Welcome to Mrs Monkei's blog! I hope you will join me in my baking and crafting adventures. Please say hi to me while you're here, visit my shop at madeit, or find Mrs Monkei Jewellery on facebook.

Saturday, 30 June 2012

Mushroom and Bacon Risotto - Pressure Cooker

Whilst baking is my true love, I do enjoy cooking a good main meal and seeing it be enjoyed by those I've cooked for. In the case of this risotto, I am the only one who I get to see enjoy it. My husband dislikes risotto in general.
Yeah, he's crazy, but I get to eat more risotto!

I was talked into buying a 5 in 1 multi cooker by a coworker a few months ago. I don't usually go with this sort of thing myself, but as my slow cooker was dying anyway and I'd seen the amazing results she had with the one at work, I took the plunge and spent $160 on one. I LOVE IT!
I've made soups, casseroles and now this risotto so far and it makes preparing a meal so easy. Love, love, love it. The best thing about it is the "brown" function, meaning that I can fry or saute meats and vegies before turning it onto slow cook or pressure cook - a real one pot meal. Too easy.

My new toy - don't you just love my Mario fridge magnet?
This recipe uses the pressure cooker setting, and the end result is the lightest, fluffiest risotto I've ever made. I know this can be done the old fashioned way but my stove top risottos have always come out far too stodgy, and it's so time consuming!

A close up of the buttons - I'm yet to try the steam option but apparently you can steam rice in this too.
 Using the above pictured brown function, fry up bacon, onion and garlic
 Add rice, mushrooms and stock - and it looks like a floaty mushroom soup...
 But after only 7 minutes with the Pressure Cook option on high - we have risotto!
I had to press brown again to cook off the extra liquid, this is the first time that it's been necessary.
 Finished result, YUM. Ignore the oddly painted thumbnail!
Mushroom Risotto - From the book that came with my cooker! 
My changes are in italics
60ml olive oil
1 brown onion, finely chopped
8 rashers of shortcut bacon (this is my addition, but it does take away the vegetarian aspect of the dish)
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
600ml chicken stock
300g arborio rice
200ml dry white wine (I omit this and just substitute more chicken stock, yet to try it with wine)
200g mushrooms (any type) thinly sliced
100g fresh parsley
200g fresh grated parmesan cheese (I probably only use half this amount as it is so strong)
salt and pepper
1. Using the brown function or a saucepan, saute the onion, bacon and garlic in the oil until cooked - about 5 minutes. Add arborio rice and mix in to cover the rice with residual oil. Cook for another 2 minutes and add the wine (if using). Cook for another 2 minutes.
2. Turn off the brown function, or transfer the mixture to your pressure cooker. Add mushrooms and stock, stirring through. Set the cooker to 7 minutes at high pressure, and ensure that the pressure limiting valve is set on Airtight.
3. Once the 7 minutes is up, release the pressure. Open the lid and add the parsley and half of the parmesan cheese. Stir through and close the lid for a few minutes to allow the cheese to melt through.
Serve and enjoy!
This recipe is great as it can be altered anyway you want it to be - once I've finished gorging myself on this recipe I may try altering it!

Do you have a pressure cooker or slow cooker? What is your favourite thing to cook in it?

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Caramel Slice

Okay, so I've been incredibly slack this year. I have come to the conclusion that whilst I love my crafting, there's only so much I can write about it - and if I'm bored, you will be too!
As I've mentioned before, I absolutely love to cook and bake, trying different recipes out and sharing the results with my friends and family. So this blog is being morphed into something along those lines. I'm joining the ranks of the baking bloggers.
Stick with me! I'd love for people to try out the recipes I post and tell me what they think, maybe you have a better one to suggest!

To start off my new bloggy direction, an old favourite of mine - Caramel Slice!!

This has been my favourite bakery sweet for many many years. Whenever I go to a bakery for lunch, you can guarantee I'll buy a piece of caramel slice to eat later on. No more of that though, as I've found the best recipe yet and I can make it myself!
The recipe I was using before only used one can of condensed milk in the caramel, so as a caramel lover you can imagine I was excited when I spotted this recipe in a book that was part of a promotion for condensed milk - it has 2 cans in it! Extra caramel goodness. YUM.
Here goes!
To start with, grease and line a slice tray with baking paper.
It helps if you snip the corners to make the paper sit perfectly in the tray.
The base is a simple mix of flour, coconut and brown sugar with melted butter.
Press it into the pan, bake and let cool.

Making the caramel is so simple - butter, condensed milk and golden syrup in a medium saucepan.. 
Stir over low heat until smooth!
 Pour the mixture over the cooled base and bake for 20-25 minutes until nicely browned like this
  And wait forever (or so it seemed) until it's cool - I passed the time by making Mushroom Risotto (post to come!) and an earring order for a lovely coworker.

The last bit it even easier. Just melt 200g of dark chocolate (I used a block of milk baking chocolate from Aldi as I prefer mik) and add a tablespoon of vegetable oil. I like this because my old recipe called for copha, which I would always have to go out and buy. We always have vegetable oil!
Pour over the base, and put into the fridge until set. Cut into squares and try not to eat the whole thing yourself!
Best-Ever Caramel Slice - from Nestle's Condensed Milk's "100 Years Of Sweet Baking Memories"
1 cup plain flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
125g butter, melted
100g butter, extra
2x395g tins sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup golden syrup
200g dark baking chocolate, melted
1tbsp vegetable oil

1. Preheat oven to 180c. Lightly grease an 18x28cm slice pan and line with baking paper.
2 In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar and coconut and mix together. Add 125g melted butter and mix well. Press firmly into prepared pan, bake 15-20 minutes until lightly browned. Cool.
3. Place extra 100g butter, golden syrup and condensed milk into medium saucepan. Stir over low heat until smooth. Pour over base. Bake 20-25 minutes until golden. Cool.
4, Combine melted chocolate an vegetable oil, stir until smooth. Pour evenly over cooled slice. Refridgerate until set. Cut into squares - using a warmed knife reduces the risk of the chocolate cracking whilst slicing.

Have you tried this recipe? Do you have a better one? Leave a comment and tell me!