Saturday, 4 October 2014

PB and J pancakes

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Peanut butter and jam pancakes - Steph's Kitchen

I don't know about you, but I LOVE peanut butter and jam sandwiches or toast.  It's so simple but oh, so good! Here in Australia we don't have the traditional fruit jelly those in the US have. I'm sure I can get it, but, being of English heritage, I grew up with a wide assortment of jams.

One morning Mr Steph and I were tossing around breakfast ideas.

"How about apple pie pancakes again? I really feel like that with butterscotch sauce," said Mr Steph.
"Sorry, hun. I'm out of butter ... " I said regrettably. "I really like the idea of pancakes, though ..."

I started thinking about different variations. I threw out the idea of Nutella pancakes, but Mr Steph didn't feel like it. Then I thought, why not create a pancake that tastes like something else Mr Steph loves: Peanut butter and jam.

It turned out a treat!

PB and J pancakes - Steph's Kitchen

PB and J pancakes

Makes approx 8 large pancakes or 12 medium pancakes

For the pancake batter

1 egg
1 1/4 cups milk or rice milk
1/2 cup plain flour
1 cup SR flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter

For the jam or strawberry coulis (sauce)

200 g frozen sliced strawberries. Fresh strawberries are OK also. If using fresh, add a tiny bit of water (no more than 1 Tbsp) to make more of a sauce, otherwise it'll just be a jam. As the strawberries cook, they will create their own liquid.

1/4 cup white sugar

Get your strawberry coulis on first. If you've never made one before, you'll find yourself making this all the time after this - adding it to ice cream, crepes or letting it go cold for a quick jam. You can use this same ratio or technique for any kind of berry sauce you'd like to make, such as blueberries or raspberries.

Add the strawberries and sugar (water also if using fresh strawberries) over a low heat. Allow to simmer and cook away while you make your pancakes, stirring every couple of minutes. Once the sauce is thick but still has a decent amount of liquid, turn it off and simply let it sit. If it's ready a while before the pancakes are done, simply add it back to the heat for a couple of minutes before serving so it's nice and hot.

For the batter, add all your dry ingredients into a bowl. Whisk up your egg in a small jug, adding your milk and mixing together. Create a well or hollow in your dry ingredients, and pour the milk and egg mixture into the centre. Mix to combine into a thick batter.

Now the magic ingredient: the peanut butter.

There's a couple of ways to add peanut butter into things. You can add it straight in, whisking until it combines - or whack it into the microwave for 20 seconds to soften it slightly. However you choose, mix the peanut butter into the batter until it's well combined. You want the batter to be thick but also still pourable. if you find it's too thick, add a little bit more milk until it gets to the consistency you like.

In a large pan, add in a little bit of butter over a medium heat. Once melted, swirl the butter around the pan so that the base is  well coated. To make large pancakes, take a 1/2 a cup measurement of batter and pour it into the pan. For medium size, use a 1/4 measurement.Using measurements like this also helps you get pancakes the same size and shape each side.

You know you're ready to flip the pancake
when bubbles appear across the surface.
The biggest problem people have with pancakes is knowing when to flip them, ending up with burnt pancakes or batter going everywhere in the pan once flipped. The trick is to look for bubbles appearing on the surface of the pancake. You are looking for small bubbles to appear all over, not  just around the edges.

Once flipped, the pancake will only need a little over a minute to be cooked on the other side. Remove the cooked pancake from the pan, add in more butter and another scope of pancake mixture.

Continue scoping the mixture until all the mixture is used, making sure to stir your strawberry sauce every so often.

You can plate your pancakes however you'd like. For the real peanut butter lovers, you could even spread some between each pancake. I know Mr Steph is just obsessed - eating it off spoons if I let him. If you love sweets like I do, you might want to add a little bit of sauce between each one or just add the sauce on top. Either way, you will have the family licking the plate clean!

Steph xo


Saturday, 6 September 2014

Homemade butterscotch sauce

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Butterscotch sauce - Steph's Kitchen

I have many good memories about this butterscotch sauce. My Mum used to make it all the time when we were kids. Her favourite was butterscotch sauce with spiced apples and crepes. It's still one of my favourites, and I hope to pass on the love of it to my children in turn.

It's a little different to other butterscotch sauces. The ingredients are all the same, but the method is slightly different - with the cream added at the end rather than at the start. I'm not sure why I make it this way, it's just how my mother taught me. I just thought it was the way you make it!

I've made this sauce for family and friends, and it's always a winner. It's also a star in my Butterscotch Cookie Sundae. I just try not to have it too often as it's a little bit naughty ... but all good things are naughty! I hope you enjoy as much as I do.

Butterscotch cookie sundae - Steph's Kitchen
Butterscotch cookie sundae

Butterscotch sauce

100g butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup cream

In a small pan or pot, place butter and brown sugar over a low heat. Allow it to melt, stirring occasionally to combine the butter into the sugar. Once completely melted, continue to stir until the sugar and butter are completely combined. You can increase the heat now slightly, to a medium to low heat, and allow it to slowly come to a gentle simmer. Allow it to simmer for a few minutes (3 - 5 minutes), stirring every now and then, until the sauce feels smooth, the sugar is completely dissolved and it is like a thick but pour-able syrup.

Take the sauce off the heat and allow it to stop bubbling before adding in the cream. Stir to combine, adding it back to a low heat until it thickens slightly.

And you're done.

Butterscotch sauce with crepes

It's great with ice cream, crepes or in a sundae. This butterscotch sauce is also used for sticky date pudding (on of my absolute favs!)

Steph xo

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Mustard and herb roast beef

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Mustard and herb roast beef - Steph's Kitchen

I love a weekend roast, but I know a lot of people are a little intimidated by them - leaving them to the Mums and Grandmothers of their world because they do them best. What a lot of people don't realise is if you follow a few simple rules, roasts can be pretty easy!

Once you know these roasting rules you'll find yourself experimenting with all sorts of combinations, like my roast chicken with apple stuffing.

Roasting rules-of-thumb

These are general cooking rules my Mum taught me which is always good to remember how long to cook your roast for. This way you don't need an exact size or have to use a recipe.

Red meat: Cook the roast an hour for every kilo (kg) at 180 C. Then rest for at least 20 before carving. This will give you a roast on the well done side, which is most people's preference. If you like it a little on the medium side, poke your roast with a skewer in the last 30 mins and check the colour of the liquid that comes out. You'll be looking for a almost clear liquid, with a little pink. If well done, you want the liquid to be clear.

White meat: Unlike red, white meats must be completely cooked through. As a general rule of thumb, cook your roast on 180 C for 40 mins for every kilo. Make sure you use a skewer before you remove it to check the juices running out are clear. If pink in any way, roast in 15min intervals until clear.

Rolled roasts: This is not something I was told, but something I have learnt from experience. If a rolled roast with a stuffing, I usually find that the usual rules above work fine.

If your cooking a rolled roast that is just all meat, you need to allow more time for it to cook. For white meat I allow an extra 20 mins per kilo on top of the ratios I've mentioned above. And for red meats, about 30 mins per kilo (if you are looking for well done). If you like it more on the medium side, no extra time required. Using the skewer to check before removing is a must, as depending on the size of the roast and thickness of the roll time may vary.

The roast I have for you is roast beef with a mustard and herb marinade. What I love most is you don't have to marinade ahead of time, and you can even just coat and roast straight away. It uses both Dijon mustard as well as seeded, with a combination of herbs and a little vinegar to give you a great flavour.

If you are thinking it might be a strong flavour, I can reassure you it is mild. I also love to roast mine on top of quartered onions for extra flavour. It also allows the roast to sit out of any fatty juices from the roast that usual pool around it in the pan.

Mustard and herb roast beef - Steph's Kitchen

Mustard and herb roast beef

Serves 4 adults

Mustard and herb marinade

3 Tbsp dijon mustard
1 tsp wholegrain mustard
1 tsp roughly chopped thyme leaves
1 tsp parsley
1 1/2 tsp olive oil / vegetable oil (whatever you like to cook with)
1 tsp white vinegar
1/2 tsp crushed garlic (1 small clove, crushed)
Generous amount of pepper

1 large brown onion, peeled and cut into quarters
1.5 kg sirlion rolled roast - have also used topside before and it it just as nice. You could really use whatever cut you would like.

In a small bowl add all your marinade ingredients, mixing until well combined. You could just smear this onto your roast but I've found a great (less messy) way of doing it using a large freezer bag. Yes, you heard me correctly! Grab a large freezer bag, add your roast into the bag and pour in your marinade. Remove the air from inside the bag and tie it off in a little knot at least 2 - 3 cm from the roast. To completely coat the roast simply move the roast in the bag, rotating until you are satisfied.

Now, you can leave the marinade on as little or as long as you like. You can do this the day before or in the morning and just pop it in the fridge until you need it. If you are a little impatient and don't have time, you can remove the roast straight away. I usually make it up at least an hour before so I know it's all done.

Pre-heat your oven to 180  C or 350 F.

In a large oven dish, preferably with high sides, place down your onions in the bottom of the pan in a sort of square. You want space between them but not too much. The placement will really depend on the shape of your roast. Once you find a position that you think will work, grab your roast (still in its bag) and place it on top. If you think it is in a good position to hold the roast up, then awesome. If need be play with it a little bit longer until you are happy. It's easier to do this now instead of when you have your roast out and it's all coated and hard to play with without making mess.

Mustard and herb marinade - Steph's Kitchen

Take the roast of the bag and place upon of the onion in the pan. I usually try to have a clean roast with as little oil/fat as possible as we find our tummies are thankful afterwards. As there is oil in the marinade, you don't have to add more oil if you don't want to. You can drizzle a little bit of oil over the top before placing it in the oven if you wish.

Using the cooking rule of thumb above, I cook mine for 2 hours 15 mins (1.5 hours for red meat + 45 as it's a rolled roast) as Mr Steph only likes well done roasts. If  I had my way I'd just do the 1.5 hours and have it medium. But you have to keep the "diners" happy, I guess!

Steph xo
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