Cheese & Bacon Soufflé

Here’s an easy peasy recipe for the kids, and dads, to make this Sunday to WOW mum with more than just burnt toast.

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First, daddy, get that oven cranking to a stonking hot 220c!

Use spray oil to generously grease some pretty ramekins, hint – do this in the sink so that the wee cherubs don’t mess up the entire kitchen! One gratin dish could be substituted as well.

Then, depending on the age & abilities of the kidlets you can divvy up the steps between daddy & offspring as to whatever way floats your boat.

Heat up a glug of oil in a frypan to cook off some diced bacon before plopping into the bottom of the ramekins.

Next, sprinkle some grated cheddar cheese in there too – YUM!

Grab a mixing bowl to whisk together 3 eggs, 2 tablespoons of thickened cream, salt & white pepper until frothy bubbles appear. Hint dads – make sure you have extra eggs as they’re bound to be smashed outside of the bowl 😀

Carefully pour the mixture into the ramekin bowls to just cover the cheese & bacon, they’ll probably be about half full.

Finally, daddy, I shall let you in on the secret trick to get those soufflé’s to rise & shine! Simply run your finger around the edge! Yep, that’s the big technique involved with this show stopper! Wipe your CLEAN finger around the edge of the ramekin from the mixture to the top – this creates a pathway for the soufflé to rise sky high!

Whack that lot in the oven (place them on a baking tray to get them easily in & out) to bake until they’re light & fluffy. Do not open that door! Just keep a watchful wait through the glass – this ain’t perfect on the timing as every dish is different. Plan for about 15 minutes but hey, if they over cook, it’s no drama – simply tell mum you’ve made her quiche & she’ll still be stoked at your culinary prowess.

Perfect Pork Crackling

It’s the holy grail of roasting, how to get that perfectly crunchy pork crackling!

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With just these few simple tips, you too will create the most fabuliciouz Pork Crackling in your very own kitchen to impress your friends. Just imagine the glory, Chef, when you whack down these beauties in a bowl instead of packet crisps to enjoy with drinks!

First of all you need to dry your pork skin, that’s just an easy dab over with some paper towel.

Next, pop it onto your baking tray & just give it a sweet kiss of oil, I’m talking just a wee sheen on there, so it’s just enough to stick the salt too.

Then, use a good quality salt. I use a Himalayan Pink Rock Salt to grind over. Make sure you cover all of that luscious skin now!

Finally, bung it in a 220c oven for half an hour. When it comes out simply let it cool & snap away with either your hands or a knife to break into bite sized chips of porky goodness.

Scones in Sauce

Watching a T.V show the other day about American Southern Comfort Food, I couldn’t help but be intrigued by how they smothered the humble scone in creamy white sauce, so naturally I just had to give this a crack myself!

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Let’s just say that my fam-bam was not disappointed with the results! We reckon they just might be onto something here across the Pacific!

Start by making a simple batch of scones. Grab a large mixing bowl & bung in 2 cups of Self Raising Flour, 300ml of thickened cream & 2 tablespoons of icing sugar. Mix it all up with your hands before turning out onto a lightly floured bench. The trick to a brilliant scone is to NEVER let a rolling pin anywhere near the dough! Simply use your hands to gently bring the dough together before lightly pressing out into a flat round, then either use a scone cutter or just cut into wedges before popping on a baking paper lined tray. Whack those in a 200c oven for 15 minutes.

Then it’s onto the sauce!

Melt a tablespoon of butter in a saucepan over low heat & then add in a tablespoon of plain flour, whisking furiously until it’s a beautiful golden colour to cook that flour off. Pour in 1 cup of beef stock, 1/2 cup of thickened cream & then for the secret ingredient….a splash of soy sauce! Season generously with salt & white pepper before turning up the heat just a wee bit to thicken the sauce to whatever consistency floats your boat.

Grab a wee frypan & heat a glug of oil to gently fry off some diced bacon & chuck that in the sauce too.

Pop a couple of scones into a bowl before pouring that scrumptious bacon infused creamy sauce all over to smother those things!

It’s Chompin Time!

Roasted Chinese Pork Belly with Creamy Mushroom Risotto

The aromatic headiness of Chinese 5 Spice lifts succulent pork belly into another stratosphere, whilst teaming perfectly with the earthiness of mushrooms.

This is a meeting of cultures not to be missed!

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Let’s start with that oh so drool-able ingredient of pork belly! You want about a 1kg piece with no bone in there. Take it out of it’s packaging & ever so gently give it a pat down with paper towel to dry the skin.

Next, ensure that the skin has already been scored, if not, then just run a sharp knife across the skin to cut deep into the fat but not all the way through to the meat.

Slather your pork with an ever so generous amount of salt & then sprinkle over a teaspoon of Chinese 5 Spice. Give that lot a jolly good rub into that luscious piece of meat. Drizzle over some oil & bung it in a roasting dish.

Whack the pork into a 250c oven for 20 minutes before turning the heat down to 150c for another 10 minutes, then simply drizzle another wee bit of oil over it & roast for another 30 minutes or until it’s cooked through.

Meanwhile, get cracking with that fabuliciouzly creamy mushroom risotto to serve alongside.

Now, the biggest trick to making a great risotto is all about what pan you use! Forget a deep saucepan, what you need is a large flat deep sided frypan! This ensures that all the rice cooks evenly which is the secret to getting that creamy texture.

The first thing to do is to stick 1 litre of chicken stock in a pot on the back burner to gently heat through.

Then you’ll need to heat a blob of butter in your flat frypan to sauté off 250g worth of sliced mushrooms (my fam-bam prefer Swiss Brown) before setting those aside in a bowl.

Heat another 2 tablespoons of butter in the same flat frypan & this time sauté 1 finely diced onion along with 1 teaspoon of minced garlic until they’re nice & soft. Bung in 2 cups of rice (traditionally you’d use Arborio but I use Jasmine) then toss through the butter mix until it’s lovely & translucent.

Next, ever so slowly start adding the warmed chicken stock a ladle at a time, stirring constantly. Just make sure all the liquid is absorbed before adding in the next lot. This takes time so make sure you have a drink handy. Once all the stock is incorporated (takes about 30-40 minutes) throw through 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese, stir well & pop those mushrooms back in. Mix it all thoroughly & serve immediately  with the sliced up pork belly.

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!

Slow Smoked Pork Shoulder

Fall apart in your hands, Melt in your mouth, Totally drool worthy!

PORK!

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Last Christmas, Mini Me & I gave hubby an American Char Griller Smoker. He was totally chuffed with his gift & has spent the year absorbed in learning all he can about this fabuliciouz style of cooking. We’ve been asking loads of questions in online groups & watching tv shows such as Man Fire Food in an insatiable quest for knowledge.

Although this is a skill which takes many years to master, we believe he may have just cracked onto the right direction, at long last, to finally begin his apprenticeship.

Hubby starts with a juicy pork shoulder full of fatty flavour goodness then massages his not so secret rub into it – a blend of our standard family spice trilogy of salt, pepper & paprika! Now he is extremely generous in applying this mixture all over the meat.

He starts the fire in the smoker’s drum off to one end to create an indirect heat before allowing it to settle down to a temperature of 100c. When the correct temperature is there, he whacks onto the far side of the drum, the porky slab.

Stoking the fire every half hour or so to keep the temperature constant, he takes advantage every second opening (so that’s each hour) to spritz the sides only (to not moisten the crackle on top) of the pork with just pure straight up apple juice. This is to keep all the luscious juiciness inside.

All up this process takes the entire day of about 8 hours to achieve. It’s like when you bung the slow cooker on in the morning for dinner that night.

I like to scratch together some lovely roast veggies to serve alongside this which is as simple as popping a couple of tablespoons of duck fat into a roasting pan in the oven whilst it pre-heats up to 200c. At the same time, par-boil some peeled & chopped tatties & carrots before roughing them up in the colander as you drain them. Roughing them up lets them get those awesome crunchy bits on them – YUM! Pull out the now hot duck fat, chuck the partly cooked, roughed up veggies in it before whacking in the 200c oven for half an hour.

Pork Crackling Chips

Seductive sounds of cracking & popping escaping from the oven filling the kitchen with the salivating inducing aroma of pork – YES YES YES!

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Tantalise your tastebuds this festive season by always having a bowl of these crispy bar snacks on hand. They’re fabuliciouz nostalgia of the Sunday Roast will get your party started!

Honestly, it’s so simple you’ll wonder why I’m even bothering to post about a recipe!

Get your hands on some lovely pork crackling skin (the supermarket even has it these days!) then pat it down with some paper towel to dry it, run your knife over to score it (if that hasn’t already been done) & just season it generously with my kitchen trilogy ~ salt, white pepper & paprika.

Slice the skin into strips then squares to make your chips & bung them onto a baking paper lined tray.

The trick is don’t use oil! Oil makes the skin wet again so defeats the purpose of what we’re trying to do.

Whack that under a hot grill (broiler I believe for my American friends, yeah?) running flat out at top heat. Just keep a close eye on it because each skin will be slightly different due to the fat content, you’re looking for when it starts to bubble up in that deliciously classic crackle, about 15-20 minutes normally.

When done, make sure you sprinkle sea salt flakes over the hot chips immediately.

You can choose to serve warm or make them before your guests arrive to serve cold with festive drinks.

Satay Steak

A super easy taste of Asia to WOW your BBQ guests this season!

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My fam-bam simply loves to host friends! We all love to cook & have a dazzling array of equipment on which to conjure up outdoor feasts.

Family ~ Food ~ Fun ~ Good Times

However, since moving to ‘tropical’ Melbourne we haven’t had much opportunity to fire up our cookers. For instance, today we are in the middle of Spring yet we’re expecting snow……

Now these Satay Steaks are far better off being handed over to the man at the alter of burnt offerings (aka BBQ) to impart that certain uniqueness of smokey char flavour, but if the weather is not playing nice, an indoor grill pan will just have to do!

All you need for this one is a whopping big mixing bowl to which you add 200ml of coconut milk along with 2 teaspoons of curry powder & 2 tablespoons of crunchy peanut butter. Season generously with salt & pepper & then give it a jolly good mix up.

Bung in your thin sizzle steaks (I’ve used pork here but you can use beef or chicken, whatever floats your boat), coat them in the marinade then cover with cling film & pop that lot in the fridge overnight.

Whack the lusciously flavoured satay steaks on a hot BBQ or grill pan to cook.

How easy is that?!?!

Satay Sticks

This Oriental favourite is easier than you may think to whip up in your own home

& is sure to be a hit at Summer BBQ’s!

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I love Satay Sticks! Yep, it’s true. Whether eating out in a restaurant or grabbing a quick snack at a market stall, Satay Sticks are my weakness! I could so fancy myself with a wee street cart serving up these delicacies all day long in the steamy tropics of South East Asia.

First you’ll need to marinade your meat. I use chicken but you could also choose pork or beef, just make sure you buy the stir fry strips. Also, pop 12 bamboo sticks into water to soak for at least an hour.

Grab a mixing bowl & bung in 1 tablespoon of honey, 1 teaspoon of soy sauce, 1/4 teaspoon of ground cumin, 1 teaspoon of lemon juice & 1/4 teaspoon of olive oil before seasoning generously with salt & pepper. Give it a jolly good mix to combine & whack in 12 chicken stir fry strips (that’s about 250g worth) to coat. Cover the bowl in cling film & pop in the fridge to marinade for at least half an hour, but longer is better to absorb the flavours.

When you’re ready to roll, it’s time to make the sauce. The sauce is what really makes a great Satay Stick for me. Heat a good glug of olive oil in a saucepan & sauté off 2 finely chopped red chillies with 2 teaspoons of minced garlic. When they’re nice & fragrant (which doesn’t take very long) add in 1 cup coconut milk, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, 2 teaspoons of rich brown sugar, 1 tablespoon of soy sauce & a 250g jar of crunchy peanut butter. Cook that gently, over a low heat, until the sauce thickens to whatever consistency you like.

While the sauce is bubbling away, grab your chicken from the fridge & pour the water off those bamboo sticks. It’s threading time! The chicken will have sucked up all that luscious marinade & you simply push the stick through the end of the strip & weave it in & out until all the meat is threaded.

Hand over the sticks to the hubby at the alter of burnt offerings (aka the BBQ) or if the weather is not playing fair, then just use a hot griddle pan on the stove top. Cook the sticks  on a medium to hot heat for about 5 minutes (the stir fry strip meat is really thin guys so cooks quickly) remembering to turn them once during cooking.

Drizzle a wee bit of that sumptuous sauce over the sticks & It’s Chompin Time!

Easy Caribbean Pork

This is definitely one for the some like it hot crowd!

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I can always tell when I’ve done a really good spicy number when sweat emanates from Hubby’s bald head, but with this Caribbean Pork, I totally out did myself with sweat coming out of his moustache as well!

The most time consuming part of this entire dish is remembering to start it the night before so the ingredients can all be happily mingling whilst you sleep.

Take 4 pork loin steaks (or chops if you prefer) & place them in your marinading dish.

Grab yourself a mixing bowl & bung into that 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, the juice of a fresh lime, 2 teaspoons of minced garlic, 2 finely chopped up red chillies, 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper, 2 tablespoons of olive oil & 1/2 a teaspoon each of nutmeg & allspice. Give that lot a jolly good stir, slather it all over your pork & whack it in the fridge overnight.

Next day, you can either pass the dish over to the Hubby to sacrifice on the alter of burnt offerings (aka the BBQ) whilst you put your feet up with a glass of wine, or if weather doesn’t permit outdoor cooking, simply use a good quality spray oil to coat a griddle pan, get it nice & hot, then slap that meat right in there!

Warning, if doing this inside the level of spice may take your breath away so have a window cracked.

Now apparently, according to the man, the best way to maintain those juices in the pork is to turn the meat regularly during cooking (unlike with steak!).

Once the pork is cooked to the degree you prefer, take it off for a wee nap time (rest) before greedily devouring.