Tag Archives: ham

The ultimate pasta dish.

I learnt something the other day, well I tend to learn something new every day. One of my mantras, and not a bad one either. It’s so easy really. I digress, again, always.
We love our pasta here, in all shapes and sizes, with all manner of sauces (well, probably only four or five if I’m going to be honest) and I vaguely remembered it the other day when I went to make dinner. This may seem old news to some of you, but I a actually don’t make plain pasta dishes very often. Mac ‘n’ cheese is probably the most basic I make.
I started off with ham off the none, thick cut slices and thought I’d make a carbonara. Easy enough. Ham, cream, egg and the usual garlic/onion/pepper suspects. Midway through cooking the spaghetti I remembered the recipe I read some time ago.
the best Alfredo sauce. Now of course, most Italians have no idea about this sauce, they give it other names altogether, but the Americans, English and Australians love it.
I just went looking and although I couldn’t find the exact site this one is good enough.

What I ended up doing was frying the ham and some spring onions, then adding the spaghetti with a little of the cooking water.
A huge glob (or two) of butter went in along with the same of proper Parmesan cheese (not that powdered stuff) and stirred it all together. I did use a small glop of cream, just a little, nothing in comparison to the butter and cheese though.
My verdict? Divine. Mouth watering. Indulgent and heart attack food, but totally worth it.
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What is your favourite pasta sauce?

Post Christmas food feast. Or How to eat Christmas food afterwards without getting bored.

So Christmas has come and gone and there is all that food left over. Ham, Turkey, chicken, veges… what to do without eating the same thing for a week?

The first things to go would have to be any seafood. Of course depending on what you have, fish can be turned into a pie or utilised in pasta and rice recipes.
Smoked salmon (if you have any left you shouldn’t be allowed to buy it again. Smoked Salmom lovers will have it gone before the packet has finished being opened), should you have any let over can be mixed with cold mashed potato for fish cakes.
We had some prawns left over – I know, it’s shameful, see above for smoked salmon – so I started my second hand dinners with garlic prawn fried rice. Quick, easy and a little different.

Cooked veges are so versatile and can be used in all sorts of things, by adding just a few simple ingredients. Soup, pies, pasta, lasagne, fritatta, pizza, rice… almost limtless.
Salads can be added to or earten with any everyday meat for something different. Green salads can have egg and ham/chicken added to make a tasty but light meal, add them to wraps or rolls for picnics.

Other meats like chicken and turkey can be mixed with gravy or coleslaw and eaten in rolls for a quick dinner when you really can’t be bothered.

As for that huge ham that’s left in the fridge. You’re going to be sick of it before you’re finished, and if you don’t want to share… omelettes, pasta, and sandwiches will only get you so far.  Of course the classic Croque Monsieur has to be on the list. Never mind healthy when you’ve got all that delicious cheese, and I’d have to add some grain or dijon mustard into the mix.
Had enough of all those and there is still some left? Never fear. It can be frozen. Slice and wrap in cling wrap, sealing properly. Then put in a air proof container and freeze. Don’t forget to label with the date in case a few months go pass and you open the freezer and go “what is that, and how old is it?”
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Tomorrow night I’ll be seeing what I can do with all those potatoes.  Here are a few ideas… cheese, potato and herb filo parcels, vegetable curry, (tuna) fish cakes, spicy vegetarian patties, mini curried vege pies.
We’ll see how much time I have when I finally get home tomorrow.

Til then,
it’s fly out day tomorrow and the start of the holidays
Jennifer 🙂

Good food, good company…. (Christmas Feast on a summers day)

Here I sit, (in my pjs) in typical post Christmas Day fashion, not really hungry but nibbling none the less. I have a plate of prawns and a cheese platter, maybe a coffee soon as it’s a bit chilly now after a totally gorgeous day.
If there was a plan, it all went accordingly, and us women didn’t have to do the mountainous pile of dishes (thanks guys :-), it’s days like this I wish I had a dishwasher, although there is no conversation when that happens)
Starting at 8 I headed out to set up the hall for tomorrow’s market – there was no way after a few drinks, or the way these lazy days pan out that I would have done it this afternoon – and arriving back at 9 started the whole preparation caper.
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The boys had the outside job of getting the eating space ready.
Again, it went according to whatever plan wasn’t in place, and about 12.30 we set the table for lunch.
What a feast! Lined up along the table it was something special. Made me think again of those of you in the northern hemisphere and having a winter Christmas, and how it is all so different. After snapping the obligatory photos we settled down for the consumption part of the meal.
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Remember yesterday’s post about the ice cream cake? It went down a treat, everyone loved it and I got requests to make it again – by mr 9 no less, and no surprise there. Non-sober trifle and fresh raspberries and strawberries rounded out dessert.
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At some point, around 4ish, we found the coffee pot with cake and my little white Christmas treats.
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In all this time the under kids flitted in and out and around, eating not much at all, playing on the tyre swing hubby rigged up and testing out the bike jump. This started early with people being jumped over. My dad even got on the bmx and took a spin over it, without the jumping.
The day started and ended beautifully, the sun was out, but not too hot or windy. The sort of day I bring out the “good food, good company, good day!” Mantra.

So Christmas part one is over, part two will be on Wednesday with a completely different type of Christmas meal. And that is cool.
What do you do for Christmas lunch or dinner?

Food Friday – it’s Christmas!

So here I am again. Finished the last couple,of items on the to do list (I had two or some reason, both saying the same things) and am now chilling. Hubby is chilling with mindless tv (something I’m not fond of) and this is mine.
So I got baking again today. I miss days like this where I get to just play in the kitchen and have something cool to show at the end of it.
What was I baking today? The main plan was the triple layer stuffed-full-of-goodies ice cream cake.
That was fun, soft ice cream, bashing chocolate with the rolling pin and then hoping like hell it will all fit in the pan I had. Only just. A little deeper would have been nice, but I can’t own every pan there is, well, not just yet anyway.
I changed it a little, but the layers go like this, chocolate ice cream with Oreos, vanilla with honeycomb and strawberry withpink with strawberries in sauce. It mixed nicely, and is in the good fridge meaning it will actually be frozen.
The start of my cake – chocolate ice cream with Oreos.

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As I had to wait 30+ mins in between layers of ice cream I decided I would try something else. A sweet nibble for afterwards with coffee – if we have any room left.
My choice, an easy white Christmas tartlets.
Marshmallows, rice bubbles, coconut and melted chocolate in biscuits/cookies that have been softened and made into tart ‘cases’. Mine are not so cases as plates, but I tried one with the extra topping and it was pretty yummy!

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While I was at it, as if I didn’t have enough to do, I figured I should cook the rhubarb I was given during the week. I lurve rhubarb, and it will a tasty extra with my cereal and yoghurt for breakfasts. Rhubarb and apple, rhubarb and strawberries, stewed over ice cream, muffins, inside down cake… anything you can put fruit in really I spose.

Christmas in Australia. Christmas in summer. Some of you wouldn’t be able to envisage it, others have experienced it and now have winter Christmases (something I’d love to do one year), par for the course here. Hot, sticky, maybe wet and windy, but no snow. Although there was one year it was snowy, not the nice kind either.
Anyway, being summer the menu is usually pretty casual. Cold meats, seafood, bbqs. Some people love the whole hot food feast, and who knows what the other half do. We had an exchange student one year, and she was disappointed (and vocally critical) of our set up. There were no fancy Christmas foods, just everyday things. This is true. An a multicultural country we choose what we want to follow, but the climate dictates as well. Some foods we only ever eat at Christmas – like a full ham on the bone, and prawns (but that might just be us).

So what’s on our menu tomorrow. To share what is our typical Christmas meal.

Starters – cheese platter, cabana, stuffed peppers, pear slices and a dip or two. I’m making a pea, mint and feta dip. I found this the other day and it looks scrummy.
Mains – ham (glazed & cooked or sliced cold, we prefer cold) roast turkey breast, prawns au naturale, and a chook.
Then there’s a green salad and maybe another, new potatoes, (re fried with bacon, and boiled), runner & broad beans and snap pea salad. Cranberry, apple and tartare sauces, mustard (a nuts for ham), mayo and vinaigrette.
Desserts (the best bit) – my ice cream cake, trifle, fresh raspberries, a chocolate pudding (so far a rumour, but hubby has fingers crossed), custard and way too much cream (but that always happens doesn’t it?)
Afterwards when we really don’t feel like eating anymore, there’ll be slices of Christmas cake, and my tartlets with coffee (or tea).
Dinner, well, if anyone feels like it, take a pick from what’s left over from the above list.

On the 25th while hubby is fed at work, the kids and I will be at mr 17’s GF’s house. And because he has his licence I can take my bottle of wine. Don’t worry, I rarely get drunk but a few on occasion is nice.

Have a great weekend!
Jen 🙂

soup or chowder… chow on down.

Ok, can someone tell me please what makes a chowder different from a soup?

Regardless of the difference I am making this for dinner tonight.
I could just do some veges and heat the roast chicken from last night but with the weather coming in chilly I wanted to make yummy food that is filling, healthy and warming.
A good thick soup is just the answer.
My recipe has corn, bacon and potatoes, I have chicken so it’s going in there aswell.   This is a recipe that I got from my favourite recipe site (Taste.com.au) with a few slight changes due to pantry options.

Have we got everything ready… ? Yep?  Then, let’s cook!

ingredients:
butter, 2 onions diced (i used 1), 1/4 cup plain flour
250gr bacon (i made up the weight with a combination of chicken and bacon),
3 cups milk, 2 cups chicken stock,
1 kg corn kernels (i used a 400gr tin creamed corn)
500gr potato

yes, this is one 500gr potato...

what to do:
cook onions and bacon (i added some garlic here aswell)

add the flour and mix together.
Add the milk and stock and stir to combine.

Bring to the boil then add chopped potatoes and corn.

Cook for 15-20  til potatoes are soft and soup is thickened.
I added my creamed corn halfway through the last stage of cooking.  This made it a thick creamier coup.

Bowl up and serve with bread of choice.

Yeah, a little parsley would make it look so much better.

I did have a problem while cooking this soup… what can that be you ask..?
Yesterday one of my hot plates died.  Not just any hot plate. But the one I use the most, and the only large one – the one I use for my soup pot.
So cooking a thick soup which needs to simmer proved difficult.  Part of it burnt while the rest struggled to boil.  So stood and stirred instead of walking away (and reading  my new cooking magazines).
It tasted really good and is so easy anyone could make it.  Whichever version you want to make.

keep warm 🙂
Jennifer