Guest post: Empanada’s

Linny’s blog was one of the first one’s I began to follow once I had started blogging.  She’s been through the whole hog with me, my first blogger blog and now my self hosted site.  She has been a helping hand, a fantastic person to ask questions, hosts awesome blog swaps and writes amazingly witty and hilarious posts.

Hi everyone! I’m Lin, from Linny’s Vault & I’m here to share one of my favorite recipes with you while Clare’s out & about frolicking in the awesome Hawaii sun. Lucky duck!

Some of you may or may not have heard of Empanadas before. If you haven’t, all I’ve got to say is, you’ve really been missing out! When I was a kid my grandma would make these for us as a dessert treat or dinner entree, as they can basically be filled with anything your little heart desires (fruit, veggies, ground beef & potatoes). I once tried explaining what Empanadas were to my husband and he said “oh, so they’re like large oven raviolis,” and yeah, I suppose they are haha.

Since I’m a big fan of pretty much anything that’s sweet, I decided to make some delicious Pineapple Apricot Empanadas a few nights ago, which lucky for you guys is what I’m sharing with you today. Don’t worry, they’re super easy…pretty much had to be in order for me not to mess it up.

Ingredients:

Dough

  • 4 3/4 cup Flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tbsp baking powder

Filling

  • 2 cans crushed pineapple
  • 1/2 cup apricot preserve
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
Directions:
  • Combine all dough ingredients, minus flour, in a large bowl.
  • Gradually add flour to the ingredients in the large bowl, folding dough into itself. Dough should be stiff, hold its shape & not be sticky. If it is sticky, add a tiny bit more flour.
  • Lightly sprinkle some flour on flat surface and place dough on it. Roll dough back and forth until it rolls into about a 4 inch thick burrito shape (sprinkle flour on flat surface if it begins to stick).
  • Divide the dough into 2 inch sections using a knife (I used my hand) and set pieces aside on your floured surface.
  • Grab one of your 2 inch dough sections, place it on floured surface and using a rolling pin, flatten it out to resemble a tortilla.
  • Combine all of the filling ingredients into a medium bowl.
  • Scoop about 2 spoonfuls of filling onto one side of the flattened dough, avoiding the edges, and fold the sections onto each other
  • Secure the edges by gently pressing them together with a fork.
  • Place the Empanada on a lightly greased cookie sheet and repeat above instructions on remaining dough pieces.
  • Before placing them in the oven, mix 1 egg in a small bowl and brush egg onto the tops of the Empanadas for a golden look. Bake at 350ºF for 18-20 minutes.

Seems like a ton of steps to follow but I promise it’s not as difficult as it seems & they’re totally worth it. If you’re not a Pineapple & Apricot fan then feel free to change up the filling. Like I said before, they’re pretty much great with anything in them.

Hope you all enjoy this sweet little piece of my Mexican heritage!

Have you ever heard of Empanada before? Love them?  Do you eat much Mexican?

Haloumi Rosti with Poached Egg

This was whipped up on a whim, I actually found inspiration on Hungry Delights.

A quick, simple, but absolutely delicious breakfast fit for any two starving people who had just come home from a hike and needed some really good food.

I had an absolutely delicious rosti at Annie’s Provedore, with haloumi in it and decided to replicate it.

So in a bowl I grated 2 potatoes, and squeezed all the juice out (get rid of the juice), then to the dry potatoes I added some flour, an egg, chopped up haloumi and some peas. It just needs to be a reasonably thick batter.

I put large spoonfuls of the batter into a fry pan with a decent slosh of oil (pre heated, you want to the batter to sizzle when you put it in).

On top I just added a poached egg and one and a half slices of bacon (was cooking for two and only had 3 bits of bacon left).

What’s your favourite thing for brunch/breakfast? Which way is your favourite way to have eggs?

Guest Post: Mint, Pea, Chicken and Broccolini Risotto

While I’m enjoying my holiday in Hawaii, I’ve asked a few great friends to guest post for me.

Shannon and I have known each other since 2009, we meet on the ski fields at Falls Creek, and have continued our friendships throughout the years, and with the rise of social media our friendship has been made so easy.  I was also honoured to be asked to be published in a digital magazine that she is working on.

I was so pleased when Clare approached me to guest blog for her while she was away in Hawaii.  I thought to myself, “what a marvelous chance to cook something I haven’t tried, and normally wouldn’t bother trying to cook”.  My approach to cooking (and life in general) can sometimes be a little rushed leading me to ignore recipes. My boyfriend and I will more often than not, have huge stir-fries consisting of fresh veggies and some kind of protein source, at least a few times a week.  When planning my post on the Life of Clare, I choose to cook a Mint, Pea and Broccolini Risotto.  A meal that most say is relatively simple, but still requiring attention and tender loving care. 

Lately I have been trying to get to the farmers market every Saturday or Sunday to buy the weeks worth of fruit and vegies.  I love perusing the stalls to find fresh, seasonal produce.  At the Eveleigh Market this week, one stallholder recommended his broccolini as being particularly fresh and crunchy.  Another recommended their Egyptian mint as having a sweet and subtle taste.  With these ingredients as my inspiration, I was ready to cook! 

I found a Jamie Oliver recipe for asparagus, mint and lemon risotto, and followed the steps, substituting the asparagus and celery with broccolini and peas.  I added chicken into the mix at the last minute, after spying it in the fridge. 

The secret to this recipe is continuous stirring, making sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan, constantly monitoring the rice.  The texture of the rice can make or break this meal, so it’s important that it isn’t cooked too much or too little.  This recipe makes enough food for eight people, so be sure to get the family, or some friends together for this one!

The recipe has two stages, so I will split the ingredients into two groups, one for each stage in the recipe.

First half Ingredients:

– 1 Litre of vegetable/chicken stock

– 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

– 1 tablespoon butter

– 1 large onion

– 1 ½ medium chicken breast (diced into bite sized portions)

– 3 cloves garlic

– 500g risotto rice

– 250ml dry white wine (I used 350ml of pinot grigio as I had some to use up!)

Second half ingredients:

– Bunch of broccolini

– 1 cup of peas

– 700ml vegetable/chicken stock

– 1-2 handfuls of freshly grated parmesan cheese

– Bunch of mint, finely chopped (I used Egyptian mint, and promptly forgot to finely chop it! I definitely recommend that you do not miss this step)

– Zest and juice of two lemons

– Sea salt and black pepper (According to my tastes, it needed a bunch of pepper, but was salty enough from the stock) 

– Extra virgin olive oil

Method:

– Using the stage one ingredients, bring your stock to simmer in a saucepan.  Add the butter, olive oil, onion, chicken and garlic to a separate saucepan and cook for around 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the onion is soft.  Next, add the rice to the saucepan and turn up the heat slightly.  Keep stirring your ingredients. 

– Pour your dry white into the pan, stirring until completely absorbed.

– Add the hot stock to the rice mixture, ladle by ladle.  It’s important to let the stock fully absorb before adding the next lade full.   Jamie recommends that this process should take around 14-15 minutes, after which you should put the saucepanful to the side

– Now, using the second stage ingredients, pour half of your stock and the entire risotto base into a large saucepan.  Now add the broccolini and peas to the mix.  Stir thoroughly.  Add the rest of the stock ladle, by ladle, waiting for it to completely absorb before adding more. 

– Remove your pan from the heat; mix in the butter, parmesan, lemon juice and zest.  Season with sea salt and pepper if required. Let the risotto rest with the lid on for a minute or two.

Serve with extra parmesan, lemon zest and a drizzle of olive oil!

If you’re after a fresh tasting, indulgent meal, this risotto ticks all of the boxes.  The mint brings an extra little something to the creaminess of the rice.  Perfect for a Sunday evening meal at home.

Have you guys ever made risotto?  What’s your favourite flavoured risotto?

Hit the road… tarmac?

So right now we’ll be on the place between Sydney and Honolulu (clearly this is scheduled and I’m not uploading it on the plane.  However I do hope that this can happen soon).  First we’ll have gotten a plane from Melbourne to Sydney.

So in this case you’ll have to forgive me if I’m pretty quiet on all forms of blogging, social media etc over the next 2 weeks.  But don’t forget that there are going to be smoe fantastic guest posts for you to read while I’m gone.

We’re being a little bit fancy and flying QANTAS, which means all our meals are provided.

I really don’t think plane food is too bad, I mean it’s definitely getting better.  For me it’s the amount.

I’m the kind of girl who needs to eat, nearly constantly throughout the day, and obviously we’re not getting fed constantly.  I’m going to have to take a few snacks.

Now I had a bit of a chat with J about this while we were on our hike recently and mentioned that I thought it would be so cool to go gourmet and have a plane picnic just like in this post.

He thought it’d be better to go with something simple, some chips, some lollies etc.

What would you choose to eat as your extra snacks on the plane?  DO you and your travelling buddy agree on your purchases?

We need to eat…

That’s right, we need to eat, even if we have to carry the food for 5 days.

In 2006 I started my degree in outdoor education, most people who meet me now can’t believe that I could possibly enjoy getting out there and getting dirty. I love to rock climb, and bush walk, they’re my 2 favourite outdoor activities.

So for the school holidays (and my birthday) we decided to go for a hike along the Great Ocean Walk. It’s a walk that was created along the Great Ocean Road about 7 years ago.  The views were stunning!

We had to carry all of our food, tent, clothes, sleeping mats, cook stove etc for the whole time, so you want your pack to be light.

For our wedding one of the gifts we got was a food dehydrator, this makes making our packs light easier.

Breakfast consisted of either muesli with milk powder or dehydrated muesli, except on my birthday morning where J carried in two fresh eggs and some tomatoes and cooked me fried eggs and tomatoes! Delicious.

Lunch was always various combinations of humus, fresh beetroot, spinach, cherry tomatoes, tuna slices, and cheese on garlic and spirulina biscuits.  We also carried cup-a-soups and hard boiled eggs for extra snacks and protein.

For dinner we had different meals every day.  The first night was a tuna casserole (using packet Alfredo noodles, hard boiled eggs, dehydrated peas and chilli tuna).

All the further meals were dehydrated at home and we rehydrated them throughout the day while hiking in 500ml water tight containers.  This meant that we only had to heat the meal at the end of the day.

We had a rehydrated risotto, which I had cooked the week before and it had spent a night in the food dehydrator.  It rehydrated well but burnt when we were heating in and the rice broke up a lot.

Our third meal was Dahl, rehydrated.  We cooked and dehydrated the dahl and the rice separately.  But then rehydrated them seperatly and heated them up together.  The Dahl was spicier than it had been, as flavours tend to get enhanced when the water is taken out.

My birthday dinner, the last night on the hike, was by far the best. Spaghetti bolagnese, dehydrated at home and rehydrated throughout the day again.  It was delicious! We also took along some packet Parmesan cheese.

We also had snacks, 100gm of scroggin (trial mix), and a muesli bar for each day.

The food was delicious but I was definitely ready for something wonderfully greasy, so we stopped for Macca’s on the way home!

If you’d like to read about the adventure, the ins and outs of the Great Ocean Walk, head over to Our Hiking Blog and check out the post I wrote over there.  Some beautiful photos of the amazing views!

Have you ever been hiking? Where did you go? What food did you take?

Annie’s Provedore

With J and I being apart for a few days, and having no weekends together, we jumped at the chance when we had a Sunday together to go out for brunch!

Not too long before I’d been to Annie’s Provedore for coffee and knew that we had to go back for brunch!

This place is amazing! You walk in and are inundated with amazing visuals and fantastic smells.

We sat down at a communal table and looked through the menu, so many amazing options!  J chose a breakfast panini.

I decided on a zucchini and haloumi rosti with poached eggs.  I also had my usual, a pot of chai tea, with milk and honey on the side.

Breakfast was delicious!

Have you had a delicious breakfast out recently?  What’s your favourite thing to have for brunch?  

Lime Meringue Pie

Everyone I know, knows that I love to cook, specifically bake.

So when Mum and Dad decided to have a dinner party on Saturday night (to watch the footy) they asked me to bring dessert.

And as you know I’m going a little lime crazy, so the first thing I could think of was a lime meringue pie.

First well make the pastry…

Ingredients:

  • 1 and 1/2 cups of plain flour
  • 1 table spoon of caster sugar
  • 125 g butter
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon of cold water

Method:

  • Combine sugar and flour, rub in butter until crumbly.
  • Beat egg yolk and water together, add to flour mixture and mix into a firm dough.
  • Refrigerate for 1 hour (don’t do it for much longer than this, I did and it was crazy hard to roll out!)
  • Preheat oven to 220o.
  • On lightly floured surface, roll out dough to fit into 23 cm pie tin.
  • Pierce pastry with fork and blind bake for 15 mins or until cooked through and golden brown.

To make the filling and meringue:

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 1/3 cup corn flour
  • 1 cup water
  • grated rind of 2 limes
  • 1/2 cup of lime juice
  • 3 eggs separated
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar, extra

Method:

  • Combine 1/2 cup sugar with corn flour in a saucepan, stir in water, juice and rind.
  • Cook stirring often, over moderately low heat until thickened and bubbly (it will become slightly transparent. Reduce heat and simmer for 2-3 mins. Remove from heat.
  • Beat egg yolks in a bowl.  Stir  in a little of the hot filling, then return all to the pan.  Cook, stirring, for another 2-3 mins, stir in butter, then pour into pastry case.
  • To make meringue – Beat egg whites (from the separated eggs) until stiff.  Gradually add extra sugar, beating constantly until meringue forms stiff, glossy peaks.
  • Swirl meringue to completely cover filling.
  • Bake at 220o for 10 mins until topping is golden brown.

I seriously have only 1 photo of this delicious pie!  I definitely recommend it!  It’s not as tricky as it seems and it’s such a great feeling when you get to cut a slice!

What’s your favourite dessert?

Baking Crazy

On Saturday I went baking crazy!  I was inspired by an empty house, school holidays and the sun!

I had been give a recipe for lime slice (a new one I’d never made before) from my next door neighbour, that I’d been meaning to make for ages.

I was inspired to make lime curd filled doughnuts from a tweet that I’d seen.

And my mum and dad asked if I could make dessert to bring around, of course I had to make something with lime.

Today I’m sharing the slice, and the others will come over the next few days.

This slice has been perfect for afternoon and morning snacks with a cuppa.  It’s pretty sweet and I can only handle one piece but J has been eating 2.

Ingredients:

  • unsalted butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons plain flour
  • pure icing sugar
  • 75 g plain flour
  • 2 tablespoons castor sugar
  • 65 g cold butter, roughly chopped

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 160o.  Butter 18cm square tin.
  • To make the base of the slice, mix 75g plain flour and 2 tablespoons of castor sugar in food processor quickly and then add the 65g of cold butter, process until mixture starts to ball up (I did this by hand, just rubbing the butter into the sugar and flour, it worked fine).  Press dough into tray. bake for 20mins until golden.
  • When base is nearly cooked, whisk eggs and sugar until well combined, but not thick.
  • Stir in lemon juice, then sift in flour and whisk gently to combine.
  • Remove base from oven and reset temperature to 150o .
  • Pour lemon mixture over base and bake for about 35mins until top is golden and feels a little springy.
  • Cool completely before cutting into slices.
  • serve with a sprinkle of icing sugar.

What’s your favourite afternoon snack?  Would you have tea of coffee with it?

Get To Know Me – Meal Post

It’s no secret that I love food! I also love when I can link up with other blogs that I love! So when I found this I just couldn’t resist!

BREAKFAST

1. Favorite cereal as a child?

I was always a toast kid, I still am, I find cereal boring! But when we went on holidays we got to have sugary cereal… Fruit Loops, Crunchy Nut Corn Flakes, Nutri Grain! Sogood

2. Coffee or Tea?

With milk or without?Tea, a dash of milk and no sugar!

source

3. The one food you eat most often at breakfast?

Eggs! I love eggs every way! Mostly just fried, with bacon in an English muffin! The best breakfast!

LUNCH

1. Sandwiches are generally considered a “lunch food.” If you had to choose between a grilled cheese and a peanut butter and jelly, which would you pick?

There is no competition! Cheese toasty all the way!

2. You can only put four ingredients in your salad (not including greens); what do you throw in the mix?

Additionally, which greens and dressing do you pick?Oh this is tough! When making a salad I love adding heaps of textures, and colours! I think roasted beetroot, croutons, feta and pine nuts!

3. One food you can’t live without at lunch?

I’m not really a lunch fan! I’d rather breakfast for lunch (brunch) which I will be enjoying a lot of over the holidays! Or I’ll eat left overs!

source

DINNER

1. It’s the end of the day. You’re tired, hungry, and your fridge is empty. If a fast food (from a chain) is your only option, where do you go and what do you order?

I’m actually glad to say that there is no chain food stores in our town! We have HEAPS of amazing fast food though.  I think it’d have to be pizza, I love the standard vego pizza, with extra mushrooms!

2. TV/computer on or off while you’re eating?

Recently TV in Australia has been so bad that we rarely turn the TV on.  But we might be watching a tv serious on the computer and I’ll more often than not be catching up on some blog reading!

3. The one food you eat most often at dinner?

We tend to mix it up a lot, I can’t think of something we eat more than anything else.

DESSERT

1. Choose between these two American desserts: cheesecake or apple pie?

Apple pie! Homemade?

source

2. Choose between these two foreign desserts: tiramisu (Italy) or flan (Spain)?

I don’t really know what a flan is, so tiramisu it is!

3. Ice cream: cone or cup?

Cup, I don’t like eating the cone.

I’d love it you joined in!  Please link up if you do so I can see your answers.  What’s your favourite thing for either breakfast, lunch, dinner or dessert?

My baking disaster…

I love baking, I love cooking new things, and I love trying something that is a little tricky.

I’ve made macaron before, they turned out wonderfully!  So when I found Adriano Zumbo’s cookbook for $15 I couldn’t pass it up.  This guy is a pastry genius!

All weekend I had planned to make his chocolate macaron shells and was going to fill them with salted caramel.  As I’d seen something on twitter recently about how sick of pumpkin recipes people were.

His cookbook had held pride of place on my cookbook bookshelf for months, while I worked up the courage to cook something from it.

So I spend Sunday afternoon sifting the icing sugar, almond meal and cocoa to get the perfect texture, I separated the eggs and weighed the egg whites out exactly, and bought a sugar thermometer.

I was totally ready to go and then I’m not sure what happened…

My macaron turned out like flat little chewy biscuits.

They suck!  Seriously bad!  Not even good chocolate biscuits!

What have you baked or cooked that didn’t turn out the way you wanted?

Limes, limes and more limes.

With the lime curd I made last week I thought that I’d make some lime meringue cupcakes.

I love lime (lemon) meringue pie, and I love cupcakes, so thought it’d be a fantastic combination!

I just made a simple patty cakes, just like these ones here.  Once they had cooled down, I scooped out a teaspoon full from the top, a melon baller would be a good option.

Into that hole I put a teaspoon full of lime curd.  Finally to top off the 12 cupcakes, I made the meringue with 3 eggs whites, beaten to soft peaks and then I added a 1/3 cup of sugar and whisked until there were firm peaks.

I was going to try and be all fancy and pipe the meringue on to the top but in the end just went for the spoon.  I spread it on and then dabbed my spoon all over the meringue to create the little peaks.

If you had a brulee gun you could burn the meringue with that, but I just put it under the hot grill and nearly burnt them, but got them out just in time!

They were delicious, soft, fluffy cake, with the zesty lime curd in the middle and the sweet sticky meringue on top.

Sick of limes yet?  Not me?  Have you ever created an experiment that worked out perfectly? Any disasters?

Cajun Fish

When I have time I like to really think about dinner and cook something nice. So last Saturday I had the day, J was at work, I was catching up on my Pretty Little Lairs watching, and thought I’d peruse some cookbooks.

We don’t tend to keep a lot of protein in our house, so I wasn’t too sure what to do.

So I looked through the recipes, I didn’t get any bright ideas, so instead, mum and I went out for lunch and then I was inspired.  The lunch had the most amazing avocado salsa, served with corn cakes and corn chips.

So my mind started processing… avocado salsa, salsa, cajun with salsa, cajun crusted chicken, cajun crusted fish… we have fish!

So I made a cajun flavoured rub for the two pieces of fish we had left.  In a bowl I mixed together, some crushed garlic, paprika, mixed herbs, chilli flakes, and cayenne pepper.

For the side I roasted brussel sprouts, pumpkin, zucchini, and beetroot, with 3 rashers of bacon chopped up.  I blanched some asparagus and mixed all those veggies in with cooked couscous.

The salad was amazing with the fish (which I just pan fried).

I never did make the avocado salsa, but the dinner was delicious!

What do you cook it you have time?