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Choc Mint Slices

chocolate mint slices

This is a recipe from a Women’s magazine that I have had for a long, long time – so long that it is on a page from a Recipe Notebook where I wrote them all. The pages are yellowed.

My sons when they were young and even now like me to make for either their Birthday, Easter or for Christmas.  They are like after-dinner mints but in a biscuit form.

This is also a messy recipe to make. Well, at least it is for me! I get biscuit crumbs, cocoa powder and icing sugar everywhere. Read on. There’s a benefit in being a messy cook.

The Base:

*  250 gr plain sweet biscuits (‘Nice’ biscuits are perfect)
*  1 cup coconut
*  2 tablespoons cocoa
*  ½ cup condensed milk
*  125 gr margarine (or butter)

The Filling: (You may need a bit more depending on the size of your rectangular tin)

*  1½ cups sifted icing sugar
*  30 gr margarine (or butter)
*  1 tablespoons peppermint essence
*  1 tablespoon evaporated milk

The Topping:

*  90 gr cooking chocolate (maybe a bit more)
*  30 gr copha

Step 1: – The Base

I use a very well-worn 7 in x 11in (19 cm x 28 cm) swiss roll tin to make this.

Add the coconut and cocoa. Mix well. (I sneak in a tablespoon or two of wheat germ for health reasons & I like wheat germ. This is optional.)

Melt the margarine (or butter).

chocolate mint slices

Add the butter and condensed milk to the dry ingredients. (Save the rest of the condensed milk for your husband, any male in the family or you – your choice). Mix well. Do not add more condensed milk or it will be too runny and the base will not be solid.

chocolate mint slices

Grease your swiss roll tin & gently press the mixture into it. Put it into the fridge to set while you make the filling.

Wash & dry up your utensils. Then clean up (Oh! That’s only messy me.) Get everything ready for step 2.

Step 2: – The Filling:

Melt the butter.

Add the melted butter, evaporated milk & peppermint essence to the sifted icing sugar.

chocolate mint slices

I add about ¼ cup more of icing sugar for my size tin. Then I add a bit more evaporated milk so the mixture is spreadable (not too runny & not too thick). You can add a dash more of peppermint essence. Be careful. Peppermint can overwhelm the taste.

chocolate mint slices

By this time the base should be set without being rock hard. Spread this thin layer of peppermint icing filling on top of the base. Put the tray back in the fridge again. At this stage, the tray can be left as long as you like before you add the melted chocolate.

Step 3: – The Topping:

Cut the cooking chocolate & copha into small chunks. Put them into a small saucepan & melt it all over a low heat. Keep an eye on it & stir it because the chocolate will melt faster than the copha.

Take it off the hotplate when all is melted and smooth. If it is very hot, let it cool a bit before pouring over the base.

chocolate mint slices

The base & filling must be firm before you pour the melted chocolate over the top. Pick up the tin & move it around to make sure that the melted chocolate reaches all the corners.

Put it back in the fridge so that the chocolate can set hard.

Sit down and have a cup of tea or coffee before you clean up. You have done well.

Step 4: – The Cutting:

chocolate mint slices

When you are ready, take the tin out of the fridge.

Put some very hot water in a small glass, measuring jug or whatever. This is so you can keep dipping your knife or cake knife into it so that you can cut cleanly through the chocolate topping.

It is up to you how large or small you make the wedges. This is a filling slice. As I cut them, I store them in the fridge as they will melt. I store them in a plastic container lined with alfoil. A plate works just as well with alfoil under the slices.

PS – When the kids were younger, I had to divide the slices equally into 4 so that everyone got their fair share.

PPS – When I made it this time, I forgot the coconut (thought I know it from memory). They were a bit sweetly overpowering. They need the coconut. If I don’t tell anyone, they won’t know the difference.

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Honey Lime Prawns

Honey Lime ShrimpThis is my Aussie version of Honey Lime Shrimp Recipe)

serves 2

[I found this recipe on Pinterest –My Pin = http://www.pinterest.com/pin/488148047082829221/

Original source = http://thedoughwillriseagain.wordpress.com/2012/07/31/honey-lime-shrimp/]

Here is the original recipe + my Aussie take on it in italics. I have made it as simple as I can.
Both my husband & I like it; so it is bound to become one of my favourite meals to cook.]

 

You Need:

*  1/2 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined (Not enough. Buy 500 – 625gr green banana prawns depending on how much you usually eat.)
*  1/4 cup olive oil
*  2 Tablespoons honey
*  juice of one small lime, or half a large lime zest of one small lime, or half a large lime (I just grated it & got rind & some zest)
*  2 cloves garlic, smashed (No idea what ‘smashed’ is. So decide how much garlic you want. I diced it because I find it messy to get it out of a garlic press.)
*  1/2 tsp kosher salt ( I ignored this as I never add salt to any recipe)
*  1/4 tsp black pepper (I used my pepper grinder to grind a little bit over the top.)
*  1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (No idea what this is. Can’t find it in the supermarket! Red pepper = capsicum to me. So I finely chopped some capsicum and never measured it.)

To Create:

1.  In a large zip lock bag, combine all the marinade ingredients. When everything is well-combined, add the shrimp, squeeze as much air as possible out of the bag, and close it up. Place it in the fridge.
(Forget the zip lock bag. This seemed too fiddly. I combined all the ingredients in a measuring jug and poured it into a small plastic container. Then I added the prawns & stirred it around – see picture. Then I put a lid on it & put it in the fridge.)

HoneyLimePrawns-marinate2

2.  Let the shrimp marinate for 30-60 minutes, flipping the bag around once or twice during that time, so that all the shrimp stay evenly covered in the marinade.
(I left it for at least 60 minutes & stirred it around approximately every 15 minutes.)

3.  When you’re ready to cook, take the shrimp out of the fridge and let them sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat; there is no need to add any oil or butter to the pan, as the marinade has enough oil in it to keep the shrimp from sticking to the pan.
(I spooned out the prawns with a bit of the marinade into a frying pan. The little bit of honey that gets in there makes it a sweeter taste.)

HoneyLimePrawns-saute2

4.  Add your shrimp to the pan in a single layer, making sure they are not too crowded; you can always cook them in more than one batch. Let them cook on one side for about a minute, until they curl up and start to turn pink. Flip them over, and cook for another 30 seconds or so, until the shrimp are opaque. Remove from the pan, and serve immediately!

HoneyLimePrawns-serving2

(I serve it with my mixed salad, garlic bread and white wine– click here for salad recipe. You can serve it with whatever you want. If you are serving it with salad, add the dressing and put the salad on the plates just before you start to sauté the prawns.)

Enjoy it , Margaret

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Strawberry Sorbet

This is a recipe that I have had for a long, long time. It comes from the’Woman’s Weekly Chinese Cookbook’. I have changed it slightly at the end. It has Grand Marnier liquor in it but not enough per serve to make you tipsy or drunk. A bottle will last years of making this recipe. Ii is a simple recipe that I make it for visitors or for us when strawberries are a good price.

Here is the recipe:

• 1 punnet strawberries (250 gr)
• 1 cup water
• 2 tablespoons lemon juice
• 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier (You can use Cointreau if you prefer that. I don’t.)
• ½ cup caster sugar
• ¼ cup caster sugar extra (for step 3)
• 2 egg whites at room temperature (for step 3)

Add ingredients to blender

Step 1:
Cut strawberries into quarters. Put strawberries, water, lemon juice, Grand Marnier & ½ cup caster sugar in a blender.
Blend for 2 minutes.

Pour into tray to freeze

Step 2:
Pour into a tray ( a lamington or swiss roll tray is good) and freeze for1½ -2 hours until mixture is solid.
You can leave it longer. It will just freeze harder.
(As it freezes, the freezer will smell delicious.)

Mash frozen sorbet & make meringue

Step 3:
Beat the egg whites til stiff.
Add the ¼ cup of caster sugar slowly & beat until it is of meringue consistency.

Beat gently til all ingredients mixed

Step 4:
Take the tray of frozen strawberry mixture from the freezer. Break it into smaller pieces and add to a large bowl. Mash the mixture with a fork or gently with electric beaters.
Fold the meringue mixture into the strawberry mixture. Beat gently with electric beaters until you cannot see any meringue. (The original Woman’s Weekly recipe does not mix the meringue in thoroughly.)

Pour into 2 icecream trays to re-freeze

Step 5:
Pour the mixture into two ice cream trays and put back in the freezer.
The Woman Weekly’s recipe asks you to stir it occasionally while it freezes. Forget it! Let it freeze naturally.

PS – It is up to you how much you leave for you or your partner to ‘lick the bowl’. This is one of the delights of home cooking.

Strawberry SorbetTo Serve:
I serve it to guests with fresh quartered strawberries.
I serve it to my husband and me as is.

Either way it is delicious and the two trays will go about 6-8 or more serves depending on how much you dish out to people.

 

 

marg - oslo 2014Are YOU a Baby Boomer Woman looking to Shine Confidently?

(While I enjoys writing a personal Blog about life topics, including my love of cooking, I also send out a regular Newsletter called  – ‘Baby Boomer Personal Style’ every Thursday. Don’t miss out on receiving fashion and dressing advice for the modern business and professional Baby Boomer woman.

CLICK HERE or on my photo to sign up for the ‘Baby Boomer Personal Style’ Newsletter.)

Homemade Seafood Sauce

Seafood SauceThis is a recipe that I have had for a long, long time. It came from an ancient ‘Woman’s Day’ or ‘Woman’s Weekly’ magazine (not sure which) that my mum would buy. I would read the magazines & take the recipes that appealed to me. I make this recipe for special occasions like my husband’s birthday, New Year’s Eve, Christmas Eve, Australia Day, for guests  or any summer Saturday night. The meal is usually Garlic Bread, cooked Australian Prawns, Seafood Sauce, Salad with Nuts and cold Champagne. Strawberry Sorbet is my dessert of choice.

Here is the recipe:

  •  1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brandy (one bottle will make a lifetime of seafood sauce)
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ cup thickened cream (or real cream)
  • Dash tabasco sauce (over the years I have become very generous with the dash)

 

Put the bowl and mixer beaters in the fridge to get cold (makes it easier to beat the cream).

When cold, add the cream and beat til thick and reasonably solid.

Add all the other ingredients except the tabasco sauce and stir til combined.

Add tabasco sauce a little at a time to your taste.

Note:  The original recipe does include seasoning it with salt and pepper. I always ignore those instructions. Your choice.

It makes about a cup of sauce. I put them in the fridge, divided between two small containers and covered with gladwrap, until needed.

 

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(While I enjoys writing a personal Blog about life topics, including my love of cooking, I also send out a regular Newsletter called  – ‘Baby Boomer Personal Style’ every Thursday. Don’t miss out on receiving fashion and dressing advice for the modern business and professional Baby Boomer woman.

CLICK HERE or on my photo to sign up for the ‘Baby Boomer Personal Style’ Newsletter.)

Salad with Nuts

This is a basic recipe I use a lot for simple meals. It goes with any main course when you do not want a heavy meal. I also take it to family events and when I am asked to ‘bring a plate of food to share’.

This Recipe is what I call a ‘bucket chemistry’ recipe. It means the quantities are variable and you decide how much and what fresh salad vegetables to add.

Here it is:

  • Lettuce – I prefer to use mesclum as I like colour (red and green leaves) and taste. I have also used a salad mix with herbs included. I also add a bit of rocket from my garden as I love its peppery taste.
  • Tomatoes
  • Mushrooms – white or brown
  • Capsicum – I like red, green and yellow depending on price and quality (a little of each for colour)
  • Snow Peas
  • Fresh Herbs of choice – parsley, coriander, basil
  • Nuts

Wash lettuce.  Arrange in bowl.
Add fresh salad vegetables.
I cut tomatoes into quarters or eights (depending on the size of the tomato).
I cut mushrooms into quarters or smaller as desired.
I trim the ends of the snow peas, rinse them & cut them diagonally into small pieces.
Cut capsicum into thin slices & then into smaller pieces if desired.
Add whatever fresh herbs you like.
Add nuts just before adding the salad dressing. I buy a packet of pine nuts & slivered almonds & sprinkle some of them onthe top of the salad as in the picture. These are my favourite but I have experimented with chopped walnuts or chopped natural almonds. (Hint – if the nuts are too big, it is hard to get them on the fork to eat).
Lastly, add your preferred salad dressing before serving. For company, I use a small amount of Italian dressing (real not fat-free which is too vinegary for me).

You can make this as a lunch-time meal for one. At lunchtime, I add tinned salt-reduced salmon and some chick peas. My preferred lunchtime dressing is half  a teaspoon of wholegrain mustard plus a dash of virgin olive oil.
Add what pleases you as this recipe is open to your personal variations.

Enjoy.

 

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(While I enjoys writing a personal Blog about life topics, including my love of cooking, I also send out a regular Newsletter called  – ‘Baby Boomer Personal Style’ every Thursday. Don’t miss out on receiving fashion and dressing advice for the modern business and professional Baby Boomer woman.

CLICK HERE or on my photo to sign up for the ‘Baby Boomer Personal Style’ Newsletter.)

Simple Roasts

Garlic butter, wine, stock & herbs are my basis of all my roast meats. The alcoholic content of the wine evaporates in the cooking and you are left with a delicious flavour.

Roast Lamb – I use 375 ml beef stock, 125 ml Cinzano Rosso, garlic butter (see recipe) & dried rosemary.

Same cooking procedure as French style Roast Chicken.

 

Roast Pork – I use 375 ml chicken stock, 125 ml white wine, garlic butter (see recipe) & marjoram or oregano.

Same cooking procedure as French style Roast Chicken.

 

Roast Beef – – I use 375 ml beef stock, 125 ml white wine, garlic butter (see recipe) & oregano.

Same cooking procedure as French style Roast Chicken.

 

Baby Boomer Personal Stylist Ezine SignupAre YOU a Baby Boomer Woman looking to Shine Confidently?

(While I enjoys writing a personal Blog about life topics, including my love of cooking, I also send out a regular Newsletter called  – ‘Baby Boomer Personal Style’ every Thursday. Don’t miss out on receiving fashion and dressing advice for the modern business and professional Baby Boomer woman.

CLICK HERE or on my photo to sign up for the ‘Baby Boomer Personal Style’ Newsletter.)

French-style Roast Chicken

This is my base recipe for roasting meat. Garlic butter is an important part of it. I do not stuff chicken or any meat. I like my food unfussy and reasonably healthy. The alcoholic content of the wine evaporates in the cooking and you are left with a delicious flavour.

 

  • Chicken of any size (either thawed or fresh)
  • 100 ml white wine (Cask wine is ok. I usually use unwooded chardonnay. Any dry white wine will work.)  Pour a little more in a glass for the cook to check that the wine hasn’t gone off.
  • 375 ml of chicken stock (made with boiling water + one heaped teaspoon chicken stock)
  • Garlic butter (see recipe)
  • Dried tarragon leaves

Method:

Put chicken in a roasting pan

Use two small skewers to skewer up the opening in the fresh or thawed chicken so it is not messy inside when it is cooked

Pour over chicken stock (I add a bit more wine if the chicken is over 1.8 kg)

Then pour over the white wine

Break up bits of the frozen garlic butter and add generously in each corner of the roasting pan and all over the chicken (quantity depends on how much you love garlic)

Sprinkle dried tarragon generously over the chicken and in the liquid.

Put in 2000C oven.

Drink extra wine in anticipation of a great meal.

After 30 mins, baste by spooning the pan liquid over the chicken.

Repeat at 1 hour mark and turn oven down to 170-1800C

Baste every 15 mins after that.

Allow about 90 mins for 1.6 – 1.8 kg chicken and about 2 hrs for larger chicken.

Take out and serve (I am not into this ‘rest the meat’ caper. You do it if it works for you.)

Use leftover cooked chicken for tomorrow’s chicken pasta or chicken & pineapple pizza.

PS Garlic butter & wine are my basis of all roast meats.

 

Baby Boomer Personal Stylist Ezine SignupAre YOU a Baby Boomer Woman looking to Shine Confidently?

(While I enjoys writing a personal Blog about life topics, including my love of cooking, I also send out a regular Newsletter called  – ‘Baby Boomer Personal Style’ every Thursday. Don’t miss out on receiving fashion and dressing advice for the modern business and professional Baby Boomer woman.

CLICK HERE or on my photo to sign up for the ‘Baby Boomer Personal Style’ Newsletter.)