Tuesday, 24 April 2012

:: Oaty ANZAC Day ::

ANZAC Biscuits
:: Megann’s Kitchen ::

:: delicious ANZAC biscuits ::

I first made ANZAC biscuits for my husband while he was deployed in Iraq. I was spending a lot of time being scared out of my wits, so when I was home alone I would bake for my friends to keep my imagination from running away from me. For a biscuit that I had adored my whole life, I couldn’t believe that this was my first attempt at making them! Watching the golden buttery mixture bubble as I added the bicarbonate of soda for the first time was incredible & I realised there was more science to kitchen cooking than I realised.

I have since sent quite a few batches of these cookies to friends overseas & they have stood the test of the wartime mail system, as they would have many years ago. Every time I have an ANZAC biscuit, I reflect on fond memories of ANZAC day in the past. Remembering my Grandfather travelling from QLD to Melbourne every year & watching the parade on TV to see if I could see him or his battalion. In recent years it has been spending ANZAC day at the Harbourview Hotel overlooking the Sydney Harbour Bridge while the boys marched & having quite a few beverages from a very early hour… then continuing throughout the day!

:: a bite of goodness ::

This post of ANZAC biscuits is in remembrance of the Australian & New Zealand war heroes of the past, the fallen, & also to support the amazing men & woman who have fought/are fighting for their country at the present. There are many Australian Defence Force members who have served their country & been wounded, unable to return to normal duties. It is their silent fight that I am supporting today. There is an amazing fundraising group called Soldier On. Follow this link as they deserve your encouragement & ongoing support. This incredible organisation helps wounded warriors of our amazing country. You can easily like them on their Facebook page as well!

“Soldier On supports servicemen and women of the Australian Defence Force who have been physically or mentally wounded in the service of their country. Our vision is to have the world's best care for Australia's wounded soldiers, to help them to achieve the same hopes and dreams they had prior to their wounds.”

There are many Defence members not home with their families today or effected by war in some way, think of them this ANZAC day & show your appreciation by making a quick batch of ANZAC biscuits.

1¼ cups plain flour, sifted
1 cup rolled oats
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup white sugar
¾ cup desiccated coconut
2 tablespoons golden syrup or treacle
150g unsalted butter, chopped
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 Tbs hot water

Preheat oven to 160°C (325°F). Line 2 cookie trays with parchment paper. Place the flouroatssugars & coconut in a large bowl and stir to combine. In a small saucepan, place the golden syrup & butter, stirring over low heat until the butter has melted. Remove from heat. Mix the bicarbonate of soda with the water & add to the golden syrup mixture. It will form incredible bubbles whilst stirring, like molten lava. Pour into the dry ingredients & mix until fully combined. Roll 2-3 Tbs of mixture into balls or use a 3 Tbs spring handled ice cream scoop & place on the lined baking trays, leaving plenty of space between each one. Bake for 8 minutes. Remove from the oven & press firmly down with a flat-bottomed glass in order to produce a uniform cookie shape. Place back into the over for another 4 minutes, or until golden brown. Leave to cool on the baking tray for 10 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack using a spatula.

Makes 12+ large 7cm cookies

:: pressing into a cookie shape 
:: a baked cookie round ::

Kitchen Notes
:: If making with toddlers, be careful with the hot ingredients.
:: I could have easily used a smaller measurement & yielded more, yet smaller, biscuits. What can I say, I like big ANZACs!

:: a glass of milk & some ANZAC's ::

Health Benefits of Oats
:: Oatmeal and oat bran are significant sources of dietary fibre. One component of the soluble fibre found in oats is beta-glucans, a soluble fibre that has proven effective in lowering blood cholesterol. Oats and grains are also one of the best sources of compounds called tocotrienols. These are antioxidants, which together with tocopherols form vitamin E. The tocotrienols inhibit cholesterol synthesis and have been found to lower blood cholesterol. New research has also discovered that the antioxidants found in oats reduce cholesterol by reducing the ability of blood cells to stick to the inside of artery walls.
:: Control of blood glucose and insulin levels is essential in preventing many of the complications associated with diabetes. Oat beta-glucan slows the rise in blood glucose levels following a meal and delays its decline to pre-meal levels. This means dramatic changes in blood sugar levels are avoided.
:: Oats, contain hundreds of phytochemicals (plant chemicals). Many phytochemicals are thought to reduce a person's risk of getting cancer. Phytoestrogen compounds, called lignans, in oats have been linked to decreased risk of hormone-related diseases such as breast cancer, prostate, endometrium and ovarian cancer.
:: Oats, rich in soluble fibre, can reduce hypertension, or high blood pressure, and so reduce the need for anti-hypertensive medication.
:: Oats have a high fibre content. Fibre is necessary in keeping bowel movements regular. Oats are high in both soluble and insoluble fibre.
:: Oats have a higher concentration of well-balanced protein than other cereals. They contain a good balance of essential fatty acids, which have been linked with longevity and general good health, and also have one of the best amino acid profiles of any grain. Oats are a good source of essential vitamins such as thiamin, folic acid, biotin, pantothenic acid and vitamin E. They also contain zinc, selenium, copper, iron, manganese and magnesium. Oat beta glucan also appears to help speed up response to infection, which may result in faster healing. According to a new study, it was discovered that beta glucan can enhance the ability of certain human immune cells to navigate to the site of a bacterial infection, resulting in faster healing.

:: To find out more information on delicious oats, go to the "eat more oats" website. 
:: get your very own OXO cookie scoop from Amazon... I bought all three sizes & use them all! I used the large 3Tbs scoop for these cookies, but tend to use the medium for other cookies, meatballs, etc. The small one is great for mini ice-creams as well! Choices, choices!

:: the best ANZAC biscuit recipe from Megann's Kitchen ::

Thanks for stopping by this ANZAC day

Thursday, 12 April 2012

:: Easy Kitchen - Turbo Chef ::

Turbo Charged
:: Megann’s Kitchen ::

:: tupperware's turbo chef - an easy way to prepare ingredients ::

Soon after I had my son, Will, I decided to host a Tupperware Party in order to add to my ever-growing storage collection, but this time having baby & toddler meals in mind. I have bought much of the Tupperware Collection, but as a hostess gift, I received a Turbo Chef. Now, I have to admit that it wasn’t on my list of collectables & I am not sure if I would have bought it at the time, but I am ever so glad that fortune saw it land in my lap.

As you may know, I developed Easy Kitchen to inform my readers of tools in the kitchen that make my life that little bit easier. Whether it is saving time or energy, Easy Kitchen features equipment I just couldn’t live without. I had recently had some shoulder & tendonitis issues, which made even the easiest of tasks in the kitchen into a challenge. When I first used the Turbo Chef for finely mincing onions for a risotto, I couldn’t believe how easy it was for me to use. To think I had been chopping my onions with a knife all these years!

:: finely dicing onions with the turbo chef ::

The Turbo Chef allows you to chop an onion into simple 8ths (half, half then half again), place the equivalent to half of the onion into the container & with a few swift pulls of the cord chopping onions for your desired dish becomes a breeze. Oh, did I mention no more onion tears? If the recipe calls for it, I sometimes add my garlic in with the onion as well. Simple!

:: make sure to constantly stir your onions to prevent burning ::

If you have any leftover ingredients or need to keep the contents for later, Tupperware provides a handy lid for excess quantities that fits on top of the clear container! It is great for sauces. I pre-make my tartar sauce, pop the lid on & have it at the ready for dinner.

:: turbo chef is an easy way to prepare ingredients for satay sauce ::

The low down
Pros: The Turbo Chef finely chops or minces onions & vegetables like a pro!
:: Easy to use for both right and left handed people.
:: It is easy to pull apart & assemble again for cleaning & the base is dishwasher safe. When disassembled, keep out the top section as the pull cord should not get wet.
:: The Turbo Chef would be great for anyone with upper limb pain, such as tendonitis, arthritis, carpel tunnel, shoulder pain, etc, as it reduces the amount of strain on the muscles & bones.
:: I can imagine the Turbo Chef would be fabulous for pureeing small amounts of food for babies/toddlers as well.
Cons: Ummm, it has to be washed occasionally.
How to use: Simply place small amounts into an assembled Turbo Chef container, pull 4-6 times or until you reach a desired consistency, place contents into recipe!
:: Wash in warm, soapy water or add into your next dishwasher load.
Notes: If overloaded, like any food processor, it will produce some inconsistent results. Simply add small amounts at a time for a more dependable outcome.
:: The blades are extremely sharp in order for a effortless cut, so please be careful when cleaning.

Turbo Chef Details
Price: Turbo Chef: AU $57.20 or Chop’n’Prep Chef: US $45.00
Capacity: Base allows for 300ml worth of product
Dimensions: 10.8cm (d) x 9.2cm (h)
Rotations: Allows for 288 knife cuts in less than 15 seconds
Warranty: All Tupperware plastic products, if used correctly, have a lifetime warranty. Fantastic!
Purchase: Through your local Tupperware Dealer - see website for details.

:: the newly released smooth chopper ::

Tupperware has released a few sister products with additional functions, such as a beater, & with different capacities. It depends how often you will use it & what functions you desire if you want to invest the extra cash, but very much worth your while investigating these as well.
Sister Products: Smooth Chopper 730ml base: AU $76.45 or US $59.00
:: Quick Chef 1.3L base: AU $82.90 or US $69.00
prices are subject to change at the discretion of Tupperware

:: making tatar sauce is easy with the turbo chef ::

Visit Tupperware Australia for the Turbo Chef or for info on your local Tupperware representative
Visit Tupperware US for the Chop’n’Prep Chef to purchase online

Easy Kitchen Competition
Tupperware Australia has generously combined forces with Megann’s Kitchen to provide you with a chance to win one of these amazing red Turbo Chef’s & help make your kitchen as easy as mine! Thanks Tupperware! Follow the link for your chance to win.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

:: Competitions ::

Turbo Chef ultimate Giveaway
:: Megann’s  Kitchen ::

:: I used the turbo chef in everyday cooking ::

Extract from Megann’s Easy Kitchen
“I have to say there are some items & products in my kitchen I simply couldn’t live without. They are things that I rate highly in efficiency & quality. I am going to bring a few essential items to you under the title Easy Kitchen. It is aimed at products in the kitchen that make my life just that little bit easier, & hopefully yours too. They are a few items that I believe help a kitchen to work like a dream, so please enjoy my new Easy Kitchen in the new year!”

My personal Giveaway criteria
The products that I offer as giveaways have been generously contributed by companies that meet strict criteria. These aren’t just any products, no no. These ultimate kitchen pieces are currently used & loved in my kitchen. I simply want to pass on to you what I believe every kitchen should have.
the Competition Sponsor
Welcome to another Megann’s Kitchen’s ultimate giveaway. Tupperware Australia has kindly provided us with some products from Easy Kitchen’s featured post of the Tupperware Turbo Chef. Click through to find some great Tupperware products on their web site at a fantastic price, plus read the Megann's Kitchen review here.

:: the turbo chef makes chopping a breeze ::

the Competition Details
Simply leave a comment at the bottom of this post or the Megann’s Kitchen Facebook page answering this simple question- in approximately 25 words or less:

“How would a Tupperware Turbo Chef help make life in your kitchen easier?”

Like this competition? Don’t forget to sign up for Megann’s Kitchen e-newsletter, facebook page or join the blog site to find out about more fantastic giveaways! See right of screen.

Terms & Conditions
    There is one chance to win: Tupperware has provided us with 1 amazing Turbo Chef, thank you!
    The competition commences 11:59pm A.E.S.T on Thursday 12th April 2012. Entries close 11.59pm A.E.S.T on Wednesday 30th April 2012
    Good NEWS! You can enter as many times as you like.
    Each individual entry will be judged based on literary and creative merit, then placed into a draw of 10 finalists. The winning entry will be extracted from a draw of 10 finalists, based on chance.
    Prizes are not transferable or exchangeable & cannot be taken as cash.
    The total RRP of the prize is AU $59.20
    Winners will be announced on Megann’s Kitchen blog site & Facebook page. Keep on clicking in to see if you are a winner!
    Competition is open internationally = everyone!

:: making tatar sauce is now so easy ::

Update - this competition is now closed.

:: the finalists ready to be drawn by my husband, Mick ::

and the WINNER is....
Ta DA! The winner of the Megann's Kitchen Tupperware Comptetion is... Danielle! Congratulations on your winning entry.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

:: Around the World for Dinner ::

A Taste of Senegal
:: Megann’s Kitchen ::

:: savouring the flavours of Senegal ::

I have recently made some incredible new friends in what is the magnificent & ever-growing RAAF family of mine. After a few dinners together, it was my new female companion, Jo, who suggested that we continue a tradition of theirs of having a meal planned based on countries around the World. A chance to try international flavours & interesting cuisine? I was IN! What an imaginary way to taste all the seasonings of the Earth in your own home? We were at their house for yet another incredible meal & Jo brought out her globe. Mick had the honours of spinning with one hand over his eyes & the other ready to point to a country. For the first 2 goes he hit water, which is null & void in this game, then success. He landed on the African continent in the country of Senegal! We all did some quick google research, picked some dishes to make & set a date.

As a starter, I made a nibbles plate with a Senegalese Garlic Dipping Sauce with toasted pita bread. This is basically a roasted garlic mayonnaise. It was a little strong & a touch boring on its own, but I can imagine making some homemade roasted chat potatoes (see recipe below) dusted with paprika & seasoning, this would complement the garlic sauce beautifully.
For the main, I finalised my thoughts on one of the national dishes of Senegal, Poulet Yassa (Yassa Chicken), which is comparable to a basic chicken stew. It was such a simple meat dish that I used one of the “optional extras” that was provided & added some chopped carrot & celery as an extender from the chicken & for extra flavour.
I also made Salade Cote Cap Verte, which is similar to a chopped green salad with the addition of flavourful herbs & the (untraditional) beautiful red jewels of pomegranate. I was extremely impressed by this salad, & plan to make it again! It looked marvellous against a white presentation dish & had amazing aromas. It would be a beautiful & exciting addition to any summer BBQ or festive table.
For dessert, Jo made a delicious crunchy peanut ice-cream, as peanuts are extremely popular & grown readily in this region. It was a lovely way to finish a fantastic evening with friends.

:: Senegalese Garlic Dipping Sauce ::

2 bulbs roasted garlic, peeled
2 organic eggs
250 ml fresh lemon juice
½ tsp sugar
100 ml to 400 ml grapeseed oil
½ tsp sea salt
fresh cracked pepper

To roast the garlic, Pre-heat your oven to 180°C (350°F). Peel the garlic from its skins & place into a bowl. Coat the garlic with a drizzling of olive oil & place onto a baking tray then bake for about 20-30 minutes, or until golden. Leave to cool.
Put all of the above ingredients, except the oil, in a blender or food processor & process until smooth. Pour in the oil in a very slow stream & blend or process until thick & aerated.
Serve as a dip for raw vegetables or toasted bread pita bread.

Kitchen Notes
:: As mentioned in the intro, I thought that this mayonnaise-like sauce would be just amazing with baked potatoes for a great starter, tapas or side dish. Parboil some whole chat potatoes, skin on, in water for about 10-15 minutes or until just soft. Strain the water away then transfer the hot potatoes into a hot baking dish. Crush the potatoes with the back of a spoon then season with sea salt, pepper & a sprinkle of sweet paprika. Drizzle with olive or grapeseed oil & bake in the oven for approximately 40 minutes, or until golden brown.

:: Poulet Yassa ::

:: my attempt at Yassa Chicken from Senegal ::

1 kg chicken pieces
200 ml lemon juice
60 ml malt vinegar
1 generous tsp brown sugar
30 ml peanut oil
3 brown onions, sliced
2 cloves fresh garlic, crushed

30 ml peanut oil
2 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
2 fresh red chillies, seeds removed & chopped finely
2 tbsp freshly grated ginger
1 tsp ground turmeric
2 – 3 bay leaves (depending on size)
450 ml chicken stock
sea salt & pepper to taste

:: luscious lemons ::
:: chopping the onions ::
:: marinating the chicken ::
:: adding the vinegar ::

Mix the lemon juice, garlic, sugar, vinegar, sliced onions and 30 ml of the oil. Place the chicken pieces in a dish and pour over the lemon mixture. Cover with cling wrap & place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.
Heat the other 30 ml of the oil in a large pan. Lift out the chicken with tongs & seal the chicken pieces for 4 to 5 minutes until they are golden brown.
Lift out the remainder of the leftover marinated onions with tongs & add to the chicken, cook for 3 minutes & then add the marinade liquid, thyme, chillies, turmeric, ginger, bay leaves, sea salt & pepper & half of the chicken stock. Stir once or twice to mix everything well.
Reduce the heat, cover the pan and simmer for about 30 minutes until the chicken is cooked, adding more stock as the sauce evaporates so it doesn’t burn on the bottom.
Serve over long grain rice.

:: this delicious meat just fell off the bone ::

Kitchen Variations
:: Poisson Yassa: Substitute 1 kilogram of firm fish fillets for the chicken. Marinating time only needs to be 30 minutes in this case. Grill the fish and sauté the onions. Then simmer the marinade without the fish for 10-15 minutes. Finally, add the marinated grilled fish and simmer for 10 minutes more.
:: Sometimes vegetables are added to the pot to stretch the meat & add more flavour. Add 2-3 chopped carrots, 1 finely diced celery stick or a handful of green olives when you bring the marinade to simmer.
:: I cooked my chicken for an hour in order for the sauce to develop to a thicker consistency. Unfortunately this caused it all fall off the bone, but it was still juicy & tender. Be careful not to be too heavy handed first off with the stock as I did, & add it gradually!

:: Salade Cote Cap Verte::

:: salade cote cap verte with pomegranate ::

250 ml English cucumber, diced
1 small iceberg lettuce, sliced
4 large tomatoes, diced
1 green chilli, finely chopped
150 ml fresh mint, chopped
250 ml Italian parsley, chopped
200 ml chopped fresh coriander leaves
½ red onion, finely sliced
1 large, un-waxed lemon, grated zest and juice
150 ml pomegranate seeds (optional and not traditional)
5 – 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt to taste

In a large mixing bowl, combine all the above ingredients well by tossing with your fingertips. Check and correct seasoning then refrigerate for 1 hour.
Present in a salad bowl & scatter pomegranate seeds on top and garnish with a little extra chopped parsley.

:: a great salad for any occasion ::

Kitchen Notes
:: I have seen Jamie Oliver simply cut a pomegranate in half, place the fruit in his hand with the seeded side peeking through his open fingers. He forcefully taps it with the back of a kitchen knife & the seeds fall through his fingers & into the dish. Now, I admit that this is a messy way to vacate the seeds from the fruit, but effective!

:: Side Bread ::

:: crunchy bread for the table ::

Tear 1 large pita bread into pieces and toast under the grill.

:: Senegalese Peanut Ice-Cream ::

500g container of good quality vanilla ice-cream, softened
¾ cup of salt reduced crunchy peanut butter, warmed

Place the softened vanilla ice-cream in a large bowl & mix through the peanut butter to make ribbon like swirls. Add a little or as much peanut butter for flavouring as you like, it is up to your own taste really! Scoop back into the original ice-cream container & freeze until required!

Kitchen Notes
:: I would imagine that a silky smooth chocolate sauce would be amazing drizzled over the peanut ice-cream, reminiscent of a Reeces peanut butter cup! You could also try a salted caramel. Serve with freshly roasted chopped peanuts on top, mmmmmmm….

:: I had great fun finding bright decorations for the table as well! ::

:: Some great Senegalese Dinner info at- http://www.africa.upenn.edu/Cookbook/Senegal.html
:: I also stumbled on another great blog with a Senegalese dinner where I go a few great ideas & recipes- http://www.justfoodnow.com/2010/01/13/african-spirit-food-of-senegal/

We had such a fantastic evening of new flavours that we decided to do it again! Spinning the globe and next stop on our World tour is..... Portugal! For more dinner pics, follow on to my Facebook page. Thank you ever so much for joining us.

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