What to make for dinner?…Just make it all…!!!

Beef Casserole with Mushrooms and Leeks and Tomatoes, Red Capsicum & Zucchini Stuffed with Herb Rice.

Beautiful, warm but a bit breezy today and I was up way too early for a Sunday after having gone to bed after 2am last night. This morning I was doing the right thing and dropping my parents off to a friend’s place. My dad is getting a bit old and shouldn’t really be driving too far so I did my good deed for the day. I try not to do many good deeds as people might just start getting the wrong idea – thinking I’m a good person and all that – I have a reputation to uphold you know!

I must be getting old too as I am forgetting lots of things lately. Such as the night before Halloween when I got up from the couch to make cup cakes to go into my great looking bat decorated Halloween muffin cases and ended up making two big square cakes instead! From the couch to the kitchen – only a couple of feet away I had totally forgotten what I was going to do. So, the cakes went into the freezer for my dad’s birthday and I made the cup cakes when I got home from work the next day on Halloween night…crazy batshit business!

Yesterday I bought 4 red capsicums, 6 vine ripe tomatoes and a few zucchinis in order to stuff them with a dill and parsley rice to go into the oven. This is what the Greeks call ‘Yemista’…it means ‘to fill or stuff’…and I haven’t made a tray of these for a long time but I absolutely love them! So, just before I went to bed last night I pulled out some beef from the freezer to defrost and this morning I made a great beef casserole with red wine, mushrooms and leeks! It wasn’t until I was getting out the parsley that I noticed a great big bag full of my ingredients for the stuffed veg/tomatoes…Shit bricks!…Oops! I did it again!

So I made them as well!

By lunch time I had two main meals ready and the rest of the day was mine and by that I mean after dropping off my daughter at friend’s place to study and picking up my parents and then picking up currants, raisins and prunes for my Christmas cake and buying my coffee, the rest of the day was mine!…and by that I mean, sometime after 3:30pm.

Now to more soothing things…Pomegranate Vodka coming right up! Can’t get enough of this stuff!

The mystery of my memory loss may lay somewhere in the line directly above this one…I don’t know…just guessing!

Ingredients

6 medium perfectly-ripe yummy tomatoes

4 medium red capsicum (peppers)

2 zucchinis

3/4 cup olive oil

2 – 3 cups rice

1 large onion, chopped fine  and spring onions

3 garlic cloves, minced very fine

1/4 cup fresh dill (use mint if you don’t like dill)

1/2 cup chopped parsley,

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 1/2 cups water

1/2 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon tomato paste plus the tomato pulp from the fresh tomatoes

salt and pepper

Method

Cut off tops of tomatoes (retain tops) and carefully scoop out flesh (retain this as well).

Cut off tops of red capsicum (peppers) – (retain tops) and remove seeds and membrane.

Slice zucchinis in half, lengthways and scoop out flesh so you are left with little canoe like things.

Place tomatoes, capsicums and zucchini in a pan large enough to hold them comfortably and give each veg a tiny dash of sugar with the tips of your fingertips (I really think this is important!)… also coat them in oil.

Take tomato flesh and process it until pureed.

Add olive oil, rice, onion, spring onion, garlic, dill, parsley, tomato flesh, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper (or season to taste) to a pan and add water to half cook the rice…don’t cook it totally as it will get another blast of cooking in the oven.

Stuff the vegetables and tomatoes evenly with this mixture.

Replace tops of tomatoes and capsicum.

Combine 1 cup of water and 1/2 cup olive oil with an even tablespoonful of tomato paste and a little salt and pepper and pour this around the veg.

Bake in a preheated 180C oven for approx 1 hour (vegetables should pierce easily and be slightly blackened in parts).

Turn off oven and leave in for another hour to’mellow’ before serving.

This is best served slightly warm or at room temperature but I have been known to have these cold for breakfast or lunch the next day.

These are wonderful eaten along with little bites of feta cheese and a cool glass of white or rose.

It will also have yummy juices begging to be mopped up with bits of crusty bread.

In my mums’ version, she also used 3-4 medium-sized potatoes, cut them into big wedges, tossed in a little olive oil with salt and pepper to taste, and’planted’ in the spaces amidst the vegetables… but I didn’t do that but you could (it’s yummy!)

PS: I’m not posting a picture of the casserole because I wasn’t supposed to make it in the first place and have posted it before.

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Heavenly Herbs

Herb Scones

Here’s another one of those different country, different name things…we call them scones…you might call them biscuits. Here, our biscuits are always sweet with some sort of cream filling, like an ‘oreo’ or ‘monte carlo’ or a ‘tim tam’ etc…we’ve also just started to use the term ‘cookie’ for biscuits that look like cookies because that’s what cafes call them.

Scones have always been scones…something you have with strawberry jam and whipped cream…and of course there are your savoury scones made in the traditional sweet scone shape or the shape I made today. The recipe I used was obviously an Aussie one as they were called scones not biscuits but my friend commented today that I had made wonderful herb biscuits…I get confused but whatever you want to call them I don’t mind because they are wonderful.

I wasn’t keen on the combination of herbs used in the recipe I followed so I used it as a guide and looked through my ever expanding pantry to find spices that I thought would spark these up a bit as I wasn’t going to put cheese in them.

I used all fresh herbs and freshly ground spices and they went beautifully with the dips we had at another girlie get together this morning.

Here’s the basic recipe and I will add what I used…you, of course, can use your favourite herbs and spices.

Ingredients

  • 2¬†cups flour
  • 1/4¬†cup fresh parsley¬†chopped
  • 1¬†tablespoon sugar
  • 1¬†tablespoon dill, chopped
  • 3¬†teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1¬†teaspoon fresh rosemary¬†or¬†1/4¬†teaspoon dried rosemary,¬†chopped (I used fresh)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground garam marsala (you could use ready bought stuff but I always make my own)
  • 1/2¬†teaspoon salt
  • 1/3¬†cup butter
  • 1/2¬†cup milk
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
Method
Heat oven to 200C.
Lightly grease cookie sheet. In a large bowl, combine flour, parsley, sugar, dill, baking powder, rosemary, garam marsala, sweet paprika and salt; mix well.
With pastry blender or fork, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. (this is what the recipe said but I always use my hands, using the traditional ‘rubbing in’ method).
Stir in milk and egg just until moistened.On floured surface, gently knead dough 10 times.
Place on cookie sheet; roll or pat dough into a 6″ round.Cut 8 wedges; separate slightly.
Bake for 15-20 min or until golden.
Serve warm.

Seafood Pie


Seafood Pie

I haven’t blogged for a while. I’ve cooked a lot but that’s about all the time I’ve had to spare. Mid year exams and reports are over now, so I will have to go through the last two weeks worth of food and start posting again.

One more week of work and a wonderful 2 week break from school begins! I’m so looking forward to this break. Term two is always a killer. It’s getting colder here too, so stews, casseroles, pies and soups are always on the go at my place.

When my daughter isn’t around, I get to indulge in the things I love to eat. She hates seafood! I love it!

Most people associate seafood with summer but I love a seafood pie. Prawns, Scallops and Calamari Rings in a thick white sauce with leeks, parsley and dill covered with a sheet of puff pastry.

I start off by making a bechamel sauce, adding grated nutmeg, salt and a little pepper. Once it has thickened I add the chopped parsley and dill, cover and leave until I am ready to use it.

Then I add butter and garlic oil to a large pan and add the finely sliced leeks and spring onions and saute. Next I add the seafood and saute until the seafood is half done. I tip this into a deep and wide pie dish and pour over the bechamel sauce, mixing everything together. I add a bit more dill over the top and cover the pie dish with puff pastry and brush the top with a mixture of egg and milk.

Place in a very hot preheated oven and wait for the pastry to puff up and turn a gorgeous golden colour. Spoon into wide bowls and enjoy with a glass of your favourite wine…That’s what I did last night and it was wonderful!