always seems to be at least 1 banana that didn't get eaten before their brown spots appeared, making them less desirable and therefore fit for either the freezer or baked goods. I decided to give the banana a break this week and try something new. Mango was the fruit of the week for me, one was relegated to become a Mango Lassi, 1 is being reserved to make a mango chicken dish, so I had two left. So then I thought, how about mango muffins!
prep time: 10mins.
cooking time: 25mins.
taste: 4/5. Super moist muffins with lots of mango flavour. I am a coconut addict, and these were a little light in the coconut area - will add some dessicated coconut to the batter next time as well.
would I make it again: Yes. You could easily use tinned mango for the puree and fresh mango for the chunks.
Monday, January 26, 2009
Happy Australia Day!
To be honest I had hoped I would put my Australia Day to better use. The morning/afternoon was spent literally procrastinating outside while I leisurely ate some muesli. Before I knew it, 4pm stopped by to say hello and I was left wondering if 1pm had even called, or if 2pm had sent a message. So here I was, 4 o'clock in the afternoon with nothing to show for the previous 4 hours (I sped through the morning asleep).
I was kind of hungry, but I didn't actually want to eat anything. Then I reconsidered and decided to make myself something, and hopefully by the time it was ready I would feel like eating it. I had some dried blueberries that had been gathering dust in my pantry waiting to be used to make my homemade muesli. As I had bought some really gorgeous muesli this week, I didn't see the point in making more. However I wasn't sure how else to use them, until I found this recipe. A healthy snack would be perfect for this week, and cooking them today would be optimal as the rest of the week is forecast to be in the high 30s perhaps 40s.
ease: 5/5. prep time: 5mins.
cooking time: 30mins.
taste: 4/5. I made quite a few changes to this recipe so I will post my recipe below:
- 2 cups oats
- 1 cup dried blueberries
- 1/4 each of sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, crushed peanuts, flaked almonds
- 3/4cup dessicated coconut
- 3/4 cup honey
- 4tbs butter
Mix all of the dry ingredients together then add the wet ingredients. Pour the mixture into a lined baking tray and bake them for 30mins. Cool and cut into slices. Makes 9 small bars.
My bars came out super moist and tended to break apart, I either added too much honey or I did not bake them for long enough (I didn't want crunchy bars). Will cook them a little longer next time, maybe 40mins.
would I make it again: Yes.
Sunday, January 25, 2009
It was Salmon's week off this week so I had to find someone to take their shift; orange roughy was the lucky winner. I haven't cooked orange roughy before, but my father assures me it is lovely. I didn't want to try anything weird or complicated so I thought I'd go for the classic parmesan crumb. Fingers crossed :).
prep time: 5mins.
cooking time: 15mins
taste: 3/5. It was alright but I felt the crumb mixture actually made the flavour more mellow - couldn't taste much except for breadcrumbs. I made the following modifications for two people:
- 2 orange roughy fillets
- 1/2cup breadcrumbs
- 1/2tsp lemon rind
- 1/4cup Parmesan
- 1tbs parsley
- 1/2tsp lemon myrtle
- 2tbs oil
- salt and pepper
Mangoes of my heart, how I love thee.
Mangoes are one of those fruits that I learned to appreciate later in life. As much as I love them raw and fresh, I love them even more in creamy ice creams, or strewn through yoghurt with a little honey. But my absolute favourite way of eating them is to turn them into a mango lassi. I've made a few variations of this before, but this one is special as it combines mangoes with one of my top three spices; the delightfully fragrant cardamom.
ease: 5/5. prep time: 4mins.
cooking time: 1min to blend.
taste: 4/5. I had to score it lower as Ryan does not share my love for cardamom - it seems I will still be searching for the perfect mango lassi recipe.
would I make it again: Sort of - I will have to tweak it a little, perhaps less cardamom, more mango and maybe a touch of honey?
Saturday, January 24, 2009
I should name today Super Saturday, in honor of all of the errands I managed to tick off my list, and before 6:30pm I might add.
Along with the obligatory food shop, I felt like going to Jones the Grocer for my gourmet ingredient fix. Whilst there I picked up some truffle salt and some truffle oil. Eager to use them immediately I scoured my recipe files and found the perfect summer nights dish, complete with a sprinkling of truffle oil (and a dash of truffle salt for good measure).
prep time: 6mins. I used a pre-made pizza base, as I am inherently lazy.
cooking time: 12mins.
taste: 4/5. I loved this, although the asparagus didn't cook through for me, you see mine are a little stockier than Not-Quite-Nigella's. Ryan on the other hand took one bite before pulling an 'icky' face and pushing his plate away. Yes, this is how a 24year old man let's me know he doesn't like something. Perhaps if the asparagus was a little more tender, he may have had two bites.
would I make it again: N0, only because I cannot eat a whole one myself.
Friday, January 23, 2009
"Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse."
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse."
Christmas is long past, and amongst all of the hustle and bustle of wrapping gifts and seeing family I completely forgot to make these truffles. Normally I would have relegated them to this year's Christmas folder, but I just couldn't bring myself to wait another 12 months to taste them. So here they are, a very belated Christmas gift from me to you (and apologies to my family members who missed out and tasting these little ivory beauties last Christmas).
I am not sure how I thought I'd make successful chocolate truffles when the house temperature was 27C - the filling melted as soon as it was out of the freezer, I've never seen anything like it. The white chocolate just slid right off the filling and pooled around it. Only the truffle I did first survived, so I apologise for the lack of truffles in this post.
ease: 4.5/5. These have a lot of chilling time so it takes a while before they are ready.
prep time: 25mins to make chocolate batches and assemble truffles
cooking time: 3hours & 2omins of chilling time
total: 3hours & 45mins.
taste: 2.5/5. Despite doubling the nutmeg and the brandy, these tasted only of sugary white chocolate. I couldn't eat more than one. Such a shame seeing as though they got rave reviews from so many people.
would I make it again: No. Maybe they would have tasted better had they not melted all over the place, but I just found them too sweet for me.
Work started as usual, albeit a little late due to my freakish sleep patterns of the past three days. There weren't many orders today, which is both great (more free time) and not so great (less profit). I was finished by 12:30, so I threw a load of towels into the wash and hung them out to dry in the lovely much-more-efficient-than-a-dryer sunshine. I didn't feel like vacuuming, or cleaning for that matter, so I thought, why not bake something seeing as though the apricot cake is down to the last piece.
Shopping day for me is Saturday morning, so come Friday my shelves are looking pretty bare as I only buy what I need for each week. I have the bare essentials such as flour, sugar, eggs etc and I had a more than normal supply of peanut butter as my dog is currently taking some antibiotics and I find the best way to get them down whole is in a teaspoon of peanut butter.
Side note: I decided to try Dick Smith's PB this week rather than Kraft as it has 3% more peanuts and it actually tastes a whole lot better to me, so from now on, all PB dishes will be made using Dick Smith's PB.
This is a recipe I had been postponing as it is a little time intensive for a cookie recipe.
ease: 4.5/5. Takes time but isn't difficult.
prep time: 45mins to get to the cookies on a tray stage.
cooking time: 26mins for two trays.
total: 1hour & 11mins.
taste: 4/5. Ryan rated these an extra .5%, but I think 4 is enough. Surprisingly they weren't super peanut buttery. The soft center was lovely, the honey roasted peanuts on the top didn't mesh well, normal salted peanuts would have been nicer. Also a little more cinnamon perhaps.
would I make it again: No. They were lovely, but not so super duper that I would want to make them again.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
With the changing of a year, my life has undergone some dramatic changes. I felt it only natural that my blog also change with me.
Chanel's Couzina started in response to my partner's tendency to forget what I cooked him. As time progressed it became handy when family members asked for recipes for something they had eaten and liked. I liked being able to look back on my cooking accomplishments and it motivated me to spend even more time in the kitchen. Along with food, it also sparked my interest in a long forgotten hobby; photography. With my already-beloved Canon on its way be prepared for more pictures per post. Above I have taken some pictures from my garden and below I have posted some of my beautiful dog, Yoshi.
As for the name change, I submitted a list of potential names to a trusted few and Greedy Gourmand was the winner (by 1 vote). Let me know what you think about the new title and changes :).
Posted by CC11 at 6:05 PM
I spent so much time designing the new layout that I forgot about dinner! Before I knew it I heard 'when's dinner' grumbles coming from the lounge room. Scurrying around the kitchen I played with the idea of a large salad and then on second thought I turned on my laptop and scanned my bookmarked recipes. This super quick and easy Summer pizza recipe was the answer to my prayers.
prep time: 8 mins.
cooking time: 20mins
taste: 4.5/5. Ryan absolutely loved this - as it is a simple dish it really does rely on flavoursome fresh produce. The tomatoes were the stars whilst the zucchini and basil added to its summer taste. I made HUGE modifications to this recipe. I only used around 2tbs of mayonnaise, 1tsp dried basil, 1 punnet vine ripened cherry tomatoes, 1/2 a zucchini, 1/2 cup tasty cheese and 1/4 cup smoked danish cheese. I omitted the red pepper flakes and salt however I did mix 1/2tsp minced garlic with the mayonnaise. All of this fit decently on 1 sheet of puff pastry. I was a little hasty in getting it into the oven so my pizza was a little soggy due to partially defrosted pastry. Next time I will try to find some smoked mozzarella as I really think it would go well with this dish, I would also substitute the mayonnaise for garlic aioli.
would I make it again: Yes - super easy and really well liked.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Tuna in, tuna out. Tonight's dish was a last minute substitute. I had another dish meant for this evening, but upon a second look it no longer seemed appetising (hard boiled eggs, no pasta). I have made this particular dish before, it was liked but not overly so. Second time around I have limited the mustard (the most noted dislike previously) and increased the cheese (I have a cheese loving family).
ease: 5/5. prep time: 15mins to cook pasta and make sauce.
cooking time: 20mins.
taste: 3.5/5. Not bad, perhaps too much onion. I reduced the mustard to 1tsp which was enough for the boys. It definitely needs more tuna and perhaps cheese sprinkled on the top.
would I make it again: No - perhaps there is a better tuna bake recipe out there.
By the time I went back to save the apricots, only 3 out of 15 made it. Sadly I did not have enough to make a whole cake so I scrummaged up the last piece of pineapple and made a partial apricot upside down cake.
ease: 5/5. prep time: 10mins.
cooking time: 30mins.
taste: 4.5/5. Really dense buttery cake. I would have loved more apricots on the top I think they would really make it super delicious. I might try this with pear in the winter. Really great cake.
would I make it again: Yes.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Summer definitely made up for its late arrival with two days of 40C sweltering heat. Last night we ordered pizza as I just couldn't bear to turn on the oven or the stove top. Tonight, I also wanted to order in but I didn't feel like eating junk so I opted for something that would allow me to walk away into the cool lounge room while it cooked itself.
prep time: 6mins.
cooking time: 30mins.
taste: 3.5/5. Everyone liked it, I found it a little lacking on the garlic front, will have to add more next time. I halved the amount of red onion.
would I make it again: Yes. As a last minute meal as all of the ingredients I usually have on hand.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
"No red meat week." This will be the first whole week Ryan will go without eating red meat. I thought I would ease him into it with a salmon dish before the rest of the vegetarian dishes. He's a little unsure that he will feel full and 'satisfied' but I think he'll be fine.
Sourcing mirin turnd out to be harder than I had initially thought. Three supermarket's and 5 liqiour/wine stores later I was still empty handed. Coming home all hot and bothered (from the weather and running around) I vented to my dad about my unsuccesful hunt for wine. Mid sentence he stopped me and said, 'I think I might have some left at my place'. Those were probably the sweetest words I had heard all day. At last, I would have some mirin and it wouldn't even cost me a dime.
ease: 5/5. prep time: 7mins.
cooking time: 6mins.
taste: 4.5/5. Everyone really liked this, I felt there could have been a little more glaze so that the rice could have gotten some flavour so I will probably increase everything by half next time. I used 2tbs of brown sugar, thought 50g might be too much.
would I make it again: Yes. Super quick and tasty. Everyone liked it as well.
It's amazing how large the bounty of gifted fruits are in Summer - this is the only season where I am bombarded with plastic bags filled with picked plums, apricots, nectarines and peaches from family members. I'm not sure why they chose me as the one in need of all the fruit but somehow it all comes my way.
With the hot weather the fruits began to quickly languish in their fruit bowl, I managed to rescue some from an early fate by placing them in the fridge, but only a few spots were available. The rest I would have to quickly make into summer sweets before they expired.
The sugar plums were salvaged first. Today I wanted to save the 2 peaches and sadly withered 3 nectarines. After searching on Tastespotting, Foodgawker, Taste & Gourmet Traveler I found a recipe for a crisp (not too similar to my sugarplum crumble) that seemed suitable as I also happened to have some frozen blueberries hiding in my freezer. Tomorrow, it's the apricot's turn.
ease: 5/5. prep time: 17mins - I tore apart the nectarines and peaches as I didn't want to use their skins and my knives are on the dull side.
cooking time: 35mins.
taste: 5/5. I love this much more than the sugar plum crumble! Absolutely delicious! Next time I would use just peaches and blueberries as the nectarines were a bit tart. I modified the recipe as follows: I used 1 cup of frozen blueberries, 2 peaches and 3 nectarines; I used two tbs of cornflour. I would add a little more blueberries next time as I wanted more. The pecans were really lovely in the topping, it was still crumbly but nice - might up the spices next time also.
would I make it again: Yes.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
Years ago, when I still believed in Santa and wore pink tutus, I had a tiny porcelain baby (also in a pink tutu) with alabaster skin and sandy hair. She was my favourite baby doll; her name was Sugarplum. I would read bed time stories to her, feed her milk and tuck her in next to me while I slept. And after 4 years (until I was around 6) she was still in one piece.
So I make this crumble in remembrance of her and of all the wonderful times I had in my childhood playing make-believe.
ease: 4/5. prep time: 10mins.
cooking time: 25mins.
total: 35mins. Only 10mins hands on time with little clean up, can't beat that.
taste: 4/5. I found this really lovely. I thought perhaps the spices wouldn't come through but they do and they work wonderfully with the plums, really gorgeous flavours. The crumble was a little crumblier than I would have liked - might use less flour next time. Some found the plums tart but I think they worked well with the crumble and spices. Not a super sweet dessert.
would I make it again: No. Only because my partner thinks plums are too tart, otherwise I definitely would have.
Monday, January 12, 2009
Anticipation - expectation or hope. The act of anticipating or the state of being anticipated.
My entire being is buzzing with anticipation; all of my thoughts are focused on the completion of my bathroom. I have never wanted to shower in my house this badly or for this long (6months almost).
Almost is a word I do not care for now - the tiling is almost done, the paint is almost dry, your shower is almost finished. Screw you almost - I never really liked you anyway.
My arms are aching from trying to grasp the horizon that has now entered my sight - the wait is worse than that of Christmas Eve as a child; I want my present NOW! But alas, I will have to wait patiently for the last tap to be tightened and then at last, my house will finally become a home and I will be able to function as a human being, a very clean human being :)
As you know I have started to introduce more vegetarian and fish dishes into our weekly menu. This week there were supposed to be 2 chicken dishes. And then I found myself shopping at Leo's and lo and behold there in front of me, was a fresh seafood store, shining like a silver coin in the sun's fire. At the spur of the moment I decided to axe a chicken dish and catch myself a fish. The pink flesh of the Tasmanian Atlantic Salmon caught my eye so I bought two $6 skinless, boneless fillets and picked up some chat potatoes and green beans to go as a side.
I found this recipe online and thought I would alter it a bit as it wasn't 100% what I was after.
2 skinless Salmon fillets, de-boned
soy sauce for rubbing
1/4 olive oil
1tbs whole grain mustard
salt and pepper to season
Rinse salmon fillets and pat dry. Place onto a foil lined tray and rub with soy sauce. Season with salt and pepper and place under grill in oven for 10mins or until cooked to your liking.
Meanwhile, whisk cream, oil, wholegrain mustard, and dill together. Season with pepper.
Place salmon onto a plate and spoon over sauce. Serves 2.
prep time: 2mins for salmon, 3mins for sauce.
cooking time: 10mins.
taste: 4.5/5. The sauce is creamy, tangy, spicy and almost sweet. It masks the flavour of the salmon so would be good for people who don't like the taste of fish. I served this with boiled chat potatoes and steamed green beans.
would I make it again: Yes - super easy and I have the ingredients on hand.
Friday, January 9, 2009
Man cannot live on chocolate alone; but woman sure can.
-- Author Unknown
Chocolate - no other food gives me more pleasure or tastes quite as intoxicating. In the beginning I loved white chocolate, in my teens I loved milk, now, as a woman, I love dark chocolate. Throughout the years I have loved it in its various forms and will take either in a heartbeat.
I have not made anything with chocolate for far too long; my jars of callebaut pieces of heaven have gathered dust; truly a sacrilege. This recipe has been on my to do list for some time, so I thought now or never, dusted off my lovely jars and whipped up some glorious cookies.
ease: 5/5. prep time: 20mins.
cooking time: 8mins per tray - I used 4 trays worth so it took me 36mins to make 32 cookies.
taste: 4.5/5. These were a big hit. They were crackly on the outside and moist and fudgy within. They weren't super chocolaty either, so even if you think dark chocolate is too strong use it as it isn't super rich.
would I make it again: Yes - everyone loved these.
Thursday, January 8, 2009
I had a chicken dish in mind for tonight's dinner however I forgot to defrost it. As 5:30pm rolled around I ransacked my cupboards for pieces that would somehow make a complete meal.
Pasta is normally my go to choice. As I did not have any canned tomatoes but plenty of cheeses I thought this recipe would be prime choice.
ease: 5/5. prep time: 10mins to grate cheeses and make sauce.
cooking time: 9mins to cook pasta.
total: 19mins. taste: 4/5. I enjoyed this but the others found it too bland. I only had Parmesan aged to 2years so that is what I used. It did end up a little greasy - perhaps too much oil.
would I make it again: No - I was the only one who finished my plate.
Monday, January 5, 2009
Apart from the odd piece of fish now and then I don't eat any other type of meat. It started around 9 years of age, I was never much of a meat eater (much to the chagrin of the Greek side of my family, who still to this day try to get me to eat some lamb or chicken). I watched an animal documentary one day and after that I decided I wasn't going to eat meat anymore. I don't miss it and I have only been anaemic twice (I used to have a very bad diet filled only with sugar and processed food, hardly ate 1 piece of fruit or any vegetables).
My partner on the other hand is an avid meat eater, he comes from a culture of hunting and has himself hunted rabbit etc. As he cannot cook, I do cook lamb, pork, chicken, beef and fish for him (I told him that I will never cook rabbit or anything else and if he wants to eat them he can eat at his Mum's).
I have started to incorporate more vegetarian dishes, I am not trying to convert him (even though it would make my life a lot easier) but I would like it if he cut down the number of meat dishes he eats a week. After going without meat for 2 days, his meal of lamb yesterday did not sit well and he said it made him feel depressed. To my astonishment he expressed a desire to 'trial' being a vegetarian for a week. So I thought I'd make a few vegetarian meals this week and see if he feels satisfied, if he does we'll try for a whole meat-less week.
prep time: 6mins to slice and grill eggplant.
cooking time: 40mins.
taste: 3.5/5. I didn't mind it although it is quite heavy and rich. Ryan loved it and thought it tasted like it had 'meat' in it. Even my brother who hates eggplant ate every bit of it. I halved the recipe but added more cheese (as usual).
would I make it again: Yes.
Sunday, January 4, 2009
A day trip to the Beach was planned for the day, but when the weather forecast changed from 30C to 25C we thought we'd shelve it for another hot weekend. With all of the abundant sunlight I have a stronger desire to cook; I don't look for 'quick' and 'easy' dinners as I normally do and instead relish the opportunity to spend some time in the kitchen.
I have a lot of potatoes and with the heat I need to use them up before they expire themselves, so mashed potato is definitely on the cards for tonight. To go with them I yanked some lamb chops out of the freezer and thought it a good idea to use up the last of a bottle of merlot that has been in my fridge long past it's intended stay.
8 lamb cutlets
3/4 cup of merlot
1tbs quince paste
1/2 chicken/beef stock cube
salt and pepper
Heat olive oil in a non stick pan. Add lamb chops and quickly brown both sides. Add wine, quince paste, stock cube and salt and pepper. Cook until wine reduces and becomes sticky. Serves 2.
ease: 5/5. prep time: 1min
cooking time: 8mins
total: 9mins (not including mashed potatoes which takes around 30mins).
taste: 4/5. Ryan loved this.
would I make it again: Yes - super easy and quick.
Saturday, January 3, 2009
The weather didn't get as warm as I would have liked today, but the sun still shone well after 8:30pm. As a recent 'New years clean' has left my house feeling fresh and pleasant to be in I thought I'd spend some time cooking a time consuming meal.
I love pumpkin soup and at first I wasn't sure if Butternut squash was the same as butternut pumpkin but I decided to use butternut pumpkin to make this recipe. Everyone that commented was excited about the combination of butternut squash and apples, I was also, that is until I tasted the final product.
ease: 3/5. Time consuming and decent amount of washing up.
prep time: 30mins to chop all the veggies and roast the ones in the oven.
cooking time: 40mins to cook all ingredients combine, make bread and to blend soup.
total: 1hour & 10mins (I never include the time it takes to preheat the oven as everyone oven is different.)
\taste: 1.5/5. Yuk. I couldn't even eat half and I was hungry. I am pretty sure it was the apple that ruined it as well as the apple cider as the soup had a really sharp, bitey tang that did not compliment the creamy pumpkin. No on liked this. I couldn't taste the sage either.
would I make it again: HELL NO.
It has been a long time since I last posted, as it has also been a long time since I last cooked anything other than toast. I must admit that the New Year for me started very slowly and lethargically. After days of reading and snacking I decided to get up and make something.
I had half a bottle of Irish Bailey's in the fridge so I thought it would be perfect with this recipe.
ease: 5/5. prep time: 13mins.
cooking time: 20mins.
taste: 3/5. My brownies were nothing like brownies at all, rather they were like a moist cake. My brownies don't even look like the
would I make it again: No. Not gooey and I have other brownie recipes that worked first try.