food, health

Cooking Tips – Honey

If you enjoy the flavour of honey and want a snack food that is healthy, this recipe for Honey and Oat Cookies, (Biscuits in Australia), may fit the bill. Or perhaps Quinoa Salad with its Honey and Lemon dressing is more your preference. Measuring honey leaves for one sticky clean up. Is there an easier way?

Photo by ROMAN ODINTSOV on Pexels.com

Measuring Honey or Syrup

To prevent a sticky measuring cup or spoon when cooking with honey, oil the measuring cup with a thin smear of cooking oil and rinse in hot water before using.

You won’t be left with a sticky cup or measuring spoon to wash!

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Home made Honey and Oat Cookie Recipe

Honey has been on my mind, lately, as I was interviewing an expert on Beekeeping, in my job as a reporter, for a community magazine.

I can now tell you loads about the complexities of a bee colony, what threats they face, how they are heavily regulated by themselves and the bees and the process of making honey.

Whilst beekeeping can turn into an obsession, I am more obsessed with honey and its use as food. I sourced a wonderfully tasty Immune boosted raw Honey from the Beekeeper himself. This honey has all sorts of health benefits as the bees graze from a wide variety of food sources.

Apart from having one teaspoon of this delicious food from the Gods, each day, I made some Honey and Oat Biscuits, (or Honey and Oat Cookies if you are American), using a favourite recipe of mine, that I will share here:

Honey and Oat Cookies (Biscuits) Recipe

  • 1 cup Self Raising Flour, (or all-purpose flour with 2 teaspoons Baking powder)
  • 3 tablespoons custard powder
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup (125 g) or softened butter
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons honey
  • 3/4 cup wheatgerm or bran

Method

  1. Blitz the flour and custard powder
  2. Add sugar and oats and blitz again
  3. Add butter through the chute as processing til blended
  4. Add honey and process till well combined
  5. Roll teaspoonfuls of the mix into balls and toss lightly in the wheatgerm/bran
  6. Place on baking tray and flatten lightly with the back of a fork
  7. Cook for 10 – 12 minutes in a moderate over 180 degrees C (350 F)
  8. Allow to cool on tray

Makes about 15- 18 cookies

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Lemon Cake

This is a recipe published by the Australian Women’s Weekly Magazine some years back. In my and my family’s opinion, this is one of the best lemon cake recipes around. Perfect to have with a cuppa.

Australian Women’s Weekly Lemon Cake Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 125g butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon rind
  • 1 cup (220g) caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup (150g) self-raising flour
  • ½ cup (75g) plain flour
  • ½ cup* (125ml) milk – *fill to within 1/4 inch of the brim of the cup measure, with milk, then top up to the brim with lemon juice
  • Cinnamon and walnuts to sprinkle on top (optional)

Topping

  • ½ cup (125ml) lemon juice
  • ¼ cup (55g) caster sugar

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to moderate (180°/160°C fan-forced). Grease a deep 20cm round or large loaf pan, then line the base with baking paper.
  2. Beat the butter, rind and sugar in a small bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until combined between additions.
  4. Stir in the sifted flours in two batches with the milk.
  5. Spread the mixture into the prepared pan.
  6. Sprinkle cinnamon and a handful of walnuts on top of the mix.
  7. Bake in a moderate oven for about 35- 45 minutes or until the cake is cooked when tested with a skewer.

The topping is optional as the cake is sweet enough without, but if you wish to make it here it is:

  • Combine the lemon juice and sugar in a jug; stir until the sugar is dissolved.
  • Pour the topping over the hot cake
  • Allow cake to stand for 15 minutes before turning the cake onto a wire rack to cool.

This cake is suitable to freeze but not suitable to cook in the microwave.

food, health

Hot Crab Dip or Cold Crab Dip

I have had this small tin of crab meat in my pantry for (mumble, mumble) quite some time now. I really did not know what I was going to use it for.

I think it was originally destined for a party, hanging out with other Swedish sandwich cake ingredients, but things did not work out between them, and so the crab meat, was left on the shelf… literally!

Image
Crab Dip

Inspiration hit me one night when the Moth aka hubby and I were on our own, no family to cook for and decided on a light meal to end the week. Surfing the net always provides inspiration and along the way I found a recipe for Hot Crab Dip.

As one always does, there were adjustments I just had to make, serving it cold, and adding some extra vegetables for crunch. As I like fresh and crunchy celery, cucumber and capsicum, I chopped these up and added them in. The dish has some added Vitamin C and fibre this way.

But credit goes to Will Cook for Smiles for the essence of the recipe. She baked hers in the oven, whilst I often prefer my seafood cold, so I didn’t. It is totally agreeable either way.

It is just your own preference.

Here is what I mixed to make this superb light meal/appetizer/dip/wine & cheese accompaniment.

Crab Dip Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 130 g tinned Crabmeat
  • 40g spreadable Cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup Sour cream
  • 1/4 cup Mayonnaise
  • 2 stalks of Spring onion, finely chopped and diced.
  • 1 Garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup of shaved Parmesan cheese, to mix in
  • 1/4 cup of shaved Parmesan cheese, for topping
  • Salt & fresh cracked Pepper

Optional Extras if serving it cold:

  • 1/2 medium Yellow and Green Capsicum, chopped & diced.
  • 1/2 small Lebanese Cucumber, chopped & diced.
  • Celery – 1 stalk – only if you like it very crunchy

Method for Serving Cold Crab Dip

Mix all ingredients together. Serve with crackers, fresh bread or baguette.

To Serve Crab Dip Hot:

  • Preheat the oven to 170 degree celsius or 340 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Combine all the ingredients, top with the second 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese.
  • Bake 20 minutes
  • Serve with crusty sourdough bread or crackers of your choice.

It was hard to stop nibbling this more-ish mix with my water crackers!

Next time I’s serve it hot with some fresh salad and a secondary dish.

Enjoy.

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Anzac Biscuits – in Denmark and Australia

Quintessentially Aussie – ANZAC Biscuits

Merle is an Aussie Grandma and a fantastic cook who released a book of Australian recipes, and one of the all-time favourites is reproduced here albeit with a few alterations.

The recipe is posted here, as it was Anzac Day, yesterday.


Every year on 25 April, Australians remember the Anzacs in memorial services in every suburb, in every city in Australia, and it is a national holiday. I would venture to say a sacred day in the consciousness of all Australians.

Anzac biscuits are named after the Australian and New Zealand Army troops who fought on the side of Britain during WWI. They were unfortunately slaughtered in an mistaken decision made by the British command.

Churchills error in the Dardenelles against the Turkish forces resulted in an atrocious loss of life and the soldiers who fought there have since achieved saint-like status in the minds of Australians and Kiwis.

These biscuits/cookies keep well for an extended period of time and were sent in tins to the troops fighting in the filthy trenches at Lone Pine and Anzac Cove in Turkey, by the mothers and sweethearts of those brave young men.

Mel Gibson immortalised the Anzac soldier’s spirit in the 1981 film “Gallipoli”.

I cooked the Anzacs at 180 degrees C… sorry Merle love, my oven is happier working at a higher temperature than yours.

Feel free to post what temperature worked for you, if you try the recipe…

Anzac Biscuits

Ingredients  

  • 1 cup plain flour (approx 4 ounces)
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup desiccated coconut
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 tbsp golden syrup
  • 2 tbsp boiling water
  • 1 tsp bicarb soda
  • 160 g butter, melted

Preheat Oven 170 Celsius

Method
1. Sift flour, ginger in a mixing bowl and add coconuts, oats and sugar. Make a well in the centre
2. Stir in Golden syrup, boiling water and bicarb in a small bowl until combined. Add to the dry ingredients, along with the melted butter. Mix well
3. Take heaped teaspoons of mix and roll into small balls. Place on trays and flatten gently. Bake 6-7 minutes ( I baked them for 10 mins)
4. Cool on tray 10 mins til they firm up slightly.

The supreme sacrifice of those men in the cause of freedom, is truly something to eternally ponder about. “Lest we Forget”  

Now you can also try these biscuits, and tell me what you think.

Reproduced here for the Danish island school and the children who some years back organized an Australian morning tea as part of their tuition from their fabulous teach who unfortunately passed away some years ago.

RIP Teacher Andrea.

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Time for Tuscan Bean Soup

The beauty of this soup is that it works with most leftover vegetables. I chop up things I find in the fridge at the Home by the Sea, such as the leftover broccoli stalks or slightly limp-few days old -beans and add them in. The soup will taste just as good, if not better.

The addition of chickpeas adds a lot of fibre to this recipe and balances out the carbs hidden in the pancetta/bacon.

A hearty soup perfect for an easy family dinner.

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Tuscan Bean Soup Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons cold-pressed Olive Oil
  • 2 medium Brown Onions, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cloves Garlic, finely chopped
  • 200g Speck, or good quality Bacon or Pancetta, coarsely sliced
  • 2 -3 Carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 3 Celery stalks, coarsely chopped
  • 1 can Diced Tomatoes*

I didn’t have a can of chopped Roma Tomatoes, in the pantry, so I boiled up 8 fresh Roma tomatoes, chopped them roughly, then boiling them in a saucepan till soft, [about 8 -10 minutes on medium heat].

  • 1/4 head of Cabbage, shredded coarsely
  • 1- 2 Zucchinis, coarsely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons Thyme
  • 2 cups Chicken or Vegetable stock
  • 1 cup Water
  • 1 small can of Chickpeas, in vinaigrette, rinsed and drained
  • 1 new Potato, coarsely chopped
  • 1 whole Celery stalk with leaves attached
  • Chives, a handful sliced plus some extra for garnishing

Serves 6

Tuscan Bean Soup

Method

  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan
  2. Cook onion, celery, garlic, and selected cured meat, such as Pancetta, stirring until onion and celery is soft (about 5 minutes)
  3. Add carrot, undrained tomatoes, cabbage, zucchini, potato, thyme, stock, drained chickpeas, water and the whole celery stalk, with leaves attached.
  4. Bring to boil
  5. Simmer uncovered about 30 – 40 minutes [go for a nice walk whilst it is simmering]
  6. Remove the whole celery stalk with leaves
  7. Add finely sliced chives and garnish with a sprinkle prior to serving.
  8. Serve with a crusty bread

If you are a soup lover, you might also like Lemon Broccoli Soup

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Easy Salmon Pie with Cheesy Crust

Salmon is low in fat and high in protein. Not to mention it is a good source of B12, potassium, iron and vitamin D. No wonder the Scandinavians enjoy it.

Making pastry can be a pain but it’s a breeze with this recipe as the kitchen food processor blends and forms a delicious, cheesy pastry shell.

Cooks Notes:

This recipe is substantial and makes a filling pie great for serving the family or group. The pie cuts easily and holding its form brilliantly on the day of cooking as well as the next day for a summer lunch.

Salmon Pie Recipe

Preheat Oven to 180 C (350F)

Cheesy Pastry Crust Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups Plain flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon Paprika
  • 125 g Butter
  • 1 cup grated Cheddar or firm Cheese (substitutes are fine as long as it isn’t a cheese that melts too much such as mozzarella)
  1. Rub the butter into the flour using a Food Processor but not so much that it turns into a ball (keep it crumbly)
  2. Add the grated cheese and mix through the pastry.
  3. Set aside 1/4 of the mix to reserve for the pie topping
  4. Press the remainder into an 8-9 inch pottery, or glass, pie dish until it covers the base and sides to form the pastry shell.

Filling Ingredients

  • 220 gram (around 8 oz) can cooked Red or Pink Salmon, preferably boneless
  • 3 Eggs
  • 375 grams Sour cream (13 oz)
  • 1 Onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped Chives
  • 2-3 drops of Tabasco sauce (optional)
  • 1/2 cup grated Cheese (extra)
  1. Drain and flake salmon and combine with the rest of the filling ingredients
  2. Place the combined mix into the pastry shell
  3. Crumb the reserved portion of the pastry crumbs on top
  4. Bake 40 – 50 minutes at 180 C (350 F) or until golden brown on top

Delicious served hot or cold the next day with a green salad.

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Pavlova – a Perfect Dessert for Celebrations

Traditional Australian Pavlova

The Pavlova recipe I make is an old recipe taken from my trusty Aussie Women’s Weekly Recipe book. *(Page 32 is a tomato veal dish, Peggy!)

This book that was gifted to me in 1979, by my Mother. 41 years later, with its spine tatted and broken, this book continues to reveal recipe secrets I have yet to make.

nostalgic greeting with words Love Mum 1979
My Christmas gift the year after I left home

Pavlova Recipe

Following is the recipe I use, although I don’t use a piping bag to make the edges.

I just dump the meringue mix on to a lined baking sheet and form it into a makeshift circle, by dragging around the edges from base to tip with a broad spatula. It is less fuss, and noone wants too much fuss in the kitchen, when the mercury soars in summertime!

Australian Womens weekly pavlova recipe

Pavlova Cooking Tips

I cook my Pavlova in an oven set on 150 degees C. (300 degrees F.) for around 35 – 40 minutes. Then I will leave the pavlova to cool in the oven.

Once the Pavlova has finished its cooking time, I turn the oven off, and place a wooden spoon in the door to allow some heat to escape, but not all the heat, at once. This extended minimal heat is enough to dry the outer shell of the Pavlova whilst allowing the middle to be all soft and gooey.

It ends up quite rustic looking but leaves a crater or depression in the top into which you can place your fruits, custard or cream, or all three.

Photo by Sandra Filipe on Pexels.com

Celebration Pavlova with Chocolate Dome

This year I decided to make something a little different. Impressive isn’t it? And it is quite simple.

Do you want to know how to make the Chocolate dome for the top?

Find the directions for this variation at my other blog – Something to Ponder About

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A Gluten-Free Christmas Menu

You know your own children’s preferences, but when they become adults and bring home partners, you might have to face the prospect that the partners has different dietary preferences that need to be accomodated at festive occasions, like Christmas.

Scandinavian Christmas light

I am rather late in planning this Gluten free Christmas menu and it is not Vegan, nor vegetarian so that is a heads up. But it is highly nutritious.

Entree or Nibbles

First off we have a Prawn, snow pea and Capsicum Entree, I used the following Prawn dish idea but made it a kind of tasting nibbles board, rather than a whole dish. I will add some nice cheeses, home made Knekkerbrød (Norwegian crackers) and nuts to accompany this.

Fresh is best for this opener. Given that all prawns are frozen at the point of capture, fresh is a loose term these days. But we are Australian, so we have to have some kind of shellfish option to start the hot meal.

Christmas food

Mains

Meat

  • Assortment of oven-roasted, gluten-free meats – without stuffing and preferably organic in nature

Roasted Vegetables

  • Potatoes roasted with garlic, thyme and dill
  • Pumpkin, sweet potato, and carrots (all roasted with rosemary sprigs)
  • Onion
  • Choko
  • Red capsicum drizzled with olive oil and roasted lightly

Salads

  • Cauliflower butter beans and Pumpkin Hommus
  • Chickpea Spinach and Eggplant Salad
  • Broccoli, Quinoa and Edamame Vegetables (served warm for the Moth)

Christmas food collage

Dessert

Smashed Pavlova with seasonal stone fruits – there is just a little teaspoon of cornflour in this Pavlova recipe but when there is a coeliac visitor, one has to be extra careful. This is not just Gluten intolerance, but allergy!

  • Gluten-free Option – Chocolate Brownie

For the Moth: Warm Plum Pudding served with custard and ice cream

(not gluten-free)

What kind of different dishes are you cooking this Christmas?

Are you breaking from preparing traditional foods?

Merry Christmas from the Home by the Sea

A Home by the Sea