Lazy Summer Days – Corn Bread

Guest What? This is a Guest Post! Hi. I’m Fiona from TIFFIN bite sized food adventures, guest posting on For The Love Of Food as Heather is on holidays. Whilst Heather lives it large on an exotic holiday to a far-flung destination, most of us are now back at work for another year, the taste of freedom at Christmas, a distant memory. But even though it’s back to the real world, we’re not really in full swing yet are we? Why? Because it’s January and that means plenty more cricket and tennis on the tele, weekends at the beach, lazy Sunday afternoon sessions at the pub and one more big party at the end of the month. Australia Day. It’s Australia Day that marks the end of the official party season so you want to celebrate in style. A BBQ, slip’n’slide on the lawn, plenty of friends, some refreshing sherberts and the JJJ Hottest 100 Countdown in the background. It’s like Christmas Day without the tension and crazy Uncle Ray.

Perhaps you’re planning a party or have been invited to one. Either way, you don’t want to spend time in a hot kitchen. You want easy dishes that can be made in advance so that when the snags come off the barbie, everything is ready to go. This corn bread recipe is perfect! It can be made a day ahead, served warm or at room temperature or popped in Tupperware and carted to the beach, a park or to someone else’s house. This recipe is based on one from Marie Claire’s ‘Food & Drink’ but over the years I have tweaked and adapted it to make it hassle free. It gets its name from the three types of corn – creamed, kernels and cornmeal (or, as it’s known in Australia, polenta) and that it threatens to overshadow everyone else’s contribution to the buffet. I make this regularly for parties and it’s always popular so why not take the pressure off and enjoy the only long weekend of the Summer?

CornbreadTriple Threat Corn Bread

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups polenta
  • 1 1/4 cups plain flour, sifted
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup tinned creamed corn (Golden Circle is my preference)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3/4 cup tinned corn kernels
  • 3 – 5 shallots (spring onions) diced
  • 2 tbsp parsley or oregano, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese
  • salt and pepper to season

Method

  1. Place the flour, polenta and baking powder in a bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the eggs. milk, creamed corn and olive oil. Mix well.
  2. Add the shallots, parsley and any ‘add ins’* and mix well. Season to taste.
  3. Pour batter into a greased 20cm x 20cm baking tin and top with grated mozzarella.
  4. Bake in an oven pre-heated to 180c for 35 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
  5. Cool slightly in tin then turn out onto a board and slice in squares
  6. Serve in a basket alongside salad and bbq goodies.

Notes

  • *add ins: try finely diced capsicum, red or green chilli or cubes of feta for something different
  • sharp cheddar with finely chopped bacon can be used as an alternate topping to the mozzarella
  • leftover (as if!) corn bread can be frozen and popped into lunch boxes to relive the Australia Day memories.

That’s it for this post. See you soon. Fiona. – TIFFIN bite sized food adventures – 

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Lychee sorbet

Lychees make me feel like I’m on holidays… and, I very nearly am on holidays. Heading to Vietnam and Cambodia for five glorious weeks 🙂 but back to lychees which have such a subtle yet distinctive flavour. Fresh is always best but it can be hard work, peeling and removing the seeds. This recipe works just as well with canned lychees.

DSC00586This sorbet is so easy, so refreshing and a ‘must do’ for the long summer days ahead.

You’ll need:

  • Two 520 g cans of lychees in syrup
  • 125 grams of castor sugar
  • juice of one lime
  • one small piece of ginger (optional)

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Drain the lychee syrup into a saucepan and put the lychees into your food processor. Add the lime juice, the sugar and the piece of ginger (if using) to the saucepan and put on the stovetop. Stir until sugar dissolves and bring to the boil for a few minutes. Turn the heat down and let simmer for five minutes or so. Take off the heat and let cool completely.

Meanwhile, process the lychees until all the big lumps are gone. You’ll be left with some smaller bits of lychee which I quite like (they add a bit texture). Pop this into the fridge to keep cool while waiting for your sugar syrup mixture to cool.

Once syrup is cooled, add to your lychee mixture and process again so it’s well combined.

Pop the whole lot into your ice cream machine to churn or alternatively place mixture into a shallow dish in the freezer until frozen.

I told you it was easy!

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Summer salad with pomegranate jewels

I have a confession to make. I’m a lover of red food. Strawberries, raspberries, watermelon, cherries, cranberries, red capsicum, red onions and the tiny little jewels that make up the glorious pomegranate.

You’ll notice I didn’t mention tomato in this list. I love the flavour of tomato used in cooking but I can’t eat it fresh. Something about the texture… I don’t know… it’s a long story… I’m guessing, but probably some childhood trauma.

Anyway, back to this beautiful, simple summer salad.

Cut up four or five large sweet potatoes and place in a roasting pan with olive oil and season well. Roast until tender.

DSC00553Meanwhile, prepare your pomegranate. Over the years I have tried various techniques for extracting the jewels but I find the easiest and cleanest way is to fill a large bowl with water. Cut the fruit in half and submerge in the water. Peel the skin away and gently prise out the jewels. They will sink to the bottom of the bowl. You’ll be left with the white membrane floating on top which you can easily take out of the water.

Check out this video on Youtube to show you the process.

Once your sweet potato has cooled, add it to a serving bowl with the pomegranate jewels, a good handful of pepita seeds and bocchini cheese balls or feta (whichever you prefer).

Make up a dressing using 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, two tablespoons of red wine vinegar, one tablespoon of honey, one tablespoon of pomegranate molasses and season to taste with salt and pepper.

DSC00554It tastes just like it looks, bright and happy, a perfect addition to any summer feast. Enjoy!

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Brussels sprout with onion jam

I’m proud to say I’m the newest member of the ‘Brussels Sprout Appreciation Society’. Ok, so some of you might be raising your eyebrows and looking out the corner of your eye at me like I’m a crazy person but until you’ve tried this dish, don’t knock it.

I’ve never cooked with this particular vegetable until recently when I realised they were just little baby cabbages and who doesn’t love a baby cabbage, especially one who is happy to be eaten raw or cooked.

This recipe is adapted from ‘Veggies’ a gorgeous cookbook by Simon Bryant. Check out this lovely leek and potato tart with feta recipe, also from Simon’s book.

Brussels sprout with onion jam is pretty easy to prepare and makes a brilliant Sunday night meal with a glass of wine. If I added bacon to this recipe (which I didn’t), I’m pretty sure Al would have said it was perfect.

Depending on the size of your sprouts you may need to cut them in half, like I did. If they are petite, then I’d leave them whole. I used about fifteen to make this dish which was enough for two large servings and leftovers the next day.

To prepare the sprouts, make a cut in the base and steam them whole until tender and set aside.

DSC00536Preheat your oven to 220 degrees. Meanwhile, finely slice a large white onion and add to a saucepan with a tablespoon of butter, a tablespoon of brown sugar and a pinch of salt. After it has cooked down, approximately 10 minutes, add a teaspoon of red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar. Let this continue to cook, stirring regularly so the onion doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. You are looking for a lovely rich, golden colour.

DSC00539Now you can move onto your white sauce. Melt 70 g unsalted butter in a saucepan over low heat. Add approximately 40 g plain flour and stir for a few minutes, to cook the flour but not colour it. Slowly add 2 cups of milk (don’t add all of the milk at once), stirring continuously to avoid lumps forming. Keep stirring for about five minutes until the sauce starts to thicken. Add a good handful of grated cheddar cheese and season to taste with salt and pepper.

DSC00541Lay your brussels sprouts into an oven dish and spoon over some of the white sauce. Now layer the onion jam, more of the white sauce and some more grated cheese. Finally, put the brussels sprout to sleep by covering the whole lot with panko breadcrumbs for a crisp topping. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil over the top and put into the oven to cook for approximately 10-15 minutes or until the top is golden.

DSC00542DSC00545DSC00548DSC00549I also love brussels sprout grated raw over a salad or the tiny leaves picked and dressed with evo and lemon juice. I’m keen to find other ways to use this veggie so please tell me your favourite way to enjoy them?

Milo ice cream, homemade

Winter or summer, milo is a constant food source in our pantry cupboard. Both Al and I enjoy it but we have very different techniques when it comes to preparing the perfect icy cold glass of milk with milo.

Al is a mixer. He likes to create a real malty choc flavour through all of the milk. I’m a pile on topper. I like to eat it off the top of my milk while it slowly sinks in. Either way, it’s all good and this ice cream recipe, thanks to Sneh at Cooks Republic is easy to make and very satisfying to eat!

What you’ll need

2 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk
3 egg yolks
1 cup brown sugar
4 tablespoons milo
1 teaspoon salt

Sneh also uses 150g milk chocolate in her recipe, but I only had dark chocolate in the fridge so decided to leave it out so as not to interfere with the milo flavour.

First up, make your custard base by heating the milk, cream and salt on medium; stirring occasionally until hot but don’t boil. Remove from heat and cool for approximately 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar. Make sure all of the sugar is dissolved. Slowly pour the cream mixture into the yolk mixture stirring constantly. Return the combined mixture to the saucepan on medium-low heat. Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula. Make sure you scrape the bottom of the pan to avoid scorching. At the end of 3 minutes, the mixture should start to thicken, if not, just keep stirring. This is the custard base.

Remove the custard from the heat. Put the milo in a large heatproof bowl. Pour over the hot custard and whisk until the mixture is smooth. Pour the custard through a strainer into a clean metal bowl and cool completely.

Cover the bowl with clingfilm and chill in the fridge overnight (or at least 2 hours). When chilled, transfer to your ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

DSC00164DSC00166If you can stand to wait, leave it in the freezer overnight for a firm set, if not, let it set for a couple of hours before the taste test. It’ll last in the freezer for up to a week or maybe not!

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Salmon miso broth

Need a quick, super healthy dinner that packs a flavour punch? This is it.

DSC00137What you’ll need to serve two people with a leftover bowl for lunch the next day:

2 pieces of salmon (skin off) sprinkled with sesame seeds

bunch of bok choy

500mls water with one chicken stock cube

small knob of grated ginger

1 carrot, finely sliced

1 stick of celery, finely sliced

2 heaped teaspoons of white miso paste

soba or udon noodles

1 teaspoon sugar

soy sauce to taste

coriander to garnish

Put water, stock cube, grated ginger and miso paste in a large saucepan and simmer gently until miso has dissolved. Add sugar and soy sauce and taste until you achieve the balance of flavours you like. Add carrot, celery and noodles.

Meanwhile pan fry your salmon, until just cooked. Be careful not to overcook as the salmon will continue to cook in the broth when you serve. Once cooked and cooled slightly, break salmon apart into chunks.

Divide your fresh bok choy into two bowls, pour over the broth with the noodles and add your salmon, garnishing with coriander.

You could also add fresh bean sprouts or mushrooms or garnish with fresh red chilli.

I think this dish may become a firm favourite in our house. Happy days!

Choc chickpea cookie dough treats

“Did you cook anything interesting today?” said Al

“Choc chickpea cookies” was my reply.

“Ummm ok”

Later that evening I presented them to him for taste testing.

“I like the flavour but I wish they were crunchy. One is enough for me”.

Ok, so they might not be enjoyed by everyone but as my friend Miss P said, “it’s like eating cookie dough, I love them”.

I also loved them. The flavour and the texture!

I found the basis for this recipe on Pinterest by blogger Iron Chef Shellie – thanks for the inspiration!

What’s you’ll need

400g canned chickpeas (rinsed, drained and dried so they aren’t too wet)

180g peanut butter

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp baking powder

dark choc chips (as many as you’d like to add)

1 tablespoon of honey or golden syrup

chopped up peanuts (as many as you’d like to add but not essential)

sea salt to sprinkle

Preheat oven to 180c.

Combine all the ingredients except for the choc chips, extra peanuts if using and the sea salt in a food processor. Blend until sticky.

Transfer to a bowl and add in choc chips and peanuts (if using).

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Form the dough into small round balls and press down slightly flatter as I did. Sprinkle with sea salt (I used black sea salt). Place in the fridge for 15 to 20 minutes to firm up, then bake in the oven for 15 minutes.

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They will be soft when you take out of the oven and unlike traditional cookies, they won’t set hard. I stored mine in an airtight container in the fridge for a week.

DSC00086If you are looking for an afternoon snack that goes well with a cup of tea, I can highly recommend.