Sunday, 30 October 2011

Simply Soup-er Hearty Leek and Bacon Soup

A quick post of a very quick and easy recipe. Perfect for cold wintry weather, and quick enough to make post-work. And of course dairy free. Mini-M even tried a bit - the leeks were met with skepticism, but the pasta got a big thumbs up!



Hearty Leek and Bacon Soup (serves 2 as a main course)

  • 2 medium leeks
  • 4 rashers of bacon
  • 2 handfuls of dried pasta spirals
  • 1 stock cube (chicken or veg - I used chicken)
  • Boiling water
  • 1/2 tbsp oil (sunflower or light olive oil)

In a medium saucepan, heat the oil and once hot, snip in the bacon. Fry for a couple of minutes until cooked. Whilst the bacon is frying, clean and slice the leeks, then add to the bacon. Chuck in the pasta too, crumble over the stock cube, and pour over boiling water to cover with a cm or so above.

Simmer for about 15-20 mins, until the leeks are soft and pasta cooked.

Job done. It's such a simple recipe, uses so few ingredients, and tastes soooooooo much more than the sum of its parts. It's been a revelatory way for us to use leeks, which make frequent appearances in our veg box, and for which I've always been slightly at a loss for inspiration. But no more.... I'm sure this soup or variations thereof will appear frequently all through the winter at No.28.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

A Picture A Day: Week 43

Well, it has been another busy week. But there's nothing new there! I think when folk ask how life is, I should stop saying hectic, because that implies some sort of abnormality to the business, like it is usually quiet and organised and peaceful. It is pretty much never any of those things - but it is fun!

I have to confess that not only am I posting late, yet again, I forgot to take a picture yesterday. What with work, then leave straight from the office to drive down to Hawick, then a generous gin and orange poured by Mum. Personally, I'm blaming the gin!

But I have a spare from Thursday, so all is not lost...

Saturday 22nd October
Playing in puddles on the wasteland opposite Ocean Terminal... I have a feeling that this makes us seriously cheapskate parents! But I thoroughly recommend it to anyone in Edinburgh.



Sunday 23rd October
Mini-M got a toy cow from the vet stand at BBC Good Food Live at the SECC. This is what she did to it!



Monday 24th October
The No. 22 bus zooming past the end of our street at night.


Tuesday 25th October
Mini-M's new mannerism - hand to face when something is funny or silly. Cute but messy immediately after blackcurrant jelly... didn't get a picture of the moment she took her hand away unfortunately!



Wednesday 26th October
Cake in progress - for the Borders Exploration Group's 20th Anniversary celebrations. The world is REALLY wiggly when you try to ice it. Particularly northern Canada and South East Asia. I may have significantly altered continents....



Thursday 27th October
Autumn on the Warriston path on the way home from work and nursery with Mini-M



Friday 28th October
Me and Mini-M. Two smiles, and all of our eyes open - a success I think, even if we're not both actually looking at the camera...

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Daring Bakers' October 2011 Challenge: Pretty Povitica

This will have to be a short post, with the recipe for my fillings and my dairy-free recipe conversion to follow later, since I've got a lot of things on my to-do list for this evening! But I didn't want to miss the posting date...

The Daring Bakers' October 2011 challenge was Povitica, hosted by Jenni of The Gingered Whisk. Povitica is a traditional Eastern European Dessert Bread that is as lovely to look at as it is to eat!

It is probably the prettiest bread I have ever made or eaten.

I made three loaves, and filled one with chocolate and almond (which I took in to work to share for my turn on the cake rota - yes, we are that obsessed with cake!), one with crushed gingernut biscuits and roughly pureed peaches, which we ate, and the third with a leftover mix of both mixtures, which I'm taking visiting at the weekend.

Here they are...

Close up of the interior of the chocolate and almond loaf
Chocolaty-almondy-symmetry
2 loaves after baking - coffee glazed and hiding their exciting interior well!
Disposable loaf tins - better in theory than practice!

Gooey peach and gingernut loveliness

Saturday, 22 October 2011

The Pink Whisk Challenge: Apples for October

The other night I was watching TV and it was a 'where are they now' run down of last year's competitors in the Great British Bake Off. That prompted me to stop by the blogs of a few of the participants, which I do from time to time - it's nice to read some lovely blogs from closer to home as well as all of those from around the world that I cast and eye over.

One of which is The Pink Whisk, by Ruth Clemens, last year's runner-up. When I stopped by, not only had the site had a fab makeover, Ruth had just announced the first Pink Whisk Baking Challenge, which was to incorporate apples in a recipe. And you know I'm a sucker for a challenge ;o)

I made 'Orchard Cider Butter' based on a recipe for Apple Cider Butter in the River Cottage Handbook No. 2 (Preserves) by Pam Corbin. Here's my version - the taste makes the mental arithmetic involved in making well worth it!


Orchard Cider Butter (Makes 5x250g jars plus some left over to use straight away)
  • 500g hard pears
  • 1kg apples 
  • 500ml apple cider with blackberries
  • 700ml water
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Granulated sugar (about 900g)
Take the stalks off the apples and pears and cut them into chunks. Don't bother peeling or coring them.
Put the apples and pears into a large pan with the cider and water, bring up to a gentle boil, and cook until the fruit is really soft - this took me about an hour, but it will depend of the type of apples and ripeness of pears you are using. 
Once soft, blitz the mixture with a hand blender, then pass it through a sieve to catch any fibrous bits like pips and cores. 
Weigh the combine weight of your sieved puree and bowl, then tip it back into the pan, and weight the bowl on its own. 
Subtract the weight of the bowl from the combined, and you're left with the weight of puree.
For each 600g of puree you have, add 340g of sugar, then add the ground cloves and cinnamon.
Put back on the heat and heat very slowly until all the sugar has dissolved and you can't feel any more graininess.
Once the sugar has dissolved, turn the heat up to medium high and bring it up to the boil, then let it boil hard for 10-15 minutes until the mixture starts to thicken a little, and sputter. (Mine sputtered like crazy - all over the hob, the splash back, and the oils and vinegars next to the cooker - it's feisty stuff!)
Take off the heat and pour into warm sterilised jars and seal immediately. Don't be tempted to boil it for too long - it will set in the jars as apples are high in pectin
Small jars are best, as once opened the butter needs to be kept in the fridge and used within about a month. 
Unopened though, it will keep for a year, so you can enjoy spiced apple-y pear-y cider-y goodness whatever the season.


Unfortunately I don't have a lovely picture of the finished butter spread photogenically on a scone, or even some crusty bread. It has been sampled though, and it is delicious, but I sampled it at 7:30am this morning, on a piece of very crumbly not quite toasted toast, served on the least photogenic saucer in the world, which I took back to bed with me, accompanied by a Berocca and some Sudafed to try to banish the lovely cold Mini-M shared with both me and Mr E. Not very photogenic. But it did the trick, and by 9am I was feeling human again - I'm putting the success down to the magic restorative properties of Orchard Cider Butter. If that's not a good reason to go out and make it, then I don't know what is!


Friday, 21 October 2011

Magnificent Mackerel

My folks were on holiday last week, down in Staithes on the North East coast of England. There was an award winning fish monger nearby, and Mum brought us quite a haul of lovely fish back (Thanks!) including some peppered smoked mackerel.

Here's how we ate it...

We had it on pizza - seriously don't knock it until you've tried it - it was delicious!
The pizza base was topped with tomato and basil pizza sauce (from a jar), peppered mackerel, sauteed kale, pickled pears and goats cheese. An unlikely sounding combination, but it really worked. Even better, Mr E made it!


And we had it as pate/dip. I was inspired by a recipe for courgette dip in the River Cottage Baby and Toddler Cook Book, which I changed a bit. The original is just courgette, garlic and cream cheese, and would definitely be kid friendly. There's nothing inherently un-kid friendly about my adaptation, just that the mackerel flavour might be too strong for some little tastes.


Courgette and Mackerel Pate/Dip (Serves 2-3 adults for lunch, or 4-5 as a dip)

  • 2 small courgettes
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 heaped tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 25g cream cheese (I used chevre spreadable goats cheese)
  • 1/2 large or 1 small peppered mackerel fillet

Heat the oil in a small frying pan, crush the garlic, add and soften for a minute or so.
Thinly slice the courgettes and add to the pan. Sprinkle in the thyme.
Cook over a very low heat until the courgettes are translucent, but not browned - about 15 mins - stirring occasionally.
Either put all the ingredients into a food processor and blitz, or pop them in a jug and give them a whizz with a hand blender.
Season with salt and pepper to taste (I didn't add any, since the mackerel was peppered and the cheese salted).
Chill for about an hour before serving.

We ate it with toasted bread, at the table in the sunshine - pretending it wasn't freezing outside!


If you wanted to make it a denser pate, you could use a stiffer soft cheese, and also up the cheese and decrease the courgette quotas slightly. The texture of this was spreadable on bread, but also dippable - multipurpose is always good!

A Picture A Day: Week 42

We've both been on holiday this week (woop!) but have both had Mini-M's cold (yuck!) so we've been living quietly and not doing anything too adventurous.

So here are your 'holiday at home' photos

Saturday 15th October
Mini-M lounging in Princes Street Gardens with Auntie L, who very kindly babysat whilst Mr E and I went to Yo Sushi for an anniversary lunch.



Sunday 16th October
My spider plant it flowering - it brightened up my otherwise useful but slightly un-fun Sunday afternoon at work



Monday 17th October
Rain, rain and more rain - taken from our front door. Didn't manage to capture the huge bow wave as the bus went through the puddle at the junction, but I'm very glad I wasn't a pedestrian at that moment!



Tuesday 18th October
Mini-M participating in some pre-bedtime gambling... looks like she won!



Wednesday 19th October
Two of my most commonly used pet names for Mini-M (apart from Mini-M) in one vegetable - munchkin and pumpkin. If I added the other two - chickpea and sausage (yes, I realise writing this that my choices are a bit odd...) it would make a pretty decent casserole. Haven't quite got my head around whether or not that would be cannibalistic yet!



Thursday 20th October
Fed up of being repeatedly soaked, I bit the bullet and bought a new waterproof coat. Lets hope it holds out a bit better than the last one...



Friday 21st October
Puddle stomping on the balcony :o)




Thursday, 20 October 2011

Seedy Slice

If you are expecting a post about nightclubs with sticky floors, dark alleyways and strippers, then you are likely to be very disappointed - sorry!

If you are looking for a post about a seed-packed sugar free tray bake that is dairy and egg free, then you've come to the right place.

That probably accounts for about the 2 people who have arrived at this post via Google. To the others who read it semi-regularly, of which I reckon there are about 10 (Hi Mum!), then you're probably likely to be mildly disappointed that this recipe is so virtuous. But please bear with me whilst I have a little vegan moment, and if you need to counteract it with some excessive butter, sugary, chocolaty goodness, then earlier tonight I posted about white chocolate fudge which is definitely at the other end of the taste scale!

So today it was completely freezing outside, and pretty cold inside, since our living room radiator is temporarily out of action (i.e. completely and mysteriously broken). I was making bread and it was taking so long to rise, because according to the thermostat, it was 15.3C. That's a little chilly for an inside temperature, and I have to say I was quite envious of Mini-M being at nursery where the heating is cranked up to toasty at the moment. So in order to get the bread to rise a little faster, I decided to put the oven on, but it seemed a bit wasteful to put it on without something in it. 

Part two of the reason behind this recipe is that Mini-M likes to eat oaty, fruity cereal bars. Although I don't have any quibble with them health wise (no added sugar or nasties), and whilst oats are all very superfoody and wonderful, I'm keen to see if I can sneak some more seeds into her diet for the fats, oils and nutrients they bring. Particularly since she seems to be anti-anything-that-isn't-toast-porridge-banana-soya-yogurt-or-pancake.

So I found a recipe in an Australian Womens Weekly cookbook for a slice made with apricot jam and pumpkin seeds that baked in 20 mins, which sounded about right to give my bread the extra little warm rise that it needed. Queue me substituting half of the ingredients, and coming up with something bearing a fairly low resemblance to the original! 


So here's my version...

Seedy Slice (Makes 1x 23cm square tin)
  • 90g margarine (dairy free)
  • 80g sunflower and pumpkin seeds (I used a ratio of about 60:40 sunflower:pumpkin)
  • 1 tbsp date syrup
  • 1 tbsp honey (or alternatively miss out both of these, and add 2 tbsp sugar)
  • 1tsp grated orange zest
  • 100g plain flour
  • 80g wholemeal flour
  • 80g sugar free jam (I used Meridian morello cherry, which is 100% fruit and sweetened with apple juice)
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 2.5 tbsp finely ground flax seeds
  • 3 tbsp water (or replace the flax seeds and water with an egg - I had run out this morning!)
Firstly, in a small bowl whisk together the flax seeds and water. Leave them to sit for a few minutes and they will go gelatinous.
Grease your tin and line with a sheet of baking parchment, and preheat the oven to 190C (180C fan)
Next give the seeds a quick blitz in the blender to break them up a little.
Beat the seeds, orange rind, honey and date syrup together, then once it is combined add the flax seed mixture.
Finally add the flours and mix well - you will end up with a fairly stiff dough. If yours gets too stiff to mix, then loosen it up with a tablespoon or two of water or apple juice.
Press the mixture into the bottom of your prepared tin, and spread the jam on top.
Sprinkle the sesame seeds over the jam and bake for about 20 mins until the dough starts to golden brown (which is a bit tricky to see if you use cherry jam!).
Allow to cool in the tin and cut into slices.


Mini-M hasn't tried it yet, but fingers crossed it passes the test! I'm skeptical since a) it doesn't contain banana b) isn't a pancake and c) has pumpkin seeds in, which I don't personally like, but Mr E is confident the jam will overcome all...

White Chocolate Fudge

This is quite possibly the sweetest thing I have ever made - which isn't really that surprising since it is basically sugar, with white chocolate in it!



I was intrigued by the recipe, which I had cut out of a BBC Good Food magazine at some point, as it has liquid glucose in it, and I'd never made fudge with that in before. Not that I've made that much fudge before - just that when I have, it's been of the bog standard sugar, butter, cream or condensed milk variety.

This one worked well - the liquid glucose helps the texture, I think - keeping it soft but solid, and stopping it from being grainy.

I tasted a tiny bit, and like I said, it was super sweet. But that could also be that my taste for sweetness has been slightly altered by not eating dairy for the past year - no ice cream, only very dark chocolate and a limited cake/biscuit choice has definitely made my diet more of the fruity sweet rather than creamy sweet variety. Mr E certainly didn't seem quite as shocked as I did on tasting it - but then he likes eating condensed milk straight from the tin, so possibly not a great example!

I'll definitely use this fudge method again, but I think I might go with dark chocolate and see how that tastes - hopefully even better...

White Chocolate Fudge (Makes 1 tray approx 35x20cm - i.e. lots!)

  • 500g golden caster sugar (I used 250g soft brown sugar and 250g granulated sugar instead of the golden caster sugar because I didn't have any)
  • 500ml double cream
  • 3 tbsp liquid glucose
  • 140g white chocolate chopped coarsely (not too fine otherwise it will melt completely)

Firstly grease your tin and line the bottom with parchment.
Next put the sugar, cream and liquid glucose into a large heavy bottomed pan over a very low heat and melt together gradually, stirring regularly until the sugar melts and the mixture is no longer grainy. If you use granulated rather than caster sugar, this stage will take longer, and you'll have to keep the heat right down to stop the sugar mixture starting to boil before completely melted, otherwise the sugar in your finished fudge will crystallise a bit and make it grainy.
Once the sugar has completely dissolved, turn up the heat to medium and bring the mixture up to a vigorous boil. Don't put the temperature up too high, or it will catch and burn on the bottom of the pan, but by the same token, if you don't have it high enough, you wont reach the critical setting point.
The setting point for fudge is 118C, and while I do have a sugar thermometer, I still prefer to test by checking for the 'soft ball stage'. Drop a small amount of your boiling mixture carefully into a glass of cold water. If you can roll it into a soft ball under the water that holds it shape, but softens when taken out of the water, then the correct point has been reached. Maybe the next time I make fudge or tablet, I will manage to record the crucial moment with a photo! Generally I'm a bit distracted by the vat of boiling sugar in front of me to be taking photos though.
Take the mixture off the heat, put on a heatproof work top or chopping board, and stir for about 5 minutes, until the mixture starts to thicken, and leaves a trail on the surface that doesn't immediately disappear.
Add the white chocolate and give a very quick stir to distribute then quickly pour into the prepared tin - do this as fast as you can, as it will start to set rapidly.
Leave overnight to set fully and cool, then cut into squares.
The fudge will keep for up to 2 months in an airtight tin - but don't keep it in the fridge, otherwise it will  go soft.


Hopefully it also travels well... as a big tub of it was entrusted to Royal Mail to be sent as a wedding present last week!

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Recycled IKEA Catalogue Wall Art

Question... is it wrong to steal your child's toys to turn them into living room art?
Answer... probably, but it's too late now! Plus I only stole the boring ones.



Mini-M likes building blocks - mainly to eat. The blue ones taste particularly good. The plain wooden ones, apparently less so. So I commandeered some of them for my craft experimentation purposes.



I'm a big fan of paper - a secret given away by a) the huge pile of books beside my bed, and b) the even bigger stash of old magazines I can't bear to throw away that lurks in a variety of shelves and corners around the house. I particularly love the colours and textures of the pictures in magazines - be them adverts or articles. And the IKEA catalogue rates highly on my colours and textures scale.



As far as recycling goes, this is not up there as a big landfill diversion... it probably saved about ten pages of IKEA catalogue from being scrapped (and they'd have gone in the paper recycling anyway) BUT it did make me feel that my saving said IKEA catalogue for the past 6 months had a purpose!



So I decided to wrap the plain wooden blocks in bits of IKEA catalogue, then used some UHU Power Stick glue (kind of a cross between superglue and Pritt Stick) to stick them together into a grid. Lastly, I attached them to a bit of scrap cardboard and added a piece of string to hang them.


Et voila - free living room art :o)


Sunday, 16 October 2011

Chocolate Rum & Raisin Muffins (for me!) and mini Cheezly Muffins (for Mini-M)

The other night I decided I was going to make Mini-M some muffins, as a variation on the pancake theme. I figured they might be a good foil for hiding some "Cheezly" (fake dairy free soya cheese - hiding it definitely helps its edibility...) and veggies.

But whilst flicking through books looking for a savoury muffin recipe, I found one for chocolate rum and raisin muffins, which sounded quite a lot more fun to make!



So I made them both. I made up the "Cheezly" recipe as I went along, and it worked out just fine, and I modified the Chocolate Rum & Raisin one from the Australian Womens Weekly 'Muffins' mini book to make it Dairy Free. I also modified it to save on the washing up - you end up mixing it all in one big pan.

It is completely undetectable, and really hard to believe that these are dairy free. In fact, I took them in to work, and I don't think anyone there suspected...

So here are my recipes.

First up the exciting chocolate ones :o)

Chocolate Rum & Raisin Muffins

  • Makes 12 large (or in my case 6 large and 12 small)
  • 170g raisins
  • 60ml dark rum
  • 375g self raising flour
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 200g soft brown sugar
  • 150g dark (dairy free) chocolate coarsely chopped
  • 125g margarine (dairy free)
  • 125ml Oatly oat cream (if you can't find it, just use another 125ml soya yoghurt)
  • 125ml plain soya yoghurt
  • 2 eggs

Preheat the oven to 180C (170C fan) and line your muffin tin(s) with paper cases.
Put the raisins and rum in a large saucepan, bring to a gentle simmer and allow to cook over a really low heat for about 5 mins, then take the heat off, add the margarine and let them steep for another 5 - the residual heat will melt the margarine for you.
Once your raisins have cooled a bit, add the sugar, chocolate, flour, and cocoa powder. Resist the temptation to mix it just yet!
Next pour in the oat cream and soya yoghurt, and crack your eggs on top of it all.
Give the eggs a quick swirl with a fork to break up the yolks, then get stuck in with your wooden spoon and mix it really well - the last thing you want to find when you bite into a muffin is a big lump of unmixed flour! If you think your flour is prone to being lumpy, then by all means sieve it in, but I went unsieved and had no problems.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared tins, and bake for about 20 mins until they are crackly on the top, and springy to the touch.
Cool on a wire rack, then enjoy!



If you're not having to be dairy free, then you can easily substitute butter for margarine, be a lot less fussy about your chocolate choice (white chocolate chips would be fantastic in this too I think!), and use 250ml of buttermilk instead of the oat cream / soya yoghurt combo.

Next up - Mini-M's Cheezly muffins. For those of you uninitiated in these matters, Cheezly is a soya based cheese substitute. It does kind of melt, it is kind of like cheese, just not quite. On the plus side, Mini-M has never actually had real cheese to compare it to, but as she is going through a fussy phase, it is still treated with skepticism.

Pancakes have got a very firm thumbs up from her - regardless of what I add into them, she seems happy to wolf them down. Cheezly and ham pancakes have already been consumed with abandon (OK that is a slight exaggeration - abandon is really only reserved for pancakes that have raisins in, but they were eaten happily without being flung around the living room which is, you know, quite nice.). But I am a bit fed up of making pancakes, so I decide to give mini muffins a shot.



Cheezly, Carrot and Apple Muffins
(Makes 36 tiny muffins, 12 small or 6 large)

  • 150g self raising flour
  • 50g plain flour
  • 1 egg
  • 60ml sunflower oil
  • 150ml plain soya yoghurt
  • 50ml soya milk
  • 25g finely grated Cheezly
  • 25g finely grated carrot and apple (I used 1 tiny apple, and 1/3 of a regular carrot)
  • 1 pinch bicarbonate of soda

Preheat the oven to 180C (170C fan) and line your tins with paper cases.
Sieve the flours and bicarbonate of soda into a mixing bowl (or if you're lazy like me, don't sieve, live life on the edge and risk the lumpy floury consequences - happily avoided this time!).
Measure the oil, yoghurt and soya milk into a jug.
Add the egg and beat it all together lightly.
Then add the Cheezly, carrot and apple and give it another quick mix.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones and mix well - use some extra elbow grease if you've not sieved the flour.
Spoon into the prepared tins and bake until golden and springy. If you're making tiny ones, this will be about 10 mins - large ones about 20 - small ones somewhere in between.



Mini-M's verdict seems to be that the aren't quite as tasty as pancakes. Thankfully still edible, but definitely more naturally missile shaped when she gets bored of eating....



Saturday, 15 October 2011

A Picture A Day: Week 41

A day late, but here are last week's pictures. And I have to confess, I forgot one day! But that's OK - I had an extra one from the day after to fill in the gap. I'm actually quite surprised how few days I've slipped up on, given that on a daily basis I forget a whole bunch of often much more important things... like taking my lunch to work, remembering a bib to go with Mini-M's lunch, forgetting my work ID badge, walking halfway to nursery with a bag of dirty nappies hanging off the side of the buggy etc.

Anyway, enough of the personal confessions and back to the photos!

Saturday 8th October
My new baby - a purple cast iron casserole dish, thanks to a half price sale in Jenners!



Sunday 9th October
Mini-M having so much fun playing with glow sticks!



Monday 10th October
Me working on some modelling clay miniatures that will no doubt feature in a future post...



Tuesday 11th October
Mini-M showing an early preference for Polish lager... (and saying 'bark bark' to the dog!)



Wednesday 12th October
Looking VERY happy with her new coat and mittens. Not exactly colour co-ordinated, but with emergency jackets (bought because someone's silly Mum dropped their other coat in a huge muddy puddle, completely saturating it at the start of a long day out and about on a very chilly day) beggars can't be choosers!



Thursday 13th October
Extreme hat hair!



Friday 14th October
One of my favourite views in our house - from our bed - where I was blogging my Daring Cooks post last night.


Friday, 14 October 2011

The Daring Cooks' October Challenge: Mmm mmm mmm Moo Shu


The October Daring Cooks' Challenge was hosted by Shelley of C Mom Cook and her sister Ruth of The Crafts of Mommyhood. They challenged us to bring a taste of the East into our home kitchens by making our own Moo Shu, including the pancakes, stir fry and sauce.

I think of all the Daring Cooks' Challenges I have done so far, this has been the tastiest and also had the best effort vs result ratio!

I thought it would be fiddly and time consuming, but it really wasn't - only slightly more time consuming than cooking a normal sort of meal.

I have to admit a certain sense of trepidation to begin with. I asked Mr E to buy some pork loin or fillet when he was at the supermarket, expecting him to come back with some escalopes or chops. Instead, this is what he brought home.

Yep - that's right - bacon! But I decided to go with it, and so moo shu bacon was born, and it was amazing. Seriously tasty! Worth making not just in an accidental way, but actually in an intentional way too. In a way that I'd definitely make again. In fact Mr E rated it as the tastiest dinner ever, and proclaimed it so to the world via Facebook. High praise indeed.

The thing is, I don't actually have a recipe as to how I made it - I just sort of chucked some stuff together.
You can find the complete challenge on the Daring Kitchen website.

And here's a quick run down of what I subbed for what, but without anything as helpful as quantities. Sorry folks - what can I say, sometimes I'm not a very precise cook!

I made the pancakes as is, but a quarter batch, since I was just cooking dinner for the two of us.

A pancake post-dry frying.
For the stir fry, I used cubed cooked bacon (I baked it the day before, wrapped in foil, for an hour and a half or so), tinned bamboo shoots, grated carrot, egg, rice vinegar, sesame oil and soy sauce.

Bacon stir fry!

I made hoisin sauce and subbed peanut butter for black bean paste, 1 tsp honey and 1 of molasses, rice wine vinegar for white vinegar, a clove of crushed garlic for garlic powder, and a pinch of chili powder for hot sauce.
Quick and easy hoisin style sauce. Peanut butter probably makes it inauthentic, but it tastes good!
Pancakes, stir fry and sauce - balanced precariously close to the edge of the work top (most likely to hide the clutter from the camera...)
A pancake ready to be rolled.
We still had bacon left, so the next day I used it with more bamboo shoots, carrot broccoli, egg, the leftover hoisin sauce and a sheet of puff pastry to make a big free form Moo Shu Bacon Pie, which gave us another two delicious meals.  I'm not sure where the pie rated in Mr E's all time meal preferences, but I reckon it was at least in the top 50% too.

Looking giant and pie-y. Glazed with beaten egg and hoisin sauce hence the dark colour.
Leftovers in pie = almost as good as the non-leftovers

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