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Moussaka

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I made this Greek Dish last Wednesday, well Tuesday really. I wasn’t going to have enough time on Wednesday before going out to Biblestudy 😉 so I was cooking at 10pm Tuesday. At that time my sister walks in the door and exclaims,

“You can smell that wafting down the whole street!”. It did smell yummy- similar to a simmering bolognase. However late at night is probably not the best p5220001.jpgtime to be stimulating the taste-buds….

However this was a hit. I’d only made it once before, (I’d never seen “Moussaka” and was curious). Last time it was good, but this time it was better, I think a lot hangs on the quality of the eggplant (aubergine).  I think it usually has a sauce made out of milk, but I was attracted by the ricotta alternative.

  1. Chop 1 very large or 3 medium eggplants into to 1.5 cm slices. Dust with salt and place in a colander or similar for 40 minutes. This draws out the bitter juices. 
  2. Heat a little olive oil in large wide-based saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook one chopped brown onion and a little garlic until soft.
  3. Increase heat to high and cook about 500g of lamb mince stirring frequently, for 6 minutes or until browned. Reduce heat to medium, add 1-2 cans of whole or chopped tomatoes, a bay leaf,  half a cinnamon stick, a little thyme, 1-2 teaspoon of oregano and a genourous teaspoon of nutmeg. Simmer, uncovered, for 35 minutes or until some of the liquid has evaporated and the sauce has thickened. If available deglaze plan with a little white wine (or even red will do). 
  4. Meanwhile, rinse eggplant and preheat grill on high. Brush the eggplant with a tiny bit of the olive oil and cook under the grill for 3-4 minutes or until browned. Turn the eggplant slices, brush again with the olive oil and cook for a further 4 minutes or until browned and tender. [If needed steps 1-4 can be performed the night before]
  5. Place 400g of ricotta and 400g feta in a bowl mash with some salt and pepper.
  6. Sprinkle a handful of breadcrumbs evenly over the base of a deep ovenproof dish. Lay 1/2 of the eggplant slices over the breadcrumbs then spread the lamb mixture over. Sprinkle with  Parmesan cheese, top with the remaining eggplant and then spread the ricotta mixture over. Sprinkle with more breadcrumbs and some Parmesan.
  7. Bake in preheated oven at 200 degrees for 40 minutes or until heated through and golden on top. All to stand a few minutes before serving. Serves about six.
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Beer Cake

This cake is So Much FUN to make. When you pour in the beer, the whole bowl frothes, rises, sizzles and hisses!

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Yet another cake recipe where I didn’t fall in line. However this time it was by accident (well mostly). I forgot to include the eggs. No joke, but it still tasted really good. I’ve made the cake before with the eggs and the only significant difference is the texture. If you want a fluffy cake don’t use eggs, if you want a smooth cake, use eggs! This time round I actually made a triple recipe and I think I didn’t include enough sugar so I made a wicked lemon icing. It tasted good. I’ll definitely do the icing again.

Bron’s Take on Beer Cake:

Cream 1 cup of brown sugar and 100g of butter together until light and fluffy. Beat in egg (or don’t). In a seperate bowl combine 1/3 tsp each of cinnamon, cardamon, nutmeg and ginger, with 1 1/2  cups of plain flour and  1 tsp bicarbonate of soda. In yet another bowl Mix 1/2 cup of chopped pecans with 1 cup of chopped dates with 2 tablespoons flour. Fold the remaining flour into the butter mixture alternatively with 1 1/3 cups of beer, fold in dates and nuts. Bake in an 180C oven for 50 minutes.

Icing: Combine equal weights of butter and icing sugar with the juice of about half a lemon. Mix on a fairly high speed in mixer. Add water as desired. 

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Last Year, when Jac and I were at the end of our month in India, we spent a few days in Kochi. We’d had a great time, but we were so exhausted, and so treated ourselves to a Hindi Movie, an Ayurvedic massage and dinner at wonderful Tibetan restaurant, owned by a lady from Gangtok . I’ve been wanting momos and Thukpa ever since. So here is my attempt after putting togther some obscure Internet recipes. Unfortunately I couldn’t get any Szchwan pepper, which is really essential for the flavour. And I found that although this was yummy, the leftovers the next day were even better because the flavours had been infusing. So if you want to make it, I advise making most of it, (or all of it!) the day before. I’ll definately make it again it was very easy.  Serves 4-8.

 1. Make about 4-6 cups of vegetable stock (or buy it!)

2. In a large saucepan lightly fry an onion, add a few bay leaves, 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric, 1 teaspoon of cumin, a few teaspoons of garlic and ginger, some chilli (according to taste) and about a teaspoon of szechwan pepper and some asafetida powder or star of anise or any other complementary flavour.

3. If you desire meat, add chicken or beef in thin strips (about 400g) and cook until just brown- about 2 minutes.

4. Add 1-2 cups of chopped or cherry tomatoes, the broth and some salt and pepper. Then add about 1/2 cup of red capsicum, 1/2 cup of celery, 1/2 cup of thinly chopped carrot, 1/2 cup of green beans, 1 cup of chopped spinach ( I used frozen). [ it would be fine to omit some of these veges]

5. Add about 1/2 packet of rice noodels. Although if you are going to let the soup stand over night I’d suggest adding these the following day when you heat up the soup.

6. Serve and garnish with coriander.

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