Thursday, December 30, 2010


I am setting myself small goals for 2011. I am not going to chase anything instead I will let the universe bring what I need to me.
I will eat well but not too much.
I will try new things and let go of old things that are not good for me.
I will eat chocolate, drink coffee and relax.
I am going to cook my way through the Daring Kitchen Challenges. But only the ones that appeal to me.
My favorite meal of 2010 was a platter we had at The Hub, a restaurant in Port Fairy Victoria. It had smoked salmon, some cheeses and olives and a few other bits and pieces. Really lovely.
But the best meals were the ones we had at home with all our children and grandchildren.
So bring on 2011 and goodbye to 2010.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Ice Cream

Ice Cream is a favorite food for so many people. My youngest son is a big fan but has allergies. Eggs tops the list of many. He can tolerate A2 milk. I googled A2 Milk and found this website and here is an excerpt -
The Origins of a2 Milk™

There are two main forms of the important cow's milk protein beta-casein found in the cow's milk that you drink. These two forms are known as A1 and A2 beta-casein.

The A2 form of beta-casein has been identified by scientific research to be the original form of beta-casein that would have been produced by cows thousands of years ago.

At some point in history, owing to natural genetic mutation, the A1 form appeared in dairy cattle and was spread throughout dairy herds across Europe, becoming the common form of beta-casein in many breeds of cows.

Traditional cattle breeds such as the zebu, the native Asian cattle and closely related animals such as the water buffalo and yak all still only produce the A2 type of beta- casein.

Some dairy cows still only produce the A2 type of beta casein and these can be identified and milked to produce a2 Milk™.

by Professor Keith Woodford.
2007. Craig Potton Publishing (Christchurch)
"Devil in the Milk"

No 2 Son can drink A2 milk and cream and the Jersey (cow) milk man at the local farmers market was sure that he would be alright with his product. So I made an eggless batch for Christmas.. I detailed my adventures on buying an ice cream churn here

Audax Artifax cook extraordinaire details lots of info about ice cream making on his blog and with a bit of inspiration from him I wrote my own recipe and have done several test runs and I have tweaked it enough to be delicious.

I made two batches one with eggs that I folded fresh raspberries and 1/2 cup of raspberry jam through. Using the same recipe minus the eggs I made a second batch and folded 2/3 cup nutella and 125 grams of chopped toasted hazelnuts through that. I sent the leftover nutella/hazelnut variety home with No 2 son or I would have eaten the whole lot, it was fantastic.
My granddaughters loved both and No 2 Granddaughter has a slight intolerance to some dairy but she is fine with the A2 as well.
By adding the tapoica flour I was able to boil the egg mixture and not risk curdling it. Favorite Daughter in law is having our No3 grandchild in March and is very careful with her diet so I didn't want to risk undercooking the egg custard mixture. After making ice cream with and without the flour only the most rabid of ice cream connisours would know the difference. Also the tapioca adn corn cornflour is low allergenic. Fine almond flour would work too.

Easy Vanilla Ice Cream
2 cups (500ml) whole milk
A pinch of salt
3/4 cup (150g) sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
300ml heavy cream
2 eggs
1 teaspoon tapioca flour or 2 teaspoons cornflour.

Method 1 With eggs
Heat the milk over a low heat until just starting to simmer.
In a separate bowl, beat the eggs with the sugar, using an electric whisk until thick and pale. Add the tapioca or cornflour and beat until smooth. While whisking or beating slowly pour in the hot milk.
Place mixture into pot and stir over low heat until the mixture is thick and starts to boil.
Strain the custard into the heavy cream. Stir over the ice until cool, add the vanilla paste, then refrigerate to chill thoroughly. Preferably overnight or put it in the freezer to chill.
Freeze the custard in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. I have a cheap version of an ice cream maker. You put the bowl in the freezer and then put your custard in and put the stirrer section where the motor is on it and churn away. It works like a charm but I find it works best if the custard has started to freeze a bit.

Method 2 Without Eggs
Omit the eggs and use the following method.
Blend the tapioca flour and milk
Place mixture into pot and stir over low heat until the mixture is thick and starts to boil.
Strain the custard into the heavy cream. Whisk gently until smooth. Stir over the ice until cool, add the vanilla paste, then refrigerate to chill thoroughly. Preferably overnight or put it in the freezer to chill until it starts to freeze.

Freeze the custard in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. I have a cheap version of an ice cream maker. You put the bowl in the freezer and then put your custard in and put the stirrer section where the motor is on it and churn away. It works like a charm but I find it works best if the custard has started to freeze a bit.
We are headed for a bit of hot weather the TV tells me. I might be able to put my winter dressing gown and ugg boots away. I am wearing them tonight while Western Australia has 40 degrees Celsius. It's a funny lot of weather this year. Ice cream weather is coming though and that is the main thing.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas for vegitarians

My darling husband is a vegitarian this is a fairly new thing for him and if that is the extent of his mid life crisis then yay.
I don't have a problem with him being a vego, I like vego food too just not all the time and often with a big lump of steak. So what did I make for him for Christmas dinner I hear you ask?
Well one of his favorite foods before he was a vego was bread stuffing and he will still eat it. However this year I delved into the wall of cookery books and then made up this recipe with a bit of help from the cake world.
I could have made a tray of bread stuffing and cooked it in the oven but I find that without the meat juices it can be dry. So I made this

Zuchinni and Carrot Loaf.


1 large onion diced
olive oil
1 cup grated zuchinni
1 cup grated carrot
3 eggs
240 mls milk
1/2 cup oil
3 cups Self Raising Flour
1 cup almond slivers
grated rind of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1 tablespoon mixed herbs


Cover the bottom of a pan in olive oil and fry the onion until cooked but not coloured. Allow to cool slightly.
Mix eggs, milk and oil in a bowl. Add carrot, zuchinni and onion. Mix well. Add remaining ingredients and mix until well combined.

Grease and flour a large ring tin. Spoon in the mixture and bake in a 180° oven for 45 minutes or until cooked.

We had this with baked potatoes, pumpkin, baby parsnips, and carrots. Beans, peas and corn. Lots of gravy. The non- vegos also had roast lamb and chicken and there was ham too.
Then we had dessert, Pudding and custard, summer pudding made with some of last years mulberries and home made ice cream. Recipes for all those will be in a future post.
We had a lovely Christmas and I hope yours was the same. Back to work tomorrow Summer Solstice is just past us and I am still wearing my ugg boots.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Food

The cooking is done. The house smells amazing. The last batch of almond gingerbread has just come out of the oven.

The pudding is cooked and on the plate. I will leave it there covered overnight. As it is going to be 29° C here tomorrow it will be fine cold with hot custard.

The mince tarts are just out of the oven as we speak. I had run out of enthusiasm by the time I got to them and just used some filo out of the freezer and made a dozen.

They look a bit overdone but that is my camera in fact they look delicious.
The rest of the fruit is in the fridge for another time. The kids, apart from the youngest, will have been to at least one other Christmas Family meal by the time they get to us and probably won't be that hungry.
The fruitcake is made and the summer pudding is setting nicely. I made two lots of ice cream. Vanilla with nutella ripple and toasted hazelnuts and the second batch is vanilla raspberry ripple. The first lot is egg less for Troy but the second batch is cholesterol city and tastes amazing. I am going to do a whole post on ice cream soon, recipes then I promise. I also have mango sorbet and coconut/apple sorbet in the freezer. doesn't every house have four types of frozen dessert. There will be custard and cream too.
The meat is defrosting in the bar fridge. Greg went out to the vegie patch tonight and dug potatoes and everything else is waiting to be prepared tomorrow. Santa has been and like so many men, ate his cookies and left the washing up. The Christmas tree is practically buried in presents. Is it going overboard to buy half a dozen presents for a baby that isn't going to be born until late March. I don't think so. Don't ask me how many I bought for the granddaughters I didn't count. I just have to find a big empty box now. Christmas tradition in our house is to unwrap everything and then make balls of the paper and see who has the best aim.
We will be having a great day and I send happy Christmas thoughts and love to you all praying your day will be the same.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Spirit

I have nearly finished the Christmas Shopping just a couple of more Santa gifts to buy, wrap the presents, do some cooking, decorate the tree and tidy the house. Our gift giving for Christmas is smaller than the birthday gifts we give.
For us a Christmas gift is an acknowledgement of our Christian beliefs and therefore is a special thing.
Mind you we do go crazy over the grandchildren mainly because there is no joy compared to seeing the pleasure on a childs face when they receive a gift they love and no fun as great as a little one with a great big box and a pile of Christmas paper balls to throw around.
Sharing food and feeding family and friends is a great joy for me. I love my cook books and the whole cooking process. For me there is no greater thrill than having someone say unprompted "This tastes great I love it".
Sharing with others should be what Christmas is about and yet every holiday is becoming more and more about what is given. Commercialism, shops and the media pressure us to prove our love by buying big.
Personally, I find the best things are knowing my family are around me, we are blessed to live in a country at Peace, we have an abundance of food and what could be better Peace, Joy, Love, and Faith.
I was reading a newsletter from Punch with Judy a really great on line craft shop. Judy gave an excerpt from "All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten" by Robert Fulghum. If the whole world lived by these simple guidelines we would all have Peace, Joy and love. The faith part is a personal thing and each to their own. Robert has the important bits though.

All I really need to know about how to live and what to do and how to be, I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was at the top of the graduate school mountain, but there in the sand pile at school.

These are the things I learned
Share everything
Play Fair
Don't hit people
Put things back where you found them
Clean up your own mess
Don't take things that are not yours
Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody
Wash your hands before you eat
Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you
Live a balanced life - learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some
Take a nap every afternoon
When you go out in the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together
Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: the roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that
Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup - they all die. So do we
Remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned - the biggest word of all - LOOK!

Take any one of those items and extrapolate it into sophisticated adult terms and apply it to your family life or your work or government or your world and it holds true and clear and firm.

I really love all these rules but for my food blog I think that "Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you" should be the beginning of every meeting of every group be they government, social or anything else. If they started off with a big warm cookie and a glass of milk the World would be a happier place.
I will be making cookies or biscuits later today. My family have some very firm favorites. Cat Biscuits are at the top of the list. Gingerbread is a close second and the Taste website has lots of Christmas Gingerbread recipes Lebkuchen is a real favorite of mine and I'll be making those as well.
I'll make lots and send them home with the kids and take some to work.
That's the other kindergarten rule, Share Everything.
Merry Christmas

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Daring Bakers Poach

Jenn and Jill have challenged The Daring Cooks to learn to perfect the technique of poaching an egg. They chose Eggs Benedict recipe from Alton Brown, Oeufs en Meurette from Cooking with Wine by Anne Willan, and Homemade Sundried Tomato & Pine Nut Seitan Sausages (poached) courtesy of Trudy of Veggie num num.
The 1st recipe is one of the most well known poached egg dishes: eggs benedict – an open sandwich of English muffin, Canadian bacon, poached egg, and hollandaise sauce. This rich and decadent dish can be served as a really nice breakfast or brunch for having company over, and is sure to impress! The “daring” with this dish is in successfully poaching an egg in water, as well as making one of the famed mother sauces of France, the hollandaise.
The 2nd recipe, oeufs en meurette (eggs in meurette sauce), is a classic dish from the region of Bourgogne (Burgundy) in France. It involves poaching an egg in a red wine/stock, which will then turn into a fabulous reduction sauce. One serves the poached egg on top of fried croûtes with sauce, bacon, mushrooms and pearl onions. This is also a great dish for breakfast/brunch as well.
For the vegans they decided that Instead of poaching an egg, they found a delicious poached homemade seitan sausage recipe that we think you will love!

I decided to do the Eggs Benedict and as Greg is a vegitarian who eats fish I didn't want to use bacon. We make our own bread so I didn't buy english muffins.
I had a packet of Huon Smoked Salmon from Tasmania, local eggs (they come from the herb farmer from Murray Bridge and have the most beautiful yellow yolks). Paris Creek organic butter, the flour for the bread is grown here in South Australia and milled by Laukes flour mills at Strathalbyn. The lemon for the hollandaise and poaching liquid is from the tree in our backyard.
I think I should have cooked the hollandaise a bit longer but it was delicous.

I simply toasted slices of our homemade bread and topped it with slices of smoked salmon, poached the eggs which were perfect and then topped it with hollandaise and fresh chives from our garden.

I like my eggs fairly firm but for this I left the yolks a little runny.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Peta’s Easy Amazing Incredible Jaffa Fruit Cake and Mince Pies

For Christmas each year and quite often through the year I make this fruit cake.
This is my own recipe. Please read all the instructions before starting too cook this cake.
This is a moist dense fruit cake that is incredibly more-ish. It is great with custard. It is really better if made with the fruit I have indicated rather than pre-packaged mixed fruit.

1 orange and 1 lemon
100 mls brandy or cointreau
100 grams dried apple
100 grams dried peaches
300 grams sultanas
100 grams currants
200 grams dates chopped
100 grams raisins chopped
100 grams dried figs or glace fruit (cherries if you like them) chopped
1 cup walnuts or pecans chopped
½ cup brown sugar (Optional – but better with than without)
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon mixed spice
½ teaspoon ground cloves
100 grams dark cooking chocolate broken into chunks.
3 cups (450 g) plain flour
2 eggs beaten

Grease and line a lamington tin 12” x 9” or a 12” square tin with baking paper.

Puree the orange and lemon in a food process until finely chopped.

Strain the juice into a measuring jug. Keep the pulp - don't throw it away.
Add the brandy to the juice and then make up to 600 mls with water or more juice.

Place the pulp and juice into a large pot. Add the chopped dried fruit and spices. Gently bring to a simmer and stir regularly for 15 mins.

Remove from heat. Add the nuts, chocolate and sugar and stir into hot fruit until melted.

Cover and cool. When cool or nearly cool add the flour and eggs and stir well. Place into tin and bake in a 160 °C oven for 1 to 1 ½ hours until cooked You may need to place a piece of foil loosely over the tin after 45 – 60 minutes to prevent top drying out.

Substitute 1 kg mixed fruit for the individual fruits . I personally never use it.

You can decorate the top with glace fruits and almonds if you want to before you cook the cake.

If the top gets to dry warm ¼ cup of apricot jam and add 2 tablespoons of brandy. Mix well and then brush this across the top of the hot cake. Cover and cool.

My favorite mince pies are mince pies with a twist. Here is the recipe.
Marvelous Mince Pies.
3 cups plain flour
1/2 cup cornflour
2 teaspoon baking powder
300 grams butter
1/2 cup caster sugar
3 eggs
1 tablespoon lemon juice (Optional)
Rub the butter into the combined flours. Add sugar and baking powder. Mix in beaten eggs and lemon juice. You might have to add a bit of water to get it together. chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
Roll out and line greased and floured patty cake tins.
1 cup sultanas
1/3 cup chopped dried apricots
1/3 cup chopped dried apple
1/2 cup currants
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup brandy
1/4 cup orange juice.
Grated rind of 1 orange
Mix all these filling ingredients and refrigerate overnight. Stir regularly.
The next day stir in
300 mls sour cream full fat not the skim kind. If you must use the skim then add an extra egg.
2 eggs
1 cup brown sugar.
Mix well and spoon into the pastry cases and bake for 30-40 minutes.
This makes a lot about 5 dozen.
Alternatively just mix 2 1/2 cups of fruit mince with the 300 mls sour cream, a splash of brandy, 2 eggs and 1 cup brown sugar.


The 2010 November Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Simona from briciole. She chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ to make pasta frolla for a crostata. She used her own experience as a source, as well as information from Pellegrino Artusi’s Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well. This is crostata (tart), an Italian dessert. The base of a crostata is pasta frolla (or pastafrolla), sweet short crust pastry (or sweet tart dough) made of flour, sugar, butter and eggs. Pasta frolla is versatile: it provides the base to make crostata with fruit preserves, pastry cream, fresh fruit, ricotta, and other ingredients, and, by itself, it makes very nice cookies.

I made the pastry but did substitute 1/2 the flour for gluten free. I am not coeliac but I am wheat intolerant so I use a mix. I made a pumpkin crostata
I steamed the pumpkin and it was a bit watery so I added cinnamon, nutmeg, 2 beaten eggs and 2 tablespoons of plain flour. then baked it for 45 minutes. It was beautiful and a blackberry crostata rustico, the berries where frozen so I tossed them with a tablespoon of tapioca flour and a tablespoon of sugar

The Rustico is just a big circle of the dough rolled out with the fruit tossed in cornflour and sugar piled in the middle and the pastry turned back over and then cooked.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Family favorite - Cat Biscuits

My husband and kids have a favorite biscuit, Cookies for my American friends. It is a recipe I got from my Mother-in-law a lot of years ago. Greg's family always called them Cat biscuits I am not really sure why and neither are they. In Greg's Mothers cook book they were called Foaming Biscuits.
It is a great recipe, easy to make and keeps really well in an airtight container. It doesn't have any eggs and can be made with any type of flour including almond or coconut. It can be made with margarine or butter (not oil) and changed really easily by adding chocolate chips, chopped nuts or dried fruit or flavorings such as spices or lemon or orange peel. Anything that takes your fancy.
This is the basic recipe it makes a lot. They are nice with some icing drizzled over.

Foaming Biscuits or Cat Biscuits.

4 cups plain flour
1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup milk or water
1 teaspoon bi-carb soda (In USA it is called baking soda not baking powder)
1 tablespoon hot water.

1. Put the butter and flour into the food processor or rub the butter into the flour if you don't have a food processor.
2. Put the flour and butter mixture into a bowl. You can't leave it in the food processor trust me.
3. Place the milk and sugar into a pot and heat over a low heat until the sugar melts.
4. Dissolve the bi-carb soda in the hot water and add to the pot of sugar and milk.
5. Quickly pour it into the dry ingredients and mix it until it is smooth. It will look runny but will thicken up and it cools.
6. Either put it into the fridge in the bowl or once it has cooled roll it into logs wrapped in gladwrap. Chill in fridge or freezer until firm. It can be left in the freezer and used over the next month but this is not really required as they keep really well cooked and in an airtight container.
7. Once chilled and firm either roll 1 teaspoon size balls and squash with a fork or roll out and cut into shapes. Or cut the chilled logs into slices.
8. Place on trays that have been greased and floured or on trays lined with baking paper. Bake at 180 degrees C until golden. about 10 - 15 minutes.

For flavoured biscuits
- For chocolate add 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 2 tablespoons cocoa at step 2 and top with a chocolate button just before cooking. If you want to add chocolate chips do it after the mixture has cooled or the chocolate melts and the biscuit are chewy

- Lemon and Currants - Use lemon juice instead of milk or water in step 3 and add grated lemon rind and 1 cup of currants at step 2. After cooked and cooled ice with lemon icing.

- Orange and almond - Use orange juice instead of water or milk in step 3 and add grated orange rind and 1 cup of chopped almonds at step 2.

- Coconut and Jam - At step 1 use only 3 and 1/2 cups of flour and add 1 cup dessicated coconut. At step 7 roll the chilled mixture into golf ball size balls and squash down a bit. Make a hole with the handle of a wooden spoon and put 1/2 teapsoon of your favorite jam or nutella in the hole and cook.

These are only a few of my favorite flavour combinations the sky is the limit.

Cheap Food

I love to take advantage of bargains. I was in Woolworths yesterday and the fruit and veg department had a big trolley of produce for $2.00 a bag.

I bought 4 bags of mainly limes, mangoes, bananas, peaches and nectarines.
From those I made 10 jars of mango chutney, 6 jars of peach, nectarine and orange jam., a banana cake, 2 litres of mango and lime sorbet and I am going to freeze the rest of the mango flesh for later. I also gave my daughter some of the fruit.
I love bargains.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Blue Cheese and Mustard Souffle

Dave and Linda from Monkeyshines in the Kitchen chose Soufflés as our November 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge! Dave and Linda provided many of their own delicious recipes plus a sinfully decadent chocolate soufflé recipe adapted from Gordon Ramsay’s recipe found at the BBC Good Food website.
I am late with the challenge as always. My excuse this time is we were on holidays.
Audax Artifex had heaps of advice too and I read it with great interest after I read Dave and Lindas advice. Of course I ignored most of it and well the result while not the prettiest however it rose like magic and tasted great.
My recipe is a bit of a mixup of both.

Blue Cheese and Seeded Mustard.

3 oz / 90 g blue cheese
3 tablespoons Milk
2 Tspns seeded Mustard
1 1/2 tsp corn or tapioca flour
Salt and pepper to taste
2 egg yolks
2 Egg whites
pinch cream of tartar
1 oz Butter

Prepare 2 1-cup soufflé dishes by buttering them, put them in the refrigerator while you do the rest.

Chop up or grate the cheese.

Heat the milk gently in a medium saucepan. Stir in the starch and stir to dissolve thoroughly. Add the cheese and mustard and stir until the cheese melts. Remove from heat. Keep beating with a spoon until it cools a bit then add the egg yolks,mix thoroughly and salt and pepper to taste.

Beat the egg whites and a pinch of cream of tartar until they are stiff peaks.
Scoop up a small amount of the egg whites with the beaters and mix it into the cheese mix with the beaters. With a metal spoon, fold the remaining egg whites through the cheese mix.

Remove your prepared soufflé cups from the refrigerator and gently spoon the soufflé mix into them. smooth the tops with a spatula and clean thoroughly around the rim – if you don’t do this last step the soufflés will rise at a rakish angle.

Bake 20 - 25 minutes or until golden brown. Serve immediately.

So what did I do that would cause one to be a little volcano? I thought the mixture was too thick and added a bit more water. It would have been perfect without this. Also as I hadn't spilt any of the mixture on the edge of the pot I didn't worry about wiping them. Another mistake. Oh well I'll know better next time. Infact I knew better this time but didn't worry about it. Still they were really good with ratatouille and a big glass of red wine. Yum.

Peta Eats

I have decided to have two blogs. You might be thinking what is she thinking. Well I am thinking that I have two obsessions - Textiles and Food and my textiles blog is getting so overloaded with food and it is time to seperate them. So I hope you will join me here if you like my food stuff and I will be putting more textile stuff on my textile one.