SC “Foccacia” Bread

It’s safe to say, my slow cooker is doing my belly no favours.
Having said that, omnomnomnomnom! I know my next adventure was meant to be chicken, but damn you SC. Damn you.

My friend, Laura Flozzles, was telling me about this delicious bread she had made in her SC yesterday – it was simple and sounded delicious and then of course she proceeded to eat it and tell me just how good it was and I thought stuff it. I’m damn well making one of my own.

Using the base recipe that she and so many others have, I added cheese, bacon and garlic powder and crossed my fingers.

Slow Cooked “Foccacia” Bread
Serves many, but maybe only 1 or 2

Ingredients:
3 cups self raising flour
2 cups warm water
1/2 tsp salt

Add whatever else you like – add some to the mix and save some for the top.
This variation:
5 rashers bacon, chopped (fat removed) and pan fried
2 cups (or there abouts) of grated tasty cheese
2 tbs garlic powder

Method:
Line your slow cooker bowl with baking paper – you can spray this if you like (I didn’t).
In a large bowl, mix the flour, salt and garlic powder together. Add water, stirring with spoon/flat-bladed knife.
Add in 3/4 of the bacon  and 1/2-3/4 of the grated cheese and mix together well.
Pour into lined cooker bowl.
Sprinkle remaining cheese and bacon on top.
Lay a tea towel over the top of your cooker bowl and pop the lid on. Turn cooker onto high and cook for 1 and a 1/2 hours.
Once cooked, slide under the grill on high for as long as it takes to brown and crunchy up the topping.

Stand back and admire the simplicity of your awesomeness.

 

Nutrition: Bacon is the most important food group known to man. Cheese comes from cows, cows eat grass, grass is nature and nature is beautiful?

 

SC chs bcn bread 3

SC chs bcn bread 2

SC chs bcn bread

SC chs bcn bread 4

 

Tips:

– I know I usually say woah, too much salt but no. This needs more salt. Or more bacon, I’m undecided at this point. I suggest using at least a whole teaspoon of salt.
– Crushed garlic may work just as well as garlic powder, I would just use it sparingly..
– 1.5 hours wasn’t long enough. Although my knife was clean when I stabbed it, it was still a little too soft. I would push it up to 1hr 45mins next time, maybe even 2 hours.
– Sift the flour. I’m not a believer of sifting flour but I think I should have, this probably would have created the “foccacia” texture.
– You can do so many variations of this, just put in everything and anything you love. Onions, herbs, pineapple, sun-dried tomatoes…you could also do a sweet version, replacing salt with sugar, etc. Sultanas, raisins (if you’re that way inclined) choc bits, fruit?

Thoughts:

Yep. Pretty amazeballs.
As I mentioned, not being cooked quite as long as it should have, it was a little too soft which I don’t mind in cakes but isn’t right for bread. Having said that, the mix contained cheese, maybe once it’s cooled right down that softness will not be so evident. (Yes, I had to taste it two minutes after it was done, okay.)
Definitely needed more salt. Definitely needed the flour sifted.

Repeat Offender?

Yes please.
My next variation I will fry off some onions (thank you Flozzles), use cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and some herbs..maybe rosemary or thyme. And of course bacon.
This was so easy to make, you need absolutely zero cooking skills. Would go nicely with soups and stuff.
Have you made this before and if so, what variations did you use?
SHARE THEM WITH ME and I will be your friend.

 

Advertisements

Slow Cook FTW

I’m not new to the slow cooking thing, but I must admit that I’ve only ever used my slow cooker for stews and that has been a whole…five times?

My friend is currently on a slow cooking marathon (because she is crazy like that) and introduced me to a group on Facebook, full of people just like her – crazy slow cookers!
I was amazed at the things people are cooking in their crock pots – cakes, pies, quiches, spaghetti, lasagna and the list goes on. I thought damn. I’m clearly limiting myself by just using mine twice a year for stew.

So I pulled it out – it was a smaller cooker, Home Collection brand – and thought I would try making some cinnamon scrolls.
The scrolls were wicked – the slow cooker, not so much.
I don’t know if it’s just the Home Collection brand, but the ceramic bowl seemed to have absorbed some serious stench from previous cooking, my house smelled like I’d like set a bag of dog crap on fire >.>

Thankfully the scrolls didn’t absorb the stench, but needless to say..the cooker is now resting in piece and awaiting its final adventure to the rubbish tip.

I went out and bought another because reasons.
I picked up this 6L Kambrook cooker from Big W, for $58:

 

slow cooker

I was after a Sunbeam, but I didn’t want to wait (or drive a million miles to get one) but this one is doing fine 😀

 

So, first test for my new toy – Pulled Pork.
I’ve always wanted to make this. Every time I’ve eaten it, I’ve never been disappointed.

I took the recipe below from a random Google search which landed me here at 100 Days of Real Food. Seemed like a good a place to start!

 

Pulled Pork in a Crock Pot
SERVES: 6 – 8
INGREDIENTS
  • 3 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons salt (if desired, you can cut back on the salt by only using 1 tablespoon)
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (if desired, you can cut back on the pepper by only using ½ teaspoon of cayenne)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ cup honey
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and cut in half
  • 3 to 3 ½ pounds pork shoulder, cut in half
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. In a medium size mixing bowl, mix together the first six ingredients (all of the spices) with a fork.
  2. Pour in the honey, vinegar, and olive oil and stir to form a paste.
  3. Place the onion in the bottom of the slow cooker. Top it with the 2 pieces of pork and then pour the honey paste over all sides of the pork pieces. It’s okay if some of it (or a lot of it) just drips down to the bottom.
  4. Turn the slow cooker on to low and cook for 7 to 8 hours or until the meat is tender enough to be easily shredded with a fork.
  5. Serve warm with fixings like homemade cole slaw and cornbread.

 

 Nutrition: If you follow the above to the letter, there’s way too much salt. But pork is nutritious and tasty and it’s made in the same place that bacon is.

Pulled Pork 3Pre-Cooked

 

Pulled Pork 2

 

Pulled Pork

Seriously, how gorgeous does that look?!

Tips:

– Do NOT use 2 tablespoons of salt, don’t even use 1. I recommend no more than half a tablespoon – I used 1 when I made this and it was way too much for my liking.
– Use a full cup of honey.
– Slice the onion into quarters.

Thoughts:

Aside from the salty, this was amazing. The pork fell apart as I tried to take it out of the cooker (the second picture shows just a part of the entire shoulder roast). I definitely recommend a shoulder piece of meat – I removed the string net before cooking. I also left the skin on – I figured the fat would dribble and help keep everything moist. Pretty sure I was right.
The meat was so soft and moist, it fell apart with no effort. It smelled amazing.

Taste? I liked it…but it wasn’t perfect. Maybe I haven’t eaten enough pulled pork? What I was dreaming of was that luscious pork flavour without all the rest, I guess. Sometimes when I cook a pork roast, the end of the roast comes out like pulled pork and melts in your mouth – that’s what I was looking for.
Next time I do this, I plan on doing it without anything – just the roast on its own. Maybe an apple or two for good measure.

Repeat Offender?
Heck yes. I doubt I will ever cook a roast pork in the oven again. I am going to remix this until I find the perfect variation and then keep the recipe all to myself 😉

Next slow cooking adventure will be chicken!

The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

Every year, my inner Martha Stewart pokes her head out mid-November and starts deciding what mammoth baking tasks she wishes to attempt for Christmas.
This year, she committed to preparing Christmas Hampers for our business clients, from scratch – baking, decorating, the works.

I am compelled to let her use my body for her wicked demands because after all, it is only once a year…

Day One – The Assault
Fudges & Peppermint Creams

Salted Caramel Fudge
(www.taste.com.au/recipes/26110/salted+caramel+fudge)

Ingredients
395g can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons glucose syrup
1/4 cup golden syrup
125g butter, chopped
180g white chocolate, finely chopped – I used Cadbury White (proper eating chocolate)
1 tsp sea salt flakes

1. Grease a pan, 4cm deep x 20cm (base) square cake pan. Line base and sides with baking paper, allowing a 2cm overhang on all sides.
2. Place condensed milk, sugar, glucose syrup, golden syrup and butter in a saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring, without boiling, for 10 minutes or until mixture is glossy and sugar has dissolved.
3. Increase heat to medium-low. Bring to a simmer, stirring. Cook, stirring constantly, for 6-8 minutes or until mixture thickens and comes away from side of pan.
Remove from heat. Stir in chocolate until combined and melted. Spoon into prepared pan. Smooth top. Sprinkle with salt, pressing in with the back of a spoon to secure.
Set aside for 30 minutes then cover with plastice wrap. Refrigerate for 6 hrs or until firm.
4. Cut into 2.5cm pieces. Serve.

Nutrition: Energy – 273kj; Saturated Fat – 2.00g; Fat Total – 3.10g; Total Carbohydrates – 9.10g; Protein – 0.70g; Cholesterol – 8.00mg; Sodium – 64mg

salted caramel beginning salted caramel before chocolate added
Take a look into my pot of heart attack

salted caramel with added chocolate salted caramel after chocolate stirred in

salted caramel

salted caramel finished


You see that I didn’t use sea salt flakes. I’m not sure if I wish that I had – I don’t think it would have made much of a difference. I did use proper sea salt, freshly ground. I guess the flakes would have been more attractive, but taste wise I think it would have mattered.

Tips:
– Don’t look away! Sugar heats up super quick as does milk and you know, this entire pot was exactly that – milky sugar. 
– Keep on stirring – use a metal spoon.

Thoughts:
This recipe was super simple to make. I have never, ever actually made fudge before – my mother made us some for Christmas last year, but it had a different texture to it and she admittedly stated that it wasn’t great fudge. I think I was worried that all home-made fudge would come out that way! And pleasantly wrong.
This needs to be eaten within a few days, the salt starts to weep a little after a while. Makes the salt kick TOO salty, but you can always just wipe that off and scoff the fudge anyway. Don’t waste good fudge!
Also, I just realised that I didnt use golden syrup in this one – but it was perfectly awesome anyway.

Repeat Offender?
Hells to the eff yeah! When something this simple can taste this good, its definitely worth doing time and time again.
Fudge makes for great gifting! And honestly, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like it.

—————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

Chocolate and Walnut Fudge
(www.taste.com.au/recipes/18559/chocolate+and+walnut+fudge)

Ingredients
395g can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup firmly-packed brown sugar
100g unsalted butter, cubed
2 tbs glucose syrup
200g good-quality dark chocolate, chopped – I used Cadbury Old Gold (70% cocoa)
1 cup walnuts, finely chopped

1. Grease a 4.5cm-deep, 7.5cmx25cm (base) cake pan. Line with baking paper, allowing a 2cm overhang along both long ends.
Place condensed milk, sugar, butter and glucose syrup in a heavy-based saucepan over low heat. Cook stirring constantly, for 8 minutes or until sugar has dissolved and mixture is smooth.
2. Increase heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes or until mixture is thick and caramel coloured. Remove from heat.
Add chocolate and walnuts. Stir to combine. Spoon mixture into prepared pan.
Set aside for 15 minutes. Cover and refrigerate for 3-4 hours or until set.
3. Remove fudge from pan. Discard baking paper. Place fudge on a board. Cut into squares.

Nutrition: None (LOL)

choc walnut fudge stage choc walnut adding choc and walnut in pot

choc and walnuts close up choc walnut setting

choc walnut setting close up

choc walnut finished

Tips:
– Again with the stirring. Dont look away, you simply dont have time – take the pot with you!
– Use a metal spoon.

Thoughts:
This fudge is really thick – it takes a bit of coaxing to spread it evenly in the pan. You may think that it has separated, but it really hasnt – dont panic! I think that maybe I chopped my nuts too much…

Repeat Offender?
I discovered, Im not a fan of nutty fudge. I cant actually recall eating it in the past. To be honest, I dont have many fudge eating memories so thats no real suprise.
For true fudge fans, maybe this one would appeal – I think I just didnt like the texture, it didnt feel like fudge. Not to mention, it was holy crap rich!
I wont be making this one again, because I want to eat the fudge I make, dammit.

—————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

Choc-Caramel Fudge
(www.taste.com.au/recipes/26112/choc+caramel+fudge)

Ingredients
395g can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup brown sugar
2 tbs glucose syrup
125g butter, chopped
90g dark chocolate, finely chopped – I used Cadbury Old Gold (70% cocoa)
1 tbs golden syrup
90g white chocolate, finely chopped – I used Cadbury White

1. Grease a pan 4cm deep, 20cm (base) square cake pan. Line base and sides with baking paper, allowing a 2cm overhang on all sides.
2. Place half the condensed milk, half the sugar, half the glucose syrup and half the butter in a saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring, without boiling for 5-6 minutes or until mixture is glossy and sugar has dissolved.
3. Increase heat to medium-low. Bring to a simmer, stirring. Cook stirring constantly for 4-5 minutes or until mixture thickens and comes away from side of pan. Remove from h eat.
Stir in dark chocolate until combined and melted. Spoon into prepared pan. Smooth top. Set aside for 30 minutes.
4. Wash and dry saucepan (or use another). Place remaining condensed milk, remaining sugar, remaining glucose syrup, remaining butter and golden syrup in pan over low heat. Cook, stirring, without boiling, for 5-6 minutes or until mixture is glossy and sugar has dissolved.
5. Increase heat to medium-low. Bring to a simmer, stirring. Cook, stirring constantly for 4-5 minutes or until mixture thickens and comes away from side of pan. Remove from heat.
Stir in white chocolate until combined and melted. Spoon over fudge in pan. Set aside for 30 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 6 hours or until firm.
6. Cut into 2.5cm pieces. Serve.

Nutrition: None (mwahahaha)

choc caramel in pot  choc caramel setting

choc caramel choc in pan setting

choc caramel finished

Tips:
– Make sure you let the chocolate set for the full 30mins otherwise when you add the caramel mixture, they will blend and it will be wrong.
– You can see I had run out of pans at this stage, plastic containers will work just fine!

Thoughts:
So simple, so easy. So tasty. This fudge set really well.

Repeat Offender?
Yes! This one was very, very nice. The chocolate wasn’t overbearing and it was light and naughty. It has kept well, and will still be around for Christmas which is also great 😀

OMG I just had an idea….BACON FUDGE o.O

—————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

Peppermint Creams
(www.taste.com.au/recipes/564/peppermint+creams)

Ingredients
2 egg whites
4 cups (600g) pure icing sugar
1/4 tsp peppermint essence
400g good-quality dark cooking chocolate, melted – I used Cadbury Old Gold (70% cocoa) proper eating chocolate 😛

1. Place egg whites in a clean, dry bowl. Using a balloon whisk, whisk until frothy. Add icing sugar and peppermint essence.
Using a wooden spoon, stir until mixture almost comes together. Using clean hands, bring mixture together to form a ball.
2. Turn mixture onto a clean surface lightly dusted with icing sugar. Knead until smooth and not sticky. Work in extra incing sugar if necessary.
Place mixture between 2 large sheets of baking paper lightly dusted with icing sugar. Roll out until 1cm thick.
3. Line 2 large, flat baking trays with baking paper. Using a 3.5cm round cutter, cut rounds out of dough. Press leftover dough together and repeat.
Place rounds on prepared trays. Set aside, uncovered, overnight, turning over once to allow peppermint creams to dry out.
4. Half-dip each peppermint cream in melted chocolate (make sure chocolate is not too hot or it will melt the peppermint mixture). Return peppermint creams to trays.
Refrigerate until chocolate has set.

Nutrition: None XD

peppermint creams rolled out  peppermint creams cut out close

peppermint creams close up drying  peppermint cream dipping chocolate

Peppermint creams dipped and setting

peppermint creams finished

Tips:
– Have extra icing sugar on hand, YOU WILL NEED IT. And be generous with it otherwise you will end up with a hard, sticky cement-like mess all over your bench.
– Cover with a tea-towel whilst they sit out over night.
– Make sure the chocolate is cool enough to dip your finger in and feel no warmth, otherwise it will melt the cream.
– Use any shaped cutters you like, as you can see I chose Christmas Trees!
– When dipping in chocolate, don’t hold onto the creams to hard – they will just break off as they are so delicate. Also, don’t hang onto them for too long – body heat will result in the same thing.
– After adding essence, taste dough – add more if not peppermint-y enough (I did).

Thoughts: 
Surprisingly simple to make. I’m a HUGE fan of peppermint or anything mint. I always loved the Peppermint Creams you could get in the shop (are they still around??) and these gave me that same happy om nom nom feeling.

Repeat Offender?
Mhmm. LOL of course! Best thing about these, was that Eric isn’t a huge fan of peppermint so guess who gets to enjoy them!

—————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

And that was the end of Day One – The Assault.