Thursday, June 3, 2010

Lompe and pølse for Eurovision night



As the Eurovision final was being held in Oslo, Norway, I made miniature Norwegian hot dogs for our Eurovision tv night.  I wanted cute and kitsch. I used cheerios/cocktail frankfurts or as some Australians like to call them ‘little boys’ he he. Everyone said that these hot dogs tasted better than those with white bread buns (and they feel healthier). They are really pliable and tasty.

Sausage with lompe can be bought at Petrol stations and fast food carts  in Norway. Lompe are thicker than lefse and they don’t have ridges. Lompe also go well with scrambled eggs, swedish meatballs, jam, or cinnamon sugar and butter.

- and congratulations Germany!

 image image from wikipedia

My lompe are made small for nibblies.  Before I first made them I read many long explanations of just the correct way to roll them and how it was very difficult and you had to use just the right amount of flour on the right part of the rolling out board.  However, I thought why not make them smaller, roll between two pieces of gladwrap, and then use a circular cookie cutter or a round plate to make them just the right shape?  This worked perfectly. 

It is not recommended to replace the cream with milk as they can become tough, apparently. Also, once you have added the flour the dough should be used straight away.


adapted from Lefse Time (recipe, pictures and video) and (recipe and pictures)

3/4kg  to 1kg - 1.5 to 2lb potatoes (enough to make 4 cups riced potatoes)

1/4 cup butter

1-2 tsp sugar (optional)

1/2 cup heavy cream

3/4 tsp salt

1 to 1 - 1/2 cups flour

Cook the potatoes until tender in the most dry way possible eg you can bake them in their skins; or you can quarter them and steam them, peeled or unpeeled.  Otherwise, boil them in water, and drain them really well.

Push potatoes through a ricer while still hot (the ricer also removes the skins, however I usually peel mine first anyway).  If you don’t have a ricer, push peeled hot cooked potatoes through a sieve.

Measure out 4 cups (lightly packed) into another large bowl. Don’t waste a lot of time here, your potatoes need to be warm to melt butter in the next step.

To your 4 cups of riced potatoes, add 1/4 cup butter in pats so it melts in evenly. Stir a few times to get the butter mixed in well, then set your potatoes aside to cool completely, with a clean tea towel or gladwrap covering them so they don’t form a skin. The potatoes need to be cooled to at least room temperature. Leave to sit 2-3 hours if possible.  If the room is warm put them in the fridge, and try to bring back to room temperature before adding the next ingredients.

utensils 2

When your potatoes are cooled, mix in cream, salt, (sugar if using) and enough flour to make a dough (I didn’t use the full 1 and 1/2 cups of flour) (similar in texture to potato gnocchi). Stir until all the flour is mixed in evenly. Then knead (like bread dough) 10 times.

Depending how big you want your sheets correlates to the size of patties. To roll  nibbly-sized lompe like mine use a 15ml tablespoon. If you want bigger ones 1/3 cup  dough equals a 12 inch round approximately. This gives you a nice, not too thick, not too thin sheet.

Start by heating the pan.  It needs to be quite hot. The Lefse Time recipe and video stipulates 500 deg F (260 deg C).  I used a non-stick chapatti pan and a piece of wood that came with the pan for lifting and flipping over, on my gas stove.

utensils 1

Place a tablespoon of mixture between two pieces of gladwrap. Make sure the mixture remaining in the bowl is always recovered with a cloth. Using a regular rolling pin, roll out the dough over the top of the topmost gladwrap, and roll to an even thickness, fairly thin. Peel off top piece of gladwrap and cut a circle with a cookie cutter (I used a 9cm or  3 1/2”). Peel mixture off bottom piece of gladwrap and half lay on the wooden paddle. Gently manoeuvre onto hot pan.  Cook until the lompe browns underneath and flip over.  Cook again until brown. Lift up and put into a clean tea towel and cover up with the teatowel, so that it cools whilst covered. Repeat for remaining lompe. I found I could get 4 or 5 onto the pan at a time.

To store when cooled, put around 10 lompe into each sandwich sized plastic ziplock bag.  Intersperse with pieces of baking paper if you wish to freeze them. Store in the fridge or freezer.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010



I had recently been reading on ongoing discussion in Column 8 in the SMH about all the weird and wonderful toppings people put on their crumpets:

SMH May 20, 2010 ''I am aware that stories of coincidence abound in your column,'' writes Mark Gibbins, of Erina. ''This afternoon while working in my rather cold law office with the rain streaming down outside, I decided to cook a crumpet to brighten the afternoon. I commenced the toasting process and pondered what to do while waiting. 'I'll read something funny in Column 8' I thought to myself, and the first words I read were 'Crumpets, yes please, yummy!'''

It's been far too long since we've heard from Lady Agatha Maberley, of Bowral, but it seems the aroma of crumpets was enough to inspire her to put quill to parchment: ''An afternoon crumpet is not an afternoon crumpet unless it has something of a savoury nature added,'' Lady Agatha insists, ''such as finely grated (genuine) cheddar cheese and a sprinkling of anchovy on top. They must be served piping hot, and as a starter with the 4pm cup of tea. If one wants a sweet condiment on something hot, then choose either toast or an English muffin, and I am not referring to those horrid dough balls sold in supermarkets.'' More curious crumpet cuisine tomorrow, and possibly beyond. Some of the suggestions have been truly bizarre …

SMH May 21, 2010 We may have to organise a bake-off (well, a toast-off), to achieve a resolution of the crumpet-topping imbroglio. But positions are so entrenched that we feel no one would be satisfied with the outcome, whatever it may be. Best perhaps to just pass on suggestions from the brave crumpeteers who have rushed to the barricades, toasters and toppings in hand. Welcome to Column 8's All-Crumpet Special Edition!

''I have just finished two crumpets spread with avocado and topped with chilli tuna, including the whole chilli, while reading this morning's Column 8.'' - Neil Jones, of Panania.

''A truly sensational crumpet topping was called 'thunder and lightning' by my father when we were kids,'' recalls Josie McSkimming, of Coogee. ''Golden syrup, followed by a thick layer of freshly whipped cream. Unbeatable.''

And on it goes … ''I think sweetened condensed milk with sprinkled cinnamon is bliss! In fact, this topping can magically enhance anything from toast to coffee to curry.'' - Cynthia Ma, of Hornsby. ''Spread macadamia paste on the crumpet, then top with cumquat marmalade, preferably homemade.'' - Jen Stone, of Armidale. ''Peanut butter, apple and sultanas. Delicious!'' - Graham Bannerman, of Lewisham. ''Butter and Gentleman's Relish (if you can find same),'' - Nick Lampe, of Turramurra.

''As an Australian of Norwegian heritage,'' writes Randi Svensen, of Leura, ''the best crumpet topping would have to be pickled herrings. Very easy to make, and just think how tasty that pickle juice would be soaked into the holes of the crumpet. Yum!''

Crumpet holes are the key to another suggestion, albeit one at the far end of the sweet'n'savoury spectrum, from Vashti Waterhouse, of Paddington: ''A friend of my daughter's swore by hundreds and thousands as a crumpet topping. The h&ts sink into the holes where their colours blend, but the taste is … interesting.''

This crumpets-as-confectionary concept is taken to extremes by Lesley Laker, of Cremorne, who advocates ''breaking up a chocolate Easter egg''. Lesley celebrates Easter by ''placing the shattered egg on a hot cross bun,'' but insists that ''it works just as well with crumpets.'' '

But even Lesley's topping is topped by Ivor F., of Doonside, who swears by ''a hot crumpet served with a scoop of ice-cream and a pickled onion''.

All this trumpeting of crumpeting has not been in vain - not for Patricia Smith, of Avalon, anyway. ''At last I have a reason to bring out my silver crumpet dish. Given as a wedding present 55 years ago, it has rarely seen the light of day. A very stylish and pretty piece, complete with domed lid, room to accommodate several crumpets, and an inner dish that fits over a space to hold hot water, to keep extra crumpets hot. Anyone for afternoon tea?'' We're on our way, Patricia, with a wheelbarrow of anchovies, cumquat marmalade and Gentleman's Relish.

and then I was reading Coby’s recent entry on  The Claytons Blog discussing making them.  Which all left me wanting:


adapted from this recipe: from

Plate of crumpets

Note: Don't expect to create anything like the supermarket crumpet. Homemade crumpets are heavier, tastier and have far more texture. If the crumpet sizes look odd it’s because I used my cookie cutter set in graduated sizes so I ended up with different sized crumpets!


  • 2 tsp caster sugar
  • 1 tsp (7g/1 sachet) dried yeast
  • 250ml (1 cup) warm milk
  • 250ml (1 cup) warm water
  • 450g (3 cups) bread flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp bread improver
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 250ml (1 cup) water, extra
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • Vegetable oil, to grease
  • Butter, to serve
  • Honey, to serve


1. Combine the sugar and yeast in a medium bowl. Gradually pour in the warm milk and water and stir until yeast dissolves. Cover with plastic wrap and stand in a warm, draught-free place for 10 minutes or until mixture is frothy.

2. Combine the flour, bread improver and salt in a bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the yeast mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon until well combined. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm, draught-free place to prove for 1 hour or until doubled in size.

3. Combine extra water and bicarbonate of soda in a jug. Use an electric beater to beat the flour mixture for 1 minute or until mixture deflates. Gradually add the water mixture, beating well between additions, until well combined and smooth. Cover batter with plastic wrap and set aside for 1 hour to rest.

4. Brush a large non-stick frying pan with vegetable oil to lightly grease. Brush six 7.5cm-diameter high-sided cookie cutter rings (or use 70z or 210g  tuna tins with tops and bottoms removed)  with oil to lightly grease. Place cookie cutter rings in frying pan over medium-low heat. Pour 60ml (1/4 cup) of batter into each ring. Cook for 7 minutes or until large bubbles come to the surface, the base is golden and the top is set and dry. Pick up cookie cutters from the pan, then use an egg lifter to turn and cook crumpets for a further 1 minute or until golden.  Lift crumpets onto a wire rack. Set aside. Repeat, in 4 more batches, with remaining batter, greasing and reheating the pan and cookie cutters with oil between each batch.

To serve, toast crumpets in a toaster and serve with whatever is your favourite topping.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There Birthday Cake

13 may 2010 Looking Glass Alice 021

One of my beautiful daughters has always adored the Lewis Carroll books. This is the cake I made for her birthday last week. I didn’t realise the camera had a big smudge on the lens though and it was a bit of a rush, so these are the best photos I managed. The red blob in the above photo in centre back is supposed to be the Red King sleeping, just as he does right through the story. Below, the Red Queen,

 13 may 2010 Looking Glass Alice 014 13 may 2010 Looking Glass Alice 018

and Humpty Dumpty.

13 may 2010 Looking Glass Alice 016

Did you know the Mad Hatter appears in both Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass? It was fun making all the figures. I felt like a little kid playing with play doh!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Stacked Creamy Green Chile and Grilled Chicken Enchiladas

Chicken Enchiladas with Creamy Green Chile Sauce is one of my favourite comfort foods. I find it’s great to make more than I need for one meal, as it’s easy to reheat portions quickly for a quick comfort fix during the week.

8 may 2010 033

In this month’s Daring Cooks challenge we were asked to make Stacked Green Chile and Grilled Chicken Enchiladas using homemade corn tortillas and  homemade green chile sauce.

I am using a recipe for Enchiladas with Creamy Green Chile Sauce and homemade corn tortillas which I’ve cooked many times before and which I love.  The original recipe is found here: thatsmyhome - Chicken Enchiladas with Creamy Green Chile Sauce.

The thatsmyhome recipe suggests using: (2 cans or jars (4.5 ounces each) chopped green chiles (undrained) ). In keeping with the challenge, this time I substituted fresh medium local green chiles, which I then roasted under the griller – much better! I also stacked rather than rolled them and doubled the cumin. I always like to make the corn tortillas too as I think they taste much better than store bought (ha ha - I can hardly ever find them available to buy where I live anyway, only the wheat ones). I buy masa harina at my local Indian ingredient supplier  This is my amended recipe:

Chicken Enchiladas with Creamy Green Chile Sauce

1 T. butter
3/4 C. chopped onion
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. ground cumin
2 T. flour
1 1/2 C. chicken stock or broth
8–10 fresh medium sized (medium heat) green chiles
vegetable oil for softening tortillas
12 corn tortillas (see recipe below)
500g (2 C.) boneless chicken thighs
2 C. cheddar cheese (or monterey jack), grated 
1 C. cream
1/3 C. sliced shallots (green onions) 
1/2 C.  sliced green olives
3 roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
Avocado and chopped fresh coriander (cilantro), to serve

Prepare the fresh corn tortillas (recipe below).

Cut chicken thighs into smallish pieces. Coat in vegetable oil, brown and cook on ridge grill plate or frypan, until cooked through (or you can steam them). Shred or cut into even smaller pieces.

Coat green chiles in vegetable oil, put onto foil-lined griller tray and place under grill (broiler). Turn them every few minutes.  They should be black and blistered.
As they are completely charred (they will probably not all be done at once), remove them to a bowl and cover with plastic, or close up in a paper bag. Let them rest until they are cool. Pull on the stem and the seed core MAY pop out . Open the chile and remove the seeds. Turn the chile skin side up and with a paring knife, scrape away the skin. Sometimes it just pulls right off, sometimes you really have to scrape it. DO NOT RINSE! Slice.

8 may 2010 014

In a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Saute onion until transparent. Stir in garlic, salt and cumin. Stir in flour until well combined. Slowly stir in stock/broth. Add chiles and stir well. Reduce heat to simmer; cook, uncovered, about 15 minutes. (Sauce can be prepared to this point, cooled and refrigerated 24 hours in advance.)

In a small skillet, heat 3 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat until very hot. Dip the edge of a tortilla into the oil to check – it should sizzle immediately. Using tongs, put a tortilla into the pan and cook until soft and lightly brown on each side, about 15-20 seconds per side (at the most). Drain on paper towels. Stack on a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.

To assemble, place tortillas side by side to cover base of shallow 13 x 9 inch baking dish. Combine chicken and 1/2 cup of the green chile sauce. Place 2 tablespoons chicken mixture and 2 tablespoons cheese on each tortilla. Cover each with another tortilla.  Pour remaining sauce over the top of each; then pour cream evenly over entire mixture and top with remaining cheese. Sprinkle with the shallots and green olives. Bake, uncovered, in preheated oven or under griller (broiler) for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped tomatoes, fresh coriander (cilantro) and sliced avocado, and serve.
Makes 6 servings.

Corn Tortillas

Corn Tortillas (from Rick Bayless’s Mexican Kitchen)
Makes about 15

1 3/4 cups masa harina (a maize corn meal found at mexican or international  ingredient suppliers - it is specially treated with lime – do not use normal cornflour or polenta)

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons hot water


Pour hot water over masa harina, cover and let sit 30 minutes. Add (additional) cool water 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough is soft but not sticky. Divide the dough into 15 balls and cover with plastic wrap.

Heat a large (two burner) ungreased griddle or two large skillets, one on medium-low and one on medium-high.

Put a ball of dough between two sheets of plastic (I use two sheets of baking paper and I flatten with a rolling pin). If you don’t have a tortilla press, press to a 5-6” circle using a heavy frying pan or bread board or other heavy, flat object. Put the tortilla into the cooler pan or cooler end of the griddle. The tortilla will probably stick, but within 15 seconds, if the temperature is correct, it will release. Flip it at that point onto the hotter skillet/griddle section. In 30-45 seconds, it should be dotted with brown underneath. Flip it over, still on the hot surface and brown another 30 seconds or so. A good tortilla will balloon up at this point. Remove from heat and let them rest while cooking the remaining tortillas. Use quickly.

These youtube videos show tortillas being made:

Our hosts this month, Barbara of Barbara Bakes and Bunnee of Anna+Food have chosen a delicious Stacked Green Chile & Grilled Chicken Enchilada recipe in celebration of Cinco de Mayo! The recipe, featuring a homemade enchilada sauce was found on and written by Robb Walsh.

PS: If ever I can source tomatillos I will in the future make the far more authentic Green Chile Sauce suggested in the challenge. If you’d like the recipe it’s here:  Stacked Green Chile and Grilled Chicken Enchiladas and Green Chile Sauce. The recipe uses fresh tomatillos, charred fresh anaheim chiles, and monterey jack cheese.


Saturday, May 8, 2010

Sticky Date Pudding – baked or steamed

Sticky Date Pudding is a favourite in our house. I usually bake it.  I’ve  just tried steaming it.  It’s delicious either way!  The cake is moist yet not too sweet. The more sauce the pudding absorbs, the richer, sweeter and stickier it becomes. It freezes really well (I gladwrap individual portions of the unsauced cake  and freeze the sauce separately).  Also, the sauce is great on sliced bananas or ice cream.
I’d been exploring different ways of cooking Sticky Date “Pudd” during the Daring Bakers Challenge for April 2010 (see  Steamed Steak and Kidney Pudding).
  • baking
  • steaming in a saucepan
  • steaming in a steamer saucepan

Sticky Date Pudding

  • 180g dates, pitted
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 50g  butter  (salted or unsalted), softened
  • 150g soft brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 130g self raising flour, sifted
  • 50g wholemeal flour
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
Butterscotch Sauce
  • 150g soft brown sugar, or dark brown sugar
  • 250ml full pouring cream (no added gelatine) (I use 35% fat)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1tbl unsalted butter
Almond Praline
  • 1/2 cup sugar or caster sugar
  • 2 tbl water
  • 1/4 cup almonds, slivered

Roughly chop dates. Stir dates and bicarbonate of soda together well so the dates are coated.
sticky date pudd 30 April 2010 002
Pour on boiling water. Stand and leave to cool.
sticky date pudd 30 April 2010 006
Cream butter and sugar.
sticky date pudd 30 April 2010 008
Add eggs one at a time and beat in.
Sift flours and cream of tartar and then add bran back in.
sticky date pudd 30 April 2010 011
Gently fold in the flour and the cooled date mixture. Pour into prepared baking dish/pudding basin/darioles/ramekins.
sticky date pudd 2 30 April 2010 002
Some mixture in a pudding basin ready for steaming.

Combine sugar, cream, vanilla and butter in saucepan. Bring to the boil while stirring and simmer 5 minutes. Set aside until ready to serve.
Almond praline
If you wish, very lightly toast or dry roast the slivered almonds. Then scatter almonds onto a baking paper-lined oven tray or even better, a greased marble slab.  Combine sugar  and 2 tablespoons water in a heavy based small saucepan (the smaller its diameter the better) over medium heat and cook caramel without stirring. Instead, swirl contents (ie. cook 5-10 seconds – swirl, cook 5-10 seconds – swirl), until deep golden. Pour over the almonds and cool until set. Break praline into pieces.
If Baking:
Heat oven to 180˚C (160˚C fan-forced).
For a large square dish - Lightly butter a 20cm (8”) square tin or ovenproof dish and put a square of baking paper at the base for easy removal. Pour in mixture.  If you are not using a fan-forced oven, adjust the oven rack to the lower half of the oven so the top of the pudding will be in the centre of the oven. Bake 20-25 minutes. If it is starting to get too dark on top cover with foil until done. Test for doneness with skewer – only crumbs should adhere. Cut into squares and place in centre of warm dinner plate.  Pierce holes with a toothpick or skewer. Pour  toffee sauce over each (reserving some) and place back in oven for 5 minutes, or else microwave  for 1 minute, or else simply pour hot sauce over pudding, and leave to stand for 10 minutes.
For darioles and ramekins - Lightly butter individual dariole moulds, or ramekins and put a circle of baking paper in the base for easy removal. Fold a kitchen towel and place it in the bottom of a large heavy baking dish (for water bath). This cuts down on splashing and keeps the ramekins from sliding around quite so much. Fill  darioles or ramekins to no more than 2/3 with mixture and place  into baking dish.  Put the dish on the oven rack inside the oven and only then carefully pour warm water around the sides of the moulds until it comes up 1/3 of the side of the moulds. Bake in oven for 40 minutes or until golden and testing with skewer comes out clean. Without removing water bath from oven, carefully remove darioles or ramekins individually from oven. Unmould and place on warm dinner plate. Pierce holes with a toothpick or skewer. Pour toffee sauce over each (reserving some) and place back in oven for 5 minutes, or else microwave for 1 minute, or else simply pour hot sauce over pudding, and leave to stand for 10 minutes.
If Steaming in a Saucepan:
(Steaming in a saucepan is not suitable for darioles or ramekins). Lightly butter a metal or china pudding basin and put a circle of baking paper at the base for easy removal.  Fill with mixture to no more than 2/3. Cut a circle of baking paper and a circle of aluminium foil 4 cm (1 1/2”) wider in diameter than the basin. Tie up with string as pictured. If there is a lid use that too.pudding 16 april 2010 2 041
It helps to put something  inside the large saucepan and  underneath the pudding, such as:

  • a collapsible metal steamer basket
  • a folded up cloth
  • an upturned plate
  • a round cake cooling rack
  • a cake tin lid
  • a metal simmer mat with the prongs pointing downwards (one of these):
simmer mat 27 April 2010 001
Put one of the items from the above list in the large saucepan. Cover with some water and bring to the boil. Also, boil a kettle in readiness. Put filled pudding basin into the saucepan and adjust (from the kettle) the level of boiling water so that it reaches half way up the sides of the pudding. Cover the saucepan with a lid. Bring to a rolling boil.  Adjust heat so that you can hear large bubbles breaking, but it is not so hot or full that the pudding is being lifted too fiercely or floating. Keep topping up with boiling water from the kettle (check every 20 mins or so).  A 500ml or 1 pint pudding took 1  and 1/4 hours  – or 2-3 hours for a 1.5 litre or 3 pint basin.  Steaming is very forgiving and there is a large time frame before it overcooks.  The only failures I have had are when I didn’t have the water hot enough to hear the large bubbles breaking, as I described earlier, or if the water was too high and leaked into the mixture!  Test for doneness with a skewer – only crumbs should adhere.
Pudding bowl sticky date 24 April 2010
Unmould and place on warm dinner plate. Pierce holes with a toothpick or skewer. Pour toffee sauce over (reserving some) and place  in hot oven for 5 minutes, or else microwave for 1 minute, or else simply pour hot sauce over pudding, and leave to stand for 10 minutes. Serve in slices.
If Steaming in a Steamer Saucepan:
Lightly butter  pudding basin, dariole moulds, or ramekins and put a circle of baking paper in the base). darioles16 april 2010 2 031
Fill with mixture to no more than 2/3.  Cover with a circle of baking paper and then a circle of foil 4cm (1 1/2“) wider than the diameter. Tie twice around with kitchen string  and/or a rubber band.
covered dariole 16 april 2010 2 038
Pour water into base of pan and steam as you would vegetables or as per manufacturer’s instructions.  Check water every so often and add more when needed. The darioles took me 45 mins.  A 500ml or 1 pint pudding took 1  and 1/4 hours  – or 2-3 hours for a 1.5 litre or 3 pint basin. Test for doneness with a skewer – only crumbs should adhere.
steamed sticky pudd 44
Unmould and place on warm dinner plate. Pierce holes with a toothpick or skewer. Pour toffee sauce over (reserving some) and place in hot oven for 5 minutes, or else microwave for 1 minute, or else simply pour hot sauce over pudding, and leave to stand for 10 minutes.
Serve with extra sauce (warmed) and cream.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Steak and Kidney Pudding – Daring Bakers Challenge April 2010

They had a pudding in a basin, and the smell that arose from it was so delightful that Bunyip Bluegum was quite unable to pass on.
“Pardon me,” he said, raising his hat, “but am I right in supposing that this is a steak-and-kidney pudding?”
“At present it is,” said Bill Barnacle.
“It smells delightful,” said Bunyip Bluegum.
“It is delightful,” said Bill, eating a large mouthful.
Bunyip Bluegum was too much of a gentleman to invite himself to lunch, but he said carelessly, “Am I right in supposing that there are onions in this pudding?”
Before Bill could reply, a thick, angry voice came out of the pudding, saying--
“Onions, bunions, corns and crabs, Whiskers, wheels and hansom cabs,
Beef and bottles, beer and bones, Give him a feed and end his groans.”

(by Norman Lindsay)
“Albert, Albert,” said Bill to the Puddin’, “where’s your manners?”
“Where’s yours?” said the Puddin’ rudely, “guzzling away there, and never so much as offering this stranger a slice.”
“There you are, “ said Bill. “There’s nothing this Puddin’ enjoys more than offering slices of himself to strangers.”
“How very polite of him,” said Bunyip, but the Puddin’ replied loudly--
“Politeness be sugared, politeness be hanged, Politeness be jumbled and tumbled and banged. It’s simply a matter of putting on pace, Politeness has nothing to do with the case.”
“Always anxious to be eaten,” said Bill, that’s this Puddin’s mania. Well, to oblige him, I ask you to join us at lunch.”
“Delighted, I’m sure,” said Bunyip, seating himself. “There’s nothing I enjoy more than a good go in at steak-and-kidney pudding in the open air.”
(by Norman Lindsay)
from The Magic Pudding, by Norman Lindsay

The April 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Esther of The Lilac Kitchen. She challenged everyone to make a traditional British pudding using, if possible, a very traditional British ingredient: suet.

The recipe I followed is from the cook’s companion by Stephanie Alexander, except that I halved the recipe and used a 500ml or 1 pint pudding basin. I liked the mushrooms (I used swiss browns). They balanced the flavours of the steak and kidney well.

aunt nora’s steak and kidney pudding

Stephanie Alexander
1kg blade steak, cut into 2cm cubes
250g ox kidney, trimmed and cut into small pieces
1 1/2 tbsp plain flour
125g flat mushrooms, roughly chopped
1 small onion, very finely chopped
1 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup rich stock or water

Suet crust
500g plain flour
250g coarsely grated suet
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup water

Grease a 1-litre pudding basin. To make the crust, mix the ingredients in a large bowl and knead lightly. The dough should not be too stiff. Roll two-thirds of the dough quite thinly into a round and line the basin.

In a large bowl, combine the steak and kidney with the flour, mushrooms, onion, salt and pepper. Pack firmly into the basin.

Roll out the remaining dough to make a lid. Place on top of the mixture, wet the edges and press to seal very well.

(Stephanie doesn’t mention covering her pudding – which I did. I covered the pudding with a circle (4 cm or 2 ” larger than pudding’s diameter) of baking paper, then one of foil, held down the sides with a rubber band, and then tied it twice round with kitchen string. I didn’t take a picture though. But instead a picture of a smaller pudding in illustration.)

Stand the basin on a cake rack or steamer rack or upturned cake tin in a stockpot
(NB: I used a steamer saucepan this time which worked well. Other methods are using a collapsible vegetable steamer basket; or a folded cloth or an upturned plate on the bottom of the saucepan. Alternatively, this method (which is my own idea and worked well on a pudding I made the other day) - this pictured type of simmer mat sitting inside the saucepan and under the pudding with the prongs downward and then pour in the boiling water. )

and pour boiling water to come two-thirds up its sides. Cover and steam the pudding steadily for 4 hours. Check the water level every 30 minutes or so.
(The pudding puffed up while cooking and then when it was cooked I took it out and took off the baking paper and foil and let it rest for a while. The suet crust then changed from a pale yellow colour to a deeper colour and shrank down and settled to what you see.)
To serve, heat the stock to boiling or have boiling water ready. Carefully remove the pudding from the stockpot (use a tea towel to prevent being burnt). Cut a small hole in the lid and pour in the boiling stock or water. Wait 10 minutes before serving.

Steak and kidney pudding is traditionally served at the table from the basin, still wrapped in the tea towel. I like serving a puree of buttery parsnips with this, and a big dish of beans or crisply sautéed cabbage.
Serves 6.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Chicken Cacciatore

chicken cacciatore 16 april 2010 2 018

This recipe is a low fat, rich and tasty version of Chicken Cacciatore using either the stovetop or a slow cooker crockpot. 

There are many versions of Chicken Cacciatore. This dish has been popular and commonly made  in Australia (we have many Italian immigrants) for many years. This recipe is my adaptation of my mother’s recipe (I think she got it from a magazine, long forgotten), but now so altered by my changes over many makings that our recipes are now nothing alike.

I look for a thick, low fat very tomato-ey garlic oregano sauce which doesn’t separate. I like to add some extra tasty flavours right at the end, so that I can adjust them to taste.

I skin and then brown the chicken (brushed lightly with oil and sprinkled with pepper) on a ridge grill. This develops flavour and also cuts down on  fat.

In the past I’ve tried versions where the pieces (skin attached) are coated first in seasoned flour before browning. I think this just soaks up oil however you do it, and there can be a tendency for the flour to burn, leaving a bad taste. Also, all that oil floating around tends to make the sauce separate later and that’s not a good look.

Cooking on a low heat also keeps the sauce from separating.

This recipe can be made in a slow cooker/crockpot (use less liquid) and it will be yummy.  However, when I have the time I prefer to cook it on the stove top on a very low heat (a simmer mat is good), as even with the lid on some steam tends to escape during the cooking and you can take the lid off and cook for a short while at the end, which all results in a more condensed, tasty sauce.


Chicken Cacciatore

by mandarine

chicken cacciatore 16 april 2010 2 024

2 kg (4lb 40z) chicken pieces, bone in

(Use any chicken pieces with the bone in, because the bones develop flavour. If you only have boneless chicken pieces, then use chicken stock or consomme instead of water when it’s time to add the liquid).

Here I’ve  used:

1 kg (2lb 2oz) chicken drumsticks; and

1kg (2lb 2oz) chicken marylands (chicken drumsticks attached to the thigh)

Olive oil

(1 tbl to sauté the onions plus enough to brush on the chicken pieces to brown them)

2 large onions, chopped (I used 4 small onions today)

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

110g (4oz) tomato paste

2 x 400g(140z)  tins peeled tomatoes

1 bay leaf

1/2 tsp dried oregano leaves

Water (use chicken stock or consommé if using boneless chicken pieces)

1/4 cup dry red or white wine (optional)

2 medium anchovy fillets, finely chopped

1/8 tsp chilli paste (I used sambal oelek this time)

1   1/2 tsp vinegar or to taste (I use white wine vinegar)

1/2 tsp sugar

3/4 cup stoned black olives (I like whole kalamata olives, or use sliced)

Cracked black pepper


(I use a 250g or 8 oz cup)


chicken cacciatore 16 april 2010 2 003

Remove skin and any bits of fat from chicken pieces. Brush chicken pieces lightly with oil and sprinkle with cracked black pepper. Heat a ridged grill or a barbeque plate and brown the chicken pieces, a few at a time. Remove chicken pieces from grill and set  aside. When all are done deglaze the pan with water (or wine if using), scrape up any brown bits and reserve the deglaze mix.

 chicken cacciatore 16 april 2010 2 015

In a large heavy bottomed saucepan, sauté the onions.  When the onions are almost done,  add the finely chopped garlic and cook a short while so the garlic doesn’t brown.  Add the tomato paste and cook out the rawness for a minute.

Meanwhile, with a pair of kitchen scissors chop inside the tins of tomatoes to break them up (this way you won’t get squirted later!), then add.

Add bay leaf, oregano, reserved deglaze mix, and some salt and pepper. 

If you want to transfer to a slow cooker/crockpot, do it now. If using a slow cooker crockpot pour in water (or chicken stock) to less than the level of the chicken. Cover and cook on low until tender, redistributing chicken occasionally.

If however, you’re continuing with the saucepan on the stove, pour water (or chicken stock)  to the level of the top of the chicken pieces and cover the pot with a lid. Cook on a very low heat with hardly any bubbles, stirring sometimes to redistribute the chicken.  I put my pot on a simmer mat. Cook until the chicken is tender and starts to fall away from the bone.

Finally, add the finely chopped anchovies, the chilli paste, vinegar to taste, sugar, olives, and adjust for pepper and salt. Heat through with the lid off.

I like to serve Chicken Cacciatore with plain boiled rice.

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