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30 October 2006 @ 06:42 pm
So, I went into the kitchen last night to make some popcorn, when suddenly I realized I wanted to make bread pudding instead. ... Yeah.

3 cups stale bread, cut into 3/4" cubes
2 cups milk
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
4 tablespoons butter, melted
vanilla, cinnamon, cocoa to taste
1/3 cup each of chopped walnuts and chopped chocolate (or chips)
(note: this is my adaptation of a recipe that called for 1 Tablespoon vanilla, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, and 1/2 cup raisins, instead of what I used)
Preheat oven to 350oF
Pour the milk onto the bread chunks, and squeeze them to get the bread fully saturated. In another bowl, whisk (or use an electric mixer) the eggs and sugar until the mixture is thickened somewhat. Add the butter, then the flavorings and stir well. Mix the nuts and chocolate in with the bread, and pour the egg mixture over. Stir, and let the egg mixture soak into the bread, about 10 minutes or so. Pour the pudding into a greased/buttered baking dish and bake for about 45-50 min, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, or chocolate sauce =)
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22 October 2006 @ 11:01 pm
(This is a c&p from an old blog entry - pls excuse the somewhat florid style...)


Olive oil
A couple of big handsful of mushrooms
3 garlic cloves
1 yellow onion
1 stick of celery
Black pepper
Ground nutmeg
Balsamic vinegar

Parmesan cheese

1.Take a big pan, put it on a low-to-middling heat. Add a generous lump of butter, and a good glug of olive oil. Let them warm and ooze and mingle together until just beginning to bubble.
2. Peel three garlic cloves (cloves, NOT bulbs - you'd be amazed how often people mistake the two...), squish them a bit by putting them under the flat side of a knife and bashing down, and then add to the pan.
3. Finely chop a girl-fist sized yellow onion, and add when a delicate scent of roasting garlic begins to gently and deliciously assail your nostrils.
4. Finely chop a stick of celery, and add when the onion is just on the verge of becoming transparent. Stir together, and spend a moment reflecting on the fact that there are few nicer smells in the world than that of frying onions.
5.Add a few generous grinds of black pepper.

Under no circumstances should you allow anything in the pan to colour - nice and translucent is what we're going for here.

6. Take some mushrooms - common-or-garden white champignon style ones do very well, but I'm sure you could probably choose something more exotic should you so wish. I generally reckon on 6 or so champignons, about the size of the gap between thumb and forefinger when making an OK sign, per person. Do whatever it is you usually do to clean the mushrooms - wash, brush, or in my case, peel. Or just enjoy the extra texture that clods of mushroom soil bring to the dish. Whatever. Break the mushrooms into appetising-looking bits (I remember once reading in a cookbook that one should never slice mushrooms - it lets too much of the yummy juice out apparently - but I have no idea whether breaking is actually better than chopping. Personally, I just find chunks more visually attractive than slices. Also mushroom flesh is stupendously, almost indulgently, tactile, and deserves more attention than can be lavished upon it by the blade of a knife. And mushrooms make a great sort of popping noise when you break them in half. Never underestimate the power of all five senses when cooking) and add to the pan when the mixture therein has reached the stage where it warrants being called 'goey'.
Note: mushrooms suck up an inordinate amount of grease while cooking - so it might be worth throwing in another lump of butter. More pepper might be good at this point too.
7. If you poke about in the pan, you'll see the cloves of garlic you put in at the start, lovely and soft and golden and gooey. Fish them out, chop them up, and return to the pan. This might seem a bit of a round-about, not to mention messy, way of getting chopped garlic into a dish, but I've found that if I just chop it up right at the start the little bits tend to fry too hard and get a bit bitter, and I much prefer the gentle, almost roasted flavour, of letting them cook whole. And anyway, cooking's no fun if it isn't messy. If you're not a big garlic fan, just fish 'em all out and discard - they'll have had enough time in the oil to give a subtle kiss of flavour.
8. Add a pinch of ground nutmeg.
9. Pestle and mortar ahoy. Grind up and add about 3 allspice corns. Allspice has a wonderful, pungent, warming flavour, but it can be a bit overpowering - best to add in increments.
10. Put the kettle on. Get a mug and a stockcube (pick a flavour, any flavour, although probably not fish) and stand it upright on its narrow end in the cup. Add boiling water to just cover. Add to the pan when the mushrooms are beginning to turn a tiny little bit golden. Stockcubes are generally salty enough to banish the need for extra salt. Up to you, though.
11. Parsley. There is no such thing as too much parsley. Either chop up the hugest bunch of fresh parsley you can find, or about half a packet of the pre-chopped frozen stuff works just as well. Chuck in pan.
12. At the point when the mushroom juice and melty butter and stock are making a shallow sea of wonderous liquid in the pan, add some cream - proper cooking cream if you're fortunate enough to be in a country which sells such finesses, ordinary single cream if you're not. How much is again up to you, a dash will add enough creamy flavour to warrant its presence if you prefer a lighter sauce, or just keep on pouring if you're in decadent mood.
13. Put the pasta on to boil in salted water. The 5 minutes or so of cooking time should be just right for the sauce to reduce down to a consistency you like the look of, and if it starts getting too thick, rest secure in the knowledge that you can always add a bit more stock or a bit more cream if the situation should so demand.

Considering the huge volume of ingredients you started out with, the amount of what have turned out to be the-incredible-shrinking-ingredients now left in the pan is probably begging the response, "Is that it?", but trust me, the sauce is impressively flavourful, and you don't actually need that much per plate of pasta.

14. At the last moment, stir in a couple of dashes of Balsamic vinegar. And now taste the sauce, if for some reason you've neglected to do so before. Add a bit of something or other if you think it necessary, then serve with an arty sprinkling of fresh parsley if you're into presentation, and the best Parmigiano cheese you can afford.
22 October 2006 @ 10:50 pm
This is the bestest dessert recipe I've ever come across - I've made it countless times, and it never fails. It's been a closely guarded family secret up until now, so don't say I don't love youze guys! Enjoy!


200g dark chocolate
200g butter
3 eggs
2dl white caster sugar

1. Melt the butter and chocolate over very low heat, stir occasionally to make sure it doesn't stick to the pan
2. In a food processor (for preference, can also be done by hand with a balloon whisk, but it takes forever) whip the eggs and the sugar to a fluffy foamy consistency
3. Add the chocolate mixture to the egg mixture, stir very gently to blend
4. Pour the mixture into portion-sized ovenproof bowls/cups/ramikins
5. Put on a cold tray

This far can be prepared in advance - they'll sit happily in the fridge for a couple of hours

6. Bake for about 12 minutes in a 225C oven
7. When they're done, they will be puffy, crispy on the top and gooey in the middle. Serve with either a scoop of vanilla icecream on top, or a jug of single cream on the side. It's also nice to throw some fresh raspberries or blueberries on the top before serving.
22 October 2006 @ 08:41 pm
A variant on my username, from Suomynona in #mofirc led to the invention of this yummy cocktail! *clinks glasses*

1. Freeze a martini glass
2. Shake, very very briefly over minimal ice, lemon vodka (Absolut for preference), a dash of Angostura bitters and a dash of grenadine
3. Strain and pour
4. Garnish with either a lime twist, or if you're feeling adventurous, flame a twist of orange
5. Drink
6. Repeat ;)
26 September 2006 @ 11:45 pm

Some form of flat pasta - tagliatelle, bavette, linguini (the sauce stays on better on the flat varieties, but anything will taste good, obviously)
Red onion
Black olives
Tomatoes, either fresh, tinned or sun-dried
Olive oil
Black pepper

1. Put a large pot of well-salted water on to boil
2. Crush garlic, fry for a few seconds on medium heat
3. Chop the red onions, add to pan, fry until translucent
4. Add olives and tomatoes, allow to warm through on low heat
5. Cook the pasta according to instructions
6. Drain pasta, put back in pot. Add crumbled feta and the stuff from the frying pan, plus chopped parsley, a large knob of butter and freshly grated black pepper.
04 September 2006 @ 10:50 pm
Sorry, the Monkey Kitchen has been much neglected of late. Normal yummy vitamin-filled service will resume shortly.
14 February 2006 @ 07:10 pm
Or a party, or any other occasion when beans, cheese and tortilla chips sounds good. Crazy simple!

As my husband says, "step 1 through step 7: no fucking velveeta."

You need:
*a large bag of (unsalted) unbroken tortilla chips
*a can of refried beans (16 oz), or leftover refritos from another recipe. Try to get one that's already seasoned, or blend in your own (onion, cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, salt--a pakaged fajita seasoning would work too).
*sliced black olives, about 8 tbsp (one of those little cans)
*shredded cheese: you want a blend of cheddar and Monterrey Jack (better if there's some Asadero in there too). about a pound.
*a baking sheet or large glass cake pan
*salsa and sour cream, optional

so, picking up from step 7...

8. Preheat oven to 500 F
9. With a knife, spread a generous lump (approx 1 tbsp) on each chip.
10. Lay the chips on the sheet/in the pan so that they are touching. If it's a pan, you can lay them out in layers.
11. Once you have a layer (or a filled sheet), liberally spread shredded cheese.
12. Sprinkle black olives on top.
13. Place sheet/pan in oven and bake for 8-10 minutes. Pull before the cheese burns!
14. Serve with salsa and sour cream!

variation: brown up some ground beef in a saucepan and mix the beans in the pan. mix together, and then spread the mixture on the chips. be careful not to burn yourself!
14 February 2006 @ 07:43 am
They reckon this feeds 8. All I'll say is -- this makes a LOT of beans.

6 Slices bacon -- cooked
1 1/2 Cups onion -- chopped
1 1/4 Cups BBQ sauce
3/4 Cup beer, dark
1/4 Cup molasses, light
3 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 Tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
5 teaspoons chipotle pepper, mince
90 Oz Great northern beans, drained
1 Bunch parsley, chopped

Drain cooked bacon. Transfer 1/2 tbl bacon drippings to large bowl. Add onion and next 7 ingredients to bowl. Whisk to blend. Add peppers. Stir in beans.

Transfer to 13 x 9 x2 inch glass baking dish. Bake uncovered until liquid bubbles and thickens. Cool and serve warm. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.

Substitute marinated bell peppers for non spicy version.
03 February 2006 @ 07:36 pm
This was one of those "let's use up whatever's in the kitchen" type affairs that actually turned out really tasty, even though it sounds a bit strange...


Chicken breast, cut into strips
Garlic, crushed
Onion, cut into segments
Oranges, squeezed
Light soy sauce
Chili powder
Black pepper
Fresh coriander

1. Heat some oil in a high-sided pan or wok over high heat
2. Add the crushed garlic, let it sizzle for a few seconds
3. Add the chicken strips, closely followed by the onion.
4. Add chili and black pepper to taste. Let the chicken brown and the onion soften
4. Turn the heat down a bit, and add the orange juice and soy (I used the juice of four oranges, and I'm guessing about 3 tablespoons of soy, but YMMV)
5. Cover and simmer till the chicken is cooked through. Taste the sauce and add seasoning as necessary.
6. Just before serving, throw a couple of handfuls of the chopped coriander over the top.

Serve with rice.
31 January 2006 @ 02:30 pm
OK - we're a little past the season for these delicious muffins, but since it's the only recipe I've got access to here at work, I figured I'd share it.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

4 eggs
3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 cup applesauce (or use canola oil)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 15 oz can pumpkin
1 12 oz package semi-sweet mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Beat eggs and sugar. Mix in rest of the ingredients.
Spray muffin pans with non-stick cooking spray. Fill each section 3/4 full.
Bake in pre-heated oven approximately 20 minutes or until lightly browned.
Makes about 24 medium muffins.
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