Wednesday, March 9, 2016

GUEST POST: Becky's Lasagne



I was asked by my beautiful girls (finally) to be a guest on Bread n Sniff it.. yeah totally lying right now.. I soo asked if I could do this as; well I became child free for 1 magical night.. and of course what else are you going to do on a night without a 2 year old running a muck.. you make Lasagne!!!   (yeah cos you don’t try to have sex with your partner.. no that would be idiotic.. – I’m such a loser right now)

So I have been dreaming of a homemade proper actual Lasagne for weeks and this was the perfect time to do so. Look for me it's therapeutic, I love cooking, I trained and used to get paid to cook, so I’m not horrible at it, unlike my partner who once turned bacon into tar (not even lying that time it totally happened)

So my Lasagne is quite possibly my favourite meal and why I say my lasagne is due to the amount of cheese involved.. and not just cheese but a real b├ęchamel sauce with so much cheese you wonder if it will cause a heart attack with the first bite.

Right on with the show

Step one: Wine… you need a glass by your side at all times… ALL TIMES



Step two: Gather ingredients and prep.

Recipe:
Instant pasta sheets - amazing invention! I used 2 packets depends on brand, but if in doubt buy more so you have left over.. that’s way better then running out during the middle of this project.
1 tbsp oil
20-30g butter
1kg mince -  I use pork as partner gets reflux with beef) so whatever floats your boat on that one.
2 Carrots (finely chopped)
2 Red Onions (finely chopped)
1-2 tbsp Garlic - I love garlic so I used two
½ cup red wine  - due to the consumption of my white wine I completely forgot to add so yay for me! I still have an entire bottle of red wine at home to drink cook with
1 jar of pasta sauce - after emptied into mix, fill with water shake & use for moistening the meat – yeah I so just did say moist and meat in same sentence.. hahaha gross
2 tbsp Tomato sauce (Watties)
Sprinkling of mixed herbs, fresh or dry
Salt and pepper

Sauce
50g Butter
3-4 tbsp plain flour
As much milk as you need -  I think I used 1L Full cream – none of that skinny shit, you are seriously kidding yourself if you use that (this is a lot of sauce)

Step three:

  1. Once carrots and onions have been finely chopped, sweat them off in the pan for about 5 minutes (salt and pepper), this means not too hot to caramelise them, but hot enough they soften and absorb that beautiful butter and become translucent.
  2. After about 3 minutes, add the garlic. Remove from pan and put in container to wait for their next round.


  3. Add mince, (salt and pepper) brown and mostly cook off. When I say this; do not kill it again, just slowly and steady wins.
  4. Add your carrot, onion and garlic to the mince, stir through.
  5. “Add wine” this part I forgot, meh no biggy, but it will help with the depth of the meat sauce (such a food wanker right now) turn the heat up to full if not already. Don’t stir just hold fire. Wait about a minute then mix in.
  6. Add pasta sauce and tomato sauce, stir, turn heat on low and keep pouring small amounts of the pasta sauce water into the mix to keep moist. (giggle)

        7. This needs no MUST simmer for about 15 -20 minutes to allow all the yummy ingredients to               combine and turn into a delight.


Step four:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius
  2. The sauce, Gates of heaven opening sound “ahhhhhhhh” In a large saucepan add butter – low heat. As low as it gets.
  3. When melted, sprinkle the flour, 1 tablespoon at a time until a thick crumbly consistency
  4. IMPORTANT: do not add milk straight away or you will have that raw flour taste at the end and the whole sauce is ruined OK. okay.
  5. With your whisk, and yes just as important, keep whisking and moving the flour butter mixture for a couple of minutes.
  1. Now you can add the milk.. add about ½ cup at a time, and whisk, whisk, whisk peoples.Continue to add milk and whisk..
  2. Keep going..
  3. Almost there..
  4. Add salt and pepper – do not try to feed the cat and dog like I did then smash the salt and an empty beer bottle all over the tiles then have to get the Lux (South Island for Vacuum) out to remove all the broken glass from your workspace. On the upside… you didn’t drop your wine, so all good!
  5. Keep whisking..
  6. Ok so like 1L of milk later and you have a SMOOTH CREAMY consistency time to add the cheese..
  7. For this round I used pre grated Tasty cheese… about 500gm..
  8. Right turn the heat off but keep the pot on the stovetop.. if you have heat going you will burn the cheese, it doesn’t take much Trust me.. been there done that… so many times.. poor cheese.
  9. It will take a few minutes of stirring and then.. Taa Daa!!! You have the most amazing b├ęchamel cheesy sauce of all time.. ALL TIME!


Step drunk five:


  1. Let’s make lasagne!!!… start by adding a small amount of mince mixture on the base of the Family size casserole dish. Layer the instant pasta sheets evenly then(quick tip: even though the box says no pre-cooking required, I ALWAYS boil the jug and put a small amount of boiling water over the pasta, just to ensure it cooks all the way though)
  2. So add another layer of mince, this time a decent amount all over the pasta.Another layer of pasta (boiling water again) let it sit for a minute. Then the cheese sauce.. you want at least 1cm think at least so it ends up being like ½ your cheese sauce.
  3. Then another layer of pasta (boiling water) then mince, then pasta (don’t forget the boiling water)
  4. Finally add the rest of the cheese sauce.
  5. Just to top it off you want a sprinkling of cheese on top & into the oven! (do not cover)

(Quick tip: put a larger tray under the lasagne, not directly, and poor some water in this tray so 1. When the lasagne cooks it will drip and 2. when it does drip the cheese won’t burn in the oven causing a bit of smoke and not pleasant smell)

It will take approx. 30 minutes

Step six:

Remove from the oven and let it rest… let it rest! Step away from the lasagne…

If you cut when it’s hot you will not see any of the beautiful layers as it will turn into a sloppy mess..
Best way, let it cool cover and put into the fridge for the following night. If you must have it that day, a couple of hours in the fridge will suffice.

And congratulations guys you have made a delicious meal the whole family can and will enjoy.

Thanks for reading. Hope you enjoy. We certainly have.. breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Time to exercise .. Ha. Cos that’s going to happen.

Bex.
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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Goodbye for Now...

Hi Everyone,

You may have noticed that we have been absent from Bread and Sniff It for a while, so just want to keep you informed.

We don't want this process to feel like a chore and so am going to take a break. We may be back, we may not. Anyway hope you have enjoyed the recipes and memories we have shared and there are plenty on the website for you to enjoy.

Take care,

Mel and Zen
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Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Asian Style Salmon



I’ve always been a little afraid of cooking salmon, unlike my blog buddy who cooks it all the time.  Over cooking.  Under cooking.  Not doing it justice.  I’m not entirely sure but I’ve always thought salmon to be very “gourmet” and I’m no gourmet cook!


For this dish I went safe with my fail safe Asian sauce.  Standard flavours of the orient which go with everything.  It’s a dressing, it’s a dipping sauce, and it’s a marinade…if you don’t already use these flavours then get amongst it.  This sauce turns nothing into something and was deliciously decadent   with the salmon as a marinade and the remainder of the sauce added to a pan with water and reduced for the plate if you like.


ASIAN SAUCE


2 cloves garlic finely grated
Same amount of ginger grated
¼ cup rice wine vinegar
½ cup sesame oil
1 teaspoon soft brown sugar or palm sugar
½ teaspoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons water


 SHAKE and VOILA.  We make a big batch of this and keep it in the fridge.  It’s great for all salads especially if you add some toasted nuts and sesame seeds.  Add some seared beef, chicken or tofu and you have yourself a wonderful meal.


FOR ASIAN STYLE SALMON FILLETS


  1. Firstly par boil baby potatoes.  This will take around 12 minutes
  2. Add 1 teaspoon miso paste to marinade, mix well and pour into a flat dish
  3. Remove any bones if necessary and lay salmon skin side up into the dish
  4. Leave to marinade while you prepare sides.  In this instance we had kale, bok choy and smashed baby potatoes
  5. Pre heat oven to 180, drain and squish potatoes between your fingers till they open but not fall apart.  Place in baking dish, drizzle with olive oil and bake for 20 minutes.  They should come out crunchy but soft and fluffy on the inside
  6. Prepare veg by washing kale and cutting leaves from its stalks.  Cut bok choy lengthways leaving the ends and rinse away any dirt from the inside. 
  7. Heat a pan for salmon on a medium to high heat
  8. Remove salmon from the marinade and ensure skin has no marinade on it.  Place salmon into pan skin side down and cook until skin looks crispy and flesh of salmon is starting to turn a light pink.  We like our salmon only just cooked so flip it over after about 4-5 minutes then cook around 4 more minutes.  This is for a 250g fillet
  9. Meanwhile in a pan on medium to high heat layer kale then bok choy, add ¼ cup water and put a lid or plate over it and leave for 5 minutes.  No need to check or stir as its steaming


To add some acidity we dressed with Wasabi Yoghurt Mayo which is what it is: 1 teaspoon wasabi, 1 teaspoon mayo and ¼ cup yoghurt with a squeeze of fresh lime.  Delicious and again goes with everything! 

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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Quick Fix: Pikelets





Last week, the day before shopping day, Leo and I were starving but we had made our way through all the snack foods in the house. I needed to whip something up quickly when I remembered that we had cream in the fridge.

Pikelets, jam and cream are something you can prepare in less than ten minutes. It's great if you are about to rush out and need to bring a plate, or you have a hankering for something sweet. And a great activity that you can do with your kids.

This recipe is from the Edmonds cookbook, where all the great classic recipes come from.

Ingredients

1 cup plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup milk
Jam and cream for topping

Method:


  1. Sift dry ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Whisk together milk and egg.
  3. Pour into dry ingredients and mix well.
  4. Heat a fry pan to a medium heat.
  5. Add 1 tablespoon portions on mixture to the pan.
  6. Let the mixture bubble and when the bubbles start to pop, flip over and cook for a further 1 min.
  7. Once cooked, coat with your favourite jam and whipped cream. 
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Thursday, June 11, 2015

Chicken and Sweetcorn Soup



Another year has rolled around and winter is here again. My favourite entree from Asian restaurants, a really good chicken and sweetcorn soup with egg drop can make a meal.

Although it doesn't look fantastic, it tastes delicious. Another great recipe making use of that leftover chicken from the roast the night before. And only takes 20 minutes to make, for a quick family meal the next day.

Ingredients

500g cooked shredded chicken
4 corn cobs
4 spring onions
2 garlic cloves
1 cm cube ginger, finely grated
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp vinegar
1L chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp cornflour
Water to make a paste
egg, whisked

Method:

  1. Finely slice spring onions, keep some of the green end for garnish
  2. Heat some oil in a large sauce and saute spring onion, garlic and ginger.
  3. Slice corn off the cob and add to the pan and saute for 5 minutes.
  4. Add shredded chicken, chicken stock, sesame oil, soy sauce, vinegar.  Depending on the sweetness of your corn you can add 1 tsp of sugar as well if need be. Adjust the vinegar, sugar levels to your personal taste.
  5. Bring to the boil
  6. Once boiling, add the whisked egg and stir vigorously to create egg ribbons throughout the soup.
  7. Create a past with the water and cornflour if you want a thicker soup.
  8. Simmer for another five minutes unless soup has thickened then serve.


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Friday, May 29, 2015

Oaty Caramel Slice



Another Women's Weekly kiwi classic this week. This recipe is adapted from the Pukeko Junction Cafe in Amberley. My favourite of all the slices. I try to convince myself that this slice is a healthy option due to the oats, but after making it for the first time I know just unhealthy it is. 

Great as a sometimes food, I made the caramel but only poured in half of it, and saved the rest to fill some cupcakes I made the next day.

We took some slices and used it as a treat for our picnic. No doubt this will become a winner in your household like it has mine.

Ingredients:

200g butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder

Caramel Filling
 125g butter
1/2 cup golden syrup
1 1/4 cups sweetened condensed milk
I used half and saved half but you can just half this if you like. It really is sweet enough without the whole amount.

Oaty topping
 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup shredded coconut
3/4 cup brown sugar
100g butter, melted

Method:
  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius
  2. Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla in a bowl.
  3. Sift in the flour and baking powder and mix together
  4. Press the mixture into a lined slice tin 24 x 30cms and bake for 20 mins.
  5. While the slice is baking, place all of the caramel filling ingredients into a saucepan and place on a medium heat.
  6. Cook until the ingredients have melted, combined and make a thick sauce.
  7. Mix the dry topping ingredients in a bowl and then pour over the melted butter and combine.
  8. Take the slice out of the oven, pour over caramel and then cover with oaty topping.
  9. Place back into the oven for a further 25 minutes until golden.
  10. Allow to cool and then place in fridge for an hour or so till the caramel hardens, and then cut into squares.
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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Vegetable and Bacon Frittata



The first time I tried frittata was in a small cafe, where a piece was reheated from a slice in a cabinet.  In fact every time I have ever had frittata it was served this way and so I have never made cause it was always a little slimy and to be honest I would rather add some pastry and make a quiche.

The other day though in a last ditch attempt to get my child to eat some vegetables I looked through the fridge.  I had too many eggs and no pastry in the freezer so decided to make frittata.

Basically you can use whatever vegetables you have in the fridge. For this I roasted some pumpkin and potato, added bacon, red onion and a slightly withered broccoli.  It was actually super tasty, and the kidlet ate the whole thing, ok he picked out the broccoli, but I definitely would call that a success. Of course if you are vegetarian, omit the bacon. 

Have it for breakfast, lunch or dinner, with some beautiful bakery bread, and salad. 

Ingredients

Use whatever leftover vegetables you have in the fridge, for this recipe I used the following:
150g pumpkin (cut into 1cm cubes)
100g potato (cut into 1cm cubes)
Half a head of broccoli (sliced into small florets)
Small red onion sliced
4 rashers of bacon
1/2 cup grated cheese
7 eggs whisked
1 cup cream
Salt and pepper
Fresh herbs like parsley and/or basil

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius and roast the pumpkin and potato, then place aside
  2. Grill bacon, and leave the grill on.
  3. Panfry the onion and broccoli until both become soft
  4. whisk together eggs, cream and cheese and add the fresh herbs.
  5. Spread all the vegetables over a large frying that you can put into the oven.
  6. Pour over the egg mixture
  7. Cook the frittata for 8 minutes and then place under the grill. Cook for another 8 minutes depending on the depth of your pan. Once the egg is just cooked remove from the grill.
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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Chocolate Weetbix Slice



Food can be like a time warp, transporting you back to childhood or an important moment in your life.

Having my son at home, he loves to do "making"a.k.a baking. So lately we have been taking a step back to my childhood and making all of those slices and biscuits that I would make with my mother. 

Almost every kiwi kid has eaten this chocolate weetbix slice at some point. It's great to add to my son's lunchbox as well as ours. Or as morning tea for those visitors coming to meet the baby. 

Ingredients

180g butter
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 cup dessicated coconut
3 weetbix, crushed
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa

Chocolate icing
2 cups icing sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
1 tbsp milk, add a little at a time until you have the right consistency.

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius.
  2. Sift together all dry ingredients in a bowl
  3. Melt butter, make a well in the centre of dry ingredients and combine.
  4. Press firmly into a slice tin, and then bake for 15mins. Try not to overcook or it will become rock hard. 
  5. Make chocolate icing to top and sprinkle with extra coconut once the slice has cooled. 
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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Something Different with Mince: Beef Kofta


Food these days is becoming more expensive and I actively try to keep our food bills down. But sometimes having sausages and mince every week becomes tiresome. I feel like there are only so many things you can do with mince, so am always looking for something a little different.  I bought Karen Martini's Everyday Cookbook a while a go and haven't cooked a single thing from it. It does however have a handy mince section, and that is where I found this delightful beef kofta recipe. Although she minces her own beef, I have substituted it with normal everyday mince from the supermarket.  Make some homemade flat breads, hummus and tzatziki with this recipe here to go with it and enjoy. 

Ingredients:

500g mince
1 red onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2.5 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons fresh mint
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
1 tsp salt flakes
black pepper

Method:

  1. Mix all the ingredients in bowl and then mould along skewers. Pretty easy really. Also just a note when cooking, they do not take long to cook at all maybe 3-4 mins. Do not overcook them or they will become really dry. 



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Monday, April 20, 2015

Fresh Parpadelle with Mushroom and Thyme Sauce


I read a book the other day, the author made a comment about completing tasks, and how the results are always better when you give the task love and attention.  She used food as an example, saying that every time she cooked a meal she wasn't excited about it didn't taste very nice.  I thought about that, about some meals I have cooked for my family where I knew even before I put it into my mouth that I was not going to like it. These meals all had something in common, I wasn't in love with what I was cooking, I didn't give it any attention and just slopped whatever I had available into a pan and didn't care about it.

There are other nights, where I may be cooking something as simple as spag bol. But with a bit of care,and love. That spag bol can sometimes taste better than a four course meal at a restaurant. It is so cliche and something that must be heard regularly on food blogs around the world but when cooked with love, food can be outstanding.

I started maternity leave recently, and before our little Miss Mila arrived I had alot of time on my hands so whipped out the pasta machine and got cracking on making some simple parpadelle. Using a recipe from The Great New Zealand Cookbook and adapting it slightly. It was simple, delicious and made with love. The pasta was silky and complimented the woody mushrooms and fresh thyme, with a zest of lemon it would have been delicious on it own. To please the caveman in our household, I added a grilled chicken thigh fillet, seasoned with salt.

Simple, delicious and made with love, these are the meals that we should strive everyday to cook our family.

Ingredients:

One portion of fresh Pasta 
300g Portobello Mushrooms
50g butter
zest of half a lemon
6 sprigs of thyme
Chicken thigh fillet per person if you do not want vegetarian
Salt
Pepper

Method:

  1. Roll out your pasta sheets and cut into strips about 1-2cms wide. 
  2. Flour and set aside.
  3. Boil a large pot of salted water.
  4. If adding chicken, season thigh fillets and heat frypan to a high heat, brown both sides of chicken and turn down the temp, to medium and cook chicken through.
  5. Heat a large saucepan, and add butter. 
  6. Once melted and bubbling add mushrooms, zest and thyme, and then season to taste. 
  7. Cook pasta for 2 mins until aldente.
  8. Toss through the sauce.
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