Monday, December 17, 2012

Baileys Balls

Well I did the rum balls earlier in the week but I wanted something different - so how about Caramel Baileys Balls?

1 packet milk arrowroot biscuits (250g)
40g cocoa powder
100g dessicated coconut
1 tin condensed milk
40 ml Baileys Irish Cream

Extra coconut or almond meal to roll them in 

Put biscuits in TM and grind 5 seconds speed 6

Add all other ingredients except almond meal or extra coconut
Mix 9 seconds at speed 5
Take teaspoonfuls and form into balls, roll them in the almond meal or extra coconut

That's it! Ta Da! And two Weight Watchers ProPoints each

Friday, December 14, 2012

Nut free Thermomix Rocky Road

Well I have had a hectic few weeks - I have taken lots of photos - I just need some time to go through them and plan to blog them! This week I made the annual gifts for the Kid's teachers.
Every year I have had a drama chasing around three separate supermarkets to get the ingredients for my Ultimate White Christmas so I decided this year to do Rocky Road, Shortbread Stars, Rum balls and Snickerdoodles. I send them in for the class teacher and all the incidental staff too - like the librarian and the music and sports teachers.
all wrapped and ready to deliver
The Rocky Road was inspired by someone kind I work with who sent a teeny sample of Rocky Road all the way from NSW for me during a project we were working on this year. So thanks - you know who you are.

The original recipe I based mine on called for clinkers. I have had a week trekking around Townsville and have not found them anywhere.  One shop had an empty hook labelled clinkers. Grrr. So the first batch was made with honeycomb instead.

My recipe is:
2 x 250g bags chocolate Cadbury melts
300g honeycomb (cut into 4 pieces) or 2 bags clinkers (cut in half)
180g raspberries (sweets not fruit)(cut in half)
100g baby marshmallows

Please use other brands of chocolate than Nestle - for information about the boycott click here I love that Cadbury now offers a choice of chips, buttons or bars of cooking chocolate in white, milk or dark. So I had two bags of milk melts.

Melt chocolate in TM bowl for 5 minutes temp 50 speed 1 (You can cut the sweets up while the chocolate melts)
Scrape down edges and melt for a further 1 1/2 minutes.

Change speed to reverse speed soft and add clinkers(or honeycomb) raspberries and marshmallows, in assorted handfuls. Let the machine do the mixing.

 Once combined turn into a lamington tray. I used a CT silicon mold so the turning out was a dream! If I was using a rigid tray I would definitely line it.
Spread it evenly and refrigerate to set
Turn out and cut into nice big slabs when set. I used gift bags and a bit of sparkle 
Don't forget to enlist the help of an assistant in the cleaning up!
I made a second batch today with fake clinkers (at last!) and the family is eagerly waiting to see how it comes out (the rest was earmarked for gifting and was not to be sampled on pain of death - or worse!)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

It's that time of year again

Did you think I had fallen off the perch? Things have been a tad chaotic in the monkeyhouse and we have been eating lots of alfresco meals - steak and salads, many of which I have already posted.

This week I need to decide what I am making for the annual teacher gifts - here is a picture of last year's assembly line

How do other parents thank their child's teacher? I make for the class teacher, music teacher, LOTE teacher, sports teacher and the librarian

Are you a teacher? What is the nicest gift you have received?

Friday, November 16, 2012

Easy tomato salad

Sorry about the long break folks

We have had a really hectic month with one child completing Year 12, illness, performance rehearsals and general all round busy-ness

So although I have been cooking I have reverted to some old favourites, like macaroni cheese made with my special awesome cheese sauce and Jo Whitton's chicken soup

I have taken some photos but simply have not had time to blog

So tonight we have a quickie for everyone who has ever had a tomato glut.

Our tomato plant is currently so tall that yesterday I tied the top of the plant to the carabiner which connects the shade sail to the back of the house I kid you not! And our home is not a hobbit hole it is a regular height house.

Anyway the recipe. I used grape tomatoes tonight but this looks fantastic if you mix up some yellow, sriped or black tomatoes.

Halve the tomatoes, about 250g, chop a generous bunch of parsley and mix through then pour over 1 tablespoon olive oil, 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar, 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar and a generous grind of fresh salt and pepper. That's it. Easy.

Tonight we are serving this with greek lamb fillet, baby potatoes and green beans (green beans and tomatoes are a match made in heaven if you have not eaten them together you must try some time.) And yoghurt mint sauce. Fresh mint and parsley from the garden, yum!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Asian inspired rice wraps

A friend sent me this recipe a few years ago and it has become a real favourite I use skirt steak, trimmed and sliced very thin against the grain. This week my lovely butcher did it for me. A whole 1.5kg but you can adjust quantities to suit yourself Mix marinade in a glass or ceramic bowl. I use my old 1960s Sunbeam mixmaster bowl. The mixmaster is long gone but both bowls are still going strong.
2 teaspoons light brown sugar
1 teaspoon each chopped garlic and ginger
1 tablespoon each mirin, soy sauce and fish sauce

add beef, mix well and refrigerate for at least two hours
By the way if you have never tried using chopsticks to mix stuff - do - they are excellent!

Heat about a teaspoon of oil in a frpan or wok. I used my Chefs Toolbox wok which is a dream tool. I actually threw out the wok I got for my sixteenth birthday after 6 months using this one!
Cook the beef in batches so it goes nice and brown and crispy not grey and soggy.

Put the beef aside. It's OK - it doesn't need to be served hot. You can do this in advance and was up BEFORE dinner if you like!
But this bit has to be done at the last minute. Boil a kettle and while it is boiling unpack some rice vermicelli. I always chop mine up with scissors a little bit to make the length of the strands more manageable
Pour the boiled water on and soak for two minutes, then drain.
At some stage you prepare your vegetables. Clockwise from front - baby spinach leaves, cucumber batons, fresh mint from the garden, finely grated carrot, shredded letuce (use cos or iceberg), bean sprouts and in the middle there is a mix of chopped spring onions and red chilli
Put the beef, noodles and vegetables on the table with one or two large flat bowls and some soy and sweet chilli sauce. Fill the bowls with boiling water while you search for every pair of teeny tiny tongs you own.
Each person makes their own wraps. Soak each wrap till it softens.
Fill with beef, noodles, salad and sauce. Don't overfill.
And roll. You don't have to close both ends, although if you are doing some extra for tomorrows lunch it is best to seal both ends. You can also make a vermicelli salad for lunch the next day out of all the leftover bits.
No idea on the ProPoints but if you go easy on the noodles it won't be too many.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Steak and salad

Actually we had steak and four salads. And we ate outside because it was heavenly - this is what it was like:
How lovely is Townsville this time of year?
So anyway FOUR salads - I was on such a roll this afternoon!
Salad 1: French Cabbage Salad
This is fantastic for people who are a bit over coleslaw. 
You need:
1/4 white cabbage
1 red apple (I used a pink lady)
1/2 cucumber
1-2 sticks celery
a big handful of garlic chives or spring onion tops
Slice the cabbage thinly (you can use a mandolin for this if you like) 
Peel the cucumber but leave a tiny bit between each strip of peel you remove because it is just prettier that way. Slice thinly (again with the mandolin) and halve the slices
Slice the celery thinly too
Cut the apple in four, core it and then cut each piece into 8-10 depending on the size of the slices
chop the garlic chives
Throw it all into a bowl - a bigger bowl than you intend to serve in nd toss together. Hands are the best tools for tossing.
Then mix the dressing in the high tech dressing machine (a vegemite jar)
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil (I used the lemon infused oil)
pinch seasalt
pinch raw sugar
Shake well and pour over salad - this one is fine to be dressed in advance
French Cabbage Salad
Salad 2: Fennel salad with mint
one head baby cos, washed and dried
one baby fennel
1/2 cup mint
Let me just say that any salad that treats mint as a vegetable rather than a garnish will be worth a try
Chop the cos roughly into pieces that are bite size
tear the mint from the stalks and add
Slice the fennel as thinly as possible
Mix dressing in aforementioned hi tech gadget
1/3 cup lemon juice 
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon baby capers
fresh ground pepper
Pour over salad just before serving
Fennel salad with mint
Salad 3: Baby spinach with citrus
1/2 bag baby spinach leaves. If you have time to pick the stalks off this makes it a whole lot more appetising
1/4 red onion sliced very thinly
1/2 can mandarin segments
1 lebanese cucumbers cut into batons
Mix spinach, cucumber and onion together in a large bowl. Tip into serving container and top with drained mandarin segments.
Serve with a lemon and balsamic dressing - I used the one from here 
Check out the vintage Tupperware - this is a relic from my wedding shower in 1982
Baby spinach with citrus
Salad 4: Balsamic asparagus and tomato 
2 bunches asparagus
1 punnet grape tomatoes
2 dsp parmesan (15 ml spoon size)
Grind the parmesan in the Thermomix if you have one or grate it finely
Halve the tomatoes
Snap the woody ends off the asparagus and cut into 3-4 pieces. Cook in boiling water for 3-4 minutes then plunge into iced water and drain.
combine vegetables in a bowl and mix your dressing
100ml orange juice
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
a pinch of seasalt
Pour dressing over and sprinkle with parmesan. This one can be dressed in advance too.
Balsamic Asparagus and Tomato

Find a man to barbecue the steak for you 
There are 12 ProPoints in the four salads combined - 5 each in the salads with oil in the dressing and 2 in the parmesan. We served three and had lots of leftovers so I think you could eat your fill and track 2 PP plus your steak. And of course this knocks over the vegetable part of the Healthy Checks!
Just YUM!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Weight Watchers Tuna and White Bean salad

Tonight we tried a tweak on this recipe

Variations? Of course - I don't think I am capable of following a recipe to the letter.

I spread a bed of mixed spinach and rocket leaves on a large platter - some salads just look fabulous on a plate rather than in a bowl

Because there were only two of us and we were keeping one serve for lunch tomorrow I reduced the tuna - I used one 85g can and one 185g can. I also didn't measure the lemon juice - just squeezed in a whole nice juicy one I had nearby.

Dill and parsley from the garden - put them on the plate after the beans - the flavour spreads through so much better - next time I will chop the dill even though this recipe said tear it.

Only 6 Weight Watchers Pro Points in less than 10 minutes - how good is that?

Pretty isn't it?

PS Weight Watchers says it is in one of their books - can anyone tell me which one? I can link to the book then too. I have not managed to locate it in any of the seven Pro Points books I have here.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Spicy turkey skewers

These are SO quick and easy and SO delicious! Serve with a salad of your choosing and yoghurt sauce - I used garlic chives, parsley and mint with 125g yoghurt a pinch of sugar and a shake of tabasco.
Start with a good size handful of flat leaf parsley
Chop on speed 7 for 3 seconds
Add half a red onion 
Chop on speed 7 for 3 seconds again
Now it's time to get spicy! What do you think of my expensive spice canister collection?
500g turkey mince
the insides of a stale bread roll pulled into small pieces
2 tblsp sweet paprika (not hot)
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1 tblsp cumin
1 1/2 tsp coriander
1 1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp sea salt
a generous grind of pepper

Mix 10 seconds on speed 5
Turn onto a board
form into a loaf and use the TM spatula to divide it into 16 
roll into torpedo shapes and leave to stand for 1/2 hour or longer if possible
Grill on skewers for 8-10 minutes. Serve with grilled haloumi, yoghurt sauce and lime and mint quinoa salad
These are 2 Weight Watchers ProPoints each - so you can have 4 if you like! Or have 2 and fill up on squeaky creamy haloumi!

Lime and mint quinoa salad

Look at natures bounty - all except the tomatoes picked 2 minutes before the photo!
I have 6 tomatoes - not cherry tomatoes - the slightly bigger ones, 2 limes, parsley, thai coriander and mint.
Take a cup of quinoa and cook with 2 - 2 1/2 cups of water, covered until all the water is absorbed and the rains are puffed up
 I forgot to watch the clock so I have no idea how long it was cooked for 

While it cooks chop up the tomatoes and herbs, add half a red onion and one clove of garlic chopped fine. Squeeze over the juice of both limes and add 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil. I used lemon infused oil but regular would do.
Then toss gently through the cooked quinoa. Serve warm or chilled, today or tomorrow - it doesn't matter
6 serves at 5 Weight Watchers ProPoints a serve
This is a really zingy salad - makes a great side dish or lunch

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Zucchini and baby leeks with pasta

I was planning to cook this recipe but as usual I had not paid a great deal of attention to the quantities in the recipe when shopping. So when I got it out tonight and saw 250g pasta, feeds 4 I thought - well I am going to have to upscale this - might as well adapt it to suit myself.

Put the saute pan on a low flame to preheat. Then add 1 teaspoon rice bran oil and brush it over the surface.

I had zucchini (lots of zucchini) and some baby leeks I had bought. I decided to use a red onion to add colour to the dish. So I gave my new vegie twister a run. Zucchini ribbons - done! Cut up the leeks and onion and chop the garlic finely.
I cut up 175g of ham and measured out 1/3 cup of Parmesan cheese I had previously grated in my Thermomix

The pan should be hot by now. I put in the onion and leeks and fried for about 5 minutes until starting to soften.
Then add the garlic and zucchini and fry for 2-3 minutes longer
Add ham and keep cooking on a low heat
While you are doing all this have the pasta cooking in another pan
Whisk a can of evaporated milk with an egg and 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg.

 Add to pan and wait till it is bubbling. Then add 2 teaspoons cornflour you have mixed with 2 tablespoons cold water. Never mix cornflour with warm water - it will go lumpy
Stir for about a minute more and then add pasta to the sauce and put the whole lot into a serving bowl.
This served eight and calculated out to be 8 ProPoints per serve and 2 serves vegies. We had it with a big bowl of green salad.
8 ProPoints per serve