Our traditional Christmas (if you can call doing the same thing for the past 4 years traditional) is to drink until we pass out. Okay, not really, although each year I do tend to have a wee nap in the middle of the afternoon. For the past few years, we’ve had an “orphan’s Christmas”. We don’t have any family in Melbourne, so we spend the day with some friends who are also Christmas orphans.
Each year there’s lots of food, lots of wine, a bit of cricket and my nap in the middle of the afternoon. There’s always tons of food left over, and this year, I decided to make nibbles rather than food for a full meal.
One of the items I made was a roasted garlic and white bean dip. This dip is all about the garlic, and baby, is it good! I adapted the recipe from the current issue of Donna Hay Magazine – essentially I halved the recipe except for the garlic and onion. If you don’t like garlic as much as us, just halve the garlic and onion.
The dip is very garlicky, but as it’s roasted it’s not overpoweringly so. It gets a lovely mellow, buttery and sweet taste.
PS: The basil came from my garden which is why it looks a little sad. My plants are still alive (!) except for the coriander which expired as soon as we got some hot weather. Stupid coriander.
Roasted garlic and white bean dip Adapted from Donna Hay Magazine, Issue 36, Dec/Jan 2008
2 heads garlic 2 onions, roughly chopped 1 tablespoon olive oil 400g can white (cannellini) beans, rinsed and drained 3/4 tablespoon lemon juice 1/4 cup chopped basil leaves salt and black pepper
Preheat the oven to 180 degree C. Slice the tops off the garlic, and place with the onion and oil on a baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper and toass to coat. Roast for 25 minutes or until the garlic is soft. Let it cool slightly, then squeeze the roasted garlic out of the skins into a food processor. Add the onion, beans, lemon juice, basil, salt and pepper and process until smooth. Serve with crudites or bread sticks and crackers.
Generally I’m not a hoarder. Although I do keep some things like plastic containers and plastic cutlery. My Bro and I literally cannot throw these things out. We wash them and keep them BECAUSE THEY’RE USEFUL. Alastair doesn’t agree. Sometimes he’ll get so frustrated that he will sneakily clean out the cupboards and throw our plastic away. The next day, we’ll be all accusing, “Did you throw our containers away??!”
So I’m not a hoarder but there are a few items that I have a lot of. For example, I own 8 different kinds of oil – canola, vegetable, peanut, rice bran, olive, extra virgin olive, avocado and macadamia.
The other week I started making a white bean dip, and then realised that I had run out of extra-virgin olive oil. The normal olive oil I own is just cheap stuff to cook with, so I couldn’t use that. I decided to try the macadamia oil which is infused with chilli and lime. (It sounds nicer than it actually tastes.)
I forged ahead even though I had concerns about how it would turn out. The flavour was kind of all over the place – hello basil, hello garlic, hello chilli, hello lime?! But, it was passable. However, if I made it again I would definitely use plain olive oil…. alternatively I could always try one of the other 6 remaining bottles of oil!
White bean dip
1 can cannelini beans, drained and rinsed 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 handful basil leaves Salt and pepper Good quality oil – whatever kind rocks your boat
Pulse the beans, garlic and basil roughly in a food processor. Add salt and pepper to taste, then, on a low speed, add enough oil to process into a chunky paste. Serve with crackers or grissini.
I should learn by now that I shouldn’t cook late at night. Whenever I do, I make mistakes because I’m tired. Like the time I started a caramel slice at 9:30pm on a work night and turned the grill on instead of the oven. I didn’t realise until after I had “baked” the base of the slice and had poured on the caramel. It took me a while before I figured out why the caramel was bubbling so much in the oven!
Still, pikelets are hard to screw up. Even though I made them late in the evening they turned out okay. However, the shapes were all over the place and not as round as I would’ve liked. Apparently if you drop the batter from the tip of the tablespoon, the pikelets will come out round. I’ll have to remember it for next time!
From Donna Hay Modern Classics 2.
Combine 2 cups plain flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/2 cup caster (superfine) sugar in a bowl. Combine 2 eggs, 1 12/ cups milk and 70g melted butter in another bowl, then whist into the flour mixture.
Cook 1 tablespoon of the mixture over low heat in a frying pan greased with butter for 1-2 minutes. Turn and cook for another minute or until golden.
Serve the pikelets warm with lemon and sugar or cool with jam and whipped cream. Makes 40 (apparently).
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.