Sunday, February 24, 2008

February 24th, 2008

Sorry for not blogging sooner. Had a bit of a computer problem. My computer crashed!!!!! I think I have now got the programs reinstalled back onto it and recovered some things I lost, but mostly I lost some of my photos since December and some of my recipes I had saved from various sites. So word of warning to all - remember to back up your files!!!!
Another reason for not doing much blogging is I haven't really been cooking alot. I have been trying hard to loose a bit of weight and it seems if I cut back on food and wine and do a bit of exercise it does seem to work. So instead of eating alot I have been trying to get by on a little, so not too many fancy dishes here lately. Also just recovering from a virus myself that put me off food for a bit. But I am much better now, I have lost 5 pounds and my computer is running well so back to blogging again.

Sweet and Sour Pork

This recipe comes from my tried and true 1980 Bisquick cookbook that has definately been trough the wars of cooking. It is a recipe I find easy to make along with loads of flavour. This little book has alot of quick and easy and really yummy recipes in it using one of my fav things that I can get over here Bisquick. The thing is if I couldn't find it here I have several recipes for making a copy cat version of bisquick.

Sweet-And-Sour Pork
3 Tablespoons Butter/margarine
1 egg
2 Tablespoons water
1 1/2 pounds pork (I used tenderloin or you could use boneless chops) boneless shoulder, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 cup Bisquick baking mix
Sauce (recipe follows)
4 cups hot cooked rice
Heat oven to 400 F/200 C. Heat butter in a baking dish in the oven until it is melted. Beat the egg and water slightly. Dip the pork cubes into the egg mixture, then coat with the baking mix (shake the pork in a bag with 1/3 cup baking mix at a time). Arrange pork in pan. Bake uncovered for 35 minutes. Turn and bake another 15 minutes.

This is what it looks like when baked.

Meanwhile prepare the sauce and cook the rice while the pork is baking. I usually put the rice on during that 15 minutes after the pork has been turned. The sauce I start while it is initially baking.

1/3 cup packed brown sugar
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 can (20 oz) pineapple chunks, drained(but keep the liquid)
3 Tablespoons vinegar
2 Tablespoons catsup
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 green pepper cut into 1 inch pieces
1 small onion, sliced
I added a sliced carrot too! You can add red pepper also to this along with the green for more colour. And at the end I added some whole cherry tomatoes but at the last minute.

Mix the brown sugar and cornstarch in a 10-inch skillet or a wok. Add enough water to your pineapple liquid to make 2 1/4 cups. Stir liquid into the sugar mix along with the vinegar, catsup and soy sauce. (I added the sliced carrot at this time to make sure it was cooked). Cook over a medium high heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture boils and thickens. Stir in the pineapple, green pepper and onion, reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes. I didn't cover mine.

Add in the cooked pork and heat through....

And right before dishing up add the cherry tomatoes.

Serve on a bed of hot cooked rice and since I can't get crunchy chowmein noodles here I use Cashew nuts on top. Enjoy!!!!


I have been bitten by the gardening bug, but it is still too early to get out and plant anything here... So I decided to start some sprouts. Many years ago, I read in a magazine or book somewhere about sprouting lentils. All you do is wash them really well and place in a jar with a bit of cheese cloth over the opening and a rubber band. Rinse them daily and place in a dark place like the kitchen cubboard. And in a week or two you will have sprouts. That is all there is to it. The amount you have in your jar would depend on the jar size. I would say maybe a tablespoon or so to a pint jar. Just remember to keep them well rinsed everyday. I also lay my jar on it's side that way they are more distributed in the jar. They have a slight musty taste to them and are nice on sandwiches with cream cheese, grated carrot and beetroot. I also tried sprouting some mung beans in another jar at the same time and used those in a stir fry, but unfortuneately that photo is now in nowhere land.

Mein Deutsch Rezepte/My German Recipe
I found another recipe in one of my German cooking magazines that I wanted to give a go... And when I did it didn't look anything like the picture when I finished. Their's looks like a lovely cross between a lasagne and a moussaka and comes out in nice little layered squares. Well mine ended up rather soupy. So maybe I created a lovely Lasagne and Moussaka soup!!! The Aubergine/eggplant was a bit on the tough side too. So not sure if salting it was a good idea or not. Or maybe I should have sauteed it before putting it in the dish. The courgettes on the other hand were yummy, and maybe that is where the liquid came from. Anyway here is the recipe in German/Deutsch first and then what I did via Brian and I's translations of the recipe.

Würziger Auberginen-Zucchini-Auflauf
Zutaten für 6 Personen:
750 g Auberginen
500 g. Zucchini
Salz, schwarzer Pfeffer
2 mittlegroße zwiebeln
1 Knoblauchzehe
500 g. gemischtes Hackfleish
10 EL Olivenöl
1 Dose Tomaten (425 ml)
1 Töpfchen Oregano
2 El Paniermehl
3 Eier
500 g Kartoffeln
75 g Mehl
50 g Butter/Margarine
3/4 l Milch
100 g geriebener Parmesan-Käse
1. Auberginen und Zucchini in ca. 1/2 cm dicke Scheiben schneiden. Auberginenscheiben mit Salz bestreuen, ca. 15 Minuten ziehen lassen. Zwiebeln und Knoblauch fein hacken. 2 Esslöffel Öl in einer Pfanne erhitzen. Hackfleisch darin anbraten, Zwiebeln und Knoblauch zufügen. Tomaten in der Dose zerkleinern, ebenfalls in die Pfanne geben und kurz mitdünsten. Mit Salz und Pfeffer würzen.
2. Oreganoblätter von den Stielen zupfen und, bis auf etwas zum Garnieren, fein hacken. Mit dem Paniermehl und 1 verquirltem Ei zur Hackmasse geben.
3. Kartoffeln schälen und in scheiben schneiden. Auberginen abtupfen. Vorbereitetes Gemüse und Kartoffelscheiben portionsweise in 8 Esslöffel Öl goldbraun braten. Mehl in heißem Fett anschwitzen, mit Milch ablöschen und aufkochen. 2 Eier und Käse verquirlen. Mit etwas Soße verrühren und in die Soße rühren (nicht mehr kochen!) Anschließend die Soße mit Salz und Pfeffer abschmecken.
4. Kartoffeln schuppenförmig in eine gefettete, ofenfeste Auflauf-form (ca. 30 cm Länge) schichten. Mit 1/3 Soße bedecken. Hackmasse darauf verteilen. Zucchini und Auberginen im Wechsel schuppenförmig darauf legen. Übrige Soße daruber verteilen. Im vorge-heizten Ofen bei 175° C (Umluft 150 °C) ca. 45 Minuten backen. Auflauf mit restlichem Oregano bestreuen und servieren.

Okay now for my version that like I said turned into a soup. But a very tasty soup it was!!!
Recipe is for 6 people.
750 g aubergine/eggplant
500 g. courgettes/zucchini
salt and black pepper
2 medium sized onions
1 garlic clove
500 g. mince/hamburger
10 Tablespoons olive oil
1 can tomatoes (425 ml)
Oregano (fresh preferably but dry will do)
2 Tablespoons Breadcrumbs
3 eggs
500 g potatoes
75 g Flour
50 g Butter/Margarine
3/4 l milk
100 g grated Parmesan cheese

I started out with washing and slicing the Aubergine/eggplant and the courgettes/zucchini into rounds and placing in a collander and sprinkling on some salt. This was supposed to take out the moisture.

Next I browned the mince/hamburger in some oil along with the onion and garlic clove. I then drained the meat mixture and added the tomatoes. Now whether I should have used tomato paste rather than chopped tomatoes, might be part of the problem. Cooked until a bit of the moisture had evaporated. Then added in the bread crumbs, oregano and one egg.
Next I sliced my potatoes and put into a glass baking dish. and sprinkled on some olive oil (I didn't use 10 tablespoons as that seemed a bit extreme) and into the microwave for about 5 to 6 minutes to part cook the potatoes.
Then I made a bechamel/white sauce with butter, flour, salt, pepper, and milk. Added in the eggs once the milk was blended in and cooked on a low heat whisking all the time to keep it smooth until it thickened. Then I added in the grated cheese. (I felt the sauce was a bit bland tasting so added in a couple of tablespoons of soy sauce. This was an amazing transformation!! and I will be doing this with all future white sauces.)
Next came the layering after rinsing the aubergine and courgettes and giving them a really good squeeze to get all the moisture out (I must be a wimp!!! And this is where possibly the aubergine might have been better sauteed a bit to make it softer as it turned out rather tough the way I did it.)
With the partcooked potatoes on the bottom of the dish I next spooned on some of the white sauce, then the meat sauce next and then more white sauce and then the aubergine in the middle and the zucchini around the egde and finally the rest of the white sauce and a sprinkling of oregano and parmesan cheese.

Into the oven to bake.... and here is where I think there was another problem. It didn't cook at that temperature stated in the recipe above.....170 C /150 C fan..... So for an added 15 minutes I cranked up the oven temperture to 200 C and it finally started to brown. So possibly I would cook this at 180 or 190 next time. Might help again with the moisture.
It wasy rather yummy in flavour, but like I said a bit on the soupy side. So this recipe will need a bit more fine tuning.