montjoye: (Default)
( Sep. 6th, 2016 09:00 pm)
I make lots of these but this one was amazing. Trying to remember what I did:

roux sauce:
500ml chicken stock (home made of course)
100ml white wine
100ml cream
~1T butter
1/4c flour
1t mustard powder
and after thickened: 1/2c grated cheddar and 1 dessertspoon grain mustard

1 pasta bowl of spirelli, boil until half cooked
add half a chopped green capsicum, several sliced sticks of celery
boil further 2min

plus 3 medium mushrooms and one med zucchini, about 1/3c shredded ham. Also 1T chopped fresh parsley and about 1T caraway thyme. all chopped.

mix all the above, put in a buttered casserole dish, add a light cover of grated cheese. Bake in mod oven 45min or until brown.

more recipe notes in case I like the result

butter wide cloudy pyrex dish
loosely fill with cubed sourdough bread
3/4 of a jar of sour cherries, drain off most of the liquid and put aside,
mix a slosh of brandy with the fruit
spoon fruit in with bread and mix
beat 3 eggs with 1/3c sugar and two cups milk including the leftover brandy. Plus a grating of nutmeg, a spoon end of cinnamon and a small slosh good vanilla.
pour over bread mix. Let stand 30-60 min.
Bake 25min 160deg lid on, then 25min lid off

a success I'd say. Lovely flavour, not too sweet. A bit richer would have been nice but really edible as is. I reckon it will be nice served warm with yoghurt for breakfast.

Inspired by this: but way less sweet.

montjoye: (Default)
( May. 28th, 2016 07:26 pm)
2 chicken thighs
brown in olive oil-until some crispy bits and the fat runs
deglaze with a glass of white wine, reduce a bit.
1tin diced tomatoes
1t dried oregano
3 sticks celery, sliced
1/4t salt
~10 turns black pepper

bring to a boil, drop to a simmer for about an hour (if on a slightly too high heat it will reduce)
pick out the bones, stir to divide the meat. Add in 6 halved, destoned calamata olives

serve with spaghetti (or rice) and grated parmesan, pecorino or similar

While staying with my folks recently, Mum and I made a batch of beef croquettes. This starts with simply boiling stewing beef in water. That smelled so good that I had a sudden thought that maybe the problem with my beef stews is the vegetable bulk? So I'm trying a more beef centric stew version to test that. Of course I couldn't resist making it more complex than just beef in water, but there is very little volume in there other than beef and enough liquid. Anyway while I remember what I put in the pot:

750g stewing steak, cubed and with the chunkiest fat evicted
brown this in olive oil in 3 batches
deglaze with a glass of red wine
add: 3 smallish flat mushrooms chopped
~1T tomato juice/passata
1 cube frozen parsley
~1/2t dried thyme
shake of hing powder
~8 turns black pepper
grated nutmeg (maybe 1/8t?)
enough water to barely cover

bring to the boil, drop to a simmer for 2-3hrs, lid on. Must check for seasoning later, the only salt in the above is in the parsley (and tomato goop I suppose). I mean to thicken it a little at the end and treat as pie filling.
Posting this in case some find it useful. Also because I'm delighted to have come up with another useful variation.

I will only buy free range chicken, and buying it in pieces is expensive. So every so often, I buy a whole free range chook, from which I get at least a dozen meals, sometimes more.

The legs and wings make two meals. I usually make a ginger/soy/honey marinaded slow cooked thing with noodles and veg. Tonight I did a baked thing with cream/zucchini/mushrooms/rice instead.

The thighs make two meals. My standard is a cacciatore variant

The breasts make about 4 serves. I usually do satay or curry but random pasta sauces are also good.

Then the new thought was- instead of just making stock from the resulting carcass, steam the meaty carcass for half a hour. I put thyme and bay in the steaming water. Let this cool, strip the carcass and one gets about a cup of cooked chicken, useful for sandwiches, pasta, pizza etc. Say another two meals. If you have inexpensive white wine, use that for all or half of the steaming water. Either way, the resulting water is a rich stock.

The steaming water counts as stock, then one can boil the bones(including the any of the other bones you haven't already boiled) for more stock. Say 1-2L stock that will make 4-8 serves of soup.
Edit- more like 1L or less stock from only one chicken carcass. I usually collect the bones in the freezer and make a larger amount, hence my confusion.

Not bad for just one chicken.
montjoye: (Default)
( Mar. 14th, 2016 08:43 am)
2kg beef/pork mince browned in olive oil
two sticks celery chopped
3 small carrots grated
1 200g turnip grated
4 leaves savoy cabbage shredded
two parsley blocks
1T sweet paprika (would use more but ran out)
2t smoked paprika
1 375g jar tom paste
1 stubbie mild ale
water to not quite cover.
Bring all to boil, then down to a slow simmer for a couple of hours.

This is the tasty stew I made last night, and then binned this morning- because the bottle from the beer I put in it, had glass missing around the rim, which I couldn't find. Far better to bin it than risk feeding glass to my mates. So I need to do all this again, maybe tomorrow. At least I have buckets of paprika available this time. Jotting down what I did while I can remember, because it smelled amazing and I don't seem to have recorded my previous paprika stew experiments.

replacement  effort used 5T sweet paprika

11th May version is half size but with 4 heaped dessert spoons sweet paprika and no tomato paste, <1/4 small cabbage. Let's see how that goes.
I had said that Luciano the peach tree didn't give me any useful fruit. This year is different. I was alerted to the presence of fruit by a few found sitting on the ground a couple of days ago. Rummaging under the leaves, I found quite a crop. I picked all the ripe ones which came to about a kilo and am in the process of making chutney from it. I guess there is another 2-3 kilos? on the tree still ripening.

It would seem these are white peaches. No the tree wasn't labelled well when I bought it. Even ripe, the skins are green, but the insides are white with a pink centre and a lovely scent.

I've used this recipe (link below) with a few changes:
-in place of the onion, I sauted a similar volume of celery, plus added two handfuls of sultanas to the mix
-there was about 800-900g peach flesh instead of the 700g in the recipe
-4 chillis instead of 6, and mine were deseeded (old ones from the freezer)
-ginger was a heaped dessert spoon from the jar in the fridge

Here are all the ingredients in the pot. I love this stage, ready to go and before it goes all brown and gloopy.


And four little jars of chutney, nice and thick. Smelled wonderful while cooking.


montjoye: (Default)
( Aug. 18th, 2015 05:06 pm)
Montjoye vs the Lurgy day#14

I'm much improved but still not right. Head and lung stuffedness is only minimal but energy levels are not what they should be.  However, having decided I'm well enough for public consumption, I've been out and about a bit the last two days. Only minor shopping and craft hall last night, but in between I've got all enthused about food.  I lose cooking mojo when I'm sick. Combined with the loss of energy, and the avoidance of contagion, I tend to eat out of pre prepared stocks while ill. In addition, I'd had another incidence of getting up to find the freezer had been open all night a few weeks back. More reason to focus on working down existing stocks. So the fridge and freezer were looking pretty bare.

So I've bought a bunch of food and am cooking up a storm. Yesterday I defrosted the depleted freezer too, so the new food has a tidy and spacious as possible place to go. So far I've made:
-ham stock
-pumpkin soup with part of the ham stock(roast the veg with allspice and the little ham meat included)
-two apricot loaves from the apricot pulp defrosted several days earlier, but not cooked due to lurgy. One got demolished last night at crafthall. I hope TJ doesn't suffer from his enthusiastic consumption of about half the cake!
-bircher muesli

In progress is:
-chicken stock
-bolognese sauce
-pork chops marinading in soy etc

Soon I need to:
-finish the pork chops
-cook lamb chops and roast mediteranean veg
-make various things out of the 4kg of lemons from my neighbours
-make sorrel and potato soup (I have potatoes that are beginning to sprout)
as well as the usual "keep an eye on the fridge and find uses for what needs to be used"

Now though I've done a bit much today and am feeling a bit wobbly. I shall commune with the couch and recoup energy for tomorrow's cooking adventures.
montjoye: (Default)
( Aug. 16th, 2015 12:30 pm)

Kitchenaid has done it’s maiden mix. On an experimental cake no less. This is an apricot cake based on a favourite pumpkin cake recipe. I managed to use up about half the pulp that needed a home. If the cake tastes anywhere near as good as the raw mix did, it’ll be a winner.  It worked beautifully. Less apricot flavour when cooked but the cake texture is excellent. Less salt next time.


Kitchenaid vs old Kenwood observations

The motor starts nice and slow so mixing in flour was no issue. Win! The Kenwood starts fast so sends flour all over the kitchen.
I like the manual lift of the mixer head. No spring assist so no shock movement to splatter things.

The beaters don’t clear the bowl when raised enough to sift in flour without removing the bowl.
The kenwood bowl is easier to pour/scrape out of.

I think in both cases the beater height needs adjusting downwards a bit. Neither pick up all the mix at the bottom of the bowl. The kitchenaid mixes from the sides of the bowl better though.

As pumpkin spice loaf, minus: 1/4c sugar, nutmeg, cloves (less salt)

second version had 3/4c suger again, only a pinch of salt, 1/2t cinnamon, bit less of ginger. Turned out beautifully but still not very apricot flavoured when cooked.

as muffin cups or drop cakes, bake 20-25 min.

This was a successful experiment so share the recipe I shall. Allium free tomato ketchup for the win.
Website of inspiration:

1 jar tomato passata (680ml)
2/3 cup vinegar (I used cider vinegar from Weaver)
slosh water
generous half cup of brown sugar
3/4t salt
1/4t mustard powder
1/4t freshly ground black pepper
1 clove
1 allspice berry
3 inner stalk celery tops (recipe calls for celery salt but I didn't have any)

Passata to saucepan. Rinse with vinegar. Rinse again with small amount water. All into saucepan.
Add all other ingredients
bring gently to boil. Stir lots or it will spit.
Simmer ~10min, remove celery tops
Simmer further until the consistency looks like tomato sauce.
Bottle in sterilised vessel.

montjoye: (Default)
( Jun. 3rd, 2015 04:01 pm)
I've been thinking of making Anzac biscuits since before Anzac day. I had no sweet biscuits left in the house, so today I finally made some. The catch is that I thoroughly dislike desecrated coconut. So here below is today's attempt. I've combined two recipes and replaced the coconut with nuts.

Mix in a large bowl:
1 extrovert cup of rolled oats
1 shy cup of sugar
1 cup plain flour
1/2 cup almond meal
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Heat together until simmering:
125g butter
2T golden syrup
2T water
Then add 1t bicarb, stir, let it foam up, then mix into the dry ingredients

Form to balls, on trays, 180deg, ~15min. Cool on trays until they hold shape, loosen, finish cooling on racks.

They are pretty jolly good. I think I might use mixed chopped nuts next time. The walnuts are yummy but there would be better crunch from things like almonds.


Recording what I did so I don't have to work from memory next time.

From right to left:

the white ones are whipped almond (gluten free)
2egg whites, whipped
200g castor sugar, whipped in slowly
200g almond meal folded in.
spoon to tray- on reusable non stick mat or baking paper
bake ~25min at 150C

the darker domed ones are hazelnut almond (gluten free)
2egg whites
200g castor sugar
50g roast hazelnut meal
150g almond meal
mix/knead together
roll into balls
place on nonstick trays
bake ~25min at 150C

the flat ones* are lemon and contain gluten
1.5c SR flour
1c sugar
50g butter melted
4 egg yolks (from above)
1T grated lemon rind
1T lemon juice (approx)
mix/knead together
roll into balls, roll in almond meal
place on nonstick trays
bake ~15min at 180C

I made these in the order written above, all in the same bowl, then did a big wash up after. Quite efficient. The first two are based on information from Elspeth. The last is a family recipe from my childhood, tweaked to use up the egg yolks. Now I just need to pack them up for transport after they are properly cool.
montjoye: (Default)
( Oct. 8th, 2014 03:13 pm)


While I can still remember what I did. Made up recipes are better written down! Then if one likes the result it can be repeated. Or altered as one sees fit from a known starting point.

Raspberry sauce
350g purple raspberries (picked by moi last summer, have been living in freezer since)
Juice of one meyer lemon
Slow heat to simmer, mash, take off heat
Add 175g sugar, stir until dissolved
Back on heat- bring to low boil for 5min

Strawberry Pear sauce
1.5punnets strawbs + one pear=550g prepared fruit
Juice of one meyer lemon
1/2t ground ginger, 1/4t each ground cardamom, nutmeg
Slow heat to simmer, blitz, take off heat
Add 250g sugar, stir until dissolved
Back on heat- bring to low boil for 5min

You might see the bits of raspberry that were left in the funnel and made it into the first strawpear bottle

montjoye: (Default)
( Dec. 25th, 2013 09:17 pm)
Below are the first few paragraphs, written by Hugh bravely eats it all, from the forward to the River Cottage "Preserves" book by Pam" the Jam" Corbin. Beautiful writing I think. Ta muchly to [personal profile] doushkasmum !

"I love jam and all its jarred and bottled relatives, the extended family we call by the rather austere name ‘preserves’. Actually they’re not austere at all. They are warm, forward and friendly, offering up both generous feisty flavours and intriguing spicy subtleties to all who embrace them.

Mostly I love them for being so delicious. But I also cherish and admire them for something else. They epitomise the values at the heart of a well-run, contented kitchen. Firstly they embody and thrive and seasonal abundance. Secondly they are, or should be, intrinsically local, perfectly complementing the grow-your-own (or at least pick-your-own) philosophy. And thirdly, not to be sniffed at in these days of ecological anxiety, they are frugal, thrifty and parsimonious: they waste not, so we want not.

Jams, chutneys and pickles embrace the seasons, but they also, in an elegant and entirely positive manner, defy them. They do so by stretching the bounty of more abundant months into the sparser ones. We shouldn’t underestimate this achievement. Over the centuries, wizards and alchemists have used all the power and magic they can muster to try and catch rainbows, spin straw into gold, and even bring the dead back to life. They’ve failed of course. Yet all the while, humble peasants and ordinary housewives have got on with the simple business of bottling sunshine, so that it may spread a little joy in the leaner seasons… They call it jam."

I've had a quick flick through the recipes. There are several things I want to make at once! And rather a few for later.

I'm also both pleased and amused that the majority of my few pressies this year are related to preserving and cooking in general.

Soooo. Anyone got small jars I could have? ~250ml are excellent. Many of you should have empties from preserves I've given you in the past?

Well I was aiming at jelly but didn't manage a set. The flavour is excellent though.

1kg mulberries
1kg granny smith apples- cored (except one) and chopped
(recipe said to core them all. I wish I'd cored none)

Put each fruit to different saucepan. Cover with water. Boil each until soft. Strain through separate bags. combine equal volume of juice from each fruit (it was close enough, I used the lot). Add 2/3cup sugar for each cup of juice. (add juice of one lemon, this was not in the recipe). Heat gently until sugar dissolved. Boil until set.

Except I boiled for an hour and didn't get a set. That long boiling made for a very reduced and thus flavoursome sauce though. I did get a very soft set on the partial jar that included pan scrapings, but not on the full jars. I do wonder what would have happened if I hadn't cored the apples? Anyway, this should still be amazing on pancakes, icecream, yoghurt etc.

I rather like my new small labels that I bought with preserves in mind. A pricey solution upfront but an easy one and that packet should last a while. Any more than a jar or two and I'm not keen on handwriting the labels.



Posting to capture the recipe before I forget.

>1cup apricots strained from the brandy they had been sitting in since January. Zapped with the bamix.
~1.2 blocks cooking choc, melted
1/4 cup heavy cream (45% butter fat)

-combine these, leave in fridge overnight to sort of set (could probably use freezer next time. The alcohol will likely prevent it going solid)
-form to balls (sticky!)
-put in the freezer for a few hours. Try not to get any ice crystals on them, it upsets the covering chocolate.
-melt another block of chocolate (70% cooking choc this time)
-dip the balls and set on non stick paper to cool and set.

Soft but pretty yummy. They need the chocolate coating to keep their shape.

. . IMG_3098

IMG_3100 IMG_3108

I think the second attempt had two block of chocolate, no cream and the finished balls just rolled in good cocoa. Much firmer, less effort and just as tasty.
A story of old pans and new.

Once apon a time, Mama and I arrived early at Myer Booragoon, before opening time on boxing day. This was in the days when "door buster specials" were still offered. I was planning to leave home within months and there were a veyr few sets of three nice saucepans on sale for some ridiculously small amount of money. I can't quite remember how much. $39 possibly? We edged our way to be about the first people through the doors and fairly flew up to the kitchen section. Right at the top of the escalators was a stack of maybe 5 sets of these pans. One set was grabbed and purchased pronto. We had a grand time doing this! Then, a little later, i really did leave home, meet a gas stove for the first time, learnt to cook, moved house 8-10 times, learnt to like cooking...

About two dozen years later, these are those faithful pans


I have just given them a scrub with gumption, so they look shinier than usual, and even better in the photo than they do in person. They aquired a couple of big siblings soon after the door buster adventure in the shape of a casserole and stock pot. They are actually pretty battered, scratched and dented. The lids have been dropped so many times that edges have gone a bit frilly and leak steam all over the place. They still work ok but sometimes I run out of pots when cooking one of my increasingly common dinner parties. I also confess that I have been craving some nice new shiny ones. I do know that this is a want rather than a need, really. An indulgence. I do feel I can justify it though. I cook rather a lot and would so enjoy new pans to play with. Though I almost feel I need to apologise for being able to afford new ones. The set I am contemplating will cost about as much as a Chrissie trip to the family home. I could say I'll pay for them with all the money I've saved by not going to fancy restaurants and cooking for my friends instead.

I had been looking, in a "had my eyes open" sense, for a new set, for the last few years, without success. Then recently, DrQ had a saucepan emergency. I promised to buy her a new one as an early birthday present before her old one died the death it was threatening. So I did some more research. The brand and style I found that ticked ALL my (saucepan) boxes was Cuisinart-Chef's Classic. The pic below is the pan I got for her. It really is lovely, and there is a great range of sizes and shapes in this style. BUT it is really hard to get many of them in Oz. To get all the pans I want, I would have to figure out how to best jump through the hoops of ordering from the US.

saucepan cuisinart

On the other hand. I found this set. Chasseur Maison. I actually already have two frying pans from this set but had never seen saucepans for sale. Online magic showed that there is a fairly large range of these available. Large enough for what I am after anyway. Hoorah! I nearly put a big order in, but I've never handled any of the saucepans. So I've just ordered the littlest one as a test. If I like it, then it's on for young and old.

saucepan maison1
And the handles are very much designed to echo very trad french styling which rather pleases me. See:

saucepan french-vintage-set-copper-pans_2

These are a few of my favourite things:

Filling my spice jars. Well decanting anything really. Partly it's about being well stocked, partly it's the process. Also the colours of all the different spices, the smells as you handle them, the contemplation of the food that will be cooked with them....


Unhurried food prep. These are the first stages for potato dumplings and red cabbage for dinner tomorrow.


Fresh bread and butter with honey. This is sourdough ciabatta from my local shops with leatherwood honey brought from Tassie by last weekend's house guests. Mmmm. Coffee in fine bone china is also a lovely thing. Crusts don't toast easily so one may as well eat them fresh eh?


Happy green plants, especially in my garden. Winter really is the time to grow snow peas it seems. I et one straight from the plant, can't get more crisp and tasty than that.


Watching flowers grow. These hyacinth bulbs seem to have forgiven me for not lifting them last summer.


Whew. A mostly domestic weekend. I've done all the urgent stuff on my list, including vastly more house cleaning than I usually do and  another go-round with the car tail lights. Yay.

Catch that basil!
The weather has been cold enough that the basil was starting to go. So I've just turned 2 litres of loosely packed tasty leaves into shortcut pesto to put in the freezer for winter. I just blend it up with salt and olive oil. This time I've used a pot of cream to take up the bits sticking to all the implements- that will go over a chicken I plan to cook later. Yummy efficiency.

. .

Jonquil rescue
Amongst the other garden chores, I planted out the jonquil bulbs that I had forgotten about from last year. They were valiantly trying to grow all crowded in the pot I had bought them in. I thought it was just an empty pot, surprise! I do hope they forgive me for disturbing them after they started growing.
montjoye: (Default)
( Mar. 18th, 2013 03:38 pm)
We picked some little yellow fruit on Saturday, stone fruit but about the size of large grapes. A spot of googling suggests that they are likely to be mirabelle plums. I brought 2kg home and now they are sauce. I've lightly modified a recipe from the blog "Vanilla Garlic"

3L plums, cleaned, sliced into (too hard to stone)
1.5L sugar
mix and allow to sit overnight (this releases juices)

1/2 t vanilla paste
1 cinnamon stick
1 star anise
juice 1/2 lemon

heat gently, stew until flesh soft, moule to remove stones and most skins.
boil 20-30min to thicken (not a full set)

Smells grand. Colour is more golden than this pic suggests. Minor miracle: I ended up with 5 neat jars full, no part jars.




montjoye: (Default)


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