Garlic Chive Flower Vinegar

I have been wanting to try making this for a long time but just never have. 
Well, the garlic chives have been blooming in our garden like crazy so today was the day !!

It was so easy and it smells so good ! 
I'm not sure how long it will need to 'steep' but I'm going to taste it in a week and see how it's going ! 
I can't wait to try it ...

Here's how you make it.
Get some garlic chive flowers ... out of your garden, or a friends garden, is good.

Take pretty pictures of them.

Find a glass jar ...

Take some more pretty pictures.

Pop the flowers into the jar ...

Add apple cider vinegar vinegar.

Take out into the garden and take more pretty pictures.

Smile about how clever you are.

And that's it.
Easy !

Sticky Date Pudding

I had never had it before coming to Australia ...

Here's how you make it ..

For the pudding:
250g pitted dates, chopped
1 tsp bicarb soda
1.5 cups boiling water
125g softened butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 and 3/4 cups self raising flour, sifted

For the sauce:
1 cup brown sugar
300ml thickened cream
1/2 tsp vanilla
60g butter

Preheat oven to 180C/350F

Line (or grease) the base of a cake pan. I used a round one.

Soak the dates in the boiling water, with bicarb soda mixed in. Soak for about 20 minutes. Don't tip out the water ... although, I did (accidentally) and it was fine after I replaced it. But still, it's better if you use the water the dates soaked in !

Put the butter, sugar and vanilla in your electric mixer. Beat til pale and creamy. Add eggs, one at a time. Beat well after each one is added. Fold the date mixture and flour in until well combined.

Pour this into the cake pan. Bake 35-40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean from the centre of the cake. (this is tricky though since it's a sticky date ! ours didn't come out totally clean but it wasn't all goopy anymore ) Turn onto a plate.

Make the sauce ...

Over a medium heat, combine sauce ingredients in a sauce pan. Stir often, til sauce boils. Reduce heat and simmer for a couple of minutes.

Make holes all over the pudding with a skewer. Pour warm sauce over warm pudding. Let stand 10 minutes. Serve with remaining sauce and ice cream !


Pistachio Dukkah

oh boy do i love this stuff !
i had dukkah for the first time about 10 or 12 years ago at christmas dinner with friends
i loved it straight away !

then a few years ago, my friend kel and i found it at the markets 
yum yum

we have talked about how easy it must be to make
but just never made it
until last week !

i went to visit kel for her 40th birthday weekend celebration extravaganza !

we made dukkah

i'll never buy it again.

Here's how we made it ...

1/4 cup sesame seeds
3 tablespoons coriander seeds
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
2 cups pistachios (buy the ones already taken out of the seeds !)
olive oil
turkish (or your choice of) bread

So ... dry roast (in a frying pan) the sesame seeds til golden. Tip into the food processor. Dry roast coriander and cumin seeds til fragrant. Tip into food processor. If the pistachios aren't already roasted and salted, dry roast them and add a bit of salt. Tip into food processor. Add pepper. Process til chunky ... see photo !

Serve with olive oil and bite size bread chunks.

To eat ... dip bread chunk into olive oil, then into dukkah ! Enjoy !! YUMMMMM !!

I'm making this again tomorrow for Christmas Eve with the family !!

Autumn Spinach Salad

10 oz (or so) fresh spinach
ripe pear
1/2 c red onion, sliced thin
1/2 c dried cranberries (can substitute pomegranate)
1/3 c walnut pieces (optional)
1/3 c cider vinegar
1/2 c canola oil
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp sugar
salt (optional)

Wash, dry, and tear spinach leaves into bite-sized pieces and put in salad bowl. Core pear, slice thin or cut in bite-sized pieces. Dip pear pieces in the cider vinegar, then add them to salad. Add red onion and cranberries (or pomegranate).

To the remaining cider vinegar add the oil, mustard, sugar, and salt, and whisk together.

Just before serving, Dress salad with the Dijon vinagrette, toss gently, and sprinkle on walnuts if desired.

Chipotle Chicken Posole

Sundays are a hectic day at our house. We are up early, gone late and the last thing either  of us want to do is make lunch, spend more money, or eat poorly. So we have been trying to kill all three birds with one crock pot.

Last night I was rummaging around for whatever was on hand, trying do decide what to throw in the ol' crockery and i found this:

2 bone in chicken breast
1  15 oz can of gold hominy (you can substitute corn)
1 can of diced green chiles
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1 seeded and diced jalapeño pepper
1 medium onion chopped
6 chopped garlic cloves
some chopped celery

I had no homemade stock on hand so I boiled up some 6 cups of water and threw in 2 chicken cubes and a half of a bacon bullion cube.  I let it cool and then set it aside to use in the morning.

This morning I seasoned the chicken with pepper, salt, smoked paprika and some Trader Joe's 21 seasoning salute.  I love this stuff.  I poured the stock in the crock pot and set the chicken in it.
Pour in the whole can of hominy with the juice and add the onion, celery, garlic, jalapeño, chipotles, and chiles then stir.

I covered and cooked for 5 hours on high.

When we got home I removed the chicken and deboned and shredded and added back to the soup.
This is when I added cilantro. I love the stuff, but no one else in my house does so it also works to add it to each individual bowl.

A good way to cut some spice is to add some sour cream if you have it.

Turns out the soup is about 300 calories per bowl.
Tasty, delicious and pretty inexpensive.

Chicken & Black Bean Tostada Bowl

When we were in the States I bought some Tortilla Bakers for making individual tostada bowls. I used them for the first time (with tortiallas) the other night.

I followed the instructions on the box for making the bowls.

Lightly spray your little bakers with non stick spray.

Between damp paper towls, microwave your tortillas for about 15/20 seconds. Fit it into the baker. Bake in 350F/170C oven for 5-8 minutes. (I will do ours longer next time. I was worried they would burn but the bottom and sides weren't really crispy like the top ~ as you can see in the photos !)

Cool for 5 minutes before removing from baker. Then place on rack to cool completely.

We filled these ones with ....

Chicken, diced and cooked with a mexican spice mix
Black beans, straight out of the can, drained
Tomatoes, diced
Spring Onion, chopped
Cheddar Cheese, grated
Greek Yoghurt, dolloped (you could use sour cream but we didn't have any)
Avocado, chopped
Lettuce, chopped small

Veggie Fish Bake

Veggie Fish Bake

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

4-6 medium to large potatoes, peeled and sliced approximately ¼ inch thick
4 medium to large carrots, peeled and sliced approximately ¼ inch thick
1 medium onion, peeled and sliced approximately ¼ inch thick – separated into rings

Spray large baking dish with Pam (I used olive oil Pam).
Layer potato slices in the bottom of the dish. Next, evenly spread the carrots and then the onion rings over the layers of potatoes.
Melt 2T of butter and stir in 1t of dried basil and 1t of dried dill weed. Sprinkle butter mixture over veggies. Evenly spray another layer of Pam over the veggies. Cover and bake until potatoes feel like they are approximately 15 minutes from done. (I baked them for approximately 40 minutes)
Meanwhile, melt 2T of butter and stir in 1t of dried basil, 1t of dried dill weed, salt and pepper (I used white pepper cause I like it best), and 3t of lemon juice (I didn’t feel like squeezing fresh, so used the bottle and it turned out fine).
When the potatoes feel like they are getting close to done, place four fish fillets (your favorite white fish…can’t remember what I used!) over the veggies. Spread the second batch of butter mixture over the fish. Recover and return the pan to the oven. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the fish is flaky and done.
Meanwhile, chop two medium tomatoes (I chopped mine rather small). When the fish is finished, sprinkle the tomatoes over the fish. Recover and return pan to the oven for 5 minutes.
DELISH!!! EVERYONE in the family went back for seconds!! My mom used to make this when I was a kid (only fish recipe I recall liking as a child!), and I stumbled upon it the other day when looking for meals I could eat while on my post-gall bladder surgery restricted diet. It was such a hit that it's going on the make again soon list! :-)