Monday, July 30, 2007

Romancing The Pizza Stone

Next to the grand inventions of the electric drip coffee maker, the food processor, and a digital camera for food blogging, the Pizza Baking Stone just has to be one of the greatest innovations ever designed for the kitchen. It would be amazing to think that any kitchen could be without one. Pizza is an all time favorite for most people I would think, and making your own pizza has to be one of the most fun, quick, and easiest thing to prepare in the kitchen. When time is of the essence, and you are looking for some comfort food to save your appetite, or for a special treat for that 40th Birthday Party, try a homemade pizza. Now making a good pizza does not have to mean going through the trouble and time of making a dough base. We often purchase the prepared pizzas at the supermarket.....the ones that don't have much on them...very plain Jane in fact, as we love to add our own variety of toppers to them. My next post today will be a recipe for our standard homemade pizza adding our own toppers which is a favorite of ours. If you prefer making your own pizza dough, here is a good link for a basic easy dough recipe , and another good link for a video "how to" to prepare and shape the dough once you have your dough ready.

Pizza Stones can be purchased at most supermarkets and department stores for under $20....and they will literally last forever. The best thing about the pizza stone is that it offers you the benefit of the perfect crust and the stone is so easy to clean.
I would love your comments as to what you consider the best kitchen invention. Now for a good cup of coffee, and I am contemplating that last slice of pizza for lunch. Be sure to check out our homemade pizza recipe later today.

Saturday, July 28, 2007


1. If no one sees you eat something, it has no calories.

2. When drinking diet cola with a chocolate bar, the chocolate bar is cancelled out by the cola.

3. When you eat with someone else, calories don't count as long as you eat less than them.

4. Food used for medical purposes does NOT count, for example: Hot Chocolate, Toast, Cheesecake and Vodka.

5. If you fatten up the people around you, you will look thinner.

6. Cinema related foods have zero calories, as they are part of an entertainment package and not counted as food intake (this includes: popcorn, chocolate bars, maltezers, javas and slurpees).

7. Biscuit pieces have no calories because breaking up the calories cause leakages.

8. Foods licked from knives and forks have no fat, if you are in the process of cooking something.
9. Foods that are the same color have the same amount of fat (eg. spinach and peppermint ice-cream , apples and red jelly snakes).

10. Chocolate is like a food wild card. It can be substituted for any food color.

11. Anything eaten while standing has no calories due to gravity and the density of the calorie mass.

12. Food consumed from someone else's plate has no fat as it rightfully belongs to the other person and will cling to his/her plate. (Oh, how fat loves to cling.)
~Author Unknown

Friday, July 27, 2007

Beef Enchiladas With Red Sauce

This is the perfect Enchilada dish to make, and so quick and easy too. I mentioned this dish in my previous post. It is one of the many excellent recipes in Jane Milton's cookbook of 2001, Mexican Red Hot Cookbook.
500 g /1 1/4 lb rump (round) steak, cut into 5 cm/2 in. cubes
2 ancho chillies, seeded
2 pasilla chillies, seeded
2 garlic cloves, crushed
10 ml./2 tsp dried oregano
2.5 ml./1/2 tsp ground cumin
30 ml./1/2 tbsp vegatble oil
7 fresh corn tortillas
shredded onion and flat leaf parsley to garnish
Mango Salsa to serve or your own salsa version
Put steak in a deep frying pan and cover with water. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 1-1 1/2 hours, or until very tender.
Meanwhile, put the dried chillies in a bowl and pour over the hot water. Leave to soak for 30 minutes, then tip the contents of the bowl into a blender and process to a smooth paste.
Drain the steak and let it cool, reserving 250 ml./8 fl. oz./1 cup of the cooking liquid. Meanwhile, cook the garlic, oregano and cumin in the oil for two minutes.
Stir in the chilli paste and the reserved cooking liquid from the beef. Tear 1 of the tortillas into small pieces and add it to the mixture. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat. Simmer for ten minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened. Shred the steak using two forks, and stir it into the sauce, heat through for a few minutes.
Spoon some of the meat mixture on to each tortilla and roll it up to make an enchilada. Keep the enchiladas in a warm dish until you have rolled them all. Garnish with shreds of onion and fresh falt leaf parsley and then serve immediately with the Mango Salsa.
For a richer version place the rolled enchiladas side by side in a gratin dish. Pour over 300 ml./1 1/2 pint/1 1/4 cups of sour cream and 75g/3 oz/3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese. Place under a preheated grill (broiler) for 5 minutes or until the cheese melts and the sauce begins to bubble. Serve immediately.
The Mango Salsa recipe is not included here, but you could even use your own version of a salsa if necessary.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Chilli Lovers Only!

Mexican food having always been my long time favorite of all ethnic cuisines, and having dined in many fine Mexican restaurants from the great State of Texas to the Big Apple, to Wellington, New Zealand, I had longed for a Mexican Cookbook to add to my already existing huge collection of books from all over the world. Most of the Mexican dishes that I have prepared had been of my own creating, but I was eager to try some new Mexican recipes, and from a cookbook that would come highly recommended...and it most assuredly would have to have recipes using Chillies, Chillies, and more Chillies. So about six years ago, a friend recommended the Mexican Red Hot Cookbook, by Jane Milton to me and I swiftly flew to the nearest bookstore to purchase the book.....actually for a Christmas present for my husband, as not only does he adore Mexican cuisine also but he loves to cook on the weekends. Well needless to say we love this cookbook. I noted that it is still available for sale if interested....available at Amazon, and I am sure at other bookstores near you.I thought I would share our favorite recipe from the cookbook in tomorrow's post for those that long for Enchiladas. The recipe is "Beef Enchiladas With Red Sauce and it is absolutely marvelous and as mouthwatering as you can ever get...and that's saying a lot for the chillies. However for this post I thought I would share a birdseye view of some of the kinds of recipes you might expect to find in this excellent cookbook.
Baked Salmon With Guava Sauce
Chargrilled Swordfish With Chilli and Lime Sauce
Chicken With Chipotle Sauce
Empanadas With Ropa Vieja
Pumpkin Seed Sauce
Chayote Salsa
Salmon With Tequila Cream Sauce
Swordfish Tacos
Red Snapper Burritos
Tortilla Pie With Chorizo
Courgette Torte
Stuffed Chillies In A Walnut Sauce
.........And Many More
The Mexican Red Hot Cookbook has left no stone unturned when it comes to a nice wide variety of Mexican dish choices to choose from here. Stop by tomorrow for the Beef Enchiladas With Red Sauce recipe. Come with an appetite and a yearning for Chillies. I won't be disappointed.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Mum's Lemonade Date Scones

A wonderful family recipe from my husband's Mum for Lemonade Date Scones to christen my new blog. I could not resist sharing this recipe for my first post. This has been a long time favorite recipe in the family and one of the first batch of yummies that my husband baked for me when I first moved down here to New Zealand. I have been eating them ever since.
Mum's Lemonade Date Scones
  • 4 cups of self raising flour (or 4 cups of standard white flour with 4 heaping teaspoons of baking powder added)
  • 1 (335 ml.) can lemonade (Sprite)
  • 300 ml. cream
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 400 grams (14 oz.) of whole dates (will be added to the mixture whole)


Preheat Oven To 200 degrees C. or 390 F.

Mix all ingredients well in large mixing bowl. Then knead the dough mixture on a floured board or surface, adding flour if needed until a nice dough forms. Place a sheet of baking paper on a large cookie tray or pan. This works the best we have found and prevents sticking to the pan. Place the puffy somewhat flattened dough out onto the pan and cut your slices into the dough.

Bake at above temperature for 10-15 minutes until the scones are lightly browned on top.

Makes approximately 24 scones depending on the size you would like.

Serve with honey or your favorite jam!