Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Spaghetti Bolognese

Spaghetti Bolognese

What?  WHAT?!?!?!  Am I trying to KILL YOU?!?!?!  Nope.  This is FAILSAFE spag bol.

NO!  Really!  Honest!!!

It all started on 'Cooking for Oscar'.  Sandra made a Failsafe 'No-Tomato Sauce'.   Then people on the Facebook Failsafe pages were sharing what they had made with it.  They used it as a dipping sauce,  as a ketchup,  a dressing and as an ingredient anywhere you'd use a tomato passata.  (You can see where I'm going, right?)

So,  trusting all my friends in the computer I gave it a whirl.  When I said "Failsafe Bolognese" Ms D jumped on me in excitement.  (No, really.  She jumped into my arms.  Did I mention she's in grade 6?!?!)   I told her to calm down because I had no idea how it was going to turn out...  but she kept jumping up and down.  Yeah,  no pressure.

Luckily,  it was delish!  And SO EASY.  I had already made the No-Tomato Sauce and had it in portions in the freezer.  The rest was dead easy.

In the end...  how did it taste?  Well...  it was a very passable bolognese!  And I tried whiskey once again (my second splash at it) which gave it a grown up flavour.  The mouth feel was right and the tang was perfect.

  • 500g steak mince
  • 1/2 Leek, quartered and sliced
  • 2-3 cloves of Garlic, crushed
  • 1-2 sticks Celery, sliced
  • 1 medium Carrot*, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup Whiskey
  • about 400-800ml No-Tomato Sauce  (to taste)  
  • about 400ml water
  • Sautée vegetables, set aside
  • Brown mince and add vegetables back
  • Add whiskey and cook for a minute or so on high heat, stirring
  • Add No-Tomato Sauce about 200mls of Water and bring gently to boil,  stirring frequently
  • Simmer for at least 30 minutes and add water as necessary
  • Cook enough pasta for your brood and I'll assume you know how to serve Spag Bol.
* Moderate Salicylates
Verdict: You know my Mr JR?  He's the one who is always leaving the table and needs to be coaxed to eat what we consider enough to exist.   (There are no 'finishing your plate' rules, but please make an effort)  Well,  he sat, he ate and then he got seconds.  I don't remember him getting seconds before.  Ms C had... FIVE serves.  Mr JA also sat and ate, no coaxing required and Ms D also had 2 or 3 helpings.  I call that SUCCESS BEYOND MY WILDEST DREAMS.

Tweeks:  Depending on your intolerances,  you can add a lot more vege.  Grated choko, grated and peeled zucchini*, sliced green beans....  but don't get too far away from the original Spag Bol idea. 


Leek Bhaji

Mr frillypants is English...  so he knows ALLLLLL about Indian food.  Right?  I was googling for some chickpea recipes and came across Onion Bhajis and I know Mr frillypants loves these... I thought "Why wouldn't leek work???"

Of course the original recipe used all sorts of aromatic spices,  but these were seriously delicious without them.  Don't tell anyone,  but I have a deep fryer... (shhhh!! I know!)... but you can use a saucepan with a good amount of failsafe oil.  I like Rice Bran Oil especially for frying as it has a high smoke point.  The bhaji do need room to fry though.

Chickpea (Besan) flour is available at healthfood shops,  but if you have a Thermomix,  just  grind dry chickpeas (not canned) on Speed 9 for a minute or so.  The water measurement is vague...  I used 80 mls and then kept adding until I could use it.

  • 250g Chickpea (Besan) Flour
  • 1/5 tsp salt
  • 80-150ml water
  • 1 whole Leek,  washed, trimmed, quartered and sliced
  • Extra veg if you'd like,  but try to stay under 250g.  Eg Peas**, grated carrot *, celery, grated zucchini*, spring onion
  • Combine besan flour, salt and water and mix until a thick batter
  • Add Vegetables and stir in so they are well coated
  • Heat oil to 190ºC (or cube of bread turns golden brown in 30secs)
  • Carefully add tablespoins of the mixture to the hot oil and allow it cook until it is golden and crisp.  About 3-4 minutes.  Turn over if you need to.
  • Allow to drain and place onto paper towel
  • Keep it warm while continuing to cook the remainder of the mixture and see if you can actually have some left to serve.  I kept eating them!
  • Best served while still warm, alone or with natural yogurt** to dip.
* Moderate Salicylates  
**  Moderate Amines

Verdict:  As usual,  the kids are divided.   It's a texture they're not used to,  so it is my duty to serve it again and again until they are used to it.  Ms C, Mr frillypants and I were a bit like 'You don't like it?  GOOD!  More for me!!!  Pass that bowl over here'

Tweeks:  I mentioned the other veg you could use.  I wonder what else would be nice??

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Chicken Casserole with Whiskey

Chicken Casserole with Whiskey  (ignore the peas and beans,  I happened to have some leftover in the fridge,  so chucked them in)

I have finally worked up the courage to cook with whiskey.  I had to drink half a bottle...  not really!!  I haven't been keen.  I hate the smell of Scotch.  Really.  Hate it.  And knowing which one to buy?  Pah!  I went for something on special at Woolworths.  I think it might have been Black Douglas.

Anyway...  I didn't have a clue,  so I looked up Failsafe Foodie's recent recipe, which used Scotch, for inspiration...  then I jumped in.

When Mr frillypants got home from picking up the school and pre-school kids (gee, it was quiet) they all stopped and sniffed and said "Mmmmmmmmm,  what's that?  What's for dinner?"  Good start.  Then Mr frillypants and MsD were fighting over who was going to taste it first.... then second... then third...  I think I can safely say it's a hit without even serving it up!    

I plan to serve it with rice and green beans.  A tummy-warming casserole for a 10ºC rainy day.

  • 500-600g Chicken breast or thigh, diced
  • about 1/2 cup Plain Flour
  • 1/2 cup of Whiskey
  • 1 leek, quartered lengthways and sliced
  • 2 sticks of celery, finely sliced
  • 1 head of garlic, about 10 cloves all peeled
  • 1 medium carrot*, diced
  • A handful of Butternut Pumpkin*, diced
  • 1 swede, diced
  • 1 can lentils, drained and rinsed
  • 1 litre water
  • 1tab Vegie Stock Concentrate  
  • Salt to taste
  • Coat diced chicken in flour
  • In a large heavy-based pan, heat a little failsafe oil and brown the chicken
  • Deglaze the pan using half of the Whiskey
  • Add leek, carrot, pumpkin and celery and sautée
  • Add water, stock, lentils and the rest of the Whiskey (did you think we were going to drink it?)
  • Simmer gently on the stove top or in the oven at 170ºC while you listen to school-readers or word lists...  listen to the news... or check facebook
  • Add salt as required
  • Serve with steamed rice and green-beans
* Moderate Salicylate

Verdict:  Woohoo!  It's a hit.  Three of them kept saying 'It reminds me of something we've had before...'  I have no idea.  But the main thing was...  there were firsts and then there were seconds. 
Tweeks:  Any more vegies you might like could be added.  Diced potato, shredded cabbage.  The light gravy was very nice.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


Big doughy pretzels

Skinnier ones using half dough portions.

My daughter has been after me to make these for a while.  I think she was actually after the type with a sweet coating...  but she loves the salty kind as well.  I don't know much about the history of pretzels or if I might be  breaking some sort of pretzel-taboo... I have found that bready-people can be a bit touchy about the right and wrong way to 'make a bit of crumb'.   This recipe I pinched from All-recipes and adapted to Thermomix.  If you want the original instructions,  just check at the link.

Yesterday I did all white flour and today I did some wholemeal.  All good,  so please yourself.  I may actually try a sour dough one of these days,  when I have a bit more time.

  • 7g dried yeast
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • a good pinch salt
  • 375g warm water
  • 440g plain flour (or 300g wholemeal and 140g white)
  • 150g bread flour
  • 500g (2 cups) warm water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons bicarb soda
  • 2 tablespoons coarse salt
  • Put warm Water, Brown Sugar and Yeast into Thermomix and mix on speed 2 about 1 minute until sugar is dissolved.
  • Add Flours and Salt and knead on Interval Speed for 2 minutes
  • Put into a large, lightly oiled and turn dough to coat with the oil.
  • Allow to rise about 1 hour.
  • Punch down dough and divide in 12 pieces.  (Original recipe says 12 pieces.  I did 16 (half, half, half then half) and then I even divided 3 of those again for some skinnier ones. Maybe start with 12 and see how you go.)
  • Dissolve Sodi Bic in warm water in a 20cm dish
  • Roll each piece until it's about 40cm long and even, not lumpy
  • Do your fancy twist (I used a picture to help), dunk into the Water/Sodi Bic mixture and place onto a lined baking tray.
  • Sprinkle each wet Pretzel with a little Course Salt and allow to rise again, about 20 minutes before baking in oven 180ºC 8-10 minutes, until golden brown.
  • Cool on tray for a little while before moving to a cooling rack.  
  • Now... start again....  because the kids just ate them all in one go.
Verdict:  Yummeh!  A lovely light and chewy bread,  with a nice crust.

Tweeks:  The original recipe calls for the pretzels to be brushed with butter and salted after baking,  but I decided with the last lot to just put the salt on while they were wet before baking.  I think this worked well and took away one teeny 'unhealthy' element.

Yorkshire Pudding

Mr frillipants' mum gave me this recipe, which really is the easiest-peasiest thing ever. I am in the habit of making this wi...