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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baked goods

There’s not much of a backstory here, except last night we had a power failure.
Fortunately we have a gas oven and dinner was already cooking. But to fill the time I decided to look up something else to bake.
And I found this recipe.

It was amusing cooking with a head torch on in my own kitchen.
We eventually did get the power on but it was rather close to bedtime, so these photos are taken at work. And they do not do these muffins justice.

I adapated to make some simple sweet muffins.
this may be my new default muffin recipe. I like how the brown sugar gives it a caramel taste, which is dense but not too overpowering.

the ingredients
2 1/2 cups self-raising flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/4 cups buttermilk (or milk and lemon juice)
100g melted butter
1 egg
1 cup of chocolate chips

the method
Sift the flour and brown sugar into a bowl.
Make the buttermilk (I used regular milk and added some lemon juice, but apparently vinegar works well too).
Add the melted butter and the egg to the milk mixture.
Add the liquid to the flour and sugar. Then add the chocolate chips.
Mix until combined, and then spoon into a muffin tray.

Cook in a 180 degree oven for 25 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.

I think this would also be wonderful with frozen berries. I can’t wait to make these again.

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They’re also really good with hot custard.

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cherry ripe cupcakes

I work with cake lovers.
Every occasion is celebrated with cake.
You’re the new starter? You bring cake.
It’s your birthday? You bring cake.
You happened to swing past the cake shop on your way to work? You bring cake.
You do something noteworthy at work? You bring cake.

In my case, I’m leaving.
Which means I have to bring cake.

So I made a batch of Red Velvet cupcakes, and a batch of cherry ripe cupcakes.
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Taste.com.au has the super easy recipe which I made into a cherry ripe cupcakes.

What you need
The Cupcakes
2 cups Self Raising Flour
¾ cup castor sugar
2 tbsp cocoa powder
2 eggs
125 g melted butter
¾ cup milk
2 (50g) packets glace cherries (chopped)

The Icing
400g icing sugar
50g soft butter
200g cream cheese
½ cup desiccated coconut.

The Method
Mix dry ingredients (flour, sugar, cocoa powder) in a large bowl. Make a well in the center.
Mix wet ingredients (eggs, butter, milk) together and then pour into dry ingredients.
Stir until just combined and then add the glace cherries.

Pour into patty cake lined cupcake tray.
Place in 200deg oven for 20 – 25 minutes.

While that’s in the oven make the icing.

With a mixer beat the butter and the icing sugar together.
Once that’s started to cream together, add the cream cheese until it looks smooth.
Add the coconut.

You need to wait for the cupcakes to cool before you can ice them – but once they’re iced, mmmm.

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When only biscuits will do

a basic biscuit recipe with three variations.

The first one has chai latte tea in it.
I only had chai tea bags so I tried to dilute it as much as possible.

The second ones have a hershey’s kiss on top of them.

The third ones have choc mint flavoring. Well choc mint drinking chocolate, and lots of it to flavour it.

I have no idea what we’re having for dinner but we have biscuits.

Here’s my amended recipe for chocolate mint biscuits

Ingredients
125g butter, softened
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg, at room temperature
2 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
4 tablespoons chocolate mint powder
1 tablespoon milk

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper.
Using an electric mixer, beat butter, sugar and vanilla in a small bowl until pale and creamy. Add egg and mix until well combined. Sift flour and baking powder over butter mixture. Add milk, chocolate mint powder, and stir until just combined.

Spoon onto baking trays.
Place a Hershey’s Kiss on top of of each biscuit. Alternatively squish top of biscuit with a fork.

Cook in oven for 12-15 minutes.

Enjoy with a hot cup of tea. Or mug of hot chocolate mint drink for extra indulgence.

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Fish Taco Thursday

There are pictures in lieu of words today.
It’s been a horrible week. I’ve been battling all manner of disgusting ailments.
And as we’re going camping for the weekend, I’m spending all my energy trying to feel better.
That was I can concentrate on more important things such as, what knitting project to take camping, and whether lamb or pork would taste better in a camp oven.

You know, the important things.

So I’m leaving you with a link to the taste.com recipe my boyfriend used to marinate the basa fillets in.
And now I’m going back to imagining myself well again.

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Lamb shanks

Let it be known that I love lamb.
Lamb cutlets, French trim, Lamb chops, roast lamb, and I am rather partial to a lamb shank.

And this is a very good recipe which I found in a cookbook by West Australian authors, Dujour

It is a glorious book, with beautiful photos of food, and special embossed pages between chapters.

I’ve tried several recipes from it, but one that I keep going back to is their method for cooking lamb shanks.

I wasn’t particularly true to the recipe. So here’s my version.

I smeared two lamb shanks with minced garlic, lemon zest, salt, pepper, and olive oil. That went into a 200 degree oven for about 30 minutes.
While this was cooking I made scones (as you do, but more on that later), and boiled some potatoes.

I mashed the potatoes with some beef stock, milk, butter, grated cheese, and chives, and then spooned onto a baking tray. A smidgen more grated cheese over the top, and some garlic olive oil and then they went in the oven to brown up.

At the same time as the spuds were going in the oven, the lamb shanks came out and were covered in a tomato mixture, covered in alfoil and then back in the oven.
The tomato mixture was 1 tin of tomatoes, some chopped Italian sausage, a grated carrot, some red wine, and more salt and pepper.

At the 40 minutes in the oven mark I put some broccoli and cauliflower on to boil.

After 50 minutes in the oven, the potato was crispy and the lamb cooked.

We tried to rest the lamb but we just ended up eating it.
It was melt-in-your-mouth good.
I had my reservations about adding the Italian sausage but it didn’t make it too meaty.

Definitely make it again, although I wouldn’t mind finding some way to keep my olives.

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what to do with chorizo

this

so so easy.
cook pasta
cook chopped onion, chopped chorizo, and chopped mushrooms in fry pan
break to help boyfriend put up shelves in spare room
add tinned tomatoes (to chorizo, not pasta)
add cooked pasta to chorizo

serve with chives, cheese, and olives (on the one for me – my boy doesn’t like olives)

om nom nom

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straight out of the taste.com recipe book

last week loml (love of my life) unexpectedly had to get his wisdom teeth out.

in the many times that he spent sleeping rather than awake (and in pain) i researched what i could make him that would be easy to eat, but with ingrediants that i already had in my cupboard so i wouldn’t have to go to the shops and possibly not be there when he woke up.

after a bit of searching i found cauliflower soup and it’s associated recipe carrot, zucchini, and dill muffins

all had ingrediants that i had in the cupboard/fridge already. i figured that it would be a good, vegie filled meals which would be easy on the teeth.

Now my boy didn’t like the cauliflower soup, although i was rather partial to it. But he devoured the zucchini muffins, which is surprising as he only eats my zucchini slice because it has bacon in it.
Although he did comment that the muffins could have used bacon.

Fast forward 5 days and you have what i grabbed out of my fridge this morning as i was (as always) running late.

And an update on the wisdom teeth? All ok, stiches removed and my little chipmunk is a chipmunk no longer.

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