Saturday, 27 June 2015

Sour Cream Noodle Bake

I don't know about you but I love a good filling meal I can prepare ahead and just cook when ready or pull from the freezer and bake if I don't feel like the whole cooking thing after work some nights. 

This Noodle Bake is one of those meals.  I double the recipe and use the handy dandy foil freezer containers to prepare a couple for the freezer at the same time.  If you are cooking for a crowd this is great to prepare ahead and have in the fridge to serve with a salad and garlic bread.

These are great if you know someone needs some meals in the freezer for a later time or you are going away and want to leave food for the grown up kiddliewinks!

I think of these like a lasagna and create myself a bit of a production line.  First I make the meat sauce then do the creamy noodles and then just assemble.

Meat Sauce

500gm mince beef
700ml jar of passata (tomato sauce)
1 onion finely chopped
1 clove garlic grated/minced
salt and pepper to taste.

Creamy Noodles

250gm egg noodles
1 1/4 cup cottage cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
4 spring onions chopped

1 cup grated tasty cheese

Dice your onion.

In a fry pan with a splash of oil brown your mince.

Add your chopped onion and minced garlic.  Stir through to combine.

Stir through your passata and allow to simmer.

I love to use Egg noodles for this recipe, I love their texture, they do not go mushy.

How cute are these little bundles?

As I use Fettuccine for this and just break the little bundles into smaller strands.  Cook your noodles in salted boiling water and cook for 2 minutes less than the instructions on the packet.  They are going to keep cooking in the oven.

Chop up your spring onions, both the green and white bits.

In a bowl combine the sour cream, cottage cheese, salt and pepper.  

Mix together thoroughly and combine the spring onions.

Drain your noodles and stir through the sour cream mixture until fully coated.

Here comes your production line!  Put a layer of noodles in the base of our baking dish or freezer pan.

Put a layer of the meat sauce over the noodles.

Add a layer of grated tasty cheese.

Repeat these layers.  Always finish with a layer of the tasty cheese as you want a melty crispy cheesy topping!

At this stage if you are freezing you would allow to cool completely then top with the paper lids and freeze.  I always write the instructions on the paper lid so that A. I know what's in it and B. the men in my house can sort of read instructions so they can tell what where when and why.

If your preparing this ahead for dinner you can stick it in the fridge and cook later.

If baking straight away cook at 170C for 20 minutes as it will still be hot.  If cooking from the fridge same temp just cook for 30 minutes.  If from frozen for 40 minutes.

Friday, 26 June 2015

Ginger Lime Slice

I love this slice!  The cake is ginger bread and the centre is lime cheesecake.  

This is the most popular slice I make.  Mum came for Christmas 2 years ago and bought me a Squares and slices cookbook she picked up for $5.  Bargain!

When you bake the slice the house smells like gingerbread it is fantastic to make any time of the year.


3/4 cup plain flour
1/4 cup self raising flour
1/2 teaspoon bicarb of soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
65gm butter
1/2 cup golden syrup
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup milk

Lime filling

1 teaspoon or 2 sheets of gelatine
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 package 250gm cream cheese
1/4 cup caster sugar
zest of 1 lime
1 cup cream

Pre heat oven to 180C.  Grease and line 2 x 9" by 13" slice pans.

Melt butter and golden syrup together.

Place dry ingredients and brown sugar into a bowl.

Stir with whisk to remove lumps and combine ingredients.

Whisk together the butter mixture and dry ingredients until combined.  Whisk in the beaten egg quickly so you don't end up with scrambled eggs and whisk in the milk.

Divide equally between the two prepared pans.

Bake for 10 minutes.  Remove the cakes from the oven and cool in the pans.

Zest your lime.

If your using leaf gelatine soak in cold water until soft.

In a heat proof jug place your lime juice and if using powder sprinkle over the gelatine, if using leaf just place in the juice.  Heat for 40 seconds in the microwave, stir to combine.  Allow to cool for 5 minutes.

In a bowl combine the sugar, cream cheese and zest.

Beat together cheese mix until smooth,  beat in cream and then beat in cooled gelatine mixture until smooth.

Leave one cake in the tin and spread the cheese mixture over the top evenly.  Place the second cake on top of the cheese mixture and gently press down to even the filling.  Place in the fridge for 3 hours or overnight to set.

Remove the slice from the fridge and cut into slices.  Allow to warm to room temperature for 5 minutes prior to serving.

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Triple Chocolate Cheesecake

Ahhh Haaa!  I worked out how to make pictures BIG!
Sorry I just got a bit excited there.  Mayyyyyyyyyyybe not the best picture to use as my first shot at a big picture, I am sure you will forgive it!  I was kind of fiddling with some things here to try something and hit a button.  Don't know what button but I will work that out later.
Again another "Nailed It" picture I did not intend of the white chocolate layer to be in the middle, I was aiming for it to be a layer on top.  Still it looks and tastes good.
I have seen many American recipes that call for an Oreo crust and well my first thought is ... what about the cream filling?  I am after this cheesecake a convert to the Oreo crust!  The crust is soooooooooooo nice and crisp and holds together beautifully unlike some other biscuit crumb pie and cheesecake bases.
Make sure that you reserve 2 Oreo's for your coffee while making the cheesecake or to have after while waiting to pull it out of the oven.
200gm Oreo biscuits, crumbs
50gm butter, melted
100gm dark chocolate
100gm milk chocolate
100gm white chocolate
3 x 250gm packets cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup thickened cream
1/2 cup castor sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs

Combine your crushed biscuits and melted butter.
Press into your lined spring form cake tin 23cm and press some of the crumbs slightly up the side forming a little lip.
Combine the milk and dark chocolate in one bowl and melt in microwave in 30 second bursts, allow to cool slightly.
In your mixer beat your cream cheese, thickened cream, sugar and vanilla until smooth.  Beat in eggs.  Divide your cheese mixture in half.
Beat the melted chocolate into half of the cheese mix until smooth.  Pour onto your biscuit base and spread out smoothing the top.  Bake in a pre heated oven, 160C non fan forced or 150C fan forced for 40 minutes or until the centre is just set with a slight wobble.
About 20 minutes into the bake melt your white chocolate in the microwave and set aside to cool slightly.  At the 40 minute mark mix the white chocolate into the remaining cheese mix. 
Carefully remove the cheesecake from the oven and gently spoon the white chocolate layer on top and smooth.  I didn't do this and all my white chocolate mix sank in the centre not leaving a nice defined layer on top as I wished.  BOO!
Bake for a further 40 minutes or until the white chocolate is just set in the middle with a small wobble.
Remove from the oven, cool to room temperature and then refrigerate.

Serve with a light dusting of chocolate powder and or some whipped cream.

Monday, 15 June 2015

Cheddar and Garlic Biscuit (Scone)

I love a good "biscuit" or as we call them in Australia a Scone!
I am always looking for different ways to have a nice side with some dishes that is different from plain boring old bread.  Don't get me wrong I loveeeeeeeeeee fresh warm bread and it has pride of place on our dining table at dinner time with stews, casseroles, pot roasts and soups etc., however sometimes I like something different.
These biscuits I saw on A Spicy Perspective and well I can say *drool* is what I did when I first saw this recipe.  I read it through and then Googled one of the key ingredients.  In Australia we don't have Old Bay Seasoning.  I had to find out what was in this seasoning then go through the spice rack at the supermarket to see if they had anything similar.  The Masterfood's All Purpose seasoning is the one that comes the closest.
Then my Mum, the wonder that she is went to USA Foods my home away from home, in Melbourne and found the Old Bay Seasoning for me.
It has always fascinated me that in America they eat "Biscuits" with everything, Scones are an afternoon tea treat with jam and cream and very rarely a savoury treat.  This recipe is a keeper in our house and the Chief Crash Test Dummy (who is still on the injured list) was sniffing the air going "These smell good" with the added *pout* as he cannot eat them yet. 
2 cups plain flour
5 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoons All Purpose Seasoning (Old Bay Seasoning if you have it)
100g cold butter cut into small cubes
1 cup milk
1 1/2 cups grated tasty cheese
50gm butter melted
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
Combine the dry ingredients in the bowl of your food processor, pulse to combine.

Cut cold butter into approx. 1cm cubes.

Place chopped butter into your food processor bowl.

Pulse to combine, until the mix looks like breadcrumbs.

Pour in your milk and pulse until just combined into a dough.

Add your grated cheese and pulse just until combined.

Now if like me you have one of these fantastic tools it is nice and easy to scoop out your dough with this.  I use it for everything from monster cookies to cupcakes etc.,

See nice sized dough balls for baking.  At this stage you can freeze the dough for cooking later.  Defrost the dough in the fridge prior to baking.

If you don't have an ice cream scoop just gently pat the dough into a square about an inch high and cut into either squares or use a cookie cutter to cut into scone shapes.  Bake in a pre heated non fan forced oven at 230C for 10 to 12 minutes or a fan forced oven at 220C for 10 to 12 minutes.

Meanwhile melt the 40gm butter and stir through the chopped parsley.

When you take the biscuits from the oven brush with the parsley butter straight way.

Serve with a meal or as a light lunch.  Enjoy hot or cold.