Monday, 28 January 2008
People try to say that Carbs make you fat, but they fail to see that it is the type of carbs they are eating that is at fault. Ancient civilisations thrived on grains, it is only when we started to over-process them that problems arose. If you have a weakness for sugary, processed type carbs I can see how a low-carb diet would work for you. All I am saying is that eating grain based foods (I'm talking ones where you can still SEE the grains) will help you to feel full for longer without making you gain weight.
Anyway, apart from the general lack of carbs in this book there is also a lack of information. So much so that I am seriously contemplating throwing it in the recycling rather than giving it to charity. You would think a 'low-carb' 'low-fat' book would have some kind of definition about what constitutes low-carb and low-fat. Like how much carb they think is 'bad' for you or how much fat is a good amount to eat in a day for someone trying to lose weight. Nope! The recipes all have nutritional information, but if you don't have any idea of what you are reading then that is not going to help you very much.
The general recommendation is to reduce fat intake to around 40g a day if you are trying to lose weight, someone who is of a smaller build and inactive would need to aim for around 30g a day. Would it suprise you then to find several dishes in this book with over 30g of fat per serve? How about a curry with 38.8g of fat per serve? Guess you will be eating celery sticks for the rest of the day then? But wait, the book fails to mention this to its readers so they won't even know that they are over consuming fat. Handy.
So, this is one book that is not sneaking its way back onto my bookshelf. The next book for my Cookbook Challenge is Off the Shelf by Donna Hay. Oh the ironic title.
Look out for my Daring Bakers post in the next few days, it may be late because I still haven't made this months challenge, but it is one of mums favourites so I will be giving it a go!
Wednesday, 23 January 2008
This dish was VERY sweet. I don't know what I expected from the title, but we had ours by itself over rice and it was definitely lacking some vegetables to balance it out. Next time I will serve steamed vegetables on the side or maybe even cook them in the sauce as well. Again, this one is adapted from the Family Circle Best Seller Series Favourite Minced Meat Recipes cookbook. Sorry about the photo that looks kinda like turds, but my memory card was almost full and could only take 1 more photo, this looked OK on the little screen but not so much on the big screen.
Saucy Honey Sausages (Serves 4)
Combine 5Tbsp honey, 1Tbsp worcestershire sauce, 1tsp grainy honey mustard, 2Tbsp lemon juice & 4Tbsp tomato sauce or chutney. Slice 6 button mushrooms and fry in 1Tbsp olive oil for 2 minutes, add 500g lean beef sausages and fry until browned all over. Pour over sauce and simmer, covered, for 10-15 minutes, turning frequently, until sausages are cooked through and sauce has thickened. Serve over rice with steamed vegetables on the side.
Tuesday, 22 January 2008
This is one of the recipes that I cooked from this weeks cookbook challenge book, Family Circle Best Seller Series Favourite Minced Meat Recipes. Another book that I picked up from freecycle when I first moved out of home, and another book that lacks any sort of date. It is an older style cookbook judging by the layout and distinct lack of photos. The only photos are on designated photo pages and it is quite amusing as the description on almost every one of these pages has obviously not taken into account the fact that the photos have been mirrored, so they are all out of whack. The only things that may help date the book are its references to 'new' rolled pastry available in supermarkets and microwave ovens, maybe someone else might be able to put a year on it with these clues?
When it comes to the recipes this book is jam packed full of lots of budget friendly ideas. When I went through it to decide what to cook last week my list went off the page with over 40 recipes that I wanted to try. Way too many for just this week, so I will definitely be coming back to this one in the near future.
These pasties were quite nice and even my brother commented that the wholemeal pastry wasn't all that bad. I really liked them and it gave me a chance to use another gadget that I haven't used in a very long time - my pastie moulds. They worked beautifully. The only problem with the recipe was the pastry part of it, which called for 2C each of flour and water - to make a stiff dough. I don't think so! I followed it without thinking and ended up with slop. I've fixed up the quantities below so you should end up with a nice, workable dough. Needless to say, I now have a freezer full of dough for another day.
I also made another recipe from this book that I will share with you tomorrow. The next book for the Cookbook Challenge is one that I can't believe is actually on my shelf, Australian Womens Weekly Low-Carb Low-Fat. I loathe low-carb diets, but I will leave that rant for another day. Lets just say that I am going to have trouble finding something to cook out of this book, but I will have plenty to say about it!
Meat & Vegetable Pasties (Makes 6-10)
Put 1/2C soft margarine or butter & 1/2C cold water into a bowl, add 1/2C plain wholemeal flour and mix to a smooth paste. Add 1 1/2C plain wholemeal flour & 1/2tsp salt and mix to form a firm dough. Knead lightly, wrap in foil and chill for 20 minutes.
In the meantime, gently fry 1 large, finely chopped onion & 250g lean beef mince in 1Tbsp olive oil until meat is well browned. Add 1C finely shredded cabbage & 1 medium, finely grated carrot and fry for another 5 minutes. Stir in 1/2C low fat grated cheese, salt, pepper, 1/4tsp dried mixed herbs & 1Tbsp chopped parsley.
Preheat oven to 220C. Roll pastry out to a thickness of 3mm and cut into 6 squares. Spoon some filling onto one side of each sqaure, brush edges with water and fold over to form a triangle. Press edges together and cut 2-3 slashes across the top to allow for escaping steam. If you have pastie moulds like me, just roll the pastry out, cut out circles with back of mould and repeat with remaining scraps of pastry. Fill the inside with mixture and press mould together to seal.
Put on a greased oven tray, brush with milk or egg and bake for 10 minutes. Lower heat to 180C and bake for a further 25 minutes.
Sunday, 13 January 2008
This is by far the nicest ravioli I have ever had the pleasure of eating. Making it was a little bit tedious and to tell you the truth I almost threw it all in the bin and made spaghetti jaffles or something equally quick & easy. My main problem was that I tried to use a ravioli mould to shape them, but I'm pretty sure there was meant to be another half to the mould because once they were in they didn't want to come out! Or at least they didn't want to come out with their pretty edges intact, which kinda makes the whole mould pointless, no? In the end I just followed the instructions in the recipes for shaping them, except that I didn't have a fluted pastry cutter (great, another kitchen gadget I need!) so I just pressed the edges together with a fork to decorate them.
On the upside, I did get to use my Kitchenaid mincing attachment and my pasta machine, both of which I've only got to use a few times now. I forgot how easy it is to make your own pasta, so I will be making some more soon for sure. And did I say the meal was delicious? That is definitely an upside after spending so much time and effort making it. The depth of flavour comes from the 5 (yes 5!) different meats used for the filling. Very tasty!
This is of course the recipe I'm making from this weeks Cookbook Challenge book, the Australian Women's Weekly Cooking Class Cookbook. I halved the recipe because the original served 8-10 people, but it would be good to make and freeze half for another night, if you have the patience (or the fluted pastry cutter) to do so.
Ravioli (Serves 4)
Sift together 2C plain flour & a pinch of salt in a bowl. In a seperate bowl beat together 1 egg & 1/2Tbsp olive oil and add to flour. Gradually add 1/4-1/2C water until the mixture forms a firm and pliable dough. Don't add too much or the dough will be too soft to work with. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes. Place into a lightly oiled bowl, cover and stand for 30 minutes.
To make the filling place 125g beef mince, 125g cooked chicken meat, 30g salami, 2 rashers bacon, 60g ham, 2 crushed garlic cloves, 1/4C chopped parsley, 1/4tsp allspice, 1/4tsp salt & 1/4C cooked spinach through a mincer. Transfer to a bowl, add 1 lightly beaten egg and mix well.
To make the sauce place 45g margarine or butter, 1/2Tbsp olive oil & 1 crushed garlic clove in a saucepan over medium heat and saute for 1 minute. Add 400g canned tomatoes, 1/4tsp allspice, 1/4tsp rosemary, 1/4tsp basil, salt & pepper and stir until well combined. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer gently for 60 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Roll dough out to 2mm thickness (made easier with a pasta machine). Cut dough into 10cm strips and place teaspoonfuls of mixture at 5cm intervals along one edge. Brush along edge of pastry with 1 egg yolk & 1Tbsp water combined. Fold pastry over filling to enclose and seal edges. Cut with your fluted pastry cutter (you lucky thing, you!) or just cut with a knife and decorate with a fork.
Place ravioli into boiling water and cook, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes. You may need to do this in batches if your pan isn't very big, don't overcrowd the pan or they won't cook properly. Drain water from the pan, add sauce, bring to the boil, add ravioli and reduce heat. Simmer very gently for 10 minutes. Serve with grated parmesan cheese.
The next Cookbook Challenge book is another oldie, the Family Circle Best Seller Series: Favourite Minced Meat Recipes. There are heaps of recipes that look good in this one so it is going to be hard to choose which ones to make this week. By the way what is with the Library Thing widget loving all the old cookbooks? That's 3 in a row now. I suppose it is a good thing though because I probably would never have actually made anything out of these books if it weren't for them being chosen at random by the widget.
Wednesday, 9 January 2008
Although I 'chose' the book for this weeks Cookbook Challenge on the weekend, I have been slack in posting about it! The first book to come up on the amazing Library Thing widget was my high school home economics textbook, Cookery the Australian Way (I have the 6th edition, printed in 1998). Obviously, I have already cooked from this book so it won't be my challenge book of the week, but I will list here the recipes that I have tried (& remember). This is mostly for my reference so I can find them quickly later on, but hopefully it is of some interest to you!
Vegetable Lasagne p. 114
Vegetable Pasties p. 130
Spinach & Cheese Parcels p. 131
White Sauce p. 282
Apple Crumble p. 330
Golden Syrup Dumplings p. 336
Chocolate Mousse p. 339
Pancakes p. 368
Coconut Ice p. 429
Hedgehog p. 431
White Christmas p. 436
Pickled Onions p. 481 (I was looking for this one when I did the My Favourite Edible Gifts for Christmas post!)
Ironically, the next book on the list was the Australian Womens Weekly Cooking Class Cookbook. Who would have thought that the first two books on the list would both be related to learning and easy style recipes? This one is much older, although I'm not sure how old as it doesn't have a date in it - but the props in the photos have a definite 70's flair to them. As a nutrition student the chapter on 'Vegetables' is quite interesting to me - it only has 3 recipes, all of which involve deep frying white objects. Where is the rainbow of colour needed for good health?
I made a delicious ravioli from this cookbook for dinner tonight which I will post sometime in the next few days.
Sunday, 6 January 2008
haha... I don't know if it is just me being immature, but the name of this recipe makes me chuckle. Seriously, that is what it is called! This is my first recipe for my Cookbook Challenge, adapted from the Reader's Digest Microwave Cookbook. The original recipe served 8, but it was just my brother and I home tonight so I quartered the recipe. There is no way that 8 serves would have fit in the microwave all at once anyway, you would be pushing it to get 4 in there. I doubled the amount of cheese mixture and breadcrumbs that were called for as there didn't seem to be enough.
The flavours in this were delicious, but as can be the case with microwaving meat, the chicken was a little bit dry. I have a feeling that had a little bit to do with the fact that I had to let it sit for a while. When I went to take a photo my camera decided it had no batteries so I had to let it charge for a little while, plus the vegies weren't ready yet. So, time your vegetables properly and make sure you are ready to eat it as soon as it comes out of the microwave and your chicken should be nice and moist, or at least moister than mine was.
Cheesy Chicken Breasts (Serves 4)
Combine 250g softened cream cheese, 1 1/2Tbsp milk, 4 finely chopped spring onions, 2Tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley, 2tsp chopped fresh thyme & 3 crushed garlic cloves in a bowl and mix to combine. Season to taste with salt & pepper. Cut a slit in the thickest part of 4 skinless chicken breasts and spoon an equal amount of cream cheese mixture into each.
Combine 1C multigrain breadcrumbs & 3tsp paprika on a plate. Carefully dip chicken into 60g melted butter and then coat in breadcrumbs all over. Place in a greased microwave safe casserole dish and cover loosely with greaseproof paper. Microwave on high for 15 minutes, or until tender, checking halfway through cooking time. Cut through the thickest part of one of the pieces to make sure the chicken is cooked through. Serve with steamed vegetables and mashed potato, or a salad.
Thursday, 3 January 2008
I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and wish you all the best for 2008!
So it's 3 days into the new year and I haven't told you guys my resolutions for 2008, how slack of me! In fact, one of the things I want to work on this year is my laziness... therefore I am going to try and post here at least twice a week and when I go back to uni I am going to get my assignments done as early as possible. OK, so the university thing will probably be hard because I work better under pressure, but I would love to hand some work in early for once and not be stressing about it the day before.
As for posting here twice a week, I have a bit of an idea that might help me along there. Another one of my resolutions is to cook at least one recipe from every cookbook I own. As you can see on my Library Thing catalogue, I own 133 cookbooks! What I am going to do is randomly choose a cookbook each week and choose at least one recipe to cook from it. I'll be using the Library Thing widget in my sidebar, which randomly generates 10 different cookbooks from my library when this page is loaded, to choose the book of the week. I have cooked from some of them so I don't need to cook a recipe from every single one, I will just select the first one on that list that I haven't cooked from. If I have already cooked from the first book on the list I will list the recipes that I have cooked from it for my future reference and possibly your interest! If it isn't too much for me I may also jump in on Magazine Mondays as my magazine addiction is just as bad as my cookbook fetish.
The first book for my 'Cookbook Challenge' is theReader's Digest Microwave Cookbook from 1991. I got this book in a big box full of cookbooks that I got off Freecycle when I first left home to go to university. It has a lot of information about suitable cookware and how to microwave different ingredients before it even goes into the recipes, which cover everything from eggs to meat and vegetables to desserts. I've flicked through it and jotted down some recipes to try such as Eggs baked in ham nests, Cheesy chicken breasts and Fruit & Nut bars. There actually looks to be quite a few good recipes in here, I can't believe it has been collecting dust on the bottom shelf of my bookcase (where most of the older books are banished to!). I'll let you know what I make later on, I should get cracking on that because I will normally be choosing books on a Saturday to fit in with when we go shopping so this one doesn't get a full week, poor little thing.
If you would like to check out the rest of my goals for my life you can check them out at 43Things. This is a great website that helps you organise your goals and share them with others, making you more accountable for them.