It’s Friday!

Firstly some housekeeping.
I have recently changed my ravelry name. Instead of rainruinedclothes I am now known as bekswhoknits.
It makes my rav name the same as my twitter name plus means I don’t have to explain about rainruinedclothes (Editors lyrics from the song The Big Exit).

I’ve also recently updated my about page. I hadn’t updated my old one since I started this blog and it was out of date, and a little old.
I’ve also been mushy and sappy and given my partner in crime a new code name – HeWhoFishes.
He is such a big part of my real life and a tiny little part of my blog and I want to fix that. Giving him his own persona will hopefully help.

Secondly I have to share a recipe with you. Ian Hewittson is an Australian TV chef who is a bit of a Ron Swanson type.
Hewhofishes and I watched this just before going to bed last night and we were in hysterics.
With the focus of many TV chefs these days being healthy but tasty food, Huey has stayed true to the food he’s been cooking on TV for 20 years.
So for some unknown reason we can’t help but find it amusing when Huey adds a bit more butter, or sprays a mixture of butter, cheese, and breadcrumbs with olive oil spray for good measure.
So this breakfast just spoke to us. The final straw was when he served it with iceberg lettuce and mustard dressing, the mustard dressing including a cup of vegetable oil. And then he called it a ‘light breakfast’
And he is probably the only TV show I know that if you post a stamped self address envelope to their address, they will post you back the recipes. Its a delightful pre-internet concept.

Huey’s Light Breakfast
Brown onion and bacon. Add chopped sausages.
Top with cheese and breadcrumbs, salt and pepper.
Make a indent and break eggs on top.
Add more cheese and breadcrumbs.
Spray with olive oil
Bake in a hot oven for 20minutes or until golden.

Sounds delicious.

On the knitting front, I have had a bad case of cast-on-itis. Where nothing I already have on my needles seems right so in casting on something new. This one in particular I love the yarn, love the pattern, but not the combination. But I don’t know whether to frog or continue.

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While I think about that decision I started a crochet cowl.
I don’t know what I’ve done, I think I’ve unintentionally increased on the first row, to create a curve. And I’m not sure if I like it or not.

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While I think about that decision I cast on a hat. This I do like.
Although it’s a pain to knit as I’m holding two strands together and haven’t compensated enough with the needle size. So I’m pushing pretty hard on the needles. Hopefully it’s quick enough to finish so it won’t annoy me.

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Has anyone got a cure for cast-on-itis? How do you decide if something’s worth frogging and starting again.

How cute is this frogging poster!!! For those curious, when I talk about frogging I’m talking about ripping back my knitting and starting again. Rip it, Rip it – like a frog.

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Pea soup

For when you can’t stand anymore takeaway, but are so tired you put the frozen stock (in the foil packet) in the microwave to defrost.

Top tip! Foil packets can burst into flames when you put them in the microwave. Fortunately they do make crackling noises before they burst into flames. Otherwise this may be a very different type of blog post.

Fortunately I’m not being nominated for a Darwin Award, but sharing a soup recipe.

Add stock, frozen peas, whatever herbs sound good at the time to a pan.
Cook.
Blend.

Check to see if there’s any ham or bacon in the freezer. Nope.
Check for cream or Greek yogurt. Nope.

Eat it anyway.
It’s not that bad.

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~~~
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I hate bananas (but these passion fruit and banana muffins are good. Apparently.)

It’s horrible baking something that you can’t eat.

I really don’t like bananas. I dislike the smell of them so much that I have been known to throw up.

So while my boyfriend was away for the weekend, the bananas we had in the house got smellier and smellier. They were getting to the end of their life.
I detest throwing out food. So I decided to be brave and make it into something.

So I found a recipe for banana muffins. which looked relatively straight forward.

So I made one variation to the recipe which was to use passion fruit Greek yoghurt.
Apparently this was a welcome addition.

It does feel really weird blogging about a recipe that I haven’t tasted myself.

But I am assured that it worked.

the ingredients
1 banana (mushed)
1/2 cup passion fruit flavoured natural yoghurt
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup olive oil
1 egg
1 & 1/4 cup self raising flour

the recipe
Mush the banana.
Add the yoghurt, sugar, olive oil, and egg and mix together.

Add the flour and mix gently (try just 1 cup to begin, but add the extra 1/4 cup if necessary).

Spoon into a muffin tray and bake for 25 minutes in a 180 degree oven.
Or until they look cooked. They should spring to the touch.

I never thought I would feature a banana based recipe on my blog. And I would love to have a non biased opinion on these banana and passion fruit muffins.

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Pumpkin Soup in 4 ingredients (or slightly more)

Pumpkin.
Apple.
Vegetable stock.
Cream.

Well that’s how I made this batch of pumpkin soup.

Those four ingredients went into a saucepan until they boiled up and were ready to blitz using a food processor (or equivalent). Adding salt and pepper naturally. And some fresh parsley at the end (or whatever you have growing).

Like so many soups these are the important ingredients.

Although if you wanted to use more than 4 ingredients you could start with some spring onions.
Maybe add some nutmeg or ginger.
Bulk it up with some potatoes.

And go easy on the cream. Don’t just add the whole 500m carton just because you didn’t want to waste it.
Not a good idea.

I know I’ve got this far without addressing what you’re probably thinking. Pumpkin and Apple in a soup?
But trust me. It works well.
I used royal gala apples and it just adds a bit of sweetness and makes it a little special.

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~~~
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A moment of genius

My rissole recipe, but instead of breadcrumbs crushed potato crisps.

It’s never going to win a weight watchers recipe contest, but it was very tasty. Rissoles taste better the next day in a sandwich, but that’s if they last that long.

basic rissoles
Put all these ingredients in a bowl
500g mince, 1 egg, 1 slice bread soaked in water, 1 diced onion, 1 squeeze of BBQ sauce, salt & pepper
Get squelchy and mix all together, hands work great.
(always make sure that you prepare the breadcrumbs/crushed potato crisps before you start mixing. It makes it easier)

Make into patty shapes. Coat in crushed potato crisps.

Put into fridge for about half an hour.

Give to the gentleman friend to cook on the barbecue. (I’m hopeless at pan frying these.)

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~~~
lets talk!
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Cozy stews and Nanna blankets.

If there’s on theme that has kept cropping up in the last week it’s cozy.

I have an appreciation for all the seasons. Sometimes I think that we should have 1 month of each and that would solve all my problems.

The first month of every season is the best. In summer you start to wear pretty floral dresses without tights, and the heat is warm and inviting. By the time February comes round, the 40 degree days seem longer and the nights aren’t balmy they’re just exhaustingly hot.
We’re just beginning winter and so the jackets and hoodies are out of the cupboard. And everything is cozy. In two months time my bones will be cold and no amount of wooly socks, hot casseroles or squishy cowls will warm me up.

Well maybe this casserole might.

I really was impressed with myself.

the ingredients
500gm diced lamb
1/4 cup flour
1 diced onion
400gm tin chopped tomatoes
1 cup beef stock
1 cup beer
1 cup diced mushrooms
1 tbl spoon gravy powder
Dash worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper

the recipe
Fry the onions and garlic in olive oil. Once cooked put in casserole dish. (note: if your casserole dish doesn’t fit in the oven with other trays in, take them out now)

Brown the lamb in the same pot. Add flour and cook the flour a bit.
Once that’s brown, add the beer and beef stock. Bring to the boil.

Chop the mushrooms and put in the casserole dish.
Add the tin of tomatoes, worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper.
Add the boiling lamb mixture and stir.
Add some herbs if you like (I added dried oregano and fresh rosemary)

Put in a 220 degree oven with the lid on.

Cook for 1 hour 30. While this is cooking make the dumplings.
Put the dumplings in the casserole at 1hr30 and cook for another 30 minutes with the lid off.

the dumplings
1 cup self raising flour
60gms cubed butter
1/2 cup grated cheese (Mmm Colby)
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup milk

Rub the butter and flour together to make breadcrumbs. Then add the cheese and oats. Slowly add the milk until the mixture just combines.

Roll into even balls and place on top of casserole.

Wait for casserole to heat up the entire house and make it smell delicious.

Serve with potato bake and fresh green beans.

Await praise from boyfriend who helps himself to seconds.
Try and not lick the plate in front of said boyfriend.

Ahh the beginning of winter when the casseroles are cozy and the Nanna blankets are just warm enough.

(my 10 stitch blanket is coming along nicely btw)

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Cooking with lavender – pancakes

I have a lovely lavender plant in my garden. It’s one of the few plants that survived me.
We don’t get many hours of sunlight, but it thrives in the shade.

But after visiting Bridgetown and all the lavender inspired soaps, and oils I’ve been thinking about how I can get more use out of it.

Currently we use it as a mosquito repellant, there’s always some hanging on our outside light.
I’m a mosquito magnet and I notice the difference.
I’ve tried those yellow mosquito lights but they don’t do anything.

Unfortunately I really don’t like the smell of lavender. My hay fever reacts badly to it, and it reminds me of old lady potpourri. So I’m not likely to have it inside the house.
I enjoy citrus fragrances a lot more and the only time my house smells of flowers it’s not by my choice.
But I did a bit of research which is opening my eyes to cooking with lavender.

There’s a chocolate lavender cake which I really want to try, but unfortunately couldn’t get the oven to light.
So instead I made the lavender sugar syrup by itself. Then Instead of putting it on an invisible chocolate cake, I put it on pancakes.

Inspired by that I made a lavender compound butter to go with it as well.
Absolutely delicious.

bek’s pantry pancakes

This is the ‘day before the food shopping’ pancakes, when you have run out of milk, eggs, and can’t be bothered popping to the shops just for that.
So I always have powdered eggs and powdered milk in the pantry. They don’t get used that often, but they’re good to take camping, and for when laziness strikes. Of course you can use 1 egg and 1 cup of milk but it really tastes pretty good for powder. I find it also makes it easier to get all the lumps out.

the ingredients
1 cup plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tablespoon egg powder
1/2 cup milk powder
Pinch of salt
1 cup water

the method
Mix all the dry ingredients together.
Add the water and mix until there are no lumps.
Add more water if necessary.

I always make it in a Pyrex jug, just because that way I can save on washing up.

lavender sugar syrup
the ingredients
1 cup of water
1 cup of sugar
1 sprig of lavender

the method
Combine all ingredients in a saucepan.
Bring to the boil.
Keep boiling until the sauce thickens.
Take off the heat and once it has cooled slightly (because it will be very hot), pour it through a sieve, and serve.

lavender compound butter
This was a whim. But melted on the pancakes it was a whim that payed off.

the ingredients
butter
Lavender (cut into small pieces)
Lemon zest
Lemon juice

the method
Mix it all together.

It really comes down to eyeballing it, particularly when you only want a little bit.

I’m really not an authority on cooking pancakes. In fact I’m shocking at it. So bad that I’ve bought a crepe maker into my arsenal. It always heats to the right temperature and because it’s non-stick I don’t get those first pancake blues, where the first pancake is soaked in butter.
I do love my crepe maker.

I’m now going to be looking for more ways to use lavender in my cooking.

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Best tuna bake ever

This is the comfort food that comfort food eats when it feels down.

And to think I very nearly didn’t put it in the oven.

Let me step back. Zomg! Tuna bake.

So I took a couple of chances, and used what was in the cupboard.
There’s three key differences between this and my usual tuna bake.
I still haven’t got any cream and was low on milk so I used evaporated milk to make the sauce,
I added ravioli into the pasta mix, and nutmeg into the sauce.
If I was only cooking it for myself I would have added pineapple but that’s neither here nor there (I’m dating a lunatic, albeit a lovable one).

And I have explicit instructions to write this one down so I can make it again, and again, and again.

the recipe
Cook the pasta. I used fusilli and cheese ravioli.

Empty 3/4 tin of evaporated milk into a pot and slowly bring to the boil.
Add a tablespoon of cornflour to the remaining 1/4 tin of evaporated milk. Whisk well.
Once the evaporated milk starts gently bubbling add the cornflour/milk mixture. Whisk until it thickens.
Add nutmeg (probably more than you think – i accidently tipped in more than I would have and it worked a treat), a small tin of corn, two small tins of tuna, and about a cup of grated cheese.
Whisk some more until the cheese has melted.

Drain the pasta, and pour into a lasagna dish.
Pour over the sauce.
Top with salt, pepper, a drizzle of garlic olive oil, and more grated cheese.

Bake in the oven (about 180deg) for half an hour.
You know when the cheese goes all crispy and slightly burnt but ridiculously delicious? Yeah that’s how you want the cheese on top to be.

Serve with some fresh parsley and a good episode of Grand Designs.

(They restored a sea rescue house and it was right on the shoreline, Kevin wore a nautical striped suit and the house was all round and it had pretty red window frames. It was a very relaxing house.)

I think this would be a perfect camping recipe. It’s mostly in tins and uses dried pasta. And would go very nicely baking on an open fire.

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The magic box

I have discovered the joys of online shopping, and I love it.
I despise food shopping. I walk into a shop, forget everything i’m meant to buy (even if I do have a list), panic and make bad decisions.
I’m almost as bad at online shopping (it is a running joke, but it’s better to be bad at online shopping than have no shopping done) but it makes me a lot less grumpy.

I still have to take my time and read all the descriptions. Last week I bought store brand milk arrowroots (I don’t buy store brands as a matter of principal – I don’t support monopolies), this week I bought a giant tin of condensed tomato soup. I have difficulties with quantities.

It probably doesn’t help that when I placed the order I was feeling very under the weather, so we ended up with a lot of comfort food.
But there’s always some reason. Usually because at home food shopping and wine go very well together. And pajamas. Food shopping is bearable with pajamas and wine.

But one of the things apart from the convenience is the choices I don’t have to make.
Every week now I buy a fruit and vegetable box of seasonal vegetables.
It’s like a goody bag of things to cook with for the week.
So each week new things to try and new gluts to figure out what to do with. I now have 7 bulbs of garlic! (I’m still chasing ideas for that one)
But I did have success with the excess carrots. Carrot cakes.

Super duper easy recipe adapted from taste.com.au carrot and poppy seed muffins it would have been better with poppy seeds though.

the ingredients
1 cup (150g) self-raising flour, sifted
3/4 cup (165g) brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup (160ml) extra virgin olive oil
2 cups finely grated carrot (about 4 carrots)

the method
Combine the self-raising flour, brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl.

Combine the eggs and olive oil in a different bowl.
Combine the wet and dry together and then add the grated carrots.

Divide into greased muffin trays and bake in 180deg oven for 25-30 minutes.

All done!!

These got rave reviews and a request to make more very soon.

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Rissoles love

Now I know all of you that aren’t from Australia probably don’t get the title.
The Castle is a top Australian movie, and one of those really quotable movies too.
One of the most endearing moments is how every night the lead male compliments his wife on his cooking. And one of those meals is rissoles.

This is my mums rissole recipe – its a bit hit and miss but you get to squelch a whole heap of ingrediants up.

Into a bowl goes 500gm mince, 1 egg, 2 pieces soggy bread, a dash of worcestershire sauce, and some BBQ sauce. Quantities aren’t really important here. Also feel free to add stuff. I usually add chilli flakes, fresh herbs, salt, and pepper.
To get soggy bread, soak the bread in water and squeeze it out.
You’ll end up with a bowl full of squelchy potential.

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Now squelch it all together until it’s ready to roll into balls.
Then dip into bread crumbs or rolled oats, whichever you have in the cupboard.

Then set them in the freezer. This is important. Otherwise they fall apart when you cook them.

After about half an hour, they should be good to cook. You need a really greasy pan, and be ready to flip them.

Serve with salad and a couple of episode of friends. Tomato sauce on top works a treat.

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