Kathy’s No-Added-Nuts Florentines

This is not my recipe, but a family fave made by my wife, Kathy. She started with a recipe from a book and then changed things around as she felt fit and thus created her own. Please let me know if you like or even try this, and I will be sure to tell her.

Dark Choc Florentines
Dark Choc Florentines

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Florentines are classically made with flaked almonds, and for years Kathy had made them that way. Then our youngest was diagnosed as nut-allergic about 5 years ago, and so all the nut based recipes were stopped.

As these are always a favourite at family events, Kathy ingeniously replaced the nuts with a combination of cornflakes and rice bubbles and the world was good.

The recipe was further tweaked to swap out the classic sultanas for dried cranberries once at Christmas, and the difference is amazing. The sweet/sour cranberry taste jumps out and we have never gone back.

Chocolate

The bases of the Florentines are covered in chocolate as a finishing touch. I have not listed the type of chocolate, as you can decide per your own preference. What is important is you need to ensure you use a bar of regular chocolate you would normally enjoy to eat and not a cooking chocolate, or it will affect the final taste.

We usually have a combination of florentines with a good dark chocolate, some with milk chocolate and some with a white milky chocolate. This combo looks particularly good if you intend to have these on a platter to share, or in a gift box.

Also if you want this to be totally nut free there are nut -free chocolates out there which would be great to use.

Condensed Milk

Finally, one of the best parts of the making is the fact tins of condensed milk are sold in larger size than required here, the extra we usually have simply on bread, or stirred into a cuppa and is it oh sooo good !

Recipe

Yield – 40-45 tiny, or 30 small, or 20 larger size

Ingredients

Metric US Imperial Ingredients
120g ¾ Cup Dried Cranberries
90g 2 ¼ Cups Cornflakes
20g ½ Cup Rice Bubbles – Puffed Rice
110g ½ Cup Glace Cherries
160ml ¾ Cup Sweetened Condensed Milk
120g 1 Cup Chocolate – See notes on #Chocolate
Ingredients
Mixing the ingredients
Mixing the ingredients

Method

  • Preheat your oven to 160°C, 325°F, Gas Mark 3
  • Cut the Cherries in half and put into a large bowl with Dried Cranberries, Cornflakes, Rice Bubbles and Condensed Milk, mix well to combine.
  • Prepare oiled and baking-paper lined trays, allowing 12 biscuits per tray. Silicone baking mats are great for this as they can be slid on and off the trays as required.
  • Place heaped spoonfuls of mixture neatly and with a gap of 5-6cm or 2 inches around each Florentine on the tray. Ensure that the mixture is neatly piled into a circle with no loose pieces, as they retain their shape when baking.
    • For tiny ones use a single teaspoon of mix
    • For medium size use a single dessert spoon, spread to 3cm or just over an inch round
    • For larger ones use 2 dessert spoons, spread to around 5cm or 2 inches round
  • Bake for 6 minutes or until light golden brown, be careful not to overcook especially if making smaller ones.
  • Allow to cool completely on the tray
  • Melt the chocolate, and spread on the base of each Florentine.
  • Allow to set at room temperature.
Spacing the Florentines on a silicone mat
Spacing the Florentines on a silicone mat

Storage

In a sealed container, these will last for only a couple of days at room temp, or can be stored for about a week in the refrigerator.

Variations

Try adding a tablespoon of finely diced, uncrystallised ginger pieces to the mix for a bit of zing.

Ravioli Puttenesca

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My eldest’s favourite pasta is beef ravioli, the one from the supermarket in the chilled section marked ‘Fresh’. It is such a common addition to our home menu we usually have at least one packet in the freezer for those days when its all too hard and still need to feed everyone.

This time around I fancied something more than the regular marinara sauce or even the extra-lazy jar of premade sauce from the emergency supply. With that in mind, and after a rumage around in the fridge and cupboard, I was able to gather some olives, capers and anchovies, as well as the jar of passata and the other ingredients below and so the classic Puttenesca sauce came to mind.

Now there are stories on the internet and elsewhere about the name Puttanesca for this sauce, I have read a few and seen alsorts of reasons for a tomato based pasta sauce being named after a ‘lady of the night’, none of which I really care about, though do make good conversation while you enjoy the pasta.

Just like Sports teams or pubs in England, or if you look at the names of foods they are all in an apparent haphazard manner, but made perfect sense to the person that named them. Some names are complex, others obvious, some don’t try at all. Using the sport team analogy and comparing to food a few examples-

  • Grimsby Town Football Club – UK Soccer
    • Near zero effort in naming, but tells you where they are from and what they are, even if their ‘home ground’ is actually in the town next door.
    • The food equivalant in this naming type would be perhaps “Lincolnshire sausage” for place name, or simply “fish and chips” for a simple yet clear name.
  • San Francisco 49ers – US NFL
    • What on earth is a 49er, sounds weird and possibly a little suspect, it actually relates to the period of the Gold rush of 1849 and the prospectors that travelled to the city.
    • The Food Equivalent of naming after people would be thanks to Chef Escoffier and Dame Nellie Melba, the opera singer that has the distinction of two dishes to her name ” Peach Melba” and “Melba toast”.
  • Brisbane Lions – Australian Rules Football
    • Play with a lion emblem on their tops, yet there are no lions in Australia outside of zoos and wildlife parks! Why not a Dingo or Wombat?
    • Food equivalent has to be something like “Buffalo wings” which are confusingly named after the place Buffalo not the large herbivore.

A digression to sport is unlike me, but I hope you understand the attempted point. I never liked standing in just shorts and a t-shirt in winter, covered in mud, while a heavy, wet leather ball is kicked at me, with some vague expectation and intention of me doing something with it. I considered bursting it, so we could go inside, more than once. Only knowing that that would invoke the ‘cross country run’ and 10 miles mud to the far side of beyond. No thanks! And don’t get me started on ‘spectator sports’

So back to the food. This is a quick and low effort sauce and as far as taste goes packs a punch well above you might otherwise expect. The anchovies are optional, and if you wish to use on plain pasta, or vegetarian filled pasta, go right ahead, its all good.

Recipe

Ingredients – for upto 4 serves

500g Store bought fresh Ravioli
300ml Passata or a tin of diced tomatoes will work too
3 tablesp Baby capers ( go heaped I did)
1 dozen Olives – I had big dark Kalamata, but whatever you have will be fine
3-4 anchovies ( optional, but worth it)
1 large tomato
A few green beans
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sugar – basically a sprinkle
a garlic clove or two – preminced/puree is fine as is the dried stuff if that’s all you have.
about a teaspoon each of Basil and Oregano,
1/2 teaspoon of dried Chili flakes
1 tablesp olive oil
salt & pepper
Grated cheese for garnish
Bread to wipe the plates

Method

  • Put a large pan 3/4 full of water on the stove to boil for the pasta, add a good amount of salt, roughly 1 teaspoon per litre. A lid on top will have it boiling faster.
  • Drain the olives and capers, the olives can have the stone removed at this stage, but I prefer to keep them in so they don’t break up.
  • Quarter, de-seed and dice the tomato
  • Chop the green beans into short pieces
  • Peel and chop the garlic ifnot already prepared
  • To a saucepan on medium heat, add first the olive oil, then add the olives, garlic, capers, and dried chilli and stir to warm through.
  • Add the diced tomato, herbs and then pour in the passata, stir occasionally but do not allow to boil.
  • By now the water will be boiling, add the pasta and cook according to directions on the pack, usually 5-7 minutes.
  • Add the balsamic vinegar and half the sugar to the sauce, stir in again, then add the green beans.
  • Check the seasoning to the sauce and adjust with the salt, pepper and possibly more sugar, depending on the tomato acidity and preference.
  • Lift the pasta with a slotted spoon or ‘spyder’ directly into the sauce, stir quickly and serve immediately.
  • Have that grated cheesse and bread ready you will be mopping that sauce in no time

Let me know if you like this, hate it or want to provide large sums of money to me.

Cheers,

VinceHomeMade

Hot-Dog Coleslaw

Sometimes you just have to bend and serve junk food at home. At least the kids will eat it!

Straight to recipe

We all have a preference when it comes to how or what constitutes the “right” way for a hot dog. Whether its tomato ketchup or no-ketchup (Chicago); what sort of mustard – American, wholegrain, French, German, hot English; what sort of sausage -pork, beef, mystery meat or vegan. What sort of bun, crispy baguette, soft white roll, single slice of bread folded over (the Aussie way) or no bread at all. Even to how the roll is opened to put the sausage.

I once had a poster of the ‘World’s hotdogs” and the familiar shape was just one of 40 or so variants. If I can find it again, I will perhaps make a few of the more interesting ones in future posts.

However, that discussion I will save for another time. This post is merely about a recent hotdog as seen above and specifically the coleslaw I paired with it. Note this was far from a high cuisine meal, but a “Keep the kids happy as we rush from work” special.

Firstly the sausage and roll were just the regular supermarket home brand, nothing fancy and were they not my kids’ favourite, I would perhaps steer clear. I heated a grill pan in the oven at 210C, and baked the sausages for 8 mins, turn and 8 mins more, then served immediately. The hot chips (fries) were the frozen oven type and baked in the oven with the sausages.

With roughly quarter of an hour to prepare the rest, I split the bread rolls along the top, only three-quarters through, so the filling is not lost, and also so it can be seen and presents well. A side sliced bun in my opinion turns this into a sandwich.

So to the coleslaw. No exact measurements, for this as it was a throw together thing, use your best judgement and personal taste to guide you if you wish to make it at home.

Recipe

1/4 head Red Cabbage
1 Carrot
100g hard cheese – I used an Australian cheese similar to Cheddar
1/2 a red onion
2 tablespoon mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper

  • Remove the hard core from the cabbage by cutting the white triangle shape of the root with a good knife.
  • Take the outer few leaves and lay on the chopping board, and shred fairly thin, to around 2mm each slice and place in a large bowl.
    • repeat with the inner leaves, being careful as there will be thicker sections to shred.
  • Peel and finely slice the onion, and add to the cabbage
  • Wash and grate the carrot (no need to peel) directly into the same bowl
  • Grate the cheese and add about half along with the mustard, mayo and then mix well.
    • Depending on the size of the cabbage and carrot, as well as personal preference, you may need more mayo. Though I recommend not too much as it will become messy in the Hotdog.
  • Check the seasoning, and then construct the hotdog
  • into the open bun, place the sausage, some of the slaw, then add more grated cheese and in my preference both tomato ketchup and American mustard
  • Serve with the chips and enjoy

Well I have done it now !

A shaky 1992 picture of me at the "Lanes Restaurant " buffet
A shaky 1992 picture of me at the “Lanes Restaurant ” buffet

This week I transferred my webpage from GoDaddy to WordPress to make the blog and page editing easier to work with. This is going to be a big old learning curve and looking forward to the challenge.

I would like to thank the many bloggers I follow and read for suggesting the move, as I can immediately see just from bashing this on my keyboard the difference in the editing tools.

GoDaddy was a good place to learn what I was doing as i created and learnt what I needed to as my business started. It was cheap, which is great for a start-up, had the basics and several functions and tools I did not really explore. Now I have a better idea of what I want, it only makes sense to move to the tool everyone else is using.

Anyway, what is the business going to look like? what am I going to do? and will the shop reopen for the biscuits and things? The short answer, I have no idea!

In the coming days, as I work out what button does what, how to get A to do this or B to do that, I will also be loading content, partly to keep the momentum, partly to fill this empty space, and partly to learn how the functionality works.

I will be building the food blog, the store, the private booking tools, blog, vid links and who knows what else in the coming days, weeks and months. If you have any suggestions, help, criticisms comments or praise, please get in touch, thanks.

So far, the priorities from the long list of processes I need to do are

  • Interlink this edit function with MS Word ? maybe, maybe not
  • Have an offline list of blog items to create, edit and queue up in the scheduler
    ( Why does “The Scheduler” sound like a villain from a comic book)
  • Edit and resize all the photos and videos I need.
  • Link to the rest of my socials media empire ( hardly an empire not even a blip haha)

Until then, its time to run off and attend to some real world issues, the washing machine to empty, go make dinner before I make this list too long, have a cuppa.

Cheers for now !