Spinach and Ricotta Canneloni

1 Sep

Today, cannelloni was the special request for dinner tonight. We actually really enjoy this meal so I ended up doubling it so we could have leftovers for lunch.

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First I gathered:

  • 750g frozen spinach
  • 750g ricotta
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • nutmeg
  • salt
  • 3 boxes of cannelloni tubes (we only had two boxes, so I ended up turning the rest of the filling into a spinach and ricotta lasagne)
  • 2 jars (approx. 500g each) tomato based pasta sauce
  • 3 cups grated cheese

With these:

1. I preset the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

2. Next, I cooked cooked the spinach to a point where I could mix it then combined it
with the ricotta, egg yolks, garlic, and 1 cup of the grated cheese. I then mixed in a
little bit of nutmeg and salt.

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3. Once the spinach and ricotta mixture was prepared, I used one of the jars of tomato
based pasta sauce and covered the base of an extra large casserole dish.

4. The next step was putting the spinach and ricotta mixture into the cannelloni tubes. In
the past I have done this using a teaspoon, spooning the mixture in and using the
other end to shove it down the tube. However, this time, I got a snap-lock bag and
filled it with the mixture, I then cut a hole in one of the bottom corners and squeezed
the mixture into the tubes, I did find that pulling it back a bit as i was squeezing
helped as it allowed for the air to escape.

5. I placed the filled tubes in the casserole dish, lining them up side by side. When there
was no more room I began a second layer and continued until there were no more
tubes and no more space in the dish.

6. The second bottle of pasta sauce I used over the top, and covered the cannelloni with it.

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7. The remaining cheese was used to sprinkle over the pasta  sauce.

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8. I put the dish in the oven for 30 (to 35) minutes.

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This is a really delicious dish, and a great for vegetarians. 🙂

Followed the recipe on the box with this one:

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Banana Caramel Dessert

31 Aug

After two savoury dishes I think it is time I shared a sweet recipe. After looking through a long list of different desserts, I came across one called a ‘banana caramel cream dessert’, so I decided to give it a go.

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First I gathered: (I made 12 – had people over)

  • Custard (1kg)
  • 3 (largish) Bananas
  • 1 can of Caramel
  • 1 can whipped cream
  • 1 packet of vanilla biscuits
  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • 2 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 12 medium (ish) sized glasses to be used as dessert bowls. (Although I actually used 6 largish ones, and 6 small ones).

1. Once I had all the ingredients, I put the biscuits into a snap-lock bag and crushed them.

Image2. Once crushed, I put the biscuit pieces into a bowl and mixed in the sugar and then the
butter.

Image3, I placed some of this biscuit mixture into the base of my 12 dessert containers. (Ensuring
that I left some to be sprinkled on top of the dessert later). I pressed the biscuit crumbs
down using a an Avocado Masher, (but a fork would do the job).4. I got another snap-lock bag and I filled it with custard. I cut one of the small corners off
and then piped a swirl into each of the dessert bowls over the biscuit layer.

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5. Using a fork, I smoothed over the top of the custard and pushed it to the edges – pushing it
to the edges ensures that you can see the separate layers through the glass.

6. Next I cut up the banana into thin slices and placed a layer into each dessert. (I found
banana was enough for 6 desserts. The third banana is for decorating the top of the
desserts).

7. On top of the layer of bananas, I put in a swirl of cream with a peak in the centre.

8. Over the cream I sprinkled a small amount of the biscuit crumbs.

9. Using a third snap-lock bag which I filled with the caramel, cut a very small corner off and piped it over the dessert in zigzags. I actually cut mine too big, so the caramel came out too thick, which didn’t look as attractive as it could have looked but this suits my family as we really enjoy caramel.

10. I cut up the final banana, and placed a couple of sliced onto the peak in each dessert.

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We all really enjoyed this dessert, it was nice as it wasn’t too rich. It was nice and light (despite all the cream, caramel, and butter).

To see the original recipe, click this link.

Beef and Broccoli Stew

29 Aug

Today I cooked a beef and broccoli stew in the slow cooker.

ImageThe dish looked like a green mess but it tasted pretty good.

To make this dish, I used:

  • 1kg Beef rump steak
  • 2 cups of beef soup (beef broth/consommé)
  • ¾ cup of reduced salt soy sauce (low sodium)
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar (I used dark cane sugar)
  • 1 ½ tbsp sesame oil
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2-3 tbsp of cornstarch/cornflour
  • 1 bag of frozen broccoli florets (didn’t have this at the supermarket so I got a bag of broccoli, peas and spinach)
  • White or brown rice

What I did:

  1. First I put the sauce together; in a bowl I mixed the beef soup, soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, and garlic. Once combined I put this aside.
  2. Next I cut up the meat into thin strips and lightly browned the strips in the frying pan before putting all the meat into the slow cooker.
  3. I poured the sauce over the meat and put the slow cooker on high. Once that was all done, I set a timer for 6 hours.

This is the first time I have actually cooked using the slow-cooker and it was a new experience putting dinner together in the late morning. It was nice having the smell of yummy food wafting through the house throughout the day, slowly building up our appetites for dinner time.

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After six hours had gone by:

  1. I took 5 tbsp of the sauce out of the slow-cooker and put it in a bowl, I then added 3 tbsp of cornflour and whisked it together (whether you add 2 or 3 depends on the desired consistency of the sauce, you could even add more if you wanted the sauce to be really thick).
  2. Once it was mixed together well, I slowly mixed it into the rest of the food in the slow-cooker.
  3. After adding the cornflour mixture, I poured in the bag of frozen veges and set my timer for an hour – the original recipe that I was following suggested ½ hour, however in our house we tend to like our veges rather overcooked and soft, so if you are following this recipe, I recommend you adjust the timing to suit your tastes.
  4. While that went on cooking, I rinsed some rice, and put it on the stove to cook. Once the water had boiled away, I put the rice in the steaming pot and steamed it.
  5. When the food was ready, I called everyone to dinner.

This dish was quite rich and very tasty. Surprisingly, even my fussy-eating sister ate it and seemed to enjoy it. This is definitely a dish I will try again!

Through cooking this, I found that I have a very deep dislike of sesame oil. While it wasn’t so strong in the cooked food, when I was putting the sauce together I almost could not handle the smell of it. Luckily, the flavours still came together nicely in the end.

To see the original recipe, click this link.

Chicken Lasagne

28 Aug

Hot out the oven – my first try at chicken lasagne.

The first recipe I have now tried since starting this blog is chicken lasagne.

In the past we have only ever made beef mince lasagne and I decided it was time for a change. I came across this recipe online and decided to give it a go. However I did change a few things as I went along.

First I gathered the ingredients:

  • Pre-cooked/Roasted Chicken
  • Lasagne Sheets (I cooked up the dried sheets but I would recommend using the fresh lasagne sheets, ended up with a lot of sticking!!) – orginal recipe suggests 6.
  • 1 chicken bouillon (stock cube) and 60ml hot water
  • 250 g cream cheese
  • 1 cup Mozzarella cheese (plus some for sprinkling on top)
  • 1 jar of tomato based pasta sauce

Then this is what I did:

  1. First I preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  2. Next I put some water on the stove, lightly salted it,  added a little bit of oil and brought it to the boil. Once boiling I put the lasagne into the water and set the timer for 8 minutes (suggested cooking time 8-10 minutes). This should be cooked until al dente. When finished, drain the pasta, rinse it with cold water and put it aside ready to be used later on.
  3. While the pasta was cooking, I shredded the chicken in a bowl, added the cream cheese and the cup of mozzarella cheese. In here you should also add the 60 mls of water mixed with the chicken bouillon however I didn’t have any chicken stock (one thing I didn’t check before heading to the shops), so I just threw in the hot water and added some other seasonings (Aromat, all purpose seasoning and mixed herbs). I mixed these ingredients till they were well combined.
  4. Once the chicken mixture and the lasagne were ready, I spread one quarter of the tomato based pasta sauce in the base of an oven safe dish. Next I placed one third of the chicken mixture over the sauce, followed by a layer of lasagne (2 sheets). I repeated these steps twice so that I had 3 layer of everything. I spread the remaining quarter of pasta sauce over the top, then sprinkled mozzarella cheese till it was covered.
  5. I placed the dish into the oven and let it cook for 20 minutes. When it was finished I let it sit for several minutes before serving. (I used this time to set the table and call everybody for dinner).

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I am not the world’s best photographer so I cannot provide a beautiful snapshot but I can tell you that this was really delicious. I got compliments from everyone for this meal, so glad I tried it.

To see the original recipe, follow this link.

The beginning… (about this blog)

28 Aug

In the past, my cooking experiences have been fairly limited. This has partly been because there has always been someone else cooking and partly because when I do get to cook, the menu is small due to the rather difficult eating habits of my sister – a fussy eater to the extreme.

Recently however, I have become immune to her objections (no matter how horrible that makes me sound) and we have been expanding the list of meals we eat at home by a great deal. The more I cook, the more I find that I enjoy cooking, and the more I want to cook.

This blog will be a collection of recipes, as I make my journey; learning how to cook a wide range of meals and how to cook them well.

Happy eating!