Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Croque Monsieur

Hey.  This is my recipe for those fried and fancy white sauce sandwiches that the French eat.  I didn't even know the official spelling of its name but I know I love it, so I cooked it.  There as simple as that.  I do think I was inspired by 'It's Complicated' though, Meryl Streep just makes cooking and generally living the white upper-middle class so exciting.  Minus the infidelity, she makes you wanna live in a Nancy Meyers film forever and leave only to check the mail.  So here goes...


1.  2 tablespoons of cornflour (cornflour is best for white sauces, as opposed to white plain (or all purpose flour.  I don't know the technical reason why but it fine texture allows for better binding with the butter and then milk, leading to minimal lumps).

2.  About the same amount of butter as the flour, so two tablespoons but if this does not work, try  it out with a additional tablespoon.

3.  1 cup of milk.
4.  1 teaspoon of wholegrain mustard.
5.  1 Chicken stock cube.  This cube is not going to transform your white sauce into a chicken flavoured dish, it quite simply merges with the sauce, extracting the blandness of an unflavoured white sauce. 
6.  2 cups of cheese (I quite simply use the pleb cheese, which is tasty cheese, but fancy alternatives are also fine).
7. Two tablespoons of Philly cream cheese.

8.  4 -5 sprigs of  finely chopped chives.

9.  Bread slices (any kind you like)

10.  A slice of nice ham for each sandwich.

White sauce method

There isn't a whole lot to this method. 

1.  Add butter and cornflour to a well heated sauce or fry pan.
2. Blend together with a wooden spoon.  The aim here is to ensure the you are cooking the cornflour, un-cooked flour leads to lumps, in my experience. 
3.  Once the flour and butter are combined, add milk, slowly.  Let the milk heat slowly but do not allow it to boil.  You should experience the sauce becoming fuller at this point.
4.  Add the cheese, making sure you are stirring continuously to avoid lumps. 
5.  Add cream cheese, following the continual stirring process. 
6.  Add salt, pepper and stock to sauce.
7.  Take the pot off the boil and stir through the mustard grains.  Do the same with the chives.

Sandwich part

The sandwich part is pretty easy.  Once the white sauce is done, spready it evenly and thickly on the pieces of bread.  Top with ham, then add more white sauce to the top.  Place another similarly sauced slice of white bread atop the 'hammed' bread.  Place more white sauce on top of the made up sandwich, add more plain melting (tasty or other variety) and grill under a griller till the cheese melts and forms a melted layer, like in the photo. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

I love my curly coleslaw with cute avo

Don’t be fooled by the title, this is no humble coleslaw. While originating from the traditional salad and in fact containing the same base ingredients, there are significant changes to the dressing and the other things, to give me copyright in this baby. I think generally us Australians are used to using some watered down, store-bought bottle of something to dress this one up, but for a natural and not sickly sweet tasting option, try this one out for yourselves.  I know there are quite a few ingredients listed under the 'dressing' section but they are all required in small quanitites and are composed of 'staple-fridge-items', so you won't need to make huge purchases for this one.  Please note, the pictures below are from two separate occassions. 

Ingredients for salad

Two carrots

¼ - ½ a cabbage

2 long things of spring onion (finely chopped)

½ an avocado

2 gherkins (finely chopped)

A couple of sprigs of chives

Dressing Ingredients

Lots of Mayonnaise - (I have not specified an amount because that depends on how creamy and flavoured you like your coleslaw, therefore I’m leaving this adjustment to your discretion).

2 teaspoons of wholegrain mustards

1 Tablespoon of Dijon mayonnaise

1 Teaspoon of garlic salt (this is a mandatory ingredient, it is essential for the slight alteration in flavour to the creamy overbearing mayonnaise taste, that is common in Australian versions of the salad).

1 tablespoon of sweet mango chutney

1 teaspoon of stock powder

2 tablespoons of cream (please feel free to omit this, I only use it to make the 'glide'easy; it allows the other dressing ingredients to soften up and merge better).

1 teaspoon of sour cream

Pepper to taste

Not so hard method

1. Grate carrots and add to a large mixing bowl

2. Finely chop cabbage and add to bowl.

3. Finely chop spring onions and add to bowl.

4. Add gherkins

5. Add chopped chives.

6. Now gather all the ingredients from the above section entitled ‘dressing ingredients’ and combine in a separate bowl. Use a tablespoon and mix them all together, basically till everything appears cream in colour.

7. Pour dressing over the vegetables and combine.

8. Stir avocado through the coleslaw. The avocado is left to last due to its fragility but it’s still combined through the entire salad.

9. Enjoy…responsibly, as they say in the alcohol industry advertisements…

Rapid Mayonnaise

This is my quick mayonnaise recipe that I use for dishes requiring smaller amounts of the sauce. But here I have used pre-made (I know, shame, shame, tsk, tsk) good quality whole egg mayonnaise from the supermarket shelf, largely because I like excessive amounts of the stuff.


A couple of eggs

½ a cup of olive oil

The juice of one lemon


Throw the whole eggs (minus shell of course) into a blender, blender for two minutes, then slowly add a tablespoon of olive oil to the eggs. Continue blending for another 30 seconds. Continue to follow the process of adding olive oil intermittently and following it with rapid blending, till the oil is used. Follow this same process with the lemon juice, after the mayonnaise starts attaining some volume and weight. By this I mean, intermittently add lemon juice and blend, till the juice is finished. I would recommend adding ½ a teaspoons worth at each interval.