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Archive for the ‘Recipes & Cooking’ Category

Comfort Food

Posted by MWPA on January 26, 2009

Carrot SoupCarrot soup is my ultimate comfort food. It is packed full of carroty goodness, carrots have been proven to help prevent heart disease, the Beta Carotene rich vegetable helps fight against cancerand macular degeneration which is an eye disease, it really does help improve your night vision with the vitamin A. It is said that  a carrot a day reduces the risk of a stroke my 68% and for diabetics, carotenoids help reduce blood sugar.

When ever my throat starts to hurt, or my nose gets stuffy I make a nice big batch of carrot soup to help me feel better quicker. Of course I don’t just save it for sick days, I actually eat this yummy soup all year round! Carrot soup is very easy to make, with very basic ingredients that keeps the cost down. I love my carrot soup with cheddar cheese sprinkled on top. you can view a bigger picture by clicking on the image to the left.

Here is my carrot soup recipe:

1 tbsp butter

2 cups freshly cut carrots

1 small (ish) Onion

1 1/2 tbsp plain flour

1 1/2 cups milk

2 1/2 cups of water

3 chicken boullion/stock cubes

Melt the butter in a large heavy saucepan, chop the onion and added to the melted butter. keep the butter and onion on low heat with the pan covered, chop the carrots, when you have 2 cups worth add carrots to the onion and butter, cover and allow to sweat on low heat until the carrots begin to soften, make sure you stir the ingredients often. Once the carrots are tender stir in the flour to absorb the juices-this will help your soup thicken too. Add the milk and water, bring the whole thing to a boil and add the three buillon cubes. keep the pan simerring for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once the carrots are nice and soft, take the soup of the heat and allow to cool slightly. Place in a blender, and blend until the soup is smooth. serve imidiatly or re heat when needed. top with cheader cheese for an extra kick.

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Dentist… and chicken stew with dumplings.

Posted by MWPA on January 6, 2009

003aSo I had my six monthly dentist check up today  and it seems that one of my teeth is becoming ‘soft’ so they want to fill it! the thought of going to the dentist scares so much-last time I made Will come along with me-this time I went alone-my dental hygienist knows I am terrified and is very nice to me. I have to go back another day for my filling appointment-and Will is coming with me, as the thought of the needles in my gum and drilling and filling, scares me-It probably is just the unknown that makes me nervous, but still-I am not very happy about the idea. My dentist is also talking me into getting my wisdom teeth removed-even though they are not causing me problems, he says that later in life I may get an over crowded jaw. I am still undecided if I will make an appointment soon for the wisdom teeth.

As my appointment was at 9am I decided to go back to bed when I got home, I intended just to sleep for a couple of hours, but some how my couple of hours turned into a full sleep and I re-woke at 2pm. I tidied the kitchen, walked Turk-the neighbors dog and tried to decide what to eat for dinner. I ended up boiling some chicken and then pulling it. ( I find this makes the chicken last more than one meal, as it appears like there is more chicken than there actually is.) I sauteed some onion and carrot in my new cast iron ceramic covered sauce pan, added some chicken stock, potatoes and then the pulled chicken and ended up with chicken soup/stew, using some pre-made refridgerated busicuits that I cut into quaters, I made a quick dumpling and simmered the whole mix until we were ready to eat. When we ate, it was yummy, and just what we needed as the weather was damp and cold today.

And now for the rest of the evening, I have some cleaning and tidying to catch up on, and of course I have to eat the cookie that I just pulled out of the oven!!

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Chocolate Squares

Posted by MWPA on November 6, 2008

chocolate-squares-001

These are moist sponge cake squares, The recipe is simple and basic, and all the ingredients will be in your baking cabinet. The recipe is as follows:

3/4 cup of sugar

1/2 cup butter

2 Eggs

1/2 cup flour

1oz unsweetened chocolate melted-next time I will use two as these are VERY sweet

1tsp vanilla

Heat the oven to 350 Cream the sugar and butter together, then add the eggs and vanilla. Sift in the flour gradually then stir the melted chocolate into the mixture, pour into a lined 8″x8″ pan and bake for about 25 minutes.

Picture taken with my 30d and 50mm 1.8 canon lens. bounced flash from a wall and a desk light. minimal processesing-sharpening and desaturation

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Eugh Rainy Day

Posted by MWPA on July 14, 2008

Yesterday was my first day at Best Buy, I think it went well, in the morning they had a big staff meeting with all the employes, its very strange to see so many people working at once, as I am used to  working with maybe 15 or 20 other employees not 50. I worked properly in the afternoon on the customer service desk, I mainly shadowed one of the senior employees, once I was set up on the computer I served two customers myself and then it was time to go home.

I was so tired when I got home, mainly for not sleeping well the night before, but also from getting up very early. so once I was home i had a nap, but then woke up with a head ache, so I was not very with it for the rest of the evening, I had an early night and felt refreshed this morning.

Its been rather a grey and dismal day today, really warm and humid with lots of rain showers so I decided we needed comfort food for dinner. This evening I made Chicken noodle soup, It was really easy, I boil a couple of chicken breasts then pulled them appart with two forks, I used a big heavy pan and melted some butter and added an onion a clove of garlic and carrots, I let them sweat together in the pan. once they had cooked for about 20 minutes on a low heat i added half a cup of milk and 4 cups of water i brought it to a boil and added two chicken stock cubes. I added the chicken back in to the pot and boiled until carrots were tender. I added the pasta and boiled for a further 10 minutes, then served it up with a home made roll. I did add Brussels sprouts to mine-but left them out of the main pot as Will doesn’t like them. It seems that spreading the chicken makes the chicken stretch further so we eat less and save money! We defiantly have enough food for tomorrow, I even made giant chocolate chip cookie for desert, and it was YUM!!!!!

This is Blackie, one of the cats at the cat shelter, I always find it hard to take pictures of black cats, so I was particularly pleased when this picture came out well.

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Carrot Soup

Posted by MWPA on April 23, 2008

If I think there is a small chance I may be coming down with a cold the first thing I do is make a batch of this delicios soup.

This is one of my favourite ‘feel good’ meals. it so easy to make even when you head is thick with cold you can easily prepare and cook it. The soup is a beautiful rich orange colour, which adds brightness to any meal.

1 tbsp butter

2 cups freshly cut carrots

1 small (ish) Onion

1 1/2 tbsp plain flour

1 1/2 cups milk

2 1/2 cups of water

3 chicken boullion/stock cubes

Melt the butter in a large heavy saucepan, chop the onion and added to the melted butter. keep the butter and onion on low heat with the pan covered, chop the carrots, when you have 2 cups worth add carrots to the onion and butter, cover and allow to sweat on low heat until the carrots begin to soften, make sure you stir the ingredients often. Once the carrots are tender stir in the flour to absorb the juices-this will help your soup thicken too. Add the milk and water, bring the whole thing to a boil and add the three buillon cubes. keep the pan simerring for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once the carrots are nice and soft, take the soup of the heat and allow to cool slightly. Place in a blender, and blend until the soup is smooth. serve imidiatly or re heat when needed. top with cheader cheese for an extra kick.

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Pasta sauce from a jar.

Posted by MWPA on March 25, 2008

I am a firm believer of cooking from scratch, no meals in a box or instant potato flakes for me.

I occasionally break my rule of cooking from scratch when I get a craving for Alfredo Sauce, I absolutely love Classico’s Roasted Garlic Alfredo Sauce, its the best garlicky Alfredo sauce on the available from the grocery stores, its great because it contains no black pepper so the flavour of the garlic is very noticeable. I even eat this sauce cold while I am waiting for the chicken to cook!

I cut chicken into cubes and cook in in a skillet with a small amount of oil, once the chicken is done I add the sauce so that it heats through, then I serve on a bed of spaghetti, its yum!!!

Will prefers the Creamy Alfredo Sauce which has a lot of pepper in it, so normally ill cook the chicken and then at the end before serving, Ill separate the chicken, so he has his favourite sauce and Ill have mine.

I have tried a couple of times to re-create Alfredo sauces, but so far nothing comes to the same standard as this one.

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MMM Cakes

Posted by MWPA on March 21, 2008

This is the Hershey’s recipe that I talked about making yesterday. The cakes came out beautifully, they didn’t quite look like the pictures on the Hershey’s web site, but they taste divine. The recipe was a little bit fiddly, I had to use three bowls, one for mixing the flour, salt, baking powder and cocoa, one for melting the butter and one for the egg and sugar mix. I hate making lots of utensils and bowls dirty as its more to clean up which is a pain. The cakes came together quickly and only needed a short time in the oven. The recipe calls for a mocha topping, but I thin these cakes are perfect as they are.

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Home Made Beef Burgers and Buns Accompanied by Home Made Leek and Potato Soup

Posted by MWPA on January 3, 2008


Thats One Tasty Home Made Meal!

This morning while I was thinking about what to make for dinner I decided that Leek and Potato soup would be lovely and warning on this cold January day, I wasn’t sure what to cook with it so I opened up the freezer and pulled out some ground beef hoping that inspiration would come, well it did, I decided to make burgers, but then realized we had no buns, so I looked through my bread machine recipe book for Burger Buns, of course I found a recipe, but didn’t have all the ingredients. After some searching on the internet I found a basic recipe and with some changes to the ingredients I came up with these buns:

Hamburger Buns

1 cup water
1 egg
3 cups bread flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup sugar
3 teaspoons yeast

Add ingredients to bread machine pan starting with the liquid ingredients first and salt, add dry ingredients leaving the yeast to last then select the dough setting on the bread machine.
When the dough is ready lightly flour a counter top and roll the dough into a 12″ long rope
Divide the rope into 8 sections and roll those sections into balls and flatten
Place the rolls on to a greased baking tray and cover, allow to rise in a warm place for 15 minutes or until the rolls have doubled in size.
Cook rolls for 10-12 minutes at 400, serve warm or wait to cool.

Hamburgers
1 small carrot
1 small onion
1/2 teaspoon Worcester sauce
1 tablespoon traditional ragu sauce
1 small pack ground beef

Grate the onion and carrot into the beef.
Combine the remaining ingredients stirring well
Divide the beef mix into four sections
Roll each section into a ball and then flatten
Cook your favorite way, I cooked mine on the foreman cooker as it was way to cold to cook on the grill outside!

Leek and Potato Soup

2 Leeks
1 small onion
6 medium potatoes cubed
2 cup milk
2 cup water
2 vegetable or chicken stock cubes
1 tablespoon butter

Melt butter in a large saucepan
Chop leeks, onion and 4 potatoes and add to the pan to sweat for 40 minutes, keep the lid on, the heat on low and stir occasionally.
When the vegetables are soft add in milk and water
Bring to a boil and add the stock cubes
When the stock cubes are dissolved and the vegetables are almost falling apart, take the pan off the heat and allow to cool
Using a separate saucepan bring the remaining two potatoes to a boil and cook until they are soft.
Drain those potatoes and put to one side
Use a blender to cream your soup until smooth then add the cooked cubbed potatoes.
Soup is ready to serve.

I like to top my soup with cheddar cheese and bacon bits, Will likes chunky soup which is why I add the 2 potatoes at the end, if you like smooth soup just add all the potatoes at the beginning.

This whole meal was incredibly tasty and very easy to make.

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The Best GIANT Cookie Ever!!

Posted by MWPA on December 30, 2007

Because my husband is almost the best husband a girl could have, he bought me the HERSHY’S cook book for Christmas, all I can say is WOW I love the book, the recipes are easy to follow and the book is full of wonderful colorful pictures.

The first recipe I have tried is the Giant Chocolate Chip recipe, its made on a pizza tray and cut in to slices, make sure you click the pictures to view the true chocolaty goodness of these cookies!

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The Best Yorkshire Pudding EVER

Posted by MWPA on December 10, 2007


On Friday I made a traditional English Roast Beef Dinner, We were getting low on food and I new I had a small beef joint in the freezer so I thought I would cook it up, the only vegetables I had left were carrots and potatoes, so thats what the dinner consided of, normally I would choose three vegetables excluding potatoes.

I made some very crispy, fluffy roast potatoes, I think they could have done with being in the oven just a little bit longer to brown off, but they were still very tasty. My two best parts of the meal were the Yorkshire pudding and the gravy made from the beef juices, it was so flavorful.

The Yorkshire pudding is the best one I have ever made, it was so fluffy and full of air, I now know the trick to these is making sure the oil/fat that is in the pan is very hot so the batter cooks as soon as it hits it.

I used Delia Smiths recipe that I have in my ‘Complete Cookery Course’ cook book

  • 3oz plain flour (75g)
  • 1 egg
  • 3fl oz milk (75ml)
  • 2 fl oz water (55ml)
  • 2 tablespoons beef dripping

Put the beef dripping into the dish and place in the oven at gas mark 7 /425 F/ 220 C
Sift the flour into a bowl, make a well in the center and break the egg into it, slowly beat the egg and gradually incorporate the flour, water and milk
Once the beef dripping is very hot (after about 15 minutes) pour the batter into the dish when the batter hits the dish it will look a bit like a pancake and start cooking immediately
The Yorkshire Pudding will take about 25-30 minutes, once its risen and is a nice golden brown it is ready to serve along side your roast beef.

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