Saturday, August 2, 2008

Quick & Easy Brown Bread

Made with rapid rise dried yeast, this simple one-rise whole wheat bread is much easier to make than a conventional wholemeal loaf. Recipe makes 1 loaf.


2 sachets rapid rise dried yeast
2 cups strong wholemeal flour
2 cups strong all-purpose (plain) flour
1 teaspoon salt
5 fl oz (150 ml) lukewarm milk
Extra milk, to glaze


1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Grease a 2 pound (1 kg) loaf tin.
2. Sift together the yeast, flours and salt into a large mixing bowl. Add the wholemeal husks in the sieve to the bowl. Add the milk and sufficient lukewarm water to mix to a soft dough.
3. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5-10 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Roll and shape the dough and put into the tin.
4. Cover with oiled clear plastic wrap and leave to rise in a warm place for 30-40 minutes, or until doubled in size.
5. Uncover and brush the top of the loaf with milk. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Bake for a further 20-25 minutes, or until well risen and brown. The loaf should sound hollow when tapped on the base. Turn the loaf out onto a wire rack to cool.

Tip: Look for rapid rise dried yeast, sold in sachets, in most supermarkets. It cuts down on the rising time needed for yeast mixtures by about 50 per cent. It also makes proving (a second rising) unnecessary.

Indian Beef Curry

Indian curries are dry curries, cooked with little liquid. Marinate beef steak overnight for best results. Onion, garlic, ginger and chili form the base of authentic Indian curries and are pounded together. Recipe serves 4.


2 pound (1 kg) chuck or skirt steak
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 tablespoon malt vinegar
2 medium onions, grated
4 teaspoons freshly crushed garlic
2 teaspoons fresh ginger (from jar)
1 teaspoon chili powder
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
Fried onion rings for garnish


1. Cut meat into 1 inch (2.5 cm) cubes, place in a bowl with soy sauce, turmeric, vinegar, stir to mix. Cover and marinate at room temperature 4 hours, or overnight in refrigerator.
2. Grate onion on fine grater over a bowl to catch juices. Add garlic, ginger and chili.
3. Heat oil in a pan, add onion mixture and fry until brown, stirring constantly. Add beef and stir to brown all over. Add bay leaves, cinnamon stick and enough water to half cover beef. Cover and simmer over low heat for 45 minutes or until meat is tender. Add a little water during cooking if necessary.
4. Adjust seasoning and place in a dish. Garnish with fried onion rings, serve with boiled rice or coconut rice.

Cucumbers with Mushrooms

Cucumbers are available all year so here's a creamy and tasty hot dip or appetizer you can enjoy in Winter. Recipe serves 4.


2 pound (1 kg) green cucumbers
2 ounces (50 g) bacon, cut into cubes
1 pound (250 g) mushrooms, sliced
4 teaspoons butter
1 onion, sliced
Salt and pepper
2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
1 teaspoon dried marjoram leaves


1. Peel cucumbers, halve lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Cut into slices.
2. Heat butter in a fry pan and add bacon. Add onions and cook until translucent.
3. Add cucumbers and mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for 10 minutes with pan covered.
4. Add parsley and marjoram and cook for another 5 minutes. If there is too much liquid, cook uncovered for the last 5 minutes - otherwise leave covered.
5. Serve with crackers or pita bread.

Individual Cheese Quiches

Filled with a mixture of peppers, leeks, sun-dried tomatoes and Cheddar cheese, these easy mini quiches are best served with a crisp green salad and warm crusty bread and make a delicious vegetarian meal. Recipe makes 4 quiches.


2 sheets frozen, ready-rolled short crust pastry, thawed
1/2 small red pepper (capsicum)
8 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 cup thinly sliced leek
2 eggs
1/2 cup cream
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
Black pepper
4 sun-dried tomato halves in coil, well drained and cut into strips
2 ounces (50 g) Cheddar cheese, grated


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C) and heat a baking tray.
2. Place the sheets of pastry on a lightly floured surface. Cut each sheet in half diagonally to make 4 triangles. Line four 4 inch (10 cm) individual fluted flan tins with pastry, pressing firmly from centers to edges. Trim off excess pastry by rolling over with a rolling pin or trim off with a sharp knife. Prick bases. Line each pastry case with greaseproof paper and a layer of baking beans. Stand the tins on the hot baking tray and bake 'blind' for 10 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, make the filling. Remove the seeds from the pepper. Place, skin-upwards, under a hot grill for 5 minutes, or until the skin is charred. Enclose the pepper in a clean, food storage bag for 5 minutes, then remove and peel off the skin. Cut in half lengthwise, then slice across into thin strips.
4. Heat the oil in a small frying pan over a medium heat. Add the leek and cook for 4 minutes, stirring frequently. In a bowl, beat together the eggs, cream, oregano and pepper to taste.
5. Remove the paper and beans from the pastry cases. Return them to the oven for 5 minutes, or until the bases are light golden. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
6. Spoon the pepper, leek and sun-dried tomatoes evenly into the pastry cases. Sprinkle the cheese on top. Carefully spoon or pour over the egg and cream mixture. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the filling is set and golden. Serve warm with salad and crusty bread.

Tip: Standing the flan tins on a preheated baking tray helps cook the bases of the pastry cases. If you do not have individual flan tins, use an 8 inch (20 cm) flan tin.