Since I started buying organic food, I have become more conscious than ever of wasting any precious (and expensive) nutritious food. This has resulted in some creative uses of leftovers which – even if I say so myself – have been delicious and many times downright inspired.
Today’s lunch was a simple gem of leftovers and summer herb garden alchemy.
I had some leftover roasted tomatoes from Sunday and some left over garlic bread from Monday night. Both too good to waste. So I made my own roasted tomato bruschetta.
I chopped up the tomatoes which had been roasted in olive oil, balsamic, salt and pepper, added some finely chopped red onion and picked some fresh basil from the garden.
I fried the leftover garlic bread in a frypan on medium heat until both sides were golden brown.
Then I added the basil – torn into small pieces – to the tomato and onion mix, stirred it well and spooned it on the top of the garlic bread
It turned out remarkably well, I even indulged a little la dolce vita and poured myself a small glass of red vino to wash it all down – another rustic and delicious meal of leftovers!
I created this version of Rumballs on Christmas eve and have made two delectable batches of them ‘cos one batch just wasn’t enough! They were a huge hit with family and friends and I will definitely be making them again. They are chock full of yumminess and fairly boozy, so parental guidance is recommended for the littlies.
I actually caught Mr D with his fingers in the bowl saying “yummy mum, mmmmm yummy chocolate….” when I walked back into the kitchen after answering the phone… After a small panic attack because I’d already added the rum, I covered the mixture and popped it in the fridge out of reach. Thankfully he didn’t appear drunk, he always slurs his words a bit… :-0!
300g plain sweet biscuits crushed
1 tin condensed milk
1/2 cup coconut
6 tblsp good quality cocoa
1/4 cup raisins chopped
6 tblsp dark rum
250g block of good quality dark cooking chocolate, like Green and Blacks or Lindt
1. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except cooking chocolate
2. Refrigerate for several hours – overnight is best.
3. Roll teaspoons of the mixture into balls. Refrigerate for an hour or two.
4. Melt chocolate either in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water or in the microwave.
5. Use toothpicks to pick up the rumballs and dip them into the melted chocolate and place onto baking paper.
6. Refrigerate until chocolate is firm – this doesn’t take long.
Here is an awful picture of my rumballs they actually look a lot better than that in the flesh and taste – amazing! My beautiful Irish friend loved both my rumballs and my margarita’s so much, she decided they were worth combining and popped a rumball on top of her drink! Cheers!
Wow, it’s the beginning of another year. The end of the old. A fresh start. Commitment to changes, resolutions, intentions, dreams. It’s a great time of year here in Australia, the sun is shining, the weather is warm and anything is possible. I love it!
I also love to bring the New Year in with my friends and my favourite cocktail – the Margarita. As my Irish pal Rita is staying with me for a couple of weeks, it seemed especially fitting that we celebrate the marking of time with a cocktail containing her name.
I have to extend my sincere thanks to Rita as Rita is singly responsible for introducing me to a lovable but spectacularly cringe-worthy Irish Band called Crystal Swing with their “hit” single “He drinks Tequila” (which we watched and laughing hysterically at while drinking Tequila-soaked Margaritas). Take a look at the video below for a giggle.
OK, the perfect Margarita – Megsie stylee – goes like this and should have you talking dirty in Spanish – pronto!:
1/3 cup tequila
1/3 cup triple sec
1/4 cup lemon juice
Lemon or lime wedges to decorate
4 Margarita glasses or cocktail glasses of your choice
1. Place tequila, triple sec and lemon juice into blender.
2. Fill blender (to the top) loosely with ice.
3. Blend on high speed until the mixture has no big lumps and looks like a slushie.
4. Shake some salt onto a side plate
5. Rub the rim of the 4 glasses with a wedge of lemon or lime
6. Turn glasses upside down into the salt to rim them with a crust of salt.
7. Pour Margarita mix into glasses
8. Garnish with a wedge of lemon or lime
10. Watch following video…
11. Cringe a lot… Gotta love Mum playing the keyboard!
As I buy raw milk and it only comes in a 2L bottle, I always seem to have a lot of milk left at the end of the week, nearing the use by date. I really don’t like wasting things so… my solution is simple – Rice Pudding! Rice pudding is great warm or cold and lasts for several days in the fridge. You can have it for dessert, a snack or even breakfast!
1/2 cup short grain white rice
1/2 cup Rapadura sugar – This sugar will make the mixture look and taste a little caramel. If you like a traditional colour and flavour use white sugar or raw sugar.
1 dspn real vanilla essence (stronger than imitation and much yummier!) or 1 vanilla bean pod
1 x 8cm cinnamon stick
6 cardamom pods
1 tsp grated nutmeg
rind of 1/2 lemon
4 egg yolks
1. Place all ingredients except egg yolks in a heavy based saucepan and heat slowly until just boiling.
2. Turn off heat and allow to cool.
3. Remove vanilla pod (if you are using one), cinnamon stick, cardamom pods, cloves and lemon rind.
4. Stir egg yolks until smooth and add to cooled rice mixture.
5. Bake in oven @ 160 deg C for approximately 1hr or until set
This is my most favourite Christmas recipe EVER! I have been making this recipe for years and it’s the best shortbread I have ever tasted. It’s so buttery and creamy – a real melt-in-your-mouth treat! I found it in my Mum’s Sunbeam Mixmaster Cookbook from 1961! Vintage Gold!
7 oz/ 200g butter
2 1/4 cups or 300g plain flour
1/2 cup or 65g corn flour or rice flour or potato starch
1/2 cup or 65g icing sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1. Beat butter and vanilla until soft on low speed.
2. Add icing sugar gradually on low speed.
3. Increase speed and beat until light and creamy.
4. Fold in sifted flours on low speed.
5. Turn onto lightly floured board and roll out to 5mm thick (1/4″)
6. Cut with cookie cutters or cut into strips
7. Place on greased tray
8. Bake in barely moderate oven for 15-20 mins or until very light golden.
9. Cool and decorate.
My favourite addition to these gorgeous Shortbreads is dark chocolate. I have made them with a heart shaped cookie cutter before and dipped one half of the heart in melted chocolate, let them set (if you are in summer like we are here in Australia, you might need to pop them into the fridge to set) and yum yum in my tum! Delicious, easy and great Christmas presents!
This is one of my favourite Gingerbread recipes and it’s dead easy! I found this recipe a while ago and I’ve played with it a little to make it my own. It’s perfect for letting little ones help in the kitchen. Mr D loves to roll out the dough and push the biscuit cutters into it to make shapes. We usually make a few men and some other shapes as well. “Twinkle Twinkle Little Stars” are always a favourite here! Trying to stop Mr D from eating the mixture before it’s cooked can be a challenge sometimes! 😉
Use an electric beater on a high speed to cream the butter and sugar until pale – this takes approximately 5 mins depending how soft your butter is.
Add the golden syrup and egg yolk and beat until well combined.
Add the flour, ginger, mixed spice and bicarb soda on the lowest speed.
Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth.
Press dough into a disc and cover with plastic wrap.
Place in the fridge for 30 minutes to rest.
Place the dough between 2 sheets of baking paper and roll out until about 4mm thick.
Use a gingerbread man cutter (or any shaped biscuit cutter you fancy) to cut out shapes.
Place on trays about 3cm apart. Repeat with any excess dough.
Bake in oven for 10 minutes or until brown.
Place to a rack to cool.
Decorate as desired.
* I grind my own mixed spice using the following fresh spices:
1 to 2 cloves
6 pimento allspice
1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
2cm cinnamon stick
Place the spices into a mortar and pestle to grind by hand, or a coffee grinder if you have one. You’ll end up with a wonderfully pungent mixed spice. This makes approximately 2 tablespoons. Store in a screw top jar.
There has been many a lovingly prepared meal that has had the little monkey of this house turn his nose up in disgust, “don’t like it mama” with nary a taste! When I’m not in the mood for rejection of my culinary toils, I present my darling boy with his most favourite fare to date – Spaghetti Bolognaise.
Little doeshe know that it is chock full of all the vegies he claims he doesn’t like! Gotcha!
This recipe is a tasty treat for little kids and big kids alike and variations can be easily accommodated. Most of the ingredients will be readily available in your pantry and fridge.
500g organic lean beef mince
1 medium onion – finely chopped
1 medium carrot – grated
1 medium zucchini – grated
1 small fresh beetroot – grated
1 stick celery, string removed – finely chopped
1/4 red capsicum – finely chopped
6 button mushrooms – finely chopped
2 cloves garlic – finely chopped
1 400g can chopped organic tomatoes (or use 4 large fresh tomatoes – skinned and chopped)
1 140g can organic tomato paste
2 tblsp sunflower oil
3 bay leaves
1 small sprig rosemary
1 tsp organic vegetable stock powder
1 tsp organic raw sugar (optional but makes a huge difference to the acidity!)
salt and cracked black pepper to season
1. Heat oil in large saucepan.
2. Fry onions over medium heat until clear.
3. Add beef and fry over high heat until lightly browned and all moisture has evaporated. Break up any large chunks of meat during this step.
4. Add carrot, zucchini, beetroot, celery, capsicum, mushrooms and garlic. Fry on high heat stirring constantly for 2 mins.
5. Add tinned tomatoes and 2 cans of water (I use this step to wash the can out for recycling and get any of the remaining tomato juices out of the can and into the bolognaise), tomato paste, vegetable stock, sugar, pinch of cracked black pepper, bay leaves and rosemary.
6. Cover until boiling then reduce heat and simmer covered for 15mins stirring occasionally.
7. Remove lid and gently simmer for 1hr stirring occasionally. This allows all of the vegies to cook and the flavours to meld.
8. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
9. Serve with your favourite pasta, topped with Parmesan cheese and some torn fresh basil.