Thursday, September 30, 2010

Favourite biscuit recipes

This is my favourite choc chip cookie recipe ever and the first one I ever made, from an old Women's Weekly cookbook. I made a double batch of these with the kids last week; all those little hands do helping with rolling the biscuits out.

And while on the topic of biscuits, here is my other favourite recipe, Cranberry and White Chocolate Biscuits, which have oats in them making them deliciously chewy. Mmmm, I feel like making and eating them now.

I tried a new biscuit recipe the other day, Fig Swirls, which looked great but were a bit disappointing. I have memories of making a biscuit with figs in the centre that were really delicious, but no idea what recipe this was. Will stick with the old favouites for a while.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
makes about 45
I think these cookies taste best when they are only lightly cooked, so they are chewy, soft in the middle and not too crunchy.

125 g butter
½ C sugar
½ C brown sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
1 ¾ C self-raising flour (or 1 ¾ C plain flour plus 3 ½ tsp baking powder)
½ tsp salt
125 g chocolate chips or pieces
60g walnuts, chopped

Preheat the oven to 180C, cover two baking trays in baking paper.

Cream the butter, sugars and vanilla in an electric mixer. Add lightly beaten egg gradually, beating well after each addition. Mix in flour and salt. Add chocolate and nuts and mix well.

Shape teaspoonfuls of mixture into small balls, place on trays, allowing room for spreading. Bake at 180C for 10 – 12 minutes until lightly golden.
Women’s Weekly The Big Book of Beautiful Biscuits

Cranberry and White Chocolate Biscuits
makes about 18

150g unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tsp vanilla extract
125g (1 cup) plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
A pinch of salt
2 cups rolled oats
1 cup white chocolate chunks
²/³ cup sweetened dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 180C, line 3 baking trays with baking paper.

Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and creamy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until smooth. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together and stir until combined. Add the oats, chocolate and cranberries and stir to combine.

Roll tablespoons of the mixture and place on baking trays. Flatten the balls with a fork dipped in flour. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until pale golden.

Remove from oven and cool on trays for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

My daughter wants to write her name

Pulled Pork in the slow cooker with burritos

While searching the web lately for slow cooker recipe I kept reading about pulled pork. Then my sister-in-law who just spent 2 years in the States was also talking about, so I decided to give it a go. The Americans often serve it with bbq sauce on hamburger buns but I went for a slightly more authentic mexican experience. Most of the recipes are based on ketchup or bbq sauce except for the most authentic of mexican ones which just had too many ingredients I couldnt get. So I just went with it, what I did is based around this Good Housekeeping recipe, but adapted some what.

The results were yum. The ketchup flavour wasn't overpowering but the sauce was delicious. Shredding the meat with forks did make for a great texture but took a while, actually my husband did it and he says it was a palaver. Next time I will just chop it up with a big knife if I am in a hurry.

You could do the same thing on the stove or in the oven; you want long slow cooking at a low temperature.

To bulk out the meal, I also made the Taco Soup that I have blogged about previously from the Year of Slow Cooking blog. Except of course my slow cooker was already in use, so I did it on the stove and it only took 30 minutes and thickened up nicely. This went really well but is quite strong so did drown out the delicious pork flavour a bit.

Pulled Pork
1  onion, chopped into large pieces
1/2 C ketchup
1/3 C cider vinegar
1/4 C packed brown sugar
2 tbsp sweet paprika
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 tsp salt
1.8 kg boneless pork shoulder blade roast, rind removed, cut into 4 pieces
To serve
Sour cream, avocado
Jalapenos (from a jar), chopped

1.Add sauce ingredients to slow cooker: onion, ketchup, vinegar, brown sugar, paprika, cumin, Worcestershire, salt, and pepper until combined. Add pork to sauce mixture and turn to coat well with sauce.
2.Cover slow cooker with lid and cook pork mixture on low setting for 8 to 10 hours, or on high for 4 to 5 hours, or some combination depending what time you get dinner on, or until pork is very tender.
3.With tongs, transfer pork to large bowl. Turn setting on slow cooker to high; cover and heat sauce to boiling to thicken and reduce slightly. Or if your slow cooker is like mine and this would take forever; pour the sauce into a saucepan and simmer to reduce. I removed the onion by straining the sauce as I poured it, but this may not bother you.
4.While sauce boils, with 2 forks, pull pork into shreds, this is a somewhat painful process. Return shredded pork to slow cooker with the sauce and toss to combine. Cover slow cooker and heat through on high setting if necessary.
5.Serve on burritos with accompaniments.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Slow Cooker Pizza

Today I am making Slow Cooker Pizza from the blog A Year of Slow Cooking, not exactly a pizza but as close as you are going to get in a SC. It is a bolognaise style sauce in the bottom covered with a pourable batter mix made with eggs and cheese topped with salami and olives. It really does smell like pizza while it cooks, must be the tomato sauce, salami and olives that does it. The recipe is even gluten free made with a gf baking mix, but I just used ordinary flour with 1 teaspoon of baking powder.

I made the pizza for the first time last week. It tasted great, but I got it on a bit late and so the dough wasnt quite cooked through after 3 hours (in my large 6.5l SC), so I scooped most of it into a casserole dish and finished it in the oven.

The second time I made it I put it on early enough and it cooked through and was greatly enjoyed by 6 adults. My friend asked for the recipe and cooked in the next week so that is a good sign.

Here is what I did differently:
  • I didnt use her spaghetti seasoning recipe - just seasoned with salt and pepper.
  • I used plain flour and added 1 tsp baking powder
  • I used chopped salami instead of pepperoni

Loving my slow cooker and Taco Soup

I recently got my first slow cooker and am loving it and trying to use it as much as possible. It really helps with the crazy predinner hour and even more on work days when little Ava walks in the door at 5pm, points to her chair and says "dinner".

I have found a great blog for recipes called A Year of Slow Cooking. Steph, the writer, really did cook with the slow cooker everyday for a year. I think most of the recipes are gluten-free too. Although of course you can substitute normal flour.

Two nights ago I made her Taco Soup, I suppose it is like a version of chilli con carne. I made mine without mince, as we had leftover roast chicken which I added when serving. My soup didnt turn out very soup like, but that was fine.  It was a tasty mix of tinned tomatoes, corn, beans and taco seasoning. Chris, who doesn't like beans, actually quite enjoyed it!

Here is the recipe adapted for ingredients available in Australia. I didnt put mince in mine as I had left over roast chicken that I chopped and sprinkled over when serving.

Australian Slow Cooker Taco Soup

1 can kidney beans
1 can mexe beans by Old El Paso (the recipe calls for pinto beans, these are chilli pinto beans) or cannelini beans or black beans if you dont want the spice
1 can corn
1 large + 1 small can diced tomatoes
1 packet taco seasoning (the original recipe used 1/2 packet but this wasnt enough)
500g beef mince (optional - I didnt use it)
To serve: grated cheese,sour cream, avocado, jalapeno chillies from the jar (especially good if you have made this mild for the kids)
Crisp tortillas or corn chips

Brown meat if you are going to use it. Drain fat and add to slow cooker.
Sprinkle taco seasoning packet on top of meat.
Drain and rinse the kidney beans and add.
Add the entire contents of the mexe beans, corn and tomato cans.
Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 4-5. I think the longer you cook soup, the better, so if you have the time, opt for cooking on low.
Stir well, and serve with a handful of grated cheese, a dollop of sour cream, avocado, jalapeno (for the adults). I crisped tortillas in the oven and broke them up over the soup, but you could have them soft or use corn chips.