Monthly Archives: September 2015

Quiche for Cheats

Time to blog has been a little rare and as a result, I have been distracted, my apologies. Between trying to be Supermum and trying to keep my boss happy, I’m also trying to organize Mr. M’s 40th birthday, Miss A’s 1st birthday and trying to redo the backyard before the new shed and Christmas arrive. This is a follow on from my previous post about my abundance of fresh eggs.

Quiche is an easy weeknight dinner but takes time when you make your own shortcrust pastry. Homemade shortcrust pastry is light and crumbly and makes a great quiche base but who has the time after work, dealing with kids and doing household chores? Some days I feel I should be starting dinner prep at lunchtime!

The solution is simple! Frozen pastry is a great time saver if you want a traditional base. For a lighter alternative I will use Filo Pastry. Filo Pastry requires a little more work when buttering and layering but the added steps produce a golden brown, crisp pastry case. I am more than happy to make my own shortcrust pastry but refuse to make Filo or Puff Pastry (although I had previously) as the low cost and convenience factor well out way the time and muscle needed. You can find my Filo Quiche recipe here.

Friends of ours also have chickens so there are eggs a plenty. Mrs. Friend was dealing with a family issue interstate, so Mr. Friend rang here wanting to know how to make pastry. So here is my simple shortcrust pastry recipe. My sister also likes to make quiche for fingerfood but can never remember the Egg to Cream Ratio. The ratio is really simple to remember for every egg you will need 100ml of cream.

1 Egg: 100ml Cream

Therefore alter the amount depending on the size you need and you’ll never need to reference a cookbook again. For example:

3 Eggs: 300ml Cream

5 Eggs: 500ml Cream

8 Eggs: 800ml Cream

If you stick to this ratio, you will have set custard that doesn’t taste overly eggy. Which is great when you are like me and don’t like eggs! Yes, you read that, I don’t like plain egg and would NEVER eat a fried or boiled egg but will eat Quiche…go figure!!!!

If you are super short on time, or don’t have the ingredients, forget the pastry all together. It’s also marginally better for your waistline. A crust-free Quiche is known as a Frittata.

Happy Cooking xxx

🙂 Kelly

Eggs, Eggs & More Eggs

We proudly own three Isa Brown Chickens. This flock of feathered friends are not only entertaining and low maintenance but also keep us in a steady stream of fresh eggs.Chooks

There however, is a downside to our family friends…we simply can’t eat eggs as quickly as they lay them! Each chicken will lay one egg per day, that’s 21 eggs per week. We will happily send friends and family home with our oversupply when they pop past. I do however try to use them in my cooking as much as possible.

Donna Hay can be quoted from one of her many cookbooks “If you have eggs in the fridge, you have a meal on the table”. This quote is definitely true.

Eggs are versatile ingredients as you can eat them on their own in a multitude of ways such as fried, poached, scrambled, boiled or baked. Eggs also have a sometimes hidden culinary role in aiding to thicken, bind, glaze, aerate, emulsify, clarify and enrich a dish. Eggs are to cooking as Glue, Nails, Screws, Paint and Wood are to Building!

Eggs are highly perishable and start deteriorating as soon as they are laid. So how do you tell if an egg is fresh? The easiest way is to place the egg into a glass of water. If the egg sinks, it is good. If the egg floats, it is not. An eggshell is porous and allows air to penetrate the egg over time creating an air pocket. This is what makes the egg float. Fresher eggs have a much smaller air pocket and hence will not float.

I could blog about eggs forever so I will keep it to the basics this week. Sometime I have to remember it’s all about simple, delicious & cheap before I get carried away with my excitement. I will follow with more in the weeks to come but first, this is what I made this week with my eggs.

For a quick weeknight meal, I will whip up a Frittata or Vegetable Slice. These are great dinner options that use up vegetables and eggs and don’t need the added step of making pastry. For a cheats quick and easy quiche, I will use Filo Pastry. It is lighter in texture but still provides that crispiness that a great pastry base deserves. You can also make your own shortcrust pastry if time permits, as it is cheap to make.

Last week, you may have noticed that Mr. M won a huge 4.5kg Toblerone. We managed to share this amongst family and friends but were still left with a considerable piece. So I decided to make Toblerone Icecream. What better way to combine an oversupply of both chocolate and eggs? It was also an excuse to use my new icecream maker that I received for my birthday in late August. I followed the chocolate icecream recipe as per my icecream maker instructions and folded through chunks of Toblerone at the end before my final deep freeze. I understand that not everyone has an icecream maker so I have my no-churn Parfait recipe here that is just as good without the need of a machine.

Happy Cooking xxx

🙂 Kelly

Our Father’s Day Feast

Mr. M is always on the look out for a bargain. Every time I take him grocery shopping I end up with a trolley full of ‘Reduced Quick Sell’ items. As a result, we have had a 5.5kg turkey in our chest freezer since The New Year.

Whole Turkey is readily available for the Christmas season and as a result, you can grab a bargain after everyone has celebrated. The huge bird cost us just $17, that’s just $3.10/kg.

The next challenge: when were we going to cook this mammoth bird? We had more than enough for our little family and wanted to share. We contemplated Christmas in July and that came and went so we settled on Father’s Day lunch. I really wanted a special lunch because it was Mr. M’s very first Father’s Day and he loves Turkey. We invited all our family and Mr. M cooked the tasty bird over charcoal on his spit. We had all the trimmings with Roasted Vegetables and Pudding for dessert.

After feeding our hungry family lunch, we still had a swaggering amount of leftover meat. This tasty meat is underrated and simply too good to waste. So for a quick weeknight dinner after work, I decided to make my own Vietnamese Meat Rolls.

Vietnamese or Banh Mi Rolls are gaining huge popularity around Adelaide but you can simply make your own at home. Traditionally made with Pork, I will use any leftover roast meat we have on hand. Pork, Turkey or Chicken will all provide the same tasty results. These rolls are light, tasty and quick. I fill fresh rolls with meat that has been fried off again, Kim Chi crunchy vegetables and top with fresh coriander and mint.

We are lucky enough to be surrounded by quality Asian supermarkets both located near home and work. Herbs that we don’t grow ourselves are purchased here. Large bunches of Coriander and Mint are just $1 each. These bunches are twice the size of that available at the supermarket and only a fraction of the price. You can also get Lemongrass, Curry Leaves, Spring Onions, and Bok Choy at a considerably cheaper price. Bean Sprouts set me back just 80 cents a bag. Our local store also has a great butcher hidden in the back but I will write about another time.

Matt also won the Father’s Day raffle at Childcare. We now have a 4.5 kg, 80cm long Toblerone to consume. Let’s see how I can utilise this in the next few months. Thankfully we have lots of friends and family who have already received chunks.

Toblerone

Happy Cooking xxx

Kelly

More than just Mayo

Who doesn’t love a great smear of mayonnaise on a fresh sandwich? But did you know that Mayonnaise is the base of many a great sauce. There is no need to have a multitude of bottles filling up your fridge such as Garlic Aioli, Caesar Dressing, Cocktail or Thousand Island dressing, Tartare Sauce and Honey Mustard Dressing. All you simply need is Mayonnaise and a few extra pantry/fridge ingredients.

If you had one of each in the fridge, you would have an average of $20-$25 of sauce. It really does add up when you think about it. Not to mention the valuable fridge space being consumed with a handfuls of bottles.

I first fell in love with Garlic Aioli when I undertook work experience in a lovely hotel on South Australia’s Yorke Peninsula. It is there I learnt so much more about Mayonnaise and its versatility…something we never learnt at trade school. I really wish I could go back into a kitchen and leave the safety of my boring Dental job.

Making your own mayonnaise at home is really simple once you master the technique and flavours. I try to keep plain mayonnaise and garlic aioli on hand in the fridge to use as a base sauce in a hurry. Plain for sandwiches because you don’t want garlic on your sandwich and aioli because I find the garlic flavour develops when left. I will never buy mayonnaise again. The flavors are better than store bought, pale, flavourless, preservative filled goo.

Here is my Simple Mayonnaise Recipe. Add the following ingredients to the basic mayo and transform it into a completely different sauce.

  • Aioli = Mayo + Lemon Juice & Crushed Garlic
  • Caesar Dressing = Mayo + Parmesan Cheese, Worcestershire                                               Sauce & Anchovies
  • Tartare Sauce = Mayo + Gherkin (Pickles) & Capers
  • Honey Mustard = Mayo + Honey & Wholegrain Mustard
  • Cocktail Sauce = Mayo + Tomato Sauce & Worcestershire Sauce
  • Burger Sauce = Mayo + Tomato Sauce & Gherkin (Pickles)

Mayonnaise is a great base to experiment and create new and interesting sauces. You can add chilli, lime, herbs, different mustards or vinegars for a fantastic sauce you would never find on the supermarket shelf. A great way to add interest to sandwiches, burgers, potato salad and fish. Hot chips and Aioli is a great combination in my opinion! I find that my mayonnaise will last approximately two weeks in a sealed container in the fridge. In saying that, we normally eat it much quicker.

Experiment and have fun. You might surprise yourself.

Happy Cooking xxx

Kelly