Category Archives: Snacks and Sides

Kokis

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It’s coming up to Sri Lankan New Year and Mr C’s day care is holding a celebration. There are a few Sri Lankan kids and a Sri Lankan teacher so it’s a big deal this year. They’re making coconut rice onsite and dressing up in traditional garb.I was wracking my brain trying to think of an easy, uniquely traditional treat to make his friends….and then it came to me…kokis of course. Not only is it not too arduous to make, I thought there was a good chance that even the picky toddlers might enjoy them. It’s also gluten free, nut free and hopefully child-friendly.

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Kokis is a traditional Sri Lankan snack, often served at Sri Lankan New Year. A crispy, cookie-like treat, made of coconut milk and rice flour and deep-fried till crispy. Of the many Sri Lankan treats that grace the New Year table, this is by far one of the easiest. It does require a kokis mould, made of metal, and attached to a long handle, which may be a deterrent. But, they are available in Sri Lankan spice stores in many places outside of Sri Lanka. If not, ask your kindly relatives in Sri Lanka to send you one, the next time the ask “what can we send?” .

A new mould will take a little “breaking in” and you may find the batter will stick to the mould for a little while. Keep at it, it ill eventually come good.

When Ammi made kokis, she always turned the last bit of batter into “chilli” kokis by adding chilli powder. Much as she’d done for her dad growing up. Chilli kokis go especially well with a nice cool beer or ‘lion lager’.  See below for my take on “chilli kokis”.

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup of rice flour
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 egg
  • salt

For Chilli Kokis

  • I cup of kokis mixture
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp. of garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Preparation

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In a bowl add salt to the flour and mix well.  Then add the egg and coconut milk into the flour and whisk until no lumps remain. The consistency should be similar to a thin pancake batter. Cover the bowl and keep it aside.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan on medium heat. When the oil is hot place the Kokis mould in the oil for about a minute.

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Carefully dip the mould in the batter, making sure that the mould is well covered on all sides, but not the top.

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Place the now batter covered mould in the hot oil and hold in place for about 30 seconds. At this point, slip the kokis out of the mould, shaking slightly if needed, to loosen. Use a cocktail stick or skewer to prise the kokis away if it needs extra help. Fry until the kokis is golden and evenly coloured.

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Pull out of the oil and drain well  before serving. Will keep in an air tight container for a few days.

I love to serve mine dusted with a generous sprinkling of icing sugar. It goes perfectly with a cup of tea.

Chilli Kokis

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To make the chilli kokis mix the batter with all the spices and half the cayenne. Make as above and sprinkle with the remaining cayenne before serving.

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Filed under "Something" Free Cooking, Short-Eats, Snacks and Sides, Sri Lankan Food, Uncategorized

Egg and Bacon Pastries

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You know the family recipes that you’ve been making for years but can’t really trace? This is one of those. Something my mothers has made for as long as I can remember, something I make all the time and something whose roots cannot be traced to anything except great foodie memories.

This is a recipe that often comes out on holiday road trips. Something my mother would bake of a morning before setting off, pack into tupperware to be enjoyed at a service station between home and 1000km away.

It doesn’t need sauce, can be eaten without such refineries as plates and cutlery and it’s simply a matter of dusting off the crumbs before jumping back into the car.

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Ingredients

  • 4-5 rashers of bacon (you’ll need about 24 pieces of bacon all up)
  • 4 eggs medium boiled
  • 3 sheets of puff pastry
  • 1/2 red onion finely chopped
  • 1 egg to brush on top

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 220C/400F. Line a baking tray with paper
  2. Cut the bacon into 5 cm strips and set aside.
  3. Cut the egg into halves and then divide each half into 3. Doesn’t matter if the eggs break apart, just put them back together when assembling.
  4. Cut the pastry sheets in half and then each half into 4 so you have 8 rectangles.
  5. Grab a piece of pastry and place a strip of bacon in the middle and place a section of egg and a sprinkle of onion on top.

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  1. Brush egg along one edge and roll the pastry up to enclose.
  2. Brush top with eggs, cut a few slits for steam to escape.
  3. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden and delicious.

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Filed under Short-Eats, Snacks and Sides, Sri Lankan Food

Brown Butter and Berry Tea Cake

HP1B0177A couple of months ago we were at another baby’s birthday party at a park. Mr C was in his element, running around, terrorising adults and children, and being the centre of attention. Come cake time, he was nowhere to be found. I was getting a little worried when I spied a curly head peering out from under the massive cake table. There he was, staring intently at the baby’s mother cutting the cake. Mouth open and agape.When I approached him he looked me in the eye and said “cake”. I think he might just be his mother’s son. Of course, there was no denying him cake after that.

Nowadays he can identify the difference between a muffin “mussin” and cake. A muffin comes in a wrapper and a cake needs to be sliced. At afternoon tea-time when he sees me opening the freezer to grab a muffin, many an excited squeal can be heard.

The long and short of this is that I need to make sure that the baking I do is Mr C  friendly and generally on the healthier side of things. This means recipes with lots of fruit and veg, as little sugar as I can get away with and added bonuses like oats and nuts. Mr C is also very into helping at the moments so unless I bake during nap time, the recipe has to be simple enough that he can help with “missing”. Admittedly this results in about  three times the mess, but the kids loves it!

This recipe originally called for 1 cup of sugar, but I decided to halve it and substitute it with apple sauce, following the guidelines here.

I also added some nuts to the crumble topping for some extra crunch.

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Crumble topping

  • 1/4 cup butter cubed
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans

Cake

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup apple sauce
  • 1 egg and 1 egg yolk
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen mixed berries

Preparation

Inspired by the Brown Butter Blueberry Coffee Cake by Ambitious Kitchen

In small bowl mix together the crumble ingredients, except the pecans, gently with your finger tips until the mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs. Add the pecans and refrigerate while you make the cake.

Preheat your oven to 350F or 180C and line an 8 X 8 tray with baking paper.

In a small saucepan place the stick of butter and slowly melt over a medium heat. Bring to the boil and watch the butter foam. After a few minutes you’ll notice some brown appearing at the bottom, remove from the heat at this point and leave to cool. The butter should be lovely and nutty in flavour at this point.

In a large bowl mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the frozen berries and coat well with the flour mixture.

In a second bowl mix together the egg, egg yolk, apple sauce, milk and cooled butter.

Mix the dry and wet ingredients together before pouring into the prepared tin. Sprinkle the crumble topping on top and bake in the oven for 45-55 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.

This recipe is suitable to freeze!

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Filed under Non-Sri Lankan Food, Snacks and Sides, Sweet Treats, Uncategorized

Spicy Beef Patties

 

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I was cleaning out my freezer and made the awesome discovery of a box of these frozen from a couple of months ago. Yay. Suffice it to say, these spicy, delicious morsels freeze really well. They’re a labour of love but amazingly worth it.

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Ingredients

For the pastry

  • 500g flour
  • ½ cup butter cold chopped
  • ½ lime juiced
  • ice cold water
  • egg yolk
  • extra flour for dusting

For the filling

  • 250g (1/2 lb) beef/pork mince
  • 1/2 small onion chopped finely
  • 1 clove garlic finely chopped
  • 4-5 curry leaves
  • 1/2 tbsp. chilli flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. curry powder (roasted)
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp. turmeric
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 medium potatoes parboiled and chopped into small cubes
  • oil for deep frying

Instructions

In a medium fry pan (skillet) place the mince and fry until golden. Add the spices. When the mince is brown add the onions, garlic and curry leaves. Fry until the onion is soft and add the potatoes. Cook until the potatoes are cooked through and have a bit of colour.  Leave the mixture to cool.

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In the meantime.  Place the flour in the bowl of your stand mixer (or food processor)and add the butter. Mix slowly until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Add the lime juice and egg yolk and mix well. Now add the ice cold water a little at a time until the dough comes together. Knead for a few minutes until the dough is smooth. Leave the dough to rest for about 15 minutes.

Roll the dough till it’s about 1/4cm or 1/8inch of an inch thick. Use plenty of flour to keep it from sticking or use baking paper on your bench top. Using a pastry cutter or cup, cut circles from the dough. My circles were about 4 inches/10cm

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Using a single circle at a time, place a tsp. of filling onto one half of the circle, keeping close to the middle. Brush egg white (or water if you prefer) along the edge and fold the pastry over, making a little crescent.

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Now use a fork to press along the edges.

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Deep fry the patties in hot oil until golden brown and crisp on the outside.

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Drain well and serve with plenty of tomato or chilli sauce.

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Filed under Beef, Short-Eats, Snacks and Sides, Sri Lankan Food

Mixed Berry Muffins

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My first year of teaching, I taught a year 1 & 2 combined class. Come Mother’s Day, we decided to keep it simple. We asked the kids to draw pictures of themselves and their mothers and we cut and pasted cardboard frames. We were a government school and so had limited access to cardboard, a green sheet and a pink sheet were all we could scrounge up. On the day, we let the kids choose their own colours. Predictably, the gaggle of 6 & 7 years olds picked along gender lines. The girls all picked pink and the boys, despite it being Mother’s Day, insisted on green. Except for one lone male, he marched up bravely and asked for pink. When I asked him why, he quietly explained that he wanted pink because his mum was a girl and she would like pink. Bless.

I guess that’s the thing about Mother’s Day, it doesn’t matter whether you buy your mum a diamond ring or make her a cardboard picture frame, as long as as it’s something SHE will like.

I like these muffins because you can make them your own. Choose whichever berries you like, add some cinnamon or even add some chopped nuts if that’s what your mum likes!

If you want to make these for mum on Sunday morning, have the dry ingredients measured out on the bench and the wet ingredients mixed in the fridge. Have the muffin cases all ready in the pan. In the morning, add the berries, mix the wet and dry and spoon into the cases!

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup / 125ml canola oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon zest
  • 3/4 cups whole meal flour
  • 1 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen mixed berries
  • raw sugar, for sprinkling

Preparation

Preheat oven to 375 F/ 190 C. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin or line with paper baking cups.

Combine the yogurt, oil, eggs, and vanilla in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth.

Sift the flour, baking powder, and brown sugar into a large bowl. Gently stir the frozen berries and lemon zest into the flour mixture. Add the yogurt mixture to the flour and stir until combined.

Divide the batter evenly between the 12 muffin cups. Sprinkle muffins generously with the raw sugar.

Place muffin tin on the middle rack of the preheated oven.  Bake for approximately 25 minutes, or until the tops are golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

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Filed under Cake, Snacks and Sides, Sweet Treats

Bourke St Bakery Style Sausage Rolls

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A friend recently asked my what traditional ‘Aussie’ food was and my immediate reply was meat pies and sausage rolls. I don’t know that they’re uniquely Australian, the English eat pies after all.  But to me, pies and sausage rolls  speak of Australia. Hot pies in metal cases streaming out of the canteen, eating a sausage rolls at a party with flaky pastry covering your face and of course it isn’t the same without oodles of tomato sauce (distinct from high-fructose corn syrup laden tomato ketchup).

The best sausage roll I’ve had in Australia has to be the offering from the Bourke St Bakery. Flaky, crispy and buttery on the outside with a pork and fennel filling within. It’s amazing. Perhaps some of it’s inherent appeal lies in the fact that I’ve always eaten it on a sunny day in Centennial park followed by one of their amazing tarts. Bliss!

This is a version of that sausage roll with my homemade rough puff pastry which I made based on the recipe from here, Guy Awford’s blog. If you don’t have to go to the trouble of making the pastry, embrace it. Pampas is your friend.

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Ingredients

  • 2 garlic cloves crushed
  • 1 tbsp. oil
  • 10g fennel seeds chopped
  • 1.5 thyme sprigs
  • 50g onion chopped finely
  • 50g celery chopped finely
  • 50g carrots chopped finely
  • 400g pork mince
  • handful of bread crumbs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 sheets of puff pastry
  • egg wash for brushing- 1 egg and milk

 Preparation

In a small fry pan fry the garlic, onion, celery and carrot ( I chopped mine in the food processor) until soft. When the vegetables have softened add the thyme and fennel and cook for a few minutes. Leave the mixture to cool.

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In a bowl combine the minced pork, bread crumbs, salt, pepper and cooled vegetables mixture. Use your hands to mix it all together.

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Lay your pastry flat and make a sausage of mince about 2-3 cm from the edge of the pastry. Using your hands is the easiest way I’ve found to do this.

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Now take the edge that is bare and wrap it over the sausage roll. Tuck the pastry in and keep rolling until you have wrapped the whole log of meat in pastry plus a little extra for the “seam”. Brush a little water at the edges to make it stick. Cut to your desired size at this point.

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Eggwash the tops of the rolls and add a few fennel seeds on top. Place the seam down on a baking tray at bake in 350F/180C oven for 45 minutes.

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Filed under Meat/Fish Dishes, Pork, Short-Eats, Snacks and Sides, Uncategorized

Masala Vadai

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I’ve posted a similar recipe before; Dhal Wade, this is just an update on the recipe and some more detailed photos of the “how to” process. I’ve also decided that there is no agreed upon spelling for “Vadai” and have decided to go with a different spelling today.

Yield: This quantity made about 60 medium sizes vadais

Ingredients

  • 3 cups red lentils/channa dhal (I used red lentils, also known as mysoor dhal)
  • 6 tbsp. raw rice
  • 6 tbsp. urid dhal
  • 1 inch piece of ginger
  • 1 small red onion
  • handful of curry leaves
  • 1 tsp. maldive fish flakes (optional)
  • 1/2 cup coriander leaves
  • 3 green chillies
  • 3 tbsp. chilli flakes (or to taste)
  • 1 tbsp. chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp. unroasted curry powder
  • 2.5 tsp. salt
  • OIL FOR SHALLOW FRYING
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Preparation

Soak the peas/lentils, rice and dhal for at least 4 hours.
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Drain the lentils well and set aside a cup of of lentils. Using a food processor or blender, process the remaining lentils until it becomes a paste that sticks together. If you grab a spoonful, you should be able to form it into a ball or patty without it falling apart. Add a little bit of water as you’re blending, if you need. The more water you add, the more oil your vadai’s will absorb as they cook.
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I use the pulse function on my food processor and usually blend in 2 batches. I blend one to a fine paste, and the second batch to a slightly coarser paste. I also use the food processor to chop the onions, ginger, curry leaves, chillies and coriander.
Combine the onion mix, the ground lentils and the whole lentils. Finally add the remaining spices and mix thoroughly.
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Using your hands or spoons, form the mixture into patties. I make little quenelles using 2 spoons. I know this isn’t the traditional shape but it keeps my hands clean to turn the already frying vadais and there’s no need to wash my hands every 5 minutes. Feel free to make the traditional flattened patty shape.
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Fry them in batches of 5-8 in a large wok or frying pan on medium heat until the vadais are crispy on the outside and cooked through. I usually test as I go.
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Vadais are best served hot with a cup of hot sweet tea. If you’re storing them, reheat them in a 180 celsius (350 fahrenheit) oven for 10-15 minutes to get that crispness back.
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Filed under Short-Eats, Snacks and Sides, Snacks and Sides, Sri Lankan Food, Vegetable Dishes

Pork Dumplings

Pork dumplings

Pork dumplings

I remember this one time when we lived in Homebush West, our cousin Ruvi dropped by for dinner. She’d spent the weekend with some friends who’d taught her how to make dumplings. She came over, straight from work  armed with 100g of mince from the uber-fancy butcher at Rhodes Shopping Centre. Poor Ruvi was mortified, according to her the butcher was none too impressed about having to dole out such a measly portion.
These dumplings are very much a basic recipe, I’ve kept it simple because Mr C would also be consuming/ripping apart some of these. Normally I’d add a chilli or about 50g of prawns to the mix or even a few water chestnuts for crunch!

Ingredients

  • 250g pork (minced is fine)
  • 3 spring onions roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 cm piece of ginger
  • 1/8 tsp chinese five spice powder
  • 1/8 tsp chilli powder (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste (optional)
  • Wonton Wrappers

Preparation

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Place the pork, spring onions, garlic, ginger and spices in the bowl of a food processors and blitz. Your want a uniform paste, like so

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I like to make a few of these at a time, it’s easier. I used this fabulous blog to figure out how to fold my dumplings. I decided to fold some into Samosa shapes for baby C and made the Samosa with a twist for Mr Firehouse and myself.

Basically, you place a teaspoon full of the pork mixture onto the wonton wrapper. I painted the outside with water and folded the wrapper into a triangle, squeezing out any extra air.

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I then pulled two corners of the triangle together and stuck them down with water.

To cook

I braise my dumplings, this means I pour a small amount of oil into a frying pan, add my dumplings and them pour in a centimetre of water. I then place the whole lot on medium heat with a lid on. When the water has evaporated and the dumplings have a bit of a crust and colour, the insides are cooked and ready to serve.

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These are delicious eaten with some soy-sauce…and if you’re feeling spicy, why not add a hot chilli into the mix ;).

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And here’s what Mr C thought.
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Filed under Meat/Fish Dishes, Pork, Snacks and Sides, Uncategorized

Gluten Free Rosemary Scones

I’ve discovered during my forays into GF cooking that different GF flours work best for different recipes. Nat and I discovered for example that Redmill flour is great for cakes and strong flavoured desserts, King Arthur for pastry and this particular mix seems fabulous for scones. It’s called Hodgson Mill and available at Walmart. 

Not a great picture but you get the drift right?

Not a great picture but you get the drift right?

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Gluten free flour      
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. Xantham Gum
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tbsp rosemary (chopped)
  • 80g butter, very cold
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tsp.  vinegar
  • 1 lg. egg, beaten

Instructions

Preheat oven to 180ºC and get  a standard 12 muffin pan, greased
In a large mixing bowl, place flour, baking powder, salt, xanthan gum and baking soda; blend well.  Using a small holed grater, grate the very cold butter into flour mixture. Blend together flours and butter using two forks until the mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs. Add rosemary and blend.
In a large measuring cup, mix milk, vinegar and beaten egg together.  Pour milk mixture into the center of the dry ingredients and mix with a large spoon.  Be careful not to overmix! Batter will be moist and very thick.  Evenly spoon batter into the prepared pan and using your fingers dipped in milk, lightly flatten the tops of the biscuits.
Bake scones for 22-25 minutes or until lightly golden brown.  Remove biscuits from pan and serve warm or cool on a wire rack.
This recipe makes about 8-12 scones.

I flirted with the idea of adding parmesan but being my first try I didn’t want to mess too much with the mix, especially as it was GF. I think I will dare next time.


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Filed under Snacks and Sides, Snacks and Sides, Vegetable Dishes