Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Farmer's Bacon

1 1/2 lb ( 750gr ) slab of lean bacon
a few parsley stalks
6 black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
4 potatoes, cut into large chunks
4 carrots, thickly sliced
4 celery stalks, thickly sliced
chopped parsley to garnish

Cheese Sauce:

3 tbs butter
1/3 cup ( 45gr ) all-purpose flour
1 scant cup ( 200 ml ) milk
3/4 cup ( 90 gr ) grated aged Cheddar cheese
salt and black pepper

Put the bacon into a large pan, cover with cold water, and bring to a boil. Drain, rinse, and cover with fresh cold water. Add the parsley stalks, peppercorns, and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer very gently for 45 minutes.

Add the potatoes, carrots, and celery and bring back to a boil. Cover and simmer very gently for 20 minutes or until the meat and vegetables are tender. Drain, reserving the cooking liquid, and allow the bacon to cool slightly.

Remove all of the rind and fat from the bacon, cut the meat into bite-sized pieces, and arrange in a shallow oven proof dish with the vegetables. Keep warm.

Make the cheese sauce:
Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and gradually blend in the milk and 1 cup of the reserved cooking liquid. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens. Simmer for 3 minutes. Add 3/4 of the cheese and salt and pepper to taste.

Pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake in a 350F ( 180C )oven for 30 minutes, or until the cheese is heated through and bubbling. Garnish with the chopped parsley before serving.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005


8 wooden ice cream bar sticks
1 c. water
1/2 c. light corn syrup
1/2 tsp. red food coloring
8 sm. Red Delicious apples
3 c. sugar
1/4 c. red hot candies

Insert a wooden stick part way through the stem end of apples. Grease a large cookie sheet; set aside.

In a 2-quart saucepan, combine remaining ingredients. Over medium heat, heat mixture to boiling without stirring. Boil, without stirring, until candy thermometer reads 290 degrees, or when a little of the mixture dropped into cool water separates into thin hard threads, about 20 minutes.

Remove saucepan from heat. Tip saucepan, swirl each apple into mixture to coat. Quickly swirl apple over saucepan to allow any drips to fall back into the pan. Place apples on a cookie sheet to cool. Cool at least 1 hour before serving. Yield: 8 candy apples.


Yield: 4

McIntosh apples seem to be the classic apple to use for caramel apples but try Pink Ladies, Granny Smith or use your favourite apple.

Caramel Apples

* 1 1/3 cups light brown sugar, packed (325 ml)
* 1/3 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (75 ml)
* 1/2 cup 35% whipping cream (125 ml)
* 4 tbsp golden corn syrup (60 ml)
* pinch of salt
* 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (7 ml)
* 4 McIntosh apples or other tart apples, wash, dried
* 4 cinnamon sticks, popsicle sticks, dowels or clean twigs


Caramel Apples

1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Make sure to wash and completely dry the apples, give them a polish too - this will ensure the caramel sticks to the apple. Firmly insert stick into stem end of each apple. Set aside.

2. Add sugar, butter, cream, corn syrup and salt to a tall saucepan (the pan needs to be tall enough so the apple can be immersed in the caramel but smaller in width so you get the right volume to dip.) Over medium-low heat, stir the mixture until the butter is melted.

3. Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until the temperature reads 245 degrees F, about 9 minutes. The mixture will thicken. When the caramel has reached 245 degrees F. remove immediately from the heat and place the bottom of the pot in a stainless steel bowl (or larger pot) of ice water to stop the caramel from cooking further. Be careful not to get any water in the caramel. Remove caramel from the ice bath. Stir the vanilla into the caramel. Let caramel cool slightly to 200 degree F., about 5 minutes, before dipping.

4. Dip the apple into the caramel, holding the apple firmly by the popsicle stick. Be careful not to touch the caramel, it’s extremely hot. Slowly lift the apple out of the caramel letting the excess drip off back into the pot of caramel. Twirling the apple gently will help to remove excess caramel. Place apple on prepared baking sheet.

5. Note if all the caramel runs off the apple, let caramel cool a couple of minutes more. If caramel becomes too thick to work with, gently warm it over low heat for a few seconds.

6. Let caramel cool completely on apples before eating, approximately 30 minutes.

Pink Sprinkles Meringues

4 eggwhites
1 cup caster ( superfine ) sugar
2 tsp cornflour ( cornstarch )
1 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp strawberry essence ( optional )
pink food colouring
decorating sprinkles

Preheat the oven to 150C (300F). Place the eggwhites into the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until soft peaks form.

Gradually add the sugar, beating well between each addition until the mixture is thick and glossy. Sift the cornstarch over the mixture and fold through with the vinegar, strawberry essence, and a few drops of food colouring.

Line 2 baking trays with non-stick baking paper. Spoon 1/4 cup of meringue mixture onto the trays. Sprinkle with the decorating sprinkles. Bake for 30 minutes. Turn off the oven and allow the meringues to cool in the oven.

Makes 15.