Welcome to My Kitchen

My personal blog and an account of my adventures in the kitchen. I am a stay at home mum of my two youngest kids, both teenagers. I have four adult children and four grandchildren with one on the way. We live in country NSW, Australia and we love our country life.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Kick Arse Slow Cooker Curried Sausages

I have been searching for a decent "made from scratch" recipe for the old fashioned family dish, Curried Sausages, for years, as opposed to the recipe bases that can be bought in the supermarket.  My mother used to make it with curry powder and *gag* put sultanas and apples in it!  And she wondered why I never liked "curry".  I finally decided to make up my own using curry paste.  For us, it was perfect.

8 good quality sausages of medium thickness (Macs Meats, Junee have the best!)
1/4 cup plain flour
freshly ground black pepper
cooking spray or olive oil
2 carrots, one diced, one cut into rings
2 large potatoes (or 4 small) chopped into chunks
2 onions, chopped
2 sticks celery, chopped
4 tbs Massaman curry paste
3/4 cup beef stock
green beans, about 100g or more to taste

Put the flour into a plastic bag, season with the pepper and add the sausages and coat with the flour.
Spray pan, or slow cooker insert if suitable, with cooking spray.  If the sausages are very lean (like our wonderful Junee sausages) you may need some olive oil.  Fry in batches till browned, set aside.
Add the vegetables and fry until slightly browned.  Add the curry paste and mix into the vegies and fry until fragrant.

Add the sausages then pour over the stock and mix it in.  Put slow cooker insert into base or add mixture to slow cooker.  I cooked it on low for just five hours and it was enough, you will know your own cooker.  About half way through cut up beans into pieces and add to the cooker.

Serves 4 as a complete meal.
If you cooked this on the stovetop it would only take around 40 minutes until the vegies were fork tender.
You could leave out the potatoes and serve it with rice, but the potatoes add heartiness to the dish and serve to thicken the sauce up a bit.
I didn't photograph the finished dish, will do so next time.

Crab Cakes

I would have tizzied them up for the photo but this was part of dinner last night and I had a hungry family waiting!  Panko crumbs are Japanese breadcrumbs which can be found in most supermarkets in the Asian food section.
Approximately 240g (8 oz) drained crabmeat
(I used fresh meat from a 170g tub and made up the difference with chopped cooked prawns)
3 spring onions, finely sliced
3 kaffir lime leaves shredded, or zest of one lime
1 fresh red chilli, finely chopped, or 1/2 tsp dried crushed chilli
1 tbs lime juice
1 tbs fish sauce
1 tbs oyster sauce
2 eggs (if small one more may be needed for crumbing)
2 tsp mayonnaise
1 + 3/4 cups Panko breadcrumbs
1/2 tsp garlic salt or 1/4 tsp salt and some garlic powder
1 cup oil for frying

Put crabmeat (and prawns if using), kaffir lime leaves, chilli, fish sauce, oyster sauce, 1 egg, mayonnaise and 3/4 cup panko into a food processor.  Process to combine.
Form into cakes, adding more mayo or panko as needed to keep cakes together, about 2 to 3 inches in diameter.
Mix 3/4 cup panko crumbs with the garlic seasoning, in another bowl mix the eggs.
Dip the cakes first into the egg then the breadcrumbs.

Heat the oil in a frying pan or wok until a bit of panko sizzles.
Lower the crab cakes into the oil and cook for about 2 minutes each side until golden and crispy, cooking in batches if necessary depending on the size of the pan.
Drain and serve with sweet chilli sauce and mayo.
Serves 6 as an appetiser.


Monday, July 23, 2012

Aussie Meat Pies

The humble meat pie is an Aussie icon.  Just the right size to hold in one hand at the footy, a quick and easy lunch on the run from the bakery or even an easy dinner served with mash and veg.  I decided to try a healthier version.
This meat mixture makes enough for six smallish sized pies, about the same as you'd get in a bakery or pie shop.  If you're serving less you can freeze the rest of the meat for later.

500g gravy beef, diced into small pieces
1/4 cup plain flour
black pepper
3 cloves garlic, chopped finely (I used four!)
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 stick celery, diced
(I added some diced mushrooms that I had leftover)
beef stock (about 3/4 cup for slow cooker, 1 cup for stovetop)
1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
2 tbs tomato paste
2 tsp dried mixed herbs
More freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 sheets frozen reduced fat puff pastry
2 sheets reduced fat shortcrust pastry
olive oil cooking spray
1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 200C (390F) or 180C and 370F fan forced.
Put flour and freshly ground black pepper into bag and add diced beef, shake to coat.

Spray pan with cooking oil and saute vegies and garlic for a few minutes until soft.  Remove, spray pan again with cooking spray and heat, add beef in batches and brown.

Add vegies back into pan and add the tomato paste, stirring it into the meat and vegies to cook off the rawness.  Add stock, sauce and herbs.  Cover and simmer on stove for about 2 hours or until meat is very tender.  I cooked mine on low for about eight hours in my slow cooker.  It doesn't matter if the meat starts to break down and go mushy, that's what you want in a proper meat pie.
I used disposable foil pie tins but any little dish with sides could be used.
Put dish upside down on shortcrust pastry and cut around to make the bottoms.
Lightly spray some cooking spray into the tins then line with the pastry.
Put some baking paper on top of the pastry and fill with baking beads.  I use split peas and return them to the jar to use again, you can use rice or lentils or specially made ceramic beads if you want to get fancy (but it is an Aussie meat pie after all!)  Blind bake in a hot oven (about 200C) for ten minutes, remove the beads and paper and bake for another five minutes or so.  Fill pie shells with meat mixture that has been cooled slightly.  Cut rounds out of the puff pastry, if you're careful you can get three discs from each sheet of pastry but this depends, of course, on how big your pie tins are.  Crimp the pastry down onto the bottom shell, cut a little hole in the top with the tip of a sharp knife and brush with beaten egg.

Bake in a hot oven, about 200C for twenty minutes but watch them carefully.  I left the kitchen and got sidetracked and caught the pies just before the tops burned too much to be palatable!
We had them with oven fries and salad.

Yesterday I made pies with the rest of the meat and added chopped fried bacon and some grated light cheddar cheese onto the top of the meat and a little on the top pastry.  I froze one and Phill thawed it out and heated it up in a slow oven for lunch and said it was very good.
Of course they must be served with tomato sauce (Ketchup).

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Pea and Ham Soup

2 onions, sliced
300g split peas
1 ham hock
10 cups water
2 carrots, diced
1 sprig thyme
1 bay leaf
1 cup diced celery
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 tbs lemon juice

Put onions, thyme, bay leaf, peas, pepper and ham hock into saucepan with water, bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for an hour.
Add carrots and celery and simmer for a further hour.  Remove thyme and bay leaf.  Take out the ham hock and remove the meat, chop and return to the pan.
Add lemon juice.

Serves 4.

This is such an easy and simple soup to make.  If I'm busy I often just put the whole lot in first go and just cook it for a couple of hours.  Also if it's left to sit overnight or for a few hours it tends to thicken up.  The flavour is wonderful with no stock needed, it all comes from the hock and the vegies.  It freezes beautifully.