Thursday, September 27, 2007

Grilled polenta and roasted vegetables


(halve this if you want to make enough for fewer people)
* 2 cups of polenta
* 8 cups of water with vegetable or chicken stock
* salt and pepper to taste
* two capsicums
* a bunch of mushrooms
* two tomatoes
* any other vegetables you want on top
* olive oil


1. Line a non-shallow baking tray with grease proof paper for later. Chop the vegetables up for roasting*. Bring the water, stock, salt, and pepper to the boil.
2. Slowly add the polenta, constantly stirring. The mixture should start to thicken up pretty quickly.
3. Turn it right down and cook for about twenty minutes (or until you get sick of it), stirring all the time if you can. This'll stick to the bottom the first chance you give it.
4. Tip the polenta mix into the prepared tray and smooth it out. It'll set pretty quick.
5. Put the polenta in the oven/under the grill for a while, until it cooks through and starts to toast up.
6. Take the polenta out of the oven when it's getting just about yummy.
(6a. Slice the tomato thinly. Cut the mushrooms into chunks. Etc.)
7. Cover the top of the polenta with slisced tomato. Chuck the other vegetables on top. If there's oil from the capsicum, tip some over the vegetables and polenta.
8. Put it in the oven for a bit longer, until the tips of the vegetables are just starting to burn.

Hopefully yummy.

* Roast capsicum is nyummy with this. Roast with a bit of oil until not quite done, let cool, then take the skin off. Chop it up into strips. It'll get roasted a bit more later on in the recipe.

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Moroccan stew


* a splash of olive oil
* chopped up onion(s)
* diced celery
* chopped up capsicum(s)
* heaps of chopped up garlic
* vegetable stock (3 cups, if you're counting)
* cubed potatoes (depending on how big you want this, maybe 3 or 4 big ones?)
* 1 can diced or crushed tomatoes
* 1 or 2 cans of chickpeas
* a squeeze of lemon or lime juice (a small lime, or half a lemon)
* 2 tsp grated/ground ginger
* 1 tsp ground cumin
* 1 tsp curry powder
* 1 tsp ground coriander
* 1 tsp ground cayenne pepper
* 1/2 tsp salt
* 1/2 tsp black pepper

1. Chop up all the bits and pieces, drain the chickpeas, juice the lemon/lime.
2. Cook onions, garlic, celery, and capcisum, in the olive oil until everything starts to soften.
3. Add the spices and cook for a bit longer. Add some water if necessary.
4. Add anything you haven't put in yet, and bring to the boil.
5. Stir frequently to avoid burning.
6. Let simmer on a lowish heat until everything is cooked and tasty. The juice should thicken and the vegetables should soften, and it should smell like the tastiest thing in the world.
7. Serve with rice or couscous when you get sick of waiting.

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Wednesday, September 05, 2007

cupcakes and lime icing


2 1/4 cups self raising flour
1 1/3 cups sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder (optional)
1/2 cup butter (I use nuttelex)
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs

1. beat butter/nuttelex and sugar for 30 seconds or until it's well combined and a bit fluffy.
2. add the eggs, milk, and vanilla and beat until combined.
3. add the flour (and baking powder if you want) and gently mix it in - either use a wooden spoon, or mix with electric beaters turned off until the flour is mixed in enough that it won't create a dustcloud.
4. don't mix for so long that you beat all the air out of the mixture.
5. line a muffin tray with patty pan cases, and gloop the mixture into the patty pan cases (half full or two thirds full, depending on how big you want the muffins).
6. cook in a moderate oven for as long as they take to cook (a skewer should come out clean when they're done).
7. let them cool down and then ice them.

lime icing:

icing sugar
a small lime

1. put more icing sugar than you think you need in a smallish bowl (it's easier to use the icing if there's a smaller surface area on top for the liquid to evaporate).
2. cut a lime in half and squeeze some lime juice (less than you think you'll need) into the icing sugar.
3. mix the icing sugar and the juice.
4. if the mixture is too runny, add more icing sugar.
5. if the mixture is too dry, add water or more lime, depending on how limey you want the icing.
6. fiddle with the proportions until you get icing that's firm but with some amount of give in it - if it's too dry, the icing won't smooth out and set properly and they'll look ugly.
7. use a knife to ice the cupcakes once they've cooled.

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Meatloaf, just like on tv

Surprisingly ok:

quantities are approximate:
* 1 cup of tomato sauce
* 2 tablespoons of barbeque sauce
* 1 tablespoons of sugar
* 0.5kg/1kg of beef mince
* 6 tablespoons of plain flour or breadcrumbs or both
* some salt
* some "onion powder"
* some "garlic powder"
* some ground black pepper

1. tomato sauce, barbeque sauce, and sugar in a small saucepan over moderate high heat, stirring until it starts to bubble.
2. mix most of the tomato sauce goo (leave about two tablespoons) and beef mince in a bowl.
3. add the rest of the ingredients and mix it all up good and proper.
4. dump it into a loaf tin/whatever you can find to cook it in, cover it in cooking foil, and put it into a hot (200 degrees) oven for half an hour.
5. take it out after half an hour and discard the foil - if it's particularly fatty, drain the fat.
6. cut it into about eight slices/chunks, pour the remaining tomato sauce goo into the cracks and over the top of the meatloaf.
7. cook uncovered for another half an hour or until it's cooked.
8. serve with vegetables, because otherwise this is a heart attack waiting to happen.

I reckon it'd be awesome with chili or paprika or, y'know, any kind of taste. Also maybe some small bits of carrots and capsicum and mushroom and stuff.

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