Thursday, May 27, 2010

Spaghetti Sauce

I apologize for the delay in my blog posts. Life has taken over and cooking has taken a back step. It is difficult to plan a future, work extra hours and have time for family and continue to (apparently) have a life!!! Prior to this weekend just gone I worked 10 shifts out of 13 and managed to sleep 24 hours within that time frame and yes I just about managed to function. Ian too was working long hours spending day after day completing his inventory, which seamed and probably felt like an eternity. We were once again like ships passing in the night. For most of the time we ate take out which consisted of pizza x 2, Chinese x 2 and whatever junk we could get our little hands on. The only thing that kept us going was the long weekend where we had booked a 3 night stay on the Sunshine coast. We stayed at The Ruby Lake resort and it was wonderful. The resort was run by an Italian family and every need was catered for. The best part was that they ran an Italian restaurant, where all the produce was grown and sourced locally. The food was to die for. Fresh seafood, pasta, salads, tender meats, you name it nothing could be faulted. Rarely do Ian and I  have a three course meal, but for that weekend we had three. 

Ruby Lake resort make the best pasta sauce I have ever had in my life. On return from our trip I thought I would try and give it a go myself. There was definitely lots of garlic in the sauce and some pureed onions, so that is where I started. Three garlic cloves were crushed and one medium onion minced.  As I do not own a mixer, my knife went into overdrive and so did my tear ducts, but all I was thinking about was the finished result. I kept this sauce simple, normally I'm adding balsamic vinegar and sugar, but not this time. Once the onions and garlic sweated off, in went 1/2 large can of crushed tomatoes, some salt and pepper, bay leaves and enough water to loosen the sauce. A dash of milk was also added to mellow the sauce, a tip I learned from Nigella Lawson.  This was all simmered together on a low heat for around an hour. It turned our perfect. I have no real photos to show you (apart from it being in the jar) as I am planning on making spaghetti on Saturday as a quick easy dinner after work. Photos will then be added.

Spaghetti Sauce
Olive Oil
1 medium onion minced
3 garlic clove crushed and minced
4 Bay leaves
1/2 Large can Crushed Tomatoes
1/4 Cup water
1/4 Cup Milk
Salt & Pepper

In a large skillet or pan heat up a small amount of olive oil. Add the onions and sweat until translucent, (you may want to add a small drop of water if the the pan becomes too dry) then add the garlic and soften. Pour in half the can of tomatoes, and add salt and pepper to taste and the bay leaves. Add the water and milk and mix the ingredients until combined. Then simmer over a low heat for approx 1 hour. If the sauce is too thick add some more water or milk. Remove the bay leaves. Serve with pasta and sprinkle parmesan overtop. Its that simple and oh so very tasty....

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Mocha Brownies

Three words to be said, Yum Yum Yum.....

Mocha Brownies
1 Cup Chocolate Chips plus more for sprinkling
1/2 Cup Butter
2 Tbsp Instant Coffee Granules
2 Tbsp Brewed Coffee
2 Eggs
1 Cup Granulated Sugar
1 Tsp Vanilla
2/3 Cup All Purpose Flour
1/4 Tsp Salt

In a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of hot water, melt a cup of chocolate chips with butter, then allow to cool for 5 minutes. In another small bowl dissolve the coffee granules into the brewed coffee. In another bowl beat the eggs with the sugar until pale and thickened, then stir in the vanilla and coffee mixture. Pour the melted chocolate over the egg mixture, then sift the flour and salt over top. Fold in until blended and sprinkle in some whole chocolate chips. Scrape into a parchment lined 9 inch square metal cake pan and smooth over top. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes or until a knife comes out with a few moist crumbs clinging. Allow to fully cool, then cut into squares.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Key Lime Pie

Yes.... I finally made it and it is proudly sitting on my kitchen counter and I can't wait to delve in. If it wasn't for Ian coming home in the afternoon it would definitely have been devoured.

This recipe was so simple. I couldn't believe how easy it was. I did cheat and buy a pre-made graham cracker base which obviously reduced the preparation needed. We had  had a can of condensed milk in our pantry left over from an uneventful camping trip which I was eager to use, so on todays shopping trip I bought the remaining ingredients needed then set to work on making this gorgeous dessert.

Key Lime Pie
1/2 Cup Juice from key limes or regular  limes (Key limes are sweeter)
1 can condensed milk (300mls/14oz)
Grated Lime Rind
4 Egg Yolks
Pre-prepared graham cracker base
Soft whipped Cream

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Using an electric mixer whisk the yolks until golden and thick. Whisk in the condensed milk and half the amount of lime juice. Stir in the last of the lime juice and the rind until combined. Pour into the graham cracker base and bake for 12-15 minutes until set. Allow to cool before topping of with soft whipped cream.

This pie lasted all of 2 hours, hence the poor quality photo. Oooops!!!