Recipes - MISC.

A Guide to Potatoes

Worldwide, there are about 4000 varieties but here in Australia we only grow around 66 varieties. We will touch on just a few of the most popular ones but first a few tips on which sort for which job.

Potatoes basically come in two categories - Floury or Waxy. There are some that are now classified as all-rounders because they aren't overly waxy or floury lending to a greater variety of cooking methods.

Waxy potatoes are also known as new potatoes or boiling potatoes. They have a higher moisture content & less starch. They are translucent & moist to the touch, and often red-skinned.  They won't mash or fry well because of the high moisture but they stay firm and are great in salads, soups or stews where you want them to hold their shape.

Floury potatoes also known as old potatoes. They have a far higher starch content & are very low in moisture.  They are brighter to look at and drier to the touch. Because of this they will fluff up beautifully making them excellent for mashed or as baked potatoes. Great for chips BUT be sure to soak in cold water first and dry well before frying.

You will find that most potato varieties tend to be Waxy.

Remember to keep potatoes dry and in the dark. Do Not keep them in the fridge as the moisture in the fridge will turn the starch into sugar. Store them in a cardboard box or paper or hessian bag. NEVER in plastic bags.

Bintje : Small to medium size waxy potato with creamy yellow flesh. Nice in salads.
Bismark : Long & oval with a creamy white flesh. When young (waxy) they are great for boiling. When mature (floury) more suitable for chips.
Coliban : This is an "all-rounder" potato with creamy white flesh. Great for mashing, chipping & baking.
Desiree : Pink skin with light yellow flesh. This is a great potato as it sits in the middle of the waxy/floury scale. These potatoes can be used for baking, mashing, frying & boiling.
Dutch Creams : These are the Queens of potatoes with a taste to die for.  Large oval shape & creamy yellow flesh, best boiled or mashed.
King Edward : White skin with pink blotches, it has a creamy white flesh. This is a great "all-rounder", floury potato used best in baking, mashing, chipping, boiling but not recommended for salads.
Kipfler : These finger shaped waxy potatoes have taken off in a big way. It's creamy yellow flesh is best used in salads. Boil, steam or bake but not recommended for mashing or chipping.
Nicola : Long oval shape with firm buttery, yellow waxy flesh. Excellent for salads, mashing & gnocchi. Great for baking but not recommended for frying.
Pink Eye : White skinned with purple blotches, they have a creamy, yellowy waxy texture with a nutty flavour. Serve baked or boiled and they go well with lamb & duck.
Russet : An "all-rounder" excellent for baking, mashing & chipping. Don't bake in foil as this makes them very mushy.
Sebago : A "all-rounder" with white flesh. Great for boiling, mashing, baking, chipping & salads.
Toolangi Delight : Creamy white flesh and has a very fine skin which doesn't need peeling. This is an Australian developed potato and a great "all-rounder". Good mashed, baked or fried and perfect for gnocchi or dumplings.




Marinades

Why marinate food? Well it's all about adding flavour & texture to your food. There are wet & dry marinades, the wet being the most commonly used.

Wet marinades - usually include oils, juices, wines, yogurt, vinegar & syrups.

Dry marinades - usually are a combination of dried herbs & spices rubbed into the meat.

Alot of commercial wet marinades have a high sugar content, so be sure to check the contents or better yet avoid them & make your own with only a little sugar. Remember sugar burns very quickly & can ruin your food if not careful. If you are using any sugar be sure to cook the food very quickly as in stirfries. If baking in the oven be sure to use a rack to keep the meat off the base of the dish.

If using anything acidic like citrus, wine or yogurt remember the acid in these will begin to cook the meats and alter the taste. Better to use too little than too much. You can always add a squeeze of lime or lemon juice towards the end of the cooking.

Chinese - usually starts with soy sauce, rice wine, a little salt & sugar, some ginger & garlic & then what ever other herbs & spices you like.

Thai - usually  has fish sauce, coconut milk/cream, chillies, palm sugar, lime juice & again whatever other ingredients you like.

Indian - most often you'll find yogurt, garlic, chilli & the standard spices - cardamom, cumin, cinnamon, coriander, fenugreek & turmeric are used as well as any others you favour.

Greek - it wouldn't be Greek without olive oil, lemon juice, oregano & garlic

Italian - again with the olive oil, rosemary & basil.

Mexican - olive oil, vinegar, lime juice, garlic, coriander, cumin, black pepper, salt, chilli & oregano.

Of course there are many many more marinades, each culture has their own.


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Substitute for Corn Syrup


Ingredients

2 C sugar, 3/4 C water, 1/4 tsp cream of tarter, dash of salt

Combine all the ingredients in a large heavy pan. Stir as you bring to the boil. Reduce to simmer, cover for 3 min.

Uncover and cook til it reaches soft ball stage, stirring often.(about 20 min)

Cool syrup & store in jar at room temp. It should hold for a couple of months. If you live in the tropics, it might be best in the fridge during the hotter months.

For dark corn syrup add 1/4 molasses to the above ingredients.

It might be a good idea to get a lolly (candy) thermometer.

Makes about 2 C.


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Wormwood Moth Bags

1 cup of each dried herb :  wormwood, spearmint,  thyme, sage
4 cinnamon sticks

In a bowl, combine all the ingredients, crushing them together. Divide the mixture among small muslin bags, tie securely, and place in wardrobes & drawers.


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Mould in Showers

This tip is from the Queen of stain removals Shannon Lush's book 2.

Fill a spray bottle with a mixture of 1ltr water with 1/4 tsp of Oil of Cloves and spray on the mould. Wait 24hrs, then clean with a bicarb and vinegar mix with a toothbrush.  Rinse then spray with water and clove mixture again to deter the mould coming back.


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Jasmine & Rice Bran Body Soap (by ADD ADHA Help Center)

This soap is gentle enough to use everyday cleansing & softening the skin.

1 x 115 gm (approx) bar of castile soap (100% pure olive oil soap)
1/3 C soy milk
4 Tbsp rice bran
5 drops jasmine essential oil.

Shred the soap & set aside. In a heavy saucepan over low heat, warm the soymilk and gradually add the shredded soap til the mixture becomes a stiff mass, Remove the pan from the heat and add the rice bran and the jasmine oil, stirring til bran is evenly distributed. Spoon into a mould.
For larger body bars, double the recipe and use an empty milk carton as a mould. When set peel carton off and cut into desired thicknesses.

Castile soap is made from 100% olive oil and can be found in health food stores.


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Conversions

3 tsp fresh herbs = 1 tsp dry

1 Tbsp fresh = 1/4 tsp dried herbs

1/4 C = 4 Tbsp fresh = 4 tsp dry

1 Tbsp dry = 7-9 gms

1 Tbsp = 3 tsp

1 Tbsp = 20 ml

1 C = 250 ml

1 small onion is equal to 1 Tbsp onion flakes.

1 Tbsp onion flakes is equal to 1 tsp onion powder.

1/4 tsp ground cloves = 3 whole cloves

To every 2 Tbsp of carrier oil add 15 drops of essential oil - this will give you a 2.5% dilution

10 Cardamom pods = 1 1/2 tsp ground Cardamom



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A Guide To Mushrooms

Portobello -  strong flavour, dense texture

Shitake` - rich, woody, meaty texture - use in stir fries, soups

Oyster - delicate, soft, absorbs other flavours - use with chicken, seafood

White Cap - more flavour than button, firm

Enoki - mild, fruity, crunch - use in clear boths, stir fries

Swiss Brown - deeper flavour - use in pastas, rissotto, casserole

Button - mild, works well raw with dips or salads

Flat White - full bodied - ideal for stuffing & baking

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Eggnog

Ingredients

4 C milk, 1/4 tsp ground cloves, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, 1 tsp grd cinnamon, 12 egg yolks, 1 1/2 C sugar,
2 1/2 C light rum, 4 C light cream, 2 tsp vanilla extract, 1/2 tsp grd nutmeg

Combine the first 4 ingredients in a pan & simmer for 5 min. Then slowly bring the milk mixt to a boil.

In a large bowl, combine egg yolks & sugar. Whisk until fluffy. Then whisk hot milk mixt. slowly into egg mixt.. Pour into a pan & cook over medium heat for 3 min. stirring constantly or til it thickens.

DO NOT allow mixture to boil. Let cool for an hour.

Then stir in the last 4 ingredients. Refrigerate overnight before serving.

Yummy!

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Fenugreek Stuffing

Stuff your bird with this or serve it as a side dish with roasted meat or with a vegetarian meal.

Ingredients

3 Tbsp butter, 1 small onion-diced, 1 stalk celery-diced, 1 tsp plus 2 pinches of ground fenugreek, 4 slices toasted stale white bread-cut into small cubes, 1 Granny Smith apple-cored,peeled & diced, 1/2 C toasted pecans, 1/2 tsp salt, freshly ground pepper to taste, 1 egg, 1/2-1 C chicken or vegetable stock

Preheat oven to 180C. Coat a baking dish with non-stick spray or a sheet of foil, large enough to be doubled over to hold all the stuffing.

Melt butter in a fry pan over medium heat. Add onion, celery & 2 pinches of fenugreek. Stir til the onions begin to brown. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large bowl combine bread, apple, pecan, 1 tsp fenugreek, salt, pepper, egg & the onion mixt. Add 1/2 C of the chicken/veg stock. Mix well, then add rest of stock, depending how moist or dry & crisp you like your stuffing.

Transfer stuffing to a bird or the baking dish or wrap in a long log in the foil or all of the above. Bake approx. 20-25 min. again depending how crisp you like it.

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Spinach Balls Appetizers

Ingredients

350 gm spinach-fresh or frozen, 1 C breadcrumbs, 1 tsp mixed herbs, 1/2 C sliced green onions, 1/4 C grated parmesan, 3 eggs - lightly beaten, 1/3 C melted butter, a dash of nutmeg, salt & pepper to taste

Prepare spinach - if frozen as per pakage, if fresh - remove stems & stem til wilted 5-7 min. Rinse under cold water. Drain & squeeze out as much moisture as possible.

Preheat oven to 180C.

In a large bowl, combine spinach with the rest of the ingredients.Shape into small balls with the palms of your hands. Place on an ungreased baking sheet. (At this point you can freeze them for later)

Bake for 15 min til lightly browned.

Nice with your favourite dips.

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Thyme Rolls On

One of the wonderful recipes put together for National Herb Week a few years ago by Michael Bettler.   Quick & easy & yummy!

200 - 250 gm Philly cheese, 1/4 tsp dried thyme, 1/4 tsp dried parsley, (1 Tbsp of each if using fresh), 1/2 tsp crushed garlic

Blend all ingredients. Roll into 3 cm diameter log in glad wrap or baking paper or foil.  Refrigerate over night. Slice into wheels & serve on crackers.



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Banana Chips


Slice green bananas into 5 mm thick slices.  Put slices into hot oil, stirring while cooking.  After 1-2 min add 1 tsp salt. (Don't worry it won't splatter).  Do this after every second batch.

Remove chips when golden brown.  Drain on paper towels.  Toss in ground turmeric.

When chips have cooled completely, store in an air tight container or they will go soggy.

To refresh chips, heat in a hot oven til crisp.


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Curry Bites

Ingredients
1 C cooked rice, 1/2 C milk, 2 large eggs, 150 ml self raising flour, 1 1/2 tsp curry powder, 1 1/2 C potato- peeled & grated, 1 1/4 C onion - finely grated, 1 C cooked chicken - diced, 100 gm tin kernel corn - drained, 1 Tbsp parsley - chopped, salt & pepper to taste, oil for frying
In a food processor, combine the rice, milk, eggs, flour & curry pwd. Blend for 1 min. Place in fridge & chill.
In the mean time, place the potato & onion in a bowl, cover with boiling water and leave for approx. 3 min. Drain & pat dry with paper towels.
Remove the rice mixture from fridge, add potato/onion, chicken, corn & parsley. Season with salt & pepper.
Heat oil in fry pan, drop spoonfuls of mixture into hot oil. Fry for about 4-5 min, til golden & cooked.  Drain on paper towels. Serve. Makes about 20 - 30 bites, depending on the size of your spoon.

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