Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Only six sleeps to go.....

The end of the school holidays is fast approaching - Yay!
As much as I love not having to race out the door in the morning, I can honestly say its time for the school year to start.
New chapters to begin, old ones to re-commence and a little bit of quiet time for this mama!
I have so many recipes I've written and photographed over the holidays but have had no time to edit and post, so once the school year begins it will be head down for me and back to business.
I thought today I'd share with you a few of the delicious things we've been eating over the break.
The boys have just realised they are great mates!
Purple carrots are in season and they are so good. Below I have made Wilco's favourite dinner and in the coming weeks I will share with you other recipes using them.Also a recipe from my Dad and a delicious Orange and Cinnamon Cake - inspired by my favourite muffin's from my favourite diner 'Ruby's'. Ed has kindly handed over the family secrets and is letting me share his recipe with all of you.
Wilco's Purple Rice
How it's made:
Cut everything small and to the same size.
Cook the onion and bacon till golden and caramelised.
Then add the purple carrot and garlic and cook for a further 5min.
Then add the rice and toast this along with everything else in the pot for another min or two.
Season and add stock
My method to cook rice is always:
Toast the rice for a min or two in a drop of olive oil
Then add liquid and cook on lowish heat until the water has almost evaporated, then fork the rice gently and pop the lid on, turn the heat right down for another couple of minutes - then simply switch it off and let it sit for 10min or whenever you eat.
With brown rice you need more liquid.
1 cup white rice - 1 3/4 cups of stock or water
1 cup of brown rice - 2 1/2 cups of liquid (you might need a little more)
My son lives on rice, done this way
(with a myriad of different veg). 
These delicious babies.... 
 You'll need:
Wraps of choice - I like the Naan bread ones - warmed in the oven (make sure you wrap them in foil so they don't dry out)
The leftover rice - warmed
*You know that you can only reheat cooked rice once and it should be within 24 hours
Yellow tomatoes sliced
Lettuce - washed
And meatballs, or you could use eye fillet, fish or chicken or halloumi(if your a vego).
Yogurt Sauce 
The sauce I made up - it had:
Whole milk full fat plain Yogurt
Stacks of chopped coriander
The zest of 1 lemon
And 1/2 the lemon juiced
1-2 garlic cloves crushed
Salt and pepper
(and fresh chilli if it's only for adults)
Assemble like my picture above and I ate the leftover sauce with pan fried John Dory and roast potatoes the next evening - mmm...delicious!
 My new favourite discovery in Melbourne was these 1 cup serves of Organic free range chicken stock. I've seen this brand before but only in the 1 litre containers - this was my saviour in Melbourne, Wilco had rice or pasta with vegies from my dad's garden cooked with this every night.
As you all know, I make my own stock which is what my kids eat and I'm not sure it would cut it for them as just soup, but when the stock is not the star of the show this is what I'll be using! Now to find someone in Sydney that stocks it?
 My,'can't live without' items for this summer are the above.Itch goes for all the mozzie bites my kids have been on the receiving end of and the other, Peppermint Oil for those Farking ants!!!
No need for chemicals as I've just found out that ants hate peppermint oil, so sprinkle this around and not only will your house smell amazing but those teeny tiny pests will disappear!
I'm obsessed with salted caramel - I mean crazy stupid obsessed, so I've been eating everything and anything salted and caramel.
Now I need to stop as my hips are paying for it! 

It's all about fast dinners these holiday's. That and cleaning up after my very own junior masterchef.

I know this doesn't look as incredible as it tasted, but this was the Christmas lunch my dad cooked(and my dad is a really good cook)he has cooked this pretty much every year we've gone down for Christmas.
Roast pork - melt in the mouth with German bread dumpling's and a sauce my dad makes with the juices from the meat - to die for!
His house isn't so good for taking photo's as it's a little dark but you can see those dumpling's, I ate way to many drenched in the sauce - so good!

 And with that delicious meal we drank this - so good, and the only cordial I'll buy in my house.
Oh and truck loads of veg!!!

©Michelle Schoeps 2013
All photos taken by Michelle Schoeps

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Mima's White Chocolate Cookies

It seems the cooking bug has hit my eldest child.
She has always been into food, she'll eat anything at least once!
This year she has become a big fan of Masterchef and even scored another cookbook at Christmas, that's where the fun began(and daddy stepped in). 
I'm sadly not the kind of mother that has a lot of patience - especially in the kitchen(I lose my shit quite easily), Max says often "chill out babe, you're the one with the f#@!ing food blog, aren't you supposed to be all about the kids?"
And I would, of course, tell him in the nicest possible way to mind his own business and if he(being all calm and zen)would like to help Mima cook he is more than welcome!
Shitty mother behaviour I know,but I'm human and far from perfect and happy to admit it.
Anyway now she's cooked quite a few meals with the help of her ever peaceful daddy, I'm am slowly digging deep and finding more patience in her mess making and confidence in her cooking skills.
To this day she has made;
Gnocchi with a red sauce
Chocolate fondants - 3 whole times and they were insane!
Potato and zucchini fritters
And now she has perfected the best cookies ever!
She kept asking me when she could do them on my blog, and I told her when they were perfect - well they are.

So today is the day. 
She had her uncle and aunty over a few days ago and made a batch(no help whatsoever from me)and they(candy & Al)if allowed, would have eaten them all.
So today Mima is my first guest cook and this is her version of a white chocolate shortbread
And man they are so good!

First she gets everything she needs and finds a nice spot to make a mess...
Today I made her stand in the hottest spot of the house - so the photo's would look nice (it's hard work being a celebrity chef)
What you'll need for these cookies:
75g raw caster sugar
1/2 cup of best quality white chocolate
175g of salted butter cut into small cubes - at room temp
275g plain flour - sifted
and a pinch of Himalayan salt
Some fancy cookie cutters and a rolling pin
A non-stick surface to roll the dough out on
How she made them:
Pre-heat the oven to 180c
First she cuts the butter very perfectly. 
Then she weighs out the sugar and pops it in along with the butter in Tabitha's bowl.
Lastly she weighs her flour and sifts it into the bowl as well
I put the pinch of salt in for her and then she worked her magic.
She turned Tabitha on to 1, so as not to cover the table, my kitchen and herself in flour.
Once it starts to clump she turns the speed up to 2.
And then watches and waits till she thinks the mixture is ready.
Then its time to roll.
The mixture is very crumbly, so you will have to push it together with your hands into a kind of mound.
This should all be done on a non stick surface - we did it on an Ikea tray.
Then with your rolling pin (which needs to be floured)push the dough down and then roll.
You will have to do this many times throughout the cookie cutting process.
Put your cookies on a lined baking tray and bake in the oven for 10min or until they are golden.
Let them cool on a wire rack then store whatever is left in an air tight container.
The white chocolate in these cookies will caramelise, which adds a crunchy,caramely texture without then tasting burnt or over cooked and because they're not to sweet, you can't stop eating them.
If Mima had her way she'd bake these everyday.
 Unfortunately the members of our family cannot afford to eat these cookies everyday, so it will be something she can do when we have visitors or when her mates are around.
And because my friend Daniella and her kids were over and Mima had been shopping at T2 she made us tea with our scrumy cookies. 
Spoilt we were!

©Michelle Schoeps 2013
All photos taken by Michelle Schoeps

recipe adapted by Jemima Doyle

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Happy Anniversary to you and me!

One year and 4 days ago today I started my blog.
I'd been procrastinating about doing it for a very long time,(well for as long as Heather had been on me to start)and she just happened to be visiting on New Years Day last year.
So she helped me set up my account, gave me the run through on blogger and a swift kick up the butt!
And off I went...
As a little celebration for my 1 year anniversary,I suggested to Heather that we do a joint post - after all she is the reason I have a blog!
The offer went something like this....
Need to see you before we leave!
(we've been in Melbourne for Christmas) 
Lets make Chocolate Pavlova and drink Champagne!
The kids can play and we can cook and talk(something we're both pretty good at).
And that is exactly what we did.
I'm not sure who had more fun,the 12 year olds or us?
In between swimming, Adele renditions and some nail/body painting, Heather and I made the most delicious Chocolate Mousse Pavlova covered in Organic raspberries and we washed it down with the champagne in the pic (above). My chocolate mousse didn't quite go to plan (I'll blame the pink champagne) but eventually success!
I also made custard with the egg yolks leftover from the eggs we used for the pav, freshly collected from my dad's garden that morning. As a parting gift for the King's - for having the Doyle's for the day!
How we made the Pav:
In Heather's equally gorgeous KitchenAid (Al did you come up with a name?)we whisked 8 egg whites - freshly laid that morning by my dads chooks.
With 2 cups of super fine sugar.
Now, knowing what I now know, I'd have sifted the cocoa with the sugar before incorporating, but I didn't and it still worked (but it would have been better doing it with the sugar at the start)
Whip until it is marshmallowy - not sure how long we let it go?(too much drinking and talking going down)
Then plop it onto a sheet of baking paper and fork the sides(I did this under the watchful eye of the Pav expert) - because of my addition of cocoa after I'd whisked the whites it wasn't as mallowy as we would have liked.
Bake in a pre-heated 150c oven for 1hour and 30 min, then let it cool for an hour.
While this was happening and amongst all my chaos - my children,(which I kindly bought to Heathers house)I tried to make a lighter chocolate mousse - can I just add that I've never made a mousse before and I was a little sozzled....
So this is how I made the finished 'Chocolate Mousse/cream'(Heather, can you believe I can remember how I did this?)
I whipped the cream in the picture (both of them) with 2 sifted tablespoons of cocoa and then for some strange reason I added melted (not quite cooled) 70% chocolate about 80g - this is when it all went a little pear-shaped and the cream kind of split and went a little nasty.
So I popped it in the fridge hoping somehow it might fix itself.
Then I decided to half heartedly follow a Stephanie Alexander recipe for chocolate mousse - but again, I'm not very good at following directions....so I whisked 2 egg whites with 2 tablespoons of sugar, whilst I melted 100g of 70% chocolate, then whisked in 2 egg yolks and 100g of butter (which was supposed to be 50g - because I was halving the recipe)oops! And then wondered what I'd done wrong...added some more cocoa, thinking that might fix it (it didn't)and then thought what the heck I'll add this to the egg whites and pray to something that it works!
Then I figured, what the F#*! I'll just add the cream concoction from before to this and see what happens - And who new,it worked!

So we took our Pav, poured in the mousse and dressed her up with the sweetest most delicious raspberries ever..and voila!
Ready to eat!
We got rave reviews from all members of both families - it was a little messy, but hey that's what both of our families are like -nothing's perfect and never will be, and that's just the way we like it!
Happy 1 year Anniversary to ME and Happy 2 year Anniversary to my friend Heather!
And thanks for that butt kick - it was much needed!
Note to self:
 stay clear of the bubbles when cooking something you're unfamiliar with for the first time!

©Michelle Schoeps 2013
All photos taken by Michelle Schoeps
 & Heather Nette King
all photo's and recipes adapted and taken by us!