Monday, July 12, 2010

Cook Hamburgers

Cook Hamburgers
  •  Ah, an American classic. This makes about four juicy burgers.

  • If the hamburger/vegetable mixture does not stick together well, add 1 tsp. vegetable oil to the mix.
  • A larger spatula makes it easier to flip the patties. Always use a plastic spatula on nonstick surfaces.
  • The vinegar, mushrooms and scallions add a nice taste, but you can make the beef patties without them if you like.
  • Use 85 to 90 percent lean beef. Ultra lean beef will fall apart in the frying pan.
1. Put minced scallions and chopped mushrooms in bowl.
2. Set stove-top grill or burner to medium-high.
3. Add red wine vinegar.
4. Preheat nonstick frying pan. The pan is the correct temperature when a drop of water dances on its surface rather than sticking to it.
5. Add ground beef to bowl.
6. Place patties in the pan and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
7. Flip patties and cook for another minute, and then add sliced cheese to the tops of patties if desired.
8. Mix everything together with your hands.
9. Cover pan and allow burgers to cook for a final 2 minutes. Cook 3 to 4 minutes for well-done burgers.
10. Flatten the beef into four patties that are 1/2-inch thick and 5 inches in diameter.
11. Remove hamburgers from pan and place in hamburger buns.
12. Add condiments and toppings such as ketchup, mustard, sliced tomatoes, lettuce, red onions and pickles.

  •  Cook burgers well to avoid any chance of E. coli poisoning. Elderly people, children and pregnant women are at particular risk for problems with E. coli.

cook french toast

Cook French Toast
  • French toast is a delicious  and classic addition to breakfast or brunch. It is an impressive breakfast dish, and it's easy to make. Neither particularly French nor toast, French toast is actually bread grilled in a mixture of eggs and milk. French toast is also a great way to use up bread that is becoming stale. In fact, older bread is actually better because it will absorb the egg/milk mixture without falling apart. 
4-6 slices bread
2 Eggs
1/2 cup Milk
Large, shallow bowl
1-2 tablespoons butter


  • Make the French toast batter. First, crack the eggs in the bowl. Then add the milk, and whisk the eggs and milk together. This simple batter is the secret to making French toast.
  • Prepare the pan. Grease the pan, and then place it over medium heat. Allow it to warm while you prepare the toast. Place a little butter in the pan right before you add the bread to keep it from sticking.
  • Dip the bread. Dip each piece of bread in the batter, making sure both sides are coated. Leave the bread in the batter for just a minute to allow time for it to soak into the bread.
  • Cook the French toast. Place the battered bread on the warm pan. Sprinkle some cinnamon on the top of each piece of French toast. When the first side begins to brown, flip it to allow the other side to cook. Make sure that both sides are cooked thoroughly since the batter contains eggs. It should take about 2-3 minutes on each side for the French toast to turn golden brown.
  • Serve. Serve your French toast warm, with a dusting of powdered sugar and some maple syrup. It is also delicious with applesauce or jam. French toast can also be served as a dessert with chocolate sauce, sliced strawberries, and whipped cream.
  • French toast is an easy yet delicious breakfast that takes just a few minutes to make. Elegant yet simple, it is perfect for breakfast in bed, a large brunch, or even a simple weekday meal. You can double or even triple this recipe; count on 2 pieces of French toast per person. If you are making a large batch, keep the finished slices warm by placing them in the oven at 200 degrees until you're ready to serve them.

Recipe French Fries

Recipe French Fries

  • Easy fast french fries made from scratch! These are the best fries you will ever have.
  • Season them to your taste - salt & pepper? Curry? Cayenne and chili powder. Fresh garlic. Grated parmesan. Spicy mustard. No matter how you trick out these chips, they're guaranteed delicious.

Potatoes - 1 per person is more than enough!
1qt/ltr cooking oil - peanut oil is best
 Seasonings - I just used salt, but this is where you can get creative!
Knife for cutting
Colander for rinsing
Pot for frying


  • If you plan to keep the skins on (why wouldn't you!), scrub the potatoes well.
  • Cut potatoes into 1/4" fry shapes. Or fatter if you like "steak fries." I like em skinny and crisp!
  • Rinse cut potatoes in a large bowl with lots of cold running water until water becomes clear.
  • Cover with water by 1-inch and cover with ice. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes and up to 2 days.

  • In a large pan (or an electric deep fryer), heat oil over medium-low heat.
  • If you have a candy thermometer (recommended), heat until the thermometer registers 325 degrees F.
  • Make sure that you have at least 3 inches of space between the top of the oil and the top of the pan, as the oil will bubble up when the fries are added.

  • Drain ice water from cut fries and wrap potato pieces in a clean tea towel and thoroughly pat dry.
  • Increase the heat to medium-high and add fries, a handful at a time, to the hot oil.
  • Fry, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are soft and limp, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Using a skimmer or a slotted spoon, carefully remove fries from the oil and set aside to drain on paper towels.
  • Let rest for at least 10 minutes or up to 2 hours.

  • When ready to serve the French fries, reheat the oil to 350 degrees F.
  • Transfer the blanched potatoes to the hot oil and fry again, stirring frequently, until they reach desired brownness, 1-5 minutes. I like em almost burnt, so I left them in pretty long.
  • Transfer to paper towels again and sprinkle with seasoning to taste. Serve immediately.
  • So so very yummy.


Cook Frozen French Fries

Cook Frozen French Fries
  •  These certainly don't taste as sinful as deep frying the fries, but it is an almost guilt-free alternative that tastes really good.
1 bag of your favorite frozen French fries (I like steak fries of the new "fast food fries")
nonstick cooking spray (preferable the olive oil stuff)
chili powder


  • Place fries in a plastic bag and spray thoroughly with cooking spray.
  • Shake for a minute or so to distribute the oil.
  • Place on baking sheet (I find a baking stone works best) and sprinkle lightly with chili powder, salt and freshly ground pepper.
  • Bake at 400 until slightly brown and sizzling.
  • Serve immediately.


Cook Baked French Fries

Cook Baked French Fries
1 large baking potato
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder

  • 1.Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).
  • 2.Cut potato into wedges. Mix olive oil, paprika, garlic powder, chili powder and onion powder together. Coat potatoes with oil/spice mixture and place on a baking sheet.
  • 3.Bake for 45 minutes in preheated oven.
  • This is an easy way to make a great side dish for burgers!"

Recipe Pizza

Recipe Pizza
  • A simple, homemade pizza - all made from scratch.
  • Please chose good ingredients (e.g. don't use cheap cheese) and you will have a pizza that is so much better than anything you can buy frozen.
  • One of these 11 inch pizzas comes in at under 2 pounds
500g flour (plain flour, we are using yeast here!)
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons dried yeast
1/2 teaspoon sugar

FOR THE PIAZZAIOLA ( the tomato stuff to cover the base )
one onion
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 clove of garlic
1 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
1 teaspoon oregano
a couple of leafs of fresh basil
1/4 teaspoon of salt
a pinch of freshly ground pepper

TOPPINGS (per pizza) (use any cheese and topping you like, this is just an example)
one mozarella cheese (also nice: reggiano parmesan and medium cheddar)
2 slices of parma ham
2 slices of salami

Oven, pre-heating, temperature,

  • The type of oven you will be using has a huge influence on the outcome of your pizza. The best oven you can use is the old electrical type oven where you can set the heat to only come from underneath - that is ideal for pizza. Gas and fan assisted electrical ovens aren't very good - you might end up with a soggy pizza with burned cheese on top.
  • Oven temperature should be full blast - whatever oven you have. Make sure to pre-heat for quite a bit that you really have the maximum temperature that your oven get attain.
  • I have a lovely Smeg cooker with two ovens - one fan assisted and the other one a "traditional" electric oven which I can set to only heat the underside of the oven which works great for pizza.
  • Alternatively, you can use something like a Cobb Barbecue which also works well as all the heat comes from underneath.


Put the flour into a bowl
Mix the yeast with the sugar and 50ml of the lukewarm water and stir, let sit for 10 minutes until it develops a nice foam on top
 Add the olive oil and salt to the flour
 This is what the yeast will look like after 10 minutes. Now add the yeast to the flour, oil and salt and add the rest of the lukewarm water (250 ml). Mix with your hands and knead until you have a smooth dough 
which should look like this! If you have any left-over dough, you can easily freeze it - I always make a bit more and keep the rest in the freezer for a quick supper
 Cover the dough with a clean, dry dish towel and let it sit for an hour.
 In the meantime, prepare a simple pizzaiola - chop the onion and the garlic, fry in the olive oil, add the tomatoes and the spices. Let simmer for half an hour to reduce the moisture, take a blender to it and then let it cool down.
  This is what the dough will look like after it has risen. Now is the time to preheat your oven to full blast.
  Take 1/3 of the dough ...
 and spread it out into the pizza pan with your fingers. Let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes so it can rise again. If you want a very thin and crisp base, roll out the dough with a rolling pin instead of spreading it with your fingers.
Chop the mozarella.
 Chop up your toppings - I'm using ham and salami here.
 Spread the piazzaiola - best done by putting it into the middle and then moving the pan quickly back and forth.
Put on your toppings ...
Don't overdo it on the topping side - stick with 2 or 3 toppings and don't put on too much. An overloaded pizza isn't any good.
 and then put on the cheese. Put into the pre-heated oven for approx. 20 minutes. If you find that your cheese starts to burn before the pizza base is done, put the pizza into the oven without the cheese for 5 minutes and then add the cheese - this is a hint I got from on Dianne Wilson - thanks Dianne!
 20 minutes later - and look at that
 Here is quite a different pizza - no pizzaiola, and lots of different vegetables with a cheddar cheese topping. Just to prove the point, we will bake this one on a Cobb barbecue 
This is the result after 15 minutes under the closed lid - an incredibly crispy pizza - made on a barbecue! No idea if this will work on any other kind of barbecue but a Cobb - let me know if you succeed on another one.


Cooking Light Pizza

Cooking Light Pizza
  • I absolutely love cooking. I try and home cook most nights of the week (as I do love eating out too!). If in need of recipes then Cooking Light Recipes are fantastic and we all know that the magazine is well illustrated, thoughtfully laid out and generally full of great information. But like any magazine they are a little pricey and I know I can’t always afford to pick a copy up. So where can you get free Cooking Light Recipes?
  • Luckily for us… The Cooking Light website is laden with loads of awesome free recipes for us to try ourselves at home. The website is also laid out nicely and thoughtfully, very much like the magazine.
  • You can find all sorts of recipes in many many types and for many budgets. There are even plenty of vegetarian recipes for people like me.
  • One of my favorite recipes from the Cooking Light website is the Spinach and Ricotta Pizza. It’s veggie, pretty cheap and feels like a much more high end meal than say mac and cheese or beans on toast (as us English eat)!
  • I do however make a few variations to this already awesome recipe. Here is the Cooking Light
1 portion Homemade Pizza Dough
Cooking spray
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 cup New York–Style Pizza Sauce
2 tablespoons grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cups loosely packed baby spinach leaves
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 1/4 cups (5 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
2 plum tomatoes, cored and thinly sliced


  • Firstly I use my own pizza base recipe that can be found here: Quick Flat Bread.
  • Then I use my own homemade tomato sauce but I simmer it for a little longer to thicken it up. Sometimes I blend it smooth sometimes I leave it chunky. This recipe can be found here: Spaghetti Sauce Recipe.
  • It’s really easy to make and can varied depending on what you have in the fridge.
  • They also have some other great recipes including burritos, pastas, salads and much much more. You can search here: Cooking Light Recipes.
  • So… have you made any of these meals or snacks using recipes found either in the Cooking Light magazine or website? As we all know they are almost always of the highest quality and if you make them as intended you will rarely get bad results…. If you do on any recipes I would love to know. I love making Pizza, Pasta, Curry, Mexican Food of all sorts and although I steer clear of them, I love the dessert recipes too. Especially chocolate based ones!
  • You may also be interested in another recent post of ours about Pampered Chef Recipes, another fantastic cooking and recipe resource.