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Monthly Archive for March 2010


Banana and Choc Muffins

Banana and chocolate chip muffinsWell, I have been donating a lot of cooking lately, so I haven’t had much time to take photos, well, that’s my excuse anyway!  So tonight I decided I would cook something and keep it!  We had been given some lovely local bananas and they ripened up pretty quick, and no one would eat them all brown and spotty, so I thought some muffins would be nice!

What You Need:

  • 3 bananas
  • 2 cups self raising flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 60g butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup choc bits
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

What You Need To Do:

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees first. Line your tins with cupcake cases.  This recipe makes about 18 muffins but, I made 12 in a cupcake tin and 3 enormous ones in a large muffin tin (for the man that requires manly cakes, not in girly pink patty pans!)  Melt the butter now and set it aside so it has time to cool a little.

Sift the flour, stir in the sugar, breaking up any lumps of sugar, and make a well in the centre of the bowl.  Lightly beat the eggs, milk and butter and add to the dry ingredients.

Mash the bananas and add the cinnamon and stir it in.  Add this to the bowl and gently mix everything together until it is just combined, then gently stir in the choc bits.  I used milk chocolate bits but I think white chocolate would be just as yummy.

Spoon one and a half tablespoons of mixture into each case and bake for 20 minutes or until they are firm to the touch.  Leave them to cool for a few minutes in the tin and then turn onto a wire rack to completely cool, if you can resist!!

Deliciously Creamy Pumpkin Soup

easy-pumpkin-soupWinter is getting nearer!  It was even cool enough to have the quilt on the other night, and it has been raining and windy so I thought I might make some comfort food for lunch! Oh, I am such creature of habit!

What You Need:

  • 1/2 medium pumpkin
  • 1 large leek
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • 1/2 cup vegetable stock
  • salt
  • pepper

What You Need To Do:

Slice the leek in half, lengthways, and give it a rinse because sometimes there is dirt trapped between the layers at the base of the dark green leaves as they turn into the white fleshy part.  If you don’t have a leek you can use onion instead, but leek gives it a bit more of a peppery kick.

Thinly slice the leek and gently fry it in the butter.  You don’t want to colour the leek too much, or burn the butter, so just have it on a low heat.  Meanwhile, cut the pumpkin into smallish cubes and make sure to remove the skin.

When the leek has wilted down and is nice and soft, add the curry powder and season with salt and pepper.  Cook the curry powder, just for a minute, to get rid of the raw taste.  I have said 1 teaspoon of curry powder but you can add more or less depending on how you like it.  It imparts a peppery flavour rather than a real curry hit so don’t leave it out altogether, just adjust it to your liking!

Add the pumpkin pieces and pour in the stock.  Give it a good stir so the pumpkin and leek don’t stick to the bottom.  Let the pumpkin simmer away until it is really soft and you can mash it with spoon.  You may need to add more stock as it cooks, depending on what type of pumpkin you use.  I used Jap pumpkin for this recipe and they are quite watery.  Something like a Queensland Blue or a Butternut are a bit drier so might need a bit more liquid.  Plus I like the soup to be thick and creamy in consistency, not watery and thin.

When the pumpkin is cooked use a stick mixer to blend all the lumps out.  Add the cream and give a good mix.  It probably will need some more salt and pepper, so have a taste, and add it if needed.

White bread is a bit of a treat in our house so, today I buttered some slices and cut the crusts off and they were perfect for dipping!  How yummy is that!

Now that I have still got half a pumpkin left I was looking for something different I could do with it. Zo over at Twospoons has this great recipe for a Pumpkin and Cauliflower Wrap. You should see the photo, all gloriously golden pastry and oozing with melted cheese. This is my type of recipe! I think it might be something I could make, pretty soon, and my family will love it.

Roast Chicken with Fennel and Lime

roast-chickenI haven’t cooked a whole chicken for ages, so when they had big, fat fresh ones in the butchers window I just had to get one.  Now, I’ll have to admit I’m not a huge fan of touching raw chicken meat, so the thought of stuffing it with something was not pleasant, so it had to be easy and the least hands on it could be!!

What You Need:

  • 1 large chicken
  • 1 lime
  • 1 large fennel bulb
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 sticks celery
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter (optional)

What You Need To Do:

As I said earlier, I’m not too keen on the feel of raw chicken so I rinsed the chicken under cold running water and pat it thoroughly dry with some paper towel.   Roughly chop the carrot and celery into large chunks, you dont even have to peel the carrots if they are clean and fresh.  Place them into a tray lined with baking paper and sit the chicken on top of the veges.

Cut the fennel bulb into chunks and slice the lime into four thick slices.  Place the fennel and 2 of the lime slices into the cavity of the chicken.  You can tuck the other 2 slices in behind the wings just to flavour the skin a bit if you like.

Now the butter!  It is optional if you are trying to be more healthy than me, but I had seen it being done to an enormous turkey on Martha Stewart, so I thought I would give it a go.  You have to gently separate the skin on the top from the meat underneath.  To do this, you run your fingers between the two layers, starting at the cavity end, and gently push them apart.  You move your hand down toward the breast and the skin should separate from the meat.  It is into this gap you put the butter.  So, when you are done you will have layer of butter between the meat and the skin.

Season with salt and pepper, and a little squeeze of the lime, and bake for about 45 minutes, depending on the size of the chook you have.  The juices should run clear when it is done.

Now I wasn’t too pleased about having to do this but I ended up with a very moist, golden skinned chicken that didn’t require constant basting.  So maybe I have conquered a little fear of mine!!

The veges underneath the chicken can be used to flavour some gravy or eaten with the meal, whatever you like!!

Glazed Pork Fillet

pork-filletI made this for lunch today, just for two.  Did you read that, Just. For. Two. It’s a rare occasion that lunch is just for us to share, without the need for the mad juggling of plates and glasses that goes on when little people are dining!  It’s simple to put together and doesn’t require much preparation, or washing up, which is always a bonus!  I only had a small cut of pork to work with, and it was probably cooked a little more than I would have liked, but that is what happens when you have to bail out the washing machine because it decides it just wants to keep on filling up and not wash! Oh the glamorous life I lead!!

What You Need:

  • 200g pork fillet


  • 1 tablespoon hoi sin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon kecap manis
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic

What You Need To Do:

If you have time you can make the glaze the night before and marinate the pork overnight, but if you don’t have the time ( or inclination!) it will still taste yummy.  All you do is mix all of the glaze ingredients together and coat the piece of pork.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and oil a baking tray.  Bake the pork until it is done, this piece took about 20 minutes. You can carefully baste the pork with some of the juices from the pan while it is cooking to help keep it moist.  Take it out of the oven and set it aside for about five minutes before you cut it.

I served the pork with some basmati rice and some wilted bok choy, just because that is what I had!  You could stir fry some veges or even have a little salad with it.