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Saturday, December 22, 2007

Cambria's Dilly Bread

Since Cambria hasn't signed up here (gee, you'd think she has 2 kids and a baby on the way ;)), and her bread is awesome, I figured I'd post the recipe. Besides, it keeps the C-theme of all posts so far.

The original recipe is here: . The following is what I made while trying to ratchet down the dose to something more approriate for my two-person household. All cups are American cups that hold 240 ml of liquid. I will convert to metric later when I have the time.


3 cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoon dill weed
1 tablespoon fresh minced onion
1/4 cup butter
1 egg
3/4 cup ricotta cheese
3/4 cup water*
1 teaspoon dry yeast

* Because the amount of liquid needed may vary depending on the quality of flour and size of eggs, take that measurement as a guideline. 3/4 cup was fine for me to form an elastic ball of dough suitable for a bread but if you need a few tablespoons more or less water, by all means adjust the quantity, especially if you are using a more watery type of cheese.


For instructions on how to make it by hand, check Cambria's recipe. I used a bread machine for making the dough and just added everything according to the instructions of the machine.

If you use a bread machine, it proofs the dough, so you only need to take it out and bake it. Bake at 375 F (190 C) for about 15 min. Let it cool down in pan for 10 min and remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

This is a very delicious bread, and the texture is very rich. I've gotten similar texture in breads with 3+ eggs and at least a cup of milk, and this version is obviously easier :). You can taste some of the sweetness of the ricotta in mine but it's not strong; that is definitely a savory bread. I think you would be able to eliminate the sweetness by actually following the recipe, which calls for cottage cheese (I had some ricotta that was close to its expiration date).

I've tagged it as 'easy' because I used a bread machine, but it might be medium difficulty if you make it by hand.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Cora's Orange Corncake

I was going to call this a cornbread when I made the recipe, but since it's a little more on the sweet side, I call it a corncake. It has a moist, dense texture like a pound cake. It's really quick and easy to make.

It's also great with milk poured over it for breakfast. :-)


1 cup Corn meal
2 cups White flour
1 tablespoon Baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt
3/4 cup Sugar
Zest of an Orange
3/4 cup Melted butter
4 Eggs
1 cup Milk
2 teaspoon Vanilla

Combine cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a large bowl. Combine eggs, milk, vanilla, and orange zest in a 4 cup Pyrex measuring cup or a medium sized bowl. Stirring constantly and quickly, pour the butter into the liquid ingredients. Stir liquid ingredients into dry ingredients just until mixed. Pour into a well-greased 9x13x2 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until tests done with a toothpick. If desired, two 8” pans may be used.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Chocolate Chip Muffins

'Tis the season of sugar-induced coma, so here is a recipe for chocolate chip muffins. I got the recipe from here, and made some adjustments. A few notes: those are American-style, not English muffins. Cups are US standard cups that hold 240 ml of liquid. This recipe makes 12. You will need one 12-cup (or 2 6-cup ones) regular muffin pan, for which the cups measure about 3 inches/7.5 cm in diameter. Metric conversion courtesy of


2 cups (250 g) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (100 g) sugar
1 tablespoon (10 g) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 cup (240 ml) milk
1/3 cup (80 ml) vegetable oil
3/4 cup (150 g) miniature semisweet chocolate chips


The main principle of making muffin batter is to mix the wet and the dry ingredients separately, and combine them in the end, mixing with a wooden spoon (no mixer!) just so all the dry ingredients get moistened. Proper muffin batter may be lumpy, but that's OK. Overmixing creates a dense heavy texture, and that is not the purpose here.

In a large bowl sift together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In a small bowl, beat egg, milk and oil. Stir into dry ingredients until dry ingredients are moistened. Fold in chocolate chips.

Grease muffin cups, or line them with paper cups. Fill them about 3/4 full. Bake at 375 F (190 C) for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan for 5 minutes and remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Chilli con Carne

Chilli con Carne is easy, cheap and filling. The best thing about it is, that, as long as you have some mince and a jar of chilli sauce, you can knock a batch out from almost any leftovers you have knocking about the kitchen.

There are many ways to make chilli; this is just one of them, and the one I've personally found to be the most delicious. I customized it after watching a friend make it and then forgetting most of the ingredients, so it may be a little unorthodox (I always get told off for not buying a separate tin of kidney beans or for draining the bean juice from the beans). Most of the ingredients are exchangeable according to taste; in face, probably the only one completely necessary is the chilli sauce, and there are many varieties of that.

One last thing: I am English, and, contrary to popular belief, we don't stoically follow the metric system; the measurement systems used as usually a mixture of metric and imperial. So I'm sorry if the recipes get confusing, but it should be pretty easy to convert measurements.

On with the actual recipe!

Serves: 2


Minced beef, 500g

Chilli sauce, 500g (about 1 jar)
Red onion, 1 half
Baked beans in tomato sauce, 200g (about half a tin)
(student tip: I'm usually fussy and only buy brand-name beans like Heinz, but in chilli you can't really taste the beans, so don't worry about using a cheap own-brand)
Sweetcorn, 150g (one small tin)

1. Firstly, prepare the half-onion by cutting it into small chunks about 2cm long.

2. Put the beef in the frying pan and cook until it's nearly all brown

3. Add the chopped onion to the beef and fry them together until the beef is completely brown - you could probably add the onions later with the other ingredients but I just love the smell of frying onions!

4. Once cooked, pour the beef and onions into a large saucepan.

5. Open the tin of baked beans and drain out the tomato juice (I find if that if you don't, it makes the chilli too sloppy).

6. Drain the sweetcorn, if need be (i.e. if they're in water)

7. Pour the sweetcorn, baked beans and chilli sauce in the saucepan and stir all ingredients til they're mixed together.

8. Cook the mixture together over the hob on a medium heat for about ten minutes, stirring regularly to avoid it getting stuck to the bottom.

9. Finally, pour the chilli onto two plates and serve!

You can eat chilli on it's own or with rice or bread (my personal favourite is naan bread).

I'm going to make this again tomorrow so I'll try and remember to take some pictures to whet your appetites! :)

-- Natla

[ETA] I've added more exact measurements and edited the recipe a little for clarity. Picture coming soon!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Chicken Potato Patties

Basic Information on the Recipe:
I found this fabulous cook-book at the library - The Best Recipes in the World - while it's a mammoth cook-book, it looks really good. The author is a real cook, though, and expects one to have cheesecloth laying about. When I get my own home, I'll have those items around. Right now, I don't. :-D So after cutting many recipes out because I'd have to buy too many unnecessary ingredients that wouldn't be used, I found this one. While this is a North African recipe, it's an American cookbook. So the measurements are American.

I made it tonight, with a few changes. First, I couldn't get it form patties, and it was a LOT of oil anyway. The potatoes weren't cooked throughly as well. I ended up dumping all of it into a skillet with a half-cup of flour and 12 ounces of stock (chicken broth), simmered for about 30 minutes, and it worked out perfectly. Makes quite a lot of food, is incredibly filling, and fairly good for you.

Chicken Potato Patties - North Africa
These are chicken croquettes with North Africa Flavors. Leftover mashed potatoes and chicken are absolutely acceptable (and will make it far easier to mash - siri) and you can use cooked cod or other white-fleshed fish in place of chicken.

1.5 lbs potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks (or at least 2 cups of left-over mashed potatoes)
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 garlic cloves, minced. (Or be like me and add twice as much. ;-)
1 onion, finely chopped
1 egg, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley or cilantro leaves, plus more for garnish
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground turmeric
Pinch of cayenne, or to taste
black pepper
Flour, as needed
Neutral oil, like corn or grapeseed, for shallow frying

1) Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add salt. Cook the potatoes until easily pierced with a knife, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon, then add the chicken; cook until it is done, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the chicken (reserve some of the cooking water), cool it, then dice it finely.
2) Use a fork to mash the potatoes - they should remain a little chunky - in a bowl with the garlic, onion, and egg, then the chicken, parsley, cinnamon, turmeric, cayenne and salt and black pepper to taste. If the mixture seems dry, add a little of the cooking liquid; then add enough flour to enable you to shape the mixture into patties. (If you chill it first, this will be easier, but it isn't necessary)
3) Wet or flour your hands and shape the mixture into patties of any size, or simply scoop large spoonfuls of the batter into the pan, flattening them with the back of a spatula.
4) In a heavy skillet, heat about 1/2 inch of oil to 350 degrees (Fahrenheit! 176 degrees Celsius!) when the oil is ready - a pinch of flour will sizzle, and the oil will thin and start to shimmer (don't let it smoke) - slide in the chicken -potatoe patties and cook until golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Do not crowd the pan; work in batches if necessary. Drain on paper towels and serve immediately, garnished with the parsley or cilantro.

"Christmas Pudding" Chocolates

This recipe is from Australia, and uses metric measurements. An Australian tablespoon (tbsp) is equal to 20 millilitres.

These are yummy little chocolates that I've made for the last two Christmases. The recipe is flexible and I've given a couple of options here.

This recipe makes 12 chocolates.

You will need:

2 sheets of 6 chocolate moulds in the shape of little plum puddings (see picture below) – about 4cm in diameter and with a volume of 20 millilitres. Or equivalent moulds / cases.
System for keeping melted chocolate in a liquid state – I use a fondue maker.
Paintbrush suitable for chocolate making (ie one not likely to shed bristles)
Food processor
Spoon or dipping utensil for coating in chocolate


Approx 500g milk (sweet) cooking chocolate
Approx 100g dark (bitter) cooking chocolate

1 tbsp mixed peel (or an extra tbsp of the mixed dried fruit)
1 tbsp mixed dried fruit (sultanas, raisins, currants)
2 tbsp dried apricots
1 tbsp blanched almonds
2 tbsp almond meal
1 heaped tbsp glacé cherries
1 tbsp glacé pineapple or ½ tbsp glacé ginger
1½ tbsp rum (or you could use sherry or brandy according to taste)


1. Set both types of chocolate to melt so that they are ready when you need them.
2. Place all of the ingredients except the chocolate into a food processor. Blend until it forms a dough-like consistency and rolls into a ball.
3. Divide the fruit mixture into twelve pieces and roll into balls.
4. Using the paintbrush, paint the ‘sauce’ detail in each of the moulds with the dark chocolate.
5. To fill each of the moulds in turn:
      5a. Place a small spoonful of milk chocolate in the bottom of the mould
      5b. Dip the fruit mixture ball in the milk chocolate to coat it, then place it in the mould
      5c. Use a spoon to fill the remainder of the mould up to the top with milk chocolate.
6. Once all of the moulds on the sheet are filled, tap the sheet hard on the table several times to release any air bubbles
7. Place in the refrigerator to harden.

These will keep for several weeks in an airtight container. In warm weather it’s advisable to refrigerate them to avoid melting.