Recipe & Food ideas from our kitchen...

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Thai style Tom Kha Gai (galangal & chicken soup)..

Thai style Tom Kha Gai (galangal & chicken soup)..

A mate put me onto this recipe (Cheers Sir) & seeing as we had a lot of the herbs/spices needed growing in the patch it was worth a crack I thought.. Normally the only veggie/fungus added is mushrooms from what I have seen but I decided to add some other greens instead as they were ready to harvest..


2 x 400ml tins coconut cream/milk (I like to use cream)
400ml water
15 thin slices of fresh galangal root (75mm/3" piece)
1 large or 2 small stalks of lemongrass, bruised & cut into 40mm/1½" pieces.
5 kaffir lime leaves, torn into thirds
4 chicken thighs, diced into 10mm/½" pieces
2 tbsp fish sauce
1½ tbsp lime juice
½ tbsp palm/rapadura/Panela sugar
2 Chillies, diced finely
3/4 cup of raw jasmine rice, cooked..
My extra additions were,
1 small zucchini/courgette, sliced thinly
8 snake bean, cut into 25mm/1" lengths
Full handful of chopped greens per person..

- Place coconut cream/milk, water, lemongrass, galangal & kaffir leaves into saucepan & bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer for 15 min.
- Add chicken, simmer for another 15 min & start to cook rice.
- Remove soup from heat, add fish sauce, lime juice, sugar & chillies to soup, mix, then tweak as needed.
The galangal, lemongrass & lime leaves can be removed now or left in to be eaten around as they are rather tough to eat.
- Add leafy greens to bowl then top with cooked rice.
- Add beans, zucchini then soup to bowl & serve...

Veggies came out nice & crunchy, just the way I like it.. This meal will definitely get a spin on the menu again as it was mild enough for the whole family to devour yet the chilli added at the end gave a nice little kick for Bianca & I..
Hope you like it if you try it...

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Has been a while since posting on this blog... I have finely gotten motivated to document a few cooking adventures so shall try to post at least more than once every few months, or is that 10 months **blushes**
Well, to start off I have finely made something that I have wanted to do for quite some time.. I have made up some tomato powder from our first decent harvest of tomatoes in years.. For us it is the best way I can think of to store the tomatoes so we can save some space in the pantry for other bulky items..

As tomatoes end up being stewed down in most of the hot meals we make I thought this method of preserving made sense as soon as I saw it.. Have been waiting a while to make up the powder after seeing it on shadowofjuniperhill's YouTube channel last year & am most glad I have finely made some :)

For more regular updates & pictures from the patch come visit us on our "Bits Out the Back" Facebook page..
Have a great one All...

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Sourdough update

Sourdough tweak & update...Think I have the sourdough sussed out now.. **does happy dance** Since changing to our home made probiotic yoghurt (A post & clip will be coming in the near future on this) as the liquid used to feed the starter the loaves have all risen great & have a nice light in texture..
  They are nowhere as dense as the first loaves we were making & I am slightly relieved by that.. The "brick loaves" (right) may have tasted great but were just not up to scratch I think..
The starter is a few months old now & has matured nicely if the resulting loaves of late are anything to go by.. I was keeping a milk starter as well as a yoghurt starter but, as we always have fresh made yoghurt on hand, I have cut it back to just the yoghurt one.. I will be experimenting with splitting the starter & feeding one with just water again to see if will give us the same results.. I have a feeling the great results may have more to do with the age of the starter rather than the use of yoghurt as the liquid... I suppose the yoghurt could of helped it along so it will be interesting to see how it goes without it..
So, here is the recipe we have been using for the past few weeks now...

RB's Tried & Tasty Sour Dough Loaves..
I make 2 different loaves at a time so will give you the run down for both..
The sponge...
(a separate lot is made up for each loaf)
300g of flour per loaf (we use ATTA)
250ml of warm water
1/3 cup of Sourdough starter
  • On the morning we plan to make the sponge the starter is removed from the fridge & fed ½ cup each of yoghurt & ATTA flour & then mixed well.. (if I was to make just 1 loaf I would only feed with 1/3 cup of each)
  • Later that evening, once the starter has doubled in size, mix the starter, flour & water well with a wooden/plastic spoon... You can also get your hands in there if you feel the need but if you persevere with the spoon it should come together fine..
  • Place the mix into a bowl & cover with cling film or seal into a Tupperware style container..
  • Leave to rest overnight & grow into a "sponge"..
Left is the sponge just after mixing...

Right is 12 hours later, about doubled in size & with lots of gas bubbles...

Plain Sourdough loaf...

300g of flour
2tsp bread improver
2Tbsp milk powder
2Tbsp Rapadura sugar
50ml warm water
Sponge (made the night before)

  • Mix all ingredients together & knead for 10-15 min.. I have only done the manual knead once as I have been cheating & using the kneading function on the Thermomix.. You could use any appliance that has a kneading function if you wish, even a bread maker if you have one at your disposal..
  • Form into a ball, place back into bowl/container & cover..
  • Leave in a warm/sunny spot until it doubles in size which is about 3-4 hours here on a 20°C winter day..
  • Punch dough down & manually knead for 5-10 min... I do it for 5 & always get a nice rise out of the dough now..
  • Form into log, place into bread tin & cover with a greased piece of cling film..
  • Leave to rise until loaf has risen to desired size (about 3-4 hours in a warm spot here)
  • Pre heat oven to 220°c with some water in a pan on the bottom shelf (helps to form a great crust)
  • Add loaf tin once the oven is to temperature & bake for 10min..
  • Reduce heat to 180°C & bake for a further 10min or until the loaf is golden on top (some ovens may need more time) 
  • Remove from loaf tin & cool on a rack..
  • Let loaf cool before slicing.. (yeah right!!!)

5 Seed Sourdough loaf...

Pretty much the same as the plain loaf except for a bit more water & the seeds...
300g of flour
2tsp bread improver
2Tbsp milk powder
2Tbsp Rapadura sugar
75ml warm water
2Tbsp sesame seed
2Tbsp chia seed
2Tbsp pumpkin seed
2Tbsp sunflower seed
2Tbsp poppy seed
Sponge (made the night before)
  • Mix all ingredients together & knead for 10-15 min..
  • Form into a ball, place back into bowl/container & cover..
  • Leave in a warm/sunny spot until it doubles in size, about 3-4 hours here..
  • Punch dough down & manually knead for 5-10 min..
  • Form into log, place into bread tin & cover with a greased piece of cling film..
  • Leave to rise until loaf has risen to desired size (about 3-4 hours in a warm spot)
  • Pre heat oven to 220°c with some water in a pan on the bottom shelf..
  • Add loaf tin to oven once the oven is to temperature & bake for 10min..
  • Bake for a further 10 min at 180°C or until the loaf is golden on top.. (some ovens may need more time) 
  • Remove from loaf from tin & cool on a rack..
  • Let loaf cool before slicing..
I normally like to add 4Tbsp each of the sunflower, pumpkin & chia seeds but the spawn & B have rebelled & made me cut down the quantities..
A few tips...
As sourdough loaves take longer to rise than breads baked with commercial mass produced yeasts, we have used the oven to help prove some of the loaves on the colder days or when time has gotten away from us.. All we do is turn the oven onto its lowest setting then, turn it off once it reaches temperature (about 30-50°C) then let the dough/loaves prove in there.. I like to turn the oven on & repeat the above once an hour until the dough/loaf is ready for the next stage..
Another pointer is that if for whatever reason the loaves do not get turned out of the tins once baked the bottoms & sides tend to sweat a bit making them soft.. When this has happened we return the loaf to a hot oven (180°C) on its side for a few minutes or until the base & sides crusts up nicely..

I would still like to pop up a recipe for the sprouted loaves but that recipe is still a bit of work in progress & we only just received a sizable amount of wheat berries to play with for that, SO, I suppose that's about it for now on the sourdough front... I am still reading "The complete idiots guide to fermenting foods" by Wardeh Harmon so I am sure I will revisit sourdough baking here in the future...
Hope that helps someone out there..
Have a great one all... ...

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Sourdough starter & Breads..

Sourdough Starter...
  A while back we started to make simple sourdough breads from scratch & noted the results in a blog entry on Simple Savings web site.. Bit's of this entry come from there..
Sourdough is one of the oldest bread baking methods that uses a fermented starter.. The starter is made from a mixture of flour & water that has been left to sit for a period of time.. The starter ferments once wild yeast & bacteria (lactobacilli) from the atmosphere colonise it.. The colonies of good bacteria will out compete the nasty bacteria varieties by making the starter too acidic for them to survive.. This is what gives the bread it's unique "sour" aroma & flavour.. Wild yeasts convert the sugars into carbon dioxide which is what makes the dough rise.. Ethanol is another by-product that can sit as a liquid layer on top of the starter & is called "hooch".. This also contains dead yeast cells & according to some sources, it should be poured off the top of the starter as it tends to make the mix bitter.. Our second starter did not form a hooch layer.. I think it may be because it has been fed & divided/reduced regularly..
After searching the net & reading a few different versions of sourdough starters I decided on a basic flour/water starter to begin with.. Other recipes I have read include things like honey, sultanas, pineapple juice & sugar to add different characteristics to the bread but I think I will master the basic starter first..

To make a basic starter you will need,
750ml-1L wide mouth jar that has been sterilised with boiling water
Cheese or a "Chux" style cloth
Rubber or elastic band
1/3 cup of rye
1/3 cup wheat flour 
2/3 cup of filtered water*     

Mix the ingredients until the flour & water are combined well
Cover the jar with cheese cloth.. The yeast & bacteria will fall through the holes in the cloth to colonise the flour water mix & start the process..
The starter needs to be stirred every 8-12 hours to oxygenate the mix..

Feeding the starter..
I have made up a container with a 1:1 mix of wheat & rye flour which sits on the bench next to the starter jar.. Every morning the starter gets fed with 1/3 of a cup of the flour mix & 1/3 of a cup of warm (body temp) water*.. 
You should start to see small bubbles in the starter by day 4 but in saying that, both batches of our started to form bubbles within 36 hours but it does depend on the amount of good bacteria & yeast you have in your households environment.. We made a loaf with our first started after 4 days that turned out a lot better than I expected.. We then made 3 or 4 more that all turned out great.. Unfortunately we missed a day of feeding/stirring & ended up with a green "growth" on the top so threw the whole starter..
A second batch was made up but fed over eight days just to see if there was any difference in the loaves that were baked from it.. This batch has been reduced twice to a level of about 1/3 of a cup in the jar every few days.  The excess was disposed of down the sink.. If I had left it in the jar, the jar would have very quickly overflowed as the starter grew during the feeding process.. Besides feeding the excess to the sink, some was also given to friends so they could have a go at sourdough for themselves..

 I really couldn't tell the difference in flavour between the 4 & 8 day starters.. If we have to start another I think we would be baking after 4 days as long as the starter appears active enough.. Sourdough starters will continue to develop their own unique characteristics over time.. I have read of some starters that are well over 100 years old & passed down from generation to generation..

*If you don't have access to filtered water it is advisable to leave some water out overnight so that the chlorine can dissipate as it can kill or retard the growth of the wild yeast..

Sourdough Bread...
The recipe we used is a basic one I found on Food four thought blog.. The only small change I made was to use atta flour instead of white which made the loaf darker..

200g atta flour
400g rye flour
1 tsp  salt
170g sourdough starter
320g warm filtered water*

Place flour & salt into large bowl & mix.
Make a well in centre of the flour.
Add the starter and water and mix them together in the well until combined.

Then combine the mixed starter with the flour until most of the flour is incorporated.
Use hands to knead the remaining flour into a ball then cover and set aside for 20 minutes to allow the water to be absorbed into the dough.
Knead the bread for 15 min. (I cheated & kneaded in the Thermomix for 3 min..)
Place the dough into into a loaf tin & set aside for 9-12 hours in a warm area or until it doubles in size. It will take longer than conventional breads.
Preheated oven to 210°C.
Bake for 10 minutes then reduce to 180°C for a further 20minutes.
When done the loaf should sound hollow when tapped.
Remove from oven & cool on wire rack.

We really like this bread sliced very thinly then toasted.. Tastes great with our cashew & sundried tomato spread/dip.. The other favourite is tomato & grilled cheese..

Thanks for reading & have a great one..
: )»

Bianca & Rob..

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Whole wheat rolls & veggie/bacon burgers..

Whole wheat bread rolls...   
It was decided that veggie & bacon burgers would be on the menu tonight so Bianca set to the task of looking for Thermomix (TM) bread/roll recipes.. She decided on the Basic Bread recipe (page 112) from the "Everyday cooking" book that came with the TM.. Some improvisations had to be made as we were out of white flour & only had wheat "berries"/grain & atta flour on hand..

340g of wheat grain   
160g atta flour
2¼tsp or 1 sachet of dry yeast
1tsp salt
20ml olive oil

  • Milled the wheat grain in 2 batches in the TM for 1 min on speed 9.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients & mix for 5 seconds on speed 7 just to combine the ingredients.
  • Set the TM to "lid closed" & knead for 1 min on Interval speed.
  • Place the dough into lightly greased bowl & leave in a warm position to prove for ½ an hour or until it doubles in size.
  • When ready roll dough into appropriately sized rolls.. (B made 5 large Burger style buns)
  • Leave rolls to prove in an unheated oven for 10-15 min to let them rise again slightly.
  • Bake for 25min at 180°C
  • Test buns by giving then a tap. They will be ready when they sound slightly hollow..

While the buns were cooling B got the rest of the burger ingredients ready..
  • Grilled eggplant (from the garden) sprinkled with crushed garlic
  • Fresh sweet basil & lettuce (from the garden)
  • Sliced tomato
  • Grated carrot
  • Fried onion, egg's, mushrooms & bacon
  • Sliced Colby cheese..
So tasty & a real treat.. The bacon really isn't necessary but is always added here..

Hope you enjoy them as much as we do if you try them...

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Chilli Prawns...

Chilli Prawns...
300g peeled prawns
3 heaped Tbsp corn flour
4-5 Tbsp water to make the batter (you may need more)
1 tsp salt
½ tsp ground pepper
1 tsp of garlic powder or crushed garlic
Enough Rice bran oil or other suitable oil for frying
1 small capsicum, diced
1 chilli, diced finely (more if you want)
1 green/spring onion, sliced thinly
3 cloves of garlic, diced
2 Tbsp Chinese rice wine

  • Add flour, salt, pepper, powdered/crushed garlic, & then a little water at a time to make a thin batter
  • Add prawns & mix then let sit until oil is ready
  • Heat oil in wok/pan to a medium temp. Test the oil by adding a few "drips" of the batter into it.
  • Cook 4-6 prawns at a time then remove & drain on paper towel or on rack until all cooked
  • Remove oil from wok/pan CAREFULLY...  I pour it into a saucepan to cool down before bottling if for use later..
  • Heat wok/pan & stir-fry the the capsicum, chilli, onion, diced garlic for 60 seconds
  • Add the prawns back in then add the rice wine
  • Stir-fry for another 30 seconds then serve...

This is a quick & tasty dish that has become a favourite spare of the moment meal..

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Fruit Seed & Nut Balls...

Just a quick post on a treat that has become a staple treat here... 

Fruit, Seed & Nut Balls...
1¼ cup of almonds
¼ cup sunflower seed
¼ cup pumpkin seed
¼ cup chia seed
¼ cup desiccated coconut
¼ cup cocoa
75g dried dates
75g dried apricot
½ cup of tahini
¼ cup honey
¼ cup maple syrup
2 tsp vanilla essence
Extra coconut to roll the balls in...
  • Process the almonds, seeds, coconut, cocoa & dried fruit until they resemble breadcrumbs.
  • Add all the liquid ingredients, process again until combined.
  • roll into balls then roll in extra coconut.
As easy as that & very VERY tasty..
Have a great one...
: )»

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Lemon Herb Chicken..

Decided to whip up a dish I saw on a You Tube channel I subscribe to called "Cooking with Karma".. Karma follows a theme every week  posting clip's Mondays & Fridays...
This week is lemons with Mondays recipe being Lemon Herb Chicken... Rather fond of pairing lemon & chicken so I thought I would give it a whirl after a few adjustments of course (just can't help myself)...

Lemon & Herb Chicken...

1/3 cup of oil
2 sprigs of rosemary
3 sprigs of thyme
6 or so sage leaves
2 cloves of garlic, chipped finely
1 Tbsp honey
Rind & juice of a lemon
2Tbsp of Dijon or favourite mustard
1Tbsp whole seed mustard
1 kg (6) boneless chicken thighs
¼ cup of sliced Kalamata olives

  • Strip the leaves of the herbs from their stem..
  • Add the leaves, garlic & a little oil into a mortar then bruise with pestle.. If you don't have a mortar & pestle you could use the back of a large spoon to crush the mix on the inside edge of a bowl as we did before purchasing a set..
  • Add the remaining oil, honey, mustards, lemon rind/juice then mix well & season with pepper to taste..
  • Trim excess fat from thighs then marinate in tray they are to be cooked in making sure to cover them thoroughly in the herb & lemony goodness..
  • Cover & marinate for 4 + hours..
  • Pre heat oven to 180°c
  • Give the thighs a quick turn in the dish then place in the oven for 40-50 minutes coming back every 15 min to turn & baste the chicken..
  • Add the olives on the second turn allowing then just to warm through without drying out & shrivelling up...
 It was a most excellent dish & one that will be cooked on many more occasions... We served it up with a stir fry made from,
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, diced finely
  • 1 bunch of asparagus, cut into thirds
  • ½ medium capsicum, diced
  • Large handful of beans, cut into thirds
  • 1 medium white eggplant, diced
The onion, garlic & eggplant were stir fried  until the onions were softened..
The rest of the veggies were added & fried until ready...

Hope you enjoy it if you try it & remember to check out Cooking with Karma's channel..
Have a great one...
: )»

Monday, March 19, 2012

Sunday in the kitchen...

Was a tad wet to get stuck into the garden (well it was in the morning) so decided to play with the Thermomix (TM) instead...

Vanilla Sugar Xylitol & Extract..
While we are ultimately trying to dramatically cut down our already low sugar consumption we find that Vanilla sugar is one of those things that does get used a bit.. We have just gone halves with a family member on a 500g (17½ Oz) of Madagascan vanilla beans that cost us $70 AU.. 3 beans make up 10g so there would be roughly 150 beans costing about 46 cents AU each.. When I searched a popular Australian Stoopidmarket chain I found their price to be $8.59 for 5grams (2 beans I would think) of beans which works out to be,
 hope your sitting,
$1718 per Kg!!!
I shall say no more other than I would love to farm these guys when we eventually get some land to farm ...
The last batch of vanilla beans we purchased (over 18 months ago) have been gifted, used & reused with only a dozen or so left to make 1 last batch of vanilla xylitol.. The new batch of beans will be used to make a mega batch of essence, like the bottle shown in the clip below, as well as a batch of Vanilla bean paste..
I think is best to let the mix sit for at least 2 week before using once it has been processed just to let the "minced" up bean impart more oil into the sugar (unless you are impatient like I)..

Condensed Milk with a Vanilla twist...

This was a fairly easy recipe to make up & one my Sister recommended to me... The original comes from the Down To Earth Blog published by Rhonda Hetzel...
Her recipe an be found on her Homemade from the cupboard entry...

I made it using slightly differently quantities..
1¼ cup milk powder
½ cup vanilla sugar
2 dessert spoons of butter
1/3 cup of boiling water...
  • Place all in blender/food processor & mix until combined. You will need to scrape the sides a few time just so all ingredients get combined..

Real easy to make & will be trying it with the vanilla xylitol when it is ready...

Lemon & Lime Cheesecake with a Nutty base...
This was the goal for Sunday as I have never made a cheesecake before & was chuffed I could make one with ingredients all made from scratch... The Labneh cheese is so easy anyone can make it as long as you have some cheese cloth or a new, preferably washed, Chux style cloth.. (There is a clip on the post before this if interested.)  The above posted condensed milk recipe is just the right amount for this recipe.. The ginger & toasted nuts really set off the sweet tangy filling wonderfully..

3/4 cup of dates, soaked in boiling water for 15 minutes
100g/3.5oz Macadamia nuts, toasted
150g/5.3oz Almonds, toasted
¼ cup shredded or desiccated coconut
2tsp of fresh grated Ginger or ½tsp powdered  (I used 3 pieces of candied ginger as we were out of fresh)

  • Add all ingredients to blender/processor/TM & process until you end up with a grainy paste..
  • Press base into 20cm/8" spring form style tin. There will be enough oil released from the nut's so greasing base of tin shouldn't be needed..
250g/8.8oz  Labneh or Philly cheese
1 batch of the above Condensed milk or a 395g/14oz Tin
3 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp Lime juice
Zest from 1 lime (1tsp)

  • Add all ingredients together & combine in blender/processor/TM scraping down sides regularly.
  • Spread mixture over top of base & smooth out top.
  • refrigerate 1-2 hours or until set..

Hope you like these if you give them a whirl... I enjoyed making them... My next cheesecake will be a "Raw" version so shall be posting that soon...

Just like to add that I really like the Thermomix style of unit whether it be a Thermochef, Belini version or any other unit that allows you to eat more healthy, unprocessed foods... I like that we can use each others recipes interchangeably with minor tweaking here & there..
Have a great one all....
: )»

Friday, March 16, 2012

New You Tube Channel & Toy...

A month ago we decided to buy a Thermomix (TM) as we see an all in one unit like this as a real bonus to the kitchen.. After contemplating our diet for a while we have decided to reduce the majority of processed/packaged food.. The TM will enable us to prepare some ingredients from scratch which will help boost the nutrient content of the foods we prepare..  We will be able to mill our own flours, make tahini from scratch as well as various nut butters, nut milks, fresh fruit sorbets, jams & the list goes on... I know a few of the above listed foods can be made in other appliances but that is one of the great things about the TM, we can now get rid of the food processor, rice cooker (which I never liked using BTW **checks over shoulder for Bianca**), ice shaver, microwave steaming pots, Kenwood chef, hand held processor & when the bread machine finally packs it in, that as well...
Pineapple & Mango Sorbet  is the favourite so far..
 In the 2 weeks we have had the TM we have made  pizza dough, Thai red curry paste, beef Rendang, herb & olive chicken, curried pumpkin & sweet potato soup, garlic quinoa salad, a few broccoli salads, herb cheese dip, Green/fruit smoothies, 6 or 7 fresh fruit sorbets, frozen fruit yoghurt, some "Ice Magic" style topping, besan flour, icing sugar, 6 or so batches of worm food smoothies & some other things I am sure I will remember later...
The only "failure" we have had so far is the when I made some broccoli salad on speed 7 for 5 seconds by accident... The outcome was a rather mushy green salad that was set aside & used for the next days breakfast smoothie so wasn't wasted..
   While searching the net for information on the TM I cam across many blogs & groups on the TM so will not be dedicating this blog solely to the TM but will include recipes for it with a conventional version as well for stove top cooking when relevant..
Here is the 1st recipe that I tried from scratch in the TM (pinched from a post I made elsewhere this week ; )» )

Herb & Olive Chicken
3 Tomatoes
4 clove Garlic
1 tbsp Olive oil
600g chicken breast/thigh, diced
1 Onion cut into bit size pieces
6 Sweet Basil leaves
6 sprigs Thyme
4 tips of Sage
2 large Mushrooms, diced
½ medium Capsicum, diced
Large handful snow peas, cut in thirds
1 bunch Asparagus, quartered
Juice of ½ Lemon or 1 Tbsp of juice
½ cup Kalamata Olives, sliced in half
Thinly sliced Chilli for garnishing
  • Chop Tomatoes... speed 4 for 5 seconds then put into bowl for later then rinse out TM bowl
  • Chop Garlic... speed 8 for 5 seconds
  • Add oil then sauté... Varoma for 3 min
  • Place Butterfly into bowl & add Chicken, onions & herbs... Varoma for 5 min on reverse speed 1
  • Add Tomato & Mushroom... Varoma for 7.5 min on reverse speed 1
  • Add Lemon juice, Capsicum, Snowpeas, Asparagus, & Olives.. 100°C for 5 min on reverse speed 1
  • Served garnished with Chilli & enjoy....
As this was a first attempt & I am still getting used to the TM there are a few things I would do differently.
  1. Only use 1 chopped tomato & add it after the onion was sautéed with 1/3rd cup of Tomato paste (yet to make my own but on the list to do)
  2. Add the Snowpeas in the last 2 min as I like mine bright green & crunchy
  3. Add 1/8th cup White wine as I think it would lift the flavour a bit more
  4. Not use Butterfly attachment just to see how it goes.. It was recommended on a blog I saw to use it when the bowl was full but was later told by a TM demonstrator  (tar Frogdancer) that it wasn't required at all..
Non Thermomix version...
1 tbsp Olive oil
1 Onion cut into bit size pieces
4 clove Garlic, crushed
600g chicken breast/thigh, diced
1 Tomato, Diced
1/3 cup tomato paste
1/8th cup White wine
6 Sweet Basil leaves, torn
6 sprigs Thyme, stripped
4 tips of Sage, torn
2 large Mushrooms, diced
1 bunch Asparagus, quartered
Juice of ½ Lemon or 1 Tbsp of juice
½ medium Capsicum, diced
Large handful snow peas, cut in thirds
½ cup Kalamata Olives, sliced in half
Thinly sliced Chilli for garnishing
  • Sauté Onions & Garlic in oil for 2-3 min
  • Add Chicken, herbs, Tomato, Asparagus & Mushroom, cook 5 min on medium high heat
  • Add Lemon juice, Capsicum, Snowpeas & Olives, cook for further 3-4 min
  • Served garnished with Chilli & enjoy...

RBs Kitchen...

The Girls & I decided to start up a separate channel on You Tube to upload cooking & other around the house clips to.. So far we have posted 3 recipes from the Bits out the back Channel as well as a bread making clip using whey from Labne Cheese making  & an up to date clip on  how we make Probiotic Yoghurt... Hopefully we will have a Labne Cheese clip up in the next day or so...
Hope you enjoy the clips & get something from them.. Feel free to comment as I am by no means an expert on cooking but do enjoy learning from others...

 Thanks for reading this far (if you made it :D») & have a great day...
: )»

Monday, February 13, 2012

A couple of quick salads...

 Have been playing around with a few recipes trying to break up the boredom we all get when faced with the same old salads.. This one has been a hit with us all here over the past few weeks with the girls surprising us & eating more than their share of this tasty salad... Cant wait to try it with some Purple Broccoli... The below recipe is slightly different to the clip but just as tasty...

Broccoli Salad..

1 Small - Medium head of Broccoli
1 large Carrot, Julienned
½ large Red Capsicum, diced finely
2 stalks of Celery, sliced thinly
Small handful of bush/Snake Beans, sliced thinly
1 Shallot/Green Onion, sliced thinly (reserve greens for garnish)
½ cup Macadamia nuts, toasted until lightly browned then crushed…
4 Tbsp Yoghurt
3 Tbsp Mayonnaise
1 tsp of Seeded Mustard
1 tsp of Dijon Mustard
1 heaped tsp of honey
Salt & Pepper to taste
Mix all dressing ingredients together & add salt & Pepper to taste

Trim the Broccoli into bite size or smaller florets & then dice up the stalk.
Add to bowl with the rest of the veggies.
Mix through the dressing well then garnish with toasted nuts & Shallot/Onion greens…

This has become a favourite with our daughters & it has become a fight to get some into a container for the next days lunches…
Hope you enjoy if you try it

Quinoa has become our favourite seed/grain here over the past few years.. It is a very versatile seed that is tasty hot or cold, sweet or savoury & is nutrient rich... It contains fiber, carbohydrates, a good amount of protein with the big plus being it contains all the essential amino acids we need... While it contains much better nutrition raw we have as of yet tried it raw... We will be looking at sprouting some soon so we can include some of its locked in goodness... Quinoa salads have been a favourite here for the past few years & can be made with whatever salad veggies you have on hand.. 
We have posted a  Quinoa roast lamb salad on the blog before but here is the recipe for this one & a clip anyway ;)»
Quinoa Salad..

1 cup Quinoa
2 cups water or liquid stock of choice... (I add 2 tsp of Chicken flavoring stock powder that is Veggo friendly)
½ large cucumber, diced
5 large sun dried tomatoes, chopped finely  
2 Spring/Green Onion, sliced finely
½ medium red capsicum/pepper, diced
1/3 cup sliced Spanish  olives
1 cup chopped Parsley & Sweet Basil mixed
¼ cup slightly toasted Pine nuts
Garlic Feta, crumbled
1 each of orange & Red Chilli, sliced thinly
A drizzle of the Sun dried Tomato oil

Add the Quinoa & stock to a sauce pan & bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer until all liquid has been absorbed then leave to cool in bowl.
Add all ingredients then toss until mixed well.
Top with some Feta & Chilli then drizzle with some Tomato oil...

Hope you try one of these out & Enjoy it as much as we do...
Have a great one...
: )»

Friday, January 20, 2012

Sage, Chilli & Coconut Chicken...

Was trying to find a recipe Bianca used to cook about a decade ago & couldn't so came up with this VERY tasty dish...
Could easily use Basil instead of Sage I think & it would still be a tasty dish...
Sage, Chilli & Coconut Chicken...

  • 3 medium Chicken Brest or thigh, sliced thinly
  • 3 cloves Garlic, crushed
  • Small handful of Bush Beans, chopped
    (I used 3 Snake beans)
  • 3x Spring/Green Onions, chopped finely
  • ½ Red Capsicum/Bell Pepper, sliced into strips
  • ¼ cup Sage, chopped
  • 1 Chilli, diced finely or 1 tsp Chilli paste
    (I used both)
  • 1 Tbsp Fish Sauce
  • 200ml/½ tin Coconut Cream
  • Oil for frying...
Heat wok/fry pan then add Garlic & Chicken for 4 min.. I did it in 2 batches..
Add Onions, Beans, Capsicum, Chilli, Sage & stir fry for another 2 min..
Add Fish Sauce & Coconut Cream & cook another 2 min...
Serve over steamed Rice & enjoy...

Earned a few Brownie point with this one me thinks...
Have a great one all....

Friday, January 13, 2012

Lion's Head Soup...

  The below recipe amounts gave us enough Pork balls to feed 4 but we only made up 2 serves... The remaining meat mixture was reserved to add to 250g/½ pound of minced Prawn/Shrimp to make Wontons at a latter date... The Soup liquid & Veggies will be different to the clip bellow..
Traditionally the final cooking of the soup was done in a earthenware pot but we used a saucepan for tonight's meal...  For the full 4 serves I would prepare it in our 4 litre/quart cast iron Casserole dish..

Lion's Head Soup...
Serves 4

Lion's Head Pork Balls...
  •  500g / 1 pound Pork Mince
  • 4 Water Chestnuts, finely diced
  • 1 heaped tsp minced Ginger
  • 2 Spring/Green Onion, finely chopped
    (Reserve some greens for garnish)
  • 2 Tbsp Chinese White Rice Wine
  • 1 heaped tsp Oyster Sauce
  • 2 tsp Sesame oil
  • 1 tsp Chilli paste or 1 finely diced Chilli
  • 1 Tbsp Soy sauce
  • 1 Egg, beaten
  • 5 Tbsp Corn Flour, or enough to give you a slightly firm texture
  1. Pre heat large fry pan to a medium heat with enough Oil to cover the base with just over 1cm or ½ inch of oil..      (I would recommend Peanut or Rice bran oil)
  2. Add all but the Corn Flour into a bowl & combine well. 
  3. Add enough Corn Flour to "firm" up the mix so it is not to sticky.
  4. Roll into 8 evenly sized balls.
  5. Fry balls for 15-20 min turning 3-4 min.
  6. Remove from oil and drain oil for a few minutes.
Chicken Soup...
  • 5 cups Chicken Stock (I use 2 tsp Chicken stock powder & 5 cups water)
  • 4 Pak Choi, Bok Choi or favourite soup greens, washed & sliced into strips
  • 2 cups/2 big  handfuls of Snow Peas, slithered
  • 1/2 Large Red Capsicum/Pepper, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 tsp Sesame oil
  • Thinly chopped Green/Spring Onion leaves for garnish
  1.  Once the oil had drained the balls place them into the Chicken stock then bring to a medium simmer for 20 min. This will release some of the flavour from the balls into the stock making it a truly awesome soup..
  2. Place the Greens, most of the Snow Peas into bowls then place 2 Pork balls on top.
  3. Add Sesame oil to soup liquid, stir then pour into bowls.
  4. Garnish with Capsicum/Pepper, remaining Snow Peas & chopped Green/Spring Onion..

    I hope you enjoy this as we were totally wrapped with & will be making it again very soon for some guests...
    Have a great one all...

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Beef Rendang...

Here is our version of a Rendang curry...
(Bits have been taken from a post I made on a Simple Savings Thread .. Some alterations have been made..)

Beef Rendang 
5-6 cloves Garlic, chopped or 6 heaped tsp of minced garlic
2 x 10cm stalks Lemongrass, chopped (you could just add a very well bruised stalks straight into the curry but we found it became very tender when processed & wasn’t tough al all in the finished product)
1 Tbsp fresh Ginger, grated 
2 Tbsp fresh Turmeric or 1 heaped tsp of powder
2 Tbsp Fresh Galangal, grated
Chillies to taste… I will be using 1 large from the patch & adding paste if needed..
2 medium onions, chopped
About ½ cup water to help ingredients combine in processor…
3 tsp Coriander powder
3 tsp Cumin powder
10 Curry leaves

Add all above ingredients into processor & blend into a paste...
Other ingredients...
1kg of diced beef
2 x 400ml tins lite Coconut Cream
½ tsp Tamarind paste
1 tsp/cube palm sugar (If you have Tamarind sauce you can use 1 Tbsp of that instead of the paste & sugar)
All ingredients are then added to a pot & brought to a boil
Once boiled then reduce heat to a medium simmer for an hour… Don’t forget to stir about every 10 min & have a taste test or 6 as well…
Reduce to very low & simmer for about an hour or until the liquid has been absorbed stirring occasionally… Remove the Lemongrass now if you put it in whole then serve by itself or with your favourite rice...

Hope you enjoy it, We do regularly...
Have a great one...
: )»

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Yoghurt from scratch...

For years now we have been making Yoghurt using the Easiyo system... The system includes a flask that holds boiling water & a canister... A package of Yoghurt culture is added into a canister with enough water to make up a litre  of Yoghurt, given a good shake, sealed into the flask containing the boiling water then is left for 8-10 hours to let the bacteria do its thing by multiplying into some very nice yoghurt... There are a few different brands of Culture available at the Stoopidmarket in different varieties such as fruit/honey flavoured, Greek style, Low fat & drinking... The cost for this is about $3-4.00 pet litre V's about $5-6.00 for brand name natural Yoghurt so it saves you a bit...

A few years ago we joined the Simple Savings web site where another method of stretching the packet culture was found... To is done by reducing the amount of starter culture to 2-3 heaped Tablespoons, adding 1 1/3 cups of milk powder & the required amount of water to make up a batch... This was a great way to bring the price of a litre of excellent tasting yoghurt, free of additives, down in price even further to about $1.50 per litre...

During my search for some lids to do some canning/preserving with I cam across Green Living Australia that not only sold the lids but also cultures & all the bits needed to make your own Cheese's & Yoghurt's at home... We purchased 2 Yoghurt cultures from them, a normal culture & a Pro Biotic culture...

 We have only made it on the UHT milk (shown above) but will be having a go with powdered milk as soon as this batch is finished... The costings for the UHT batch is $1.25/L...  It would come down $0.96/L on powdered milk...
The Pro Biotic Is a massive savings on buying the little bottles from the shops... $9.32/L from Aldi is the chepest store bought I could find but by making your own you can get it down to an amazing $1.10/L using UHT milk or cheaper if you get the full  1000 batches from the packet...
It has been pointed out to us that as UHT milk has been heated to high enough temperatures to kill off any bacteria that may have been lurking in the milk so doesn't need to be boiled before using & is ready to go once brought up to temperature..
Just a note on the culture, once opened it needs to be kept at very cold temperatures to keep the culture alive.. You also get 2 jars with the packet that are used to divide & then store the culture... All instructions are given upon purchasing for dividing & storing...

As well as the Yoghurt culture's we also purchased a Feta Cheese making kit, lids of various sizes for preserving, jar lifter, Soap nuts for clothes washing & some very small measuring spoons in the following sizes,
Tad - 1/4 tsp
Dash - 1/8 tsp
Pinch - 1/16 tsp
Smidgen - 1/32 tsp
Drop - 1/64 tsp
Tickled our fancy & have already come in handy when dividing up the Yoghurt culture...
I would Like to thank David at Green Living for all his help, encouragement & generous gift of recycled jars to help us start off with some preserving....

 Please note, anyone who tries this does so at their own risk... We take no responsibility for any adverse reactions suffered by people trying to copy our methods...
Just covering our Butts !!!!
Is a sad day when you feel a disclaimer is needed...   
 Have a great one all....
: )»

Friday, June 17, 2011

Bits from the wedding...

Just a few pic's from our wedding last week....


Have a great one...
: )»

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Thai style Pineapple Coconut & Chicken Curry...

Have been craving a warm salad dish my Mum has made a few times... It was made with Toasted Coconut, BBQ Chicken, Pineapple but can't for the life of me think of the other ingredients so whipped this up to help satisfy the cravings until I can quiz her...

Thai style Pineapple Coconut & Chicken Curry...

2 chicken breasts, diced
1 medium Red Onion, sliced thinly
250ml Coconut cream (I used 250ml of water & 8 dessert spoons of Coconut milk powder)
2tsp Red Thai curry paste
1 heaped tsp of minced Garlic
3 heaped tsp of minced Galangal
2 heaped tsp of minced Lemongrass stalk
1 Kaffir Lime leaf, sliced
1tsp Lime juice
1tsp Fish sauce

- Mix all ingredients in a bowl & leave for ½ an hour

Stir fry Paste...
2Tbsp of oil
1tsp Red Thai curry paste
1tsp of minced Garlic
3tsp of minced Galangal
2heaped tsp of minced Lemongrass stalk

- Mix & set aside

3/4 cup of segmented Pineapple (I used "Fresh" Frozen pieces)
Large handful of Beans, Chopped into thirds
1 ½ Celery stalks, cut into thin strips (julienned)
½ Red Capsicum, chopped
Handful of Thai or Sweet Basil, roughly chopped
Small handful of Snow Peas, chopped into thirds
- Heat oil in Wok
- Add Stir fry paste, Stir fry for 60 seconds
- Add Chicken & Onion without marinade, Stir fry until chicken is browned (4-5 min)
- Add Pineapple, Beans, Capsicum, Celery Stir fry for 60 seconds
- Add 1/2 to3/4 of the marinade to form a sauce & let cook for 3-4 minutes. (I use a lid to help steam the veggies a bit)
- Add Peas & Basil, toss through quickly then serve with rice or noodles...
Some toasted shredded Coconut to garnish would of just set the whole dish of... Next time maybe...

Hope you enjoy it is you try it....
Have a great one...
: )»

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A few Recipe Clips...

Have been a tad slack with this Blog now that the girls & I have discovered You Tube... No excuse really...
We have made a few Cooking clips... Hope you like them...

Lemon & Dill Chook...

2 Chicken breasts, Diced
Marinade for Chook...

1/3 cup chopped Dill
Juice of 1 large or 2 small Lemons
Dessert spoon of Garlic
- Place all Ingredients into dish, mix well then let stand for 10-30 min  

1 Medium Purple Eggplant, chopped roughly
½ a Red Capsicum, chopped roughly
1 Med Zucchini, chopped roughly
1 large Kohlrabi, sliced into fingers.. (Green tops  would of been used as well but were a tad wilted from a night in the fridge.. )
2 Shallots, Whites chopped into 2cm sections & greens sliced thinly for garnish...
About 1 small head of Broccoli, divided into small trees
Handful of Bush Beans, cut into thirds

- Add Tbsp of oil to pan/wok, heat then fry off chook mixture in batches then set aside
- Add another Tbsp of oil & heat 
- Add Shallots, Eggplant, Capsicum, Zucchini, Kohlrabi & fry for a few minutes
- Add in Beans, Broccoli & Chicken with a bit of water to help the veggies steam if needed (I use the Grilling plate from the convection Microwave as a lid to help the steaming process)
- Garnish with Shallots Greens & extra fresh Dill..
Would be nice served with steamed rice me thinks....

Quick Chicken Coconut Curry... 

2Tbsp of oil
2 Poached Chicken breasts, chopped roughly (poached in Chicken stock powder & water)
2 dessert spoons of minced Garlic
1-2 dessert spoons of minced Turmeric (or 1Tbsp of dried )
Medium sized Red Capsicum, diced large
1 medium Onion, chopped
400g Tin diced Tomatoes, liquid reserved in a bowl for later
400ml tin of Lite Coconut cream
1 dessert spoon Curry powder (2 would of been better but the Spawn don’t like too much spice)
2 medium Sweet Potatoes, chopped roughly1 medium Onion, chopped in half then sliced thinly
3 Green Thai Eggplants
¾ cup of Sultanas
 Large handful of Bush Beans, chopped into ¼’s
1 cup frozen Peas

 -  Add oil to pot & heat 
- Add turmeric, Onions & Capsicum & fry for 2 min 
Add Chicken then stir while cooking for a minute or so
- Add diced Tomatoes, Coconut cream,  Curry powder & reserved Tomato juice if needed (depends on amounts of other ingredients used as to if extra liquid is needed)
- Add Sweet Potato & Eggplant.
- Add Extra liquid at this stage as well if needed... You could add water, Tomato juice or Liquid (stock) form poaching chicken
- Add Sultanas & more liquid if needed keeping in mind that the Sultanas will absorb liquid
- Simmer on low for 40 min while stirring/checking every 10-15 min or so...

Have made this or a version of it a few times now & hope you enjoy it as much as we do if you try it...
 If you are a Simple Savings member you can find it here...

Shall be posting a tad more often now that we are back into a routine...

Have a great one all...
: )»

Monday, March 7, 2011

Persian Style Chicken...

 I did lift this straight from a post I did on Simple Savings... Tasted so good I wanted to include it with Pictures...

Persian style Chook...
Spice blend
1tsp each of Cardamom pods, Coriander seeds, ground Cumin, ground Nutmeg, ground Cinnamon
2tsp of Sesame seeds
1/2tspof black pepper
3 Star Anise
5 Cloves

Whiz up the above in a small processor... I use a little "Rocket" blender...
Other Bits...
2Tbsp butter
2Tbsp Rice bran oil
1/2Tbsp Frozen Ginger
1Tbsp Frozen Turmeric
1Tbsp minced Garlic
1 large Onion, diced into large pieces
500g diced Chook
2 x 400g tins of diced Tomatoes
1 x 400g tin Chickpeas

- I heated the oil in a Med size enamel Casserole pot then fried the spice blend, Ginger, Turmeric & garlic for about a minute & a half then added the onions.
-Once the onions turned translucent the chicken was added.
-When the chicken was sealed the 2 tins of diced Tomatoes & the tin of Chickpeas was added, brought to the boil then left to simmer.
-Let it simmer for about 1/2 an hour then serve on Sultana & Sesame seed Couscous...

Sultana & Cashew Couscous...
3/4 cup Chicken stock... will make ours up with stock powder
3/4 cup of Couscous
1/3 cup of Sultanas
1/3cup of Cashews
-Pour ¾ cup of boiling water into a bowl & stir through 1 heaped teaspoon of Chooken stock, add the Sultanas & couscous then stir... Let sit until all the liquid has been absorbed then stir through Cashews...

The Sultanas could of been a tad plumper me thinks...
Next time I think I will let the Sultanas soak for a few min's in some hot water before adding them in with the stock & Couscous...

: )»

A few bits from the weekend...

This week I made up a batch of yoghurt using some Vanilla sugar as the sweetener & I must say that it was most impressive... So much so that I snipped open one of the vacuum sealed packs of Vanilla beans & made a MEGA batch of vanilla sugar for future batches of yoghurt... I am storing it in one of the EXTRA Large Moccona coffee jars we purchased from the hospice op shop in Ipswich... Should be ready by May hopefully...

We harvested the Lemongrass from the patch on Saturday so we could use the barrel it was in for a Zucchini plant... The smaller stalks were all whizzed in the processor for storage in a container... The larger stalks were just sealed in Ziplock bags & all were placed in the freezer for curry pastes & meals at a latter date...

In keeping with our Asian for a month (well, when I cook during the week at least) we had a simple Japanese Katsu style curry made with "Golden Curry" blocks...

3Tbsp Rice bran oil
1 onion, diced chunkily
1Tbsp of minced Garlic
2 medium long Chinese Eggplants, diced large
¼ of a Red Capsicum, diced large
Small head of Broccoli, chopped into "Little trees"
Stalks of 2 small Broccoli heads, slice thinly
3 cups of water with 2tsp of Chook stock powder added
½ a packet of S&B Golden Curry

-Fry Garlic & Onions in a med enamel Caserole pot until Onion is translucent
-Add Eggplant, Broccoli stalks Capsicum until they brown slightly, 3-4 min on high heat
-Stir in Made up stock & once it boils, reduce to simmer for 5-10 min  (I like my veg to have some crunch so normally only leave it 5 or so min)
-Add ½ a packet of Curry blocks & stir until dissolved then serve over Favourite crumbed meats or just eat as is... I like it over Crumbed Chooken but have purchased it from resturants served over Crumbed Pork & loved it just as much...

Last night B☼ & I went out to a Mexican restaurant (well known & established Brisbane restaurant) & blew $50 on what I can only call Tomato flavoured mince wrapped in tortillas with grilled cheese on top... No heat or spice flavourings you would expect like Chilli, Cumin or Coriander... Most disappointing...  I think I may have spoiled us by cooking all our meals from scratch me thinks... I think Mexican is the next Cuisine that I shall be delving into further after watching some clips on a Gardening YouTube channel I subscribe to...
MMmmm, Enchiladas !!!!

: )»

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Thai Satay Chicken strips...

Have had a few problems trying to find the frozen spice roots that we  vacuum sealed & stored in the freezer from last years crops... While trying to dig the Turmeric & Galangal out today I was assaulted by 4 rounds of frozen Brie & a small container of frozen lemon cubes... I decided something had to give... I pulled out the Turmeric, Ginger & the mini processor then away I whizzed... Going from left to right there is Galangal, Turmeric & Ginger.... It will make it a lot easier when it comes to cooking... I figure that 1 Dessert spoon = 1 cm of whole root...
I don't know about freeing up much space as I was still assaulted by a round of Brie when I was getting some meat out for tomorrow night..

On to tonight's meal... I am not going to post every nights meals just ones I like & I can see a future for this or a recipe very similar in my coming menus... I don't think it really needed the sauce & could of stood alone quite proudly on the plate...
 It was based on this recipe with a few alterations...

Thai Satay Chooken strips

3 Chicken breasts cut into strips lengthways
2Tbsp of grated Galangal
2Tbsp of grated Turmeric (1Tbs of powdered)
5cm of Lemongrass stalk end, chopped finely
1Tbsp pan fried Coriander seed (1 tsp of powdered would do I think)
2tsp ground Cumin
½ tsp salt
1 ½ tsp raw Sugar
200ml Coconut cream (was ½ a can, other ½ to be used in sauce)
Pepper to taste
- I mashed the Galangal, Turmeric, Lemongrass & Coriander together in a Mortar (Next time I will do it in a mini processor)
- Add the rest of the ingredients & mix well for a few minutes, add pepper to taste
- Add to Chicken strips & refrigerate for half an hour minimum... (Ours were in the fridge for 2 ½ hours...)

Marinated strips can be skewered if desired but I cooked them without on a frypan brushing on marinade in between turning the strips...

Satay Sauce
½ cup roasted peanuts, chopped
1 Tbsp heaped Crunchy peanut butter
2Tbsp Red Thai Curry paste (1 more will be added after the kids have been served for B☼ & I)
200ml Coconut cream
1Tbsp raw Sugar
1Tbsp Fish sauce
1Tbsp Soy sauce

- Add Coconut cream, paste, Peanut butter & nuts to a saucepan.
- Bring to the boil, add remaining ingredients & reduce to simmer for 2-3 minutes.
- Serve over Chooken strips, skewers...

The sauce went great with the nice crunchy salad as well but I have
had better ones made by B☼ so might find out her secret for next time...