Monday, 27 January 2014

Homemade English Muffins

Through necessity, I've been learning how to make my own bread since living
here.  The recipe for these homemade English muffins make a great change
from toast bread on the weekend and tastes like the real thing!  Not a bad
base to an eggs benedict if we are in the mood for that undertaking too...


Makes 8
¾ cup hot water
½ cup milk
1 Tbsp granulated yeast
2 tsp sugar
2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp melted butter or oil
About ¼ cup cornmeal (optional)

In a large bowl, mix the hot water and milk together to make a liquid slightly warmer than body 
temperature.  Stir in the yeast and sugar until yeast dissolves and leave to stand in a warm place for 
5-10 minutes, until the surface bubbles.  Measure the flour and salt into a microwaveable bowl and 
heat it on High in 10 second bursts, until it feels warm (2 cups of flour takes 20-30 seconds). Add 
the butter or oil to bubbly yeast mixture, then beat in the warmed flour, mixing thoroughly.  Leave 
to stand in a warm place until mixture doubles in size about 30 minutes.
Stir the mixture back to original size and add enough extra flour to be able to turn the mixture onto 
a board without it sticking.  Keep dough very soft, adding as little flour as possible.  Cut into eight 
pieces and roll into balls using well-floured hands.  Roll the balls in cornmeal (to stop them 
sticking), then place each one on a 10 cm square of sprayed on oiled lunch paper or plastic wrap 
and leave to rise in a warm place for 15-20 minutes, until light and puffy.
Carefully place muffins, paper side up and top side down, into an electric frypan or griddle which 
has been preheated to 150 C, then lift off the plastic of paper. Cook muffins for about 2 minutes, 
then carefully turn. Cook second side for 5-7 minutes, turn again and cook for a further 5 minutes.  
(This produces muffins with even sized cooked surfaces.) Turn onto a rack to cool and store 
in the refrigerator.
We split ours then toast them and load them up with butter and jam!
They freeze well too.

Looks just like the recipe! (top picture)

This recipe comes from a 1994 edition of a cookbook by Alison Holst called
Breakfast & Brunches. Because we can't go out and buy a bag of
muffins, etc, it's one of our lifesaver cookbooks...

Saturday, 25 January 2014

A visitor?

We arrived home to find this on our door.  There are a lot of crabs around at
the moment.  When the locals spy them they grab them and cook them up,
so maybe he thought we could protect him!

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Mini Greek Lemon Syrup Cakes

One of our favourite New Zealand cookbook writers is Annabel Langbein.
This is her recipe for a Greek Lemon Syrup Cake halved and put into 4 dariole moulds...
(Don't need to cook these as long as the cake.)

Fresh out of the oven.

Greek Lemon Syrup Cake Recipe

To cook: 40-45 minutes

Finely grated rind of 3 lemons
1 tsp cardamom seeds, lightly crushed
1 1/4 cups sugar
6 large eggs
1 cup fine semolina
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
Juice of 1 lemon
Recipe for lemon sauce (see below)

Preheat oven to 180 C
Beat rinds, cardamom, sugar and yokes until thick and pale.
Add semolina, flour, baking powder and juice. Stir to combine.
Beat egg whites to stiff peaks and gently fold into cake.
Pour into a greased 22-25cm tin. Bake 40-45 mins
until a skewer inserted into centre of cake comes out clean.
Turn out cake and while hot, brush with lemon syrup,
using all of it. Arrange slices of lemon from syrup
evenly over top of cake.
Serve with whipped cream. Keep in the fridge.

Lemon Syrup

Boil 1 1/4 cups sugar and 1 1/4 cups water in a pot for 4
minutes. Add 1 very thinly sliced lemon, pips removed,
And 1/4 cup lemon juice. Boil 5 mins. Remove from
heat. Syrup will keep 10 days in the fridge.

Ready to be devoured!

Saturday, 18 January 2014




(Watermelon juice with mint leaves added)

Friday, 10 January 2014

Crazy tropical salad!

I was hunting around on the internet for a salad to go with Beef Rendang
(the beef here is tough as old boots, so Rendang is the perfect solution.) 
Before I go on, here's the recipe for the Rendang. 
You may want to try it as it is pretty darn good (though if you can have
 two people working on it that will cut down the time involved).

Anyway, I wanted to do something a bit Asiany as well  and I fancied trying
green papaya, so I came across this recipe from the same website:

The Thai name for this salad is Som Tam.
I wish I could say this is a picture of my salad, but this is what it should look like...

Unfortunately, I haven't mastered the art of choosing a "green" papaya.
So mine is the "orange" version...

So apart from that, what was crazy about this salad?

We'll once I got into the instructions I started seeing the words "pound," "pulverise," 
"crush," and "bruise"! - not your typical kiwi method for making salads!
In fact I considered disobeying...
Fortunately, I took the risk and got stuck into some pounding.
Wow, fantastic flavours!

If you can get hold of a green papaya, I seriously recommend this salad.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Strawberry Update...

So the seedlings have passed the miniscule stage, but I managed to lose 3 out of 8. 
Two were squashed by the toad and one I tried to transplant, but was either a bit early
or I may have overwatered it because I was trying to be too kind to it.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

What to do with a can of tuna!

Solomon Islands is the land of canned tuna...

It is one of the food staples here and a big industry.

So very easy to come buy some good quality cans of tuna.

I've always thought canned tuna was your pantry desperate measure of what to put on a sandwich...
But since living here and trying to figure out something interesting to do with it, I've discovered it's a
delicacy to many!

This lead me to a fantastic and easy Italian pasta recipe.

Here it is...

Linguine con Tonno, Capperi e Olive

Linguine with Tuna, Capers and Olives
(Julia Della Croce)

Serves 4


1 x 175g can tuna packed in olive oil, drained and flaked
125ml extra-virgin olive oil
3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
125g mixed green and black sharply flavoured olives
3 tbsp drained small capers
1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
5 anchovy fillets in olive oil, drained and cut into small pieces
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
500g linguine
Salt, to taste

1.  In a serving bowl, combine all the ingredients for the sauce, tossing thoroughly to distribute
them evenly, then set aside.

2.  Cook the linguine until al dente, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. Drain the pasta, rinse it
rapidly and toss with the sauce in the bowl. Serve immediately.