You Gotta Eat
You Gotta Eat
Malcolm Maclean
Buy on Leanpub

Welcome!

Hi there. What were you thinking downloading this book?

Really…

Were you expecting to;

  • Become a better cook?
  • Improve your health?
  • Feed your family for less?
  • Lose weight?
  • Did you download this by mistake thinking it was something to do with a Raspberry Pi?

If any of the above were your motivators, I have some bad news…

This book has been written solely for the purposes of making sure that I keep the recipes for the food I like to cook in a single place. I suppose that you might find some of it useful, but as a fair warning, I want to make sure that you know what you’re getting yourself in for.

I expect that like other books I have written (or are in the process of writing) it will remain a work in progress. Books should be living documents, open to feedback, comment, expansion, change and improvement. Please feel free to provide your thoughts on ways that I can improve things. Bearing in mind that this will only happen if I can turn it into something that I want to eat.

I’m sure most authors try to be as accessible as possible. I’d like to do the same, but this is a list of instructions for food that I like to cook. Unless I have mistakenly included arsenic as an ingredient instead of aniseed, we’re probably not going to chat on a regular basis. In case I’m mistaken or something serious slips up in the typesetting, you can contact me at;

Email: d3noobmail+yougottaeat@gmail.com

In the unlikely event that you really want to try some of these recipes you should know a few things.

Firstly, I am cooking this in New Zealand (Yes, Lord of the Rings, Sir Edmund Hillary, rugby etc). That means that I will probably use ingredients that you might not have heard of or there might be terms that are unfamiliar or used differently (for example, ‘lemonade’ and ‘scones’ will mean quite different things to Americans than Kiwis).

Secondly, we use the metric system in New Zealand (with some quirky hold-overs from the imperial past) so brace yourself for the prolific use of grams and millilitres.

Lastly, I’m going to try and fit each recipe onto a single page so that I can print it out when I cook. In New Zealand, the standard paper size is A4, so that’s the size that the page for the book is set to.

The cover art is part of ‘The Gourmand’ by Louis Leopold Boilly

Grapefruit Juice

If your grapefruit tree has an large amount of fruit on it, this is an easy way of using them up and making a refreshing fruit drink.

Ingredients

- 10 litre bucket of grapefruit - ¾ cup sugar
- ½ cup of boiling water  

Instructions

Squeeze the bucket of grapefruit. This should produce approximately a 2 litres of grapefruit juice. It’s a good idea to squeeze directly into an empty 2 litre ice cream container and then transfer this to a jug suitable for storing in the fridge.

Measure the sugar into a container that can withstand boiling water.

Measure and pour the water into the sugar. Stir until it dissolves and let cool to room temperature.

Pour the sugar water mix into the jug of grapefruit juice.

Let the juice chill in the fridge and then enjoy.

Iced Chocolate

It might seem fairly basic to make an iced chocolate, but there are little things that can add flair.

This also serves as a great base for an iced mocca and a little touch of ground ginger is a nice touch.

Ingredients

- 2 scoops vanilla ice cream - 1 cup (approx) milk
- 1 tbsp drinking chocolate - 2 tsp icing sugar
- ½ tsp ground ginger (optional) - 1 tsp instant coffee (optional)
- cinnamon (for sprinkling) - whipped cream (in a can)

Instructions

I prefer to make my iced chocolates in a pint glass. Mainly because it’s a really good size to get a stick blender into for mixing.

Add the ice cream, drinking chocolate, icing sugar and any optional extras into your pint glass (or suitably large drinking vessel).

Add just enough milk to allow the blender to still get into the glass and do it’s thing without making an unholy mess when activated. Seriously, this can get messy. Blend until thick and well mixed.

Add more milk to bring the mixture up to close to the top of the glass. Give the mixture a stir to combine.

Add your whipped cream in a suitably swirly pattern.

Sprinkle some cinnamon lightly on the cream and stick a straw in it.

Margaritas

Obviously this is an alcoholic beverage, so drink responsibly.

Ingredients

- 60 ml tequila - 15 ml triple sec liqueur (Cointreau)
- 90 g Passion-fruit syrup - 3 dashes of orange biters
- 160 g ice - 70 g chilled water

Instructions

Measure all ingredients into a blender.

To make life easier (for the ingredients measured by weight), place the blender container on a set of scales, zero it and then add the ingredients noting their weight. I use a cheat-sheet that adds up the expected weights so that the process is nice and easy. Like so….

Start 2 drinks 3 drinks
160 g ice 160 g 240 g
70 g chilled water 230 g 345 g
90 g Passion-fruit syrup 320 g 480 g

Blend until slushy. You can vary the amount of ice and water to vary the consistency between flavoured ice to pure liquid.

Be aware that the passion-fruit seeds will introduce small black pieces to the mixture. These are not offensive and add to the effect when held in suspension in the icy slush.

For an extra little bit of fancy, cut open a lime or lemon and rub the juice around the outer edge of the rim of the glass you will be serving in. Then rotate the still damp edge through some salt. This will give a nice salty tang to compliment the tequila.

For extra-extra fancy, place a wedge of lemon or lime on the edge of the glass.

Makes enough for two margaritas.

If you want to make one using passion-fruit pulp, you will need to do make a few alterations to the ingredients, but the instructions are the same.

- 60 ml tequila - 15 ml triple sec liqueur (Cointreau)
- 60 g Passion-fruit pulp - 3 dashes of orange biters
- 190 g ice - 40 g water & 50 g sugar mixed

I dissolve the sugar in boiling water and then let it cool before mixing the ingredients.

Barbecue Sauce

This sauce is the accompaniment that can be used in the barbecue pork chops and nachos recipes.

Ingredients - Barbecue Sauce

- ½ cup tomato sauce - ½ an onion, finely grated
- 1½ tbsp Worcester sauce - ½ tsp smoked paprika
- 2 tbsp Dijon mustard - 1½ tbsp brown sugar

Instructions

Simply mix the ingredients together and place in the fridge before use.

Blue Cheese Sauce

Blue cheese sauce is a popular side sauce, salad dressing, pizza sauce and dip. It pairs well with a number of ingredients like chicken, lamb, garlic bread and corn. It has a simultaneously sweet and tangy blue cheese flavour.

Ingredients

- 60g Spreadable Cream Cheese - 100g Mayonnaise
- 80g Blue Cheese, Crumbled - 1 tsp Lemon Juice
- 1 tsp Onion Powder - 1 Garlic Clove, Crushed
- 2 tbsp Honey  

Instructions

Simply blend all the ingredients together and place in the fridge before use.

Burger Mayonnaise

Plain mayonnaise is a great accompaniment to many a fine meal, but to give hamburgers a good flavour component, use this mayonnaise in its place.

Ingredients

- 100g Mayonnaise (Bests) - 100g Tomato Sauce
- 2 tsp Mild American Mustard - 4 tbsp sweet relish (Barkers Onion)
- 3 tsp white wine vinegar - 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder - ½ tsp smoked paprika

Instructions

Just combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Mix with a fork and deploy as required. When included on a burger, use this to coat the underside of the topmost bun.

This can also double as a dipping sauce.

You can leave refrigerated for a couple of weeks in a covered container.

Russian Dressing

Russian dressing is a type of mayonnaise / dressing that is a great accompaniment to a variety of different foods such as seafood and for dipping chips in. However, my favourite use for this awesome condiment is as a central ingredient in a Ruben sandwich.

Ingredients

- ½ cup Mayonnaise (Bests) - 2 tbsp Tomato Sauce
- 2 tbsp Lemon Juice - 2 tbsp Sweet Relish (Barkers Onion)
- 1 tsp Worcester Sauce - 1 tsp Onion Powder
- 1½ tsp Salt - ¼ tsp Smoked Paprika

Instructions

Just combine all the ingredients in a small bowl. Mix with a fork and deploy as required.

You can leave refrigerated for a week in a covered container.

White Mustard Sauce

This makes a thick, creamy, mustard-y sauce that is ideal for pairing with corned beef.

Ingredients

- 1 Egg - 2½ tbsp Sugar
- 1 tbsp Plain Flour - 1 cup water or reserved juices of slow cooked corned beef
- 2 tsp Dry Mustard Powder - ¼ cup Malt Vinegar

Instructions

Beat the egg and sugar together in a small pot. Gently warm and mix in the flour and the mustard powder. Gradually stir in the reserved juices / water. Continue to simmer on a low heat until the sauce thickens to a desired consistency. Add salt / pepper if desired.

Caramelised Onions

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that caramelised onions are a meal unto themselves. That being said, if done right, it will be hard to stop eating them. Always remember… They are a condiment, not a main!

As such they will make a great accompaniment to steak or hamburgers.

Ingredients

- 3 Large Onions - 1 tbsp Butter
- 2 tbsp Brown Sugar - 1 tsp Balsamic Vinegar

Instructions

Halve and slice the onions. Place into a pan with the butter and heat over a low heat for approximately 20 minutes or until they become clear, soft and golden. If the onions appear to stick to the pan at any point feel free to add a little water (or beer!) to free them up.

Add the brown sugar and vinegar and continue to cook for a further 5 minutes or until the sugar has dissolved and the vinegar has reduced. The end result (which you should taste to check) will be a sweet, chutney-ish flavour.

Feel free to use straight away, although it will keep for a couple of weeks in a sealed container in the fridge.

Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut is a finely cut fermented cabbage. It is essentially pickled with salt and its own brine. Once prepared it will stay ready to eat in the refrigerator for many weeks.

Ingredients

- 1.5 kilo Medium Sized Cabbage - 1½ tbsp Salt
- 1 tbsp Caraway Seeds  

Equipment

- Large Mixing Bowl - 2 litre Wide-Mouth Jar
- Cloth for covering the jar, such as a tea-towel - Rubber band for securing the cloth
- Smaller jar that fits inside the larger jar  

Instructions

Make sure your jars are thoroughly clean. Wash your hands too.

Discard the outer leaves of the cabbage. Trim out the core. Cut the cabbage into small, very thin ribbons.

Place the cabbage into a bowl and sprinkle the salt over top. Massage the cabbage with your hands. The cabbage will become watery and limp over 5 to 10 minutes. Mix in the caraway seeds.

Pack the cabbage into the jar. Pour any liquid released by the cabbage while you were massaging it into the jar.

Once all the cabbage is packed into the jar, fill the smaller jar with water and slip it into the larger jar to weigh the cabbage down.

Cover the mouth of the jar with a cloth and secure it with the rubber band.

As the cabbage releases its liquid, it will compact. If after 24 hours, the liquid has not risen above the cabbage, dissolve 1 teaspoon of salt in 1 cup of water and add enough to submerge the cabbage.

Ferment the cabbage for 3 to 10 days away from direct sunlight and at a cool room temperature — ideally 18°C to 24°C. Check it daily and press it down if the cabbage is floating above the liquid.

Start tasting it after 3 days - when the sauerkraut tastes good, remove the weight, screw on the cap, and refrigerate.

While it’s fermenting, you may see bubbles coming through the cabbage, foam on the top, or white scum. This is normal. The scum can be skimmed off the top either during fermentation or before refrigerating.

Sauerkraut is a fermented product so it will keep for at least two months if refrigerated.

Sweet Potato Mash

This is an excellent alternative to mashed potatoes. Very tasty. Especially nice with slow cooked pork belly.

Ingredients

- Enough sweet potatoes for four - 50 g butter
- 50 g sour cream - 4 cloves finely chopped garlic
- ½ cup finely grated parmesan - salt and pepper to taste
- milk (optional)  

Instructions

Peel and cut the sweet potatoes into roughly 2cm chunks

Boil the sweet potatoes with a little salt until they are soft enough for mashing(approximately 30 minutes).

Add the butter, sour cream, garlic, parmesan and some salt and pepper to taste.

Mash to produce the desired consistency, adding a little milk if required

Honey Ginger Chicken

As a tasty treat to eat by themselves or as part of a larger meal.

Ingredients

- 850 g Chicken (approx). Nibbles or Drumsticks - 6 tbsp Honey
- 1½ tsp Crushed Ginger - 3 x tbsp Soy Sauce
- Sesame Seeds for Sprinkling (optional)  

Instructions

Pre heat oven to 180 degrees.

In a small bowl mix the honey, crushed ginger and soy together into a thick consistency.

Leaving the skin on, toss chicken in plain flour, coating thoroughly.

Line a baking tray with foil and place a rack on top with chicken laid out evenly. Place in oven for 7-8 minutes, until just starting to brown.

Remove from the oven, baste with the sauce. Rotate the chicken with tongs, baste on sauce to the underside, so that the chicken is completely coated, then place back in oven for 7-8 minutes.

Repeat this process until all sauce applied, this should take approx 60 minutes. NOTE: There should be minimal chicken juice leaking into the baking tray during the cooking process, the honey sauce should help lock / contain the juices within the chicken.

Optional: sprinkle some sesame seeds over the chicken, then lightly grill the chicken for a couple of minutes.

Test cut the chicken, its juices should flow out clear.

Rest the chicken for 2-3 minutes. During this time the outside of the chicken will start to harden slightly as the basting will have caramelised.

Serve end enjoy!

Thanks for the recipe Dan!

Lamb and Blue Cheese Pizza

The instructions below will make a couple of 12 inch round pizzas. They don’t go into making the pizza base or dough. Feel free to buy some, or make it from scratch. The real key to success here isn’t the base, it’s the topping.

Ingredients

- 2 x 12 inch pizza bases - 150 g Caramelised Onions
- 200g Grated Tasty Cheese (approx) - 500 g Lamb Schnitzel (or similar)
- 100 g Tomato Based Pizza Sauce - 120 g Blue Cheese Sauce
- Salt to taste  

Instructions

Fry the Lamb quickly on a high heat to brown the outside, but no more. Chop it into smallish bite size pieces. Once finished, place in a bowl to drain the fat and let cool

Pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees C.

Lightly oil your pizza tray and place your bases on it. spread your pizza sauce on the bases leaving a thin space around the rim.

Sprinkle the grated tasty cheese evenly on the bases.

Arrange the lamb and caramelised onions evenly on the bases.

Drizzle the blue cheese sauce on the pizza and then sprinkle salt to taste.

Place in the oven for approximately 20 minutes or until the base is golden brown and obviously cooked.

Maple Bacon Pizza

The instructions below will make a couple of 12 inch round pizzas. They don’t go into making the pizza base or dough. Feel free to buy some, or make it from scratch. The real key to success here isn’t the base, it’s the topping.

Ingredients

- 2 x 12 inch pizza bases - 100 g tomato based pizza sauce
- enough baby spinach leaves - 800 g streaky bacon
- ¼ of a red onion, finely chopped - 100 g (approx) cream cheese
- 100 ml maple syrup - a little bit of parmesan cheese

Instructions

Chop the bacon into smallish bite size pieces and lightly pan fry. Don’t get too enthusiastic with the frying since you will be putting it in an over later. Once finished, place in a bowl to drain the fat and let the bacon cool

Pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees C.

Lightly oil your pizza tray and place your bases on it. spread your pizza sauce on the bases leaving a thin space around the rim.

Place the baby spinach leaves on the bases. Try to cover the area which has sauce on it.

Sprinkle the bacon in an even covering and then do the same for the onion.

Place a bunch of dollops of cream cheese artistically on the top of the pizza.

Drizzle the maple syrup across the entire pizza. Use your best judgement as to how much depending on your sweet tooth and the absorbency of the base.

Spread a little pit of finely grated parmesan cheese across the top.

Place in the oven for approximately 20 minutes or until the base is golden brown and obviously cooked.

Nachos

A timeless meal classic. There are plenty of variations on this theme which might include salsa, guacamole, a little more chilli heat or similar. Go nuts. Add whatever takes your fancy. This should make enough for four servings

Ingredients

- 500 g beef mince - 1 red onion
- 2 cloves garlic - 400 g can of mild chilli beans
- 400 g can of tomatoes - 2 tsp salt
- ½ cup sour cream - 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp ground cumin - 2 cups grated, tasty cheese
- 1 bag nacho chips - ½ cup barbecue sauce

Instructions

Break up and brown the beef mince in a hot, lightly oiled pan. You’re looking to create a bit of caramelising on the surface of the beef.

Finely chop the onions and add to the pan. Reduce the heat to medium. Continue to cook for 5 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, garlic, salt, paprika, cumin and barbecue sauce. Break up the tomatoes in the pan with a wooden spoon or similar. Bring to a simmer and continue to cook for a further 5 minutes. I can recommend using the barbecue sauce from the recipe included in this book.

Add the chilli beans and continue to simmer with only gentle stirring (avoiding ‘mushing’ the beans, until you get the mixture reduced to a consistency where there isn’t an excess of liquid.

Plate up the chips with a ‘well’ in the middle to accept our mince / bean mixture.

Sprinkle some cheese over the chips and then add the desired quantity of mince / bean mixture. Sprinkle some more cheese over the mince to complete the effect.

Either place under the grill for a couple of minutes or so to melt the cheese or pop each plate into the microwave for a minute to do the melting thing.

Place a reasonable dollop of sour cream on the top and dig in!

Reuben Sandwich

A Reuben sandwich is a variation of an American grilled sandwich. It is made to be a meal and will be quite thick. This is a very tasty treat, but could require that you prepare a number of other dishes first. Such as sauerkraut, Russian dressing and corned beef.

Ingredients

Vary these based on the number of sandwich’s that you intend to make. There is a lot of flexibility with the volumes, so feel free to experiment.

- Thick Sliced Bread - Butter
- Tasty Cheese - Corned Beef
- Sauerkraut - Russian Dressing

Instructions

Lay the two slices of bread out and butter both pieces.

Onto one of the pieces of bread layer the following;

  • Cheese
  • Corned beef
  • Russian dressing
  • Sauerkraut (wring as much of the brine out of it as practical)
  • Cheese (again)

Now place the bread (butter side down) onto the stack. At this point it is pretty much a sandwich without the toasting.

So that you can toast the bread with butter, while the sandwich is on the bench, spread butter onto the top piece. Then carefully flip the entire thing and place it butter side down onto a frying pan on a medium-high heat.

While it’s in the pan, carefully butter the newly exposed top of the sandwich.

Once the bottom is a nice golden brown, carefully rotate the entire thing so that you are toasting the other side.

Once the second side is browned, you should be seeing some cheese melting in the sandwich which is a good sign that you are on the right track.

Enjoy!

Pork Belly on Rice

This is a very tasty main dish that should serve four people.

Ingredients

- 1 kg pork belly cut into 1cm blocks - ½ cup sugar
- 2 cups water - ½ cup soy sauce
- 4 tbps white wine vinegar - 1 onion, sliced
- Enough rice for four people  

Instructions

In a heavy bottomed fry pan, add the sugar, pork belly, water, soy, onion and vinegar.

Heat over medium to medium high heat. gently stir regularly to allow the meat to cook thoroughly. You’re aiming to simmer the mixture to allow the meat to cook and the remainder to reduce to a thick sauce. This should take around 50 minutes.

Put 1 cup of rice and 2¼ cups of water into the Tupperware rice cooker. Cook on high in a microwave for 16 minutes (serves four).

Place pork on top bed of a bed of rice. perhaps accompany with some mixed vegetables. Don’t be a heathen.

Rotisserie Pork

This recipe is essentially for the baste that can be applied to a rolled pork on a rotisserie on a barbecue. Don’t let the simplicity of the idea fool you. This is a seriously tasty way to cook a rolled pork and it can feed a good number of people.

Ingredients

- 70g melted butter - 1 tbsp salt
- 1½ tsp Worcester sauce - 1 tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp black pepper - ¼ cup lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
- A couple of shakes of mixed spice - 1.5kg rolled pork

Instructions

Melt the butter in a small bowl and then mix in the remainder of the ingredients.

Get the barbecue ready and up to a temperature of about 170 - 180 degrees C. I have found success using the middle three burners on a medium setting.

Fix the meat to the rotisserie. Try to add some extra scoring to the skin if possible (a scalpel is good here) as this will allow the fat to render out better.

Ready the meat by applying a light coating of the basting mixture before putting into the barbecue.

Cook for approximately 2 hours ensuring that the meat reaches 71 Degrees C internally (use a meat thermometer). If you have a larger cut of meat, it will take longer. I have cooked a 2.8kg for 3 hours and it was perfectly done.

During the cooking process baste the meat every 15 minutes or so. Don’t leave the top off the barbecue for too long while basting as it will reduce the effective heat.

If you want to optimise the crispiness of the skin, crank up the temperature of the BBQ for 15 minutes to around 250 degrees C just before finishing. You might also need to stop the rotisserie from turning.

For a larger cut of meat, increase the volume of baste.

Barbecue Pork Chops

Start by soaking your pork chops in a brine for approximately 4 hours. For four chops, the volume of brine mixture should be approximately 3 litres of water and 1 cup of salt (well mixed).

Ingredients

- 1 tbsp brown sugar - 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 2 tsp ground coriander seeds - 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp salt - 1 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp garlic powder - 1 tsp onion powder
- ¾ cup barbecue sauce  

Instructions

Remove the chops from the brine and pad dry with paper towels. To prevent your chops curling when they cook, make two cuts at equal spacings through the fat on the outside edge.

Combine and apply the dry rub ingredients to the chops, covering thoroughly.

Place the chops into a medium heat pan and cook for approximately 5 minutes on each side or till the internal temperature of the meat is 55C.

Remove the chops and wipe out the pan.

Apply the barbecue sauce generously to one side of the chops and place them sauce side down in the pan on a slightly higher heat (medium high). I would strongly recommend the barbecue sauce recipe from this book. Once there is a gentle golden brown colour, apply sauce to the exposed side and turn the chops over.

Continue to apply the sauce and flip the chops until they are a deep golden brown or the internal temperature has reached 65C.

Let rest for 5 minutes and serve with chips and a salad / mixed vegetables.

Slow Cooked Pork Belly

This is a great way to cook a delicious piece of meat so that it is as tender as a tender thing.

Ingredients

- 1 kg pork belly - 1 cup red wine
- 1 tbsp salt - 5 cloves garlic
- ½ cup maple syrup - 1 onion cut in half and then sliced
- sprinkle of white sugar (optional)  

Instructions

Combine maple syrup, wine, salt and smashed garlic cloves in a bowl.

Sear the pork belly, skin side down, in a hot pan to give some colour to the skin. This shouldn’t take more than 5 to 10 minutes.

Grease a slow cooker bowl and place the pork belly in the bottom. Arrange the onion around the meat and then pour over the remaining combined ingredients. Cook on ‘warm’ for approximately 7 hours.

Carefully remove the pork and pour off the liquid into a shallow fry pan for rendering down. Carefully place the pork back in the slow cooker to keep warm.

Reduce the liquid in the pan to a thick consistency (this will take approximately 30 minutes) for a very tasty side sauce which goes well with mashed potatoes or similar.

You may need to decant some of the fat by tipping the pan up slightly so that the mixture stays on the high side and the fat flows to the low side.

(Optional) When ready to serve sprinkle the skin side with sugar and gently brulee with a butane torch to give a golden brown caramelised finish.

Potentially serve with a sweet potato mash and the sauce from the pan.

Seafood Chowder

I have found that almost all of the seafood is interchangeable. For instance, 12 scallops could be 12 mussels. 250g surimi could be 250 grams of peeled shrimp. My favourite combination is below as the surimi has a slight sweet tang, the scallops have that delicate texture and taste, the salmon gives a good general flavour .

Ingredients

- 1 pkt Maggi creamy seafood soup mix - 300 g of hot smoked salmon
- 375 ml can Carnation light & creamy evaporated milk - 1 cup milk
- 250 g surimi - 12 scallops

Instructions

Lightly fry the scallops for a couple of minutes in butter and then cut them into bite size chunks. Cut the surimi into a similar size.

Combine the soup mix to the Carnation evaporated milk and the cup of milk in a large saucepan and slowly bring to the boil. Have it on a low heat and stir regularly, as it will begin to adhere to the bottom of the pan. Keep a close eye on it to make sure it doesn’t thicken too much.

Add the salmon, scallops, and surimi. Simmer for 5 minutes or until all the fish is heated and the mixture has reached the correct consistency.

Serve in a bowl with some bread for dipping, or if you can find an appropriate bread, fill small, individual, hollowed out loaves with the chowder inside. This should make enough to serve four.

Slow Cooked Corned Beef

This is a great corned beef recepie that goes well with mustard sauce or in a Ruben Sandwich.

Ingredients

- 1½ kilo Corned Beef - 1 sliced Onion
- 2 Carrots cut into quarters - 1 bay leaf
- 2 tsp Brown Sugar - 1 tbsp Malt Vinegar
- 6 Whole Cloves - 1 tsp Black Peppercorns

Instructions

Rinse the corned beef under running water. Place it into the slow cooker and arrange the onion, carrots and bay leaf around it. Pour in the vinegar. Sprinkle the brown sugar, cloves and peppercorns over the meat. Add enough water so that it reaches around half way up the corned beef. Cook on low for about 9 hours for best results. Alternatively on high for about 6 hours.

Serve with mustard sauce (retain some of the juices for the sauce) and the carrots or cut and include in a Ruben sandwich.

Candied Bacon

This is the point when your inner nutritionist starts telling you that you’re heading off the rails. Suppress that voice. SUPPRESS IT I SAY!!!

Ingredients

- 500 g streaky bacon (approx) - ¼ cup of brown sugar
- 70 ml maple syrup  

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.

Line a low walled baking dish with tin foil (do not scrimp on this point as the clean-up is not pretty).

Place a wire rack into the dish and lay the strips of bacon out on it.

Brush the bacon down with about half of the maple syrup. Then sprinkle about half the brown sugar on top of the bacon.

Place in the oven for approximately 12 minutes until it looks lightly browned.

Remove and turn each bacon strip over. Brush each with the remainder of the maple syrup and sprinkle what’s left of the brown sugar on top.

Place back in the over for another 8 minutes or so. Make sure to keep an eye on it to prevent burning.

Remove and let cool for at least 30 minutes which will let the bacon harden into sweet, salty, baconey goodness. Store in the fridge until ready to eat.

Caramel Popcorn

This is great popcorn. There’s pretty much nothing about it that is healthy. While it can be kept for a couple of days after making, it’s best consumed fresh and I suspect that it will be hard to stop yourself eating it anyway.

Ingredients

- 1 bag natural or lightly salted popcorn - 220 g butter
- 250 g brown sugar - 2 tsp vanilla essence
- ½ tsp baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)  

Instructions

Make popcorn. Leave to cool

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add brown sugar and stir until thoroughly mixed. Stirring continuously, bring the butter and sugar mixture up to a boil on medium heat.

When it reaches a boil stop stirring and let it continue for four minutes. Then add the 2 tsp. of vanilla and stir to mix. Continue to boil for one addition minute and then add the 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda.

Drizzle the caramel mixture over the popcorn in a bowl. Gently fold the popcorn with the mixture until the kernels are all covered.

Pour the popcorn out onto a rimmed baking tray and place into an oven at 180 degrees for 10 minutes.

Remove and let cool on the tray. Feel free to ‘loosen’ the kernels from each other

Eat as soon as it’s cool enough.

Ginger Crunch

A personal favourite.

Ingredients - Base

- 125 g butter - 1½ cups plain flour
- ½ cup sugar - 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp baking powder  

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C.

Beat the butter and sugar until creamy.

Sift the baking powder, flour and ginger into the butter/sugar and mix well.

Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for 2 minutes.

Liberally grease a 20cm x 30cm baking tray with butter and press the dough into it. Cook for 25 minutes or until lightly golden brown.

Ingredients - Ginger Topping

- 100 g butter - 2 tbsp golden syrup
- 1 cup icing sugar - 3 tsp ground ginger
- ½ cup crystallised ginger  

Instructions

In a small saucepan and on a low heat, melt the butter and mix well with the golden syrup, ground ginger and icing sugar so that the mixture is quite runny. Stir continuously to prevent burning.

Pour the hot topping over the base.

Chop the crystallised ginger into smallish pieces and sprinkle into the topping.

Allow to cool and cut into the desired size.

Mochaccino Ice Cream

Just remember that there is a reasonable amount of caffeine in the recipe, so it may not be suitable for late at night or children.

For those outside the UK, Australia or New Zealand, a Flake is a chocolate bar currently manufactured by Cadbury and consists of thinly folded milk chocolate. I prefer this type of chocolate when making ice cream because it is ‘lighter’, but when in doubt, just go with chocolate chips.

Ingredients

- 4 separated eggs - 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
- ¼ cup castor sugar - 1½ tablespoons instant coffee
- ¼ cup castor sugar - ½ cup of chocolate chips or a Cadbury Flake
- ¼ cup of drinking chocolate  
- 300ml cream  

Instructions

Beat the egg whites until stiff while adding the first ¼ cup of castor sugar a tablespoon at a time. Continue mixing all the time and allowing the sugar to dissolve before adding the next tablespoon.

Tip this mixture into a separate bowl (just scrape the mixture out, but don’t bother cleaning the bowl as we’re about to use it again).

In the mixing bowl beat the egg yolks, the vanilla essence, the coffee and the second ¼ cup of castor sugar until thick and the sugar has dissolved.

Add the cream and the drinking chocolate. Beat until thick.

Carefully fold the egg yolk / cream mixture into the egg white mixture (you’re trying to avoid losing the air suspended in the egg and the cream).

Carefully mix in the chocolate chips or crumbled Flake, saving a small amount to sprinkle on the top later.

Pour into a 2 litre ice-cream container. Sprinkle some of the chocolate chips or crumbled Flake on the surface so it looks good.

Freeze for approximately 8 hours until firm.

Pinwheel Scones

Pinwheel scones are a fantastic winter treat or (if you’re brave enough) a ‘bad life choice’ meal opportunity.

Ingredients - Scone

- 2 cups plain flour - 4 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt - 2 tbsp sugar
- 60 g cold butter - 200ml milk (approx)

Instructions

Line a baking tray with baking paper and set aside. Preheat oven to 200 degrees C.

Sift flour, baking powder, salt and sugar into a medium bowl.

Cut the cold butter into smallish pieces and using your fingers rub the butter into the flour mixture until it looks like breadcrumbs.

Add most of the milk, keeping a little aside in case. Carefully stir the mixture. It should be soft and sticky. If it is a little dry looking add the remaining milk. Do not ‘over-stir’.

Knead and fold the dough on the bench 8 – 10 times, sprinkling with flour as required. Then roll out to a square about 30 x 30cm.

Ingredients - Filling

- ⅓ cup brown sugar - 1 tbsp cinnamon
- 70 g melted butter  

Instructions

Melt butter in a small bowl, add the brown sugar and cinnamon and mix well.

Using a brush, spread the butter and sugar mixture over the dough, leaving a small edge all the way around.

Roll carefully and tightly, and seal the edge with a little of the left over mixture.

Using a sharp knife slice the pinwheels approximately 2 cm thick and place on their side in the prepared dish.

Bake for approximately 15 minutes until golden brown and remove from the oven.

Eat while still warm for best effect.

Crème Caramel

A fairly simple dessert that can be prepared well ahead of time and which has a little bit of fancy.

Ingredients

- 200 g Sugar - 100 ml Water
- ½ tsp Vanilla Essence - 4 Eggs
- 100 g Sugar - 400 ml Full Fat Milk

Instructions

Place 200g sugar and water in a saucepan and mix together.

Place on a medium heat and carefully monitor without stirring. When you see a slight amount of browning, remove from the heat and stir gently. Replace on the heat until you see a little more browning then remove again. Continue this process until you arrive at a golden brown. The water may boil off, but continue with the heat and you will see the sugar melt. Be careful as it will burn easily.

Quickly before the mixture cools, pour evenly into the bottom of six ramekins.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Place the eggs into a bowl with the 100g sugar and the vanilla essence. Whisk together until well mixed.

Slowly add the milk while stirring. Continue till the mixture is fully incorporated and the sugar is dissolved.

Place the ramekins in a relatively shallow tray that can hold water and can fir the ramekins in it.

Use a ladle to almost fill the ramekins with the mixture.

Carefully place the tray with the ramekins in the oven and fill the tray with boiling water till its around half way up the ramekins. Cook for 35 minutes.

Once the time is up, leave them to cool in the oven for a further hour. Once they are cool enough, place them in the fridge and leave for at least 4 hours to properly set.

When ready to serve, with a very thin spatula (I have used a thin piece of stiff plastic), work around the outside of the ramekin to ensure that the creme is free from the side. The mixture will form a vacuum seal, so it may be useful to press ever so gently inwards to break that seal.

Carefully invert on a small plate and the creme should carefully drop out with a caramel topping.

Enjoy.