Eight Bells

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Saturday, July 26, 2008

No ordinary meat sandwich...

As well as being the best way to use up left over roast meat this meal is also the perfect food to eat while watching an Australia vs New Zealand Bledisloe Cup test match during one of the worst storms in the last decade. It's a slightly different take on that good old kiwi favourite, the roast meat sandwich.

You will need:
Left over roast meat (beef, lamb or pork it doesn't really matter. We used a mixture of left over roast lamb and pork)
Rich dark gravy
Tiger bread sticks
Sauerkraut (1 tin is plenty for four or five of these sandwiches)
Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper

Preheat your oven to 180C.
Slice your meat thinly and trim off any fat. If the pieces are large cut into bite size pieces. Slice the onion thinly and cook in a little oil until soft and starting to brown. Make your gravy, use a little less water than the packet instructions to produce a thicker gravy (two packets of gravy for four to five people). To the gravy add a little salt and pepper and 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce.
Put the meat, onions and gravy together in an oven proof dish, cover and put in the oven for around half an hour until well heated.
Split your bread down the middle, hot dog bun style and heat in the oven until warm and just starting to crisp up. Heat the sauerkraut in a covered saucepan (if it gets a little dry add a very small amount of water, you don't want it wet).
To serve put sauerkraut in the bread sticks and then add meat, onion and gravy mixture. Don't add too much gravy as your bread sticks will become too soggy and fall apart. Crack open a Steinlager, turn on the rugby and enjoy.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Crockpot Chicken Casserole with Cornmeal Dumplings

I last ate dumplings when I was six years old. In England in the mid 70s many schools provided lunch for their students, this was both a blessing and a curse. I can still recall the meal, the dumplings floating in a sea of thick bland gravy, grey blobs of gluey dough that stuck to your throat and settled like stones in your stomach.
I was therefore a little unenthusiastic when Julia said that we were having dumplings for dinner. Of course I needn't have worried, the meal was delicious and the light and tasty cornmeal dumplings were a revelation, yes thank you I will have seconds.

You will need a crockpot with a capacity of at least 5 litres for this recipe. Serves six.

Chicken Casserole

1/2 kg of potatoes, scrubbed
1 kg of skinless, boneless chicken breast or thighs cut into 2cm pieces.
2 carrots, quartered and sliced
1 onion, diced
1 clove of garlic, peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon of dried thyme
2 bay leaves
2 x 420g can of cream of chicken soup
1 cup of chicken stock

2 tablespoons of butter
2 tablespoons of flour
Salt and pepper

Spray the inside of the crockpot with a little oil (rice bran oil can be bought in spray cans at your supermarket). Cut the potatoes into 1-2cm cubes and place in your crockpot with all the ingredients except the butter, flour and the salt and pepper. Stir to combine the ingredients and turn your crockpot on to low. Cover and cook for 7-8 hours.
About an hour before you want to serve turn the cooker on to high. To thicken the casserole combine the butter and flour to make a beurre manier and stir into the casserole. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Cook for another hour.

Cornmeal Dumplings

3/4 of a cup of flour
1/2 a cup of cornmeal
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1/4 of a teaspoon of salt
25g of butter, melted
1 large egg
1/4 of a cup of milk

Italian flat leafed parsely

About 30 minutes before serving, prepare the dumplings by combining the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt in a bowl. In another bowl stir together the melted butter, egg and milk. Pour the liquid into the dry ingredients and stir just enough to mix.

Drop dessertspoonsful of the mixture over the surface of the casserole, you should have enough mixture for about 8-10 dumplings. Put the lid back on and finish cooking the casserole (another 30 minutes as you put the dumplings in 30 minutes into the final hour of cooking).
Serve in bowls with a little chopped Italian flat leafed parsley for colour.
You can serve these dumplings with any casserole or stew and cook them in the same way.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Sausage Casserole

Yes finally a new post!
Here's a great comfort food dish for cold wet winter days. Try to get hold of some decent sausages for this one. This dish is based on an Allyson Gofton recipe and will serve four.

Sausage Casserole

8 sausages
1/2 a tablespoon of oil
4 rashers of bacon, diced
2 onions, peeled and sliced
1 teaspoon of minced garlic
1 tablespoon of flour
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
1 cup of beef stock
1/2 a cup of red wine
1 tablespoon of fresh thyme (or 1/2 a teaspoon of dried thyme)
1 tablespoon of fresh parsley (or 1/2 a teaspoon of dried parsley)
250 grams of mushrooms, thinly sliced
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil to a medium heat in a frying pan and brown the sausages slowly, turning regularly to prevent the skins from bursting. Take the sausages out of the pan and set aside.
Add the bacon, onions and garlic and cook for a further 2-3 minutes.
Sprinkle in the flour and add the tomato paste, cook until frothy, stirring continuously.
Gradually stir in the beef stock and red wine, stirring continuously until the sauce thickens. Return the sausages to the pan, add the thyme and parsley, cover and simmer gently for 25-30 minutes. Add the mushrooms after 15 minutes and continue cooking. Taste and season with salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper.

Julia's Pumpkin, Kumara and Potato Mash

Half a butternut pumpkin
2 medium potatoes
1 large kumara
A cup of hot milk or cream (we used Anchor long life lite cream)
Salt and pepper

Peel and dice the vegetables. Place in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to the boil and cook until soft. Drain and return the vegetables to the pot. Break the vegetables up with a potato masher or pass through a potato ricer and then gradually add the hot milk while blending with your whiz stick. When you have the desired consistency, season and serve.