Homemade Playdough

November 21, 2014 in Uncategorized

Homemade Playdough

You must be thinking that I’m going bonkers. Playdough on a food blog? Well yes, I’ve had so many requests for a good play dough recipe and even dog biscuits. Dog bikkies, I’ll get to another time. This recipe is made from simple pantry ingredients: flour, salt, cream of tartar, oil and water. All edible stuff but definitely not palatable! I divided the dough and kneaded my 2 favourite colours into them. I must say, the feeling of squishing and kneading cool play dough in your hands is rather therapeutic and I even got a bit “Carey’d” away and made a cute little duckling, what do you think of my creation? LOL.

We don’t have kids yet, but if or when we do, I’d like to think that I’d make a big batch of dough with assorted colours and allow our little one/s to get creative at the kitchen table. As an adult, play dough is a super way to work off stress or simply to relax and let creative juices flow. I for one, will have a stash in a jar from now on for when I’m having a creative block or our friends’ children come to visit.

How about making play dough for gifts this year? Experiment with different food colourings or add a few drops of aromatherapy oils (lavender, rose geranium etc) to the dough to make “homemade de-stress playdough” for adults! Bottle them in consol jars (they are airtight so will prevent the dough from drying out and it looks awesome) and decorate with ribbons and cute labels. How fun!

homemade play dough

Homemade Playdough

Makes: enough to fill 4 x 500 ml medium containers or jars.

1 c salt
4 c hot water
4 c cake flour
1/2 c cream of tartar *
4 T cooking oil
Food colouring of your choice

In a large bowl, dissolve salt in the hot water.
Sift the dry ingredients.
Add salt water to a large heavy based pot together with the remaining ingredients and stir constantly over moderate heat until a dough is formed. This will take about 7 minutes of labour intensive stirring. When no longer sticky on touch and the dough is firm, remove from the pot. Allow to cool slightly – not too long, or it will dry out.
Divide dough in 2.
Knead a few drops of food colouring into each dough ball until evenly combined and the dough is firm and smooth.
Store in airtight containers or glass jars.

* Cream of tartar is a vital ingredient to make play dough. It is also called acid potassium tartrate. Commonly used in baking. It is an acid which reacts with an alkaline (bicarb) to release carbon dioxide which in turn aerates cake mixtures. It is also used to stiffen liquids and mixtures such as egg whites when manipulated. In this case, the cream of tartar makes the dough firm and pliable.

playdough and amc cookware
This recipe was developed for AMC Cookware 
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Margherita Tray Bake Pizza

November 21, 2014 in Baking, Meatless meals

Margherita Tray Bake PizzaThis is the type of pizza I grew up with.  A quick-mix dough pressed into a baking tray and topped with tinned tomato & onion and lots of cheese. If it was a good time of the month, we would have the addition of bacon & banana or ham & pineapple – you get the picture. It was a firm family favourite in our household.  I opted to do a simple one with the must-have sweetish tomato & onion base, a mixture of mozzarella and cheddar, thin slices of ripe tomato and fresh basil. When Michelle Parkin &  I shot this, we couldn’t resist tucking in. This pizza brought back some fond food memories for the both of us. Thick doughy base, “tomatoey” goodness and stringy cheese. Pure nostalgia.

Margherita Tray Bake Pizza

Serves: 4

Ingredients:
Base:
350 g cake flour
1 c (250 ml) sour cream or buttermilk
½ c (125 ml) milk
1/3 c (80 ml) olive oil
½ t (2.5 ml) baking powder
½ t (2.5 ml) salt

Topping:
½ a 400 g tin tomato and onion mix
3 T (45 ml) sundried tomato pesto ( I use Ina Paarman’s)
1 fat clove garlic, crushed
2 t (10 m) dried oregano
Pinch of sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
3 ripe tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 c (250 ml) cheddar cheese
1 c (250 ml) mozzarella cheese
Fresh Basil Leaves

For the method, click here

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Sweet Melon Wedges, Prosciutto & Goat’s Cheese

November 21, 2014 in salads

sweet melon and prosciutto

I did a fun project with talented photographer, Michelle Parkin, recently. I love it when two creatives just mesh and work so effortlessly together. After a fab 3 day shoot, I’m sure we’ll be doing a lot more collaborations. So watch this space. Yay!

This sweet melon dish is just a sneak peek of the many meals we shot together.  It is inspired by my childhood where we’d eat “spanspek” (sweet melon) with every meal whether it was a roast lunch or braai. I wasn’t a huge fan of sweet melon as a child so I naturally avoided it as an adult until J and I visited Florence, Italy, a few years ago and we tried their sweet melon adorned with generous amounts of prosciutto served with crusty bread and grassy olive oil. OMG, it was a flavour explosion of the sweetest most fragrant melon I’ve ever tasted with salty ham. Pure heaven. Since then I often serve sweet melon the way the Italians do, prosciutto e melone!

To take it to the next level, I add creamy goats cheese and mint to the mix and drizzle with lush olive oil. This makes a divine starter, accompaniment to a tapas spread or as a salad. Personally, I eat it as a meal with loads a freshly baked ciabatta, olive oil and balsamic.

Now that sweet melons are in season, give this a go. It just tastes of summer!

Sweet Melon, Prosciutto & Goat’s Cheese with Fresh Mint

Ingredients:
1 sweet melon, peeled and cut into thin wedges and pips removed
12-16 slices prosciutto/Parma ham
200 g chevin goat’s cheese, broken into bite size pieces
handful of small mint leaves
Good quality extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground salt and pepper to taste
To serve (optional):
Freshly baked ciabatta
Good quality balsamic

Method:
Wrap slices of proscuitto around each wedge of melon.
Arrange onto a board with goats cheese and mint leaves.
Drizzle with olive oil and season to taste.
Enjoy with crusty bread, balsamic and extra olive oil.

sweet melon and prosciuttoFor more of my recipes and ramblings:
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Fudgy Chocolate & Marie Biscuit Squares

November 13, 2014 in Sweet treats

Chocolate and marie biscuit squaresRemember these? I sat a few weeks ago just thinking about these old fashioned choc marie biscuit squares and the packets upon packets I’d wolf down as a kid. What a delight they were. I’d use my tuck shop money to stock up on these and hide them under my bed so my big brother (and dad) wouldn’t find them…ahh good times. Even then, I was such an oinker. I’m not so territorial over food now, in fact, I love sharing food (except for niknaks, I’ll rip your arm off if you go for my packet). *smiles innocently*

This is such an easy recipe, some people even call these “cheat’s no bake chocolate brownies”. I have to agree somewhat, they are uber chocolatey, sweet and fudgy. It hits the spot without all the fuss and baking. These are seriaasly naughty, so this is definitely a once in a while treat, okay? Be good

Fudgy Chocolate & Marie Biscuit Squares

Makes: 16

Ingredients:
250g butter
500g icing sugar
1 c (250 ml) good quality cocoa powder
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 t (5 ml) vanilla essence
1 packet Marie biscuits broken into pieces (bash in a packet or use a food processor)
Other options:
For a less sweet option with more texture: replace 250 g of icing sugar with 200 g ground almonds
Replace vanilla essence with (½ t) 2.5 ml peppermint essence – so yum!!!

For the method, click here to view complete recipe on my website. 

Blueberry Flapjacks with Creme Fraiche and Honey

October 16, 2014 in Breakfast, cakes, desserts, Snacks


blueberry flapjacks, creme fraiche and honeyFlapjacks or crumpets remind me of school holidays. My gran used to make a huge batch of flapjacks in the morning and we would tuck into them with butter, cinnamon and sugar while watching “KTV”.  So whenever I bite into a flapjack, I have this fond memory.  When I spotted lush blueberries at Woolies, I just had to make a batch of Blueberry Flapjacks served with creme fraiche and honey. It was a craving I needed to satiate.  If you don’t have creme fraiche, use thick Greek-style yoghurt. This will surely bring smiles to the breakfast table.

Blueberry flap jacks Copyright Bits of CareyBlueBerry Flapjacks
Makes: 16
Ingredients:
1/2 c (125 ml) milk
1/2 c (125 ml) vegetable oil
1/2 c (125 ml) castor sugar
3 eggs
1/2 t (2.5 ml) vanilla essence
1 1/2 c (375 ml) cake flour
2 t (10 ml) baking powder
a good pinch of salt
125 g fresh blueberries
To serve:
100 g extra fresh blueberries
1 c (250 ml) Creme fraiche or Greek Yoghurt
Honey for drizzling

For the method or full recipe print out, hop over to my website, www.bitsofcarey.co.za

amc frying panThis recipe was developed for AMC Cookware.

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Courgette Spaghetti & Meatballs in Napolitana Sauce

October 14, 2014 in Meat, vegetables


courgette spaghetti and meatballs

You may think you’ve stumbled upon the wrong blog since I usually share carbolicious meals and other “naughtiness” but sometimes my body just needs a break from fat and carb laden dishes and with the warmer weather I tend to crave a lot more veggies and lighter meals. Courgettes are one of my favourite veggies: roasted, sauteed, crumbed or simply marinated in a punchy vinaigrette. What I do admire about the Real Meal Revolution is the fact that people are eating more vegetables by using them in fun and interesting ways. Like this courgette “spaghetti” for instance. Absolutely love this idea – what a super way to include more veggies into your diet. This “spaghetti” is so easy to make,  I use my nifty little Shogun julienne slicer (I can’t go anywhere without it) to prepare the courgettes and then it’s just a matter of sauteeing these strands in a hot pan with some olive oil for a few seconds. Done.

So here’s my “summery” version of Spaghetti & Meatballs.  This is such a feel good meal – refreshing and delicious but still comforting.
{Please note that this is not a “banting” meal – I use a bit of oats or bread in the meatballs and some sugar in the sauce to taste. For the banters, to reduce carbs, replace the oats/bread with 15 ml psyllium husks and exclude the sugar.}

Courgette spaghetti and meatballs
Courgette Spaghetti & Meatballs
Serves: 4
Ingredients
Meatballs:
500 g lean beef or ostrich mince
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 T (45 ml) oats or 1 slice of bread
2 T (30 ml) water
1/4 c (60 ml) finely chopped fresh parsley
2 t (10 ml)dried mixed herbs
1/4 c (60 ml) grated parmesan cheese
1 T (15 ml) worcestershire sauce (optional)
1 egg, beaten
1 t (5 ml) freshly ground salt
1 t (5 ml) freshly ground pepper
For frying: 2 T (30 ml) cooking oil
Sauce:
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 t (5 ml) olive oil
1 x 400 g tin chopped tomatoes
3 T (45 ml) tomato paste
1/4 c (60 ml) beef stock
1 t (5 ml) dried mixed herbs
Salt and pepper to taste
Sugar to taste (optional)
1/2 c (125 ml) chopped basil
Courgette spaghetti:
700 g courgettes, washed and julienned
2 t (10 ml) olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
To serve:
Grated parmesan cheese

Method
Meatballs: 
Heat the oil in a large frying pan and saute the onions and garlic until translucent and fragrant. Allow to cool for a few minutes.
Soak the oats or bread in the water until softened. Squash any excess water out of the oats or bread.
Add the cooled onion and garlic to a large mixing bowl together with all the remaining meatball ingredients including the softened oats or bread.
Mix until well combined. Shape into +- 14 meatballs – make sure they are nice and compact.
Pop into the fridge while preparing the sauce. This allows the meatballs to rest before frying.
Sauce:
In a medium pot, heat the oil and saute the onion and garlic until fragrant.
Add the tomatoes, paste, stock and mixed herbs and bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer uncovered for +- 25 minutes or until flavourful and reduced slightly.
Season to taste with salt, pepper and sugar. Add the basil and heat through for another 5 minutes.
Meatballs:
Heat the cooking oil in a large frying pan. Brown the meatballs evenly – don’t fiddle with them too much. When they are browned and slightly crispy on the outside. Remove. Don’t cook them through. Remove excess oil from the pan. Place meatballs back into the pan and pour the sauce over them, simmer gently over moderate heat until meatballs are cooked through.
Courgette spaghetti:
Heat the oil in a large frying pan and saute for +- 30 seconds or until they are wilted. Season to taste.
To serve:
Serve the meatballs and sauce on a bed of “spaghetti”. Top with grated parmesan cheese.
Enjoy!
Tip: To make this dish even more delish, stuff a 2 x 2 cm cube of mozzarella or feta into each meatball!

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Cranberry, Seed & Oat Crunchies

October 9, 2014 in Baking, Snacks, Sweet treats

Cranberry , seed and oat crunchiesEverybody needs a good recipe for crunchies (also known as flapjacks to UK folks).  This is a recipe I have been using for years and it has never failed me. These are the good old fashioned kind – sugar, butter, oats, coconut, flour and bicarb. Crunchies generally have a high sugar content like all biscuits but it has the good stuff too, low GI oats ( I love using really coarse rolled oats) and I replace plain flour with nutty wheat or whole wheat flour. In addition, I add cranberries and mixed seeds for extra nutrients and texture but these can be left out if you prefer plain ones. For extra decadence, why not melt some dark chocolate and spread onto the crunchies before slicing? Crunchies are a great on-the-go breakfast or snack. Crumble them up and add to your yoghurt for brekkers in the mornings. They are a wonderful addition to the lunchbox too. This recipe makes 32 little squares (the perfect snack size), simply keep in an airtight container or cookie jar, it can last up to a month – if you don’t gobble them all up by then :-)

Crunchies

Cranberry, Seed & Oat Crunchies
1 c (250 ml) coarse rolled oats
1 c (250 ml) coarse dessicated coconut
1 c (250 ml) nutty wheat or whole wheat flour
1 c (250 ml) brown sugar
100 g dried cranberries (or other chopped dried fruit of your choice)
1/2 c (125 ml) mixed seeds (pumpkin, linseed, sunflower and sesame)
125 g salted butter
1 T ( 15 ml) honey
1 t (5 ml) vanilla essence
1 t (5 ml) bicarbonate of soda
2 T ( 30 ml) boiling water

For the method, visit my website, www.bitsofcarey.co.za


Linguine with Roasted Cauliflower, Parmesan Crumbs & Truffle Infused Olive Oil

October 9, 2014 in Meatless meals, Pasta, vegetables

Linguini with roasted cauliflower, parmesan crumbs and truffle oil
This is a nifty little supper. So quick and easy with minimal ingredients and BIG on flavour. I tend to enjoy linguini in a simple napolitana sauce and fresh basil or simply dressed in olive oil and lemon juice and tossed with copious amounts of parmesan shavings. Especially as we head into the warmer months, I enjoy a “lighter” pasta. This dish is another lovely example. Cauliflower has such a earthy sweet flavour when its roasted so when the flavour is so damn delicious, you want to do something simple with it. For this pasta, I roast the cauliflower tossed in a little truffle infused olive oil and grated parmesan until golden and crispy. This combo is just heavenly. For extra texture (and insane flavour), I do some parmesan crumbs which is basically breadcrumbs and grated parmesan (or try gruyere) roasted in the oven until golden and crispy. Then it’s just a matter of combining al dente linguine with the roasted cauliflower and breadcrumbs. To serve, drizzle with a little more truffle infused oil or punchy olive oil and a squeeze of lemon. For a bacon fix, roast some bacon until crispy, then bash into crumbs and add to the pasta – this adds a divine smokiness (fried pancetta lardons are awesome too). Note: if you don’t have truffle infused olive oil, replace with parmesan infused olive oil. Yum, yum, yum!

Linguini with roasted cauliflower, parmesan crumbs and truffle oil

Linguine with Roasted Cauliflower, Parmesan Crumbs and Truffle Infused Oil
Serves: 2 – 4

250 g linguine
1 medium cauliflower, broken into small florets
1 c (250 ml) finely grated parmesan, gruyere or pecorino cheese
2 T (30 ml) truffle infused olive oil
1  1/2 c (375 ml) freshly made bread crumbs of a ciabatta
2 T (30 ml) olive oil
Freshly ground salt and pepper to taste
Extra virgin olive oil or truffle infused olive oil or parmesan infused olive oil for drizzling
Juice of 1/2 a lemon (optional)
Extra grated parmesan (optional)

Preheat the oven to 220 Deg C.
Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Boil the linguine until al dente. Drain and toss in some olive oil.
Place the cauliflower florets, truffle infused oil and half of the parmesan into a greased baking tray. Shake the ingredients around until cauliflower is well coated. Spread the cauliflower out.
Place the bread crumbs, remaining cheese and olive oil in another greased baking tray and mix everything until well combined and evenly spread out.
Place both trays into the oven and roast for +- 15 minutes – checking every 5 minutes or so and stir the crumbs around to prevent catching. The crumbs should be golden and crispy. Remove from oven and set aside. Continue roasting the cauliflower until golden and starts to char at the edges. Remove.
Toss the linguini, roasted cauliflower and parmesan crumbs together until evenly combined.
Season to taste and drizzle with olive oil of your choice.
When ready to serve, finish off with some lemon juice and extra parmesan cheese.
This pasta can be served hot or at room temperature.

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Pumpkin Fritters with Bacon, Blue Cheese & Sage Butter

September 25, 2014 in Snacks

Pumpkin Fritters with bacon, blue cheese and sage butterIn the spirit of Heritage month, I thought I’d share my recipe for perfectly light and fluffy pumpkin fritters – with a twist of course.  I enjoy serving them with crispy bacon, crumbled blue cheese and sage butter! Sweet pumpkin deep fried deliciousness with crispy smoky bacon, creamy sharp blue cheese and earthy nutty sage butter. Serve as a starter with rocket leaves or as an impressive braai side dish. And wouldn’t these be lovely nibbles at your next book or wine club get together? And if you have a sweet tooth, simply coat them generously in cinnamon sugar and eat them the traditional way.

The trick to a perfect pumpkin fritter is to steam the pumpkin or in my case, I cook mine in a medium AMC Cookware pot with no water, nada! The result is flavourful pumpkin that is not watered-down and mushy – boiling in water you will have soggy tasteless fritters. I also find that by deep frying spoonfuls in deep oil rather than shallow frying in a pan results in free form”doughnut balls” that are evenly cooked. And it’s way easier than flipping them around in a pan! Make sure the oil is hot enough and stays a constant moderately hot temperature when frying – if the oil is too cold, the batter absorbs the oil and you get oily icky fritters. For deep frying, I simply use a solid heavy based pot or my AMC Cookware electric frying pan (it’s nice and deep). If you have a deep fryer, use that. Go on, make these today!

pumpkinf fritter with bacon, blue cheese and sage butter

Basic Pumpkin Fritter Recipe
(Makes +- 24 bite size balls)
500 g diced Pumpkin, steamed until tender
1 c (250 ml) self-raising flour
1 t (5 ml) baking powder
1/4 t (1.25 ml) fine salt
3 T ( 45 ml) castor sugar
3 T (45 ml) milk , plain yoghurt or buttermilk
1 extra large egg, beaten
Cooking oil for deep frying

 

In a medium bowl, puree or mash the pumpkin until smooth.
Sift the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt into a bowl.
Add the milk and egg. Mix all the ingredients until well combined and resembles a thick cake batter consistency.
Heat the oil. When hot enough, spoon heaped teaspoonfuls of batter into the oil.
Fry in batches until they float to the top and become golden, moving them around a bit for even cooking (this will take about 2 minutes).
Place on a rack or paper towel to absorb excess oil.
Eat immediately!
TIP: If you don’t have self-raising flour, replace with cake flour and add an extra 1 t (5 ml).

The Bacon, Blue Cheese and Sage Butter Topping:
250 g streaky bacon
125 g creamy blue cheese, goat’s cheese or feta – crumbled
12 sage leaves
50 g butter
Coarse salt
Preheat the oven to 200 Deg C
Lay the bacon onto a roasting rack and pop into the oven for +- 20 minutes or until crispy. Break into pieces.
Heat the butter and sage in a small saucepan until slightly golden and bubbling.
Serve the fritters on a platter sprinkled with bacon bits and cheese. Drizzle with the sage butter. Sprinkle with a bit of coarse salt.
Eat immediately!
TIP: replace bacon with sliced biltong for an extra South African experience!

Pumpkin fritters with blue cheese, bacon and sage butter

This recipe was developed for AMC Cookware amc logo

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Creamy Exotic Mushroom Soup

September 18, 2014 in Soups

Creamy exotic mushroom soup
I decided to make a luxurious mushroom soup for dinner last night with earthy, flavour packed Nouvelle Exotic Mushrooms. Since these mushrooms are rather special, using homemade chicken stock in this recipe is a must*. The majority of the sauteed mushrooms are blended with the addition of homemade flavourful stock and cream. When serving, I quite like topping the soup with some sauteed enoki mushrooms and a good drizzle of truffle infused olive oil.  Be sure to enjoy with warm brioche rolls – pure mushroom heaven!

nouvelle exotic mushrooms
Creamy Exotic Mushroom Soup

Serves: 4-6

500 g assorted exotic mushrooms (shiitake, enoki and king oyster)
1 fat clove garlic, crushed
50 g salted butter
A good pinch of salt and pepper
2 T (30 ml) Old brown sherry
10 g dried porcini mushrooms
+- 1/2 c (125 ml) fresh cream
Truffle infused oil for drizzling

In a large heavy based pot, saute the mushrooms and garlic in butter until browned and fragrant.  Remove and set aside a few enoki mushrooms for serving. Season well.
Add the sherry and dried mushrooms – allow to simmer for 5 minutes, then add the hot stock and simmer for a further 10 minutes . Use a stick blender and blitz until smooth, add the cream and blend once more. Heat through for 5 minutes. Season to taste.
Serve soup topped with some sauteed enoki mushrooms and a good drizzle of truffle infused olive oil.
Enjoy with warm brioche rolls.

Creamed exotic mushroom soup

*Chicken stock: Saute a mirepoix of onion, carrot, celery and baby leaves in some olive oil until fragrant, then add a chicken carcass(I freeze mine for such purposes) or a few chicken wings and fry until browned. Add 1.5 L water and simmer for at least 45 minutes. Strain (discard chicken bones and veg) and season to taste.

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