Velveeta

Posted in cheese, frugal living on August 8th, 2018 by stuart — Be the first to comment!

Now that I have your attention…. here’s how to make a home made version of Velveeta, only from actual cheese!

  • 1/4 ounce packet unflavoured gelatin
  • 6 tablespoons powdered milk
  • 1 cup (240ml) boiling water
  • 1 pound (16oz/450g) shredded cheese
  • Line a loaf pan with plastic wrap.

    Put gelatin and powdered milk into a blender. Add boiling water and process immediately until smooth. Add cheese and continue blending until mixture is very smooth.

    Pour mixture into pan and smooth out with a spatula. Cover with more plastic wrap then refrigerate until firm.

    Use in any recipe that calls for melty cheese… with the added advantage that you control which cheese it is. I use a blend of cheaper orange block cheese for the bulk of the cheese, then add in a stronger cheese for flavour. You can totally play around with this, using offcuts and bits of leftover cheese to make a cheese loaf that suits you perfectly… then melt it over some delicious burgers, or use it for Mac N Blue Cheese….

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    Satay peanut sauce

    Posted in information, recipe on July 28th, 2018 by stuart — Be the first to comment!
  • 1 cup chunky peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup very hot water
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup lime juice
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons chili/garlic paste
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled & minced
  • 3 scallions, chopped finely
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • The most difficult ingredient to find is likely to be the chili/garlic sauce, which isn’t that hard to find. (The same company that makes Sriracha also makes a chili garlic sauce that does the job nicely.)

    Whisk the first 7 ingredients together in a bowl until fully combined. Add the last 3 ingredients and stir.

    Store in the fridge.

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    Cinnamon rolls

    Posted in information, recipe, sugar on July 9th, 2018 by stuart — Be the first to comment!

    Cinnamon rolls are delicious, but a little bit time consuming to make. It is well worth the effort, though, especially when you get your littles involved in making them!

  • 1/2 cup milk (120ml)
  • 1/2 cup water (120ml)
  • 1 egg
  • 3 cups all purpose flour (375g)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup sugar (65g)
  • 1 packet / 1.5 tsp active dry yeast
  • These are the ingredients for an enriched dough. We will be revisiting enriched dough for a number of recipes.

    Add all the ingredients in a large bowl, or a food processor, or mixer with the dough hook. Mix until the dough comes together in a sticky ball. If you’re using a food processor, the dough will suddenly clump around the dough attachment and the body of the processor may start to “walk” across your counter.

    If you are getting your little one to mix it in a bowl, they will need to give the dough a good solid mixing until it all comes together in a soft ball. This should nicely tire out the little one as an added benefit 😉

    Turn out the dough into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a tea towel. Allow the dough to rise once. This will take about 20 to 30 minutes, or until the dough has doubled in size. Turn the risen dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll it out into a rough rectangle.

    FILLING

  • 1 to 2 tbsp melted butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon (or more) ground cinnamon
  • Brush the inside of the dough with the melted butter. Thoroughly mix the sugar and the cinnamon and sprinkle liberally over the buttered area, leaving around a half inch (about 1cm) gap at the edge. Loosely roll the dough together to form a tube. Pinch the tail edge to form a seal. Cut the roll into 1 to 1.5 inch slices (2.5cm to 3.75cm). Place them into a lightly buttered baking dish and cover with plastic wrap or tea towel and allow to rise for 30 minutes to 1 hour or until double in size.

    Preheat your oven to 350F / 180C. Bake cinnamon rolls for 25 to 30 minutes until golden brown. Top with water icing.

    FINAL THOUGHTS
    While making this recipe, I have sometimes felt a little disgruntled about the appearance of my cinnamon rolls. They are not visually perfect like the ones you get from those multi-zillion dollar companies.

    Thankfully, I eventually realised that once the smell of freshly baked cinnamon rolls hit people’s noses, nobody cares about what they look like: they are far too busy stuffing their faces and asking for “more, please!” to worry about cosmetic trivia 🙂

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    Water icing

    Posted in recipe, sugar on July 9th, 2018 by stuart — Be the first to comment!

    Water icing is simple and cheap to make. It’s also super flexible, suitable for many sweet treats!

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 – 3 tbsp hot water
  • a few drops vanilla (optional)
  • lemon juice (optional)
  • other flavourings as appropriate for your recipe
  • Sift the sugar into a bowl. Decide what optional flavourings you are going to add, if any, and have them to hand.

    Stir in the hot water until the icing is a little thicker than you want it to be. Add in any of the optional flavourings you want, then recheck the consistency. Add a little more hot water at a time, if needed, until it reaches the right consistency. Allow to rest for 30 minutes before use.

    What do I mean “right consistency”? It depends on what you want it for. A drizzle on icing would need to be more liquid, icing for cinnamon rolls would be a little thicker. If in doubt make it a little thicker than you think it needs to be, try it on a small sample, then tweak the thickness as necessary.

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    Shortening substitute

    Posted in frugal living, information on July 3rd, 2018 by stuart — Be the first to comment!

    I am trying to replace all the “weird” ingredients in my cooking with more natural ingredients. Shortening has been a particularly difficult one to substitute, as it has certain properties that no other cooking fat has.

    One suggestion I read was to try substituting clarified butter. In a spirit of scientific enquiry, I tried it with a blueberry coffee cake.

    Result? Oh my word. A lovely, short, buttery coffee cake. It was divine. And it was so easy to make the substitute!

  • 1 cup / 2 sticks / 225g butter PLUS
  • 2 tablespoons / 28g butter
  • Put all the butter into a saucepan. Heat over medium low heat until the butter begins to “sizzle”. This is the water beginning to cook out.

    Keep the heat under the butter until all the sizzling has stopped. Pour the clarified butter through a cheesecloth to catch any milk solids.

    Pour into a suitable 1 cup container and refrigerate. Makes 1 cup of clarified butter / shortening substitute. Use in any recipe that calls for shortening.

    (Do you have to refrigerate it? No, clarified butter is shelf stable. But having it cold helps when it comes time to make the dough.)

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    Kitchen scales

    Posted in information on June 30th, 2018 by stuart — Be the first to comment!

    I know that most American cooks use volume measurements in their cooking, but a set of dual-unit (lbs and kg) kitchen scales allow more precision and more repeatability in your cooking.

    Just now, on Amazon.com, there are sets of digital scales from $7 to well over $200. Most of these scales are well rated by customers.

    It’s a small investment in your cooking, and will help you cook recipes from other countries that don’t use volumetric measures. What do you have to lose? Well, apart from the $7 for the scales, plus the $20 for that thing, and oh there’s a new book by my favourite author…. 🙂

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    Cake Flour substitute

    Posted in frugal living on June 23rd, 2018 by stuart — Be the first to comment!

    Cake flour makes the best cakes; light, delicate, delicious.

    It is also expensive and can be difficult to find. So let’s substitute it!

  • 3.5 cups All Purpose (plain) flour
  • 0.5 cups corn starch
  • Put the ingredients in a container with a firmly fitting lid, and shake well to combine. (Pretend you’re playing the maracas…)

    Use in any recipe calling for cake flour.

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    Scones

    Posted in British food on June 10th, 2018 by stuart — Be the first to comment!

    In a shocking bout of amnesia, I forgot to post the basic scone recipe, courtesy of Steve’s Kitchen. His recipe is a bit sparse, so here it is fleshed out in all its glory.

  • 350g / 12oz of Self Raising Flour
  • 85g / 3oz of Castor / Superfine Sugar
  • 85g / 3oz of Softened Butter
  • 200ml / 7.5 fl oz of Milk
  • 1 Egg Yolk to Glaze the Scones before cooking
  • Preheat your oven to 400F/200C. Mix the first 4 ingredients to make a fairly wet dough. Cut your scones to your preferred size, being very gentle when you re-work the dough to prevent gluten formation which will make subsequent scones tough.

    Brush the top of the scones with the egg yolk then bake the scones for 10 to 12 minutes, until the top becomes golden brown and delicious. Serve with lemon curd, or with clotted cream and jam.

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    Sticky Toffee Pudding

    Posted in British food, dessert, recipe on May 28th, 2018 by stuart — Be the first to comment!

    It is just a simple fact that Sticky Toffee Pudding is everyone’s favourite, they just may be in denial about it. My son adores this stuff and will happily try to eat his own body weight of sticky deliciousness. If you don’t like Sticky Toffee Pudding, that’s fine: Jamie will eat your share!

  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 cup pitted dates
  • 1 1/4 cups boiling water
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 10-inch round or square baking dish. Sift the flour and baking powder onto a sheet of waxed paper. Chop the dates fine. Place in a small bowl and add the boiling water and baking soda; set aside. In a bowl of electric mixer beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla; beat until blended. Gradually beat in the flour mixture. Add the date mixture to the batter and fold until blended with a spatula. Pour into the prepared baking dish. Bake until pudding is set and firm on top, about 35 minutes. Remove from oven to a wire rack.

    Toffee Sauce: Combine the butter, heavy cream and brown sugar in a small heavy saucepan; heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil gently over medium low heat until mixture is thickened, about 8 minutes. Preheat broiler. Spoon about 1/3 cup of the sauce over the pudding. Spread evenly on top. Place pudding under the broiler until the topping is bubbly, about 1 minute. Serve immediately spooned into dessert bowls. Drizzle with toffee sauce and top with a spoonful of whipped or clotted cream.

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    BBQ sauce

    Posted in recipe on May 11th, 2018 by stuart — Be the first to comment!

    I have been trying to find a BBQ sauce worth making for a long time. I have tried so many different recipes, all of which have let me down.

    Until now. This recipe hits every note I expect a BBQ sauce to have. Enjoy!

  • 1/2 onion, minced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3/4 cup whisk(e)y*
  • 2 cups ketchup#
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Worcester sauce
  • hot sauce to taste
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Place first 3 ingredients in a wide saucepan or skillet. Simmer gently until the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Strain the sauce into a suitable container.

    * whisk(e)y – use any tasty Scottish, Irish, or American whisk(e)y or bourbon, so long as it’s one you would drink.
    # ketchup – check your ingredients list carefully. It is a lot easier these days to find ketchup made with sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup.

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