Friday, 4 January 2013

Creole spiced potato wedges - Creole Seasoning

Slice potatoes into wedges. Mine made 6 wedges per potato. Sprinkle creole seasoning over the wedges, toss to coat (you don't want too much though, the stuff is a bit hot!) and stick them onto a lightly oiled baking tray. Bake for 45 minutes - 1 hour at 200C.

Creole seasoning - CAUTION - this recipe makes A LOT.
2 1/2 tbsp paprika
2 tbsp table salt
2 tbsp garlic granules
1 tbsp ground black pepper
1 tbsp onion granules
1 tbsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp dried thyme

Mix together and keep in a tightly closed jar.

I use the creole seasoning on nearly everything, from mushrooms, to potatoes, to lentils that need spicing up. It's also very good on popcorn.

Fish Cakes

I used the recipe out of "The best of Mrs Beeton's Easy Everyday Cooking" recipe book. I was out of plain flour, so had to use gluten free brown flour mix, and instead of pan frying them, I baked them. Next time I will definitely pan fry them!

Fish Cakes
350g/12 oz cooked white fish, flaked
450g/1 pound potatoes
25g/1 oz butter
30ml/2 tbsp single cream or milk
15ml/1 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper
50g/2 oz plain flour
oil for shallow frying

Remove any bones from the fish. Cook the potatoes in a saucepan of boiling water for about 30 minutes or until tender. Drain thoroughly and mash with a potato masher, or beat with a hand-held electric whisk until smooth. Beat in the butter and cream or milk. Add the flaked fish and parsley, with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside until cold.

Form the fish mixture into 8 portions, shaping each to a flat, round cake. Spread out the flour in a shallow bowl, add salt and pepper and use to coat the fish cakes.

Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the fish cakes and fry for 6-8 minutes, turning once. Drain on absorbent kitchen paper, arrange on a warmed serving dish and serve.

**Next time I make this, it will be with leftover mashed potatoes instead of actually measuring out the butter and milk. I also didn't quite have enough fish, but they still turned out pretty good.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Budgeting and freezer cooking

I've decided to hop back on the wagon this month for blogging and what better way to start off than with a post about budgeting and cooking from the freezer?

Today was a baking/cooking for the freezer day here. I have cooked the following for later eating:
15 cinnamon applesauce oatmeal muffins
9 buckwheat pancakes
12 hamburger/sandwich buns
12 small yorkshire puddings
Pizza dough - enough for 2 large or 3 medium sized pizzas

Tomorrow I will be making:
Homemade 'poptarts' - external link (US measurements)
Pasties (with whatever fillings I have on hand)
Biscuit/scone dough - external link (US measurements)

I had to stop baking today because I've ran out of flour! We are having a curry tonight (homemade) made with leftover pork roast. We are also having onion bahji's, naan bread, rice, and red lentils. I'm cheating and using a tikka masala sauce I bought while it was on sale for the curry.

Pizza Crust

1 package (2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
1 tsp white sugar
1 cup (236 ml) warm water (between 110F-120F or 44C-48C)
2 1/2 cups (380 g) bread or plain flour
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in water. Let stand until creamy (~5-10 minutes). Stir in the flour, salt, and the oil. Stir or knead until smooth. Let rest for 5 minutes.

*If freezing: Separate into separate dough balls (1 for each pizza) if desired, then wrap and freeze. Thaw completely before shaping and baking.

*If not freezing for later use: Preheat oven to 450F/230C/Gas mark 8. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and pat or roll into a round. Separate into smaller portions for smaller pizzas.

Transfer crust to a lightly greased pizza pan. Spread out with hands. Spread on sauce and toppings and bake in a preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown. Let stand for 5 minutes before slicing.

Cinnamon Applesauce Oatmeal Muffins

Recipe courtesy of SparkPeople 

1 cup (90 g) old fashion rolled oats (not instant)
1 cup (236 ml) milk
1 cup (135 g) whole wheat flour (plain flour works as well)
1/2 cup (85 g) brown sugar
1/2 cup (118 ml) unsweetened applesauce
1 egg
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. white sugar
raisins or nuts (optional)

Soak the oats in milk for about one hour.
Preheat the oven to 400F/205C/gas mark 6.
Grease muffin tin.
Combine the oat mixture with the applesauce, brown sugar, and egg, and mix until combined.
In a separate bowl measure and whisk the dry ingredients together.
Add wet ingredients to dry and mix until just combined. Add nuts or raisins if desired.
Do not over mix the batter or the muffins will be tough. Spoon muffin mixture into muffin pan.
Combine the cinnamon and sugar and top each muffin with some of the mixture.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until done.
Remove from pan, cool and enjoy.
These can be frozen and reheated in the microwave for a quick breakfast.

*The cinnamon can be mixed in with the dry ingredients and the white sugar may be omitted if desired.

Yorkshire Pudding

Recipe courtesy of 'The best of Mrs Beeton's Easy Everyday Cooking'

100 g (4 oz, by weight) plain flour
1.25 ml (1/4 tsp) salt
1 egg, beaten
300 ml (10 fluid oz, 1 1/4 cups) milk, or half milk and half water

Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/gas mark 7. Grease either a baking dish or muffin tins and place into the oven to preheat with the oven.

Sift the flour and salt into a bowl, make a well in the centre and add the beaten egg. Stir in half of the milk (or all of the milk if using a mixture of milk and water), gradually working in the flour.

Beat vigorously until the mixture is smooth and bubbly, then stir in the rest of the milk (or the water).

Pour the batter into the baking dish or muffin tins and bake for 40-45 minutes (muffin tins only take about 35 minutes) until golden brown and well risen.

Buckwheat Pancakes

Recipe courtesy of Hodgson Mill

1 cup (130 g) buckwheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg, beaten
1 cup (236 ml) milk
2 tbsp (55 g) butter

Mix dry ingredients together. Heat frying pan or electric griddle. Melt butter. Add to the dry ingredients the egg, milk and melted butter. Mix well. Pour 1/4 cup (~60 ml) of batter for each pancake onto the frying pan or electric griddle. Cook for 1-1 1/2 minutes, turning when edges look cooked and bubbles begin to break on the surface. Continue to cook for another 1-1 1/2 minutes until both sides are golden brown.

*If freezing these, allow to cool completely on a wire rack, then stack, placing a piece of waxed, greaseproof, or parchment paper between each. Place these into a container or a bag and freeze. To serve, remove needed amount from the freezer and place into a toaster to re-heat.

Hamburger or hot dog buns

Hamburger or hot dog buns
Makes 12 servings

1 cup (236 ml) milk
1/2 cup (118 ml) water
1/4 cup (55 g) butter
up to 4 1/2 cups (700 g) plain flour
1 1/4 tsp (~7 g) yeast
2 tbsp (25 g) sugar
1 1/2 tsp (~9 g) salt
1 egg

In a small saucepan, heat milk, water and butter until very warm, between 110F-120F (44C-48C) (if you don't have a thermometer, stick a clean finger in the mix, you want to be able to hold it there for about 4-5 seconds, but no longer).

In a large bowl, mix together 1 3/4 cups (270 g) flour, the yeast, sugar, and salt. Mix the warm milk mixture into the flour mixture, then add the egg.

Add just enough flour to form a loose dough, I added 3 doses of 100 g flour each time, for a total of 570 g flour used. This will vary based on the ambient humidity. The drier it is, the less flour you need, the wetter it is, the more flour you need.

Once the dough has pulled together (and by this point your arm will feel like it will fall off from stirring!!!), lightly flour a clean kitchen counter or table, dump the dough ball out onto the floured surface and knead for about 5-8 minutes.

Make the dough into a log (remember your play dough or clay from primary school!) and cut into 12 pieces. I use a pair of clean scissors to make this easier. They don't have to be exactly the same size, after all, that's one of the charms of homemade bread!

Shape the dough into round balls and place on a greased baking sheet (or use greaseproof or parchment paper). *** Please be sure to grease even the greaseproof or parchment paper, these things like to stick! Flatten each ball slightly. Cover and let rise for 30-35 minutes. This step can take as long as an hour or so, depending on the temperature where they are rising and the humidity.

I placed the two pans of dough balls into the oven (turned off and cooled from when I was baking earlier) on the two top racks, then I put a baking dish under those on a third rack (the floor of the oven works fine, so long as there isn't a heating element down there!). Boil some water in the kettle, pour the water slowly into the baking dish, slide the baking dish into the oven and close the door. The heat and humidity from the boiled water will make the dough rise quicker, even with a cold house. Be sure to place a towel below your oven door, the humidity can run down the front of the door onto the floor. Great way to clean an oven door though!

Anyway - after the dough has risen, bake at 400F/205C/gas mark 6 for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown.

For hot dog buns: Shape each of the 12 pieces into a 6 inch by 4 inch rectangle (or close to it, doesn't need to be exact). Starting with the longer side, roll up tightly and pinch the edges and ends to seal. Let rise for 20-25 minutes. Bake the same as the hamburger buns.

To make onion rolls (my favourite!): add 2 tbsp dried minced onion and 1/2 tsp onion salt to the flour mixture (reduce the salt in the recipe to 1 tsp (~6 g)). Brush with egg and sprinkle dried onion over the tops and bake as normal.