What to Buy at the Tupperware Party

Wondering what to buy when you’re next invited to a Tupperware party?

My recent purchase and current favourite Tupperware product is the Smooth Chopper.

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I had baulked at buying a Smooth Chopper for years as they aren’t cheap. At $80, there was always something else I could find that I needed that came in a little cheaper. But after a run of parties I had pretty much worked my way through the slightly less expensive ‘must have’ Tupperware.

So here are the reasons why I love the Smooth Chopper.

1. A quick and easy way to make a soffritto – the finely diced, carrot, onion and garlic base for a spaghetti bolognese.

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2. A great way to chop herbs evenly. Perfect for cutting curly parsley for tabouli salad.

3. A portable mini food processor for camping.

4. No more crying when you dice onions.

5. Super easy pesto maker, chopping and blending herbs, nuts, garlic and oil.

And that’s just using the blade attachment. I haven’t even tried the whisk yet! But apparently it’s fantastic for sauces, mayonnaise and chocolate mousse.

So what’s your favourite Tupperware purchase?

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Middle Eastern Starters

Last weekend we held a Middle Eastern dinner party. As a starter I made two favourite starters – labne and dukkah. 

I’ve never attempted to make any sort of cheese so I was very much looking forward to making labne. The recipe I used was fine, but I don’t think it called for the natural yoghurt, the main ingredient, to be left to separate for long enough, leaving the labne a little too moist. I’ve included below a much better recipe. The surprising part about making labne is the minimal ingredients involved. You just need time – most of which involves you doing nothing at all. And the dukkah was sooooo simple.  I can’t believe how easy it is – you’ll never buy it again once you’ve made your own!

Labne
from taste.com.au

1.5kg thick Greek yoghurt
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs rosemary
2 sprigs oregano
2 garlic cloves
2 cups (500ml) extra virgin olive oil, preferably Greek

Place yoghurt in a bowl with 2 teaspoons sea salt and stir to combine. Lay muslin on a workbench, place yoghurt in centre, then gather up muslin sides and tie with string. Suspend the ball over a bowl – we found the best way to do this was to tie the ball to a wooden spoon, then rest the spoon on the top of a bowl, allowing the ball to hang down. Leave to drain in the fridge for 3 days. Discard the whey that has drained out, remove yoghurt to a bowl and discard muslin. Roll yoghurt into golf-sized balls, lay on a baking tray and refrigerate for 3 hours to dry out. Place in a sterilised preserving jar with herbs and garlic, cover with oil and seal. Leave to marinate for 24 hours. Keep for up to 1 week.

Dukkah
from taste.com.au

110g (2/3 cup) hazelnuts
80g (1/2 cup) sesame seeds
2 tbs coriander seeds
2 tbs cumin seeds
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp flaked sea salt (like Maldon brand)
Extra virgin olive oil, to serve
Crusty bread, to serve

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Spread the hazelnuts over a baking tray and cook in preheated oven for 3-4 minutes or until toasted. Rub the hazelnuts between a clean tea towel to remove as much skin as possible.

Place the toasted hazelnuts in the bowl of a food processor and process until coarsely chopped. Transfer to a large bowl.

Heat a medium frying pan over medium heat. Add the sesame seeds and cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes or until golden. Add to the bowl with the hazelnuts.

Place coriander seeds and cumin seeds in frying pan over medium heat, and cook, stirring frequently, for 1-2 minutes or until aromatic and seeds begin to pop. Transfer seeds to a mortar and pestle. Pound until finely crushed (alternatively, use a coffee or spice grinder). Add the crushed spices, pepper and salt to the hazelnut mixture and mix well.

Serve dukkah with some extra virgin olive oil and crusty bread.

I love rolling the labne in the dukkah. Yum.

The Highly Versatile Kitchen Appliance

I have lots of appliances in my kitchen – food processor, Kitchen Aid mixer, ice-cream maker, juicer, Bamix, rice cooker, slow cooker…the list goes on. My appliance shelf in my pantry is full so I had officially stopped buying new appliances. There could not possibly be one more appliance that I needed.

Then…in the planning for our upcoming camping trip…my husband suggested an electric frypan (yes, we have a powered site) would be handy. I found the Sunbeam Family Banquet on sale for only $57.  Great price, but really…another appliance? I ummed and ahhed and figured for that price I could give it a go. And, guess what, I’m hooked.

I’ve cooked picklets.

 

And spaghetti bolognese.

And roast pork and vegetables.

And hoisin pork (from the leftover roast) with rice.

And – I only bought it on Sunday afternoon. I love it! What a great appliance.  I believe it is even possible to cook creme caramels and popcorn in the electric frypan…but not necessarily together.

So, what’s your favourite kitchen appliance?

Prolonging Life and Staying Fresh

I love fresh ginger, and it possibly does help to prolong life and stay fresh, but this post is actually in reference to keeping the ginger’s life long!  It seems to shrivel up around here quite quickly but I’ve just found out how to extend its life, at least a little…keep it in an airtight glass jar in the fridge. Simple!

The Best Steak Marinade

I love marinades for steak and I think I might have found my favourite yet courtesy of Mia on the Jamie Oliver website. Here’s her recipe, and at the end my steak marinated and ready to cook.

Ingredients
2 stalks rosemary
bunch fresh thyme
1 garlic clove
handful of sweet cherry tomatoes
2 small red dried chilies
juice of 1 pretty juice lemon
handful basil
sea salt
fresh ground pepper

Method
This is a simple marinade that builds upon the tomato and garlic base. The best thing to do is to quickly blitz the marinade together earlier (the night before, or in the morning) and then give your meat a chance to marinate for a good 3 hours. Cover it and set it in the fridge until 1 hour before you’re ready to grill. Let it stand at room temp until you’re ready to go!

Tip: Gently poke the meat with a fork all over before applying the marinade.

This recipe will marinate 2 good-sized steaks (250 grams each).

I doubled the recipe to marinate this much steak.  The end result was really spectacular. Full of flavour and very tender meat (although it may have been tender to start with!).

Spider Cup Cakes

Today my boys are having a sleepover at their cousin Jeremy’s house. Will decided it would be nice to make some spider cupcakes to take.  So we whipped up a batch of cupcakes using the super recipe from the pink cupcakes I made last week. Then we got to decorating. I still had a little rolled fondant left from my Dad’s caravan cake. We put this on the cupcakes as the base and then used clinkers for the body, licorice for the legs and Skittles and silver cachous for the eyes. 

They are very cute…but not transportable. The chocolates and licorice just kept sliding off so Will decided he would just eat the spider cupcakes now and we’d make Cherry Cupcakes for Jeremy and Hamish instead.

I hope Jeremy didn’t see this blog post!

Slow Cooked Lasagne

My great friend Katy gave me a recipe not so long back for lasagne made in the slow cooker.  I’d never attempted anything like this in the slow cooker so I was keen to give it a try. Yesterday was perfect – we were heading out for Halloween trick or treating and I really wanted dinner ready when we returned.

Of course – when I checked the recipe I didn’t have most of the ingredients so I had to do a little improvising.  Here’s the final recipe that I used…including substituting the beef mince for my devine Silverwood Organics lamb mince (have you ordered yours yet???).

Slow Cooked Lasagne

2 cloves garlic
1 x 400g can whole peeled tomatoes
1 x 400g can spicy tomato soup
500g organic lamb mince
1 whole carrot
½ capsicum
1 zucchini
fresh herbs (rosemary, parsley, chives, oregano)
1 cup hot water
250g small lasagne sheets

Topping:
2 tsp cornflour
1 large egg
¾ cup milk, sour cream or mixture
1 cup grated tasty cheese
paprika, optional

Turn the slow cooker on to HIGH to preheat and coat the bowl with non-stick spray.

Put the garlic, carrot, capsicum, zucchini, (I peel mine so the kids don’t notice it in there!) and fresh herbs into the food processor and wizz until finely chopped.  Add canned tomatoes and wizz again. Combine these vegetables with the mince, canned soup and hot water. Mix well to combine.  

Spread one third of the meat mixture evenly over the bottom of the slow cooker bowl. Place half the lasagne sheets over the meat. Repeat the layering with another 1/3 of the meat mixture, the remaining pasta then cover with the remaining meat mixture.

To make the topping, mix together the cornflour, egg, milk/cream and cheese. Pour this over everything in the slow cooker and sprinkle with paprika (optional).

Turn the slow cooker to LOW and cook for 8-9 hours.

 

 The verdict: absolutely delicious. Not quite the same texture as traditional lasagne but really beautiful. The house was filled with the most amazing smell when we arrived home from trick or treating. And everyone’s plate was empty at the end of the meal (despite all of the lollies that had been gobbled up on the way home!).

Thank you Katy for sharing your fabulous recipe – I’ll have to make sure I have all of the right ingredients next time!