So I am back with some recipes for you folks. Yesterday was a whirlwind so never got to do what I planned. This happens often here. Plans get made, plans get broken. Always so busy juggling things I need to do and don't get to do the things I want to do. Life of a busy Mom I think. My guess is most of us get our plans derailed quite often.
Today was another crazy day but at least I fit in some cooking. Had errands to run, groceries to get. Then did some spring cleaning and laundry. Mounds and mounds of laundry. You would think there were about 12 of us living here with the amount of clothes I wash. Yet there's just 4, so how is it possible to never be done. I don't think I've ever officially been "finished" the laundry. The pile is bottomless, a vast black hole that I fear will haunt me for eternity. Luckily I actually like doing laundry. I like folding the laundry. BUT the putting it away just sends me over the edge. Hate doing that.
I perused some cookbooks and cooking mags today. If I can manage over the next few days I would like to make roast chicken. This is nothing spectacular or peculiar in any way. But what I want to do with the leftovers will blow your mind. Okay maybe not blow your mind, maybe shock and bewilder you. Okay so that might be pushing it a bit. So maybe not shock and bewilder but you"ll be in awe. Or you'll at least go "hm, that's cool". Whatever the reaction I am sure you will be impressed and will be on pins and needles waiting to see what I have up my sleeve. Or oven. Whatevah!
Today was cooking day. I made some fudge which turned out spectacular. It does not always turn out well. I seem to be very inconsistent with my fudge. I try hard but sometimes all my best intentions fail miserably. Today they did not so "yeah me!" The recipe belongs to my sister, Deb. So the kudos and accolades go to her for this one. So if we can all collectively say "yeah Deb" I'm sure she'd get a kick out of it. She is an amazing cook and an even more amazing sister. She is my go-to gal for questions,queries and quandaries. I think I even called her once to query what a quandary was. She is always patient and I swear she makes notes as I may mention something I seen or put on my wish list and it will magically appear on my doorstep within days. She is my supplier of all the wonderful spices I use. So yeah for Deb who tolerates my weird cell calls from grocery stores and walmarts on a regular basis asking what is this or where do I find that. Why do they call it candied cherries if it's not in the candy aisle. You know dumb questions you can only ask a sister who won't make fun of you or look at you like you're a lunatic. Even though we both know I am.
I also made a banana/coconut bread that I love, love, love! The recipe is from a cookbook called "frame by frame baking". I have tweaked a bit so I'll put my version on here. If I can recommend any cookbook this is the one. It is beautiful and useful which is rare. Usually they tend to be one or the other. This one is unique, the description is "a visual step by step cookbook". That is exactly what it is. They take pics of each step and lay them out the way you would do them. They also have pics of the ingredients so you can see it all laid out. Which can actually be helpful with things like special sugars you are unsure of. I have tried quite a few recipes in this book and everything I have made thus far has been fab and delish. So I suggest you run out and buy it. Or wait until I eventually post all the recipes here and you won't need to buy it. Whatever works for you.
Lastly I made my Mom's Shepherd's Pie. My sis sent me the recipe as I didn't have it. I had actually not had Shepherd's pie for about 26 years when I decided to make it. Brought back so many memories of my Mom and my childhood. Love to make this about once a month now. It is so yummy. It is so amazing the emotions smells and tastes can evoke. For me Shepherd's pie or peanut butter cookies bring me back to being a kid. I like that feeling every now and then. It is refreshing and makes you take stock of your life a bit. Which can be a good thing. Be grateful for the people in your life as things can change on a moment's notice. Never take family for granted. Not many people will love you as unconditionally as your Mom will. Trust me on that one.
So now that I have either entertained you or bored you to tears I will post the recipes and pictures. Hope you enjoy them, make them often and tweak away. Always feel free to leave feedback. I can always use tips and advice. Not even close to the perfect cook yet.
Sister Deb's Fudge:
1 cup minus 1 tbspn milk (I know what's the point, it's just a tablespoon!)
2 cups white sugar
⅛ tsp salt
2 oz unsweetened chocolate, grated
2 heaping tbspns butter
1 tsp vanilla
½ to 1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
Bring the milk to a boil.
Remove from heat and add the sugar, salt, and chocolate, stir until the sugar is dissolved.
Next add the butter and vanilla and then beat it until it starts to thicken and loses it's sheen (takes about 5ish minutes). Quickly add nuts if using then pour into a buttered 8 inch square pan.
Cut before it hardens.
Kim's Banana/Coconut Bread (inspired by frame by frame cooking cookbook):
⅓ cup canola oil
1 ¾ cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup sugar
⅔ cup shredded coconut
2 ripe bananas, mashed ( I like to mash them but leave a few small chunky pieces, don't like this one mushy)
⅓ cup butter
¾ cup vanilla yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon coconut extract
shredded, toasted coconut to decorate (to toast just slip in 200 degree oven for a few minutes)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and line a loaf pan. (Use parchment to line it. Tip- wet the parchment as it makes it easier to manipulate into the pan)
Sift together flour, and baking powder in a large bowl. Stir in sugar and coconut.
Beat together the eggs, oil, bananas, butter, yogurt, vanilla and coconut extract in a large bowl.
Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients one third at a time until evenly mixed.
Pour into the prepared loaf pan and smooth or tap the mixture to settle it a bit.
Bake for about an hour or until risen, firm and golden brown.
Cool on a wire rack for about 15 minutes then decorate with toasted coconut.
Let cool and then serve.
Mom's Shepherd's Pie:
Mash potatoes ahead and set aside for later. Boil then manually, then smush them or use an electric beater while adding a bit of salt, pepper, butter and milk. Any potatoes work here. I've used russet, white, yukon gold. You could mix some russet with the yukon for fun. (I don't add pepper to mine as I am not a huge pepper fan)
Cook lean ground beef until no sign of pink. Drain if there's excess fat. Add diced onion. (today I used ¼ white onion, ¼ red onion and 1 large shallot) Saute for about 5 minutes, if you find the stuff getting dry add olive oil, I usually always end up adding some. (Deb adds chopped carrots, mushrooms, celery as well as onion) You can also flavor with salt, pepper, garlic powder or any spices you love here.
Add some beef stock, about ½ cup to one package of meat. I use alot of meat so I add about 1 full cup of stock. Also add one to two tablespoons of ketchup. (I add 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce here but the original recipe does not call for it) Cook for about 7- 10 minutes on low.
Now thicken it up a bit with some Bisto ( I prefer) or potato starch, or some type of brown gravy mix ( Deb thinks Mom used club house).
Put in pan or casserole dish filling about ⅓ of it.
Add 1 to 2 cans of niblet corn on top of meat and spread evenly. This should bring it to maybe ½ or ⅔ full in dish.
Now put in mashed potatoes and spread evenly over corn. I like to make designs with a fork. Then pour some melted butter over the mashed potatoes. This will crisp the top and not only will it look fab but will taste incredible.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 20- 30 minutes or until top goes golden brown.
If anyone can suggest a way to not ruin the first piece please fill me in. I always butcher the first one. Luckily hubby is not picky about that stuff so he gladly grabs the first plate. And sometimes the second too.
Hope you enjoyed this. Toodles and smoochies.xx