Chocolate Crackles with Cinnamon and Chilli

Makes : 24
4 cups rice bubbles
1 cup icing sugar
1 cup desiccated coconut
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon chilli powder, or to taste
3 tbsp cocoa, sifted
250g copha, chopped
In a large bowl, mix the Kellogg’s Rice Bubbles, icing sugar, cocoa, cinnamon, chilli & coconut.
Slowly melt the copha in a saucepan over a low heat.
Allow to cool slightly.
Add to rice bubbles mixture, stirring until well combined.
Spoon mixture into paper patty cases and refrigerate until firm

Brown Sugar Glazed Bacon

Preheat oven to 150 degrees celcius.
Line an oven dish with baking paper
     ½ cup flour,
     1/3 cup brown sugar,
     1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper or dry English mustard
     1 teaspoon of cinnamon, optional
Coat each slice of bacon with the flour mixture
Arrange on baking tray
Bake for 30 to 40 minutes.

Ricotta and coffee cream

From Marcella Hazan
This is the most amazing low fat high flavour dessert I have ever tasted. And amazingly easy as well. Maximum effect, minimum effort.
     500g ricotta
     120g/ ¾ cup sugar
     100mls dark rum
     100 mls very strong espresso coffee
Do not overprocess or it will become runny.
To make a chocolate version substitute 5 heaped teaspoons cocoa powder and 100mls water for the coffee. 

Keena's Christmas Cake

Adapted from "More Gretta Anna Recipes"

Makes 3 cakes

500g each of currants and sultanas and rasins. Total 1.5 kg.
230g  each of mixed peel, glace ginger, chopped dates. Total 690g.
350g glace cherries.
175 mls rum
175 mls brandy
175 mls mixed essences such as vanilla, rum, and almond.
600g plain flour
250 g almonds
500g butter
500g brown sugar. I prefer using dark brown sugar. 
4 tablespoons mixed spices including cinnamon, nutmeg and a maybe a small quantity of cloves
10 eggs

Soak fruit  overnight with brandy, rum and essences, stirring occasionally to allow all the fruit to come in contact with the liquid.
Line 3 x 20cm cake tins with baking paper. For a square tin on baking paper with the 'curl' facing up. Mark the corners with pencil, then cut out squares from the 4 corners of the paper using the pencil marks as a guide. Invert the paper, and place it in the tin, folding the sides up.
Preheat oven to 170.
Place whole almonds in oven for 10-15 mins until lightly toasted.
Toss fruit mixture with flour.
Cream together butter, sugar and spices.
Add eggs and beat to incorporate. (mixture will look curdled)
Add butter/sugar mixture to fruit and mix very thoroughly
Spoon into prepared cake tins.
Bake 40 min. Rotate tins front to back and top to bottom. Bake another 30 mins. Change positions again then turn oven off and leave 20 mins.
Remove from oven and cool in tins.
Pour 1 tablespoon brandy over each cooled cake.
Wrap cake in cling wrap and then tightly in alfoil. Cake will keep for at least a year.   

Creme Caramel Brulee

When too much of a good thing is not enough.
Mix      1 cup sugar
            ½ cup water
Heat, stirring until dissolved. Then boil over medium heat without stiring until a brown caramel colour. Test by removing a placing a little on a plate, but be careful not to over cook or it will taste burned.
Place into 6 ramekins and swirl to distribute the caramel up the sides. Don’t allow the bottom caramel to be too thick or it won’t melt properly.
Preheat oven to 150.
300mls cream - unthickened
200mls milk
1t vanilla essence or extract
½ cup sugar
Heat until nearly boiling, then cool a little.

Whisk together
3 eggs
3 egg yolks

Add slightly cooled milk mixture, whisking as you add it.
Strain through a fine strainer, and pour into prepared dishes.
Place folded tea towel on the bottom of a baking dish. Place creme caramels into baking dish and pour boiling water around them to come 1/3 to ½ way up.
Cover with alfoil, and place in 150 oven for 20 mins. Turn the dish around, and cook another 10 minutes. After this time remove any that are set, and cook those not set for another 5-10 mins. The length of time in the oven depends on the temperature of the milk mixture before you put them in and the actual temperature of the oven.
Remove from oven and chill 4-5 hours.
Either turn them out to serve, or sprinkle with caster sugar and brown the sugar on top with a blow torch or under a grill on high.

Ham Jam

This is an amazing sauce for ham.
1 bottle redcurrant jelly
1 bottle St Dalfour cherry jam
½ bottle St Dalfour marmalade
¼c ham stock, optional (left over from glazing the ham)
2t seeded mustard
1t hot English mustard
1t grated ginger
Cloves and cinnamon to taste
2T brown sugar

Mix together mustards, stock, ginger, cloves and cinnamon. Heat to release flavours.
Add redcurrant jelly and warm to melt. This takes longer to melt than the jam and marmalade.
Add jam and marmalade.
Warm to melt together. 

3 Vegie Meals Kids Like

Roasted Vegies
Roasting vegetables allows the natural sugars to caramelise and the flavours to concentrate.Try zucchini, broccoli, capsicum, onion, pumpkin.The smaller the pieces, the more delicious outside there is.To roast vegies, dice into smallish pieces and toss together in a bowl with salt, sugar and oil. Pour into a flat roasting pan that is lined with baking paper. Roast at 200 until brown, at least 30 mins. Stir occasionally.

Salsas are great. Very finely chop vegetables such as cucumbers, tomatoes, avocados, red onions. Add any fruit such as mango, oranges, apples. And add seasonings such as chilli, cinnamon, thyme, garlic. Serve a tablespoon per person as a sauce for meat.

Gado gado
Make a salad with raw and cooked vegetables eg potatoes, beans, cucumbers, tomatoes etc. Add a protein such as hard boiled eggs, tofu or chicken. Cover with sate sauce and sprinkle with fried onions.

See also Chicken in Honey Mustard Sauce adapted from Cook's Illustrated 

Chicken with honey mustard sauce (based on Cook’s Illustrated Pan Seared Chicken Breasts)

1. Preheat oven to 150 degrees
2. Place chicken in baking dish.
Optional – prick with fork 5 times and rub with salt.
Optional – cover with foil
3. Bake at 150 for 30 mins
4.Make a slurry with 2 tablespoons melted butter, 1 tablespoon flour and 1 teaspoon cornflour Brush this over the top of the chicken breasts.
5. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in frypan and fry chicken slurry side down until brown.
6. Brush other side with slurry, flip and fry until brown.
7. Remove chicken to plate.
Optional – mix together 1 tablesponn mustard, 1 tablespoon honey and 4 tablespoons cream.
Add to pan, heat and pour over chicken breasts.

Almost no knead bread

A delicious bread with a thick crust and dense crumb.
3 cups bread or pasta flour
½ teaspoon salt
Mix together
1/3  cup beer
¾ cup plus 2 Tablespoons water
1½ teaspoons salt
Stir into a rough ragged ball. Cover and stand 8-18 hours.
Turn out onto a floured benchtop and knead 10-15 times.
Stretch into a ball and place in a baking paper sling in a casserole dish. Cover and let rise 2-3 hours.
Remove bread from dish, and place dish in oven. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
Place 2 slashes across bread 1cm deep. Sprinkle with a little flour.
When dish and oven are hot, use paper sling to pick dough up and place in casserole dish. Cover with lid. Place in oven and reduce to 220.
Bake 30 mins covered, then uncover and bake a further 30 mins. 
This recipe is adapted from Cook's Illustrated

Wasabi Lime Dressing

This is so simple, yet so delicious. Serve with fish - raw or cooked.

1/2 teaspoon wasabi
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon mirin
Salt to taste

French Pot Roasted Chicken

1 chicken
Oil and salt

Preheat oven to 130 degrees C.
Use a deep pot that can go on top of the stove, and in the oven.
Heat a little oil over medium high heat in the bottom of the pot.
Place the chicken breast side down, and heat 5 mins, or until brown.
Turn chicken over and repeat on the bottom.
Cover pot and place in the oven for 45 mins to 1 hour, depending on the size of the chicken.
Sauce (optional)
Remove chicken to serving dish, and boil juice over high heat until thick and syrupy.
Carve and serve.

See also Chicken in Honey Mustard Sauce adapted from Cook's Illustrated

Tomato Sauce with Anchovies and Thyme

(Anchovies are high in ‘umami’, the Japanese savory taste. They don’t leave a fish taste, but deepen the flavour of the sauce.)

Chop 1 onion
Boil on high with
½ t salt
1T olive oil
1t brown sugar
Boiling water to cover
When water has evaporated turn heat to medium/low and cook until slightly coloured, stirring often.
(This is a quick, low fat way of frying onions. Alternatively cook on low for 30 mins without water.)

2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 anchovies, whole (they disintegrate in the sauce)
Small pinch thyme
1 cup passata, or tin of crushed tomatoes
Simmer uncovered until thick

Everyday Bircher Muesli

This is a creamy tasting bircher muesli, is easy to make up, and keeps in the fridge as long as the milk and yogurt are within their use by date. The apple doesn't go brown, but I often omit it because it's extra effort. I could eat it all day, and often do! Better than ice cream for dessert.

Mix together with a wire whisk
500g Greek yogurt
250mls milk
100g caster sugar

Stir in
2 cups instant rolled oats
3 tablespoons sultanas
2 grated green apples (optional)

Leave 6 hours to allow the oats to absorb the liquid.

Topik, as a dip

This is based on an Armenian dish, Topik. It is supposed to be like a kofte with the chickpea mixture as a pastry case, and the onions as a filling, but I found that too fiddly. And this way you can get more ‘filling’!

2 tins chickpeas, rinsed well
2 potatoes, peeled and cooked
Puree in a food processor with salt and pepper until very smooth. You may need to add a little water or olive oil if it’s too dry.
Spread into a shallow serving dish

4 onions – slice thinly and fry until brown.
1⁄4 c tahini
2 tablespoons currants
2 tablespoons pine nuts
1 t Cinnamon
2 teaspoons pomegranate molasses
Adjust the seasonings to taste. Eg you may prefer more tahini, currants or cinnamon.
Sprinkle with chopped parsley.
Spread on top of the chickpea mixture and serve with crusty bread.

8 Ways to Help Kids Eat Their Vegies

1. Serve the meal in two parts. Vegies first when they’re hungry, meat and starch later because they’re easier to eat. Or place a salad on the table to nibble on as they're waiting for the 'real' part of the meal to arrive.

2. Kids prefer their vegies finely chopped cause it’s easier to eat.

3. Sugar helps EVERYTHING taste better. You don’t have to use too much, just a teaspoon or two.

4. Don’t put too much work into making the meat nice. They tend to eat that anyway. Put the work into making vegies delicious.

5. Serve less food in the afternoon so they’re hungrier for dinner.

6. Make your job easier by having your knife is sharp and your chopping board big. Otherwise they're a pain to peel and chop. Have a container nearby to put the scraps into. That way you wont end up surrounded by vegie droppings. This again makes your job easier.

7. Serve vegies in smaller quantities so children are not overwhelmed by the mounds on their plates.

8. When cooking vegetables try to concentrate their flavours and drive off the excess vegie water. Do this by roasting or frying.

9. Increase the amount of vegetables in their diet gradually. Start off so they hardly notice the difference, and build up their tolerance slowly.

Kassler Pork Chops

Place 4 chops on a bed of
2 finely sliced onions
2 peeled and sliced granny smith apples
100 mls water
Simmer 20 mins
Remove chops, reduce liquid in pan.
Return chops to pan to reheat.

Optional - after reducing sauce add
1 teaspoon mustard
1 Tablespoon brandy
2 Tablespoons cream

Barnyard Marinade

This is based on 'Better than A1 marinade' from Cook's Illustrated. Cows, sheep, chicken and pigs all get on together in the barnyard, so why not the marinade pot!

1/3 cup vegetable oil
½ cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ground black pepper

Mix all together and use to marinate beef, lamb, pork and chicken in the same dish.
Leave at least an hour, or up to 3 days.

I have used this amount to marinate 4kg meat, leaving it in the fridge for 3 days and just pulling out what we needed each evening. You need to mix it around well though.

See also Chicken in Honey Mustard Sauce adapted from Cook's Illustrated 

Toasted Coconut Sambal

1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon brown sugar
2 teaspoon lemon juice
¼ – ½ chilli chopped fine
3 Tablespoons toasted coconut flakes

Spiced Nutrigrain

Heat together until fragrant
1/3c oil
2 tablespoons garam masala
4 shakes tabasco
2 ½ teaspoons salt
Combine with
300g Nutrigrain

Eggplant, tomato and pomegranate salad

Dice 2 eggplants, toss with 1 teaspoon salt, place on kitchen paper and microwave, uncovered, 10 mins.
Dice and deseed 3 tomatoes cut into small dice. Toss with 1 teaspoon salt and allow to drain excess juice away.
Fry 3 cloves garlic in 1T olive oil.
Add microwaved eggplants and stir gently until brown.
Combine 1T pomegranate molasses
1T honey
1T water.
Pour over eggplant and allow the liquid to absorb into the eggplant.
Cool slightly then add diced drained tomatoes
1 bunch parsley, chopped.
Add 2 tablespoons extra olive oil.
Check for seasoning.
Sprinkle with pinenuts.
You could also add olives, capers or currants.