Toffee Banana Pancakes

Ooey, Gooey & Fabuliciouz!

These soft, fluffy pancakes are drenched in a sticky glistening sauce,

but the banana is fruit so that counts, right?!?!?!

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On a lazy morning after a hectic weekend there is nothing better for us than to shovel an absolutely decadent mouthful of naughtiness into our gobs!

To make the pancakes is a really easy affair! Grab a mixing bowl & bung in 1 cup of self raising flour along with 1 cup of milk, 1 egg & a good pinch of salt. Give that lot a jolly good whisk & cook off a spoonful at a time in a nice hot pan on both sides. You all know that the pancake is ready to flip when tiny bubbles start bursting on the surface, yeah?!

Pancakes are so quick to cook & really simple to then turn host into a plethora of different ideas of whatever flavour happens to float your boat at the time to dump on top. In this instance, it’s Toffee Bananas.

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a frypan over medium heat before whacking in 1/2 cup of brown sugar. Stir that lot until the sugar dissolves completely to make your toffee. Then, it’s just a matter of chucking in some sliced up bananas to coat in the sticky sauce while they gently warm through.

Create a stack of the pancakes on a plate & spoon over the toffee bananas allowing them to drizzle seductively down the sides.

It’s Chompin Time!

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Christmas Kisses

These delicate meringues are the perfect sweet treat for home-made gifts this festive season.

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Personally I love home-made gifts for Christmas. Something that you’ve taken the time to infuse with all the love in your heart for the intended recipient. These wee nuggets of pure sugary happiness would make even my mate ‘The Grinch’  (you know who you are!) smile in a heart warming festive manner…..if ever so briefly.

Simply whisk 3 egg whites together until soft peaks form. I tend to crack my egg whites into a separate bowl before adding each one, the number of times a split yolk would of ruined all my other whites makes the extra washing up totally worth it!

Next, gradually add in 175g of caster sugar slowly whilst still whisking. Make sure you add about a tablespoon at a time & whisk it in really well before adding the next lot in.

Once all the sugar is in, bung in a teaspoon of vanilla paste & give it a jolly good whisk in as well. The vanilla just gives it a really nice flavour boost but isn’t absolutely necessary if you don’t want to.

My trick is I take the mix just that wee bit too far on the whisking, until it’s like a marshmallow consistency.

Grab yourself 2 more bowls & divide out the mix so you’ve got equal thirds. Tint one bowl with green, one bowl with a rose pink (I find it softer than traditional red) & leave one bowl white.

Pop a star nozzle into a piping bag & simply fill it in the thirds with each different colour.

Line a tray with baking paper & then squirt wee dollops of colourful joy out of the piping bag.

Whack them into a 150c pre-heated oven then immediately drop that temp to 140c. Bake for half an hour then turn the oven off. DO NOT OPEN THAT DOOR FOR ANY REASON! Let the meringues go cold in the oven.

When you’ve let them go cold in the oven, they will easily just peel off the paper, no effort required. You can dress them up with some edible gold shimmer or edible glitter if that floats your boat too.

Chicken Paprikas

It’s Mini-Me’s Ballet Concert weekend!

That makes it all about sparkles, glitter & mum taxi duties for me as I rush her between final rehearsal, opening night & next day matinee! It’s an all out onslaught of a weekend!

Never fear, the in-laws are here!

So last night, we were treated to this wee Hungarian traditional number – check it out!

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Start off by heating up a glug of oil in a stock pot over a very gentle heat to fry off 2 finely chopped onions & 1 finely diced red capsicum together. When they’re just softened, add in a whole tablespoon of salt! Stir it well, the salt will help break them down even further.

When they’ve fully sweated down, bung in 1kg of chopped up chicken thigh. Combine it well & whack on a lid. You’ll be surprised just how much liquid comes out into the pot from all this!

Allow the chicken to slightly whiten before adding in a sliced chilli, 2 broken bay leaves (they release more flavour when you break them) & 1 teaspoon of minced garlic. Give that lot a jolly good stir & straight back on with the lid.

When the chicken has fully whitened, stir through 1 tablespoon of paprika then bring to the boil before chucking in a tin (410g) of crushed tomatoes. Use the same tin to splash in 1/4 tin full of water. Once again stir then whack that lid back on top.

Now we just wait until the chook is cooked all the way through, usually takes about a half hour from this point.

Serve this ‘soup’ like meal over freshly cooked pasta – Fabuliciouz!

Baked Ham & Potato Salad

Oh yes I did crank up Lee Kernaghan’s Driving Home for Christmas CD & bopped along to ‘Santa Claus is back in Town’ & ‘Cunnamulla Santa’ whilst getting my festive groovy on in the kitchen cooking up the classic Aussie glazed ham with an oh so creamy tattie salad.

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Christmas cooking simply makes me burst with joy & happiness. It’s my favourite time of the year & I do overly spoil my fam-bam with culinary treats all home-made with love.

For this fabuliciouzly sticky ham start by bunging into a saucepan 1 cup of plum jam along with 1/2 cup apple juice, 1/4 cup of firmly packed brown sugar & 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard to combine. Pop it on the stove top to simmer for about 10 minutes or so until it’s a beautifully shiny glaze that’s slightly thickened.

Next, cut the rind off a leg ham carefully to leave the luscious fat layer behind. Gently score the fat with a sharp knife into a diamond diagonal pattern. Make sure to not cut all the way through to the meat though!

Pop the ham into a baking dish & smother it in half of the glaze, reserving the rest for basting. Whack the ham into a 160c oven for 2 hours remembering to baste every 30 minutes with some of the reserved glaze (that means to go steady on the festive cheer whilst still cooking!). Basting just means spoon over some of the glaze to keep the ham juicy.

For the creamy Tattie Salad simply boil 7-8 white skinned spuds with their jackets on in boiling salted water until just tender. Whilst they cool, hard boil yourself 4 eggs & fry off 6 rashers of diced up bacon. Set all aside once done to crack on with the sauce.

For the creamy sauce, which is the star of this salad, grab a mixing bowl & bung in 8 generous tablespoons of whole egg mayonnaise, 1 teaspoon of french mustard, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice then season well with salt & white pepper before giving it all a jolly good stir.

When you’re ready to assemble, grab a pretty serving dish then chop up the tatties into bite sized cubes, 1/4 the hard boiled eggs, scatter the bacon then gently toss in the sauce to smother all those nuggets of loveliness.

It’s Chompin Time!

Classic Fruit Cake

Nothing says Christmas in Australia quite like a good old fashioned Fruit Cake.

My go-to recipe for years is simple, moist & only 3 ingredients!

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I shared this recipe on my Facebook page last year, before starting this blog, and it was enormously popular! In fact, it was still being shared & baked only last week!

Simply bung a 1kg bag of dried fruit into a large mixing bowl before pouring over 2 cups of very strong black coffee then pop the bowl in the fridge to soak the fruit for 2 days.

On the 3rd day, remove the now plumped up juicy fruit from the fridge & throw 2 cups of self raising flour into the bowl. Give it a jolly good mix to form a stiff batter.

Pour that lot into a greased cake tin & whack in a 150c oven for 1 & 1/2 hours to bake.

Easy! There, you have my simplest Christmas Fruit Cake ever!

Festive Asian Rolls

Tis the Season to Party!!!!!

Whether you’re hosting a Fabuliciouz Summer BBQ, a Wintery Northern Feast or the Family Christmas Dinner, these wee rippers are sure to get the festivities started on an unusual note.

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Start by heating a good glug of oil in a frypan & cooking off 500g of Turkey mince, remembering to season it well with salt & white pepper. Add in a generous handful of cashew nuts (my all time weakness!) along with some dried cranberries. Fry all that lot off until you see those wee red jewels begin to puff back to life & the nuts have an absolutely glorious sheen to them.

When it’s all good & crispy, drizzle in a couple of tablespoons of honey. That adds a gorgeous shine to the whole dish as it glazes everything. Remove the frypan from the heat & let it cool down enough to handle.

Next, you wanna find some good quality dried rice paper for rolling. All the supermarkets have the export quality now so should be easy enough, but remember there are Asian groceries about too if you have trouble.

The trick to using rice paper is to know that the rough side is what you want facing up to put your filling on so the lovely smooth side is what you see later.

Using a bowl of water, gently place the rice paper circle in for a few seconds dunking before lifting out onto a clean tea-towel. Work quickly now! Pinch up some filling mix out of the frypan & drop it along the side closest to you, just off from the edge. You want to make sure you don’t overfill rice paper rolls or they’ll split. Gently tuck the filling into bed with the small edge you’ve left by lifting it up & over the filling, next you need to fold in each side. You’re filling is now encased in it’s blankie. Then it’s a simple case of rolling it up to the end.

Line up all your rolls in a dish or on a tray as you complete each one, being very careful not to let them touch as they will stick together.

Now, it’s a textural thing of whatever floats your boat. Some people prefer to eat them just like this with a dipping sauce for the chewiness of the rice paper rolls at this stage. My fam-bam prefer to take it to the next level.

The secret trick to this one is to whack them in the fridge for a few hours to dry out so they don’t explode!

Heat some oil in a frypan to shallow fry the rolls until they turn delightfully golden & crispy on each side before draining off & It’s Chompin Time!

Panang Chicken Curry

This is definitely a recipe worthy of going straight to the pool room!

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The succulent nuggets of chicken simply melt in your mouth & the creaminess of the curry sauce is just divine!

Start with a large frypan heating up a good glug of peanut oil. Then brown off to seal, half a dozen diced up chicken thighs. When they’re done, bung them into the slow cooker.

Reduce the heat in your frypan then add in a couple of sliced carrots to get nice & soft, about 5 minutes or so, before popping in 2 tablespoons of Panang Curry Paste. Cook that off till it gets a heady fragrance & the fam-bam come running! Make sure you stir it constantly in the pan for about a minute for that to happen.

Pour in a 400ml tin of coconut milk along with 1 cup of chicken stock, 4 shredded up kaffir lime leaves (I just use the pre done ones in the jar from the supermarket, you find them in the Asian foods aisle & 2 tablespoons is equal to the 4 fresh leaves) & 1 tablespoon each of brown sugar & fish sauce.

Give that lot a jolly good stir then simply pour over the chook in the slow cooker, whack on the lid & turn the dial to low for 4 deliciously long drooling hours of fabuliciouz fragranz filling your home!

Serve this one garnished with some roughly chopped roasted peanuts & cooked fluffy white rice.

I got it all so terribly wrong!

Or should I title this post – How I have managed to sabotage my own blog!

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Some eagle eyed people among you may have noticed that my countdown to the Web Show launch has disappeared from both the blog & accompanying Facebook page. I was ever so wrong to have started down that track at all.

In fact, after a year of sharing my home cooking recipes with the world, I’ve now discovered I have obliterated every rule in the big book of blogging to ensure my complete & utter failure!

So what have I done that’s been so drastically disastrous?!?! Read on, dear friend, so that you may hopefully avoid your own such scenario.

Firstly I followed this philosophy –

A year from now you’ll wish you’d of started today.

I took that quite literally & launched into creating my Facebook page to share my recipes. We were living in Milly, our vintage caravan, at that stage & had just arrived in Melbourne. I didn’t have any cooking equipment or space at all but that didn’t deter me. It wasn’t long before I upgraded to creating this blog to spread my home cooking even further.

We weren’t settled anywhere at that point of start up. We were still nomadic with no solid plans & basically I now look back in hindsight to realise that I just wanted something to be stable no matter where we went.

In this past year we have had 3 different addresses throughout Melbourne.

There has been much debate in our fam-bam of whether it’s time to plant roots, which we do agree that it is, but then the inevitable question of where has been swirling about us ever since. There are many beautiful locations around this great nation that hold a piece of our hearts hostage with loved ones everywhere! However, sometimes opportunity chooses you!

Melbourne appears to be financially good for us. After so very many years bouncing around the nation in an extremely unstable industry, Hubby retrained & has started a new career. We have gone from scattered messed up reluctant nomads to very focussed Company Owners!

Meanwhile, whilst all this has been flourishing, our Mini-Me has suffered through atrocious health issues which are still ongoing. What a roller coaster of emotions!

So, what did I do so wrong to have possibly killed my blog in my first year?

I’ve taken on too much!

I wasn’t focussed in what I wanted to achieve with my blog at the start. This has left my followers confused. Constantly changing direction, I believe, has cost me dearly with not growing. People don’t know what to expect from me therefore they don’t know if they want to follow me or not. Thank you to all who have chosen to give me a go, it’s greatly appreciated.

This first year has been one of complete & utter upheaval in our lives & I’ve allowed that to flow over into a very scattered blog. This is why I now recommend to all new bloggers, have focus! Because I lacked focus, I also broke another golden rule of blogging – I’ve been a hermit. Blogging is an online community. I haven’t reached out to that community because I haven’t known what I’m doing myself, I’ve just been trundling along waiting for a moment of clarity!

What has prompted this introspective? It’s time for me to pay up for another year of hosting this blog.

That means I had to make the decision to continue on or simply let it go.

After a year, most bloggers have successfully collected a large number of followers & are able to take off in another direction. I don’t have favourable figures at all. Despite entering into the saturated genre of food blogging, I alone must take full responsibility for this.

After a lot of soul searching, I’ve decided to give myself another chance. I do believe there is room for my Nostalgic Humble Ingredient Cooking. I’ve really enjoyed the challenge of coming up with new culinary offerings each week & my fam-bam have loved chomping them! I do need to get realistic with how busy my life is though to maintain the focus of this blog with consistency. Therefore, I shall be posting recipes 3 times a week on Monday, Wednesday & Friday.

I will still share our vintage van conversion in separate posts as well. I’m a Chocolatier & I can’t wait to get back into my sweet creations for all the fabuliciouz people here on our beautiful mountain.

Tex-Mex Omelette

One of Hubby’s all time favourites!

It’s full of flavour, light & fluffy – the perfect way to start the day.

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Sunday morning’s are a treasured time for my fam-bam, we love to luxuriate in a long, lazy brunch & catch up on all the happenings from our busy week gone by. It’s a time to simply breathe. As such, I try to keep the culinary offerings as easy as possible to reflect this casual mood.

Firstly, open a tin of Mexican Beans & pop into a saucepan on the back burner to gently heat up whilst you get on with it.

For my Tex-Mex omelette, start by cracking some eggs (I allow 2 per person) into a bowl & whisk away until they’re light & frothy. Pour that lot into a hot oiled frypan & let it take form.

Next comes the layering stage. Gently place on one side, a slice of cheese (whatever melting type floats your boat, I’ve used Edam here) followed by a decent dollop of sour cream, salsa & the Mexican Beans.

Then, ever so carefully, fold the naked side of the egg over the filling & allow the rest of the egg to cook through. Sometimes it helps to whack on a lid to create a wee bit of steam in there.

Slide the omelette out onto a serving plate before crowning it with another slice of cheese, salsa, Mexican Beans & sour cream before getting fancy with a final flourish of parsley flakes.

Choctini

Rich, Decadent, Refreshing

Whether served at a festive gathering or simply sipped in the warm sunshine as a special treat, my Choctini is always a winner.

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Start off with a large saucepan & bung in 2 cups of brown sugar, a teaspoon of vanilla paste & 300ml of boiling water. Whack the pan onto a medium heat to bring to a boil before turning down heat to gently simmer away for about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, grab a mixing bowl & in goes 3/4 cup of good quality cocoa powder.

When syrup has time up on the heat, start pouring it into the cocoa powder a wee bit at a time & whisk like a crazy person between each addition to ensure no pesky lumps get in there!

Set the chocolate syrup aside to cool.

When you’re ready to enjoy a fabuliciouz Choctini, simply crush up some ice into 1 cup of chilled  milk, pour in 1/4 cup of the chocolate syrup then give it a jolly good stir.

Now I’m sure I don’t need to tell you grown ups how this wee number could be the base of something altogether naughty but nice this Christmas 😉