Animals Australia: the voice for animals

Animals Australia: the voice for animals
Love life? Love all of life

Monday, January 30, 2006

A rissole by any other name should taste as good...

Barb over at Woof Nanny and Dog-eared and Underlined mentioned in a comment on a post below about how she enjoyed knowing the different names there are for things in different countres. This got me thinking. Rissoles I thought. Hamburgers in some times and places but in the Land of Oz they always were, and continue to be, rissoles: tasty, cheap, nutritious. ~~~~~~~~~~~ RISSOLES

Put 1kg (2.2lb) of mince (ground meat or hamburger in the US) in a bowl. There are different grades of mince but the best are those labelled Premium or Heart Smart. You will pay more for this quality but the less you pay the more fat and trimmings you get and the less quality. To the mince add: 2 slices of bread (fresh or stale) soaked in water and the water squeezed out so it is squishy and mushy; 2 onions finely diced; fresh or dried herbs of your choice and to your taste (to-day I used fresh marjoram and sage that grows in my garden); garlic to your taste sliced or crushed - I love garlic, so I used four cloves; Worcestershire Sauce (pronounced Woostersheer) and salt (hope you use iodised salt) and freshly ground pepper. The bread and the eggs are used to bind the mixture together so it doesn't break up when it hits the frying pan. Some people use flour instead of bread - but in our household the tradition is to use bread. Squish the mixture together. Then take dollops of the mixture in the palm of your hand and shape. Don't make too flat - looks awful. Don't make too fat - takes a bit of trouble to ensure it is cooked through. There are dreadful jokes in Australia about shearers' cooks who shape rissoles under their armpits! Roll the shapped meat in plain (all-purpose) flour and cook in moderately hot oil (you are using extra-virgin olive oil aren't you?). If your oil is too hot the outside will cook quickly but the inside won't be fully cooked. If you have your oil too cool the oil penetrates the rissole (greasy yuk) and the rissole will be a pale unappetising colour. Golden brown with a lightly crisp outside is what you are aiming for. Having said all that - now you have the general idea you can vary this however you like. Some people add grated carrot. Some use different sauces to flavour such as soy sauce. You can roll the shaped meat in flour, egg and breadcrumbs before frying - now that does add the kilojoules/calories! But the way I have given it to you is how we like it at our place. It is served with mashed (in the US they say riced) potatoes and peas - sometimes those wonderfully mushy peas you have with pies. Some people like barbecue sauce on their rissoles, others favour that great Aussie condiment, tomato sauce (ketchup in the US). If I was to bung it on (that means dress to impress, if you get my meaning) I would do a lovely brown onion gravy (the secret of the gravy is the use of Parisian essence - never use Gravox). Scrumptious! Comfort food! But if you are a vegetarian and turning up your nose at the meat - then substitute your favourite veges or beans for the meat and off you go with the same method.

I'm sure what are called Rissoles in the Land of Oz are not limited to the wide brown land as Australian as we may think and feel they are. Please add your exotic spice to this recipe post by telling us what you do in your country and what you call your Rissoles. Someone might also be able to enlighten the rest of us about where the word "rissole" comes from. Is it a word from some exotic cuisine?

The crop is coming in...

My tomatoes are really starting to crop now - with all the heat and rain. I have three tomato plants which spread themselves everywhere and I have to stake, and stake, and stake them to keep them up off the ground. The three tomato plants include two heirloom varieties - the yellow tomato, the little Black Russian, in addition to the popular Don Burke Italian variety. The Black Russians aren't really black, except when they are photographed. They are a very dark red with the top part of the fruit being on the way to black. I have discovered that the yellow tomato should not be put in a bowl with navel oranges - until you get close you can't tell them apart. Homegrown tomatoes are wonderful and flavoursome. You can use plenty of compost or organic fertiliser and not use inorganic chemicals and pesticides. And, with growing them, comes a sense of virtue and achievement. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Fairy Cakes from Madeira

In the US, I believe, these are called Cupcakes. Here in Oz though we have a whimsical streak and these are Fairy Cakes. If the peaked tops are sliced off, the slice cut in half, the top covered in cream with the half slices placed in the cream at an angle like butterfly wings, they then become wonderful Butterfly Cakes. Small Fairy Cakes can be cut in half, creamed in the middle, put together again rolled in pink jelly (jello to the US) and dessicated coconut and then they become Peach Cakes. Fairy Cakes are made from Madeira Mixture. Below, is the basic Madeira Mixture , based on Miss Schauer's,from which so many good things come.

MADEIRA MIXTURE Ingredients: 125 grams (4oz) of butter; 125 grams (4oz) sugar; 2 eggs; vanilla essence; quarter of a cup of milk - I used Carnation Milk - Light and Creamy undiluted; 6 oz of SR (self-raising flour) - if you don't have any SR Flour then use plain flour (for the US - all purpose flour) with a teaspooon and half of baking powder. Method: Cream butter and sugar until the mixture is white; add vanilla essence to taste; add eggs one at a time and then make sure that the mixture is well creamed; add milk and then flour (although you can add milk and flour alternately if you prefer). Flour can be either folded in by hand or mixed on a very low speed. Not the high speed used to cream the butter and sugar. On completion, you should have a nice batter. Certainly not runny - but not too thick either. It has to be Goldilocks consistency - Just Right.
If it is too thick you can add a tiny amount of water to get to the right consistency - if you used the Carnation milk. If you substituted ordinary milk, then dilute with the same milk. I used this mixture to make the cakes Muffin size. It made 5 cakes. I used non-stick muffin pans in which I inserted fluted muffin papers. Bake in a very moderate oven. I cooked them at 180 degrees Celsius for approximately 15 minutes. Remember they don't take long too cook so keep an eye on them through your oven's glass door. Vienna Cream: Measurements are inexact here. I started out, when the cakes were cool right through, with 125 grams (4oz) of butter which I creamed. To this I kept adding icing sugar until I got the consistency I wanted. Now there is something that you need to know about icing sugar. In Oz, we have Icing Mixture and Pure Icing Sugar. Icing Mixture makes a soft not a hard icing. It is not pure icing sugar because the icing sugar is mixed with cornflour. Pure Icing Sugar can very lumpy. You will need to get rid of the lumps by rolling with a rolling pin or whizzing around in your blender or processor until it is smooth and silky. Finally, sift it in a good old fashioned sifter. So, icing mixture is quicker and if you want the icing or cream to be soft and butter this is great. For hard icing or fancy fondants, you will need the pure unadulterated stuff. I applied the icing with a bread and butter knife applying in swirls which I made even swirlier with a dessert fork. I then added coloured cachous which are available in the cake making section of the supermarket. Posted by Picasa