Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Rouladen-In the Pressure cooker

I had intended to make rouladen for the last six months and about a month ago finally did get around to it.  I was not happy with the way it turned out so I wanted to give it another try.  In my first attempt, I'd cooked it on the stove. simmering the rouladen in broth for about an hour.  It did not yield the tender result I expected so I was going to try the next batch in the oven.  Since I was running short of time, I opted to do the second batch in the pressure cooker instead and was very happy with the result.  From what I found on the internet, filling them with mustard, pickles, onion and bacon is the most common although you may make other filling choices to match your preferences.  My son was not fond on the pickle in his, so I made his with carrot sticks instead.  I chose to throw in carrots and potatoes into the pressure cooker along with the rouladen to finish up the meal...although I think spaetzel and red cabbage would be more traditional.....But that I'll keep for another time:)  

I purchased precut rouladen meat all ready to go.  I did pound the meat with a mallet a tiny bit as well.


6 slices of beef cut less than 1/4 inch thick each about 6 X 8 inches
Mustard,  about 1 tbsp per slice
dill pickles cut lengthwise in quarters...about 1 small pickle per roll
Onion, cut in thin half round slices...about tbsp per roll
Bacon, one strip per roll

Additional vegetables to cook in pot as you wish or simply to flavour the gravy
Beef stock...1 1/2 - 2 cups as needed
1 tbsp tomato paste
1-2 cloves minced garlic, optional
1/4 cup beer, sherry or wine to deglaze the pot
salt and pepper to season
2- 4 tbsp flour mixed in cold water to thicken the gravy

To assemble, lay out your meat slice and spread it with mustard keeping away from the edges.  Lay down bacon slice (I cut each slice in half and laid the two halves beside each other).  Place pickle slices ( about one whole small pickle per roll) and onion slices on top of the bacon and roll up each rouladen and secure with toothpicks.  Brown each roll in pressure cooker in a tbsp or so of oil and brown on all sides. Set aside and repeat until all are browned. 

Brown any vegetables you might want to add like carrots, onions, mushrooms etc.  Add minced garlic and tsp dried thyme if you'd like at this point and stir briefly being careful not to burn.  Degalze pan with a splash of sherry or beer or wine.  Add in 1 1/2 cups beef stock, 1 tbsp tomato paste and stir.  Add in any potatoes if you'd like them at this point as well as any other vegetables.  Place browned meat rolls on top.  You will want the broth level partially cover the meat, so you may add additional broth is needed.  Put on the lid and bring to high pressure.  Cook at 15 lb pressure for 20 minutes and depressurize naturally.  Open lid and remove rolls carefully to a side plate and tent with foil.  Thicken broth with flour and water and simmer to cook out the starch taste of the flour for a few minutes.  Serve rouladen with gravy and your choice of starch and vegetables.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Chocolate Gingerbread Cake

So...I bought this cute honeycomb cake pan and have been looking for a reason to use it.  I needed to find a dense cake give the pan a try and decided to try the Nigella recipe for Chocolate Gingerbread.  The cake is wonderful and I highly recommend it!  There is a frosting to go with it which I did not bother with as DH loves to pour cream on cake anyway.  It is a little too soft a cake for the pan and I had a tough time getting it out of the pan which is why I have no good whole cake photo.  I will continue to look for the right cake recipe to try the pan again:).....But if you like the sound of Chocolate Gingerbread give this a go.  This is an excellent cake for autumn and winter.  Nigella comments that this cake is not aimed at children.....but I don't see a problem with it at all.  I even bumped up the spicey by the cayenne addition as suggested by....A Cat in the Kitchen.

Chocolate Gingerbread Cake
 175g butter (that's 1 1/2 sticks)
125 g brown sugar (or 1 cup + 2 Tbsp)
2 Tbsp white sugar
200 g golden syrup (or 3/4 cup)
200 g molasses (or 3/4 cup)
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper ( an optional addition suggested by another blogger)
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
2 Tbsp warm water
2 eggs
250ml milk (that's 1 cup)
275 g flour (or 2 cups)
40 g cocoa powder (or 1/3 cup)
175g chocolate chips

Preheat oven for 340 F.  Prepare a 9 inch square pan but greasing and lining with parchment.  Melt butter, sugars, syrup, molasses and spices in a large pot on the stove over medium low heat.  Dissolve baking soda in water in a small dish and set aside.  Combine flour and sift the cocoa together in a separate bowl and set aside.  Remove the melted butter mixture from the heat and cool a bit so it is not too hot.  Whisk into the butter mixture....the baking soda and water and 2 lightly beaten eggs.  Mix the flour and cocoa into the butter mixture.  Fold in the chocolate chips and pour batter into prepared pan.  Bake about 45 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Albert Squares

Albert Squares have been on my to do list for a long time.  I'm glad I finally gave theses a try.  The currants in them are really nice and next time I will try it with the optional lemon zest on top as I think that would be a really nice addition.  I read many comments that the cake was dry so I was very cautious and checked it early to make sure I got it out of the oven as soon as a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake cake out clean.  It is a drier crumb than some, so you will want to remove it from the oven as soon as it is done. I got two days out of it before I would consider the cake to be dry.  I have tinted the icing pink...a little more than intended as the food colouring spilled out unexpectedly.  Although not traditional...I thought it was pretty. This was a simple and sweet slice...really nice with a cup of tea. 

I've used the recipe from Edmonds Cookery Book which is outlined below if you'd like to give it a try.

Albert Squares

125g butter (about 1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp)
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp golden syrup (or substitute with corn syrup)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup currants
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1/2 cup milk

Cream the softened butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in eggs one at a time, then beat in syrup and vanilla.  Fold in the currants. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a separate bowl.  Fold the sifted ingredient into the creamed mixture alternately with the milk.  Spread into a greased 20cmX 30 cm baking pan.  Bake at 350F for 30 minutes.  Timing will depend on your oven so start checking with a toothpick after 20 minutes...continuing to bake until the inserted toothpick comes out clean..  Remove pan to rack to cool cake completely before icing.

1 1/2 cups icing sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
enough water to make a spreadable icing
3 Tbsp coconut
lemon rind, finely grated (optional)

Mix icing sugar with vanilla and enough water to make a spreadable icing.  Ice the cooled cake and sprinkle with coconut and with optional lemon zest if desired.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Aussie Meat Pies

From the kindness of my husband volunteering me to make some meat pies for a co worker.....we gave these a try....And we really liked them.  We used the rough puff pastry tutorial from Martha Stewart which was so fast and easy...I highly recommend it.  Below is the recipe for the filling which we will definitely be making again.
Just in case you'd like to try....This is the recipe for the minced beef filling......
Mince Beef Pie Filling
2 Tbsp oil
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 lb ground beef
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp ketchup
2 Tbps worchestershire sauce
2 Tbsp soy Sauce
1 Tbsp flour
1 1/2 cup chicken stock
3/4 tsp ground black pepper
salt to taste
Fry onion and carrot in oil until onion is translucent.  Add in beef and continue to cook over medium heat until browned and no longer pink.  Add garlic and fry 1-2 minutes, then stir in flour and fry 1 minute.  Add all remaining ingredients and simmer until liquid is cooked down and the mixture is thickened, but still moist....about 30 minutes.  Turn off heat and let cool before putting in crust.  Roll crust to fit 3 - 4 small pie tins (depending on size) and divide filling equally between them.  Top with another circle of pastry and slit top and  brush with egg wash.  Bake on heated baking stone on bottom shelf of oven at 375F for 30-40 minutes or until crust is golden and filling is heated through.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Apple Cake...Finally

I received this recipe over 5 years and just never got around to it.  Finally... I did, and now I remember why I asked for the recipe.  It is a really nice snack cake....especially this time of year when all the apples are falling from the trees.  This makes a nice high cake in the 9X9 inch pan and it is a little more dense a snack cake.  I was out of pecans at the time, which worked out well for my husband...who hates nuts in baking.  They make a nice addition with the I would recommend having it with the pecans if you have no nut issues.
Below is the recipe as it was given to me.  I think it may originally have come from a Company's Coming cookbook.  If you are looking for a nice Apple Spice  cake...I recommend this one highly.  I used the Cardamom rather than the nutmeg.....because I love Cardamom.....but I am sure Nutmeg would also be good:)

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

I have had pineapple upside down cake on my to do list for a few months now.  When a visiting coworker was kind enough to share her Granny's recipe....I just had to give it a try.  It was a quick fix up and I was very happy with the way it turned out.  I will be sure to make it on my next visit to the Hospice if they have the pineapple rings.  I highly recommend this recipe.  Keep in mind that a standard tin of pineapple contains 8 short of what is required for the 9 inch square pan that I used:(  My coworker recommends serving with whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream.....but I can tell you we had no trouble eating it plain along with a cup of tea!

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

2 cups flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

1 cup milk

1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 cup brown sugar
9 pineapple rings
marachino cherries

Preheat oven to 350F.  Put second 1/2 cup of butter or margarine into a 9 inch square pan and place in oven to melt for a few minutes.  Once melted, remove from oven and add in 1 cup brown sugar and stir to dissolve the sugar. Set drained pineapple slices and cherries on top of the butter sugar mixture. Set aside.

Mix flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and set aside.  Measure out 1 cup of milk and set aside.  Cream 1/2 cup softened butter with 1 1/4 cup sugar.  Beat in eggs one at a time, then beat in vanilla.  Add flour and milk into creamed mixture alternatively beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Pour this batter over the pineapple and cherry lined pan and smooth the surface.  Bake at 350F 45-55 minutes until center of cake is set.  Remove from oven.  Let sit 15 minutes.  The cooling time is important!  Too little and the caramel made from the melted butter and brown sugar will not be set up enough, and to much time and the fruit might stick to the pan.  Loosen around all sides with a knife and tip pan upside down onto a serving platter. 

Monday, April 27, 2015

Focaccia... A Baker's Challenge

For the month of April Rachael of pizzarossa and Sawsan of Chef in Disguise took us on a trip to Italy. They challenged us to try our hands at making focaccia from scratch.

While Jim and I have been low carbing for a while now.....the opportunity to make a small batch of focaccia for Ike was very welcome.  I took the recipe from Allrecipes for Focaccia bread and scaled it down to 1/2 size.  At this size it was more than ample for the three of us.  Yes we did try some, and it was very good.  The recipe was adjusted only slightly based on what we had on hand.  I can't wait to  make some this summer in my parent's outdoor pizza oven:)  There is so much variety for toppings and seasonings to add, but this very simple version was perfect as is...very light after the second rising, and easy enough for my son to make:)

Focaccia (adapted from All

1 1/3 cup flour plus 1 Tbsp
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
2 tsp dry active yeast
1/2 tsp each garlic, oregano , thyme
1/4 tsp basil
pinch black pepper
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp warm water

1/2 cup grated asiago cheese
olive oil to drizzle on top

Work first 9 ingredients into a dough using a stand mixer, bread machine on dough mode or by hand.  Let sit to rise until double in size after rolling in an oiled bowl so the dough does not dry out.  Punch down the dough and pat out onto a greased cookie sheet into a 1/2 inch thick rectangle.  Poke dimples into the dough and sprinkle with cheese and any other desired toppings.  Let sit to rise for a further 20 minutes.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Bake in preheated 450F oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown. 

Friday, February 20, 2015

Quick Curried Beef- In the pressure cooker

I really liked this recipe for a quick curried beef  it was meant to be a recipe for a hand pie filling, and I can no longer find the source.....but it worked very well to serve on rice as well.  Quick and made with what was on hand.

Curried Beef

2 lbs stewing beef cut in 1 inch cubes
2 cups water
2 Tbsp oil
1 1/2 Tbsp beef soup base powder
1 1/2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp basil
1 1/2 tsp parsley
1 1/2 tsp oregano
1 1/2 tsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp Vindaloo curry paste
2 tsp soy sauce

1 cup mixed vegetables (I used frozen peas and fresh carrots)

2 Tbsp corn starch and water to thicken

Cut meat into 1 inch cubes and dry well with paper towel.  Season meat with salt and pepper and brown in batches in the oil over medium high heat.  Remove browned meat to a plate while doing the remaining batches and adding extra oil if needed.  Once all meat is browned, return it to the pot with all remaining seasonings. and a few Tbsp of the water.  Stir to scrape up any browned bits off the bottom.  Add in remaining water so that you have 2 cup in total added.  Put on the lid to your pressure cooker and bring up to 15 lb pressure over a high heat setting (around 8 on my stove)....or high setting.  Once the pressure button has indicated you are up to pressure, and there is a steady stream of steam escaping the pot...turn down the heat on the stove to medium (enough so that steam continues to stream out steadily, but not forcefully.  Begin timing for 20 minutes.  At the end of 20 minutes remove pot from element and let the pot depressurize naturally.  If you are in a rush, you can depressurize quickly.  Open the pot, return to heat and bring to simmer.  Adjust heat to keep at a simmer and add in your vegetables.  Cook until vegetables are tender, stirring periodically.  Once veggies are ready, mix cornstarch with cold water and stir into the pot to thicken.  You can add only half of the corn starch mixture and see if it is may not need it all...or you may want to add more depending on the thickness you like.