Monday, 27 June 2016

Skillet Cheeseburger Pizza

Simple and family friendly!  From Food and Drink Holiday 2015

1 tbsp plus 2 tsp olive oil
250 g lean ground beef
1 garlic clove, minced
1 small cooking onion, diced
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp mayonnaise
2 tsp relish
Half a 1 lb (500 g) ball raw pizza dough, find it in the bakery section at the supermarket, room temperature
1 tsp sesame seeds
1 large sour dill pickle, sliced
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
2 cups iceberg lettuce, shredded
1 medium tomato, cored and diced

  1. Preheat oven to 450F
  2. In a frying pan over medium heat, heat 1 tbsp oil and add ground beef, garlic, onion, salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring often, for 5 to 7 minutes, or until juices run clear.  Drain off any liquid, set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together mayonnaise with ketchup and relish.  This is your Special sauce.
  4. Oil an 8 inch cast iron skillet with remaining 2 tsp of olive oil.  Roll dough out to about a 10 inch round on a lightly floured surface and transfer to skillet.  Flip dough over in skillet os that both sides of dough are oiled.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds and gently press dough evenly in skillet so that it rises slightly up to the sides of the pan.  Bake in preheated oven for 5 minutes.
  5. Remove par baked pizza from oven and spread with special sauce.  Top evenly with sliced pickle, ground beef and fine ally shredded cheddar.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes more or until pizza is cooked through and cheese is melted and slightly browned.  Run a knife around the edges of skillet to be sure its not sticking.  Top with cool shredded lettuce and chopped tomato.  Slice and serve at once. 
Serves 4

Friday, 17 June 2016

Blushing Anise Pears

I gave this one a try from Food and Drink although I was doubtful.  I am so glad I did.  This is a really nice addition to any meal.  I did not put in the Anise stars but followed the recipe other than that.

1 tbsp fresh or bottled lemon juice (I like fresh)
6 or 7 small firm pears such as Seckel, about 1.5 kg
2 cups raspberry vinegar
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
2 cups lightly packed brown sugar
Juice and thinly grated rind of 1 lemon
2 tsp pickling salt (I used Kosher)
1 tsp garam masala spice blend
4 sticks cinnamon, 2 inches each
8 star anise stars

  1. Fill a sink or large bowl with cold water and add lemon juice.  Peel and cut pears in half leaving the stem intact on one half.  Core and remove blossom ends and drop pear halves into water as each is trimmed.
  2. Combine raspberry and white wine vinegars in a large saucepan and heat over medium high.  Stir in sugar, lemon juice lemon rind, salt and garam masala and bring to a gentle boil, stirring until sugar dissolves.  Drop 6 pear halves into the vinegar mixture and pack into the bottom of 4 wide mouth pint jars, each holding 2 cups.  Slide 1 stick of cinnamon and 2 star anise stars down the inside of each jar.  Boil remaining pear halves for 3 minutes and finish packing jars, leaving slightly more that 1/2 inch headspace.
  3. Pour hot vinegar syrup over pears in each jar leaving a 1/2 inch headspace and making sure that the fruit is covered with syrup.   Cap and set aside to cool completely.  Label and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 months.
Makes about 8 cups

Uses ans an appetizer or dessert

Garnish roast lamb or pork

Chopped with walnuts and semi soft cheese for canapés 

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Chocolate Saffron Tart with Apples

This is seriously one of the best desserts I have had.  From Food and Drink 2015.

1 cup whipping cream
1 cup milk
1 tsp saffron threads
5 egg yolks
3 tbsp honey
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tbsp honey
2 star anise (I left this out and added a touch of cinnamon)
2 firm apples, peeled, cored and thickly sliced

Sweet Pastry, partially baked

8 oz (250g) bittersweet chocolate chocolate, chopped
1 cup whipping cream
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 egg, beaten
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

  • Heat cream and milk in a pot over medium heat until the edges begin to bubble and steam rises off the milk. Remove from the heat.  Pour 1/4 cup hot cream mixture into a bowl.  Stir saffron into the bowl and set aside.
  • Whisk egg yolks with honey and sugar in a large bowl.  While whisking, slowly drizzle remaining cream mixture from pot into eggs until all the mixture has been added.  Return to pot and place over medium heat.  Add saffron infused mixture.
  • Stir continuously until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes.  Stir in vanilla.  Remove from heat and pour into a bowl.  Place plastic wrap on top of custard and refrigerate until cool, about 30 minutes.
  • Combine sugar, honey and star anise in a medium skillet over medium heat.  Stir until sugar has dissolved.  Add apples and cover.  Reduce heat to low and simmer for 13 to 15 minutes or until liquid has been absorbed and apples are very tender.  Reserve.
  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • Line the bottom of the partially baked crust with the honey apples, discarding star anise.  Spread cooled saffron cream over apples and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until cream has set.
  • Combine chocolate, cream and salt in a pot over low heat.  Melt chocolate, stirring until the mixture is smooth.  Remover from heat.  Add egg and vanilla, stirring together until mixture is slightly thickened.
  • Remove tart from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes.  Pour enough chocolate mousse over the saffron cream to cover.  You may have some left over.  Return tart to oven and bake for 10 more minutes or until edges begin to puff up but the chocolate is still glossy.  Do not over bake or the chocolate will lose its shine.  Cools before serving.
Serves 8


1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cubed 
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp water

  • Preheat oven to 425 F.  Combine flour sugar and salt in a food processor.  Add butter and pulse until it resembles coarse meal.  Add yolk, lemon juice and water and pulse until combined but still loose.  Transfer to a bowl and combine together into a ball.
  • Roll out onto a lightly floured board into a 12 inch circle.  Roll dough back onto rolling pin so it is loosely wrapped around.  Lift and unroll into 10 inch tart pan with removable bottom.  Press dough into edges using scraps to patch any holes.  Prick base all over with a fork.  Freeze for 30 minutes.
  • Line the interior of the sweet pastry with parchment paper and fill with baking beans to weigh down the crust.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and remove beans and parchment.  For a fully baked crust, return crust to oven and bake a further 5 to 10 minutes or until a pale gold.  For a partially baked crust continue with the recipe, placing filling in crust.
Makes one 10 inch tart

Monday, 6 June 2016

Chicken and Egg Salad

A great summer salad, perfect for a picnic or camping.

1 tbsp olive oil
600 g boneless, skinless chicken breast cut into 1/2 inch dice
3/4 tsp salt, divided
5 tbsp mayonnaise
2 tbsp finely chopped red onion
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1/4 tsp Italian Seasoning
2 large hard boiled eggs
2/3 cup finely diced celery, including some leaves

  1. Heat oil in 12 inch skillet over high heat; add chicken, sprinkle with 1/4 tsp salt and sauté, stirring as chicken browns, 5 to 7 minutes.  Remove from heat; cool until warm.
  2. Meanwhile, combine mayonnaise, onion, vinegar, remaining 1/2 tsp salt and seasoning in large bowl.
  3. Finely chop eggs; stir into mayonnaise mixture with celery.  Fold in chicken.  Serve immediately or refrigerate if desired.