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Kitchen Antics

We Unattached and unencumbered, solo, uno people have to be able to look after ourselves, and the first tier of manslows heirachy of needs is food.
Food can be damn good, if you do it right, and with a bit of creativity, courage and flair. You can also steal ideas from restaurants, and execute them at home. it’s not that hard, surprisingly enough.

    Healthy Choice 1000W kitchen mixer ebay australia review unboxing Lenoxx MMX150

    A new recent WP_20170909_13_19_02_Proacquisition from eBay that arrived last week  is the bargain "Healthy Choice" branded 1000W power kitchen aid style stand planetary action kitchen mixer with 5lt stainless steel bowl, splash guard, egg whisk, mixing beater (k beater), dough hook and for some reason, a plastic spatula.  (Who knows why they bothered with a spatula!)

    The instruction manual was even useful because it was written in understandable English for once!

    The mixer also goes by the name of the Lenoxx 100oW MMX150
    It was a present for the lass, who dearly wanted to make up a very special cake.

    When picking up the box from big W using the very convenient click & collect service, we were a little concerned that the box the mixer came in was made of old cardboard and duct tape... but inside, the normal retail box was revealed, with the packaging still sealed, suggestive that we had received a brand new item for our money, as had been promised.(phew!)

    WP_20170909_13_05_37_Pro  The machine inside the retail box was well packaged, with moulded styrofoam, and silky plastic baggies on all accessories, cords etc to prevent scratching, so it easily survived it's probable role as the ball in the aussie post and woolworths distribution centre football match it probably went though on the way to its destination.

    Visually and aesthetically, it's a handsome machine, especially considering the bargain sub-$150 pricetag, and that we used one of ebay's regular 20% off discount codes when using paypal.

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    Build quality is not half bad for the price, with thick cast alloy attachment accessories (pictured above), a stainless bowl of a decent gauge which is not flimsy, and a pretty solid and high quality feeling "business end" on the planetary mixing action (see image below), and thoughtful design additions like VERY VERY sensitive and sticky suction cup feet, which, to my amazement, somehow even managed to develop a death like grip on the lightly oiled chopping board I initially perched it on for inspection.

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    WP_20170909_13_22_28_ProMy only criticisms are fairly minor, in that the outer case of the machine itself and it's controls aren't of particularly heavy weight plastic-all the quality engineering and manufacturing budget for the machine clearly went into the essential working parts.

     

    I'd say if it fell off the bench, or you were a bit rough with the controls there's no doubt that it would end up cracked or broken- it's not built for an abusive environment.

    That said, most people look after their appliances, and it has those amazing sticky feet I mentioned earlier which would prevent any inadvertent kitchen kamikaze antics from this device- there's no way it can "walk" and buck off the bench while unattended.




    Notes on operation-

    The control dial indicates four key speeds of operation- off, MIN, MID, and MAX, with about 10 apparent graduations in between, creating a theoretical 40 speed mixer.

    In practice however, the mixer has about SIX main speeds, and the dial is digital, not analog in nature- What does this mean in english though? i.e. the position of the dial dictates a "target" speed for the machine- unlike on old sunbeam units like your grandma probably still uses, where moving the dial INSTANTLY feeds extra power immediately to the motor, or brakes the motor immediately, the digital controls on this machine are a fair bit more indirect- there are probably some fancy electronics in there which protects and STOPS the motor from being overloaded, or braking too sharply, causing damage to the motor and drivetrain- a very good thing!

    What this ultimately means though is that this machine should last longer because the way the chef dials the controls abruptly simply cannot cause damage to the machine- it protects itself from abuse.

    For example, smashing the dial up to MAX, from stationary, with the dough hook wodged in some very thick cake batter, will result in the machine Sloooowly working up to maximum speed at a rate that isn't bad for the motor- the inbuilt intelligence in the unit also makes the mixer less prone to stalling when working hard, overspeed, or overheating.

    Healthy choice mixer MMX150

    Australian standard electrical compliance and manufacturer status.

    Upon turning the machine over, a clearly legible, silver sticker on the base shows an RCM mark, which should be a clear indication that the machine has been professionally tested at an accredited test lab, and paperwork relating to the safety of the machine has been compiled- the mixer is clearly NOT a dodgy grey import, of questionable quality that is likely to kill you through electrocution, or burn your house down.

    The RCM mark, and the fact that the machine was imported by a reputable electronics company, Lenoxx, which has been around for a long time gives the consumer a great deal of confidence that this is a quality and safe product, whose manufacturer warranty is likely to be honored if there is a problem.


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    BFC - Ballarat Fried Chicken. The dirty rat Vs Dirty Bird.

    WP_20170709_18_24_50_ProBallarat Fried Chicken. The Name pretty much says it all.This is no ripoff of of the dirty bird's secret spices- its a whole new original effort, tangy and spicy, inside and out, with marinaded tenderized chicken, encrusted in a crispy and spicy coating.

    Easy as pie to make at home- and takes very little effort or skill thankfully.

    Yes, there is salad in this pic, but that's 100% optional.

    The differing point in this recipe is the use of breakfast cereal biscuits for a very coarse and crispy crumb finish, mixed with delicious spices.

    Crushed weetbix, becasue of its sharp and angular crumbs achievesa very good, and thick adhesion to the chicken meat- far superior to traditional breadcrumbs as the edges stick into the meat quite nicely.

    Key Ingredients:

    • 3 Large chicken breasts
    • 7+ bricks of Weetbix or budget equivalent
    • Cup of corn flour
    • 2 Eggs
    • 1/2 cup milk
    • 500ml rice bran oil for frying

    Suggested Special equipment:

    • Steak griddle pan (ridged base)

    Spice & marinade ingredients:

    • 3 Dried chillies
    • 1 large lemon
    • 3 colour grinding pepper
    • Sea salt
    • Sesame Oil
    • Sesame Seeds
    • Cooking rice wine (sake)
    • Centuries ahead Mexican spice mix (Salt, onion, oregano, chilli, garlic, thyme, cumin)
    • Centuries ahead Pepper steak spice mix (unknown composition)

    Suggested salad:

    • handful Leafy green fancy salad mix
    • half of a slightly underripe pear
    • 8 cherry tomatoes
    • Salt + pepper (on tomatoes)
    • liberal shaving of Gran padano hard Italian cheese
    • small handful of black grapes.
    • splash of balsamic vinegar

    Method:

    Step #1- meat preparation & marination

    1. Cut chicken breasts thinly into 3cm wide strips (or larger if so desired) and tenderise lightly with a mallet
    2. Place chicken meat in a large bowl with a tightly fitting lid
    3. Cut lemon, squeeze juice onto bowl of meat, stir gently.
    4. slice skin of 1/2 of the lemon thinly, then dice vigorously, add to bowl
    5. dice chillies, add to bowl
    6. add spice mixes to desired strength
    7. introduce 4 tablespoons of sesame oil to bowl
    8. add sesame seeds
    9. splash in rice wine / sake
    10. stir meat gently, ensuring spices sesame seeds, and lemon pieces are distributed evenly
    11. cover, and place in fridge for 30mins +

    step #2 Preparation of batter & crumb, frying.

    1. Break two eggs into a cup, and whisk with a fork to break and mix white & yolks, add milk to thin.
    2. Add in salt, pepper & spice mix to taste.
    3. Pour spicy egg batter mix into a large, shallow dinner plate or bowl
    4. Crush weetbix biscuits by hand in fists into a shallow dish- mix of fine and course pieces is best.
    5. Mix cup of corn flour with wheat biscuit crumbs, and add spices, salt, pepper to taste.
    6. Dip marinaded chicken meat into egg mix, then transfer to crumb plate
    7. Pat crumbs firmly into the marinaded, battered chicken.
    8. Pour rice bran oil into steak griddle pan till 1cm deep over high point of ridges.WP_20170709_18_06_52_Pro
      1. Griddle pan is best for shallow frying- the ridges discourage sticking, and ensure good oil coverage on bottom of chicken pieces.
      2. Shallow frying is ideal, as care needs to be taken to ensure crumb does not fall off chicken pieces.
    9. Use tongs to carefully hand shallow fry each chicken piece.
    10. Place chicken pieces on absorbent paper toweling after cooking to ensure a crisp and less oily finished product- pat dry with paper on the top side also.
    11. The finished product shudl be golden, crispy, spicy and delicious
      1. great on it's own with a dipping sauce, or cut up, in a salad, if you are feeling guilty and bloated after eating most of the chicken straight from the pan once its cool enough to bear

     

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    Cross continental, Subcontinental Burger

    This burger recipe took inspiration from my father and grandmother, who always made the most succulent, tasty hamburger patties and rissoles I had ever known when I was growing up.

    The point of difference is the concept of what a hamburger should be. burgers are more than just meat!

    If you walk into Mcdonalds, or most other fast food venue that serves American style hamburgers and cheeseburgers, with or without the lot, and various other delicious additions, the meat pattie is just that, MEAT, meat, and more meat. It's bland, unseasoned, and invariably, not that appetising.. especially if you have known and had better.

    The meat pattie that goes into an american hamburger should contain more than just minced and formed meat, with possibly a few disturbing additives, only known by their number codes, to hold the pattie together.

    Greek restaurants seem to have the right idea- their rissoles contain onions, spices, vegetables, sauces and herbs... and they do it well. I could never really remember the exact classic taste to replicate it, so i decided to make my own personal version.

    Ingredients:

    • 2 large brown onions
    • 150gms Short cut bacon
    • one tablespoon cumin seeds.
    • One large carrot
    • 1/2 zuchinni (optional)
    • 3 cloves garlic
    • 500gms quality lean mince
    • 4 Tablespoons sesame oil
    • 1/4 cup strong Japanese Sake Rice wine
    • 3 tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
    • 3 tablespoons tomato sauce (optional, can cause blackening during frying process due to sugar content)
    • 4 Heaped tablespoons sesame seeds
    • 2 heaped tablespoons Strong Sri Lankan Hot curry powder (leela brand is good)
    • One tablespoon mixed Italian herbs
    • One tablespoon Oregano.
    • 3 eggs
    • One cup breadcrumbs (variable)
    • Rice bran oil for frying and cooking as necessary

    Method:

    Finely dice the onion and bacon, and garlic, Peel, and finely grate the carrot, mix well in a large mixing bowl to make the initial

    Lightly fry well mixed ingredients in rice bran oil on high, then medium heat till reduced and caramelized, then lay out flat on a cold plate or ceramic dish to cool.

    Put mince in a large mixing bowl, and stir in Balsamic vinegar, Rice wine, sesame oil and Sesame seeds, then three whole eggs, Italian herbs, oregano and curry powder.

    Stir thoroughly, then introduce the cool pre-fried herbed onion and bacon mixture tot he mix and combine well.

    Add breadcrumbs until mixture becomes "pasty" and smoother in texture, denoted by the firm, but not crumbly peaks and smooth surface the mince will form when the back of a metal spoon is run firmly though the mix.

    The consistency of the mix is very important for burger making- the mince, bacon and vegetables must be well bound together by the egg and breadcrumbs for the burger pattie to hold together, and "squash" nicely, without cracking or getting misshapen when cooking.

    Form balls of mixture around 3/4 of the size of a tennis ball, and place in a hot, heavy based frying pan with around 4mm of rice bran oil, and press down with a slotted flat ladle or other suitable implement to create the classic flat, round burger pattie. Cook each side till dark brown, and place on absorbant paper to drain and cool.

    Serving suggestion:

    Ingredients:

    • Large Burger roll
    • Hot yellow English mustard
    • Thousand Island cocktail sauce
    • Pickled Jalipenoes
    • Polish Gherkins
    • Cheddar cheese

    Burgers are best served hot, with hot, yellow english mustard spread thinly over the inside of the burger roll like butter, with cheese, pickles and jalapenos wither side of the pattie, then heated till the cheese melts- a microwave does the job best.

     

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    Artisan Home baked Fruit banana bread of Ballarat

    This bread is a bit special because it uses a special yeast starter culture derived from brewing- the sediment and liquids from a ginger beer plant, and a long, slow fermentation process, and its super easy to make, even for novice bread maker like myself.

    I like eating this for breakfast, and it makes a great start to your day.

    artisan_fruit_bread_ballarat

    Ingredients:

    400gm Flour

    250 brewed ginger beer plant and sediment slurry

    Handful of dried raisins or Sultanas

    Dates (optional)

    4 overripe bananas, mashed

    Tablespoon Cinnamon.

    50 grams whole-seed and ancient grain protein breakfast topper mix (i.e. 24/7 brand)

    4 Tablespoons sugar

    100ml + milk

    Method:

    1. Combine flour, sugar and ginger beer plant slurry in a large mixing bowl.
    2. Mix in sultanas, cinnamon and other fruit including bananas.
    3. Mix in seeds and protein breakfast topper mix sparingly- clumps, and surface seeds are great in this bread.
    4. Add milk if necessary to fully combine into a sticky dough consistency that is not too dry.
    5. Let stand, covered with a tea-towel for at least 2 hours, but preferably 12-24 hours for the yeast to consume the sugars and ferment.
    6. Shape mixture into a cobb loaf form (round) on a flat baking tray.
    7. Bake for 35-45 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius in a fan forced oven.

    This bread is quite heavy and rich, slice thinly, and toast in the toaster, server with a glass of milk or hot earl grey tea, and is great for breakfast.

    The bread will keep at room temprature and refrigerated for a number of days, but is nicest on the first day of course.

     

     

     

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    Cheapest and easiest cheesecake with solid biscuit base

    Cheesecakes are among the easiest cakes to make at home, and produce very impressive professional Berry_cheesecake_home_madelooking results.

    A common recipe is to use crushed shop bought biscuits for a crumbly, loose base at the bottom of the pan.

    That looks like too much work to me!

    I'm quite a fan of shortbread, and incidentally, it makes an incredibly good base for a cheesecake-

    Instead of crushing up packets and packets of  fairly ordinary tasting biscuits, par baking some awesome shortbread tartshells for your cheesecake yourself can produce a much more impressive result.

    Adjusting the amount of sugar in the recipe will result in a harder, or softer, more crumbly base effect: more sugar= harder, less = crumbly and buttery.

    Makes up to 2 large 30cm tart pan cheesecakes.

    Ingredients:

    Shortbread:cheesecake_base_cream_butter_sugar

    225 gms Butter

    110 gms Rice flour

    125 gms Raw, or caster sugar (raw is cheaper)WP_20160818_17_10_21_Pro

    260 gms sifted plain flour.

    Method:

    1. Soften butter in the microwave for 30 seconds or so in a large mixing bowl.shortbread_cheesecake_base_big_flan_tart
    2. Introduce sugar, creaming the butter with the sugar
    3. Tip in rice flour, combining well
    4. Gradually add in flour, mixing well.
    5. The mixture should be slightly dry, crumbly, and certainly  not doughy in appearance; and the crumbles should not have a greasy sheen.
    6. Spread crumbly mixture into tart trays, pressing shortbread_cheesecake_base_small_tartdown firmly to create a smooth surface that is around 5-7mm thick.
    7. Lay extra crumbles around the edges of the pan, pressing firmly against the edge, form a crust of 3-6mm thick.
    8. Bake at 180 degrees for ~25 minutes, till golden brown.shortbread_cheesecake_base_finished_product_big_smallshortbread_cheesecake_base_method_part2

     

     

     

     

    Cheesecake:

    Ricotta cheese, available at most supermarket deli counters, at $7-$9/Kg is cheaper and produces a better result, but packaged mascarpone or phillidelphia can also be used

    Ingredients:

    700gms ricotta cheese

    100gms sugar

    3 large eggs

    400gms berries, cherries or chopped fruit

    Maple_pear_cheesecakeAlternate fillings can be oranges, pears, apples and cinnamon, drissled with maple syrup

    Method:

    1. Crack 3 eggs into a large mixing bowl.
    2. Break egg yolks with a fork, and scramble.
    3. Add in sugar and cheese.chilli_maple_syrup_ricotta_cheesecake
    4. Mix thoroughly, consistency of egg/cheese should be liquidy and sloppy, like thick Greek yoghurt.
    5. pour cheese mix into par baked shortbread tartshells, whose tart pans have not been removed.
    6. Sprinkle fruit over surface of cheese filling liberally, patting down where necessary.
    7. Bake filled shells for 35-45 minutes at 180 degrees, or until exposed fruit looks jammy and sticky.

    Let cool on racks, and pop tarts out of the pans when warm, but not hot.berrry_maple_syrup_pear_chilli_cheesecake_ricotta

     

     

     

     

     

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