Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Rice Pudding

Before winter  starts, I thought I'd post some (more) comfort food. Rice Pudding has always been a favourite of mine - easy to make and very tasty! Some recipes use an eeg but I found that without the egg the pudding is creamier
Ingredients. Other recipes also use cream but I think whole milk will do.

I am also adding a recipe for Indian Rice Pudding - I haven't tried it but it sounds delicious!

¾ cup rice (medium grain), cooked
1 ltr whole milk
150 g sugar
Lemon zest
Ground cinnamon and nutmeg (optional)

Bring the milk and the lemon zest to a very slow simmer.
Add the cooked rice and sugar.
Stir well to combine.
Return to a slight simmer and cook for an additional 3 -5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove from the heat and let cool almost completely, then pour into a bowl and refrigerate.
Serve chilled and sprinkle with ground cinnamon.

Some recipe also add raisins, use a mixture of milk and coconut milk (or cream).

Here is a recipe from Alton Brown for Indian Rice Pudding


1 cup cooked long grain or basmati rice
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup coconut milk
2 ounces sugar, approximately 1/4 cup
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 1/2 ounces golden raisins, approximately 1/3 cup
1 1/2 ounces chopped unsalted pistachios, approximately 1/3 cup

In a large nonstick saute pan over medium heat, combine the cooked rice and milk.
Heat until the mixture begins to boil.
Decrease the heat to low and cook at a simmer until the mixture begins to thicken, stirring frequently, approximately 5 minutes.

Increase the heat to medium, add the heavy cream, coconut milk, sugar, and cardamom and continue to cook until the mixture just begins to thicken again, approximately 5 to 10 minutes.
Use a whisk to help prevent the cardamom from clumping.
Once the mixture just begins to thicken, remove from the heat and stir in the raisins and pistachios.
Transfer the mixture to individual serving dishes or a glass bowl and place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding.
Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Friday, October 22, 2010

English Trifle

Trifle is one of the oldest English deserts..and my favourite.
The word trifle derives from the Middle English trufl which in turn came from the Old French trufe (or truffle), meaning something of little importance.
Originally, in the late 16th century, the culinary meaning of the word trifle was a dish composed of cream boiled with various ingredients... Trifle is the one of the richest English desserts and it is served on special occasions like Christmas.
This is an easy way to make it.

About 2 pints of custard - see the previous recipe.
I sometimes make on pint of chocolate custard and one pint vanilla, just to vary
1 pre cooked sponge cake - or you can make one yourself, cut horizontally in thin slices
Some Sherry
Some apricot jam
2 tins Nestle's Cream (this give the best result - if you can't find it whipped cream will do)
You can use a round or square glass bowl - i prefer the square one.
Take some of the sponge and place on the bottom of the dish.
Melt the apricot jam and spread across the sponge.
Add a good splash of sherry
Add the custard.
Repeat the above except for the jam as that it just on the first layer.
End with a think layer of nestles cream.
You can always drizzle some chocolate on the top and make a pattern.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Baked Potatoes - Patata fil Forn

On Sundays, families in Malta would take their Roast and Baked Potatoes to be cooked at the local bakery. Bakeries would operate entirely on wood fuel - often old doors and Windows that would have been painted....and no lead free paint at that time! Nevertheless, the food never tasted as good as it did cooked that way.

6 large baking potatoes(skin on or off as preferred)
Olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
Freshly ground pepper
Sprig of fresh rosemary
1 large onion
2 cloves garlic

Preheat your oven to 475 degrees F
Chop potatoes into quarters.
Cut onions and garlic and put into a large ovenproof dish
Add the potatoes and spices
Add about 2 cups of water or until the water reaches half way up the potatoes.
Drizzle the oil over the potatoes - about 2-3 tablespoons will do
Sprinkle your spice mixture generously over the potatoes, making sure each side is generously covered in the mix.
Place on bottom rack of oven and bake for one hour or until done (turning over or stirring half way through
The potatoes will be a mixture of crispy and soft - delicious!

Stuffed Pork Loin

Easy to make and delicious to eat! Thanks to my MOM for this great recipe!

1 pork loin or half, if too large
1 apple chopped finely
6 fresh sage leaves chopped finely
3 or 4 sun dried tomatoes chopped
2 or 3 fresh garlic cloves chopped finely
1 tbsp mango chutney, salt and pepper.

Slit loin in half lengthwise, then slit again on either side of cut to extract a flap on each side. Beat gently with a meat hammer to flatten.

Mix all other ingredients together, spread over meat

Roll the meat and tie tightly with string.

Put in oven proof dish previously sprayed with oil. Drizzle a little oil over meat. Add salt and pepper as necessary.

Bake in a pre-heated oven at 375F. till an inserted thermometer registers an inner temperature of 170F. Take out of oven and cover with foil and let it rest at least 15-20 minutes. Slice and serve with desired sides.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Time for some biscotti!

These classic twice baked cookies can be made in a variety of ways - you can use pecans or walnuts instead of the almonds, you can add dried apricots, cherries or blueberries....anything is possible! The whole-wheat flour in this case gives them an extra crunch.
They can also be drizzled with chocolate for extra sweetness.

This recipe is a lower fat alternative - there are only 79 calories per 3 cookies! part of my lose weight but eat well project!

3/4 cup wholewheat flour
3/4 cup plain flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
2 eggs (beaten)
1/4 cup low fat milk (or soy milk)
2 1/2 tbs canola oil
2 tbs honey
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 cup coarsely chopped almonds.

Pre heat oven to 350F
Combine The flours, sugar and baking powder.
Add the eggs, milk, canola oil, honey and almond extract and mix well
Add the almonds.
Mix until the dough is well blended
(I use my hands here-easier and more fun!)
Put the dough on a long sheet of plastic wrap and shape into a flat log about 12" long, 3" wide and 1" thick. You will need the plastic cos the dough is rather sticky.
Lift the wrap and transfer the dough to a non stick baking sheet.
Bake for about 20-30 mins until lightly browned.
Remove from the oven, put onto another baking sheet or a cutting board and leave for a few minutes to cool slightly.
Cut crosswise on the diagonal using a serrated knife and cut slices of about 1/2" thick.
Put the slices back on the baking dish, cut side down and bake for another 15-20 mins or until crisp.
When cool, you can dust with powdered sugar (or not!)
They keep well in an airtight container and are delicious with a cup of coffee!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Easy Pizza Dough

Pizza is so much better if you make the dough yourself...and it really is easy!

3lb 6oz/1.5kg strong white flour 
½ tbsp salt 
½ tbsp sugar 
1½oz/45g fresh yeast (or 2 sachets of easy-blend yeast) 
1 tbsp olive oil 
1¼ pints/750ml water
    • Mix the flour, salt and sugar.
    • Blend the fresh yeast with a little of the water and stir into the flour along with the olive oil and the rest of the water (if using easy-blend yeast, just stir it into the flour).
    • Mix to a dough and knead for five minutes (or 45 seconds in a tabletop mixer). It should have a soft putty-like texture, so add more flour or water if necessary.
    • Flour a bowl and put in the dough. Cover with clingfilm and leave to rise for about an hour and a half until it has doubled in size.
    • Punch the dough down and shape it straightaway or repeat the rising and punching down every hour until you are ready.
    • To shape the dough, take a fist-sized ball and, using both hands, palms facing up, stretch it over your fingertips. Use your thumbs to tuck the edges underneath, then twist them together to make a tight ball. Pop the balls (smooth side up) on to a floured tray and cover with a floured tea towel. Leave to rise for at least an hour, and up to three, before shaping it into pizza.
    • Any leftover pizza balls can be kneaded together and shaped into a loaf. Lay on a floured baking sheet and leave it to rise for an hour or until doubled in size. Bake in a preheated oven (400F/200C/gas mark 6) for 2040 minutes (depending on size), until golden and sounding hollow when tapped on the bottom. Cool on a rack.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Coconut Curry Shrimp

Todays Guest Blogger is Miranda from Mangoes and Chutney:
"Mangoes and Chutney
Fulfills the need of the home chef or wanna be foodie to explore different cuisines and find something new for dinner. Recreating Caribbean recipe memories from the past and creating new memories into the future."

Her recipes are all from the islands so take a look at this great one in her own words!

You can find curry dishes on just about any island. Usually it will be with chicken or goat or even duck, but I felt like doing shrimp today. Sure this makes it more of a Thai dish the way I did it, but it's my blog so I can do whatever I want right? I Just want to make good food and believe me, this is good!!

I love curry and it goes well with so many different meats. There are different types of curry including: red, green and yellow. I typically use yellow curry powder, the brand I use is pretty mild and I usually just add some spice like crushed red pepper for a little kick. One more note about this dish, as you can see in my photos, I left the tails on the shrimp - purely for presentation purposes. Shrimp simply look better with the tales on! But, eating them can be a pain in the you know what if you choose to leave the tails on. Remove the tails before cooking because you are going to want to jump face first into this dish, and having the tails on is only going to hold you back.

This sauce is so easy to make and it takes only about 20 minutes start to finish. Remember, the longer you cook it, the more it reduces and thickens so keep an eye on it. It will also thicken if you do not eat it right away, but the easy fix for both of these scenarios is to add more coconut milk and then adjust the seasonings as necessary.

Coconut Curry Shrimp

1 T olive oil
2 T onion, minced
1/2 cup bell peppers, diced
1 garlic clove
1 1/4 cup coconut milk
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cumin
2 T sugar
1 T yellow curry powder
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1 pound shrimp
crushed peanuts

Saute onion, peppers and garlic in olive oil until softened. Add coconut milk to pan and bring to a simmer.

Add remaining ingredients, except for shrimp and let simmer 10 minutes. When sauce has thickened, add shrimp and cook an additional 5 minutes until shrimp are pink and cooked through. Serve over rice or noodles and top with crushed peanuts.
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All the recipes here have either been sent to me, adapted by me or found on the web. If I know the source I always give credit to the author/website. If you know of a source I may have missed please let me know.