About Agnes

http://www.offthespork.com

Melbourne, Australia

Posts by Agnes:

Mini burgers

Mini Burgers

These mini burgers were made for what I termed a “Superbowl Saturday” that we had a couple of months ago. We invited some fellow kiwis (and one Australian!) to come over to watch an All Blacks game. Nothing to do with the real Superbowl, but I thought it would be fun to call it that and make some suitably themed food.

I made deconstructed nachos, mini pizzas, buffalo wings and mini burgers. The burgers were the only thing I took a photo of – they were so cute! Things taste so good in miniature.

Mini Burgers

The Buns:

I followed a recipe on the back of the yeast packet for dinner rolls and baked them in small patty pans.

2 cups (300g) plain flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 sachet instant dry yeast
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons buter, melted & cooled
3/4 cup warm water

1: Mix together flour, salt, sugar and yeast. Add beaten egg, butter and warm water to make a soft sough. Beat with a wooden spoon for 5 minutes to form a stiff batter. Cover with plastic wrap and stand in a warm place until doubled in size. Grease a 12 cup deep patty pan (as I said, I used a 24 cup small patty pan) with oil.

2: Stir down dough and spoon batter into prepared patty cups. Leave to rise in a warm place until dough has risen to top of cups. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 220 degrees C.

3: Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

4: Tip them on to a rack and cool slightly.

The patties:

I never follow a recipe to make meat patties, so this is a rough guide only!

150 g pork mince
150 g beef mince
1 onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, crushed or diced
1 carrot, diced
1 egg, lightly beaten
dash of Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
salt and pepper

Mix all ingredients together and, with wet hands, mould into small patties.
Fry in a saucepan until cooked.

Cut the tops off the small buns and assemble the burgers. A bit of lettuce, a bit of cheese, a meat patty and sauce. Cuteness in a bun!

Salmon with wasabi and soy glaze

Salmon with wasabi and soy glaze

I hardly ever buy fish. It’s not something that is in my cooking repertoire because it always seemed so difficult. What kind of fish do I buy? How do I cook it? What if I overcook it?

Recently though, I’ve been making an effort to eat more fish. Last week I bought some fillets and cooked them with a garam masala marinade. Last night (hooray for market days!), I bought some salmon fillets from the market. I tell ya, if fish can be beautiful, these fillets were supermodels. Most of the salmon made it into the pan to be cooked, but I did cut some slices off to gobble while the fish cooked. Delish.

Now that I’ve realised how easy it is to cook fish, I think I’ll be buying it more often!

Salmon with soy and wasabi glaze

Salmon fillets
2 tablespoons honey
4 tablespoons mirin
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon of wasabi paste (more or less to taste)

Preheat the oven to 180C.
Put the honey, mirin, and soy sauce in a pot and simmer until it reduces down a little and becomes thick and sticky. Stir in the wasabi paste until it’s dissolved. (Add more of anything if you feel it needs it.)
Heat some oil in a frying pan over a high heat until hot. Sear the salmon on both sides and pop it into the oven for 5 minutes or until cooked to your liking.
Pour the soy and wasabi glaze over the salmon and enjoy!

Peanut Butter Cookies

Peanut butter cookies

I’m the kind of person who pounces on baked goods as soon as they come out of the oven. Things just seem to taste so good when they’re still warm and the kitchen is still fragrant with the baking aromas.

Naturally, as soon as these cookies came out of the oven, I HAD to try them. And… I was a little bit disappointed. All I could taste was vanilla, and only a bare hint of peanut butter.

Later on, I went back for another one after they had had time to cool. Tasting it again, the vanilla had subsided and the peanut butter had come to the fore. Yey! That was more like it.

The recipe for these cookies is here.

I used crunchy peanut butter, which I would highly recommend. And to get my cookies so round (even I was surprised how well they turned out!) I rolled the dough into balls with my hands and flattened them slightly into discs. They flattened more as they baked.

Try these. They’re easy and they taste great. Just try to resist eating one straight out of the oven.

Meatloaf

Meatloaf

This is a fairly quick and easy meatloaf. It tastes great, however, I’ve had difficulties with it staying in slices. Maybe I’m not cooking it long enough or I’m too keen with the vegetables. If it doesn’t stay together, you could always do what I do and serve it up as meat-mince. It’s still delicious!

Meatloaf

Adapted from a recipe from Taste.com.au (known as Healthy Meatloaf on the site).

Cooking Time 40 minutes

Ingredients (serves 4)

250g beef mince
250g pork mince
1 cup fresh wholemeal breadcrumbs
1 small brown onion
2 or 3 cloves of garlic
3 small carrots, peeled (or more… I go a bit crazy with the carrots)
½ cup corn kernels (or more if you like)
2 tablespoons tomato sauce
1 egg, lightly beaten
A dash of Worchester sauce
1/4 cup barbecue sauce
salt & pepper

Method

Preheat oven to 180°C. Line a baking tray or baking tin with baking paper.

Pulse the onion and garlic cloves in a food processor until they are finely chopped taking care not to over process. Then pulse the carrots until they are finely chopped (again, don’t over process).

Place mince, breadcrumbs, onion, carrot, corn tomato sauce, Worchester sauce, and egg in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Using clean hands, mix until well combined.

Shape mince into a 10cm x 18cm rectangle or place it into a baking tin. Place on prepared tray. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until firm to touch. Remove from oven. Drain excess fat and invert (if you’ve used a baking tin) on a tray lined with baking paper.

Spoon barbecue sauce over top of meatloaf. Return to oven and cook for a further 10 minutes or until top is glazed.

Stand on tray for 5 minutes and slice.

Berry and coconut friands

Berry and Coconut Friands

These friands are SO good. Moist and coconutty, they get gobbled up in my house in no time. Not only are they delicious and very moreish, they also help use up the egg whites that always seem to be floating around in my freezer. 3 thumbs up!

Berry and Coconut Friands

From the May 2007 issue of Cuisine magazine.

Makes 10

125g unsalted butter
1/2 cup self-raising flour
1 & 2/3 cups icing sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking power
1/2 cup ground almonds
3/4 cup fine desiccated coconut
5 large egg whites
oil for greasing
12 berries
icing sugar to serve

Preheat the oven to 175C.
Melt the butter and leave to cool until just warm.
Sift together the flour, icing sugar and baking powder, then stir in the ground almonds and coconut.
Whisk the egg whites until fluffy but not stiff.
Fold into the dry ingredients then fold in the melted butter and set the mixture aside for 10 minutes.
Spray or brush friand moulds with oil. Pour the mixture in, add a berry (or 2) and bake for 20 minutes.
Cool on a rack before tipping out on the moulds.
Dust with icing sugar.
Makes 10.

Carrot & Lentil soup

Carrot and Lentil Soup

This soup was a failed attempt to make pumpkin soup. I started the soup off by sweating some onions and garlic, only to cut into my pumpkin and find that it was rotten! I had bought it a couple of weeks earlier and it had been sitting on my bench too long. Gak.

Damn! I had been looking forward to a big bowl of soup and had even bought some nice bread especially for it. Then I remembered a recipe I had seen in the Women’s Weekly Great Vegetarian Food cookbook that I had borrowed from the library. I had noted this recipe because I’m always looking for new ways to cook lentils (which I love).

On to Plan B: I salvaged my onions and garlic and turned them into this carrot and lentil soup instead. I didn’t have any celery or buttermilk so I left them out. Nor did I put in a full kilo of carrots. The next time I make it I’ll make sure I put in more than a kilo of carrots for a more intense carrot flavour as mine didn’t taste very carroty. So, one rotten pumpkin and almost a kilo of carrots later, I had this beautiful looking soup.

Carrot and Lentil Soup

Adapted from the Women’s Weekly Great Vegetarian Food cookbook.

Ingredients:
1.125 litres (4 & 1/2 cups) vegetable stock
2 large brown onions (400g), chopped finely
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon ground cumin
6 large carrots (1 kg), chopped coarsely
2 trimmed sticks celery (150 g), chopped coarsely
2 cup (500 ml) water
1/2 cup (1oog) brown lentils
1/2 cup (125ml) buttermilk

1: Heat 1/2 cup stock in large saucepan; cook onion, half of the garlic and cumin, stirring, until onion softens. Add carrot and celery; cook, stirring, 5 minutes.

2: Add remaining stock and the water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, about 20 minutes or until carrot softens.

3: Blend or process soup, in batches, until smooth; return soup to pan. Add lentils; simmer, uncovered, about 20 minutes or until lentils are tender.

4: Stir buttermilk into hot soup and serve.

Breakfast Bars

Breakfast Bars

These are very tasty, and, I do actually eat them for breakfast! Generally I make a double batch and freeze the majority after I’ve cut them into bars. If I want one in the morning I take a bar out the night before and let it defrost in the fridge.

I’m not sure if they make a healthy breakfast, but I always feel virtuous eating something with oats so I tell myself it is. And even if it’s not that healthy… well… everything’s relative and it surely wouldn’t be as bad as a danish, donut or fry up! (Not that I eat danishes or donuts for breakfast! And only the occasional fry up.)

I no longer know where I got the original recipe from (somewhere on the interwebs) and have made a couple of adaptations. Any dried fruit would work well, but I especially love the taste of the prunes in these bars.

Breakfast Bars

Ingredients:

150g butter
175g (1/2 cup) honey
200g (2 cups) rolled oats
60g (1 cup) shredded coconut
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons sesame seeds
200g (3/4 cup) pitted prunes, chopped
100g (2/3 cup) dried apricots, chopped
75g (1/2 cup) sultanas
3 eggs

Preheat oven to 170c. Line a 23 x 32 cm sandwich tin with baking paper.

Put the butter & honey in a small pan over medium heat & stir until butter has melted.

Toss the oats, coconut, baking powder & sesame seeds together in a large bowl. Add the prunes, peaches & currants & mix well. Add the warm honey mixture & eggs & stir to combine, then spoon evenly into cake tin.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the mixture is cooked through & the top is golden brown. Remove from the oven & allow to cool in the pan before cutting into 12 bars.

Egg Tarts

Egg tarts

My dad was a baker for a while when I was young. He rarely baked at home, but sometimes he would go a bit crazy and one of the things that he would bake was egg tarts. Dozens and dozens of egg tarts. They would line the benches, glistening and warm, and the house would be filled with their aroma.

My Bro and I never appreciated them and would only eat a few. “Not MORE egg tarts,” we would proclaim, as if egg tarts just fell from the sky. Gosh it can be hard to impress young children.

Now that I think back, I want to smack my younger self. How could I have not appreciated them at the time? I LOVE egg tarts. I should have always loved egg tarts. No yum cha visit is complete without finishing off with their sweet eggy goodness.

I didn’t bake the tarts above – they’re from Maxim’s. But I did eat them (all of them…. ahem), and to make up for past sins I made sure that I appreciated every bite!

Yet another food blog

The calmness of green

I love thinking, reading, and talking about food. I love making and photograph it too, so now I’m going to have a shot at writing about it.

This could either further my obsession or bore me within a week.