Saturday, June 19, 2010

Good luck and kind wishes for Australia!

I don't usually enjoy watching sport on TV  but, I do love the world cup!!! I look forward to it every time, it is such fun to see the best part of the world enthusiastic about the same thing - this might work better to unite us than any religion ever could!
I love how Mexico can beat a country like France, it is such a great result, it is so exciting to see!
I am hoping Australia (the footballroos) I mean the "Socceroos" can make it through tonight...and well beyond this group - best of luck to them!!! I would love to see them do it - or hear about it the next morming!
Our fingers are crossed.
Now to get nice and comfy on the couch and definitely NOT close my eyes! xxx........zzzzzzz

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Make your own (butt kicking) Delicious Panir Cheese

Forgive me but I am letting the food freak inside run rampant tonight, I get a bit over enthusiastic about these things!
The first time I made this cheese I was hooked - it amazed me how easy it was to make and how yummy it was! Once you have your few ingredients and utensils organised it is really as quick as waiting for the milk to come to the boil! I am hoping that I inspire some of you make some, or at least this post makes your tummy rumble.
Panir is a fantastic thing to make at home, its is firmish fresh Cheese and has a lovely creamy flavour - it carries stronger flavours through a meal very well. The only ingredients used are milk and yoghurt so it is suitable for most vegetarians too. It is used a lot in Indian curries and also sweets, Kurma Dasa uses it in a lot of recipes and I have based my description/method on his great advice. It is very easy and quick to make, healthy and delicious. You can fry in cubes and mix through a saffron rice with some nuts and fruit or it is a lovely addition when crumbled in a beautiful salad. You can also use it in more contemporary ways to, fried (like haloumi cheese) and served with a olive oil, balsamic vinegar or a caper and lime combination, even a maple syrup...my kids go nuts for this!!!

The ingredients;
4 litres of full fat organic milk (no point going for the low fat as you will get less cheese)
3-4 cups of Greek (full fat) yoghurt

Equipment;
You don't need much here but read the specifics - it will make the process easier. (I am trying to encourage you to do as I say...not as I do...I am crap at reading through a pattern/recipe!!!)
a very large saucepan - the idea is to have the liquid level not fuller than 2/3 -when the milk comes to the boil it froths up very quick and could spill over if you are not careful.
a damp clean large doubled over piece of cheesecloth placed in -
a colander I use my IKEA pasta cooker with the drainer insert
a sieve to scoop out the curds
a heavy weight to press the cheese while draining - I use a large mortar
wooden spoon w long handle
Cooking Equipment
Just before you start - put a 1/4 cup of water in the bottom of saucepan and bring to the boil - then add 4 ltrs of milk. The boiling water will help the milk not catch on the bottom of pot. (hint c/o Kurma)
Bring the milk to a boil over medium high heat - this is the hardest part of the process, stir often to prevent it  sticking. The pot has to be large, because the moment the milk comes to a boil, it will rise quickly and, with a small pot, the milk might  froth over the top. Bring the milk to a full boil then, reduce heat to low, and before the foam subsides, spoon in the yogurt.
Move your spoon through very gently in one direction and then remove from heat. You are waiting to see the yellow clearish whey separate from the white curds. If this does not happen in around 1 minute, heat again momentarily and, if necessary, add a little more yoguhrt.
curds and whey
As soon as the cheese has formed, remove the pan from the heat, cover it and set it aside for 10 minutes. If you want a very soft cheese, gently pour in 1 or 2 cups of hot water. When the cheese has settled under the surface of the whey, it is ready to drain. Now comes the fun bit - using a sieve, gently scoop out the curds and place into the cheese cloth that is draped fully over the colander.
scooping out the curd
Keep the whey for cooking or if storing the cheese.

panir cheese drained ready for hanging or a weight
When the curds are in the cloth, gather the top of cloth and twist to leave in your colander. Place a flat plate on top and then a heavy weight on top. After 20 - 30 minutes unwrap the cheese and use as directed, or wrap in paper-towel-lined plastic wrap, zip-lock bags or plastic containers with covering of whey and refrigerate for up to 4 days.

weighted panir cheese
After the pressing of 20-30 minutes the Panir is ready to go.
Panir cheese fried
To cut into pieces to fry
Mixing panir cheese with nuts fruit and spices ready to make Koftas
Mix up panir with fruit nuts and spices to make koftas
Deep frying Koftas
Deep frying Koftas almost ready to add to the lightly spiced tomatoe sauce
Lightly spiced Tomatoe sauce
I hope this makes you Hungry!
Have you got a recipe you would like to share, I would love to hear it?
Michele x
Cooking with Kurma
Beautiful cooking inspiration for rice dish w panir cheese from Great Vegetarian Dishes - Kurma Dasa

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Eight answers

I am joining in with Kate's Eight answers...a little late but as they say in the classics "better get in now or forget it"! Have you been over to Foxes lane lately, there is some inspirational up cycling going on and I am so excited about what Kate and Bren at Daylesford organics have created.
How fantastic to have Joel Salatin (polyface farm) come and visit, and to have Maggie Beer and Stephanie Alexander rock into the market...what a buzz!
Pop over to see what other people answered here.

1. Favourite meal to eat?                                                                                                                                                                       A bowl of tarka dhal, yellow rice,a spinach curry, riata and papadams is hard to beat here - or if I am feeling decadent - Mali kofta - deep fried koftas made from panir cheese mixed with things like almonds, coriander, green chili, sultanas served swimming in a lightly spiced creamy tomato sauce w yellow rice and papadams!!! I cook to eat well, we don't spend much on going out...sadly we can not justify this, so when I see something delicious on TV, in a cook book or on a menu and, I feel driven to make it...or attempt to make it!
Yep, I am a bit of a food nut…if I have the time, I love to cook up a storm. I should be 2,039 kg!

2. Do you have a quirky eccentricity?

I have an off beat/dark sence of humor and a geographical tongue.

3. My middle name

me Jayne (my husband's middle name is 'Tarsan')

4. I am passionate about

I am passionate about Food and feeding my family foods that are not processed, not packaged, that are local when possible, that are diverse in tastes and that encourage an adventurous, even multi cultural outlook.
I call it real food, for me it is food that has had care and respect in every process – tilling, growing, tending, feeding, harvesting, storing, transporting and selling. I hate supermarkets (as they are today) - they encourage our society's dangerous disconnection to our food and to the planet Earth. I am conscious these days of the terrible farming practices, lack of social/environmental care taken and the ridiculous costs to ship something that is not in season around the globe! I say it again...I hate supermarkets!

5. Thongs or Birkenstocks?

Thongs or boots – no heals please! Being a tallish lanky girl I don’t need the extra height - I like worker/kicker boots teamed with a pretty op shop dress.

6. Who was I before I had kids?

Looking from this vantage point and being blunt - I have to say I was a little self obsessed and had no real direction. I was a hairdresser in a previous life!? Then a picture framer for years and while I loved the creativity of the work I worried that it was hardly a sustainable industry that I could throw my soul into!

7. Have I ever been arrested?

No, I must say I am little disappointed too!!! I should have been more involved in my younger years!

8. This weekend I will I will be
I will be working but, happily! I am still finding it great fun and the money helps too, so this is all good!
I work at a gourmet food shop that sells, beautiful ingredients, condiments and sauces, we are also an exceptional quality butcher and Fromagerie with world class cheese. We also stock organic/local fruit and veggies and artesian breads.
I am also hoping to catch up with some friends, to do something fun with my kids and finish off a sewing project (one of many)!

Thanks for popping in!
Michele x

Mali Kofta recipe here also
Home made panir cheese recipe and step by step photos here soon!!!
Michele - again xx

Tarka Dahl and Yellow rice

Tarka Dahl is one of our stock standard meals, it has been for one that we make in huge batches, have often and freeze many containers of. It is really healthy and so easy to make not to forget nice and cheap.
We usually serve with a 'yellow rice' and add a dry spinach curry, or maybe a meat curry and spoonfuls of Greek yogurt (or make a fennel seed and spinach Rita)
It is always served with heaps of pappadams in our house.

Tarka Dhal
(Red Lentils with spicy topping)
Dhal
225g Red split lentils
1 small Onion
50g Ghee or Cooking Oil
1 clove Garlic
1 tsp Ground Turmeric
1 Green Chili (optional)
600ml water (I usually guesstimate and just cover)
1 tsp Salt
Rinse lentils several times, drain and put aside. Finely chop onion, heat ghee or oil and fry onion gently till soft. Add ½ chopped garlic cloves add and fry this for a couple of minutes. Time to stir in the turmeric, (my favorite part, smells heavenly) add the lentils. Turn heat down, stir for a minute and make sure lentils are coated with ghee/oil. Throw in the green chili stir and add water.
You can now turn heat up, add salt and bring to the boil, then simmer until nice and mushy. Serve on Basmati rice.
Tarka
1 tbls Sesame Seed Oil
1 tsp Cumin Seeds
1 clove Garlic – sliced thin
In a little pan heat sesame oil until it is smoking, add garlic and cumin seeds and fry very quickly, you want the garlic to color deep brown! Remove from heat and pour over your served dhal. This recipe comes from "the Encylopedia of Indian Cooking" by Khalid Aziz
Best Papadams, cute packets
My kids love this and it usually sparks loads of 'very good' impersonations of Neil from the Young Ones! "Oh WOW! This is really really hot man, I think I just have to - whooa! - splat!!! Just once- - - - just once I'd like to keep the lentils off the floor!

Yellow Rice
(This is an absorption recipe) 
1 cup Basmati rice
2 cups water
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 tbls ghee or oil (I use olive oil)
You are meant to wash and drain the uncooked rice (you should but we don't always do this)
Get water boiling and add salt and turmeric
Heat oil/ghee and fry uncooked rice for 1 min
Add boiling water mix, bring to boil, reduce heat to simmer gentle and cover. Cook for 15 - 20 mins
This recipe is based on recipe from Cooking with Kurma (Kurma Dasa - The Vegetarian Legend)
Separate the rice with a fork, it should be light and fluffy and ready to serve! Every stove top is a little different and the time might need a little quirking but do preserve, it is so much nicer than boiled and drained rice!
Michele x

P.S. Easy - Step by step photo by photo directions/recipe for making your own home made panir cheese - I will be posting soon!!!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Birthday Celebrations for Elsie and Fiann with a Sugar rush on top!

Happy 96th Birthday Nan (Elsie) We love you dearly!!!
Elsie is 96!!!
We have been celebrating Fiann's birthday for well over a week now, we started with a combined family do for my nan, who just turned 96! She was going to miss Fi's birthday party so we had a celebration for both of them together a week ago. 
Then this week we had his party at a lovely local bakery, everyone got to decorate some biscuits with 'tons' of icing sugar in every color of the rainbow and truck loads of lollies and sprinkles!
It was great fun and there were sticky fingers everywhere! We are only just calming down after the 'sugar rush'...we do not have much sugary food normally and it was pretty obvious the effect that too many lollies has on kids, there has been some pretty tense times around here. My two kids have been melting down at the drop of a hat! 
Apron and chefs hat

Fiann's Birthday cake
I hope you are all well, I am looking forward to catch up on what everyone else has been up to!
Michele x